Rugged and Relentless (Husbands for Hire Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Wanted:

3 Godfearing Men. . . .

Object: Marriage

and joint ownership of a sawmill

 

 

An Enterprising Woman Seeking a Husband

Evelyn is looking for a mate to help set up a sawmill on land she now owns with two other husband-hunting women. But their ...

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Rugged and Relentless (Husbands for Hire Series #1)

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Overview

Wanted:

3 Godfearing Men. . . .

Object: Marriage

and joint ownership of a sawmill

 

 

An Enterprising Woman Seeking a Husband

Evelyn is looking for a mate to help set up a sawmill on land she now owns with two other husband-hunting women. But their plans go badly awry. Instead of orderly written responses to their scandalous ad, two dozen prospective grooms crowd the town of Hope Falls. Can Evie find room in her heart for the right man?

A Relentless Bounty Hunter Seeking Revenge

Jacob Granger gave up the birthright of his family sawmill to chase down his brother’s murderer. Hot on the killer’s trail, the logger-turned-bounty hunter has only one clue—a most unusual circled ad. . . . Jake’s last chance lies in Hope Falls.

Find More Than They Expect

It was a long shot, but Jake won’t quit now, even if he has to cash in on his logging experience and pretend to court Miss Evelyn Thompson. Will this sweet cook turn his lust for vengeance into a hunger for a better life? Will Jake be able to convince her doubting heart he’s a man she can love. . .and trust?

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Editorial Reviews

Abbie's Reading Corner - Abbie Tireman
This is the kind of book that makes a great movie! The characters where well developed and the plot was solid.
The K-Force - Katherine Todd
Fresh writing and funny exchanges kept me entertained. This book was a light-hearted escape from reality and definitely worth the read!
RT Book Reviews - Chandra McNeil
Hake begins her new series with her trademark wit and style in this lively story. Since the characters are setting up shop and solving a mystery, the romance takes a bit of a backseat.
A Book A Day - Camille Buffenmeyer
This is a great period fiction book. It is very unconventional displaying strong women who take thingsinto their own hands at a time when most women were subordinate wives and not often much more. I love the character and spunk of each of the women.

I look forward to the next book in the series, I am so interested to find out what happens to these women and if they all settle down happily married in Hope Falls.

Babs World of Books - Barbara Hightower
I have to say I found Rugged & Relentless very entertaining. The characters are all well done.
Musings by Maureen - Maureen Timerman
This book was delightful. I loved the banter that went on between the woman and the men. Also the dialogue between the four woman kept me giggling. This is a twist on the mail order brides, with the woman advertising for men. When the men see the advertisement they are expecting ugly woman, but these girls are far from that. Can you imagine going where there 5 men for each woman? The book has murder, romance, and the Wild West thrown in. Can't wait for the next books in this series and finish the romance of the other 3 woman!
Wakela Runen's World - Norma Wills
This was the first book by this author that I have had the chance to read. I am so glad that I did too. This book was wonderfully written.

I absolutely loved the characters. This author definitely has a great wit to her writing. The plot was great. This is the first book in a series and it promises to be a great series.

I highly suggest this fun read.

Lisa is a Bookworm - Lisa Faber
Let me just say from the start, I was surprised by this book. I wasn't anticipating a great read, but I found one. I loved the whit between the two main characters, Evie and Jacob. The rest of the characters have humor as well, but the focus in this book was Evie and Jacob. I will now be adding a new author as one of my favorites. I read this as a galley from netgalley and will be purchasing a hard copy. I will be eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.
Debbie's Book Bag - Debbie Lester
I loved the overall premise of the book and it flowed very well. This is a great first novel in a series and readers will definitely tune in to see who the other women choose and what happens to them. Four headstrong and resourceful women is a bigdraw for those of us who don't want to be considered 'fragile' and unable to do things because of our gender. I thought the author did an excellent job of showing the strength of these four women, while also allowing them to be vulnerable. Evie's comments about being self conscious of her curves and going on a diet will allow readers to identify with her character, as well as her ability to cook.
Bookworm 1858 - Stephanie Fleischer
In short, I loved this book. It was absolutely delightful and I flew through it, putting off homework in order to read just a few more pages. While the basic premise seems to be a romance, it's actually more about friendship especially among the four ladies.

Overall: Delightful-highly recommended!

Sojourner's Journey - Rachelle Sperling
One of my favorite things about Kelly Eileen Hake is that her writing is full of humor and creativity. So many books have similar story lines and if you read as much as I do, you often hear echos of past tales in each new book you encounter. Rugged and Relentless is entirely fresh and new. Who ever heard of Mail Order Husbands? What a creative idea for a series!

In this fun and unexpected story the dialogue moved at a rapid pace. Sometimes I was sure I heard the characters talking over each other, the varied conversations swirling around the room. The Hake trademark humor filled the story, but don’t let the laughs fool you, this tale isn’t just bits of humorous fluff. Themes of honor, acceptance and persevering love underscored the lessons learned in Hope Falls.

I would recommend Rugged and Relentless. I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

CBA Retailers - Kelsey Shade
Rugged and Relentless is a great beginning to a new series by Kelly Eileen Hake; it shows the difference strengths and personalities in four friends and the faith it take them to achieve their dreams.
Tammy Book Parlor - Tammy Griffin
A wonderful, fast paced read with delightful dialogue and characters.
Once Upon a Romance - Trudy
I have to say I enjoyed the way Ms Hake’s characters were less than perfect. It was easy to relate to the self-doubts, the struggles with faith and forgiveness yet heart-warming to see that love can blossom in spite of human faults.
Rugged & Relentless has a good mix of mystery, subtle inspiration, love and forgiveness; a story that will keep your thoughts racing long after the last page is read.
Word Up! - Stacey Dale
“Rugged and Relentless” by Kelly Eileen Hake is a wonderful adventure about a group of women who, due to tragic circumstances and courageous character, travel to Hope Falls to begin a lumber business. This sweet and rugged romance is set against a dynamic backdrop of rugged beauty. When the ladies place an advertisement in the local paper for husbands, men begin flocking to their door to fill the bill. Novels like these serve as reminders of the strength and character and pioneering spirit that build this nation into the great country that it is. It makes me wonder if anything remotely like this ever took place in reality.
My Book Addiction Reviews - April Renn
A must read for all and any historical romance readers along with Western readers,and a new concept "mail order Husbands".
Thoughts from a Compulsive Reader - Rachel Ropper
If you're looking for an unconventional h
Once Upon a Romance

I have to say I enjoyed the way Ms Hake’s characters were less than perfect. It was easy to relate to the self-doubts, the struggles with faith and forgiveness yet heart-warming to see that love can blossom in spite of human faults.

Rugged & Relentless has a good mix of mystery, subtle inspiration, love and forgiveness; a story that will keep your thoughts racing long after the last page is read.
— Trudy

RT Book Reviews

Hake begins her new series with her trademark wit and style in this lively story. Since the characters are setting up shop and solving a mystery, the romance takes a bit of a backseat.

— Chandra McNeil

Debbie's Book Bag

I loved the overall premise of the book and it flowed very well. This is a great first novel in a series and readers will definitely tune in to see who the other women choose and what happens to them. Four headstrong and resourceful women is a bigdraw for those of us who don't want to be considered 'fragile' and unable to do things because of our gender. I thought the author did an excellent job of showing the strength of these four women, while also allowing them to be vulnerable. Evie's comments about being self conscious of her curves and going on a diet will allow readers to identify with her character, as well as her ability to cook.

— Debbie Lester

A Book A Day

This is a great period fiction book. It is very unconventional displaying strong women who take thingsinto their own hands at a time when most women were subordinate wives and not often much more. I love the character and spunk of each of the women.

I look forward to the next book in the series, I am so interested to find out what happens to these women and if they all settle down happily married in Hope Falls.

— Camille Buffenmeyer

Abbie's Reading Corner

This is the kind of book that makes a great movie! The characters where well developed and the plot was solid.

— Abbie Tireman

Mary Buhrle
This book is a fun read with just a bit of a mystery twist to keep it fresh. Definitely worth the read.
Thoughts from a Compulsive Reader

If you're looking for an unconventional h
— Rachel Ropper

Wakela Runen's World

This was the first book by this author that I have had the chance to read. I am so glad that I did too. This book was wonderfully written.

I absolutely loved the characters. This author definitely has a great wit to her writing. The plot was great. This is the first book in a series and it promises to be a great series.

I highly suggest this fun read.

— Norma Wills

Sojourner's Journey

One of my favorite things about Kelly Eileen Hake is that her writing is full of humor and creativity. So many books have similar story lines and if you read as much as I do, you often hear echos of past tales in each new book you encounter. Rugged and Relentless is entirely fresh and new. Who ever heard of Mail Order Husbands? What a creative idea for a series!

In this fun and unexpected story the dialogue moved at a rapid pace. Sometimes I was sure I heard the characters talking over each other, the varied conversations swirling around the room. The Hake trademark humor filled the story, but don’t let the laughs fool you, this tale isn’t just bits of humorous fluff. Themes of honor, acceptance and persevering love underscored the lessons learned in Hope Falls.

I would recommend Rugged and Relentless. I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

— Rachelle Sperling

CBA Retailers

Rugged and Relentless is a great beginning to a new series by Kelly Eileen Hake; it shows the difference strengths and personalities in four friends and the faith it take them to achieve their dreams.

— Kelsey Shade

The K-Force

Fresh writing and funny exchanges kept me entertained. This book was a light-hearted escape from reality and definitely worth the read!

— Katherine Todd

Babs World of Books

I have to say I found Rugged & Relentless very entertaining. The characters are all well done.

— Barbara Hightower

Musings by Maureen

This book was delightful. I loved the banter that went on between the woman and the men. Also the dialogue between the four woman kept me giggling. This is a twist on the mail order brides, with the woman advertising for men. When the men see the advertisement they are expecting ugly woman, but these girls are far from that. Can you imagine going where there 5 men for each woman? The book has murder, romance, and the Wild West thrown in. Can't wait for the next books in this series and finish the romance of the other 3 woman!

— Maureen Timerman

Lisa is a Bookworm

Let me just say from the start, I was surprised by this book. I wasn't anticipating a great read, but I found one. I loved the whit between the two main characters, Evie and Jacob. The rest of the characters have humor as well, but the focus in this book was Evie and Jacob. I will now be adding a new author as one of my favorites. I read this as a galley from netgalley and will be purchasing a hard copy. I will be eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

— Lisa Faber

Bookworm 1858

In short, I loved this book. It was absolutely delightful and I flew through it, putting off homework in order to read just a few more pages. While the basic premise seems to be a romance, it's actually more about friendship especially among the four ladies.

Overall: Delightful-highly recommended!

— Stephanie Fleischer

Tammy Book Parlor

A wonderful, fast paced read with delightful dialogue and characters.

— Tammy Griffin

Word Up!

“Rugged and Relentless” by Kelly Eileen Hake is a wonderful adventure about a group of women who, due to tragic circumstances and courageous character, travel to Hope Falls to begin a lumber business. This sweet and rugged romance is set against a dynamic backdrop of rugged beauty. When the ladies place an advertisement in the local paper for husbands, men begin flocking to their door to fill the bill. Novels like these serve as reminders of the strength and character and pioneering spirit that build this nation into the great country that it is. It makes me wonder if anything remotely like this ever took place in reality.

— Stacey Dale

My Book Addiction Reviews

A must read for all and any historical romance readers along with Western readers,and a new concept "mail order Husbands".

— April Renn

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607422679
  • Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Series: Husbands for Hire Series, #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 51,085
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Kelly Eileen Hake received her first writing contract at the tender age of seventeen and arranged to wait three months until she was able to legally sign it. Since that first contract a decade ago, she’s fulfilled twenty contracts ranging from short stories to novels. In her spare time, she’s attained her BA in English literature and composition, earned her credential to teach English in secondary schools, and went on to complete her MA in writing popular fiction.



Writing for Barbour combines two of Kelly’s great loves—history and reading. A CBA bestselling author and member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she’s been privileged to earn numerous Heartsong Presents Reader’s Choice Awards and is known for her witty, heartwarming historical romances. A newlywed, she and her gourmet-chef husband live in Southern California with their golden lab mix, Midas!


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Read an Excerpt

Rugged & Relentless

Husbands for Hireâ"Book I


By Kelly Eileen Hake

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Kelly Eileen Hake
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60742-268-6


CHAPTER 1

Charleston, Virginia, May 5, 1886


Sell it." Her sister's voice cracked on the second word. "Tell Lacey to sell it all and be rid of the accursed place forever."

"Tell her yourself." Evelyn Thompson thrust a handkerchief at her sibling but offered no other solace. "Lacey promises some exciting news, and you've hidden inside too long, Cora."

"Mourning, not hiding."

"Lacey mourns for her brother but honors him by pressing on." But here is another matter. Lord, I can't allow the tragedy of the mines to bury my sister along with her fiancé. "We must change our plans and see to our futures."

The sodden handkerchief plummeted to the floor in Cora's first show of spirit in weeks. "I told you—sell it. Sell every inch of Hope Falls we own. I'll never set foot in the town that took Braden, and no profit will be made from a ghost town. Tell Lacey to take the offer and not look back."

"You can tell your opinion to Lacey and Naomi in person."

"I can't." The fire in her eyes dimmed. "Evie, please."

The whisper tore into the very foundation of her relationship with her sister. For as long as she could remember, Evie'd sheltered, raised, and comforted Cora. Streams of mopped tears, scores of tended scrapes, hours of hugs invested demanded that she do the same once more. But their lives hung on the outcome of today's meeting.

If I can just get her there! "You can." Evie picked up the soiled handkerchief and thrust it into her sister's hands. "You must."

With that, she summoned the carriage and headed Cora off when she made for the stairs. Instead, Evie thrust a black bonnet atop her sister's head and all but hauled her out the front door and into the waiting conveyance.

The Lyman house sprawled only a few short blocks away—a simple walk the sisters had made hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. But not today. Today, Evie didn't trust her own ability to force her sister through a walk. Today, those few blocks yawned before her, stretched beyond recognition and filled with peril. Thus, the carriage. It wasn't until they sat safely seated inside that either of them spoke.

"I haven't stepped foot in that house since his memorial." Cora's quiet words held no accusation, only resignation.

Evie's stomach wrenched—and not only from the jostle of the carriage, although that would not have been surprising. Any sort of sustained motion managed that unsavory effect. No, this time the sensation traced back to her own insensitivity in forcing her sister to face a lifetime of memories filled with her recently departed fiancé. It isn't the meeting Cora has been avoiding—it's the house! That should have been obvious. She gave herself a mental kick. "Forgive me. I hadn't realized the reason you hesitated—"

"Nor did I, to tell the truth. It wouldn't have occurred to me if you hadn't forced me out of isolation." A rueful smile played about the corners of Cora's lips for a brief moment before tightening into grim determination. "We're here."

Fashioned of stately brick and built along Georgian lines, Lyman House graciously watched over the end of a curved street facing an open park. It had, for at least three previous generations, watched over Lymans and seen them prosper. Until Braden and Lacey broke the delicate pattern. They first bore the misfortune to be orphaned—albeit after reaching their majorities. But the real trouble seemed to be their disregard for more traditional British customs in favor of a thoroughly American spirit of curiosity and adventure.

A spirit Evie and Cora shared. A spirit that led to an impulsive investment in a promising mining town and, ultimately, Braden's death in a catastrophic cave-in.

So the flags flew at half-mast around the grand residence, and the servants wore black and, as they habitually wore black or gray, added a black armband to signal the household's loss. Solemn quiet completely unlike the usual hustle and bustle of the big place shrouded the building.

Too much change in too little time. As she climbed the front steps, Evie fancied the house hibernated; the windows of its eyes and ears no longer flung open to catch the rhythm of the world around it, it slept. She shivered at the notion that it seemed to be waiting for something—much the same way her sister had been ever since word of the Hope Falls tragedy arrived.

Mr. Burk opened the door before Evie so much as raised the knocker, disproving her theory that the house slumbered. "Miss Lyman and Miss Higgins await you in the morning room."

They made their way past the grand staircase, to the left, down the second hallway, and into the third door on the right without any further guidance. The Thompson sisters counted as family, and all the servants knew it. Not one of them would say a word about how, with Braden gone, Cora would never become a Lyman in truth. Not the way everyone always expected.

And if anyone dares show such insensitivity, I'll step on his toe. That should be enough to erase any thoughtlessness until the fool's foot heals. Evie's eyes narrowed. Slowly.

"Evie! Cora!" Lacey rushed to greet them, a froth of black fabric swirling about her feet as she sprang from her chair to flood them in hugs.

If the ponderous weight of grief seemed absent in Lacey's effusive embrace, it etched its burden upon her companion. Miss Naomi Higgins, who boasted a mere five years more than her charge, made her way across the room at a more sedate pace. Her thick muslin skirts dragged at her steps, the harsh black of mourning making the premature streak of pure white at her crown even more startling than usual.

"Naomi." Evie placed her hands on her friend's shoulders, exchanging an understanding glance before drawing her close. Although the slightly older woman seemed disapproving, the two of them shared a special bond. Naomi's propriety kept Lacey's exuberance in check much in the same way Evie looked after Cora.

"Evie." Naomi sank into the hug as though allowing herself a brief respite before putting the starch back in her spine. "It's good to see you." She turned to Cora for a somewhat awkward embrace. "Both of you."

"Come." Lacey grabbed Evie's and Cora's hands, pulling them to a plush sofa and settling herself between them. "Have some scones or tarts—Cook knew you were coming." Her smile may have fooled a casual acquaintance, but Evie saw beyond the brittle facade erected around a long-standing joke.

The Lyman cook constantly worried that Cora—with her unending energy and impossibly tiny waistline—needed to eat more. At the same time, she respected Evie's position as a restaurateur and never missed an opportunity to impress her. So the great joke at Lyman Place was that if they wanted to eat well, they need only invite a Thompson for tea.

Evie put as much warmth as she could muster into her answering smile and selected a scone—although her stomach still roiled from both the carriage and the difficulties she couldn't keep from her sister. "How could I resist?"

From the look Cora shot her, at least one person knew she could have resisted easily. Evie didn't mind—anything that made amusement flash across Cora's features was well worth the price. She nibbled at the edge of her scone before putting it down with undue haste. Really, daily carriage rides might do much to improve my figure.... She shoved the thought back. Now wasn't the time.

With pleasantries out of the way, silence usurped the place of comfortable conversation and laughter. No more would their afternoons be filled with sharing updates from Hope Falls, poring over catalogs for their businesses, and making plans for their eventual trip out West to join Braden.

Wedding plans for Cora's big send-off evaporated like so much spilled milk, and no matter how old the adages about crying being no use, the sense of loss seeped into every niche of their lives. Everything left seemed soured, though Evie refused to say so. No. We'll make the best of things, just as we did when Pa died....

Now there was land, interest in a mine to be partitioned off. Decisions to be made about Evie's café and Lacey's general store out in Hope Falls—the businesses in which they'd invested so much on the promise of their new lives. The businesses that now lay fallow in a soon-to-be ghost town. Those dreams kept company with men who'd never made it out of the mines. Lost forever.

"Well"—Naomi cleared her throat—"we can't sit here all day and hope the situation changes." She gave a slight wince at the word "hope."

They all did.

If Naomi could be counted upon to break the ice, that left Evie to keep chopping away at the frigid barrier surrounding their futures. "She's right. We need to discuss what we're going to do, ladies. Where do we go from here?"

"Not Colorado." This from Cora, who looked as though she would have leapt from her seat if Lacey weren't still clasping her hand. "I'll tell both of you exactly what I told Evie—sell it all and good riddance!"

Evie knew the others awaited her response to this outburst, but she held her tongue. This couldn't be her decision. Not only because Lacey held the principal investment, and they'd made promises to their friend, but because Evie felt torn between the two choices herself.

Part of her agreed with Cora. The venture had cost far more than they'd foreseen, wiping out her inheritance and savings. Then it took the ultimate price in Braden's life. Hope Falls ... even the name, which once seemed whimsical, now sounded a sinister warning. A dark part of her mind, the part that whispered superstitions and imagined phantasms when tree branches scraped windows in the dead of night, urged her to protect her sister and wash her hands of the place once and for all. Not to be secretly melodramatic, she chided herself.

Evie focused on the more practical, and thus important, aspects of the situation. With the businesses not up and running and the town defunct, the chances of recouping even a reasonable percentage of those investments were all but nonexistent. And without Braden, Evie needed to think about how she'd support not only herself, but Cora as well. Could she afford to sell out? If they couldn't revitalize Hope Falls, could she afford not to? That's what it all came down to. That's what she'd come to find out. Evie returned Lacey's gaze in silent question, noting the barely perceptible shake of her flaxen head.

"My solicitor assures me that if we sell, we'll lose almost everything we've put into Hope Falls." Lacey bit her lip—most likely thinking about how buying into the town so they could move with Braden and Cora had been her idea. "He also assures me that, with everyone leaving, the chance of recognizing a profit is negligible."

"What does that leave?" Heart thumping, Evie crumbled her scone into a fine powder, where at least it wouldn't cling to her waistline.

"Keeping the land until it becomes a more marketable asset is what Mr. Slurd suggests." Lacey's eyes narrowed. "I disagree. If selling it means we lose everything, and leaving it fallow means the same, we simply must find another way."

"How?" Naomi spread her hands in a fatalistic gesture. Her involvement more limited to a supportive role by virtue of her lack of personal investment, she didn't offer any outright opinions. "I don't see another option, unless another mining company would buy up the entire area."

"There's been an offer, but it's ludicrous."

Evie's fists clenched at the sum Lacey revealed. It wasn't even what she'd paid to begin the café, much less enough for her, Lacey's, and Cora's stakes. Not to mention what Braden left in his will—why, he'd been co-owner of the mine itself. "Shysters!"

"Is there any way to bring the town back?" Naomi's question surprised Evie, who thought her friend would be more in favor of selling out and staying in Virginia.

"No. It floated loose from hell and needs to go back." Cora's voice sounded oddly flat. "There's no saving it."

Or us.

* * *

You shouldn't pace. A voice that sounded suspiciously like it belonged to Lacey's mother echoed with her steps. The habit would surely give away her lack of confidence in the plan she was about to propose.

Lacey expected resistance from Naomi but knew she could win over her companion if Evie joined her. Cora, on the other hand ... She shot a worried glance at her closest friend. Cora would be dead set against the idea.

But we need a solution to our troubles, and this is all that's come up. How can I convince the others to trust in this vision for the rebirth of Hope Falls, when they see it as a place of death?

"We need to redeem it." Lacey reached one end of the room and marched resolutely back toward the settee, where the Thompson sisters watched with wary expressions. Naomi, if it were possible, looked even more leery.

"Do we have some sort of vouchers for the land?" Cora faltered. "I'd thought there'd be more official documents but didn't ask Braden many questions when I signed over my dowry. I trusted him to make the right decisions for our future."

"We all did." Evie patted her sister's knee. "But no one could have foreseen the mine's collapse. No one."

Naomi steered the conversation to less emotional waters. "There are no vouchers to redeem."

"I meant Hope Falls." Lacey fought to keep still. "We need to redeem the town. It's what Braden would have wanted—for us to help Hope Falls recognize its potential and become the success he planned. We owe it to his memory, and to ourselves, not to give up on everything we prepared for."

"It's a town, not a person." Evie's gaze held a measure of calm Lacey envied. "It cannot be made whole again with the mine collapsed and unable to reopen—there's no longer a reason for it to exist. There are other train stops nearby, with Durango and the like."

"We can save it!" Enthusiasm burbled up, threatening a tide of words to drown out the sense of anything she said. Lacey took a deep breath. "It can be saved."

"Towns don't have souls, and even if they did, Hope Falls would be the exception." Cora all but spat the words. "There's no redeeming it. No making it wholesome or eking anything worthwhile from it now."

"Without the ore, there's nothing to sustain the locale." Naomi's response typified the woman herself—cool and logical.

Perhaps Lacey miscalculated. Naomi's analytical mind could be swayed by the economics, and then Evie's practicality might follow.

She curled her fingers toward her palm, thumb picking at her cuticles in a habit her mother would have deplored. Lacey marshaled her points and continued her argument. "That's not true. What Hope Falls now lacks in ore, it still more than makes up in another valuable natural resource with a high demand in today's market." For once in her life, she held her tongue at the right moment, letting that startling tidbit provoke interest. Actually, Lacey bit her tongue to keep from explaining everything all at once, but she wasn't one to quibble about minor details. The main thing was it worked.

All three of the other women—even Cora!—were exchanging quizzical glances and baffled shrugs. Eventually they all focused their attention on Lacey, silently waiting for her to continue.

She couldn't blame them. She always continued, never failed to speak whatever happened to cross her mind. But not this time. This time Lacey would make them ask. Make them invest such simple assets as time, thought, and words into discovering her scheme. It would bring them one step closer to taking part in it. Lacey rather suspected she wouldn't be able to taste anything for a month, but resolutely kept her tongue between her teeth.

"What resource?" Evie—not Naomi, as Lacey expected—broke ranks to ask the question on all their minds.

"Trees!" She almost bounced in her enthusiasm. "The San Juan Mountains are absolutely covered in trees!"

"Lumber," Naomi breathed, understanding instantly. Lacey could have hugged her.

"Precisely. Lumber is in high demand with the supply in New England depleted from centuries of logging. Hope Falls has the supply, and it's situated right on the railroad."

"You're proposing to turn a mining town into a sawmill?" Disbelief tinged Evie's tone, but a spark of interest lit her eyes. "How?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Rugged & Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake. Copyright © 2011 Kelly Eileen Hake. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mail Order Husband?

    When three landowning women put an ad in the paper expressing their desire for healthy, hard-working husbands-for-hire to help them set up and run a sawmill, they never dreamed their tiny town would be overflowing with proposals from bachelors who responded promptly...and in person! Out of this logjam of potential suitors, which one will Evelyn Thompson choose? Jacob Granger trails his brother's murderer to Hope Falls where, to keep his true intentions secret, Jacob pretends to court Miss Evelyn Thompson. Will this lumberjack-turned-bounty-hunter find himself falling for the enterprising female?
    This book was delightful. I loved the banter that went on between the woman and the men. Also the dialogue between the four woman kept me giggling. This is a twist on the mail order brides, with the woman advertising for men. When the men see the advertisement they are expecting ugly woman, but these girls are far from that. Can you imagine going where there 5 men for each woman? The book has murder, romance, and the Wild West thrown in. Can't wait for the next books in this series and finish the romance of the other 3 woman!
    I received a copy of this book from the publisher and was not compensated or expected to give a positive review. The opinions are my own.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Cute!

    This book is a cute little story about four women, three need husbands to try and start up a saw mill in Hope Falls Colorado a goast town, they put a add in paper for Husbands with Logging experience and ended up with two dozen loggers just showing up instead of just responding to the add.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2011

    Loved it

    I didn't want it to end.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    RATING: 4.5) A MUST READ WITH "MAIL ORDER HUSBANDS"! RUGGED & RELENTLESS BY KELLY EILLEEN HAKE.....

    RUGGED & RELENTLESS by Kelly Eileen Hake is an exciting inspirational historical romance set in Hope Falls, Colorado in 1887. This is Book #1 in the "Husbands for Hire" series. Four women who are determined to go to Hope Falls,following ones brother's accident.Braden Lyman,who is Lacey Lyman's brother and Cora Thompson's fiancee was caught in a cool mine accident,thought dead,but survived. The women are Lacey Lyman,Braden's sister,Naomi Higgins,cousin to Lacey and Braden,Cora Thompson,Braden's fiancee and Evelyn (Evie) Thompson,Cora's sister. These four women are not only investors in Hope Falls but also best friends.Together,they desire to "mail order husbands",place an ad requesting the prospective husbands write to a post office in Hope Falls,but they all happen to show up at Hope Falls.While this does create a few problems it gives the ladies a chance to meet each prospective suitor and make their decisions. This first story is about Evelyn Thompson and Jake Granger. Evelyn,while considers herself outspoken,a little plumb for some men,she is an excellent cook and owns a restaurant.Jacob (Jake) Granger,is handsome,a logger turned bounty hunter,since is brother's death at the hands of a gambler.He is in search of this gambler,looking for not only vengeance but for justice for this brother.This search leads him to Hope Falls.and maybe the love of his life. This story has murder,romance,faith,family friends,mail order husbands,throw in a little chaos and a logger turned bounty hunter and you have a fast paced,action packed story that will leave you wanting to read the next installment. Along the way Evelyn and Jake finds hope,peace,faith,and Jake learns that vengeance may not bring him the happiness and peace he thought,especially if he loses the love he may have found with Evelyn.A must read for all and any historical romance readers along with Western readers,and a new concept "mail order Husbands".This book was received for the purpose of review from Net Galley and the publisher and details can be found at Barbour Publishing,Inc. and My Book Addiction Reviews.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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