This clipping came to the Tattler offices from a contact in the former colonies.
Dear Miss Decorum of the Angel Creek Gazette:
It has come to my attention that a certain group of impoverished debutantes from the war-torn city of Charleston have arrived in Angel Creek, Montana for the sole purpose of getting married. Of getting married, my friends! As in…the very moment they step off the stagecoach!
I’ve yet to verify all the details, but it appears they are responding to an advert in a newspaper that a few gentlemen in our town (who will not be named, at the current time) placed in the hopes of finding themselves wives. Now, I know there aren’t many young ladies in our town of a marriageable age, but my lands! To advertise in a public newspaper in order to find a match seems to exhibit a lack of faith in the good Lord’s ability to provide.
What’s worse, I had to witness (with my own aging eyes) one of these lovely young debutantes dis-embark from the stagecoach just this afternoon. Not only was she dressed in tatters, she was traveling alone without a proper companion or chaperone. Oh dear, where are my smelling salts? Just writing about it is giving me another fit of the vapors.
I did a little investigating and discovered that this young woman is named Miss Elizabeth Byrd. She served as a battlefield nurse during the Great War. Bless her heart! I don’t even want to contemplate the tragic things she’s seen and the horrid places she had to travel while following the drum. However, if she thinks marrying a man (sight unseen) will make her life any easier, well, heavenly days! I wish the gel the best, I truly do.
At any rate, Miss Byrd was escorted to the church by none other than the retired Army Captain David Pemberton. I can only presume they said their vows and are married by now. Captain Pemberton is a bit of an odd fellow, albeit a handsome devil — just arrived into town a year ago, himself, and pretty much sticks to his lonesome. A quiet, brooding man who, rumor has it, was widowed during the war. Now, I wonder how in tarnation the other young fellows wheedled him into going along with such a scandalous lark as sending for a mail-order bride?
I’ll be keeping my ear bent for any new juicy tidbits about this developing story and report back as soon as I know more.
Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous
About the Book
Can the hope and joy of Christmas light the way for two hearts devastated by war?
Elizabeth Byrd receives an invitation to join her friends in Angel Creek, Montana to become a mail-order bride. At first, the young battlefield nurse is scandalized by the idea of agreeing to marry a man she’s never met, but the war has taken everything from her — her brothers, too many friends to count, and her fiancé. There’s nothing left for her in Charleston but more heartache.
Captain David Pemberton retreats to his hunting lodge in Montana the moment the war is over. He’s looking forward to being alone with the memories of his wife who passed in the early days of the fighting. But the men of Angel Creek don’t see fit to leave a widowed soldier alone during Christmas. Insisting four years is long enough to grieve, they dare him to join them on a holiday venture to acquire wives for them all — a dare he accepts in a weak moment.
He receives the shock of his life at who steps off the stagecoach to claim his hand in marriage.
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So this was Angel Creek.
At least I’ll fit in. Elizabeth glanced ruefully down at her workaday brown dress and the scuffed toes of her boots. Perhaps, wearing the castoffs of her former maid, Lucy, wasn’t the most brilliant idea she’d ever come up with. However, it was the only plan she’d been able to conjure up on such short notice. A young woman traveling alone couldn’t be too careful these days.
With a sigh of resignation, Elizabeth reached down to grasp the handles of her two travel bags that the stage driver had unloaded for her. The rest of her belongings would arrive in the coming days. There’d been too many trunks to bring along by stage. In the meantime, she hoped and prayed she was doing the right thing for her loved ones. At worst, her reluctant decision to leave home meant one less mouth for her mama to feed. At best, she might claw her way back to some modicum of social significance and be in the position to help her family in some way. Some day…
Her hopes in that regard plummeted the second she laid eyes on the two men in the wagon rumbling in her direction. It was a rickety vehicle with no overhead covering. It creaked and groaned with each turn of its wheels, a problem that might have easily been solved with a squirt of oil. Then again, the heavily patched trousers of both men indicated they were as poor as church mice. More than likely, they didn’t possess any extra coin for oil.
Of all the rotten luck! She bit her lower lip. I’m about to marry a man as poor as myself. So much for her hopes of improving her lot in life enough to send money home to Mama and the girls!
The driver slowed his team, a pair of red-brown geldings. They were much lovelier than the rattle-trap they were pulling. “Elizabeth Byrd, I presume?” he inquired in a rich baritone that was neither unpleasant nor overly warm and welcoming.
Her insides froze to a block of ice. This time, it wasn’t because of the frigid northern temperatures. She recognized that face, that voice; and with them, came a flood of heart wrenching emotions.
“You!” she exclaimed. Her travel bags slid from her nerveless fingers to the ground once more. A hand flew to her heart.
About the Author
Jo Grafford writes sweet historical and contemporary romance stories — with humor, sass, and happily ever-afters.
A typical day finds her with her laptop balanced on her knees, a fizzy beverage within reach, and a cat snoozing on her knees. He takes credit for most of what she does.
When Jo’s not writing stories, she’s reading them. She adores dashing gentlemen, resilient heroines with a sense of adventure, humorous sidekicks, dusty cowboys, bounty hunters, mail order brides…you get the idea.
She loves to visit with readers in her Cuppa Jo Readers group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CuppaJoReaders/.
To receive a personal email about each book she publishes, join her New Release Email List at JoGrafford.com or follow her on BookBub at https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jo-grafford.
Plus you can read free chapters of many of her books on Wattpad.com/user/JoGrafford.