Title – The Cowboy And The Quaker
Author – Margaret Tanner
Genre – Historical Western Romance
Book Blurb –
Ben Lonigan needs a wife to live with him for twelve months, or he will lose his ranch.
Rachael Fairchild has lost her religious beliefs. She is on the run, and in search of sanctuary. Her betrothed, an aspiring politician, has tried to kill her because she is carrying his child.
Lottie from the Flaming Star saloon has a solution to Rachael and Ben’s problems. Marry each other.
Can this temporary marriage between two scarred, disillusioned people, turn into something permanent?
On a warm spring day, the white and pink blossoms on the trees would normally have had Rachael stopping to admire their beauty, but not today. She trudged along staring straight ahead. The pretty blue bonnet, another gift from George, couldn’t cheer her up. She was in the deepest, darkest pit of despair.
After an hour or so of walking, she felt weak and nauseous. If she didn’t sit down she would collapse. Passing a large church with a high bell tower, and beautiful leadlight windows, she stopped and leaned against the creeper covered fence to catch her breath.
A wedding was in progress, she could tell by the numerous grand carriages. The bridal coach looked magnificent, decorated with white ribbons. The two black horses had white rosettes in their harnesses, obviously a society wedding.
She heard organ music, the service must have started. With a quick glance around to make sure no-one was taking any notice of her, she darted inside and found an empty pew behind a huge stone pillar.
She would rest here for a while before deciding what to do. Maybe go for a tea and cake before facing the return journey. Perhaps try and find George’s law office. If she knew exactly where to go, on Monday after school, if she hurried, she could get there before it closed for the day. Someone there might even know how to contact him. It was the best idea she could come up with.
She closed her eyes and prayed to God. This was his house, so he might be more receptive to her desperate plea.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and this woman in…” She blocked the words out. She didn’t want to hear the happy couple making their vows, not until she and George stood before the preacher making their own before God and the congregation. No, not the congregation. In the privacy of the preacher’s residence would be best.
“Do you Kathryn Bodsworth take George Partridge, as your…”
Rachael shoved a fist in her mouth, and bit down on her knuckles to stop the screams spilling out of her mouth. She shook from head to toe. Fortunately, she was seated, otherwise she would have fallen onto the floor.
George. Her George, was marrying the daughter of one of the most powerful and influential men in New England. She closed her ears to the rest of the service.
George had tricked her. Betrayed her. The engagement ring nestling between her breasts suddenly felt heavy, the diamond hard and cold against her skin. The organ music was almost drowned out by the pealing of the bells as the bridal couple walked up the carpeted aisle leading to the massive arched doorway of the church.
Rachael couldn’t move, her legs wouldn’t work. All the life was sucked out of her. She wondered whether she looked as pale and sick as she felt. Finally, when the church was empty, she stood up and her legs were able to hold her weight. She couldn’t stay in the house of God for a moment longer. Defile this beautiful church with her sinful presence, and that of the illegitimate child she carried.
Self-pity and remorse suddenly gave way to fury. She took several deep breaths and headed outside. People milled around the newly wedded couple. George wore a dark suit and a top hat. He had a satisfied, almost smug expression on his face. The dark haired, pretty bride’s looks were spoilt by a petulant droop to her lips.
George glanced up and a spasm of irritation crossed his face. A muscle convulsed in his jaw, but he quickly composed his features. He snapped his fingers and a servant scurried up. After a short conversation the man minced over to her. “I have a message from Mr. Partridge. He said you are not to contact him again. He no longer has any interest in you.”
Anger overrode her heartache. “Well, you can give him a message from me. I will be in contact with him. I happen to be carrying his child.”
The man’s jaw dropped. “What…what…” he spluttered.
“You heard me. I’m carrying his child, and I want to know what he’s going to do about it?”
She waited while the manservant got George to move to one side so no-one would hear what was said. Angry red infused George’s cheeks, his body became rigid. His eyes, the ones she had thought held love, but now knew was lust, froze over. He glared at her, and the cold fury in his stare caused her to tremble. Maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea to blurt out about her condition to the servant. She should have waited and told him privately.
The man slunk up to her again. George was too lily-livered to face her. “Mr. Partridge wants you to leave town.” He thrust money into her hand. She was tempted to take it and throw it back at George’s feet, but didn’t, just stuffed it into her reticule.
“If I don’t choose to leave?”
The man gnawed his lip. “Look lady, take the money and run, otherwise you could get hurt.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“No. No. Not me Miss, Mr. Partridge. He…” The man gave a hunted look around. “He has political aspirations and will stop at nothing to achieve them. Please leave while you can.”
Buy Link –
99 cents or free to read on Kindle Unlimited!
Author Biography –
Margaret Tanner is an award winning, Australian author, who writes Historical Romance and Western Historical Romance, with some contemporary romance as well.
She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels. No internet site is too hard to traverse, or book too old or tattered for her to trawl through, and no museum is too dusty. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.
She has found from writing Western Historical novellas, that frontier Australia and frontier America, had many similarities, isolated communities, a large single male population and a lack of marriageable women.
Margaret is married and has three grown up sons, and two gorgeous little granddaughters. Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.
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