The Accidental Bride

( 37 )

Overview

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she’s an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders’...

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Overview

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she’s an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders’ Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart—the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Life has have never been easy for divorcée Shay Brandenberger. Still, she has done an amazing job raising her daughter alone. When the bank threatens to foreclose on her ranch, she prays for a miracle, but sometimes these come from the unlikeliest places. Agreeing to play the role of the bride in the Moose Creek Founders Day wedding reenactment, Shay doesn't realize that the groom is played by Travis McCoy, her high school love who broke her heart when he left home to become a rodeo star. Through a series of mishaps, the phony wedding turns out to be legal. Shay wants nothing more than to end the humiliation but staying married may save her home. VERDICT Hunter's second cozy, gentle series romance (after A Cowboy's Touch) should appeal to fans of Lori Wick and Tracie Peterson.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595548023
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Series: A Big Sky Romance Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 586,304
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Denise Hunter is the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom and The Trouble with Cowboys. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. Twitter: @deniseahunterFacebook: authordenisehunter

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Read an Excerpt

the Accidental Bride

A Big Sky Romance
By DENISE HUNTER

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Denise Hunter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-802-3


Chapter One

The bell above the diner's door jingled and—despite her most valiant effort—Shay Brandenberger's eyes darted toward the entry. An unfamiliar couple entered—tourists. She could tell by their khaki Eddie Bauer vests and spanking-new hiking boots. Look out, Yellowstone.

When her heart rate returned to normal, she checked her watch and took a sip of coffee. Five minutes till she met Miss Lucy at the Doll House, forty till she met John Oakley at the bank. What if he said no? What would they do then?

"Mom ... Earth to Mom ..." Olivia waved her hand too close to Shay's face, her brown eyes widening.

"Sorry, hon." The one bright moment of her Saturday was breakfast with her daughter, and she couldn't enjoy it for the dread. "What were you saying?"

Olivia set her fork on her pancake-sticky plate and heaved a sigh worthy of her twelve-year-old self. "Never mind." She bounced across the vinyl bench, her thick brown ponytail swinging. "I'm going to meet Maddy."

"Right back here at noon," Shay called, but Olivia was out the door with the flick of her hand.

The diner buzzed with idle chatter. Silverware clattered and scraped, and the savory smell of bacon and fried eggs unsettled her stomach. She took a sip of the strong brew from the fat rim of her mug.

The bell jingled again. I will not look. I will not look. I will not

The server appeared at her booth, a new girl, and gathered Olivia's dishes. "On the house today."

Shay set down her mug, bristling. "Why?"

The woman shrugged. "Boss's orders," she said, then made off with the dirty dishes.

From the rectangular kitchen window, Mabel Franklin gave Shay a pointed look.

So Shay had helped the couple with their foal the week before. It was the neighborly thing to do.

Fine. She gave a reluctant smile and a wave. She pulled her wallet from her purse, counted out the tip, and dragged herself from the booth, remembering her daughter's bouncy exit. Lately her thirty-two years pressed down on her body like a two-ton boulder.

She opened the diner's door and peeked both ways before exiting the Tin Roof and turning toward the Doll House. She was only checking sidewalk traffic, not hiding. Nope, she wasn't hiding from anyone. The boardwalks were busy on Saturdays. That was why she hadn't come to town for two weeks. Why their pantry was emptier than a water trough at high noon.

She hurried three shops down and slipped into the cool, welcoming air of Miss Lucy's shop.

"'Morning, Miss Lucy."

"'Morning, dear." The elderly woman, in the middle of helping a customer, called over her rounded shoulder, "It's in the back." Miss Lucy's brown eyes were big as buckeyes behind her thick glasses, and her white curls glowed under the spotlights.

"Okeydoke." Shay forced her feet toward the storeroom.

A musty smell assaulted her as she entered the back room and flipped on the overhead fluorescents. She scanned the boxes of doll parts and skeins of yarn until she found what she was looking for. She approached the box, lifted the lid, and parted the tissue.

The wedding gown had been carefully folded and tucked away. Shay ran her fingers over the delicate lace and pearls. Must've been crisp white in its day, but time had cast a long shadow over it. Time had a way of doing that.

Her fingers lingered on the thin fabric. She remembered another time, another dress. A simple white one that hung on her young shoulders, just skimmed the cement of the courthouse steps. The ache that squeezed her heart had faded with time, but it was there all the same. Would it ever go away?

Shaking her head, Shay turned back to the task at hand. The gown seemed too pretty, too fragile to disturb.

Oh well. She'd promised.

She pulled it out and draped it over the box, then shimmied from her jeans. When she was down to the bare necessities, she stepped carefully into the gown. She eased it over her narrow hips and slid her arms into the long sleeves. The neckline was modest, the gathered skirt fuller than anything she ever wore. Here in the air-conditioning it was fine, but she would swelter next Saturday.

Leaving the button-up back gaping, she hitched the skirt to the top of her cowboy boots and entered the store.

Miss Lucy was ushering the customer out the door. When she turned, she stopped, her old-lady shoes squeaking on the linoleum. "Land sakes."

Shay took two steps forward and dropped the skirt. It fell to the floor with a whoosh.

"Fits like a glove," Miss Lucy said. "And with some low heels it'll be the perfect length."

Shay didn't even own heels. "My boots'll have to do. Button the back?"

Miss Lucy waddled forward, turned Shay toward a small wall mirror flecked with time, and began working the tiny pearl buttons.

Shay's breath caught at her image. She forced its release, then frowned. Wedding gowns were bad luck. She'd sworn she'd never wear another. If someone had told her yesterday she'd be wearing this thing today, she'd have said they were one straw short of a bale.

Miss Lucy moved up to the buttons between her shoulders, and Shay lifted her hair. The dress did fit, clinging to her torso like it was made for her, wouldn't you know. Even the color complemented her olive skin.

Still, there was that whole bad luck thing.

And what would everyone think of Shay Brandenberger wearing this valuable piece of Moose Creek heritage? A white wedding gown, no less. If she didn't have the approval of her closest friends and neighbors, what did she have? Not much, to her thinking.

She wanted to cut and run. Wanted to shimmy right out of the dress, tuck it into that box in the storeroom, slip back into her Levi's and plaid button-up, and go back to her ranch where she could hole up for the next six months.

She checked the time and wished Miss Lucy had nimbler fingers. Of all days to do this, a Saturday, when everyone with two legs was in town. And she still had that infernal meeting with John Oakley.

Please, God, I can't lose our home ...

"I'm obliged to you, dear. I completely forgot Jessie was going out of town."

"No problem."

"Baloney. You'd rather be knee-deep in cow dung." The woman's marionette lines at the sides of her mouth deepened.

"It's one hour of my life." A pittance, after all Miss Lucy had done for her.

Miss Lucy finished buttoning, and Shay dropped her hair and smoothed the delicate lace at the cuffs.

"Well, bless you for being willing. God is smiling down on you today for your kindness."

Shay doubted God really cared one way or another. It was her neighbors she worried about.

"Beautiful, just beautiful. You'll be the talk of the town on Founders Day."

"No doubt." Everyone in Moose Creek would be thinking about the last time she'd worn a wedding gown. And the time before that.

Especially the time before that.

Third time's a charm, Shay thought, the corner of her lip turning up.

"Stop fretting," Miss Lucy said, squeezing her shoulders. "You look quite fetching, like the gown was made for you. I won't have to make a single alteration. Why, it fits you better than it ever did Jessie—don't you tell her I said so."

Shay tilted her head. Maybe Miss Lucy was right. The dress did make the most of her figure. And she had as much right to wear it as anyone. Maybe more—she was born and raised here, after all. It was just a silly old reenactment anyway. No one cared who the bride and groom were.

The bell jingled as the door opened behind her. She glanced in the mirror, over her shoulder, where a hulking silhouette filled the shop's doorway. There was something familiar in the set of the man's broad shoulders, in the slow way he reached up and removed his hat.

The sight of him constricted her rib cage, squeezed the air from her lungs as if she were wearing a corset. But she wasn't wearing a corset. She was wearing a wedding gown. Just as she had been the last time she'd set eyes on Travis McCoy.

Chapter Two

Travis McCoy stopped just past the threshold of Miss Lucy's store. He paused, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the light before letting himself believe it. Shay Brandenberger really was standing in the middle of the doll shop in a wedding gown. He pulled off his hat even as his stomach dived for his heels.

In the mirror, her green eyes turned toward him. A split second later they widened in recognition.

She turned, as if double-checking. Her features had matured. Time had been her friend, had rounded out the sharp angles, filled out the curves. But it had also stolen the sparkle from her eyes, the easy smile from her lips.

Or maybe he'd done that.

Shay's mouth flattened and her spine defied gravity. She faced the mirror.

Okay. He deserved that. His gaze swept over the gown, his mouth going dry as Sandstone Creek in the middle of August.

"Travis," Miss Lucy said, "what brings you in? Did you come to see my girls?"

He scanned the rows of hand made dolls. "Ran into Mrs. Teasley at Pappy's Market. Asked me to tell you about an emergency meeting tonight at seven."

Shay was fussing at the high collar with those long elegant fingers. Fingers that used to—

"Land sakes, what can that woman want now?"

It wasn't like he hadn't known Shay still lived in Moose Creek. That he'd run into her sooner or later. In fact, that had been the plan. But not here. Not today.

Not with her in a wedding gown.

He squeezed the brim of his best hat as he nodded. "Shay."

She tossed her head, flipping her mahogany hair from her eyes, not looking. "Travis."

He'd heard rumors of her and Beau Meyers. But they were just going out casually, was the way he heard it. Having some fun. Kicking up their heels on a Saturday night.

"She say what it's about?" Miss Lucy asked.

"No, ma'am."

A wedding gown, just like the last time he'd seen her. Only this time she wore it for another man. He tried to quell the panic rising high and fast. The rumors had been wrong. Dead wrong.

"That woman." Miss Lucy fussed with the dress. "Mountain out of a molehill. I think that'll do, Shay." She made one final brush on the skirt.

"Little late, aren't you?" Shay met his eyes in the mirror for a split second, long enough to make her point. "Fourteen years, that about right?"

"I'll just be in the back room," Miss Lucy said.

His girl still had fire. The thought kicked up the corner of his lips. Then he remembered she wasn't his girl anymore. That she'd be unleashing that fire on someone else.

"Who's the lucky guy?" The words nearly jammed in his throat.

She stopped her fidgeting. Met his gaze in the mirror, and he saw something. Just as quick, it was gone.

"Not you."

Tell him something he didn't know. All these years. All the waiting, the wishing. Hope rushed down the drain. He tried to plug the hole, but it was useless.

"Beau Meyers?" The name tasted sour on his tongue. Shay was a Thoroughbred, Beau a Clydesdale. He'd never be able to handle her. Maybe that's the way she liked it now.

"Been chewin' the fat with our neighbors?"

Beau would never make her happy—couldn't she see that?

She turned toward the back room. "If you'll excuse me."

Desperation propelled him forward. He had no right anymore. No right to take her slender arm. No right to touch her, no right to say it. "Don't do it, Shay."

Her eyes challenged him. "What's it to you, McCoy?" The question hung in the air between them, a loaded shotgun.

"Sure you want to know?" She wasn't ready to hear his answer, and she wouldn't believe it anyway. Not that he could blame her.

She pulled away, surprisingly strong, and he released her.

"Cool your heels. I'm not marrying Beau, I'm playing Prudence Adams in the Founders Day ceremony."

The reenactment. Relief flooded through him, leaving his legs rickety. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You.

She pulled open the storeroom door, then turned back suddenly, her eyes sparking. "And for the record, Travis McCoy, if I do choose to marry Beau Meyers, or anyone else for that matter, it's no business of yours." She hitched up her skirt, crossed the threshold, and slammed the door behind her with a force that shook the frame.

Travis stared at the door while his thoughts searched for a new gear. This was not the way he'd planned their first meeting. Not even close.

* * *

It was hotter than a furnace inside the infernal dress. "Unbutton me, please."

It took everything in Shay to keep her voice level. She turned her back to Miss Lucy and held her hair off her damp neck, still shaking. She felt the woman's fingers at the buttons.

Sweet merciful heavens. Why'd he have to show up today—with her in a wedding gown, of all things? The irony would've made her laugh if it didn't make her feel like her bones were disintegrating.

It didn't help that Travis McCoy had transformed from lean, wiry boy to brawny cowboy, complete with bull-wide shoulders, slim hips, and long legs. And those stormy gray eyes . . . those hadn't changed at all. They still had the power to suck her under. Cussed man.

She wiped the dampness from her forehead. Could Miss Lucy be any slower?

"Pretty tough on him out there," the older woman said.

"He left me high and dry."

"It was years ago, child."

"At the altar."

"Courthouse steps, I recall."

"Same difference."

"It was foolish and selfish."

"Blame right." She had returned to Moose Creek alone. The whispers and stares were almost as bad as losing him. The rejection. Almost as bad as lying on Miss Lucy's couch night after night smothering her sobs in her pillow, yearning for his touch.

"Figured you two would've run into each other by now." Miss Lucy finished the last button and helped Shay peel the dress from her arms. "But I guess not, with you buried away at your place like you've been."

"I wasn't hiding."

Miss Lucy's brows popped over her frames. "Didn't mean that, dear."

The woman's soft voice tweaked Shay's conscience. "Sorry. I'm touchy." She stepped from the gown and removed her boots.

"Don't be. You got a lot of troubles, and you surely didn't expect chemistry to come waltzing through the door this morning."

"That wasn't chemistry, it was animosity."

"Enough sparks between the pair of you to light the town at midnight."

Shay snatched her Levi's off a box. "Hogwash."

"Had me a hot flash and I'm way past that."

Shay heaved a sigh, torn between frustration and humor.

Miss Lucy folded the gown, tucked it into the box, and slipped the lid back on while Shay finished dressing. She still had the meeting at the bank, and she needed a moment to gather herself before she faced that particular hurdle.

Who was she kidding? She'd had fourteen years to get over Travis McCoy, and it still hadn't been long enough.

Chapter Three

Shay tucked her hand sunder her legs and forced her gaze to John Oakley's beady little eyes. She'd had about two minutes to recover from her encounter with Travis, and her nerves were shot. The bank had just closed up for the day and was silent as a tomb.

John laced his fingers, rested his hands on his desk, and gave her the look. She'd seen it the last three times she'd been in. Had to beg for this meeting today.

Please, God. I need some help here. A miracle would be good.

"We've been through this before, Shay," he said in his nasal voice.

"I just need more time."

"You've had time." The look turned smug. He poked his glasses up with his index finger.

Shay pressed her lips together. She wanted to remind him he was no older than she was, no more important just because he had money. She wanted to remind him of the time he peed his pants on their first-grade field trip and point out that his hairline had receded two inches since graduation. But none of that would help her cause.

"May I be honest, Shay?"

She bit the inside of her mouth. Hard. "Sure."

"I know the property's been in your family awhile—"

"Three generations."

He tucked his weak little chin. "Right. A long time, no one's arguing that. Your folks both worked it hard and barely kept it afloat."

"I made regular payments for years. I wasn't so much as a day late—"

"Until a year ago. I'm not the enemy here, Shay. When your husband was here running the place, the payments weren't a problem, right? Now, it pains me to say it, but Garrett's desertion, not my bank, put you in a bind. God rest his soul."

He did not just go there.

"It takes two to handle a ranch the size of yours. We've given you plenty of notice, and you're months behind. The bank demands payment in full or an auction date will be set in thirty days, just as the letter said."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from the Accidental Bride by DENISE HUNTER Copyright © 2011 by Denise Hunter. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

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(22)

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(10)

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(4)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fun Christian Romance Novel!

    Shay is raising her daughter alone. Her first love left her on the steps of the court house on their wedding day 14 years ago and her husband left her a few years back. She is trying to keep her ranch afloat but is struggling to do so. While this is happening her first love Travis returns. Shay finds herself standing before him in a wedding reenactment as his bride.

    Travis can not believe his luck to get the 2nd chance to be with Shay now he has to get her to agree. When Travis finds out the reenactment actually was a real wedding he takes advantage and proposes a deal to Shay to give him time to prove to her he wants another chance. Will they find true love this time or will time run out?

    I really enjoyed this book. Yes the plot was predicable but not so predictable that you don¿t want to find out what will happen next and there are some twist and turns I did not expect. I really like the characters and felt they where well developed. The back and forth between Shay and Travis has me laughing and smiling a lot. Loved the tension. Even though the plot was predictable at times and even a little unbelievable the author did a great job of explaining how it was all happening so it felt believable. If you like a feel good romance where you find yourself rooting for the couple to get together, you will like this book!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    An Unusual Premise for a Romance Tale

    The Accidental Bride Denise Hunter ©2011 Thomas Nelson Publishers ISBN 978-1-59554-802-3 (ppbk) Shay Brandebgerger agrees to stand in as the bride in a re-enactment of Moose Creek’s early history. She doesn’t know elderly Miss Lucy has set up Travis McCoy, (who abandoned Shay at the altar fourteen years earlier), to be the re-enactment’s groom. And supposedly the pastor accidentally sends a real wedding license to be registered for Shay and Troy. Or was Miss Lucy behind that, also? Troy discovers he and Shay are really married and asks for five months to prove his love to her. She’s been hurt so often and so deeply she often assumes wrong data so doesn’t trust Troy nor ask him about suspicious incidents. Will their love for each other ever win out? Will Shay lose her ranch and livelihood? What will happen to Shay’s daughter, Olivia when Troy leaves? How will the author resolve seeming impossible situations? The story has sweet moments and tense times, all adding to the allure of this well-written tale.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    A must read

    Great story

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  • Posted January 26, 2013

    Interesting!

    Nice feel good book. Easy read and keeps your interest.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    The Accidental Bride Denise Hunter Book Summary: When a weddin

    The Accidental Bride
    Denise Hunter

    Book Summary: When a wedding reenactment turns real, this cowgirl suddenly finds she’s an accidental bride. Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite her hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but. Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high school sweetheart—the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit. Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busy body and an absent minded preacher, the wedding reenactment results in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she’ll lose her home. But if she accepts, she may lose her heart. Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?
    Review: I liked the 2 main characters and thought they had good chemistry. I did think there were almost too many secondary characters at the start of the book and this made it a little more confusing at times to recall who was who. It did get easier to follow as the book continued. I enjoyed the main characters. Shay was tough and did a lot of manual labor and yet was still feminine. Travis was very masculine and yet very sensitive to Shay. It was believable and yet very enjoyable to see how things were going to be resolved. The marriage license that was old and yet still valid seemed unlikely, although it was easy to suspend belief when the story flowed so nicely and the main characters were enjoyable. It was worth the read and the fact that it was a in a series was not a deterrent it was a good stand alone story.
    I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Sweet romance, full of fun surprises!

    The Accidental Bride was such a fun book with the most unexpected twists and turns!

    After Shay and her husband split up, she is left to raise her daughter alone in Moose Creek. However, she is nothing less than shocked when her old boyfriend shows up back in town... and they find themselves together in the small town's Founder's Day celebration and wedding reenactment.

    Hold on to your seats ~ this book is full of fun surprises, and sweet romance.

    It had me hooked, and is definitely a must-read. I highly recommend it!

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  • Posted June 16, 2012

    This was my first Denise Hunter story - and she is one of my new

    This was my first Denise Hunter story - and she is one of my new favorite authors! This was just a fun easy read and I really liked the characters and the setting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Anonyomous

    Really liked this book. It mixed cowboys, God, and romance into a cute story. My favorite book!!!

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  • Posted May 4, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Really enjoyed this book, read the first in the series plan on reading all of them. Denise Hunter weaves a great story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Extremely entertaining

    It was a very well written book and kept my interest going. I couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    It looked like a cute story, so I thought I would check it out.

    It looked like a cute story, so I thought I would check it out. I was drawn to the characters and found myself rooting for Travis to win her heart and that she would finally let her guard down and let her true feelings through. It was also refreshing to read a story with the characters praying to God and quoting bible verses.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Great Read

    If you like Christian romance, you'll love this one! It is such a cute story!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An Okay Read

    From the publisher: Two high-school sweethearts, a wedding reenactment, and one absent-minded preacher. Is it a recipe for disaster or a chance for a new beginning?
    Shay Brandenberger is a survivor. She's lived through a crazy childhood, a failed marriage, and single parenthood-with her confidence intact.

    But not for long. Because when Shay participates in her town's Founder's Day wedding reenactment, she finds herself face-to-face with the one man who takes her breath away and leaves her weak in the knees: Travis McCoy.

    Travis is back in town after years way on the rodeo circuit. His one regret in life is breaking Shay's heart when they were high-school sweethearts. He's determined to get it right this time.

    So when their Founder's Day "marriage" is accidentally made official, Travis seizes the day. Can Shay put aside her pride to let Travis help her, or will their accidental marriage be dissolved before it can begin?


    My thoughts: It was an okay book. I didn't love it. Perhaps because I found Shay to be a little irritating. Granted she's been hurt before, but she was rude, stubborn, selfish, and unforgiving. I've never experienced the things that this character has, so I can't imagine the pain this character would have been feeling. But at some point it got a little frustrating. I can't say much more on this point without giving things away so I will stop there.

    I liked that this book tied into the first in the series A Cowboy's Touch. It was fun revisiting Abigail, Wade, Aunt Lucy and Maddy. Many of the other characters in the book were enjoyable. I just had a few issues with the leads.

    It was hard for me to swallow that this man pined for this woman for 14 years and then when he accidentally marries her he puts up with the behavior she hands out. I did like how the book addressed not trying to do things so that others can see, or to impress them. It's a message that I think a lot of women and girls need to be reminded of from time to time.

    Would I recommend the book? It was an okay book as I mentioned before. I'm not sure it's one that I would reread again. As an ebook it is one I will keep because it isn't taking up valuable real estate on my sole bookshelf. If you're looking for a book about first loves, missed chances, second chances, being hurt than this may be for you. It was a book that I picked up once in awhile when I had time.

    I would give this book 3/5 stars.

    (I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes and am under no obligation to provide a certain review. All opinions in this review are my own.)

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  • Posted February 9, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Enjoyed it - fun and fast

    This was a fast read-and made my imagination soar. I really enjoyed the plot, the characters and the witty dialogue. Nice job. I recommend it!

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  • Posted January 22, 2012

    great read! *no spoilers*

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the second installment in the Big Sky series. As the author noted she did take a few liberties to make the re-enactment marriage legal, but it was well explained and frighteningly plausible.

    The plot moves slowly, as it should since it is an easy, faithful romance, but it was a VERY pleasant way to pass a dreary winter afternoon.

    I personally do not enjoy being 'preached at' by authors and I haven't experienced that in any of Ms. Hunter's books.I've recommended Ms. Hunter to a lot of my customers when asked for a sweet, faith-filled, Christian Romance, and this book is an EASY hand-sell.

    I was provided a free digital review copy from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable read

    I would like to share with you a book I recently finished called The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter.

    Shay Brandenberger has lived a hard life. She wants something different for her own daughter, Olivia, but she has a difficult time making ends meet as a single mom. She's fearful of losing her family's ranch, a ranch that has been in the family for three generations. Shay is asked to play the bride in her town's Founder's Day re-enactment. She doesn't realize until she walks down the aisle that the group is Travis McCoy, her old high school sweetheart who left her at the altar years ago. Shay makes it through the ceremony and thinks it will all be forgotten until she finds out that, due to a mistake by the preacher, the pretend ceremony was actually real. She is now married to Travis.

    This was a cute book and easy to read. I enjoyed reading it, like the characters, and look forward to more books from this author. As I was reading, characters seemed familliar to me. I realized that this book is in the Big Sky Romance series. I have previously read A Cowboy's Touch and reviewed it here.

    One part that has stuck with me after reading this book is how Shay was always worried about what others thought of her. Her friend reminded her of a verse from Galatians 1:10--"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." This was a great reminder for me personally as I think of what I do and why I do it.

    This book was provided to me for my honest review by Audra Jennings and the B & B Media Group. Thank you.

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read

    Single mother, Shay Brandenberger, thought that playing a bride in the Founder’s Day wedding reenactment would be easy, that is until she found out who the groom was - Travis McCoy, her high school sweetheart who left her standing at the alter fourteen years earlier. Despite wanting to run, she goes along with the fake wedding. Well, Shay thought it was fake at first, but she soon finds out that her the marriage is actually legal. Was it the preacher’s mistake? Or was it an act of God?

    The Accidental Bride is the second in A Big Sky Romance series from author Denise Hunter, and it is surprisingly likeable from the very first page. Circumstances occur that results in the main character, Shay, accidentally marring her ex who left her at the alter years before. Sure, she could just get annulment, but her Travis McCoy may be the only one who can save her childhood ranch. The author did a remarkable job setting up the plot and writing fun, entertaining characters. I recommend it to all romance readers!

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

    The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter was my first book of 2012 and what a way to start! I was a little skeptical about how the whole accidental wedding plot was going to come off. Denise admits that she took a few liberties to make it possible, but I thought she pulled it off well. It was a bit of a stretch, but I was okay with it. It's fiction after all, people!

    I really liked Travis. I felt like he got a bad rap from Shay throughout much of the book, but I could see how hard he was trying! At the same time, though, I could see how badly Shay had been hurt . . . time after time. I was torn the entire time trying to decide who to pull for. :)

    Denise also did a great job weaving in elements of faith. It wasn't too over-the-top but Shay faced an honest struggle with not worrying so much about what everyone else thinks. I think that's something we all deal with from time-to-time.

    Being the second book in the Big Sky series, I also liked catching up with old friends from the first book A Cowboy's Touch. You certainly don't have to read the first one to keep up, but I'm sure that you'll want to!

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Accidental Bride . . . even better than the first one in the series! It's a light-hearted, fun read. Definitely add this to your TBR list!

    I received a free copy from Thomas Nelson via The B&B Media Group and FIRST Wildcard Blog Tours in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    The Accidental Bride

    Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. The title of this book may sound like those typical romance that you can finish in 2 hours time, but you’re in for a surprise if you’re expecting a typical romance. This is no typical romance or a chic-lit. It’s a Christian romance and have loads of moral values embedded in it. Among it is that trusting Him and living for His glory instead of just trying to please the people around you. This book also tells you that when your world is upside down, He will make it all right again, in His time.

    A very wonderful and entertaining book to read and you could almost feel for the character when you read this book. The plot is rather slow, but bearable.

    I highly recommend this for those who are looking for something easy and entertaining to read. Would be perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon read.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    An Enjoyable Cowboy Romance

    In The Accidental Bride, Denise Hunter sets up an almost impossible situation...two people who planned to elope as teens, now find themselves married through a fake ceremony. As I was reading I kept waiting to see how she would pull it off -- boy did she! Shay can't stand the thought that her neighbors are watching her to see what another man wiill leave her. Travis just wants a do-over of the past tired of living with his regrets. The valid marriage license seems to be the ticket to make Shay give him a chance. She needs money to save her ranch and he needs time to prove his love is real.


    While I could anticipate where the story headed at times, that didn't rob the joy of the journey. Instead, as a writer, I couldn't wait to see how Denise would work Shay and Travis out of the impossible situations she wrote them into. These characters have a spark between them and a brokeness that made me root for them. I wanted to see love win because they both needed it so deeply. The setting makes it a cowboy tale with a twist. A very enjoyable read -- just what I've come to expect from Denise Hunter. A contemporary romance that leaves me with a smile.

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