Title: A Vow for Christmas
Author: Linda Carroll-Bradd
Genre: Historical Romance
In the three years since his beloved wife died, rancher Chad Rutherford has done the best for his family. But with his sister leaving the family ranch to get married, he needs to find someone to keep house and tend his kids so he places an ad for a mail-order bride.
Left on her own by her brother’s murder, spinster Vika Carmichael must find a way to life. An ad for a mail-order bride from a widower with small children seems like the perfect fit. Until she arrives in Gunnison, Colorado Territory, and wonders if room for her exists in their hearts.
Will two proud individuals find a way to work together, or will their marriage vow be broken before Christmas?
“Gunnison City is your stop, isn’t it? Passengers need to disembark before the train continues on.”
“Yes, ’tis.” Nodding, she shoved to her feet then grabbed the seat back to steady herself. The stovepipe split into two, blurred, and then straightened back to one. Hunger gnawed her insides from her irregular diet over the travel days.
“Careful now.” He cupped her elbow. “Elevation is more than two thousand feet higher here than in Denver. Takes a bit of getting used to, breathing wise.”
She forced a laugh. “And Denver was thousands of feet higher than my hometown.”
“Stay close to the buildings as you leave the depot…in case you need support in catching your breath.” He peered into her face, his spectacles slipping down his nose. “You got someone meeting you?” He stretched toward the rack over the opposite window for her luggage.
“I do.” She accepted the carpetbag holding her knitting and smiled. “Thank you for asking.” After a last glance at where she’d sat, she nodded toward the man and walked down the aisle, glad to stretch her legs after the almost-twelve-hour overnight trip. She gripped the proffered hand of another train employee, who guided her down the steps. Cold air slapped her face, and she shivered then turned up her collar. All around her, conversations buzzed. Passengers greeted waiting folks, the crowd shifting in constant motion. She tensed. Why dinna her intended step forward?
After scooting away from the steps, she scanned the area and focused on a tall man with a wide-brimmed hat shading his face. He stood against the depot wall, away from the crush of people, with a small child clasping both of his large hands. His height and bulk dwarfed the wee ones. A thick coat hung unbuttoned from broad shoulders. From the angle of his body, she assumed he looked in her direction, but she couldna be sure. Lifting the front of her skirts, she took slow steps, inching her way through the crowd until she stood only a few feet away and tipped back her head. She gazed into the darkest eyes she’d ever seen. “Mister Rutherford?”
He nodded. “Miss Carmichael?”
The relief of arriving and making the anticipated connection tumbled her stomach. “I am pleased to be making yer acquaintance.” Seeing no offer of a handshake greeting, she dropped a shallow curtsey then glanced at the wide-eyed children now pressed against their father’s legs. “Oh, and the wee bairns. What be their names?” Smiling, she glanced upward to see his dark brows slam into a frown. Reviewing what she’d said, she realized in her excitement, she lapsed into her native brogue. “Sorry, I meant children.”
Mister Rutherford shook his left hand. “My son is Lance, and he’s five years old.” Then he wiggled his right hand. “My daughter is Guinie, and she’s three.” He crouched down to their level and glanced between them. “Children, here is the woman I told you about. Miss Carmichael has come to live with us.”
“No, Daddy! Want Auntie Caro.” Guinie shook her head then buried her face in her father’s neck.
Vika stiffened. Never in her thoughts of her new life had she worried about having to win over the children…only their father. Hoping for a friendlier reception, she looked toward the boy who stared with an unflinching, brown-eyed gaze. “Making new friends is hard.” She glanced at the father who patted his daughter’s back and wished the right words sprang from her lips. But she was so tired and hungry she couldna think straight. From a distance, she heard a faint yip and turned toward the back of the train. Biscuit. Of course. “I brought a surprise I think ye’ll like.”
Mister Rutherford straightened. “We’d best collect your luggage. Come along, children.” He urged them forward.
She was left staring at the backs of the three people who looked like a self-contained unit. Did room exist for her in any of their hearts?
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Share a holiday family tradition:
When the extended family (including three generations) gathers at the holidays, we love to play board games or put together a jigsaw puzzle. The activity provides great competition and conversations.
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood:
The story involves a woman who is yearning for a family and she finds it with a widower who has two children. The widower isn’t sure of loving again, especially when she introduces a whole new menu to his household.
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Runs December 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on January 4.
As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor and a bit of sass from her home in the southern California mountains.
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