Love hadn’t brought her to Colorado. But it might be the one thing that keeps here there.
Widowed before she says “I do,” mail order bride Mae Ann Remington does the only thing she can in a new town with no family and no means—she proposes.
Rancher Cade Parker is at the bank to withdraw cash for his wayward sister, not find himself a wife. But that’s exactly what happens after a robbery leaves a man dead and his headstrong bride with nothing but a bold business proposition. Convinced he’s gone loco, Cade accepts Mae Ann’s offer, and is soon teaching the city gal to ride, shoot, and do what he tells her. She manages the first two fairly well, but gets her back up at the third.
A greedy neighbor’s land-lust challenges Mae Ann’s inheritance of her former intended’s run-down farm and sends Cade and Mae Ann to court and into the jaws of a deadly storm. Not only must Cade fight to keep his new bride safe, he’s got to keep his emotions from stampeding out of control. Taking on snakes, scoundrels, and second chances is one thing, but falling in love wasn’t part of the deal.
The stranger’s head and shoulders popped into view from the doorway, and he motioned her inside.
She hurried to the threshold, but halted at the sight of Henry lying on a table inside. A spectacled man in a barber’s apron stretched a measuring tape alongside him, then scribbled something on a small paper and applied the measure to Henry’s shoulders.
Mae Ann gripped the door frame, afraid she might lose what little breakfast she’d had before boarding the train in Denver that morning. The stranger came to her, took her elbow, and pointed to a settee, a small table, and an old ladder-back chair across the room—the undertaker’s efforts to dress up his sorrowful establishment.
Mumbling her thanks, she chose the hard chair. Comfort seemed inappropriate for such a time and place.
He took a knee before her, a most unexpected gesture regardless of her situation. His warm eyes posed no threat, nor did his strong jaw, and he removed his hat to reveal dark hair dented from its constant presence. A man accustomed to hard work, she presumed, consistent with the calloused hand that had helped her earlier.
He did not smile, but sympathy tinged his expression. “Can I help you in any other way, ma’am?”
The thought came suddenly and clear, as if it were the most logical and well-suited idea. She weighed her options—which were nonexistent—squared her shoulders and met his unwavering regard. “Do you have a wife?”
He glanced away and his mouth worked as if sorting through possible replies. “No, ma’am, I do not.”
She schooled her features as best she could, feigning confidence. “Would you like one?”
My Review: (also on goodreads)
Reading this book was a sheer delight. Cade and Mae Ann have very little in common, apart from both being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A marriage in name only, of convenience seems the way to go, but neither of them reckon on how things will turn out. I loved the descriptions that not just set the scene but immerse the reader in the story itself.
A real page turner, this one kept me reading and reading. Definitely one to read again.