Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit by Kathy L Wheeler is a Kindle Unlimited pick #historicalromance #ku #giveaway
Title: Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit
Author: Kathy L Wheeler
Genre: Western Historical Romance
He needs a wife, she needs a way out.
Can she spin a tale to save her own tail?
After a disastrous first marriage, Will Jeffers hasn’t the stomach for another emotionally entailed union. All he needs is a wife to cook, nurse his mother, and look after the homestead. But good women are few and far between in Colorado mining country. A mail order bride is the perfect solution. Amelia Johannasen is running for her life.
Her brassy mother has decided it’s time her daughter joined the family business, shattering Amy’s dreams of marrying for love. Imagine her surprise when she is mistaken for Will Jeffers mail order bride. She has a talent for spinning tall tales but no notion of how to cook, nurse, or keep a house. Can she reach the heart of a man once burned so badly, he’s sworn off love?
He delved into the inside pocket of his duster and pulled out a small photograph, then glanced back up. “Miss Amaris Jones?”
The bonnet jerked with her shock. Slowly, she pushed it back. The gas lights bathed her features in a soft glow that sent his senses reeling and his heart pounding. Wide set eyes, their hue, a clear blueish-purple, met his. She was striking. He could never have made out her true beauty from the tarnished picture he held. He was stunned; tongue-tied. Trapped in that bewitching gaze.
“Amaris?” she whispered.
The young lady lowered those striking eyes, breaking the magnetic hold she had on him. She tugged her bonnet back into place; in the span of a heartbeat, had her face hidden again. She clasped her gloved hands demurely before her. Will shook his head, wondering how he would make it to the church without devouring his mail-ordered bride before marrying her. He was suddenly hungry, and not for food.
“—that you, Will? What the devil you doin’ here, man?”
With heroic effort, Will dragged his gaze from Miss Jones to Ennis Wisentangle.
“You headed to Miss Bethany’s, Will? She’s innerducin’ a new girl tonight. Simone. Ever’body in town’ll be there.”
From the corner of his eye, Will saw the girl’s top hand clench the other, the soft leather stretched tight over her clenched knuckles. The sight sent a rush of fury through him. Ennis was dumber than a dishpan. Will tightened his own fists to keep from ploughing the man in the gullet. “Ennis, I’d appreciate you not mentioning Miss Bethany in front of my fiancée.” With substantial effort, he pulled back his temper with a steadying inhale and turned to Amaris. “Please forgive this dunderhead’s bad manners, ma’am. Guess that’s where he got the label—” He sliced pointed eyes on Ennis. “‘Slow-bum Ennis.’ He’s known for his slow wit.” He bit off the rest. Will could hardly tell her Ennis was renowned for suffering with some sort of sexual dysfunction. At least, that was the gossip that spread like wildfire through the mines. While Will might cringe at being the brunt of talk, any sort of talk, anger simmered just beneath his skin.
“Fiancée, eh?” Ennis’s gaze wandered down Amaris’s worn cloak.
Didn’t seem possible, but her fists squeezed tighter.
Will was surprised smoke didn’t emit from his nostrils like a bull staring down a blood-red cape. His feet shifted. “That’s enough, Wisentangle. She’s not part of the cattle call.”
“Oh, uh, yeah. Sorry, ma’am.” Ennis tipped his hat. “Pleased to meet ya.”
Amaris squared her shoulders and tipped her head. The light showcased a tilted stubborn chin. “Of course.” The haughty steel beneath her soft words spoke volumes. This girl wouldn’t take no shit. For some reason that gave Will relief, even made him proud.
“Uh, sure. Sure, Will. Be seein’ ya.” His booted heels echoed on the wooded planks as he stalked in the direction of the Gold Rush, spurs jangling.
“I’m happy to see you made it safe, ma’am. I apologize for being late, but as I mentioned in my letters, my ma, well, with her sick and all. I figured we oughta to start back right after the ceremony.”
She froze still as a statue. “Ceremony?”
“Our nuptials. I’m afraid I can’t leave Ma alone for long. No tellin’ what kind of—” He chuckled, but even to his own ears it sounded forced. “We can, uh, talk about that later. Your nursin’ skills and all.”
Those lovely eyes blinked up at him. And once again, he found himself drowning in bewitching sensations.
She heaved in a deep breath and let it out slow. “We’re to be … m-married? Now?”
He hardened his tone. “Yes’m.” He had no time for cold feet or feminine hysterics. “It’s what we agreed on, ma’am.” He bit out the words, tamping down the surge of irritation…and something he couldn’t define. Panic, that she wouldn’t follow through? That was an outrageous thought. Of course, she would follow through. He shook off the misgivings and pressed on, determined to see his plans fulfilled. “Er, I don’t get to Springs all that often. And there ain’t no preacher within twenty miles of Cripple Creek.”
Her plump lips turned down. The sight coiled his insides tighter than a rattler ready to strike. “Cripple Creek? That’s a long way, right?”
Was she trying to renege? He steeled his spine. He’d done wasted enough time and money getting her here. More than anything he wanted, no needed, to secure this marriage.
Something banded his chest, squeezing out every square inch of air, at the same time, softened him inside. Desire rippled through him. “I’m working the mines near there,” he said gently. “The homestead isn’t quite that far out.”
The small breath and small nod she gave, released his own held breath.
He cleared his throat. “Yeah, it’s a long way.”
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Kathy L Wheeler graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a BA in Management Information Systems and Vocal Music minor.
Kathy loves the NFL, NBA, musical theater, reading, writing and karaoke. She is the Ethic’s Director of the Regency Fiction Writers and a Guide in the Pen to Paper, a fantastic three-year-old program for aspiring romance authors.
She writes historical and contemporary romances that are a little dark, a little suspenseful, a little bit humorous, that are always compelling and will steal your breath.
She lives with her musically talented husband in the Pacific Northwest. She has one grown daughter (who has two adorable boys), and a neurotic dog, Angel who lives up to her name… mostly!
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