Title: Perfectly Mismatched
Author: Linda Carroll-Bradd
Genre: Sweet Historical Romance
Shame over her father’s arrest sends socialite Aurelia Northcliffe running for a new home and a new name. After she makes sure her younger sister is secure, she travels west to become a mail-order bride in Jubilee Springs, CO. Not only is she shocked at the size of the tiny mining town, the men she’s matched with make her second guess her decision. One potential groom is much too unsophisticated and the other much too discerning--even if he’s the one who makes her feel safe.
Mine Manager Declan MacNeill prides himself on following rules to the letter. Initially resistant to the upcoming bride event, he remembers his short marriage in Ireland and realizes what he’s been missing. His first sight of his potential bride sets his protective instincts on high alert. Everything about her behavior indicates she’s keeping secrets. And Declan is determined on finding out why.
A quick glance at the other ladies’ eager expressions informed her she was the only one in distress about this pitiful town. Across Schoolhouse Road stood a park. What had Mister Bainbridge said? This community park would be the location of the Sunday church picnic and the Monday weddings, followed by the holiday fireworks. In this moment, she didn’t know if she was a good enough actress to hide her gut-wrenching disappointment. Maybe some time alone on a stroll would calm her thoughts. Head lowered, she started toward the shade trees visible in the park.
Galloping hoof beats pounded the dirt.
“Oy, lady. Watch out.”
Strong arms grabbed her from behind, swung her around, and shoved her against the tailgate of the wagon. “Oof.” A muscular body pressed against her, instantly heating the length of her back. Her breath caught in her throat. The sheriff found me. “No. Let me go.” Panic rose from deep inside. Aurelia struggled against the hard grasp by rocking her body then lunged backward, and finally in desperation, she kicked out. And her foot connected with something.
“Ow. Tarnation, lady.” The stranger released his grip.
After stumbling a few steps sideways, she whirled and glared. Her hat hung over her right ear at a haphazard angle. “What gave you the right to manhandle me?”
“’Tis the thanks I’ll be getting’ fer savin’ yer life?” The tall man with wavy brown hair stood with hands on his hips.
Oo, the arrogance. Body still thrumming with fright, she moved closer to the brutish man dressed in a dusty shirt of rough denim and even dustier dungarees. The pungent scent of sweat assaulted her nose. With great restraint, she kept from digging into her reticule for a lace handkerchief. “Saving me?” Amusement danced in his lively green eyes, which only kicked up her irritation. “How exactly did you do that?”
He crossed his arms and looked down his nose. “From being trampled by a runaway horse, sure enough I did. Don’t ye know enough to look both ways before crossing a road?”
“Aurelia, are you all right?” Lizett stepped close and placed a hand on her shoulder.
Aurelia sucked in a deep breath and nodded, which set her hat flopping. For some reason, she couldn’t tear her gaze from the man with the scruffy beard who watched her with a cocked eyebrow and a smirk twisting his lips. His features were not what one would call classically handsome but were pleasing.
“Oh, dear, your lovely dress.”
The distress in Lizett’s voice made Aurelia glance at herself. Dirt handprints marked both sleeves, dust covered several inches of her hem, and a jagged tear ruined one of the flounces. Her stomach clenched, and heat flushed her cheeks. This was a disaster. A Northcliffe simply did not appear in public in anything other than a perfect and dignified state. “You, sir, will pay for this damage.” Notching up her chin, she settled her hat on her head, turned an about-face, and strode toward Howard’s Boarding House. The sooner she gained distance from that arrogant man, the better.
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This story is a delightful romance with a fish-out-of-water theme. Aurelia is used to the world before the social shame brought on by her father’s financial ruin, and she has such trouble adjusting to reality. Declan is a calm soul with an Irish wit and charm that soon proves irresistible.
Giveaway – Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 23 books featured in the Pot O Gold Bookish Event: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db7750101 Open Internationally. Runs March 11 – March 21, 2021. Winner will be drawn on March 22, 2021.
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 from her home in the southern California mountains.
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