Admittedly, my imagination sometimes runs away with me.
When an idea for a story starts bopping around in my head like popcorn kernels in a hot pan, the "what ifs" race off in any number of directions.
As I contemplated the possibilities and ideas for my upcoming release, I knew the story would center around a mail-order bride.
But what if the mail-order bride arrived expecting to wed one man, and quickly found herself married to another.
I tried to imagine what it would be like to be that bride, traveling hundreds of miles, knowing a little (or at least thinking she knew a little) about the man she was to wed because of the letters they'd exchanged.
What would happen if she arrived and everyone she met told her what a horrible idea it was to marry her intended, if he ever actually bothered to show up in town?
And what if her intended finally did show up and she quickly realized she'd rather do just about anything than marry him... including marrying a complete stranger who just happened to come to her rescue?
See, these are the sort of questions that pop around in my head.
Of course, I couldn't help but wonder what sort of man would step in and marry a woman he knew nothing about just to keep her from having to wed a horrible man.
Obviously, the kind of hero we all love reading about.
How does an act of kindness result in… marriage?
One carefree cowboy is about to find out!
Born dirt-poor into a life of hardship, Allie Tillman seizes the opportunity to better her situation by answering an advertisement for a mail-order bride in the West. Upon her arrival in Baker City, Oregon, she discovers her intended is a low-down, lying thief. Determined not to marry him, she grasps at the one thing that will keep him from forcing her to be his wife — marrying another man.
Good-natured cowboy Ben Amick had no idea a simple trip into town would completely change his life. When he happens upon a mail-order bride desperate to avoid marrying her fiancé, Ben does the first thing that pops into his head and marries her. Willingly, he gives her the protection of his name and his arms, never expecting her to capture his heart.
Humorous, heartfelt, and awash in sweet romance, Bobbins and Boots captures the tender and tumultuous emotions of falling in love.
Here is a little excerpt:
Fear churned in Allie Tillman’s nervous stomach like a butter paddle in a jar of thick cream. Since it was far too late to change the plans already set in motion, she stepped across the platform at the train depot and glanced around.
Questions about her future husband’s appearance pecked at her thoughts from the moment she’d received Joe Lambery’s letter. The missive confirmed his acceptance of her as his mail-order bride and included a train-ticket to Baker City, but didn’t include a photograph of him. Would he be tall and handsome or short and balding? Was he still in possession of all of his teeth? Although he sounded nice enough in the one letter they’d exchanged, what if he was cruel and spiteful.
A flicker of adventure nudged away a little of her anxiety as she glanced around the Eastern Oregon town she’d never heard of until she happened upon Joe Lambery’s advertisement for a bride. The sagebrush covered hills to the south and east, and the thick forest to the west and north was unlike anything she’d ever seen growing up on the flat prairie of Nebraska.
A deep breath filled her nose with fresh, clean air. Redolent with a hint of pine and a sprinkling of sage, she also detected the delicious smell of roasting meat. If she hadn’t teetered on the edge of full-fledged panic at what she was about to do, she might have paid more attention to her gnawing hunger.
In all her life, she’d never traveled more than ten miles from the sod house where she’d been born. Now, she was more than a thousand miles away from everyone and everything she’d ever known.
A quick scan of the faces of those still waiting to board the train revealed none of them seemed to be the rancher she’d come to wed. Not one of them wore a hat like the cowboys she’d seen on the train. Like she imagined Mr. Lambery would wear.
She pictured him as tall and broad-shouldered, with a friendly smile and a warm light in his eyes.
Another glimpse around the depot confirmed no one appeared to be the right age for her intended. Two crusty old miners and a gentleman in a fine suit were the only people left outside, and they all were busy gathering supplies into wagons parked next to the platform.
Concerned, Allie hurried into the ticket office and stepped up to the counter.
“May I help you miss?” The man barely glanced up at her as he shuffled papers from a stack on his left to one on his right.
“Yes, sir, I’m looking for a man named Joe Lambery. Have you by chance seen him today?” she asked.
The papers stilled in the ticket agent’s hands and he slowly raised his gaze. One eyebrow traveled upward and he gave her a long, studying glance. “What in the world do you want with Joe Lambery?”
Startled by the disapproving tone of his voice and the disparaging look on his face, Allie took a step back from the counter. “He sent for me. We’re to marry and live on his ranch.”
“On his ranch?” The man’s second eyebrow joined the first, stretching close to his hairline.
Much to Allie’s dismay, the man guffawed loudly and slapped the counter with one hand. Tears rolled out of his eyes and he bent over, holding his stomach as laughter rolled out of him in great, uncontrollable waves.
Suddenly realizing she was quite serious, he curtailed his humor and straightened, giving her an apologetic glance.
“I’m sorry, miss, but I haven’t seen Joe Lambery for weeks.” His eyes held a hint of sympathy. “To my knowledge, there is no way to get a message to him, so you’ll have to find somewhere to wait until he wanders back into town. If I see him, I’ll mention your arrival.”
Bobbins and Boots (Baker City Brides, Book 4) releases March 23! And right now it's available on pre-order for only 99 cents.
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
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