A mail order bride with no intention of marrying, a young postmaster determined to change her mind.
Adam lifted his head again to see Amy through the window, walking into the back yard. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly and, as the door opened, plastered on what he hoped was a convincing smile.
She returned his smile when she saw him, making his own transform into the real thing.
Her hair was escaping from her braid, rogue strands frizzing around her face, and her clothing was rumpled and covered with muck. But even exhausted, disheveled and dirty she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
“Are you all right?” he said, rising from the settee.
She pushed the door closed behind her and slumped against it. “Apart from feeling like my arms are about to melt away to nothing and wishing that my back would go with them, I’m fine.”
His smile disappeared. “You shouldn’t be working there, it’s not suitable work for a woman. George should never have hired you.”
He knew immediately it was the wrong thing to say.
“Really?” She planted her fists on her hips, defiant and utterly adorable.
He raised both hands in surrender, fighting a smile. “I didn’t mean that how it sounded. You can do anything you want. It’s just... you look so tired. He shouldn’t be working you so hard.”
“It was just harder today because the stalls needed a good scrub. It will be easier in the future because I’ll keep up with it all. I just need time to adjust.” She shuffled to the sink, using the pump to splash water on her face. “George is really very sweet, and at least he didn’t tell me I couldn’t come back. I was worried he would.”
“Sweet?” he said, taken aback. “George Parsons? Are you sure we’re talking about the same man? Owns the livery? Gives the word grumpy a bad name?”
She laughed, turning to face him. “Underneath, he’s lovely. You just have to look deeper.” She wrinkled her nose. “What’s that smell?”
“Um...” He’d noticed the odor as soon as she walked in, but he didn’t want to tell her what it was.
She grimaced, looking down at herself. “It’s me, isn’t it?”
He pushed his hands into his pockets and concentrated on not laughing. “Mm hmm.”
“I’m going to need to wash...” she waved her hands at herself “...everything. Maybe I should just go and jump in the creek.”
“I’ll tell you what, we’ll draw the curtains to give you some privacy and I’ll take your clothes and shoes outside and wash them while you get yourself clean at the sink in here. Then I’ll start supper while you get dressed and rest. How does that sound?”
She gave him a dreamy smile. “Like you’re the most wonderful man in the world.”
Adam’s heart thumped in his chest. If she hadn’t smelled so strongly of horse manure the urge to wrap his arms around her would have been irresistible.
** steam rating (2 out of 5)
The last thing Amy wants is a husband, but her only hope of escape from a dangerous situation is to answer postmaster Adam Emerson's advertisement for a bride. When her desperate plan to trick Adam into paying her way across the country goes awry, her guilty conscience compels her to stay in the small Californian town of Green Hill Creek to find a way to repay him the cost of the train fare before she moves on. The trouble is, she’s completely unprepared for the effect of his kindness, charm, wit, and ridiculously blue eyes. As her dream of a new life in San Francisco begins to falter and her past catches up with her, can Amy hold onto the one thing she never thought she’d want but now can’t bear to lose?
About the author:
Nerys Leigh writes thoroughly romantic Christian historical love stories. She loves heroes who are strong but sweet and heroines who are willing to fight for the life they want. She’s from the UK, which you would think puts her in a unique position to not write about mail order brides in the American west, but the old adage of writing what you know has never appealed to her. She has an actual American read each book before publishing to make sure she hasn’t gone all English on it. No One’s Bride is the first in the Escape to the West series which tells the stories of a group of women willing to travel across America to find happiness, and the men determined to win their hearts.
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