Short-Straw Bride

Short-Straw Bride

by Karen Witemeyer


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Lighthearted Historical Romance From a Rising Star

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764209659
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/01/2012
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 292,097
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. Her book A Tailor-Made Bride was honored as one of the Best Western Romances of 2010 by the Love Western Romances website and was nominated for a RITA Award and National Reader's Choice Award. Karen lives in Abilene, Texas, with her family. Visit her website at

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Short-Straw Bride 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 reviews.
Regina_Jennings More than 1 year ago
Warning - Reading this book in public can lead to mild embarrassment. I had a doctor appointment recently and was excited to finally have some quiet time to read "Short-Straw Bride". Unfortunately, the waiting room was too quiet. When young Meredith steals onto Archer land and Travis - the misunderstood and feared hero - comes to her rescue, I was hooked. I was completely engrossed in the story when Meredith, under the impression that she's dreaming, tells the scary Mr. Archer what she really thinks of him...and I snorted...snorted loudly earning concerned glances from my waiting-room friends. But I couldn't stop thinking about the story and when I got back to my car I gave into temptation and decided to sit there and read at least one more chapter - after all, the kids were okay without me for just a bit more. One chapter stretched into another...and another. When would Travis figure out that Meredith didn't want him to be SO gentlemanly? Would Crockett, Jim and Neill find brides of their own? (Love their names, by the way.) I was quite engrossed when one of my new waiting room acquaintances knocked on the car window to see if I was having car trouble. Busted. Short-Straw Bride is a wonderful story. Travis's confused handling of his bride is endearing. Meredith's hero worship transforms seamlessly into a mature understanding of her husband, without costing him any shine. I don't know if there are subsequent books planned for these entertaining brothers, but sign me up for the petition drive. Well done and highly recommended. Just don't read it with an audience.
shellbell731 More than 1 year ago
ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL CHRISTIAN ROMANCE! This story just got bumped to the #1 spot on my personal list of favorite books. I recently discovered Karen Witemeyer's books and quickly read through the first three. Then I anxiously waited for Short-Straw Bride to be released. Merideth not only gets rescued by her prince multiple times but is able to rescue him in return. Travis is definitely the hero we want him to be as a protector of his brothers and then a protector of Merideth, the woman who wins his heart. Merideth and Travis take us on a funny and loving adventure that makes us all wish we could be the short-straw bride. These books just keep getting better and better. My only complaint is that now I'm all caught up on her titles and I desperately need something to read. I hope Karen is not on a 1-book-a-year schedule because I simply can't wait that long. I have already re-read all four books at least once and am enjoying them as much as the first time. But, if these first four stories are evidence of what's to come, I'm going to be very impatient as I wait for book #5. Karen, I'm begging you, PLEASE WRITE QUICKLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
book4children More than 1 year ago
This is another sweet, christian romance novel that is free of sex scenes and/or violence. There is some suspense and romance, but nothing to make you squirm. Meredith is a strong christian heroin with a vibrant love for the Lord and a desire to do His will. She gets caught in a predicament that forces her to marry Travis Archer, the recluse cowboy that refuses to let anyone come onto his land. The Archer brothers are all so humorous and adorable. I especially loved Crockett. He was quite the character. Jim was funny because he was so stoic, and you never quite knew what he was thinking, except when it came to Meredith's cousin. I love characters that have flaws, whether they are physical or internal. Both Meredith and Travis have strengths and weaknesses that make them more realistic and believable. I felt like the second half of the book dragged on a little bit too long. One thing after another kept popping up to keep the newlyweds from ever being alone together. But it was a fun twist to see a couple that is forced to marry still try to go through a proper courtship and get to know each other before anything physical happens between them. The Cover: I love this cover. It is super cute, and I love the way Meredith is trying to sneak a peek at the straws in Travis' hands. The title design is really cute and goes well with the rest of the cover.
swimreadbreathe4JC More than 1 year ago
I read this book in almost one sitting. I loved it; Karen Witemeyer has done it again, spinning a beautiful western romance. Her past three books, all stand-alones, The Tailor-Made Bride, Head in the Clouds, and To Win her Heart, have also been wonderful. This recent addition to my collection has not let me down! Meredith Hayes is an orphan that is sent to live with her business-minded aunt and uncle, who want her to marry Roy Mitchell to further their business. Meredith does not agree to the match because of an incident that happened twelve years ago, that only her cousin Cassandra has been told about. Meredith was ten years old, being bullied, same as ever, when the bully goes so far as to throw her lunch pail onto the forbidden Archer land. Everybody knows not to go onto the Archer's land for fear of being shot as all the signs around the Archer's land warn. Meri bravely makes her way to retrieve her pail, and almost makes it safely when her leg is caught in a steel trap and she is unable to flee. Meri hears dogs coming towards her and is afraid that she will be caught when Travis Archer approaches her with a shotgun pointed at her. Travis Archer's father's dying wish was to keep his brothers and their land safe, and that's exactly what he does. Barbed wire fences are put up with signs warning the trespassers will be shot on sight. Travis and his brothers stay on the land, never once going into town, and take care of the land. So when seventeen-year-old Travis sees a little girl caught in one of his traps, he is horrified by the result of having set them. He immediately goes to help her, and breaks his promise to his deceased father for the first time by carrying her off his land into town. Twelve years later, Meredith Hayes is being forced to marry a man she does not love, with lingering fantasies about the kind man she met on Archer land a long time ago. So when she hears her fiancé-to-be plotting to burn the Archer's off their land to convince them to sell it, Meredith jumps into action to pay off her twelve-year debt to Travis Archer. She runs off to warn them and ends up getting hurt, being forced to stay at the Archer's house until she recovers. Travis Archer is shocked to see Meredith again; even more shocked when he finds out that she risked being shot to warn them about a plot against him. So when Meredith's uncle arrives a few days after Meri's accident, and sees that she has been living with the four Archer brothers for several days, and demands that she marry one of them to save her reputation, he secretly volunteers. He's not sure why he did it, but he knows he feels a responsibility to take care of her. What Travis is not counting on is all of his brothers wanting to marry her too. They end up drawing straws, without knowing that Meredith is watching them from the doorway. Her uncle comes back the next day, and Meredith becomes a married woman. Meredith has always dreamed of Travis, ever since the day he freed her from his steel trap. When they marry, she is determined to prove to him that she will make a good bride. But with constant threats to the Archer's land and Meredith's cousin, will she ever have a chance to prove to Travis that she is more than merely a short-straw bride? Thank you so much to Karen Witemeyer and Bethany House publishers for letting me read and review this book! I love Miss Witemeyer's work and was so excited about the opportunity to read this one, too.
inkwellreviews More than 1 year ago
My review from (Christian book review site) I love, love, love this book! I’ve read it several times and it never gets old. When I read it the first time I couldn’t put it down to even to eat or sleep! This book is defiantly a “feel good” book. It defiantly had its cheesy parts but I really enjoyed it. For me, the best part about it was the characters. Karen Witemeyer did an amazing job, it felt like I knew them. This isn’t your average historical book, and that’s one of the reason I like it so much. Like I said before, this book isn’t the most realistic, but if you want something that makes you sigh dreamily at the end, then this book is perfect for you. I know this is a short review, but I have nothing more to say! I highly recommend this book.
Zelma More than 1 year ago
I really liked this Christian romance. Karen Witemeyer is a great story teller. I just wish this was a series. I would love to see Cassie and Jim get married. Along with the other 2 brothers find love too. This is my 2nd book I have read of Karen's "First was a Tailor-made Bride". I have 2 more of hers to read in the future.
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
I love Short-Straw Bride! This is the second time I have read and it was even better reading it this time around! One of the things I enjoy most about this novel is the attraction that both Travis and Meri have for one another, but neither one of them know it! They have are both strong and determined in their ways/ideas causing friction between them at times, but as well as a romance to bloom! I also really like the Archers! Crockett is personally my favorite and I love the way they all come together as family! They stand by one another with a fierce devotion and love while using their gifts to help one another! It's also really interesting to see their different personalities throughout the novel! Cassie is a great side character and I hope that maybe we will hear more about her later on because she is just so sweet with her under current of determination! I recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for a good romance with a solid message and strong family ties!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved “Stealing the Preacher” so much that when I found out it was the second book in a series, I went to my local library to find a copy of “Short-Straw Bride”, the first book in the series. What a treasure! “Short-Straw Bride” is one of my favorite books now! I loved the way Meredith helped Travis see life from a broader perspective. I loved the gentle romance and willingness to do what’s right in helping others. I enjoyed this book so much that I’ve already read it twice—it is so well written that it can stand up to a second read. I strongly encourage you to treat yourself to this great story by a gem of a writer, Karen Witemeyer. And don’t forget to read book 2--“Stealing the Preacher”—another great book by this great author. I just wish there were more than 5 stars I could give these books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a quick read and a lovely way to spend a weekend. It's entertaining, clean, and the characters are endearing. I love Karen Witemeyer's writing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great, fast read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was definitely a page turner!
Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
Short-Straw Bride is a must read! This was a  fun, humorous and romantic read about a headstrong woman, not just looking out for herself but for the man she loves. The characters learn to trust in God therefore to learn a lesson from this young woman and trust in mankind. I highly recommend this book! I purchased this book for my own reading pleasure.  This review is my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. I could not put it down. I read it in one day. A nice Christian romance. 10+ stars!!
wfnren More than 1 year ago
What a spitfire Meredith is, I want her on my side When Meredith Hayes hears the man she is being pushed to marry tell his hired hand to burn down the Archer's barn she knows she has to warn Travis Archer, the man of her dreams for the last 12 years, that there is danger coming. Now mind you, she has only seen the man once in her lifetime and that was 12 years ago, he rescued her from a trap when she was trespassing on his property and she has dreamed about marrying him ever since. She has been living with her father's brother, his wife and her cousin Cassie for the last few years and now that her uncle's business is failing they are trying to force her to marry to save their business. The man they want her to marry is trying to force the Archer's to sell their land to him and he will do anything to get both pieces of land, hers through marriage and the Archer's by any means necessary. When Meredith runs off to warn Travis she ends up getting kicked in the head by a mule and is alone with the four Archer brothers for several days before her uncle finds her. This changes the whole marriage plan but the 'weaselling' doesn't end. This story is pretty action packed in places for such an innocent sounding title. I couldn't wait for the next paragraph, page, chapter to find out what was going to happen next. Meredith is a spitfire who is not afraid of anything and seems to have a habit of doing just the opposite of what she's told to do. Another winner for Karen! I am finding that every one of her books I read, I like it better than the previous one. I love the characters she puts in her stories
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cute one night read!
Writingsof_Rosie More than 1 year ago
A stellar read from Witemeyer! From page one my heart adored Witemeyer's endearing character, Meredith, and her handsome hero, Travis. I knew I was up for some heart-string pulling and guessed I wouldn't easily be setting the book down. To say the least, I was right. This is my first novel from Witemeyer and I am very pleased. It makes me look forward to Stealing the Preacher all the more. (Especially because it's about Crockett! :D) Meredith Hayes is a feisty, stubborn, young woman almost engaged to a businessman she doesn't love. When she overhears this almost-fiancée talking about committing a crime against a childhood hero, she knows she must do something about it. So she does. A dangerous trait Meri possesses is impulsiveness. She is very spur of the moment and doesn't seem to think things all the way through before she acts. This gets her into trouble more often than others would prefer. But I find it hard to criticize Meri when I know I would probably do the same thing, under her circumstances. Since I don't want to spoil much, I'll end the review with this: Short Straw Bride is set in the late 1800s, Texas this is a cute Christian romance to brighten your day; with a well-rounded cast, a strong hero and heroine, and some humor this is a very pleasant read. :-) My grandmother bought this book for me, no review required. Thanks, Grandma!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved reading this book! I enjoyed it every time I picked it up. The characters were great and I loved their commitment to the ones they love. No matter what consequences might be ahead of them they always did what they knew to be right to help out their families. Not only that but Travis and Meri's commitment to each other was nothing less than what they would give to the others, which I thought was great. I thought it was really cute how Travis saved Meri when she was 10 years old and she ended up with a crush on him. Then 12 years later they meet up again and she still has the same feelings for him, and he still has the overpowering desire to protect her. And that when they are "forced" to marry each other they both secretly are really happy about the situation. I liked that even though they both secretly loved each other, they kept the marriage in name only until they knew the other one felt the same way about them. It was really nice watching their relationship grow, and it was funny knowing how much they were attracted to each other and watching them try to control their feelings. The romance in this book was great. Not only that but I loved how it could be very serious in some parts and then hilarious in others. Also, I liked watching Meri teach Travis to open up to the outside world and to trust in God that everything would be okay. I would definitively recommend this book, and I hope that if you choose to read it you enjoy it as much as I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! Great story and chacters! I can see myself reading it again! Just wonderful!
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Yet another good read. She and Deeanne Gist are really good authors. Having enjoyed the author's other books, I wasn't sure about this. I was excited about it at first then put it aside for some reason. Finally read this and loved it. The interactions with Meredith and the Archers was good. Charming is how I describe these books.
Yiya More than 1 year ago
If you think of the typical fairy tale, what comes to your mind? Well, in my version, there’s always a damsel in distress that falls in love with the strong, handsome fellow, the one she hopes will sweep her off her feet one day – their wedding day. Short-straw bride has all that, along with boots covered in mud, horses swiftly galloping to the rescue and even “Indians.” The only difference is that fairy tales generally end in a wedding, but this novel has one at the beginning. Meredith first meets Travis when a bully throws her lunch pail in his land – the forbidden Archer Land, dutifully and fiercely guarded by the four orphaned Archer brothers. Her leg gets caught in one of Travis’s traps, and injures her leg in such a way that even its natural growth is hindered. However, that day is when Travis becomes her first love (Maybe first crush?), and she never stops daydreaming about him. Some years later, after Meredith has been sent a way with her uncle, she overhears a plan to take over Archer Land. Meredith feels it’s her duty to warn the brothers about the tragedy about to fall on them, and she ends up spending the night at the Archer’s cabin. With her reputation soiled, one of the brothers is forced to marry her, and they decide to draw straws to make the final call. However, Travis hasn’t forgotten Meredith either, and he feels it’s his duty as the oldest brother to marry her; he ends up fixing the straws and marrying Meredith. Day by day, they all have to face situations that will test their faith. For one thing, they live together, but they decide that it would not be correct to “be married” without the proper courtship – so they don’t sleep together. On another hand, Meredith finds out about the straws and believes Travis will never love her. She decides to prove herself, and the ever independent and problem solver, her naive intentions translate into disappointments after her plans generally end with her repeatedly injured. Travis, the ever handsome, strong husband, comes to her rescue, but is willing to forgive – sometimes, just because someone else intercedes for Meredith. I enjoyed reading about their conflict, and how they gave in, in order to better love and serve the others. Even Meredith finds daily household chores an opportunity to be a dutiful wife that will honor God with her marriage. It was refreshing to read a story where the link between a married man and woman is so truthfully depicted, pointing to God providing opportunities to shape their characters. Obviously, the more they get to know each other, the more Meredith and Travis are actually attracted to each other and they start making silly mistakes, which gives the story a funny note. However, sexual tension also rises. Generally, I would not comment on this particular feature, but the fact that there is a point where there is a repetitive and continuous description of physical demonstrations, actually harm the quality of the story to my taste. A very classy, romantic story turns tacky and distracting from the main plot. This is the main reason why I’m not giving a 5-star rating in this review. I do commend Mrs. Witemeyer for the inclusion of the Native American community. This story is a beautiful reminder of how we all share ups and downs in life, face challenges, and come together when there is someone in need – no matter our backgrounds nor skin color. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in a fast-paced, easy to read romantic story. Also, there are enough situations that could be used in a teenagers class to talk about Biblical principles and godly decision making. Just exercise caution regarding all the sexual implications. I think that it could also be a good teaching tool for couples who want to get married; it might require a resourceful facilitator, but the multiple events that will try Meredith’s and Travis’s relationship could be good examples of how marriage is constantly tested. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. This has not biased my opinion on the book, nor on the author.
BeckyWade More than 1 year ago
I heard Karen say that the musical Seven Brides For Seven Brothers inspired the idea for this story. As it happens, I was charmed by the movie and likewise very much charmed by Karen's take on the premise. In Short-Straw Bride, four brawny cowboy brothers all live sequestered away on their ranch. None have left its boundaries for years and years. Then a woman is dropped into their midst and their carefully ordered lives are turned upside down. (Which is lots of fun to watch). :) Karen is such a talented author! Her books are regularly nominated for industry awards and she recently snagged the Holt medallion. After reading Short-Straw Bride I can clearly see why. This novel is well written and carefully crafted by an author with a gift for story telling. Oh, and I'm a sucker -- SUCKER! -- for stories where the hero and heroine first meet as kids. Loved the prologue!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters are warm, endearing & just plain good people. Sometimes you just need a story/characters like that. Meredith Hayes met Travis 12 yr. ago when a bully threw her lunch pail on Archer land & she went to retrieve it. NO ONE went on Archer land…all were shot. Unfortunately, on her way out, she did almost make it out; she stumbled into a coyote trap nearly breaking her leg. Travis, the oldest 17 yr old, finds her & carries her home but 1st makes her promise not to tell anyone the Archers are nice… the fear keeps the family safe. Now 22, Martha is being courted by a Lumber man, Marshall, who is willing to over look her slightly crimped leg for the land in her dowry, which would help her uncles financial troubles too. While out she over hears Marshall planning on burning he Archer barn to help persuaded them to sell their land to him as well. Meredith has had a secret crush on Travis since he saved her & feels she owes him so she sneaks over to the Archer land warn them but of course things don’t go so smoothly.
Faithfulgirl4 More than 1 year ago
Karen Witemeyer has done it again with a brilliant tale of shot gun weddings and good ole fashioned romance! I've yet to find a book by this author that I could just take my time and read at a leisurely pace. Ms. Witemeyer ropes readers in before a page can be turned and then saddles them down until the last word is said! Meredith (Meri) Hayes is a young woman who is in a Cinderella state. She is at the mercy of her Aunt (wicked step-mother) Noreen and Uncle Everett after the death of her parents many years ago. When money is tight for the family, the only logical thing to do is to marry Meri off while she has her land inheritance, youth, and beauty. The only problem is, Meri is not attracted to Roy at all and just doesn't see happiness with him. She's always been "in love" with Travis Archer since that fateful day ten years earlier when she had trespassed on her land and become injured. He was just the prince that would never come though. After overhearing some information, Meri finds herself reaching out to help the Archer boys. Once again, she trespasses on their land. That decision would forever change her life. Travis Archer and his brothers, Crockett, Neill, and Jim, have lived on their own since their parents died so many years ago. They are protectors of their land and never leave. No one is allowed on their land without finding a bullet in them. However, when a young girl becomes trapped on their land, Travis cannot help but to take care of her and take her home. Little does he know, that girl will one day return to save his land. When things get a bit heated on the property, Meri is forced to stay. Uncle Everett then lays down an ultimatum, which leads to big decisions amongst the Archers. Who's gonna marry this girl and save her reputation? What about Roy? I absolutely had a hard time putting this book down once I started!! I've felt that way about all of Karen Witemeyer's books! The adventures the characters face make me (at times) wish I could have lived back in the 1800's! I am enamored with the dresses the women of the time wore and the descriptions were spot on. The tender romance that had to blossom and grow was also one that most girls dream of happening. Who wouldn't want to be fought over?? :) I highly recommend this book! Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers and Ms. Witemeyer for providing this book for review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These characters displayed real internal struggles and challenges. It is a well crafted and inspiring story.
ReviewsFromTheHeart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No one can honestly say that they hadn't been warned. Beyond the signs and rumors, if you set foot on Archer land, they would know about it. Men haven't made it back who have ventured so far on their own before, and the few that have come back know not to ever set foot there again. However when she was a young girl, Meredith Hayes, had a school bully toss her tin lunch pail down a hill on Archer land. Fearing her parents wrath more than any Archer rumor, she defied the odds and went after it. Beyond the tall and thick trees she got a glint of the tin pail and was on her way down the hill when she heard the barking of a dog.Remembering the rumors that their dogs have been trained to kill trespassers, Meredith runs for the property line, only to wind up captured between the steel jaws of an animal trap. When Travis Archer spots her, he is instantly drawn to her with compassion and rescues her, returning her home after she broke her leg in the trap. Now years later, Meredith has spent many years dreaming of her hero, Travis, rescuing her from the dangers in her dreams and hoping one day that those dreams may one day come true.She finds herself being encouraged to marry Roy Mitchell, who will help save her Uncle's lumber mill if she agrees. But she doesn't love him or harbor any fond feelings for him. However when she overhears plans to burn down the Archer's barn in an attempt to gain their land along with hers, left to her from her father death, she feels it's time to repay Travis after all these years. She wonders if he'll remember her after all these years.In the latest novel from Karen Witemeyer, Short-Straw Bride, is a delightful tale of a young woman who wants to always do the right thing when it comes to her faith and belief in God, even if it means it may make some people unhappy. In this case, it's repaying a debt she feels she owes to Travis Archer, a man she has spent most of her life dreaming about. What she comes to find out is that not only does Travis remember her, but once she sets foot on Archer land this time, she will not be returning.I received this novel compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and LOVED this one. The concept was unique instead of a simple man meets woman and falls in love, this one had a unique twist to it, you will LOVE if you're a fan of Christian Western Romances. In this one, Meredith Hayes, character is not that of a weak woman, in fact she is quite the opposite, with spunk, fire and determination she tries to always do the right thing even if it means going against what others would have her do instead. For that reason, I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars. I love it when the author chooses to endow her female characters with such strength tempered with the right amount of faith and love for God. This is my fourth book, I've had the opportunity to read by Karen Witemeyer and now if her name is on it, I already know it will be GREAT and I automatically will purchase it.