Tag Archives: Kirsten Osbourne

Release Day! – Mistletoe and Moonbeams

Nov 01, 2016

It’s here! The Wild Western Women, Mistletoe Montana box set is here today! It’s available at Amazon and for Kindle Unlimited for the first 90 days, then will be available wherever eBooks are sold. Come to Mistletoe Montana to fall in love with these four connected stories, and to get in the Christmas spirit! And it’s only 99 cents!

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Stories include:

Mistletoe Mistake, by Caroline Clemmons – When he sent for a doctor, he didn’t expect a woman!

Mistletoe Scandal, by Sylvia McDaniel – A city girl, a cowboy, and a dog trapped together in a blizzard discover Christmas wishes can come true.

Mail-Order Merry, by Kirsten Osbourne – He wanted an independent wife, but he wasn’t so sure he wanted her to come with two young children and a nurse!

And, of course, Mistletoe and Moonbeams, by yours truly, Merry Farmer. Here’s a taste of Chapter One to get you started!

 

Mistletoe, Montana – 1890

Randall Sinclair heaved a heavy sigh and climbed out of the crowded stagecoach within seconds of it stopping in Mistletoe, Montana. The other passengers grunted and shifted behind him, as irritated and weary as he was. He should have taken the train, but they’d all stopped running after rumors of snow further down the line.

“Shut the dang door,” one of the stagecoach passengers growled. “It’s cold out there.”

It certainly was that. For miles, days, the only thing the stagecoach passengers had been able to see out the windows was snow and ice. It was a wonder the coach and its team could get through the winter wonderland at all. Randall wasn’t that familiar with Montana, but in the last few weeks while he’d been traveling from town to town, he’d never seen so much snow.

“Here’s your trunk,” the stagecoach driver called down from the top of the coach, unfastening Randall’s huge brush trunk from the rest of the baggage. The driver wore a long, thick, wool coat with a fur-lined hat pulled down over his head and a muffler wound tight around his neck. He grunted as he handed the trunk to Randall. “That thing’s heavy. What have you got in there?”

Randall answered with a wry laugh, setting his trunk on the packed snow of the street. “The weight of the world.”

It was hard to tell through the layers of wool protecting the driver from the cold, but Randall thought he got a strange look for his comment. A second later, the driver shook his head and climbed back into his seat.

“Aren’t you going to stop for a while and take in the sights of Mistletoe?” he asked, confused. They’d at least stopped long enough for the passengers to get out and stretch their legs at every small town before this.

The driver made a low, warning sound, then said, “Nope. Not with the talk of measles in town, and not with those clouds on the horizon looking the way they do.”

Randall raised a hand to shield his eyes from the glare of light on the snow and looked toward the western horizon. He squinted. What he’d thought were mountains now looked more like cold, worrisome clouds. There was a definite bite in the air, and the wind nipped at his exposed cheeks and ears.

The driver snapped the reins over the backs of his horses. With a, “Yee-ah!” the stagecoach lurched and rolled on. Randall figured he’d better move on too, if he knew what was good for himself.

He thrust his gloved hands under his arms and glanced down at his trunk. The words “Mendel’s Marvelous Brushes” were stenciled on the side. They’d been crisp and dark when he’d started out from Chicago two months ago, but they were battered and worn now. A little like him. But no matter how monotonous the traveling had become, no matter how many plaintive telegrams he sent back to his enterprising, demanding father, he couldn’t stop.

Stomping his feet to coax blood back into them and to disperse the ever-present, gnawing frustration in his gut, Randall grabbed his trunk by the handle and hefted it high enough to walk. Not that he knew where he was going. The tiny town of Mistletoe seemed overly quiet, even for all the snow. Several businesses lined the road where the stagecoach had dropped him off, and several houses beyond that. Something that might have been a hotel rested down the way. There was even a church at one end of town. A few wrapped-up people scurried from one building to another, but none of them seemed in a social mood.

“Perfect,” he muttered under his breath. “Just what every traveling salesman wants to see.”

He slogged his way to one side of the street, spirits as low as they’d been in ages. A part of him wanted to just sit down in the snow and give up. This wasn’t the life he’d imagined having, it was the life his father imagined. No, it wasn’t even that. His father imagined him being a successful and powerful business magnate, like him. Randall imagined a simple life with a simple wife and a small business. He didn’t need to be grand, just happy.

At the moment, the only way to happiness was by keeping his father happy, so Randall squared his shoulders, put on a smile of false cheer, and headed for the closest business, a barber’s shop. His frustrated sense of duty was eased by a hair at the sight of a pretty Christmas swag of pine, tied with red ribbon and hanging on the shop’s door.

“Excuse me,” he announced as he walked into the business. A weary-looking man who must have been the barber sat in the barber’s chair, reading a yellowed newspaper. “My name is Randall Sinclair, and I come to you today from the Mendel’s Marvelous Brushes company.”

“Huh?” The barber frowned.

It didn’t bode well, but if there was one thing Randall’s indomitable dad had always told him, it was that only the weak took no for an answer.

“Mendel’s Marvelous Brushes manufactures every sort of brush a savvy businessman like you could want,” he went on, setting his trunk down and preparing to open it to display his wares. “Why, not only do I have shaving brushes and dust-brushes, I have a whole variety of—”

“No!” The barber leapt up out of his chair, shoving the newspaper aside. “No, no, no! I don’t want none of your fancy, overpriced brushes. I buy everything I need from the mercantile, just like any other person in this town. So you just stop right there and git!”

Randall sighed, re-buckling the straps of his trunk. “Oh. Um, all right, sir. Thank you for your time.” So much for not taking no for an answer. But if he was honest with himself, he hated confrontation, and he hated pushing brushes on people who didn’t want or need them. He lifted his trunk and headed back out into the frosty, Montana afternoon. The clouds had drawn closer.

He looked around, searching for any business that might need brushes. Farther down the street was a building that looked like a bathhouse, though it didn’t seem to be doing much business at the moment. He cleared his throat, stood taller, and headed down that way.

“Good day to you, sir,” he announced himself as soon as he walked into the bathhouse to find a stocky man at work scrubbing out a large tub. Perfect. “My name is Randall Sinclair, and I come to you today from the Mendel’s Marvelous Brushes company. We provide a wide range of brushes designed to—”

“No offense, sir, but can’t you see I’m busy?” the man said, turning to Randall with drooping shoulders and tired eyes.

“Well, yes.” Randall hesitated. He could hear his father’s voice in his head, pushing him on…relentlessly. “I think I can help. Mendel’s Marvelous Brushes carries every sort of scrub brush and bath brush that a business like yours could need. If you’d allow me to demonstrate…” He bent to open his trunk.

“If it’s all the same,” the bathhouse owner stopped him with a sigh, “I’d rather not. It’s been a heck of a month here in Mistletoe, and I can’t spare a second to listen to salesmen.”

“It’s…it’s not a long presentation.” At least it wasn’t if Randall did the short version.

The bathhouse owner shook his head. “No can do. I’m up to my elbows in work, what with the measles and all.”

“Measles?” The driver had said something about that.

“Sorry.”

Whether the bathhouse owner meant to be dismissive or not, Randall took the hint. Working hard not to be discouraged, he took up his trunk once more and headed out into the bitterness. The sun was gone entirely. Once more, he searched the town’s main street for any signs of life, any sign of someone who needed a brush. His gaze settled on a newspaper office across the street and down a ways. Figuring he couldn’t do any worse than he had already, he headed over, slipping on snow and ice as he went.

“Good afternoon, sir. My name is Randall Sinclair, and I come to you today from the Mendel’s Marvelous Brushes company,” he said, voice dripping with weariness as he stepped into the small office.

The man at work over the printing press glanced up. “Brushes?”

“Yes.” Smiling had never been so hard. “Mendel’s Marvelous Brushes has every kind of brush you would need to keep your office neat, tidy and in order.” He stopped at the end of his sentence, at a loss for what else to say.

The newspaper man blinked at him. A sympathetic grin pulled at the corners of his mouth. “My friend, you know there’s a measles epidemic raging through town right now, don’t you?”

“I heard something about that, yes.”

“And the weather has been awful.”

Randall glanced over his shoulder out the window. He needed to stay positive, he needed to make the sale. … Or was that his father talking. “It should make for a beautiful Christmas.”

The newspaper man chuckled lightly. “Yes, it should. But it makes for a mighty pitiful market for a traveling salesman in the meantime.” He stepped away from his press and approached Randall. “I’m sorry that I don’t need any brushes. I’m even more sorry that you probably won’t find a single taker in town right now. At least not until the epidemic is over.”

Randall sighed and returned the man’s kindness with as much of his own as he could muster. “Thanks anyhow.” He nodded, then picked up his trunk one more time and headed back out into the cold.

Well, that was it. He was stranded in a frosty town with a measles epidemic, no clue when the next stage would come by, fairly certain the trains wouldn’t stop at all. Not if the ever-increasing clouds were any indication. No one was in the mood to buy brushes. By his father’s standards, he was a complete failure. By his own standards, he was due for a change. He rubbed his gloved hands over his face, warming up his red nose. He needed something else to warm him up, and fast. The only thing he could see that would help with that was the saloon across the way.

“Well, at least I’ll be able to forget my troubles for a while,” he said aloud. And now he was talking to himself.

He picked up his trunk and headed on to the saloon. Something in his life had to change, and soon.

 

Come find out what Randall discovers at the saloon, how he and Miranda weather the blizzard, and celebrate Christmas in Mistletoe Montana. Only 99 cents for four stories from four bestselling authors!

Weekend Excerpt – Mistletoe and Moonbeams

Oct 29, 2016

So we’ve been keeping very hush-hush about this project, but the Wild Western Women are at it again! We’re bringing you a Christmas box set, but not just any box set. All four of the stories by me, Caroline Clemmons, Sylvia McDaniels, and Kirsten Osbourne are set in the same town of Mistletoe, Montana, and they’re all connected! The box set comes out on Tuesday! November 1st, that is. Here’s a sneak peek of my contribution, Mistletoe and Moonbeams….

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If she hadn’t had the bar to lean against, Miranda suspected she would have been knocked clear to the ground with the force of Randall Sinclair’s smile. It brought about such a transformation on his handsome, weary face that she caught herself smiling too. It took half a second for her to determine that there was no one else like this man in all of Mistletoe, maybe in all of Montana, although she couldn’t put her finger on whether it was his tailored coat, his high cheekbones and straight nose, or just the air he had about him.

Outside, the flurries were changing over to steadier snow, and it was the smack of the door flapping against the wall as another gust came through that startled the smile off of Mr. Sinclair’s face.

“I’m so sorry.” He rushed to put his trunk down and spun around to shut the door.

“Hold on a second there, sweetheart.” Starla pushed away from the bar with a knowing, teasing grin for Miranda. “I was just about to leave.” Before she did, she leaned closer to Miranda and said, “Just you remember what I said about loosening up and letting miracles happen.”

“He’s a man, not a miracle,” Miranda whispered in return.

Starla laughed. “Honey, in my experience, every man is some kind of miracle.” She ended her statement with a saucy wink and sashayed toward the door.

Mr. Sinclair was still in the entryway, and as Starla reached him, taking a light grey, wool coat from the row of hooks by the door and shrugging into it, he held the door for her with a slightly baffled, “Pleased to meet you, ma’am.”

Starla sent a glance in Miranda’s direction, chuckled, and patted Mr. Sinclair’s slightly shadowed cheek as she marched out into the snow.

Mr. Sinclair watched her go, shook his head and shrugged, then closed the door behind her. When that was done, he put his smile back on and strode a few steps deeper into the room. “Like I said,” he began again, “my name is Randall Sinclair, and I come to you today from the…”

His smile vanished once more. His hands dropped to his sides as he looked around the big, empty saloon.

“Oh. You’re closed, aren’t you?”

“In fact, we are.” A hot flush filled Miranda’s face. She tried to shake it away. Why did she feel guilty for stating the obvious to this man?

“My apologies.” Mr. Sinclair sidestepped to his trunk. “I should have known, what with the storm that looks like it’s blowing in. I won’t bother you.”

“It’s all right.” Miranda jumped out from around the bar, throwing down the rag she’d been clutching and wiping her hands on her skirt. “I was closing up early, but I don’t need to. Especially since you look like you could stand to sit down for a minute.” She blinked at the pun in her words, then giggled as her heart thumped hard against her ribs.

Mr. Sinclair looked confused for a moment, then laughed himself, cheeks a merry shade of red. “I get it. Stand to sit. You’re clever.”

A blossom of pleasure filled Miranda’s chest. Although she shouldn’t be so giddy about being called clever when Vicky was called beautiful every twelve minutes.

She shook that thought aside and moved a few steps closer to Mr. Sinclair, more like a hostess at a garden party than a saloonkeeper. “Why don’t you have a seat at one of these tables by the fire? I just added more wood not ten minutes ago, so it should warm you well.”

“That’s mighty generous of you, Miss…?”

“Clarke. Miranda Clarke. How do you do?” She crossed to meet him in the center of the saloon, hand outstretched.

Mr. Sinclair took her offered hand and not only shook it, he bowed over it. Miranda’s brow flew up. Obviously Mr. Sinclair was used to some degree of society. That wasn’t something she’d seen every day in the rugged little town of Mistletoe.

“Miss Clarke,” Mr. Sinclair said, letting her hand go. His smile grew, and a sort of manly mischief filled his eyes. “Say, with a name like Miranda, you don’t happen to have the nickname ‘Randi,’ do you?”

Miranda’s cheeks flushed hotter and her back went stiff. “Only at times when people wish to be nasty to me.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Mr. Sinclair blushed harder, his mischief switching to embarrassment near panic. “It’s just that my closest friends call me Randy too, although with a “y” as opposed to an “i,” which I imagine is the female equivalent of the nickname. I thought it was quaint, is all. Randy and Randi.”

“Oh!” Miranda clapped a hand to her mouth. Not only did a burst of awkwardness threaten to knock her over, but she had suddenly never wanted to be called “Randi” so much in her life. She managed to swallow, pull herself together, and say, “That is an amusing coincidence, isn’t it?”

“It must be fate.” The smile came back to Mr. Sinclair’s eyes. “Of all the saloons in all the towns in Montana, I happened to step into yours for a bit of refreshment after a long, wearying day.”

 

Are you ready for Tuesday??? =D

Weekend Excerpt – Teacher’s Troublemaker

Apr 03, 2016

It’s almost here! I hope you’ve been keeping up with the Culpepper Cowboys series that Kirsten Osbourne and I have been writing! Kirsten kicked it off with Wyoming Wedding, I continued it with Rancher’s Remorse, and on Friday, Kirsten continued it with Cowboy’s Conundrum. Well, coming this Friday is book 4, Teacher’s Troublemaker. And if you’ve learned anything about Chastity Quinlan so far, it’s that she’s definitely a troublemaker. For those who haven’t already started reading the excerpt in the back of Cowboy’s Conundrum, here’s what I mean…

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Chastity Quinlan was a virgin. Still.

“Ugh,” she snorted as she sat at one end of a comfy couch in Linda Culpepper’s living room, knitting needles clicking away. “I once heard this phrase while watching a British movie: gagging for a shag.” Her needles paused and she whipped to face Joy, who sat at the other end of the couch, poring through a catalog of supplies for her Barbie furniture venture. “Joy. I’m gagging for a shag. Totally gagging for it.”

“Eew. That’s gross.” Faith wrinkled her nose from where she sat across the room, snuggled in Cooper’s big, hot, masculine embrace as they watched TV.

Chastity stuck her tongue out at her sister. “Easy for you to say. You’re getting it several times a day, if what I hear is right.”

Faith tensed, her eyes going round with a ‘You heard that?’ sort of look.

“What?” Cooper blinked away from the baseball game that had him so transfixed, looking around as if he’s missed something.

Ha! Cooper wasn’t missing anything. Neither were Karlan or Kolby, Hope and Joy’s husbands, if everything that normally went on in a marriage was going on with them. They too were absorbed in the baseball game, yapping on about stats and players and stuff that Chastity didn’t give a fig about.

She scowled and focused on her knitting, needles flying as she knit a thin tube that would be a baby sock for one of Faith’s dolls. It wasn’t that she resented her sisters for their ability to get laid at a moment’s notice if they so chose. She wasn’t even mad at Chris, the youngest Culpepper brother, who she’d been flirting with for the past two weeks—like a homecoming queen with the captain of the football team at prom. She and Chris had an understanding, and they needed to get married to fulfill the terms of the Culpepper will. But she was so horny, what with all the sexual tension from her three newly-married sisters in the room, that she was going to need to sit on a towel if she wasn’t careful.

“Where is Chris anyhow?” Linda asked as she walked into the room with a platter of sandwiches. The moment she put them on the table, baseball became the second most important thing in the room as Karlan, Cooper, and Kolby leapt from their chairs to load up on lunch.

“You want turkey or roast beef, sweetie?” Cooper asked Faith over his shoulder.

Faith was more interested in staring at Cooper’s assets as he bent over the plate than answering. She finally managed, “Hmm? What? Huh? Oh, turkey.”

Cooper noticed where her eyes had landed. He grinned. He winked. He wiggled his backside. Then he popped a turkey sandwich on a plate for her, carried it back to the chair, squeezed into it with her, and planted a big, wet one on her mouth.

“Gah.” Chastity squirmed in her seat, pouring all her energy into knitting. She’d read her fair share of sexy romance novels. Maybe more than her fair share. She couldn’t help but visualize gigantic, hard-bodied males slipping and sliding on top of—and under, and beside, and around—soft, nubile, female ones. As long as she fuzzed out the faces so that she wasn’t gawping at her sisters and brothers-in-law in her sexed-up imagination, she’d be good. But, dangit, if she didn’t get a little of that deep-tongue, hard-body action from Chris soon, she might go insane.

“Good Lord, Chastity, what on earth are you making?”

Linda’s snappy question and the laugh that followed yanked Chastity out of her thoughts. She glanced down at the baby sock.

Only, it didn’t look much like a baby sock anymore. It’s started out that way, but after rows and rows of frantic, heated, energy-expending knitting, what she had in her hands was an eight-inch tube with a rounded end, flopping down from her fisted hands.

“Oh my gosh, Chastity, did you just knit a penis?” Hope laughed as she picked up a roast beef sandwich from the plate on the coffee table.

Chastity’s mouth dropped open. “Holy crap! I’ve just had the best idea ever.”

“Good grief,” Joy muttered, sending Kolby a knowing look as he handed her a plate with a sandwich. “Don’t tell me it’s a penis idea.”

“Johnson jammies!” Chastity held up her knitted tube. “Perfect for keeping the little guy warm and cozy on a cold winter’s night.”

Her announcement was met by uncomfortable silence and awkward glances from the guys. Faith winced, Hope choked and looked away, and Joy just shook her head.

“Uh, I don’t think keeping it warm is a problem,” Karlan muttered.

“Yeah,” Kolby added slowly. “And you might want to make an opening at the end in case of, uh, nighttime emergencies.”

Cooper snorted and choked around a bite of sandwich.

“Easy to do.” Chastity turned her knitting around, studying it from different angles. “Very easy to do.”

To do. As in doing. As in being done.

Damn, she wanted Chris to do her bad right then.

“Where is Chris anyhow?” she burst out.

“I’m in here.” Chris’s muffled voice came from the laundry room at the end of the hall.

Thank the good Lord above!

 

Just a few more days, and Teacher’s Troublemaker will be here! Kirsten and I have been having a blast with this series, and we know we’re going to continue it for at least four more books. However, instead of releasing them every other week, starting with book five, Baker’s Bargain, they’ll be out every three weeks. But this means we’ll be able to bring you books in other series you love, like The Brides of Paradise Ranch. His Tempting Bride/Miriam: The Tempting Bride should be out around April 25th!

Weekend Excerpt – Rancher’s Remorse

Mar 26, 2016

So if you haven’t heard the news already, my latest release, Rancher’s Remorse, is here! I’m so excited about this fun, fun project! Kirsten Osbourne and I are writing this contemporary romantic comedy series, The Culpepper Cowboys, together. She kicked things off with the first book, Wyoming Wedding, last week, and yesterday, book two, Rancher’s Remorse hit shelves. The books are exclusively at Amazon for now, but will be available elsewhere in a few months! Ready to get started? Here’s a big from Chapter One…

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Faith Quinlan sat back in the overstuffed sofa in Linda Culpepper’s house, wedged between her sisters, Hope and Joy, heart quivering with fear. It wasn’t the sudden move from Kentucky to Wyoming that bothered her. It wasn’t even the unusual reason she and her sisters had come. The Culpepper boys were handsome, and seemed sweet and well-mannered. All four of them had joined the sisters for a quick bite to eat at their mother Linda’s house shortly after the girls arrived, and had been on their best behavior. They knew how to treat a woman—probably because Linda raised them well. Faith was on board with the idea of marrying one of them to help fulfill the terms of the Culpepper grandfather’s will, as the contract she’d signed with Dr. Lachele dictated. That wasn’t what had her muscles tight with anxiety and her heart thumping away in her throat.

No, what gnawed at Faith and kept her silent as the rest of her sisters chatted happily with Linda and her sons was the fact that Faith had secrets. Not just one, several. Secrets that she hadn’t mentioned to Dr. Lachele during the interview that led to her promise to marry one of the Culpepper brothers. Secrets that not even her parents knew about. Secrets that would probably be deal-breakers if the Culpeppers ever found out about them.

Faith was terrible about secrets. They made her palms sweat and her heart race. She sat there on the sofa, hands clasped in front of her, wishing she could disappear into the plush.

“Faith, are you sure you’re all right?” Linda asked through the volley of conversations buzzing in the living room. “Can I get you some sweet tea?”

Faith opened her mouth to say she was fine, but her dry throat couldn’t manage anything more than a raspy squeak. She swallowed, cleared her throat, then said, “Yes, ma’am. Sweet tea would be lovely.”

Linda stood, smiling. She headed into the kitchen, returning less than thirty seconds later with a tall glass of tea. Faith gulped it down. Her throat and taste buds thanked her, but her heart still twisted in her chest. The twisting grew worse when she realized she was being watched.

Across the living room, Cooper Culpepper sat with his back straight in one of the room’s recliners. His thick, brown hair was cut short, and a day’s growth of beard covered his strong jaw. He had kind eyes—eyes that watched her even though she wasn’t taking part in the flurry of conversation.

“So you have six horses?” Joy asked at Faith’s side.

“Eight,” Cooper corrected her, though his eyes stayed focused on Faith. “We occasionally board horses for folks who need it too.”

“And once or twice we’ve hosted a rescue horse,” Chris, the youngest Culpepper, added.

“Not that you’d know much about that,” Kolby said, then elbowed Chris in the ribs.

Chris frowned. In the chair next to him, Chastity bit her lip. Being the youngest, Chastity had set her sights on Chris right from the start. She liked things to line up in order, just like the rows of her knitting. By those rules, Hope, who was the oldest by three minutes, should end up with Karlan—which it looked likely, if what Karlan had announced earlier about he and Hope marrying that day actually happened—and Cooper, the second youngest, would be Faith’s.

Cooper Culpepper. He was a hunk and a half. A total dream.

He would kick her to the curb so fast if he knew the kinds of secrets she was keeping.

“Do you want to take a walk out to the stables?” Cooper’s question was meant exclusively for Faith, in spite of the fact that Joy had been the one to ask him about the horses.

“That sounds like a great idea,” Joy answered, nudging Faith. “You two head down to the stables. Meanwhile, Kolby, I’d love to see your house.”

“And I’d love to show it to you.” Kolby stood with a grin as wide as the Wyoming sky and stepped over to the sofa to give Joy a hand up.

The rest of the boys stood as well. All of them were tall with broad shoulders and larger-than-life personalities, and in an instant it felt as though Linda’s cozy living room was too small and tight. Or maybe that was just the weight of Faith’s guilt pressing down on her. As Hope got up on her other side, Faith took another long drink of her tea to hide her hesitation.

She couldn’t really go through with this, could she? Wasn’t it, like, false advertising or something to agree to the deal that Dr. Lachele had presented them when she knew full well she couldn’t live up to her end of the bargain? The Culpepper boys needed one of their wives to be pregnant within a year in order for them to inherit the ranch. Dr. Lachele had been specific about those expectations. Faith had said in writing that she was willing to have a baby right away.

Well, that much wasn’t a lie. She was more than willing. The problem was that she wasn’t able.

“If you’re finished with that, I can take it.” Cooper’s deep, serious voice snapped her out of her miserable thoughts. Faith glanced up slowly, as if he was the principal and she’d been sent to his office as punishment for being naughty. Heck, looking up at his broad chest, kissable lips, and beautiful, dark eyes, she wanted to do something naughty. Much good though it would do her.

“I can take it.” Linda swooped in and took Faith’s glass with a wink. “You two go for a walk.” With a happy sigh she added, “It does my heart good to see my boys with such sweet, honest girls.”

She could have kicked Faith in the gut and it wouldn’t have hurt so much. But it would do no good to keep dwelling on it when there was so much more at stake than her own happiness. Part of the Culpepper will stated that all four of the boys needed to be married within six months. Her sisters were overjoyed to finally get away from Kentucky and their reputation as the Quinlan Quads, and to start independent lives. She was a vital piece in that puzzle, in everyone’s happiness.

Forcing a smile, Faith took Cooper’s offered hand—it was a big, warm hand that encompassed hers, as if he would shelter and protect her forever—and stood.

“Thanks. Sorry if I’m a little out of it. I think it must be jetlag.” It was a lame excuse, but Cooper didn’t seem to mind.

“I hate traveling myself.” He kept Faith’s hand in his as he escorted her through the living room and out to the back porch. “I have to go for business now and then—to farm shows and the like. I’d just as soon stay home and keep the ranch running. Especially with this nonsense Travis is throwing at us.”

Faith knew only the bare minimum about the Culpepper cousin, Travis, who was twisting the brothers’ arms to get them to buy out his portion of the ranch, so she settled for saying, “That’s very responsible of you.” Her smile softened to something genuine. She liked a man who took his responsibilities seriously. Men like that were steady, dependable.

At the far end of the back porch, Chris and Chastity broke into twin giggles over something or another. Faith’s shoulders loosened a little more. Knowing Chastity, they were probably snickering over some off-color joke. Chastity was the wild one of their bunch—totally boy crazy—but somehow she’d managed to stay out of trouble. Faith admired the easy way her sister approached life.

“You seem a little distracted,” Cooper observed as they stepped down from the porch and headed across the tidy back lawn toward the stable. “I mean, beyond just jetlag.”

Did he know? Had he figured something out just by looking at her? No, you couldn’t tell what someone’s reproductive capabilities were just by looking at them. But maybe he could sense the other things, guess her other secret? Was her shirt too expensive? Did he know how much she’d paid for her boots?

Pull it together, Faith. Deep breaths. She shook her head, laughing as carefully as she could. “Moving halfway across the country to commit to marrying someone, sight unseen, is a bit distracting.”

Cooper grinned. “Yeah, I’m surprised Dr. Lachele found anyone foolish…I mean, brave enough to marry the four of us.” He winked.

Faith smiled. Cooper was easy to talk to, she’d give him that much. Heck, she’d give him much more.

“Trust me, marrying you is so much better than the alternative.” Heat infused her face as she realized what she’d said. “I mean…Oh, shucks. I didn’t mean it like that.”

Forget her secrets. If she kept on like this, Cooper wouldn’t want to marry her because she was a total ninny.

 

Zip on over to Amazon to keep reading!

Wild Western Women are Coming!

Oct 31, 2014

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Pre-order your copy of Wild Western Women now on Amazon and iBooks!
Add it to your Goodreads WANT TO READ list!

The Wild Western Women Box Set launches tomorrow! To celebrate, I’m bringing you an excerpt from Kristen Osbourne’s Mail Order Misunderstanding, one of the stories in the collection. Enjoy!

When the stage pulled up, he knew immediately the woman coming down was his own sweet Anna. She’d warned him that she was incredibly shy, and she wasn’t certain, once she arrived, if she’d be able to go through with it. He’d decided his plan of action, and every time she seemed to be trying to talk him out of marrying her, he’d just kiss her. It would work beautifully.

WildWesternWomenBoxSet_NewHe caught her eye and walked across the street toward her, so happy to see her in Wiggieville at last. She was a true beauty with her red hair swept atop her head, with a few tendrils falling down out of the knot she had them arranged in. He couldn’t see her eye color from the distance he was at, but he didn’t think he needed to. He knew he’d never seen a woman who was more attractive to him than the one standing beside the stage.

A tall, handsome man stepped walked across the street toward her, his eyes filled with excitement. He was dark with hair that was almost black and the brownest eyes she’d ever seen. When he reached her, he gave her a very familiar look that startled her. “Are you Miss Simmons?” he asked.

She nodded, holding her hand out to shake his. When he took her hand, he gently pulled her toward him, leaning down to press his lips against hers. She was startled and put her hand to her lips as soon as he pulled back. She knew Texas wasn’t as formal as New York, but she’d never expected to be greeted with a kiss, especially not in the middle of the street. What if one of her pupils saw her?

She stepped back, out of his reach, and smiled nervously. “Will you take me to where I’ll be staying please?” She decided not to mention the kiss and give him the dressing down he deserved. He was a school board member after all, and as such he needed to be treated with respect, whether he deserved it or not.

He shrugged. “I’d be happy to. We just need to make one stop first, and then we’ll be able to head out to the ranch.” That stop would, of course, be to the local pastor’s house. He just wasn’t about to admit it and make her more skittish than she already seemed to be.
Julia frowned. The way she’d understood it, she’d be staying close to the schoolhouse, which would be much better for her, but she could walk if she needed to. “All right.” She had no idea what kind of errand he was going to have to run, but she was happy to tag along as long as it didn’t take too long. She was excited to go see the schoolhouse and make sure everything was in order. Teaching had been a lifelong dream, and she was finally almost there.

He took her bags from her and held them in one hand, his hand taking hers and pulling her down the street with the other. He seemed to be a man of few words, but that was all right with Julia. She wasn’t here to become friendly with the man, just to stay with his family during her year of teaching at the local school. If she liked it, maybe she would even sign another contract and come back the following year.

He stopped to put her belongings into an old farm wagon before pulling her along to a house that was just down the street. He went to the door and knocked loudly, smiling down at her, his grin very impish.

“Where exactly are we?” she asked softly. She didn’t want to argue with the man, but something felt wrong about the whole situation. Why was he taking her to someone’s house?

Thomas chuckled and leaned down and kissed her again, without answering her. He couldn’t believe his sweet bride kept asking him where they were. Had she forgotten she’d traveled all the way from Beckham, Massachusetts to marry him?

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From USA Today Best Selling Author Kirsten Osbourne: Mail Order Misunderstanding

Julia traveled West to be a schoolteacher. Thomas requested a mail order bride. When he arrives at the train station to pick up his bride, Thomas mistakenly thinks Julia is there for him. Julia sees Thomas and thinks he’s there from the school board. She’s married an hour later.

{ Find Kirsten on her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. }

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