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 SERIESThe Unexpected Bride
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.
About the Books in this Contemporary Romance Boxed Set
1. I Love This Bar
Serving two counties, the Honky Tonk is the gathering place for every hothead, thirsty rancher, and lusty lady looking for a good time. Owner Daisy O'Dell vows she'll run the place until they drag her cold dead body through the swinging doors. That is, until Jarod McElroy walks in, looking for a cold drink and a moment's peace from his ornery Uncle Emmitt. The minute Jarod sees Daisy, he knows he's met not only his own match, but Uncle Emmitt's as well. Now, if only he can convince her to come out from behind that bar and come on home with him...
2. Hell, Yeah
When Cathy O'Dell buys the Honky Tonk, the nights of cowboys and country tunes come together to create the home she's always wanted. Then in walks a ruggedly handsome oil man who tempts her to trade in the happiness she's found at the Honky Tonk for a life on the road. Travis Henry has found his best friend and so much more in Cathy. When his job is done in Texas, how is he ever going to hit the road without her?
3. My Give a Damn's Busted
Hank Wells thinks he can dig up dirt on the new owner of the Honky Tonk for his employer, but he's got no idea what kind of trouble he's courting. Larissa Morley isn't going down without a fight. If this dime store cowboy thinks he's going to get the best of her—or her Honky Tonk—then he's got another thing coming. As secrets emerge, and passion vies with ulterior motives, it's winner takes all at the Honky Tonk...
"Fun, sassy and fast-paced romance..."—Romantic Times, 4 Stars
"Sheer fun... filled with down-home humor, realistic characters, and pure romance."—Romance Reader at Heart