I know, I know, it’s Thursday again, not Wednesday. But I have an exciting new excerpt for you anyhow! It’s from the first book of a super exciting new series, The Brides of Paradise Ranch! Here’s the twist, though. For each book in this series, I will be releasing a Spicy version and a Sweet version. They’ll be the same story with the same plot, same characters, same everything, but one version will contain those sexy, spicy scenes that some of you love, and the other will be fresh and clean as a daisy. Each version will have a different cover and a slightly different title.
Today, I bring you a snippet of the first book in the series, His Perfect Bride (spicy version) aka Corva: The Perfect Bride (sweet version). Many apologies about not having covers yet, but here’s a bit of Chapter One that, well, that more or less sets up the entire series….
He took a breath, settled back in his chair, and rolled his shoulders. “The other night, Olivia and I were going over some business regarding my dear, old friend and mentor, Josiah Hurst’s, estate. You know that among many of the other charitable institutions he left behind when he passed on, one of them is a home for women who have been battered or abused or otherwise escaped from dangerous situations.”
“Hurst Home.” Josephine nodded. “You are truly a saint for setting up such a wonderful, safe place for those women.”
“Well, it was Olivia’s idea as much as mine,” Charlie insisted.
“Either way, it warms my heart to know that there’s a safe place for those poor women to go in troubled times,” Virginia added.
“Exactly,” Charlie continued. “That’s what set Olivia to thinking the other night. Some of the stories of the women currently living at Hurst Home would break your heart. They’ve endured so much, and even though the home is a safe place for them, Olivia had the idea that it would be even safer for some of them to start new lives far, far away from the troubles of their pasts.”
“New lives?” Josephine exchanged a glance with Ellen…who was more interested in the cup of fruit at Josephine’s place than the conversation. “How so?”
Charlie leaned forward. “Olivia was reading a newspaper that her mother sent her from back home in Ohio. Among its pages, she noticed an advertisement by a miner over in Colorado, looking for a wife.”
“Ah, mail-order brides.” Virginia nodded. “I hear that quite a few men who have settled out here are sending back East for wives these days.”
“Which brings me to my point.” Charlie smiled. “Olivia and I feel as though it would benefit a great deal of people if we could find a way to bring some of the women from Hurst Home out here, to Haskell, to be brides for the young men working at Paradise Ranch, or in town, or on any of the other ranches in the area.”
Josephine and Virginia hummed and exchanged looks of surprise and interest.
“Well, it would certainly stop so many of them from patronizing Bonnie’s all the time,” Josephine said.
“Very true.” Virginia nodded slowly. “I’m not saying Bonnie Horner wasn’t smart to open a whorehouse in Haskell.”
“She certainly did cut down on the amount of mischief all those virile, young ranch hands got into,” Josephine added with a wry drawl.
“Mmm.” Virginia arched an eyebrow. “Several of those boys are far more grown up now than they were when Bonnie opened her doors. It’s about time they settled down and started families.”
“The only way for Haskell to grow is by welcoming families and inviting them to put down roots,” Josephine agreed.
The two women turned to Charlie once more.
“I see we’re in agreement.” Charlie winked. “And I think Bonnie would agree with us too, at heart.”
“She’s got other irons in the fire, that Bonnie,” Virginia said, exchanging a knowing look with Josephine.
“So are we agreed?” Charlie asked. “Should we send a telegraph to Mrs. Breashears at Hurst Home asking how she feels about the plan?”
“Absolutely,” Josephine said.
“The sooner the better,” Virginia agreed.
“Excellent.” Charlie smiled and tapped the table to seal the deal. “Now all we have to do is figure out which lucky man should be our trial groom.” He twisted to wave across the hotel dining room, catching the eye of the stately, white-haired man standing ramrod straight near the doorway to the lobby.
The white-haired man nodded and glided across the room to the table. “Can I help you, Mr. Garrett?”
“Yes, Gunn. Breakfast for my two sweet angels.” He winked across the table to Ellen, and reached to his side to ruffle Allen’s hair. “And anything else that Mrs. Piedmont and Mrs. Evans want.”
“Right away, sir.” Mr. Gunn bowed and moved off.
“What about Theophilus Gunn?” Josephine asked. “He’s getting up in years and could use a wife.”
Charlie shook his head and chuckled.
Virginia laughed outright. “Mr. Gunn is far too long in the tooth for any of the young ladies of Hurst Home. Besides, to hear Charlie tell it, he’s married to his job.”
“Best hotel manager Wyoming has ever seen,” Charlie agreed. “And Virginia is right. We need to think younger. What young man in Haskell do we know who needs a bride?”
“And who is mature and kind enough to treat a woman who has been through the wringer well,” Josephine added.
The three of them sat back in silence, mulling over the question. Charlie rubbed his chin, studying his babies. They were too young by ages to even thing about marriage, as were his two older children, but he still put himself in the position of the father of a daughter in need of a mate. Which young men in town would he most trust with a tender heart?
One of Mr. Gunn’s waitresses returned with a breakfast tray, laying all manner of delicacies out for them. Children and grown-ups alike dove in. It was easier to think on a full stomach.
“You know who I have wanted to find a good woman and settle down for years,” Virginia began as the last of the cream tarts and bacon was devoured.
“Who?” Charlie dabbed his mouth, then put his napkin down, ready for business.
Virginia hesitated before saying, “My nephew, Franklin.”
A wave of uncertain excitement swept over the table. Franklin Haskell. Yes. He was Howard Haskell’s son, not to mention Howard’s right-hand man on the ranch. Franklin more or less ran things, now that Howard was more interested in building a unique town and helping it to thrive. But all Charlie really knew about Franklin was that he was quiet, serious, and a cripple.
Excited? Ready to read more? His Perfect Bride/Corva: The Perfect Bride releases on Monday, December 28th, right after Christmas, and just in time for you to use the Amazon gift cards that I know you’re going to get! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be notified when they release and for future releases!