[This is my June article on the Prairie Rose Publications’ blog HERE.]
June 2014— Six years ago… Prairie Rose Publications released the mail-order bride anthology that included the first story I wrote for PRP.
My novella included in this anthology is A Permanent Woman.
This is the set-up for the excerpt below.
Widower Simon Driscoll lost his only son and daughter-in-law, with whom he was estranged, in a cholera epidemic. He receives al letter as next of kin granting him custody of his three grandchildren, who he has never met. The children are in an orphanage, and he cannot take custody unless he shows up with a wife and the documentation to prove the marriage is legal. He has 90 days before he loses his grandchildren, and a month has already passed. Desperate men take desperate measures…
Reputation tarnished and professional career compromised, Tessa Morris wants to start a new life—somewhere, anywhere, as long as that place is far away from here. The problem is, where? Other than attending a university, she’s never lived anywhere else. As the community latest pariah, the life and career she’s built in her hometown is finished. At 42, her future seems grim at best. When she happens upon a recent edition of the Matrimony Courier, she finds herself intrigued by one of the advertisements for a wife. That she doesn’t bother her in the least, because desperate women take desperate measures…
“Excuse me. Mr. Perlman directed me here. I’m responding to an advertisement in the Matrimony Courier. Are you Simon Driscoll?”
Simon closed his eyes, fortifying himself to face another woman with a façade of interest. “Yes, I’m Simon Driscoll. Your name?”
He opened his eyes, frowning as he mentally ticked off the names on the list. Still gazing out the window, he asked, “Did you send a letter under a different name? I don’t recall a Mrs. Morris.”
“Miss. Miss Morris. I’ve never been married and, no, I didn’t send a letter. In fact, I came across your advertisement but five days ago.”
Simon turned. “I’m sorry, but the deadline—” The words died on his lips. Ben was in the doorway, pointing to the woman and nodding.
“Mr. Driscoll, is something wrong?” She followed Simon’s stare and looked over her shoulder right as Ben stepped out of the doorway.
His insides went topsy-turvy. Ben had a way with people. He couldn’t leave him to talk to this woman alone.
No letter of introduction. He didn’t know anything about her, and he sure as hell didn’t know what to say.
“You’re quite pale, Mr. Driscoll. I think you should sit.”
He cut her a sidelong glance. She was close enough that he could feel her body heat, and the scent of her perfume made him a little lightheaded. When she took hold of his hand, the soft warmth of her touch made his heart leap into his throat. She led him to a chair and, situating herself beside him, positioned hers so their knees touched. His breath hitched, and he scooted his chair, which prompted her to move her chair even closer. He was too old for parlor games, and she seemed determined to make him uncomfortable with her casual familiarity. The other women had kept a safe, proper distance across the table barricade.
She filled a glass with water from the pitcher at hand and gave it to him. “Here, drink this. You’ll feel better.”
Dumbly, he accepted the water, but she didn’t let go when he wrapped his big hand around the glass, trapping her fingers under his. It gave him a start, and he released his grasp like he’d been burned. That’s when he looked at her. Really looked.
Lassoing a Mail-Order Bride anthology and my story as a single-sell are available on Amazon. Click the banners for more information.
Until next time,
Stay in contact with Kaye—