(Hearts of Owyhee novella)
Prairie Rose Publications
Available on Kindle Unlimited
The Murdock brothers have a fine ranch in Owyhee County, Idaho. The only things missing are wives and kids, so Hec orders a couple of brides for Christmas. The catch is, woman-shy Zeke doesn’t know about it. Dinah and Stella have a plan— If the grooms don’t work out, they’ll start a restaurant. Farm chores are hard enough, but a peckish chicken and a raging blizzard don’t help matters. Can Hec and Zeke capture their hearts?
There’s just something about Christmas that has “romance” splashed all over it—the season for sharing and putting our differences aside.
The whole idea of mail-order brides—why a woman would leave everything she knew for a man she didn’t know—fascinates me. In this story, we have two brides. Dinah Goode lost her husband and baby within a few weeks. Her goal is to own a restaurant and women couldn’t be chefs in Cleveland. But those rules didn’t apply in the Idaho Territory where women could own property in their own right, and the only way she could afford to get there was to accept a proposal as a mail-order bride.
Schoolteacher Stella Clemmons has stars in her eyes—she wants children but she’s already nearly thirty years old and time’s marching on so she decided to accept a mail-order proposal. She’s nervous about doing so, but meeting Dinah on the train was fortuitous because now she has a plan. If Mr. Ezekiel Murdock doesn’t pan out, she and Dinah will still be fine. Restaurants were few and far between—and even then, she could still find the right man to marry.
But neither lady knows one thing about country life. And neither brother is quite sure what to do with these city women.
I loved the idea that Hec ordered brides for himself and his brother for Christmas. How romantic! But can you imagine how surprised Zeke would be? How would he react? And how does the culture of the East blend with that of the West?
This novella is part of the Prairie Rose Publications Third Birthday Bash. Free books are being offered the week of August 13 – 20 at http://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com.
Would you like a copy of I Heard the Brides on Christmas Day? Just tell us what you love about Christmas stories. Do you read them year-around? Does the snow cool you off on a hot August night?
Eighteen-year-old Penelope Langton lives a quiet life as a cook for a wealthy family in 1880 Chicago. She’s resigned that her life will remain routine and uneventful. Marriage is the furthest thing from her mind. Her best friend tries to convince her to leave before her employer’s despicable nephew returns for the summer.
Penelope believes her friend’s plan to become a mail-order bride is foolish. With her friend gone and the family’s nephew’s early arrival, Penelope finds herself fighting for her virtue and looking for employment.
Will Penelope find a way to freedom and safety by becoming a mail-order bride? A visit to the matchmaker seems her only way out, but will her new life as a bride be more complicated than the life she leaves behind?
Meet Penelope and the wonderful, heart-warming residents in the town of Gentle Falls in this sweet historical romance.
The train wheels screeched jerking to a stop, and Penelope stood her legs a bit shaky. She reached up and took down her satchel. She carried it in one hand and her reticule in the other. Ready or not, she stepped off the train to meet her future.
Penelope watched people greet others. People left the train and others hurried to board it before it left. She heard the train whistle and the conductor call out for passengers to hurry aboard. The platform was emptying, and she felt very alone. The people standing around seemed to know each other. She didn’t see a young man anywhere. Where was Matthew? Panic ripped through her. Was it a joke? Surely not if he paid money for a ticket. Maybe he was a womanizer and was busy with another woman and forgot about her. That must be it. He wasn’t coming. She said a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the extra money Mrs. Carster gave her. She could afford a room in the hotel or rooming house until the sheriff found Matthew and he sent her home. She wanted to go back. Although she didn’t have a home, she could go to Aggie’s. That was her plan. She’d find a rooming house, look for Matthew, get a return ticket, go back to Aggie’s, and find a job in Chicago. She was an excellent cook. The mayor’s wife loved her chocolate cake. She could find employment in a restaurant or bakery. She could do this. She picked up her satchel and headed toward the ticket office to inquire about a boarding house when she heard her name.
Penelope turned at the sound of her name expecting to see Matthew although the voice she heard was female. “Miss Penelope Langton,” an attractive dark haired woman close to her mother’s age called.
Penelope nodded, “Yes, that’s me.” She walked toward the woman and the tall older man standing next to her.
The woman reached out and shook Penelope’s hand. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Miranda Greiner, and this is my husband, Roy.”
The man nodded.
Miranda continued, “Matthew works on our farm. We met your train to make sure you’re all right and to let you know Mathew’s gone.”
“Gone?” Penelope gasped not being able to stop the tears that immediately ran freely down her cheeks. “Why does everyone die? Why me? What have I ever done?” Her sobs increased, and she couldn’t speak.
I was born in Wisconsin and lived there until I was eighteen. Then I spent eight years in Washington state and California before returning to Wisconsin. I love historical sites, eerie places, and books. I began with a love of Nancy Drew books and Saturday afternoon Westerns at the movies. When I am not writing, I am reading or watching sunsets. I enjoy making up stories about people I meet or see on the street. I can see a story in a picture, especially if the picture is eerie or American Western. My imagination runs wild and free. I have self-published fourteen books in four genres: historical romance, paranormal, cozy mystery and tried my hand at a thriller, Kathryn’s Justice. I am sure my muse will guide me into another story plot.
Cora, Bride of South Dakota is fortieth in the unprecedented 50-book American Mail-Order Brides series.
Cora Ancelet’s father hates her.
When a fire ravages the factory where she works, her father orders her to find another source of employment or marry his evil political ally, a man old enough to be her grandfather.
After being handed a Grooms’ Gazette, Cora takes the desperate step of becoming a Mail Order Bride.
John Franklin wants a woman to wake up to. A woman who will love him and his ranch, and ultimately give him the children he craves.
Will placing an advertisement for a Mail Order Bride turn out to be the best decision he has ever made for both him and Cora or, is tragedy afoot?
Cora stepped onto the platform in Rapid City and glanced around. She searched for John amongst the milling crowd. Her hands shook nervously as she clutched her reticule. This is it. You’re about to meet the man who is to be your husband.
“Miss Brown. Miss Rose Brown?” the station porter asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Your luggage is by the waiting room for you,” the man said.
Before Cora could thank him and offer a coin, he scurried away. She returned to searching the thinning crowd for John’s face.
Then, not ten feet away, she saw him for the first time. He seemed to be searching for her but how he was ever expecting to find her, she didn’t know. Cora had never sent him a picture, only a description.
She took advantage of her knowledge to study her intended. His picture did not do him justice. This was the man who was to become her husband and wow, what a man! He was tall, really tall. His blonde hair showed signs of being bleached by long hours in the sun. His skin was golden brown, his lips full and definitely kissable. But, his eyes were what snared her attention. They were the brightest blue she had ever seen, bluer than the sky on a bright summer’s day.
Her eyes continued their perusal. His coat was unbuttoned, his shirt pulled taut against his broad chest. A belt with a large buckle cinched the jeans at his narrow waist. His legs were long but judging by how tight his pants hugged his thighs, they were also muscular. She sighed loudly. The man was more handsome than she’d dreamed despite the scar on his face. She swallowed hard and tentatively stepped towards him.
“Mr. Franklin, I’m Cora” Her voice was husky with nerves and she offered a shaky, gloved hand.
“But, the porter called you, Miss Brown.” John was confused, he ignored Cora’s hand and his beautiful blue eyes narrowed. “I assume you have an explanation. I can’t abide liars.”
The tone of his voice was more serious than angry but it still caused Cora to tremble and step back a pace. What if he didn’t understand and sent her back?
“Mr. Franklin, I promise I can explain if you give me a chance. Is there somewhere we can go and talk?”
John heard the pleading note in her voice and his annoyance settled. “Very well.” She was so beautiful it took his breath away. He couldn’t stay mad. He spun around and spoke to another man standing nearby. “Sam, can you get Miss Ancelet’s luggage to the wagon? I’ll take her to Lilly’s for tea so we can talk.”
“Sure thing, John. Henry, Frank and me will grab a drink at the saloon while we’re waiting.” Sam ambled away with the two other men.
John placed his arm on Cora’s elbow to escort her away. A jolt so powerful caused stars to dance in front of her eyes, she became breathless and stumbled. His arm whipped around her waist to steady her and he gazed into her eyes questioningly. Had he felt it too?
“Sorry,” she murmured. “I felt a little light headed. I must have been affected by the long journey.”
“No need to apologize.” His deep voice caressed her. “Maybe you need something to eat.”
They left the station arm in arm.