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COLORADO 1880
Jem Wheeler has always been a survivor. He just wants to make a fresh start in Colorado Springs after the loss of his wife. But then he happens upon a young mute woman being sold off to the highest bidder. He wasn't looking for a mail-order bride. He wasn't looking to rescue anyone either. But desperate circumstances can drive a good man to do things he hadn't planned on doing... 

When Jem steps into Annie's life, she's not expecting anyone to save her. Mute from birth, she's just using all her wits to survive. All she's ever really wanted is a family of her own. For someone to see her. To look at her long enough to hear the things she can't say.

Can Annie finally break through the silence to win Jem's heart?


Sweet Historical Western Romance
A Mail-Order Bride Novel

Each book in The Brides Series can be read as a stand-alone novel, but reading in order will provide a more complete reading experience.


THE BRIDES SERIES

The Unexpected Bride
Sleigh Bells & Mistletoe
The Bartered Bride
Only the Heart Knows


Excerpt

Jem took the apple core from his daughter and passed her one of the remaining crackers with a piece of cheese on it. Mae munched that down and looked to him immediately for another, the last one.

He gave it to her, then showed her his empty hands.

She frowned. "More?"

"No more," Jem said, and showed her his empty hands again, making a bigger gesture out of it, as if the little girl was accusing him of hiding some.

If Annie weren't so intent on eating her share of cheese and crackers she might have smiled at the sight of them, one of the most dangerous men she'd ever seen sitting side by side with that tiny little girl. They made quite a mismatched pair.

Mae looked over at Annie, at the last cracker in her hand and the last bit of cheese.

Annie gulped down the mouthful she was chewing. She looked down at the last of her meal and back at the little girl. To her shame, she didn't want to give up her last cracker. She could barely remember the last meal she'd eaten.

"That's Annie's food," Jem admonished the little girl. "You've had yours."

Mae bit her lip. She glanced down at her lap, then back at Annie again.

I can share, Annie attempted to tell Mae with her eyes alone. She snapped her cracker in half--simply unable to bear parting with the whole thing--and passed it across to the little girl. Mae took it and popped the whole thing in her mouth, making Annie smile.

"Mae!" her father said.

She looked at him wide-eyed, her mouth full of cracker. "Whaf dafdda?" she said, muffled, spraying a few cracker crumbs onto his trousers.

He closed his eyes briefly and brushed them off. "You didn't have to give her any," he said to Annie, "but thanks."

Annie grunted, her way of saying she didn't mind that much. She looked down quickly and finished her last bit of food. The crackers had been crispy and the cheese silky and smooth. They'd tasted like heaven.

"You must be thirsty," he said. "Do you mind sharing?"

She shook her head and automatically lifted two fingers.

"Two's no?" he asked.

She nodded, pleased, and lifted one finger. She'd grown up sending signals through the floor of the Ruskins' house, one stomp for yes, two for no. It came natural as rain now.

"And one's yes," he said, catching on quick.

Annie drank deep when he passed her the flask of water, amazed he'd let her drink from it. She tried her best to pour it down her throat without touching her lips to the flask, so he wouldn't regret giving it to someone so dirty. She wished she could tell him thanks, but after Mae had her fill and he took his own swallow, he was back under his hat, likely going over the events of the day.

How he'd stuck himself with her.

How he probably regretted even stepping off the train at the last stop.

She couldn't say she blamed him.

She hadn't much wanted to marry a stranger herself.

***

Seven brothers must marry within 1874 or lose their inheritance.

Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children—until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance?

First Comes Love by Gabrielle Meyer
As the youngest Hart, Hays has never been first at anything—so he’s determined to be the first to marry. He sets his sights on the new teacher, Miss Emma Longley, but he soon discovers Emma wants nothing to do with marriage, ranching, or Texas and plans to leave Hartville in two short months. Will Hays’ charm be enough to convince her to stay?
 
The Heart of Texas by Lorna Seilstad
With Texas awash in outlaws, Ranger Chisholm Hart takes his oath to protect the citizens and their property seriously. When he meets feisty, independent Caro Cardova who can face a band of vigilantes, ride as well as a man, and shoot from the hip, he must decide if he can make room in his heart for both the state he loves and the woman who’s stolen his heart.
 
The Truest Heart by Amanda Barratt
Despite his father’s edict, Travis Hart is determined never to marry. The one woman he cares for is a distant memory, and he won’t settle for a loveless union with anyone else. Yet when Annie Lawrence re-enters his life, the spark of romance he thought extinguished, bursts into flame anew. But guilt binds Annie to her past, and Travis fears that once again, he will have to watch the woman he loves walk out of his life—this time forever. 
 
A Love Returned by Keli Gwyn
When Coralee Culpepper declined his proposal, Houston Hart left Texas for the gold fields of California. But when his father’s edict brings him home, will Coralee—the only woman to ever claim his heart—accept him for the man he is, or will she cling to the stubborn notion that she must marry a rancher in order to be happy?
 
For Love or Money by Susan Page Davis
Burned out of their house, Jane and her family move into a cave, where she discovers some hidden money. Crockett Hart comes to help them rebuild, and she asks for his help. When he learns where the money came from, he hopes it won’t keep their two families apart, because he’s falling for Jane.
 
Mail-Order Mayhem by Vickie McDonough
Austin’s best hope to marry quickly is a mail-order bride. But the bride who arrived seems more interested in one of the ranch hands. Her sister Rebekah, who is chaperoning, keeps apologizing. Austin is ready to send his bride packing. Could God have other ideas for a wife for him? 
 
Love at Last by Erica Vetsch
When her former patient, Confederate officer Bowie Hart, shows up on her doorstep, Elise Rivers agrees to his marriage-of-convenience proposal. But as she gets to know her scarred and taciturn new husband, she realizes she has a chance to turn a marriage-of-convenience into the love of a lifetime, if only she can convince Bowie that he is worthy to be loved.
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