- N. N. Light
Mail-Order Brides of the Southwest by @HVanlandingham is a Black Friday Deal pick #smallbizsat
Mail-Order Brides of the Southwest boxset
Lucie: Bride of Tennessee
Taking a bride for the sake of his daughter, he discovers a second chance at love.
To provide for herself and her younger brother, Lucie Croft accepts a mail-order bride contract in Chattanooga. Fate, however, has other things in store for her when her intended groom dies before her arrival. Desperate and homeless, Lucie and her brother are taken to the local hotel owned by Sebastian McCord. Overwhelmed as a single father and intrigued by Lucie, Sebastian agrees to marry her. Will the couple create a loving family or does fate have yet another turn in the road?
The Gambler’s Mail-Order Bride
His dangerous past can’t stop him from loving her…
Stella McCord just wants to make a new start in life as a mail-order bride, but her new start turns out to be a crumbling hotel and a suspicious fiancé. When Travis Stone wins an old, rundown hotel in a card game, he hopes to escape his lawless past. All he needs is a trusted manager to help him run the business and decides a mail-order wife is his best option.
The Bookseller’s Mail-Order Bride
She never wanted to be a bride. He wants a family to love.
Hailey Jefferson doesn’t want a husband. Needing to escape her mother’s reputation, she decides to become a mail-order bride…but only on her terms. Giving her husband, Alex Croft, a trial marriage seems like the perfect plan until she realizes he wants more. Can she up and leave him, knowing it could break his heart, or will she stay and make his dreams come true?
Chattanooga, Tennessee, October 1890
Lucie Croft stared out of the window, the glass covered with a hazy film of ash and smoke from the locomotive’s smokestack. Occasional sparks of red-hot cinders hit the outside, leaving a darker circle of soot in its place. She fought an overwhelming urge to jump off the train as the landscape sped by and her new life in Chattanooga drew closer.
She sighed. Agreeing to be a mail-order bride had been a ridiculous idea. How was she supposed to find happiness with a complete stranger? But agreeing to marry an unknown man had been her only viable option. No matter where she and her brother ended up, she would make sure he was taken care of.
The man sitting next to her on the bench seat slowly tilted toward her. For the fourth time since he’d boarded the train in Knoxville, he’d fallen asleep. His body pressed against hers and his head dropped onto her shoulder. She scowled at the top of his balding head in disgust. How could anyone sleep so much?
To get her mind off of her own troubles, she glanced around the still-crowded car. Most of the people were well dressed with a definite air of wealth as they turned up their noses at the few who weren’t. A little girl lay curled up on the seat closest to the door, her head resting on the thigh of the man next to her. Lucie raised her gaze from the little girl’s to the man’s very handsome face. She couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between them. His brown hair was the same shade as the little girl’s. Their skin was lightly tanned.
They were definitely related, yet Lucie hadn’t seen a woman with them. She wondered if they, too, were traveling to Chattanooga, and if the little girl’s mother was already there waiting for them to arrive.
The man looked up from the paper he’d been studying and met her gaze. Her heart did a strange flip-flop in her chest, which seemed unnaturally tight. She fidgeted in her seat, but the pressure remained as she stared into his brown eyes.
“Lucie! Lucie!” Alex exclaimed, pulling her attention away from the man. Her brother’s eyes were bright, and excitement filled his voice. He pointed at the houses passing by through the train’s large glass window.
She raised her brows, loving his enthusiasm, inhaling the calming, wood-scented air. It would do neither him nor her any good if she became maudlin.
The man lying against her mumbled something then jerked, his elbow jabbing her in her side. She scooted closer to Alex, but what she really wanted to do was shove the bald man to the floor. She rubbed her sore ribs, mentally tallying how many times he’d done that—four or five at least. At this rate, she was going to be black-and-blue before reaching Chattanooga.
She bit back a sigh and rested her head against the back of the seat, not wanting Alex to see how worried she was. She forced her gaze on the narrow door leading to the next train car…but she wanted to look at the man again.
At nineteen years, she felt old and worn. She could only hope and pray that their new home was an improvement over the filthy tenant room they’d lived in. Eating real food would be a nice change as well.
She picked at her only dress, the baggy fit unbecoming. Alex’s clothes weren’t much better. Not only had he outgrown them, but there were holes in the knees and elbows, and he was missing a button. Even his shoes were too small, but she had no extra money to buy him anything new.
Staring down at her tightly clasped, gloved hands, she let out a small sigh. She was tired of trying to provide and miserably failing.
Alex tugged on her arm, again pointing to something outside. “Look, sissy—look at all the trees. And there’s mountains here, and the train looks like it’s headin’ straight for them. Are we gettin’ close to our new home?” He turned and gave her a big grin. “Do you think your new husband will let me have a horse?”
She chuckled. “From what Mr. Crenshaw wrote in his letter, he lives in town, so I think you will have to wait on the horse.”
“Figures.” His smile slipped then widened again. “Maybe I’ll find somebody my age who has one. Maybe even two!”
“That’s a good possibility. We’ll get you enrolled in school and before you know it, you’ll have lots of friends.”
His attention moved back to the passing countryside. “I know. Not worried ‘bout that much. Had me a ton of friends back home.”
Lucie followed her brother’s gaze, but the green and blue blur of trees and hills held no real interest. She wondered what her new husband was like. In his letter, he’d written that he was a businessman…but hadn’t stated what his business was. Other than his impersonal description of himself—slightly overweight with a full head of blond hair and mutton-chop whiskers—she knew nothing about him other than his name. Harold Crenshaw. Even his name didn’t stir any interest.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
Tennessee history has always fascinated me, so when I was asked to be in a first-of-its-kind anthology, I jumped at the chance and immediately knew I wanted my story to take place in Chattanooga. The town’s history is so filled with excitement, intrigue, and tragedy, it was the perfect place for my hero and heroine to fall in love. So take a journey back in time to the western frontier with these amazing characters who will pull on your heartstrings, embrace you with their lives, and make you fall in love.
Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win. Runs November 25 – November 30, 2022. Winner will be drawn on December 1, 2022.
Heidi Vanlandingham writes action-packed stories that take place in war-torn Europe, otherworldly magical realms, and the Wild West. Her love of history finds its way into every book with enjoyably diverse characters, and every relationship is filled with a little sweetness, a bit of heartbreak, and lots of love. Heidi’s stories transport the reader to a different place and time for understanding, compassion, and most of all, love.
Growing up in Oklahoma and living one year in Belgium gave Heidi a unique perspective regarding different cultures. She still lives in Oklahoma with her husband and youngest son. Her oldest son is in the autism spectrum and is working toward his own dreams. Heidi’s favorite things in life are laughter, paranormal romance books, music, and long road trips.
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Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/heidi.vanlandingham.author