The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper: Woman of the West

Praise for

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

“Kathleen Y’Barbo’s The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper is a fast-paced story full of fun, action, drama, and love.”

—MARY CONNEALY, author of Calico Canyon, Petticoat Ranch, and Gingham Mountain

“A fun read. Delightful, engaging, charming, and yes, funny. Humor in the characters, especially Miss Eugenia Cooper, humor in the events, as she dreams of and heads on an adventure in the West. I thoroughly enjoyed this romp of a read. If you loved Cathy Marie Hake, give yourself a treat with The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper.”

—LAURAINE SNELLING, author of the Red River Series, Daughters of Blessing series, and One Perfect Day

“Take one spirited young woman seeking adventure—with a dime novel heroine as her role model—and add a lonely man determined not to lose his heart again. Stir in the excitement of an Old West setting, and you have a recipe for success. The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper is an absolute delight! Kathleen Y’Barbo’s writing sparkles like the clear, blue Colorado skies.”

—CAROL COX, author of A Bride So Fair and A Test of Faith

“Eugenia Flora Cooper has her Mae Winslow, but Kathleen Y’Barbo is my Woman of the West. In The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, Kathleen takes you by the hand on the first page and draws you into a chase every bit as merry as any Mae Winslow adventure story. Before you realize it’s happening, you find yourself in places you’re reluctant to leave, among characters so genuine they only lack flesh to be real.”

—MARCIA GRUVER, author of the Texas Fortunes series

“The gap between fiction and reality turns out to be much smaller than Eugenia Cooper realizes when she makes a last minute, ill-planned decision to hop a train to Denver in 1880. With excitement, romance, and humor, Kathleen Y’Barbo spins a tale that captures your mind. The author’s enthusiasm for writing spills out of every scene, creating, as it should, enthusiastic readers.”

—STEPHEN BLY, award-winning western author of more than one hundred books, including One Step Over the Border, Paperback Writer, and Wish I’d Known You Tears Ago

To Josh, Andrew, Jacob, and Hannah

My life, my loves, my world… I’m so proud of you!

And to Wendy Lawton, Shannon Marchese, and Jessica Barnes.

Without you and the wonderful team at WaterBrook,

Gennie would be back in Manhattan still reading under the covers.

“Sometimes what a person wishes for is neither what they really want nor what they need. Sometimes, it’s the wishing that’s the best part.”

—Mae Winslow, Woman of the West

The warning came too late.

Mae Winslow’s finely tuned senses jumped as the fire bell rang, setting the populace into a motion akin to the stirring of a nest of hornets, and sending Mae into a fit of the vapors.

Before the sounding of the alarm, the only stings fair Mae felt in the bleak light of dawn were from her heart and her conscience. She had disappointed dear Henry once again, allowing the calamity that dogged her steps to set her on yet another path leading away from the home and hearth he so freely offered. Surely the long-suffering Henry understood that beneath her buckskin-clad exterior beat a heart that held nothing but love for him despite the vagabond life she must lead.

At the moment, however, her mind must turn from the excess of emotional thoughts that Henry Darling brought and toward the situation at hand. With the practiced eye of one far too well-trained in the ways of desperate outlaws and lowly curs, she lifted the sash of the boardinghouse window and lowered her gaze to the street below. With the fresh wind came the bitter scent of smoke. Alas, the odor did not emit from below or from beyond the bounds of the quaint structure, but rather swirled from behind, as if seeping beneath the slightly crooked bedroom door.

Mae made to turn when a shot rang out. A bullet chipped away several layers of paint on the sill and sent her scrambling to the floor. There, with her breath coming a bit freer, she crawled toward the bed, where her pistols hung on the bedpost.

“So,” the fair jewel breathed as she wrapped her small fingers around the cold metal that had saved her life more times than she could count, “they’ve found me.”

New York City, July 5, 1880

Something tickled her nose. Eugenia Flora Cooper batted at the offending object, then opened her eyes to see that she’d tossed a fringed pillow onto her bedroom floor. A thud told her the book she’d been reading last night had