Authors: Alexa Kaye
MINE TO TAKE
Copyright Alexa Kaye 2016
Yes, I found myself a mail-order bride. But before my would-be wife got on the plane to come to Alaska, I changed my mind and canceled the wedding. She ended up coming anyway.
And now that I’ve seen her, touched her, tasted her, she’s going nowhere.
Alaska is a wild, vast place. It’s dangerous. It’s beautiful. It’s untamed. And my desire for my bride is just as fierce and unrestrained.
Mila may be scared of both.
She may even try to leave.
But I’ll make sure the only direction she runs is into my arms.
Mine. Mila is
story of insta-love and baby-making is a perfect bedtime read...and may inspire you to kill the Kindle, grab your partner, and practice some baby-making yourself. But if you want to read something truly dark and twisted, try CJ Roberts.
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On my application.
But doesn’t everybody? I mean, how many of those girls on InternationalBrides.com really look anything like the supermodel photos they
for their profile, right? And don’t get me started on the guys. They’re all, and I mean,
billionaires. And younger than my father. And hot.
To be fair, not everything I put on my application is a lie. My name is my name…now. I legally changed it. For a couple of reasons. For one, my given name, Miriam, never suited me.
My photo is actually a picture of me. Not a shot of some random hot girl selling her selfies on Fiverr.
And my measurements and age are also accurate--within a few,
Oh, and yes, I’m a…this is so embarrassing...I’m a virgin. A twenty-three year old virgin.
But the rest? Yeah, total fiction. I’m not a student from Germany, hoping to score an American husband so I can stay in the US. I was born and bred here. In Ohio. By a family who has shunned me.
They’re Amish. No need to explain more, is there? I mean, you’ve all seen those television shows, about young men and women escaping the bonds of the Amish faith.
In reality it isn’t that hard to “escape”. You just leave. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t tough. When you go, you leave behind everything. Including all your friends and family. The day I left my family wrote me off as lost.
There’s no going back now.
Okay, so now you’ve got the score on me. I’m a modern day (ex-Amish white-lie-telling) mail order bride. And I am debarking the plane that has carried me some million miles to meet my soon-to-be husband in person for the first time.
Am I scared? Maybe a little. I’ve heard the horror stories, about girls being trapped in abusive marriages to total jerks.
But to be honest, I wasn’t facing much worse as an Amish woman. You think it’s anything at all like those soppy Amish romance novels? Sorry to burst your bubble, but no. It isn’t.
In the world of the Amish, a wife’s work is never-ending and grueling. And she’s expected to work sunrise to sunset even while pregnant, which she often is because (of course) the Amish don’t believe in birth control.
Add to that the fact that most Amish see affection as ungodly, even toward children, and you might begin to see where I’m coming from. So yeah, I’m willing to marry a man I don’t know…well. He’s not a total stranger. We’ve chatted, emailed, even video-chatted a couple of times (the greatest discovery I've made since leaving home is the English public library, where a girl can use a computer for free).
So far I like Jace. He isn’t your typical (old) man, looking for a hot trophy wife who will do anything and everything he demands. No, he’s young and good-looking and (though he doesn’t want to admit it) lonely. I’m happy to give him some companionship, and do his cooking and cleaning, as long as he isn’t a total wife-beating prick. If there is one thing I have learned growing up Amish, it’s how to cook and clean.
And in exchange, I get stability. A home. All the things I can’t buy for myself with the (crappy) jobs I can get, thanks to my limited (seventh-grade) education.
It’s my life. My choice. Mine alone. And to make sure it stays that way, I took a trip to the free clinic before I left Cleveland and got myself some birth control pills.
The air outside is crisp as I duck through the plane’s door, stepping into the tunnel-thing that leads me from the plane to the airport terminal. This is my first flight on a plane.
And hopefully my last.
My teeth chatter. We’re in a semi-enclosed space and I’m already freezing. I knew it was going to be cold up here, but I figured all my years enduring brutal Ohio winters without central heat would have prepared me for this.
At the end of the tunnel, I’m welcomed by an Alaska Airlines employee, who rattles off instructions for locating the baggage pick up area. As I haul my carryon through the airport, I’m surprised by how modern it is. I was expecting a tiny, dumpy, outdated airport. You know, rustic. Maybe made out of logs. Nothing like this.
Maybe there are more pleasant surprises in store for me.
I turn onto the main concourse.
Aha! And so there are!
So far, Alaska is surpassing my expectations. By a mile.
I make a beeline for the Starbucks stand. My soon-to-be home is out in the middle of nowhere. It may be months before I’m in civilization again. Of course I’m splurging on a Starbucks Dark Chocolate Melted Truffle Mocha.
Now, slurping happily, I make my way down to the baggage claim. The carousel is already moving. I recognize some faces from my plane. The woman with the little baby that wouldn’t stop crying. The cute guy who was sitting behind me. The family with the two kids who were running up and down the narrow aisle during the last hour of the flight.
I step up to the carousel next to them and watch the suitcases rumble by.
And then I see mine.
Like I said, I haven’t flown anywhere before. And I have no plans to fly anywhere again. So I don’t own luggage. I didn’t need it. Or rather, that’s what I assumed. Not even to travel to Alaska. This was supposed to be a one-way trip. I packed my stuff, what little I own, in cardboard boxes.
Boxes that look like they’d been
from Ohio to Alaska, tied to the bumper of a four-wheeler.
I set my empty cup down and grab one of the boxes and the carousel’s momentum tugs it away from me. The battered cardboard tears and my clothes ooze out of it like blood from a wound.
Moving with the carousel, I scramble to gather what I can into my arms.
But then I slam into something. A wall?
I look up.
It’s a man.
He’s hauling my box off the belt.
“Thank you,” I say, flustered and embarrassed.
His smile is friendly. Crinkles crease from the corners of his eyes. He runs a hand over his salt and pepper hair. “You’re welcome. Are you Mila?”
“I am. Yes.” I give him a once over. This man is not my groom. Not unless he hired some young, hot guy to play him during our video chats...which I suppose is entirely possible.
He extends a hand. “I’m Moose.” Not my groom. “Jace sent me here to pick you up. He couldn’t get away.”
He couldn’t get away? Not even to pick up his fiancée from the airport?
To meet her for the first time?
To welcome her to her new home--after she’s left everything and everyone she knows behind to marry a stranger?
I don’t want to be a baby about this, but wouldn’t you think he’d find a way to get here? If for no other reason than to reassure me that I haven’t made a huge mistake?
Okay, so maybe I’m being a little petty. I don’t know what was so important he couldn’t take time away to pick me up. For all I know, it could be a major catastrophe.
I give myself an attitude adjustment. “Well, I appreciate you coming to get me.”
“It’s my pleasure.” Moose motions to the belt, which is still trundling round and round. “Did we get everything?”
“Almost. I have—erm,
--one more cardboard box.” I point at the pile of clothes heaped on the silver metal. “I didn’t realize they would get so beaten up in the luggage compartment.” My cheeks burning, I watch the pile of garments, including bras and panties, chug by. Ohmygod, my underwear is rolling around in front of everyone! I shrug. “Let’s just leave it. I can get new stuff later.”
“In case you didn’t know this, Ma’am, the closest shopping center to where you’re heading is over two hours away…when the weather’s good. Which is only a couple months of the year. So you might want to bring those things along.”
So much for my bruised pride.
Everyone’s seen my underwear. Including this man.
It is what it is.
I avoid looking his way as I wait for my things to chug back around to me. Then I dive at them, scooping as many garments as I can into my arms like a deranged two year old who’s trying to hoard her toys.
Moose gets the rest. At least, what’s left on the belt.
We make a pile next to my carryon and empty Starbucks cup. The pile isn’t as big as it was before I folded it all and packed it into the boxes. Somewhere there is more. But at this point I don’t care.
“I don’t suppose you brought anything to pack this stuff in?” I ask, so mortified my eyes are burning.
“I think I have some garbage bags in the truck. Stay here. I’ll grab them.”
Garbage bags. “Sure. Okay.” I sink to the floor, crossing my legs, elbows resting on my knees.
What a wonderful start to my new life!
I’m in freaking Alaska.
Land of bears. And trees.
And not much else.
I’ve lost half my stuff.
My fiancé isn’t in a big hurry to meet me.
But at least things can’t get much worse.
I watch all of my fellow passengers drift away, dragging their fancy bags-on-wheels behind them, and then the room grows silent. Eerily so. I’ve never been good with quiet. I like noise. And music. And people.
And--as I’ve discovered—reality television.
Growing restless, I leave my stuff on the floor (who’s going to steal it anyway?) and wander toward the exit. Just as I’m about to reach it, it opens with a whoosh and a blast of chilly air.
In strolls Moose, with some black bags in his fist.
We dump my stuff into the bags and haul them out to his truck, idling at the curb. The bags get tossed into the bed, with the tools and building supplies he carries in it, and off we go, down the highway.
I stare out the window at the landscape whipping by. The area surrounding the airport doesn’t look a whole lot different from rural Ohio—except the mountains in the distance. Even when we turn onto the main highway, the landscape isn’t much different from where I grew up.
But once we get out of Fairbanks, it’s very different. Trees wall the six-lane highway on both sides, creating a tunnel-like effect. It isn’t long before I grow weary of looking at trees and my eyelids grow heavy. I let the gentle hum of the truck’s engine lull me to sleep.
Sometime later, I wake.
We aren’t driving anymore.
“Welcome to your new home,” Moose says.
I peer out the window.
There is a house out there. At least there’s that much.
It isn’t what one might expect a billionaire to live in. But it is the kind of house you might expect a bachelor in Alaska to live in.
It’s a log cabin.
I pray it has central heat and electricity.
I climb out of Moose’s truck—literally. It’s a two-foot drop to the ground. He grabs my trash bags from the truck bed, one in each fist, and escorts me to the front door of my new home.
“After you,” he says by way of invitation.
I grab the knob, twist and push open the door.
Right away I notice two things.
First, it’s warm in the house.
And second, it’s dark. As in, woody. But also cozy, in a backwoods, hunting and fishing lodge kind of way.
It could use a woman’s touch for sure, but it isn’t a total wreck.
Moose drops my bags inside the front door and clears his throat. “If there’s nothing else, I need to get going.”
“Sure. Okay.” I step into the kitchen and peer out the window above the sink. Trees. I see lots and lots of trees. The sky is pretty. Coral. And pink. And purple. It’s almost sunset. I have no idea what time it is, but it feels like it’s about midnight. After all, I’ve traveled across at least four time zones to get here. “Should I assume Jace isn’t planning on getting married today?”
Moose gives me a crooked smile and a little chuckle. “I’d say that’s a safe assumption.” He grabs the doorknob. “Jace usually works late in the spring and summer. Doesn’t get home until dark.” He motions toward a clock, hanging on the wall over the fireplace. “That’ll be in maybe another hour or so.”