"This collection is extremely entertaining and will make readers think back to their first kiss." —Romantic Times, 4-1/2 Stars, TOP PICK!
Four best-selling, award-winning historical romance authors join together to share tales of unlikely love sparked in the late 1800s, reminding us that love often arrives in the most unexpected ways.
Spitfire Sweetheart by Mary Connealy
Maizy Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.
A Love Letter to the Editor by Robin Lee Hatcher
Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He’s resolved to change Molly's mind about him—as an editor and as a man.
A Cowboy for Katie by Debra Clopton
Katie Pearl has no interest in men or love. But she needs help on her ranch so she hires Thad Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Thad change Katie’s mind?
Courting Trouble by Margaret Brownley
Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive—or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case—until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace.
". . . four stories from four wonderful authors about the unpredictability of life, the amazingness of the Lord, and the wonderful ways He works within our lives to find that special someone He's picked out for us." —CBA Retailers + Resources
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Bestselling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher, author of more than seventy-five books, is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an eleven-time finalist and two-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award. In addition to many other awards, she is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin makes her home with her husband on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillion puppy named Boo and a persnickety tuxedo cat named Pinky. For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, Facebook: robinleehatcher, Twitter: @robinleehatcher.
Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist who was first published in 2005 and has more than 22 novels to her credit. Along with her writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra is the author of the acclaimed Mule Hollow Matchmaker Series, the place readers tell her they wish was real. Her goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words. Visit her online at www.debraclopton.com, Facebook: debra.clopton, Twitter: @debraclopton.
Read an Excerpt
Four Weddings and a Kiss
A WESTERN BRIDE COLLECTION
By Margaret Brownley, Robin Lee Hatcher, Mary Connealy, Debra Clopton
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2014 Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, and Margaret Brownley
All rights reserved.
Saurita, New Mexico, 1879
Maizy MacGregor leaned her head back against the rocks, accidentally knocking her Stetson off. She grabbed it as it fell, then tossed it aside in disgust. She had on men's clothes—the hat, britches, shirt, boots, even a six-gun she wore on her hip. It had never bothered her before Rylan Carstens.
She wiped her eyes. It was sure enough bothering her now.
The water roared beside her, cascading down in a rush. She came here when she needed to be alone. And she really needed that now.
Tossing aside her buckskin gloves, she pulled her red handkerchief out of her hip pocket—no lace kerchief tucked up her sleeve for Maizy—and wiped her eyes again, then blew her nose in a completely unladylike way.
How had she let herself get this upset? And over a man, of all things.
Over the neighbor whom she'd long ago accepted would never see her as anything but a child, and an unattractive, annoying child at that.
She was used to it, and she ignored it mostly, but today it stung. He'd found her walking among his Angus cattle.
Maizy looked to her left and watched the sleek black herd spread out along the downhill slope. Usually she didn't go near them. Instead, she'd just slip into this spot. She'd been using it for a getaway since childhood. But this morning, not for the first time, she'd walked among his herd. They were gentle cattle, not a horn on a single one of them. They weren't tame enough to touch—they gave way if she got too close. But they didn't run for the hills one day, then attack the next like longhorns tended to do.
She'd heard they were gentle, even the bulls. And she was savvy about cattle. She knew how to judge their tempers and stay clear of them when necessary. Her eyes rested on one especially young calf that might have been born just today, long after cows usually threw their calves.
Maizy knew better than to go near a new mama, no matter how easygoing she'd been before her calf was born.
She'd told Rylan all that and tried to make him see she was in no danger. He'd thrown her off his land anyway and even followed her home to complain to Pa, like she was a misbehaving child. He'd forbidden her to trespass ever again.
But the minute she could get away, she came here, to her special place. The river was the border between his property and her pa's, and it was true she was, right this minute, on the trespassing side. She barely had a toe over the line, and she was completely safe from his placid, fat cattle, so surely he wouldn't complain about that.
She took a little pleasure in defying him. And it was a harmless defiance, especially if he didn't know she was here.
Her horse was tied well across the river, on MacGregor land, cropping grass. She couldn't see the brown-and-white pinto from here and neither could her neighbor.
Hoping to get control of her hurt, she let herself soak in the peace of stone and water and air, loving the way this rocky ledge cut off the world. She couldn't hear anything other than the rushing water. Her spot was curved into the rocks, and she could only see straight ahead and to the left. Water cascaded down from the mountain peaks on the right. Her almost-cave hid her from behind and overhead.
She was in her own world, alone with her thoughts.
Then a gunshot cut through the air, and she sat up straight and banged her head.
Looking for the source of that gun, she turned and saw him.
And he was coming straight for her, galloping on his big chestnut stallion. Even at this distance she could tell he was looking right at her. How had he known she was in here?
Another gunshot echoed from his Winchester.
Rylan bent low over his horse, coming as fast as he could on the rocky ground that rose to this bluff along the river. Was he trying to kill her? If so, he was doing a poor job of it. The bullets were missing, going way over her head. But even on her worst day, she'd never done anything to make the man killing mad.
And Maizy knew, even though Rylan seemed like a mighty cranky man, that he wasn't the type to shoot a young woman, especially not for just being annoying.
He fired again and again, working the levered handle on his Winchester, and she finally realized he was firing warning shots. But warning who—about what?
She scrambled out of the little overhang and took a few running steps to make sure he saw her and wouldn't fire in her direction.
That's when she heard the growl ... and the bellow.
Spinning around, she looked up. On the ledge that formed the roof of her little cave, standing on its hind legs, was the biggest grizzly she'd ever seen.
Movement to her side forced her to look, though it was madness to turn away. The huge Angus bull that lorded over this part of Carstens's herd pawed the ground, and like all bulls, guarded his herd fiercely. There were only two things between that huge bear and that angry bull.
The shining black calf, born out of season, still wobbly.
The bull might be threatening the bear, but the bear only had eyes for Maizy. The rest of the cow herd, save the frantic mama, turned and stampeded away.
The bull charged.
The bear dropped to all fours and crouched to attack.
Pound for pound there was no meaner animal on the face of the earth than a grizzly. Maizy had a Colt in her holster, but a bullet wasn't enough to bring one of these huge beasts down. Maybe a perfect shot right into the heart or brain would do it ... but mostly ... getting shot just made 'em mad.
The bear's beady, bloodshot eyes were riveted on Maizy.
The bull bellowed and turned the grizzly's attention.
Maizy saw her chance and ran.
A shout and another blast of gunfire sent Maizy running straight down the grassy slope for Rylan. Her eyes locked with his and she saw horror. She thought he'd seen her, but she could tell he'd been out here riding herd and seen the grizzly.
A thud from behind told her the bear was off the ledge. Another growl seemed to blow hot breath on the back of Maizy's neck. Or maybe that was just the hair on the back of her neck standing up in pure terror.
The bull charged, putting itself between the bear and the calf, then stopped to paw the earth with its front feet.
Rylan fired again and again.
Sprinting to get out of the middle, Maizy heard the thunder ing hooves ahead, the scratching claws of the grizzly right behind, and the deep-throated threats from the bull.
The calf bawled piteously. The anxious mama cow rushed to her baby and began leading it away as fast as its unsteady legs would carry it.
Judging from the growling behind her, Maizy knew the grizzly was more interested in her than a belligerent Angus.
Running, hoping the bear would give up, she raced straight for Rylan.
She saw his eyes take in the danger, then go to his bull, then come back to her. He kept firing and racing forward.
Sprinting flat out, her boots thumped out a desperate beat.
He jammed his rifle back into its scabbard on the saddle and drew his six-gun. He couldn't shoot the bear—Maizy was right in the way—but he kept up the gunfire, probably hoping he'd scare the grizzly into breaking off the attack.
It wasn't working worth a hoot.
"Maizy," Rylan shouted as they closed the gap, "grab my hand."
He kicked his foot out of one stirrup to give Maizy a place to land. He holstered his pistol and took a firm hold of his pommel. Their eyes locked. He nodded at her. She tightened her jaw in grim determination and nodded back.
His hand extended. She slapped her hand into his and he caught her. The grip slid. He clamped onto her wrist with the other hand, leaving the horse without a hand on the reins. He swung her up and she aimed to end up behind him. In the rush, she didn't get a good swing, and Rylan made a desperate heave to keep her from falling to the ground. She landed facedown in front of him, her belly right on the pommel of his saddle. She was glad to be wearing britches.
Rylan pulled hard to bring his horse to a stop, and he unloaded his gun on the bear. The horse tried to rear and tossed its head in fear. The iron bit jingled as the horse fought Rylan's control.
Maizy turned to her left to watch the bear wheel to face the bull. The bull must've thought better of fighting now that his herd was out of the way. He turned and ran.
The bullets were little more than stinging wasps to the bear and only served to turn its attention back to Rylan.
The powerful red horse pivoted, and on its first stride leapt into a full gallop.
Grizzly bears, huge as they were, were mighty fast. Maizy knew that from growing up in the mountains of New Mexico and meeting up with a few, though never this close. But their speed was short-lived—or so she'd heard.
She sure as shootin' hoped that proved to be true. If the horse could outrun the monster for a few yards, they'd make it.
Maizy, head down, clung to Rylan's right leg. The pommel cut into her gut, and her own legs dangled off the other side. She wanted to search for that empty stirrup but was mindful not to jar Rylan or distract him from getting the most out of his thoroughbred.
Those thundering front hooves kicked up nearly to Maizy's face. She lifted her head enough to peek around Rylan's boot and saw the bear gaining on them. Its jaws gaped open. It closed in on the horse even with the stallion going at full speed.
"Hang on." Rylan kicked his horse and the valiant chestnut, already wild with fear, dug deep and found more speed. The bear lunged forward and a huge paw, claws bared, took a swipe and snagged the horse's tail. That swipe broke the bear's charge.
Finally they were stretching out the distance between them as the bear slowed. It dropped to a trot, then a walk, then stood up on two legs, front paws extended in the air, and sent them on their way with an ugly chain of growling threats. Maizy's belly was being stabbed good and hard. She hadn't paid it much mind until now. The horse was safely away, and Maizy saw the grizzly turn and jog back the way it'd come. "It's stopped," Maizy shouted.
"Hang on!" Rylan's ordered shout brought Maizy's head around, and she saw that the ground was broken ahead. This was Rylan's land, but Maizy had lived here all her life. She knew this was a bad stretch, littered with boulders and cut by water running off the mountain to the river.
The horse was running away, terrorized. Rylan was easing the horse up, but they weren't going slow enough to navigate the dangerous patch. No horse racing full speed could hope to get through it unharmed.
The horse tossed its head and fought the reins, but finally began to respond. Maizy recognized the expert handling of the reins as Rylan tried to gain control of the panicked horse.
They reached the first line of scattered rocks.
Rylan picked his moment and yelled, "Whoa!"
He pulled back hard and the horse skidded until it nearly sat down on its haunches. As they came to a stop, the horse neighed and reared, straight up, higher and higher. Maizy felt the stallion going over backward.
Rylan shoved her so she fell off feetfirst and he dove to the other side. Maizy rolled over and over, afraid of where the horse might land, until she came up hard against a massive stone. She whirled to see Rylan being dragged, one foot stuck in the stirrup. Leaping to her feet, Maizy drew her gun to shoot the horse that had saved their lives, just as Rylan fell free and rolled hard against a boulder.
Maizy heard the crack as Rylan's head struck stone.
She raced on shaking legs to where he lay flat on his back. Out cold. His face white as ash.
Maizy crawled to his side, terrified that he was dead. His chest rose and fell steadily. He was alive! Looking around, she saw that his horse was nowhere in sight. A lump was already rising on his forehead, and seconds later she saw blood soaking through his tattered pants. Drawing her knife, she slit the leg of his britches. His knee was bleeding and his leg already showed some swelling.
It had to be broken.
Maizy looked around. She was miles from anywhere. His horse was long gone. Rylan was too heavy to lift.
A wild cry far overhead drew her eyes up to a soaring eagle. The isolation of this place tightened like a vise around her throat.
Praying frantically for wisdom, she remembered her pinto on the far side of the river. There was a ford. She could get the mare here ... if the grizzly hadn't scared her into breaking her reins and racing for home.
Maizy would have to go for the horse. Besides that grizzly, there were rattlesnakes. Buzzards might scent blood, with Rylan unconscious—Maizy shuddered to think of that. There were even wolves and cougars in the area. To get the mare, Maizy would have to leave Rylan utterly defenseless.
She looked at his handsome face. He'd risked his life to save her. He'd abandoned a bull that cost a fortune and used every ounce of his strength to get her to safety.
And now she needed to do as much for him. And to do that, she had to leave him lying here.
No alternative came to her, so she jumped to her feet and ran.
* * *
Maizy hurried to her mare in double time. She had worked with her pa plenty, and she knew how to treat a beat-up cowboy, although she'd never seen one quite this beaten before.
When she got back to his side, Rylan lay still as death. His leg was almost certainly broken. Should she cut the boot off? The swelling had gotten so bad she was afraid he had no circulation, yet how much damage might she do removing the boot? Praying for wisdom beyond what she possessed, she decided to leave it, at least for now.
She'd been thinking the whole time she fetched her horse. Now she tethered her horse and rushed toward the nearest slope, covered with quaking aspens.
Feeling the minutes tick by and knowing that boot was strangling Rylan's leg, she hacked down slender saplings with her sturdy, razor-sharp knife and returned to make a travois. Pa had taught her the way of it years before.
She used the lasso on her pommel to weave a triangular net between two trees. Once she was satisfied it would hold, she moved the contraption so the ends of the young trees were on either side of his head. Then, with a remaining stretch of rope, she tied a loop under Rylan's arms, hooked him to her horse, and hoping he stayed unconscious, she pulled Rylan up the length of the travois with aching slowness. He was slim but tall with broad shoulders, made of solid muscle that made him heavy. It took some finagling to get him in place, but finally he lay fully on top of the makeshift travois.
Then she lifted each side of the front ends of the travois and used a pigging string to hitch the ends to her stirrups.
As she lashed the second aspen pole in place, Rylan groaned.
Maizy rushed to his side.
His blue eyes flickered open, but he stared through her, still dazed. She rested one hand on his shoulder.
"Lie very still. I'm taking you home."
"Maizy." Rylan spoke that one word, then passed out again.
Because she was praying so hard when she felt a twist of fear about his leg, she decided it was God putting the notion in her head. She'd get the boot off while Rylan was unconscious.
She slit the tough leather to the ankle until it was loose enough to be safe. She left it on to act as a splint. She swung astride her pinto and clucked to the well-trained horse. They set out slowly, crossing the boulder-strewn ground, trying to avoid bumps. Maizy turned on her saddle and watched Rylan nearly every second, only glancing ahead to check the terrain.
He never stirred.
Rylan had come to Pa's house several times in the year since he moved in. There were no other ranches for miles and even their places were far apart. He'd never been friendly—to her. Though she had caught him looking at her a few times when he'd come by.
Except for those occasional looks, she'd always had the impression he was avoiding her. And the fact that he was so attractive pinched hard.
She'd done her best to ignore him, but she'd taken a liking to his herd of shining black Angus cattle. In fact she liked them a whole lot more than him.
When he'd followed her home earlier that day and told her pa the bulls were dangerous, Rylan had looked at her in the eyes for the first time, forbidding Maizy from riding on his land. He'd also said a few words about a woman dressing in britches and running around the country alone. Said it was dangerous. But Maizy had worked hard alongside her pa on the ranch since she could sit a saddle. She could take care of herself.
She was tough, but the handsome cowboy made her doubt herself. She liked not wearing dresses and fussing with her hair. She could cook well enough and she did chores in the house. But they rarely went to town since they lived over an hour away. When they did, she wore a dress, but she grumbled the whole time.
Excerpted from Four Weddings and a Kiss by Margaret Brownley, Robin Lee Hatcher, Mary Connealy, Debra Clopton. Copyright © 2014 Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, and Margaret Brownley. 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.
Table of Contents
Spitfire Sweetheart By Mary Connealy, 1,
A Love Letter to the Editor By Robin Lee Hatcher, 85,
A Cowboy for Katie By Debra Clopton, 181,
Courting Trouble By Margaret Brownley, 277,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
These books are wonderful reads and they keep you wanting to read more Margaret Brownley is an amazing writer I have read several of her books and I just want more
I enjoyed reading these short stories.
I normally do not read western stories but thought I would venture out and give this one a try. I am so glad I did as I loved this book! The story begins in Fort Worth, Texas during a weeklong revival meeting. Reverend Gregory Miller is struggling because he broke up with a woman he loved, Elizabeth Princeton. He describes her as “reckless” and for this reason he believes he cannot be with her. Reverend Miller is sitting around a campfire with four other preachers. His private conversation with God becomes known to the other preachers when Reverend Miller unknowingly speaks some of his thoughts out loud. As Reverend Miller explains to the other preachers why he cannot be with Elizabeth they each decide to share a story of unlikely couples. The book is comprised of four novellas telling the stories of Rylan and Maizy, Jack and Molly, Treb and Katie, and Brock and Grace. Each couple has their own unique set of circumstances that bring them together. Rylan and Maizy are brought together because of her reckless ways. Jack and Molly are brought together by him being hired for a job that she thought should have been given to her. Treb and Katie are brought together by tragic circumstances which lead to a road of healing. Brock and Grace are brought together by a request from a young boy who happens to be Grace’s son. In case you are wondering, there is an epilogue which tells what happens with Reverend Miller and Elizabeth. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more western romances! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Four sweet short stories.
Short, sweet and couples you can root for!
Good book. I enjoy short stories like this.
Spitfire Sweetheart Maizy Place really messed up this time. Not even hours after Rylan Carstens told her to stay off of his land she was back and caused an accident that has him confined to his bed for weeks – with the possibility of losing everything he’s ever wanted. Can Maizy fix this? Review: WOW! This was a terrific book. I was so sorry that it was a novella, but I’m holding out a hope that we’ll see more of both of these characters in an upcoming series. Author: Mary Connealy Grade: A Ages: 16+ Love Letter to the Editor Molly Everton can’t believe her father did this!! He hired an editor behind her back! Really?! What was the sense in going to school and working as a journalist for all of these years if he was planning to hire someone else to take over? Jack Ludgrove can’t believe his luck! He’s finally gotten to come west as he’s always wanted. The scenery is amazing – in and out of the office. Review: I really enjoyed Love Letter to the Editor though as I finished reading it I realized that I didn’t ‘know’ Molly or Jack as much as I thought I should. Still, it was a sweet romance that I couldn’t put down. Author: Robin Lee Hatcher Grade: B+ Ages: 16+ A Cowboy for Katie Being trapped inside a house devastated by a tornado for several days put Katie Pearl in an unstable frame of mind. Even now, weeks later, she’s still petrified of the dark and on enclosed places – like her house, the barn, the mercantile. Treb Rayburn has no idea what he’s getting himself into when he comes upon Katie’s ranch as her new hired hand. The woman talks to herself, refuses to go into any buildings, and pulls her gun on everyone. It’s a good thing Treb doesn’t plan to stay long with this skittish woman! Review: Adorable! Cute and fun. This was a quick read that I’m sure all will love. The characters weren’t too shallow, the plot was full and interesting, and, well, it’d was a fun read. Author: Debra Clopton Grade: A Ages: 16+ Courting Trouble Grace Davenport, nicknamed the Black Widow by the townsfolk, is on trial for the murder of her husband. There is no hope not even with her attorney, Brock Daniels, helping. Can God use Brock to show the town the truth – she’s not a murderess she just makes really poor choices! Review: Courting Trouble was a good book. Not as exciting or fun as the others. It’s a solid good book with great characters and plot. Author: Margaret Brownley Grade: B+ Ages: 16+ Hott Review of Four Weddings and a Kiss: What I liked: I especially adored the prologue that pulled all of these stories together. It absolutely made me want to devour every page. The stories are all very individual, but linked though the prologue and epilogue, and each worthy of a spot on your shelf. What I didn’t like: I’d like to have heard more about the characters in the prologue & epilogue, they were adorable & worthy of their own story! More… Source: Thomas Nelson via Netgalley Grade: A Ages: 16+ Steam: YA Setting: New Mexico, Wyoming, Texas, and Colorado
Spitfire Sweetheart by Mary Connealy tells the tale of feisty Maizy MacGregor who has no desire to be told what to do, and certainly not by Rylan Carstens. Just because he told her to stay off his property doesn't mean she hadn't any intention on obeying him. But when her foolish deeds put the man in jeopardy, she feels she must somehow make restitution. A Love Letter to the Editor by Robin Lee Hatcher weaves the story of Molly Everton who is infuriated to learn her father has hired someone to take over as the new editor for her town's newspaper, especially when she clearly is qualified to take the position herself. She immediately begins plotting on how to encourage Jack Ludgrove to move elsewhere. A Cowboy for Katie by Debra Clopton is a delightful adventure of Katie Pearl who needs someone to help restore her ranch after its demolition by a tornado, so she hires Treb Rayburn. He only agrees to come to her aid because he'll get a horse out of the deal. Katie is one odd character that soon becomes endeared to the reader. Courting Trouble by Margaret Bronwley shares the story of Grace Davenport who is in jail for the murder of her late husband. After her son's plea, attorney Brock Daniels agrees to represent her case. What will he do if the journey finds her guilty? What a delight to read another group of stories from these four talented ladies. Prepare to be swept back in history to the era of the Old West. You won't be disappointed. This book was provided free for review by Thomas Nelson.
This novel starts out with a young preacher determined not to marry the girl he loves. She's unconventional and he's positive she's not going to be accepted by his parishioners. She's wild and unruly, and actually plays...games! For pete's sake, who wouldn't have a problem with that?! It's up to his four older, wiser - and meddlesome - companions to show him the errors in his thinking. These four novellas are a delight to read. They pack a wollop of a punch from four very talented authors and ring true. A woman who doesn't dress the way others think she should? Another who's accused of murder? When God decides to put people together, watch out. He's going to get His way, come what may. Each story hits home with a different theme we can all learn from. Forgiveness of others, loving someone for who they are, seeking God's direction in situations, trusting others, etc, the lessons don't stop. This is a fun set of novellas I will read over and over again - if not for the lesson, at least for the chuckles. How many of us started out with someone we thought might not be right for us? Maybe he didn't have the background you thought he should, either his parents or yours objected to the relationship, or maybe, as in my case, his name wasn't right and he didn't like cats. I mean, come on! How is this going to work?! But one thing I've found, God knows what He's doing. Sometimes, we just need to let go and let God take control. *My thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. These thoughts are my own, and I was not required they be positive.*
Four Weddings and a Kiss A Western Bride Collection By: Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher From the prologue I was hooked on this book! Reverend Gregory Miller has a small church. He is traveling with other preachers heading home after a weeklong revival. He broke up with Elizabeth Princeton because she wasn’t modest, reserved, and obedient. If he married her, he wouldn’t be dignified and sedate. The other preachers around him start in with their stories of God using highly unlikely people to fulfill his purpose, like Moses with his speech problem, and David killing Goliath with a stone. The following are the stories in this collection “living proof that God has a sense of humor.” Spitfire Sweetheart by Mary Connealy: The more stories I read of Mary’s the more I love her books. This story is no different. Maizy MacGregor has been raised by her pa since her ma died. She is a tomboy through and through. She wears a gun, works like a ranch hand, and wears men’s clothes. Then, Rylan Carstens moves in. He takes one look at her and shows his disgust of her clothes and appearance. After Ryan berates her for being on his land to her Pa she goes to her getaway place, which happens to be on Carstens’ land. Which puts her right in the middle of trouble between an ornery bull and a mad grizzly. Once Carstens figures out she’s there, he gets her to safety but not before he’s hurt. Maizy’s Pa makes her stay and take care of him, dressed and acting like a lady. Carstens’ ranch hand ends up leaving and Maizy fills in there too. Unfortunately for Carstens, he realizes he loves Maizy when she’s dressed as a woman and he’s willing to marry her so she won’t have to wear men’s clothes and work like a ranch hand. This makes Maizy mad. Why can’t he love the real her instead of the her all dressed up? She works hard, she loves working on the ranch, and even though she caused Carstens to be laid up for awhile, she is working hard to help him save his ranch until he can get back on his feet. Can he accept her as she is? This is a great love story. I loved the characters of Maizy and Carstens. You shouldn’t have to give up who you are in order for someone to love you. Maybe it just takes the other person getting to know you. A Love Letter to the Editor by Robin Lee Hatcher: I loved this story. Molly Everton has worked for her dad’s paper since they opened it 10 years ago. She writes a weekly column, but not the household hints her mother thinks she should write. Molly is smart and speaks her mind. She hasn’t found a man to be her husband in the town they live in. Women are expected to marry, run the house, and have kids. Then her father decides to hire a managing editor instead of letting her have the position. Molly decides from the beginning to not like Jack Ludgrove. How can she like him if he’s come to take her job away? Jack has always wanted to travel west. When he saw the advertisement for an editor, he jumped at the chance. After a year or two, he could move on. But then he meets Molly. What’s wrong with the eligible men in town that they haven’t married Molly before now? Once he reads her column and spends some time with her, he realizes she is for women voting, knowledgeable on current events, and has passion for the stories she writes. Can he handle that in a woman, or is he like the other men in town? What about his plans to see the west? Will this little town be enough adventure for him? You’ll have to read the story to find out! I loved Molly’s and Jack’s characters. Their bantering and getting to know each other kept me turning the pages to see how their story would turn out. A Cowboy for Katie by Debra Clopton: I was hooked on this story! Katie Pearl is such a fun character. The town thinks she’s crazy after she was trapped in her house after a tornado came through that killed her pa. She talks to herself, shoots at any man that asks her to marry them, and won’t go inside a building. Then she hires Treb Rayburn to help her rebuild her house. She feels safe with him because after he’s done he’s moving on. He just needs money to buy a horse. But strange things start to happen. Treb stays out all night in a thunderstorm holding her and protecting her because she’s too afraid to go in the barn for shelter. He builds her a temporary shelter from poles and tarp so she won’t feel confined. And while he’s rebuilding her house, he places the windows so it feels open and spacious, not confined like a house. But can Katie trust Treb? What happens if she falls in love with him and he leaves? Treb took the job knowing if he contemplated marrying her, she’d shoot him like she had the others. But if he fell in love with her, how would he get to see the places further out west he wanted to see? What about his dreams? Katie is strong but will she discover she needs Treb? You’ll have to read the story to find out! Courting Trouble by Margaret Brownley: Grace Davenport, the Black Widow, is in jail for killing her third husband. Her son Jesse hires Brock Daniels for fifty-six cents. Brock is a lawyer from Philadelphia, not used to how justice is served in Colorado. He promises to consult with Grace. Once he does, he decides to take her case. Grace has been married three times, and each time her husband died of mysterious causes. Did she murder them or has she been set up this time? Brock and Jesse work together to defend her. Grace will not trust a man ever again. Can she learn to trust Brock with her future and her heart? He seems to have hit it off with her son. But does he have good intentions? When Brock decides to run for judge, will Grace’s past be more of a hindrance? Check out this story. I loved it. Big town lawyer with a past meets small town justice and a lady with an uncertain future. Can they learn to trust each other? Great story on trust, forgiveness, and second chances. Epilogue: Remember Reverend Gregory Miller from the Prologue? Does he take the advice from these four stories and embrace his love? Can the most unlikeliest couples find true happiness? You’ll have to read this book to find out! I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
What a wonderful, fun novella collection! Every story was enjoyable to read and I really liked the theme that ran through all four of the books. Four ministers, sitting around a campfire, share stories with a fifth minister who is convinced that he and the woman he loves could never have a future together. The other four ministers set out to prove to him through their reminiscences that God is capable of bringing together two people even if the odds seem to be against them. I really enjoyed how each story has a woman who is in some way looked down upon by the community she lives in. Two of the women had a catastrophe or horrible experience in their lives that caused people to judge them harshly. This was the case in the two stories Courting Trouble and A Cowboy for Katie. The other two women in Spitfire Sweetheart and A Love Letter to the Editor choose to live their lives in a different manner than men of that time period deemed appropriate. Whether it was Maizy dressing like a man and working the ranch, or Molly desiring to become the editor of the local newspaper, no one seemed to be able to handle their crazy ideas! All four of these stories were excellent, with likeable characters and very interesting plots. The leading men in all four novellas are all appropriately swoon-worthy. Whether they began the story with an understanding heart toward the leading ladies, or have to gain some insight throughout the book, I found myself rooting for them to open their hearts and embrace the special woman that God created just for them. I highly recommend this novella collection to fans of Christian historical fiction, especially if you like a western theme to your stories. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
Four Stories and Four Authors! First Story "Spitfire Sweetheart" is just what the title says. Maizy a spitfire tomboy that is her neighbor's burr under his saddle. Rylan tries hard to keep his distance from her for fear of letting her take up a big space in his heart. But due to her causing him to be injured she is forced to care for him and his ranch while she is also forced by her father to dress and act like a lady while doing so. This shoots down any chance of him protecting his heart from her Mary Connealy writes a fun story with characters I'd love to spend more time with. I love a story with a head strong woman determined to be herself. Our Father in Heaven has a plan for us and we should not fight against Him and let His will be done. Second Story "Love Letter to the Editor". A woman that is determined to stand on her own cognizance. She is hoping to become an Editor or Managing Editor. But to her great surprise her father has hired someone else to be editor of the paper. Jack Lugrove feels bad in that he was not welcome as editor by Molly yet he will not be detoured from doing his job. Molly wants to prove herself to her father and at the same time find some way of ridding the paper and herself of Jack. Robin Lee Hatcher has given Molly fortitude that could be her downfall.. Truth is God and the truth will prevail. There is romance, intrigue and especially faith and hope in God. People sometimes take a path they are uncomfortable with not realizing it is God leading us. Molly was in danger of letting her pride get the best of her. Great lesson to be learned from this story. Third Story "A Cowboy for Katie" Recently Katie's life has been horrific. She is left alone to rebuild her ranch and her life. The problem is she refuses the advances of any man fearing all they want is her land. She is determined to rebuild on her own. She relents and hires a wandering cowboy. She learns he is the perfect man for the getting the work done without moving into her fragile personal space. Will Treb realizes there is more to be rebuilt than just the ranch house and barn. He notices Katie is damaged emotionally which causes her to have night terror along with mistrust of anyone, including him. Debra Clopton writes a heart-wrenching story about a young woman barely holding on to reality. the author reveals how God will provide if we ask and believe he will answer, which happened in the form of Will Treb. I fell in love with the sweet patient character of Will Treb. Be sure you have a box of tissues on hand it is a tear jerk-er. Fourth Story "Courting Trouble". This is the perfect title for this story. Grace Davenport just can't seem to get a break in life. Grace's young son attempts to hire Brock Daniels, a local attorney that does not really want the job. But the young boy touched Brock's heart and after he does some investigating on the woman and her charge of murdering her husband he decided he would take the case. I asked myself, "Could this woman really be guilty or is she being railroaded by some evil force?". In this story Margaret Brownley created the wonderful character, Brock Daniels in that he was so determined and lead by God to help this broken family. I loved the sweet well mannered young boy he will pull at your heart strings as he did mine. It is never too late when lives have been broken for so long to be lifted up and healed of by God. This story was mysterious, with a growing romance and healing grace. I highly recommend this collection of four books in one. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group/Thomas Nelson for an honest review.
I love a well-written novella! All of these stories gave me a good sense of the characters and connected me to their emotions. The premise of unlikely couples let me know that things were going to get interesting... and they sure did! Mary Connealy is an expert at infusing natural humor into her characters' relationships. I felt bad for Maizy, having to utterly change in order to please the men in her life, but admired her sincerity and determination to make things right. It took poor Rylan a few tries to get things right with her, but it was so entertaining :) Robin Lee Hatcher's story was enjoyable, but predictable. Jack was incredibly easy-going about Molly's defensiveness and it was nice to watch them grow closer together. Crazy Katie Pearl in Debra Clopton's story is fighting off the men wanting to marry her for her land by using them for target practice. She talks to herself, can't sleep, and won't go indoors. Treb understands her fears and grounds her in a way that helps her heal and learn to trust others. Several sweet moments to savor in this story. My favorite part of Margaret Brownley's novella is the trial scene- talk about Old West justice! The whole time Grace and Bruce are trying to combat the "guilty until proven innocent" mindset of the community, but I have to admit my jaw dropped at the way it all goes down. Another nice touch was how Bruce became a mentor to her son in ways she doesn't expect. (Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy and Robin Lee Hatcher have put together a great collection of short stories in their new book Four Weddings and a Kiss! All these stories are about living in the Wild West, pretty young woman and dashing caring men. We have one young woman, who is like Annie Oakley, and what happens to her young man is almost beyond belief, but yes he does survive. Then we have an almost middle age, guess she would be considered an old maid, who is well educated. Her Dad, who owns the local paper, hires a young man to be the editor, when his daughter is qualified for the job. She is so upset she wants to sabotage him and make him what to leave, but that is not the Christian thing to do, so read what happens to her! Next we have a woman that is so traumatized by being in a tornado, which did kill her father, that she doesn’t trust anyone. To the towns amazement she hires a drifter that has just stopped to earn enough money to buy a new horse. The only way she was led to this you man, was because of God, loved how things happen here. Last, was probably my favorite, as I loved the concept the author took, with a young woman in jail and her precocious son trying to hire a lawyer for her with his 56¢. This one is call the Black Widow, or wider as the cow pokes refer to her, and when you find out why?? Justice in Colorado is far different than in Pennsylvania at this time in history. Each story can be read in a sitting and makes you want to keep turning the pages and read the next story. A really good clean romance, and a cute way they all tie together. I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Robin Lee Hatcher and Mary Connealy team up in their new book, “Four Weddings And A Kiss” published by Thomas Nelson give us four weddings set in the 1800′s. From the back cover: Four best-­selling award-winning authors remind us that love often takes us by surprise. “Spitfire Sweetheart” by Mary Connealy Maizy MacGregor is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love. “Love Letter to the Editor” by Robin Lee Hatcher Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper’s owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He’s resolved to change Molly’s mind about him–as an editor and as a man. “A Cowboy for Katie” by Debra Clopton Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie’s mind? “Courting Trouble” by Margaret Brownley Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive–or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn’t interested in the case–until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace. First there is the framing story where five preachers sit around a campfire and tell each other the four wedding stories that follow for the sake of the fifth preacher who is having a problem with his upcoming marriage. Each story is different and great fun all by itself however when you put them all together they are there for a purpose which leads us back to the framing story for its end. so it is almost as if we had five stories. “Four Weddings And A Kiss” is great fun to read. This is a book where you wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, make yourself comfortable in your favorite chair and have warm cider to drink as you savor each story. All the stories are so well written and the romance is perfect, tender not overboard or forced. Leave this book on your shelf so that next year you can re-visit it. Hopefully there will be another and make this a series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
For as long as I can remember, I've been a huge fan of western romance fiction. Something about the simplicity of living a life in the wilderness where danger lurks on the horizon and romance can be found sweeping us away into another time. For those that love Western Romance as much as I do, you might want to pick up the latest novel in the Western Bride Collection, Four Weddings and a Kiss. This one combines four amazing romance stories from authors Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy and Robin Lee Hatcher, who are experts at making us fall for those tall drinks of water and falling in love over and over again on the western range, in one amazing book. In Spitfire Sweetheart from Mary Connealy, Maizy MacGregor takes on Rylan Carstens when her independent spirit causes Rylan to quite literally fall for her. Now injured and unable to work his ranch, it's going to take all of her efforts to help him realize that there is more to her than simply a pretty face beneath those man's britches! In A Love Letter to The Editor from Robin Lee Hatcher, Molly Hatcher dreamed that when her father was ready to retire from running the newspaper, he would name her as his replacement. Yet when he informs her that he has solicited the efforts of Jack Lovegrove instead, Molly will make sure he doesn't find anything in Killdeer worth staying for. A Cowboy for Katie from Debra Clopton takes readers into the broken and wounded spirit of Katie Pearl, the survivor of a tornado that kept her buried beneath her home while her father died. Now nicknamed "Crazy Katie," she enlists the help of Treb Rayburn a cowboy who plans on staying in Midway, Texas long enough to make enough money to buy a horse and set off to see the world. He has no plans on marriage and that is just what Katie is looking for when she hires him to help rebuild her ranch. Finally in Courting Trouble, Margaret Brownley takes us into the upcoming trial of Black Widow, Grace Davenport who has been arrested for the death of three husbands. But did she really do it? Her son believes she has been a victim of bad circumstances and hires local attorney Brock Daniels to defend his mother. But Brock isn't interested in defending anyone, so what will it take to defend Grace and give him a new lease on life? I received Four Weddings and a Kiss by Margaret Brownley, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton and Mary Connealy compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. I have so many Western Romance novels from each of these remarkable women in my personal library and loved gaining this unique collection of stories to add to my growing collection. Each of these stories shows that even the unlikeliest of couples can find true happiness in whatever their situation despite the odds set against them. They are people that God brings together to find more than just love, but healing and forgiveness as well. I easily give this collection a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion!
I received a copy of FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. It is an anthology of historical fiction short stories that involve the rugged Wild West. It is part of A Western Bride Collection series, but you don’t need the other stories to enjoy this anthology. When I say “enjoy,” it is with a huge smile. This book delighted my day and I couldn’t wait to read on once I started. The overall theme involves a reverend who is talking to his peers about the girl he likes, who is utterly unsuitable. Each of his friends offers him a story about unlikely love. SPITFIRE SWEETHEART by Mary Connealy: Maizy is a tomboy and loves working on her father’s ranch. She harms fellow rancher Ryan Carstens, so her father makes her work for him to pay off the debt. This was a sweet story, as the title suggests, although I couldn’t picture things well. A LOVE LETTER TO THE EDITOR by Robin Lee Hatcher: This was quite unusual, as it is about a female columnist and her new male editor. She wanted the editor position, so she strives to make his life unpleasant so that he’ll move. I enjoyed the unusual aspect, for I haven’t read other historical fiction books about a female columnist in the west. A COWBOY FOR KATIE by Debra Clopton: This is my new favorite story for historical fiction, only though it is only a few chapters long. Katie struggles with personal fears – something I can relate to well lately – and she hires Treb to help rebuild her house. They fall in love. This story warmed my heart, and I smiled throughout it. This story is perfect in my eyes. COURTING TROUBLE by Margaret Brownley: This was, sadly, my least favorite story of the group. I couldn’t get into it well. Mainly, Brock is a lawyer and he’s trying to help out young widow Grace. Overall, the collection was entertaining and I have a new author to keep watch for – Debra Clopton!