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This is a work of fiction.
Any resemblance of persons living or dead is coincidental.


No portion of this book may
be copied or reproduced in any form without the written permission of the

Dedicated to CC.
Girl, you are the best friend ever!

Chapter One


Mindy Sue Tanner
sat in the back of the church and listened to Preacher Norris deliver his
sermon to the congregation, wishing she could disappear through the floor.
Why she believed that her mail order husband
would show up was beyond her.

times she glanced to the door at the back of the church and prayed with all her
might that Brett Connors would walk through it.
Of course, she wouldn’t know who he was since she’d never seen
All they’d done was exchange
letters, and since no other man had answered her mail order husband
advertisements, she had no choice but to choose him.

cheeks burned with humiliation since she sat there in her wedding gown and
Everyone knew she was to get
married today and the Wilson sisters kept glancing back at her with smirks on
their faces.

had agreed to meet her at the church and he’d know who she was since she told
him she would be the only one wearing a weddin’ dress.
She was mortified and the preacher was
winding up the sermon.
Pretty soon
people would walk down the aisle past her knowing she’d been jilted and she
knew she would be the talk of the town by nightfall.

clasped her hands in her lap and lowered her head as the preacher prayed,
sending her own prayers heavenward.
lost in her prayers, she jumped when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
She opened her eyes and looked upward into
the smiling face of a man.
He held his
hat in his big hands and silver showed at his temples.
It was quite noticeable when the rest of his
hair was raven black.
His eyes were
silver, his nose slightly crooked, and his lips wore one of those smiles that
could knock a woman off her feet.
Surely this wasn’t Brett?


watched his smile disappear and a worried frown marred his face.
She stood just as people started to leave
the church.

sorry I’m late.
Took a wrong turn a
ways back.”

she said, smiling.
“I’m sorry I didn’t
give you good enough directions.”

I’m here now and if you are ready
to wed, I am.”

heard Preacher Norris demand the congregation come back to their seats and then
he walked down the aisle to Mindy.

this your intended, Mindy?”

she said, wishing she could stop the fluttering of her heart.

Norris chuckled.
“We’re going to have a
Come up front you two.
I already have the certificate of marriage
filled out.
All I have to do is perform
the ceremony and get it signed.”

stepped out of the pew and felt Brett take her hand.
She glanced at him again and couldn’t believe he was really
She raised her chin and
straightened her back walking up the aisle to stand before the preacher.

ceremony only took a few minutes and she was surprised when Brett placed a gold
band around her finger.
It fit
perfectly and she wondered how he knew what size she would wear.
She placed her Pa’s wedding band on his hand
with a little effort, but once she got it over his knuckle, it fit fine.

now pronounce you husband and wife.
may kiss your bride.”

about swooned when his lips captured hers and he kissed her soundly.
She blushed and was thankful when the
congregation applauded.
They quickly
signed the certificate of marriage and she put it in her reticule.
“You ready to go home?
I have a chicken roasting in the oven.”

fine with me.”

took his offered arm and they walked out of the church to the buckboard.
“You can tie your horse to the back and ride
with me.”

I’ll be right back.”

climbed up onto the seat, took the reins and waited for him.
She saw the Wilson sisters standing on the
porch of the church staring at her.
sure was thankful Brett showed up.

want me to drive or do you want to?”

can if you like,” she said, scooting over on the seat to give him room.
When he sat beside her, she handed him the
“We have to go through town that
way to get home.”

noticed it’s a pretty good sized town when I rode in.”

grown over the past couple years.
my Pa came here, there was only a mercantile, a saloon, and a stable.”

you grew up here?”


don’t sound like you like it here very much.”

leaned back against the seat and tried to relax.
“It’s not that.
It’s just
been hard since Pa died a year ago.
men don’t want to take orders from a woman and some of them have gotten out of


and drinking.
My pa never would have
tolerated that, but since he died…”

we’ll take care of that.
You’ve got me
now and I demand respect and respect for my wife too.”

“I hope we can share the
decisions about the ranch.
Pa always
talked to me about things, even though he made the final decisions.”

that’s how you want it, then that’s the way it will be.”

I know we didn’t have much time to
get to know each other through our letters and I am hoping we can take the time
to get acquainted before…” She felt her face heat with another blush.
That was the problem with being fair
She blushed easily and when
she did, it showed.

“I married you today and I
expect to sleep with my bride.
I told
you that in my letters.”

you did.
I was just hoping…”

a chance, Mindy.
I want a real marriage
from the start and I want children.”

know that’s what you said.
I don’t mean
to be belligerent,” she said, when he held the reins in one hand and put his
arm around her and pulled her close.

are married until death do us part.
want a willing wife, a home, and a family.
I thought we suited from our letters and that’s why I answered yours
instead of the others.”

had others vying for your hand in marriage?”

did, but your letters captured my heart.”

didn’t answer him and wondered why he felt like that when she didn’t.
“I didn’t have anyone else to choose from.”

glanced at her.
“I can’t see why
You are a very beautiful woman and
any man would be proud to call you wife.”


only stating a fact.”

watched him out of the corner of her eye, wondering why he even bothered to
answer her letters.
She found herself
She worked hard day in and day
out, but she didn’t have a bubbly personality or anything.
She was a plain Jane as her pa always used
to tease her.
She jumped when he nudged

asked if you needed to stop anywhere for supplies or anything before we head
out of town.”

She didn’t know what else to
She had hardly any money for
anything since her pa died and the men let the land go to waste.
Her cattle were living off the land and even
they were showing neglect.

the mercantile open on Sunday?”

Mr. McGreedy is always open.
He says
people needs things on Sundays the same as any other day and he figures the
good Lord knows it.”

let’s stop and get some supplies.”

wiggled in her seat, turned, and stared at him as he pulled the buggy to a stop
in front of the store.
“Brett, I don’t
have any money for supplies or anything for that matter.”
She lowered her head wishing she didn’t have
to tell him.

didn’t mention that in your letters, but I had a feeling that all was not well
on your ranch.
Don’t worry about
I’m not a rich man, but I can
afford things for the ranch and for you.”

watched him hop down and reach up his arms to help her down.
He lifted her from the seat.
She held his arms and felt the steely
muscles beneath his shirt.
He was
strong and she was happy about that because some of her men would challenge
him, especially when he started giving them orders.

on, let’s go inside.”

held the door for her and she walked into the mercantile and smiled at Mr.
She liked the middle aged
burly man.
He was always nice to her.

if it isn’t Mindy Sue Tanner coming to see me.”

walked up to the counter.
“It’s Mindy
Sue Connors now.
We just got wed in the

don’t say?
Well that’s the best news
I’ve had in a while.
So this is your

“Mr. McGreedy, this is Brett

to meet you, Sir.”
Brett shook his
“My wife will give you a list of
things we need out at the ranch.
be paying cash.”

right fine.
I’ve offered Mindy credit,
but she wouldn’t accept it.
I can start
an account in your name if you would like.”

pay cash today, but appreciate you opening an account for my wife and I.
I want her to be able to get what she needs
when she comes to town.”

it looks like you chose the right husband.
I bet he gets those lazy cowboys out at your ranch off their behinds and
working again.”

hope so.”

took her hand.
“Tell Mr. McGreedy what
you need.”

don’t know where to begin.”
She just
wanted to fall through the floor.
needed everything it seemed.
So many
nights she tossed and turned unable to sleep because there wasn’t enough food,
not enough supplies to keep the ranch running.
By the time she paid the men, there was nothing left over, and with the
ranch not being prosperous because the men weren’t working it, she wasn’t
making any money.

it really that bad, Mindy?”

looked into Brett’s concerned face and felt tears slip down her cheeks.
She nodded.
“I’m sorry.
If you want to back
out of our marriage, I’ll understand.
wasn’t quite honest with you.”

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