The Bride [NOOK Book]

Overview

She thought her fate was sealed...

Isabella Montgomery's future looked bleak. Before her father died, he betrothed her to Juan Garcia, an old ranchero infamous for cruelty. Now, shut away in a convent, she dreaded the day he would come to claim her. Until a dark horse revealed her true destiny...

Rafael McKenzie needed a bride before he came into his inheritance. The moment he laid eyes on Isabella, he knew she was the one. Breaking into the ...

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The Bride

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Overview

She thought her fate was sealed...

Isabella Montgomery's future looked bleak. Before her father died, he betrothed her to Juan Garcia, an old ranchero infamous for cruelty. Now, shut away in a convent, she dreaded the day he would come to claim her. Until a dark horse revealed her true destiny...

Rafael McKenzie needed a bride before he came into his inheritance. The moment he laid eyes on Isabella, he knew she was the one. Breaking into the convent and capturing her was easy enough, but stealing her heart was another story....

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In late-19th-century New Mexico territory, Rafael McKenzie is searching for a bride to fulfill his dying father's wish that he marry a woman of "virtue" in order to lay full claim to his inheritance, the Diamond Ranch. Isabella Montgomery has been brought up in a convent and is promised to the no-good Juan Garcia. Determined to preserve Isabella's goodness and make her his own, Rafael spirits her away. The book's first half is dominated by their journey to Diamond Ranch, and while the trip is filled with a multitude of innuendos, the pair remains quite formal with each other, and sparks fail to fly. Upon their arrival at the ranch, however, Isabella is introduced to Lucia, Rafael's distant relative, and her jealousy of Isabella makes for delicious conflict. The romance between Isabella and Rafael itself never transcends its initial formality, but that might be just fine with many blusher fans. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460302613
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/17/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 364,228
  • File size: 976 KB

Meet the Author

Carolyn Davidson began writing in 1986, knowing absolutely nothing about the craft. Her first three books were rejected by Harlequin.

She met Dixie Browning at a Harlequin dinner in Charleston, South Carolina, and told Dixie she was writing, but that she feared she was too old to begin such an undertaking. Dixie's response spurred Carolyn to pursue her dream. Dixie said, in her own inimitable fashion, "Well, honey, you can't start any younger!" And she was right.

Reading has always been Carolyn's favorite thing to do. She loves the written word, ranging from her early loves, Louisa May Alcott and Zane Grey, to present-day writers.

And now, over the past several years, it's been her turn to compose books that will bring pleasure to her readers. Perhaps she may even inspire a yearning in someone's heart to join this parade of authors that stretches across the years.

Having spent her life as a wife, mother, grandmother, and working woman, she's privileged to have a career that makes her dreams possible. Writing historical romance gives her the opportunity to travel, to visit all those places where our forefathers staked their claim on this country of ours. And then she goes home and writes their stories, maybe not exactly as they lived them, but as her imagination portrays them.

Carolyn lives in the South, where romance thrives, and where the sun shines almost every day of the year. In fact, some days it is difficult to stay glued to her computer, especially when the birds are singing and the flowers are in full bloom.

She lives not far from the ocean, close to Charleston, SouthCarolina, one of the mostromantic cities in the world. Moreover, time at the beach is easy to come by. Does she enjoy her life? You bet! Harlequin allows her to write the books she loves, and her editor is patient with her quirks and foibles. Her family, though scattered in various states, is supportive, and her husband is a constant source of inspiration.

No matter how busy she is, Carolyn always takes time to answer her mail. You can reach her at P.O. Box 2757, Goose Creek, SC 29445.

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Read an Excerpt

Convent of the Sisters of Charity The Territory of New Mexico—1894
THE GIRL WOULD NEVER BE A NUN. Whether she was here by her own volition or that of another, the outcome was obvious. And if she was the one he sought, freeing her from the convent was of immediate necessity. Even if she did not answer to the name of Isabella Montgomery, she had answered the call of his sensual nature.
For one glimpse of that face, that portrait of innocence personified, would be enough to bring the most stalwart saint to his knees.
And Rafael McKenzie was no saint. Therefore, his perception of the female he watched was, of necessity, tainted by his carnal nature. He was a man who had, early on in his life, set himself up as a judge of womankind, his decisions based on an early brush with the evil inherent in many women of great beauty.
Not that beauty itself was evil, but that the quality of perfection might be used for a woman's own gain. Thus, the temptation to profit by pleasing features and a body that matched the same description might be overwhelming to a woman of less than stalwart principles.
He'd heard of her, this woman who lived in a convent, adhering to a lifestyle that was almost guaranteed to oblige a woman to live within moral boundaries. The absence of men in her vicinity made it probable that she was a virgin, a woman untouched, more than fit for his wife. He had no illusions about marriage, for he'd seen a great variety in his life, and none of them had inspired him to that fate. Only the need for a bride offered the incentive now to seek out a candidate.
That she was pledged to another man was well-known in the community where she had been born and raised. Untilshe'd been sent, on the brink of her womanhood, to the convent of the Sisters of Charity, where she would be taught the ways of a wife. And now, four years later, she certainly must be more than prepared for such a life. And so he had sought her out.
The Diamond Ranch needed a woman to sleep in the massive bedchamber belonging to the master of the domain, the man who was due to inherit the thousands of acres making up the most successful ranch in the territory. A woman to grace the table in the enormous dining room, to sit before the parlor fireplace in the winter months and blossom, eventually, with a child beneath her skirt.
A wife for the man who was about to step into the position of master of all he surveyed.
And Rafael McKenzie was that man, inheritor of Diamond Ranch, a man whose father would soon leave him his inheritance with but one stipulation. He must find a bride, must bring her to this house where no woman had been in residence for a number of years. Oh, there were maids and cooks, those who did the everyday chores that ran the house in a smooth manner. But there was no regal beauty to carry on the fine bloodlines of the McKenzie name.
And so, if he was to inherit the ranch, if the wealth of his father was to become his, he must find a woman fit to take on the task of mistress of the Diamond Ranch, in a timely manner. For the will stipulated that he could not wait to be married for more than a year after his father's death. Once the days of mourning were past, he must marry. And to that end Rafael McKenzie lent his intelligence, for losing the inheritance was not to be considered.
Marriages were occasionally made in heaven, he had heard; but he was only too aware that, more often than not, a match between two people required a more earthly approach in order to achieve any degree of success.
He'd observed that the most beautiful women rarely made the best wives. Sad, but true, he thought. Yet, looking once more at the vision who sat in a pew at the front of the small chapel, he decided that he would be willing to bend his ideal to suit the female he'd sought and found. For there were compensations to be found if the woman in his marriage bed were to be the one he saw before him now. He could tolerate much for the joys inherent in bedding the woman known as Isabella Montgomery.
She'd been described as a beautiful child, and the words still fit her. For she had grown to be a magnificent woman. From this angle, it was hard to judge entirely the degree of beauty she possessed. Hair hidden beneath a starched arrangement of white fabric, a scarf of sorts, and body almost entirely enclosed by a gray serviceable dress, there was very little of the girl exposed for a man to look upon.
But her face alone, he decided, was worth his best effort. To that end, he took careful note of the pure line of her forehead, the wide-set eyes, the high cheekbones that told of some long-ago ancestor whose bloodlines were not of common descent. Skin so translucent it might have been spun from silk, fragile and delicate features, cheeks that begged a man's touch, eyes that looked out upon the world with a sadness equal only to a bereaved mother whose child has been stricken. She was a woman unequaled, if just her beauty were to be considered, but as a female in this setting, her beauty was not the first consideration. For her position here was of prime import.
As a nun, a teacher or nurse, perhaps, she would be a resounding failure, if he were any judge of such a thing. For what schoolboy could look upon that face without losing his heart? What man, nearing death, could look into those eyes without regaining his strength and vowing to live and exist simply for the opportunity to woo and win her?
And what man of the cloth, the most stalwart leader in the church, could see the expression of pure innocence on those pristine features and not be stricken by the beauty she owned? Would not toss his vows to the four winds in order to claim her as his own?
Rafael was not even faintly related to any of those vulnerable male creatures who had raced through his mind. His thoughts were neither youthful nor pure, his intentions probably better not spoken aloud and his mind not closed to temptation of any sort.
Particularly not the enticement now set before him. The black-garbed priest at the front of the small chapel droned on and, never a man to listen overmuch to a listing of his sins, Rafael managed to put the sermon from his mind and concentrate instead on the best way of removing the girl from her circumstances. That she would take his hand and walk willingly from this house of worship was a scenario he could not hope for, one he was not about to risk.
Perhaps he could announce to those in charge that he had come to claim a missing heiress and proclaim to one and all that she was indeed that treasure—if, indeed, she proved to be the fabled Isabella Montgomery. Identifying her might be simple enough, but claiming her would pose a problem.
For he was not the man who had been chosen for her to wed.
A fact that garnered many thanks from his arrogant soul, for the person of Juan Garcia was not to be envied. A man who was without honor, thinking only of himself and his cravings. A man who had numerous bastards strewn about the countryside, results of his tendencies to plunder the poor families of their women. He was known as a man without the personal habits of a gentleman.
In plain language, he was not a man well liked by anyone who knew him. His only claim to fame was the betrothal agreement that would allow him to claim Isabella Montgomery as his bride on her eighteenth birthday, a day but a week away. Though he had come from a good family, the lines had become flawed as they applied to the man. He'd attained a degree of wealth, but land was more to be desired than mere money, and in that vein, Garcia was lacking.
An agreement such as that written between Garcia and Charles Montgomery for the hand of his daughter would not hold water if the girl were claimed, married and bedded by another. A man might be obliged to offer recompense, but the bride herself would be considered damaged goods.
She would be ruined in the eyes of Juan Garcia, unfit for marriage. And if Rafael McKenzie had any luck at all in this venture, Juan Garcia would never get his hands on the maiden.
The idea of claiming a missing heiress was certainly enticing, but then, who would believe Rafael McKenzie had any right to such a woman? Certainly not the flock of black-garbed nuns and the white-haired priest who seemed to be the guardian of said flock, for he would warrant they possessed more than their share of intelligence. And so it seemed he must take matters into his own hands and solve the dilemma himself.
The mass appeared to be at an end, for, arms outstretched toward his small congregation, the priest uttered words of blessing. At least, that was the general consensus of the worshipers surrounding him, for they stood and shuffled slowly and ceremoniously from the chapel.
Not willing to be conspicuous by his deviation from the expected, Rafael followed the three men who had shared a pew with him, and managed to keep a watchful eye on the woman he believed to be Isabella. She was alone, not by choice apparently, but by purpose, for even as she made her way down the aisle, she walked alone, segregated from the others who had attended early mass.
Once outside the door of the chapel, Rafael stood to one side, watching as the girl walked sedately down the two steps and onto the path that led to the larger building to his right.
Last evening, upon his arrival here, he'd found a beautiful oasis in the midst of the surrounding arid countryside, and inside a dormitory of sorts he'd been given a small room in which to sleep. Hidden in a veritable Garden of Eden, the buildings, the bare dormitory and the stark, almost unadorned chapel, were simple, in a setting worthy of more ornate structures.
Perhaps a cathedral, he thought, his mind wandering as his gaze focused on the figure that walked away from him. She would be more suited to a cathedral, a setting that would enhance her beauty.
But not as a nun, not as a Sister of Charity, which was what she appeared to be on the verge of becoming, here in this dingy bit of solitude. Instead, he could envision her walking down a long aisle, her garb that of a bride, her hair long and lustrous beneath a veil, for surely they had not yet cut that glorious mass from her head. Her body adorned in a white gown of silk, sewn to fit the perfection of her form, completed the vision he wove, wishing that even now he could see through the gray garb she wore.
He almost laughed aloud as the thoughts flitted through his mind. She might very well be far from perfect, for her form was not to be seen beneath the all-enveloping folds of her garment. Yet, he knew. Knew with a sense he could not explain, that the woman he watched was perfection personified.
Woman? Perhaps. Or a girl just hovering on the brink of womanhood, a virginal beauty who waited only for the proper man to toss her over the brink into the settled, safe world of marriage. Or failing that, perhaps the swirling waters of sin.
And at that idea, he cleared his throat and consciously drew his features into a solemn visage of a man contemplating his final resting place. Surely the sermon just delivered in the chapel behind him was meant to put even the most jaded man on the straight and narrow.
Not that Rafael was jaded. Only weary of the effort to find a virtuous woman, one who would fit the formula set forth by his family for the future mistress of the Diamond Ranch. Virtuous women were not difficult to find, for he'd seen them in every town he'd passed, usually left on the shelf when the plum choices had been scooped up by more discerning men.
Virtue was not what he sought. He would accept it as a bonus, but his thoughts were more on a woman—a girl, perhaps—who had a face he would welcome in his bed. Not in the dark of night, but in the light of morning, when only the clear, honest eyes belonging to a woman he could live with for an eternity would look up from the pillow beside his and meet his gaze.
Unless he took a hand in things, such an outcome was not likely. He was sought after by the mothers who wanted their daughters to make a fine marriage, who knew he was a man of wealth, of good family, a trophy to be proud of should their female progeny be adept at snagging his attention.
Even his own mother, before her death, had pushed him in the direction of several such young ladies, creatures he had shunned with barely any effort, knowing they would not measure up to what he wanted in a woman. And so he had followed the tale of a sequestered woman, a story told by men who had caught sight of her as a girl, here in her present setting. Kept from public view, she had become a legend of sorts, a woman who lived in a convent, yet was not a nun. Perhaps intending to form such a vocation, but as yet, simply a resident.
Now that he'd seen her for himself, he felt a sense of exultation. For the woman he'd dreamed of had become a reality. What he wanted was even now walking before him, heading for the building where he suspected she also lodged.
He would see to it that she was not left here to become another one of the creatures who walked solemnly to and fro, hands folded and eyes lowered in a pose of sanctity and prayer. She would not be wasted thusly. He had decided it would not be, and those who knew Rafael would not have expected any less from him, than that he rescue her from her fate.
No matter that it might be her own choice that had brought her here.
He walked slowly toward his destination, intent on gathering his clothing, his pack of belongings and seeking out Isabella's whereabouts. The cell where he'd slept was small and unadorned, a stark example of the usual accommodations here, he was certain, for every room he passed seemed to be formed of the same components as his own private cubicle. And such was no doubt the type of place where the object of his search slept. He envisioned her in a white gown, engulfed in yards of cotton fabric, lying on a virginal bed, probably not any softer than the one he had arisen from just an hour since. She slept alone, of that he was certain. For the look on her face was that of a woman unawakened.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    A reviewer

    Although I had no trouble finishing this book, it had me at times wondering if Carolyn was very sure how she wanted to develop her characters. It seemed they would do things directly against the character type so well depicted in the beginning. Rafael got on my nerves - he would be so strong and hard toward Isabella and any woman would despise his control of her unless of course she was happy just to be a doormat wife. Then suddenly he would be the most caring man in the world and giving her back rubs and such. Juan Garcia is depicted as a cruel man and yet when he finally does capture Isabella he is rather nice to her! He feeds her by himself and allows her privacy and doesn't try to claim her in any way. So much for cruelty. I also found myself truly surprised that Isabella could promise with all her heart to stay and love and the next morning take off from the ranch without even looking back - made her look rather shallow! I felt that the stage set at the beginning of the book did not always hold true. It was an enjoyable book but a little sappy.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2009

    poorly executed

    This book had possibilities but the male lead was mor antagonistic then likeable and that heroine was weak and only slightly more likeable. There were moments when I thought was geeting better but then it regressed. this is most definitely the worst book I have read from this author and one of the worst books I've read overall,

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    Too much angst!

    What could have been a sweet and tender story turned out to be one in which you were glad just to get to the last page -- but at least you could get there. The "bad guys" in the story -- a cousin who really wanted to marry the hero and the older, evil guy who was betrothed to the heroine -- just seemed to feel like "add ons" to the story. And, the "bride" just couldn't decide if she wanted to be bedded or go back to the convent -- and even that felt unbelievable. I was disappointed to say the least.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    entertaining historical romance

    In 1894 New Mexico territory, his dying father demanded Rafael McKenzie make a death bed vow to soon marry a virtuous woman. He agreed though part of his reasoning was to honor his dad, but he also knows the stipulation if he is to fully inherit the family¿s Diamond Ranch.------------- Four years earlier Charles Montgomery informed his fourteen years old daughter Isabella, living in the Convent of the Sisters of Charity, that sometime in the next few years she will marry dark soul Juan Garcia. Now Charles tells his offspring the contract with Juan will be fulfilled immediately. Rafael believes the pristine Isabel is the ideal woman as stipulated by his father on the death bed. He decides he will marry her so he abducts her taking her to his ranch where he hopes to convince her they should wed. On the trek to his spread, both feels an attraction, but each is wary to act upon it. When they reach The Diamond Ranch, Rafael introduces his intended bride to a distant relative staying there, the lovely vivacious Lucia.---------- Lucia steals the show from the lead couple as her actions ignite the story line as Isabella turns jealous and Rafael confused. Although the romance between Isabella and Rafael is enjoyable to follow, it seems too formal when compared to Lucia¿s kick off her heels. Fans will enjoy this entertaining historical romance as Lucia heats the sheets.--------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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