It’s Wednesday! Are you feeling naughty or nice? Lucky for you, with this next series of mine, you can pick. I’ll be releasing both a spicy version – His Perfect Bride – and a sweet version – Corva: The Perfect Bride – so you won’t have to worry about reading too much of the bedroom stuff…or not enough. Either way, there’s trouble brewing for Franklin and Corva almost right from the start. Take a look! Both books release on December 28th….
His explanation was cut off by a high-pitched, female shout. Corva had to search for a second before she spotted a short woman in a flouncy purple dress with honey-brown hair waving her arms at him. The woman had jumped up from a circle of three other young women, all of whom bore a distinct resemblance. The woman who had called out hopped down from one of the higher benches and charged across the field. The only hint Corva had of Franklin’s feelings about the woman was a quick, heavy sigh.
“Franklin, what a treat to see you in town today. I wish you had told me you were coming in. I would have invited you to come watch the boys practice with us. We’re having such a jolly time.” The flouncy woman finally puffed to a stop when she was mere feet from Franklin.
“Vivian.” Franklin managed a tense pinch of his mouth, which may have been an attempt at a smile.
“You’re looking dashing today,” Vivian went on. “Is that a new suit? It looks expensive. Did it come in on the train just now? I simply love it when you or your family send away for fancy things that come in on the train.”
A hitch formed in Corva’s chest, not of jealousy—which part of her thought she should be feeling, considering how beautiful and fine the woman in front of her was—but of embarrassment for the woman’s sake. She was well aware that men came west looking for gold, but apparently women did too.
“This isn’t a new suit,” Franklin said. He cleared his throat. “I did meet the train, however. I came to town to greet Corva when she arrived.” He glanced to Corva.
Only then did Vivian blink and glance to Corva, noticing her existence. “Who’s she?”
Franklin took his time answering. “Vivian, I’d like you to meet Miss Corva Collier.” He stopped, nodded to himself, then said, “I mean, Mrs. Corva Haskell.”
A warm flush filled Corva’s body. That was her name now, wasn’t it? Not just in her imagination. “How do you do?” She held out a hand to Vivian.
Vivian stared at her, then at Franklin. Ever so slowly, her lip curled. “Mrs. What?”
Franklin blew out a breath. Corva had the impression that if he wasn’t holding her arm with one of his and his cane in his other hand, he would have rubbed his face, possibly to hide.
“Corva and I have just been married,” he said, offering no other explanation.
Vivian’s transformation was quick and alarming. Her pretty smile evaporated into a sour grimace, which morphed into a bitter pout. “But Franklin,” she choked. “I wanted to marry you.”
The comment was so bold and had so much insistence behind it that Corva’s brow shot up and her heart pounded against her ribs. Clearly, Vivian was a force to be reckoned with. Corva wanted to let Franklin’s arm go and step away, possibly even running back to the train station, although the train had moved on.
“Vivian, you know what I’ve said about that in the past.” Franklin kept his voice low and his eyes fixed on Vivian, almost as if he was scolding her.
“You said you would never marry anyone, that no one deserved a cripple for a husband,” Vivian pouted.
Corva snuck a sideways glance to Franklin, who looked a little like a moth that had been skewered with a pin in a case. The same feeling of heartache that she’d felt the moment she saw him returned.
Vivian turned her vicious stare on Corva and went on with her outburst. “I see now that you lied.” Her chin and nose shot up. “I had no idea you were such a liar, Franklin Haskell. Papa will be furious.”
“I’m sorry if you had the wrong idea about things.” Franklin did his best to placate her. “I thought I had made my intentions clear from the first.”
Vivian sniffed. “You didn’t know what you were talking about. You were supposed to come around…eventually.”
“You know that wasn’t—” He stopped, pressing his lips together and squeezing his eyes shut.
It dawned on Corva that her new husband was a patient man. That thought made her smile, in spite of the confrontation they were mired in.
At last, Franklin took a breath, hugging his arm, and with it, Corva’s hand, closer to his body. “I’m sorry if you are disappointed, Vivian, but with so many single men in these parts, I’m sure you’ll find a husband in no time.”
Stay tuned for more! And if you’d like a reminder when His Perfect Bride and Corva: The Perfect Bride come out on December 28th, please sign up for my newsletter!