Tuesday, April 20, 2021

WHAT IF? By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless


 What if is the basis for pretty much every work of literary fiction.  What if a man-eating shark is prowling the shallow waters of a popular swimming beach?  What if a young Amish boy is the only witness to a murder?  What if a handsome, eligible Duke refuses to marry or sire children to continue the family lineage?  There is even a recent movie with a stylized version of What If as its title.

Mail Order Brides are super popular with readers these days, especially multi-author projects.  Readers enjoy these series because each title contains a familiar, much-loved trope, yet each romance is unique based on the individual author’s voice and plotline. 

A version of What if the Wrong Woman Turns Out to be the Right One for Him? is the tagline for the Mistaken Identity Brides, an exciting series set to launch next month.  How does a groom waiting to pick up his mail-order bride somehow meet and marry a different woman?   The muse had a lot of fun with this premise and I eventually settled on a young, innocent orphan raised in a convent, on her way west to become a nun in A BRIDE FOR RILEY.

She was headed for the convent.  How did she wind up married instead? 

Raised in an orphanage, Lucinda never felt she truly had the calling to be a nun, secretly longing for her own family. Like a miracle, her prayers are answered when confusion at the train station leads her to the marriage altar instead of the convent. 

 Tuesday’s Teaser— from A BRIDE FOR RILEY

          Riley drew the carriage to a stop outside of the train depot in Butte and turned to his two young charges.  “You two stay here.  Kenny you mind your sister, hear?  Vicky, you’re in charge of your brother.” 

          Both children looked up at him with wide blue eyes that reminded him so much of his sister it hurt.  He knew what they were thinking.  Was he really coming back?  Or would he disappear the same way their father had shortly after their mother died? 

          “I won’t be long.  I promise,” he said as he climbed down.  He felt their eyes boring into his back as he strode into the train station.  He didn’t know a hill of beans about raising youngsters, but he’d promised his sister he’d do his best.  Which, to his mind, meant getting them a new mother as soon as possible.

          The train pulled in minutes later and stopped with a belch of coal smoke and the grinding sound of metal wheels on metal tracks.  Shortly after, the doors opened and the porters stepped off first, followed by the passengers. 

          One by one, he searched the face of each woman traveling alone.  There weren’t many.  That had to be her, the plain one standing by herself and looking around all wide-eyed and nervous.  She wasn’t wearing a single fashionable adornment like most of the other women passengers, but beneath her plain brown bonnet he glimpsed an escaped strand of reddish hair. 

          He frowned.  She’d sounded different in her letters, flirty and not the least bit shy.  He approached her slowly, half expecting her to bolt when he said her name.


          She started before a look of relief spread over her features and she gave a jerky nod. 

          “I’m Riley.  Let’s go get your things.”

          “This is all I have.”  She indicated the shabby valise at her feet. 

          “That’s all?”  Funny, he’d been expecting his mail-order bride from Boston to arrive with a fashionable East coast wardrobe.

          “I was told I’d be supplied with whatever I needed.”

          “That a fact?”  He pressed his lips together and reached for her valise.  It felt almost empty.  No doubt that old busybody from the matchmaking agency had told her she was marrying a wealthy man.

          “The carriage is this way.”  As they walked out of the station, he wondered how to introduce the children in such a way that his mail order bride didn’t light out of here first thing.  

Pre-order Riley and receive it on your kindle first thing May 28thhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B08YXZY8CQ

  You can check out the entire series here. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08YYZSHYQ


Julie Lence said...

Love this, Kathleen!!

Joan Reeves said...

Loved the excerpt. Good luck with A BRIDE FOR RILEY.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I love the premise and the excerpt. Can't wait to read the entire story!

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Already on my "must read" list. I teach a workshop on "What ifs." Just think of the plot lines if you let your imagination go.. "what if...?"

Kara O'Neal said...

I enjoyed your "what ifs"! Looking forward to reading this.

Margaret Tanner said...

It is going to be a great series. Loved the excerpt.

Cheryl Wright said...

I can't wait to read this book, Kathleen! It sounds amazing. I'm already intrigued!

MJ Schiller said...

My two favorite parts of this excerpt was the line about his sister's eyes looking back at him in his nephew's and niece's eyes, and how he knew they were worrying if he'd come back. And then I love when she says that she was told she'd be supplied with the things she needs his answer, "Is that so?" I can hear that and the grunt of disapproval behind it. Thanks for sharing, Kathleen!