Sunday, November 07, 2010
Mail Order Cowboy is the first book in my "Simpson Creek Brides" series for Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historicals. Simpson Creek, in Texas's Hill Country, is a town without bachelors after the Civil War, and the town's unmarried ladies are faced with being old maids, or leaving the town to find husbands elsewhere. One spunky lady, Milly Matthews, called "Marrying Milly" by the town, is determined to change her fate and those of her fellow spinsters, and founds the Simpson Creek Society for the Promotion of Marriage. The town quickly nicknames it "the Spinsters Club," but Milly is undeterred and places an advertisement for "marriage-minded bachelors" in a Houston newspaper, inviting them to come to Simpson Creek to meet the single ladies.
Nicholas Brookfield, late of Her Majesty's Army in India, is the first to answer the call, and wants to meet this spirited lady. He arrives on the day of a Comanche attack at Milly's ranch which critically injures its old foreman, leaving Milly badly in need of help to run her ranch. Nick steps into the gap, despite the fact he is an Englishman, not a cowboy, but he is determined to show Milly he is indispensable in her life. Milly is charmed by him but she has to learn to accept help, even from her mail order match. Nick is not without his own emotional baggage--he is haunted by a secret which involves a treacherous daughter of an Indian rajah, and he is plagued by recurrent attacks of a debilitating fever. He teaches Milly to accept people who are different, while she helps him to regain his faith in the Lord. But intolerant bigots as well as marauding Comanches threaten their future as well as the future of Simpson Creek itself. It will take incredible bravery on the part of Nick and Milly just to survive.
Give us the first page of the book:
Simpson Creek, Texas, July, 1865
"The problem, as I see it," Millicent Matthews announced in her forthright way, looking around the edges of the quilt at the members of the Ladies Aid Society, "is that we unmarried ladies are likely to remain so, given the absolute lack of single men who've come home to Simpson Creek from the war. The few men who did return were already married, and while I'm very happy for their wives, of course--" she added quickly as one of the town's matrons looked up—"the rest of us will have to leave or remain single unless Decisive Action is Taken."
"Oh, I don't know, Milly," said her sister Sarah, staring down at the Wedding Ring pattern as if it held the answer to their dilemma, "Perhaps not all of our men are able to travel yet from wherever they were when the war ended. They might be recovering from wounds, or the effects of confinement in northern prisons…"
Milly felt a rush of compassion for Sarah, whom she knew was still holding out hope that her beau would yet return, despite the fact he'd had been reported as missing in action late last year. Since then, they'd heard nothing more.
Intriguing. I can hardly wait to read the book. Thank you for sharing this with us, Laurie.
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