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Groom by Arrangement

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Groom by Arrangement

Eliza Kelly thought her humiliation was complete when she identified the wrong train passenger as her mail-order groom. She was only trying to tell Jackson Hart that the madcap scheme was not her...
Eliza Kelly thought her humiliation was complete when she identified the wrong train passenger as her mail-order groom. She was only trying to tell Jackson Hart that the madcap scheme was not her...
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  • Eliza Kelly thought her humiliation was complete when she identified the wrong train passenger as her mail-order groom. She was only trying to tell Jackson Hart that the madcap scheme was not her idea. But now that the stormy-eyed blacksmith has decided to stay, rumors are flying. And Jackson does the gallant thing--he offers the lovely widow a marriage of convenience.

    Though he came to New Mexico to find his father, Jackson wonders if Eliza's mistake was his good fortune. Between caring for an orphaned youngster and protecting Eliza, Jackson feels whole again. If only he can persuade Eliza to marry him, her reputation will be saved...and so will their long-buried dreams of forging a real family.

  • From the book

    Spring 1886
    Durango, Colorado

    Eliza Kelly's worse fear had just been confirmed.

    She couldn't believe she was standing on the train platform waiting for a mailorder groom. One she hadn't ordered!

    With shaking fingers, Eliza opened the envelope and pulled out the slip of paper inside. Once more, her eyes scanned the letter that explained how her best friend, Hannah Young, had ordered the expected groom.

    My dear friend Eliza,

    I know this will come as a shock to you, but I have been writing as you to a Mr. Miles Thatcher. He posted a mailorder bride ad in the same newspaper as my own prospective groom, Mr. West-land. After reading his ad, I answered as you.

    Eliza, I think you will like Mr. Thatcher. He will be arriving on the two o'clock train this afternoon.

    Before you close your mind to the possibility of being a mailorder bride, know that I've prayed about this and feel I did the right thing in answering Mr. Thatcher's advertisement. Granted I should have told you. For not doing so, I apologize now.

    After you read his letters, you can decide if he is a man that you will enjoy spending the rest of your life with. If you decide to send him away, I promise to never do this again.

    I'll write once I get to Granite, Texas. I'm looking forward to hearing how you and Mr. Thatcher get along. Sincerely,

    Your friend Hannah

    Emotions sliced through her like sharp scissors through cloth. How could Hannah do this to her? Anger at her friend's impulsiveness demanded an answer that wasn't forthcoming. She caught her lower lip between her teeth. What if Mr. Thatcher arrived and refused to return to wherever he came from?

    She stuffed the note from Hannah back inside the envelope with Mr. Thatcher's letters. Eliza had read them all so many times she almost had them memorized.

    The two o'clock train squealed to a noisy stop. Eliza closed her eyes, said a quick prayer of deliverance and slowly counted to ten.

    Jackson Hart lifted his head from the table and held it in his hands for several long seconds, waiting for the sound of grinding breaks to stop pulsating through his brain. He felt as if someone had taken a hatchet to his skull.

    Keeping his eyes closed, he did a quick check of his pockets. As expected, they were empty. Whoever had taken advantage of him being alone in the train car and hit him over the head, knocking him out, had also robbed him.

    "Sir, we've arrived in Durango."

    Jackson looked up at the porter. He rubbed the back of his head and winced. A knot the size of a goose egg pulsated against his skull, but when he pulled his fingers away there wasn't any blood coating them. He was thankful for that and that he'd had the good sense to hide half of his money in his luggage.

    He nodded to the young man and stood. "Who do I report a robbery to?"

    Ten minutes later, Jackson stepped from the train. He moved off to the side of the platform and tried to ignore the sounds around him as he waited for his bag. It seemed to take forever before the porter lugged his belongings toward him. Taking pity on the young man, Jackson met him halfway and picked up the luggage. It held a few of his favorite tools, clothes and his Bible. Not to mention half the money he'd planned to use to get started in Silverton, Colorado. Again Jackson thanked the Lord that it hadn't been with him at the time of the robbery.

    "Sorry for the delay, Mr. Hart. I stopped and reported what happened to you to Special Agent Wilson. He says to assure you he will be looking out for future...

About the Author-
  • Rhonda Gibson lives in New Mexico with her husband James. She has two children and three beautiful grandchildren. Reading is something she has enjoyed her whole life and writing stemmed from that love. When she isn't writing or reading, she enjoys gardening, beading and playing with her dog, Sheba. You can visit her at ...

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    Steeple Hill
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