"Linda Broday's books always take me back to a west that feels true. Her love stories run deep with emotion. A delightful read." Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Promise Me Texas
North Central Texas, 1875: When Delta Dandridge shows up claiming to be Cooper Thorne's mail-order bride, he scrambles to set her straight. The tempestuous woman makes him see red and at the same time, challenges all his vows to remain a bachelor.
Rancher Cooper Thorne thinks his life is finally on an even keel-until Delta Dandridge steps off the stagecoach and claims she's his mail order bride. Brash and quick-witted, the meddling Southern Belle is everything Cooper thought he never wanted...and everything his heart is telling him he needs.
But Cooper swore long ago that he'd never marry, and he aims to keep his word, especially now that the demons from his past have returned to threaten everything-and everyone-he holds dear...
Bachelors of Battle Creek series:
Texas Mail Order Bride (Book 1)
Twice a Texas Bride (Book 2)
Forever His Texas Bride (Book 3)
About the Author
Linda Broday resides in the panhandle of Texas on the Llano Estacado. At a young age, she discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There's something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up! A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers' Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She blogs regularly at www.PetticoatsandPistols.com. Visit her at www.LindaBroday.com.
Read an Excerpt
North Central Texas
It was strange how a day could go south quicker than a steam locomotive on a downhill slope.
Cooper Thorne drew his black hat farther down on his forehead and reflected on that fact as he rode across his ranch land, trying to recapture the good mood he'd enjoyed before his morning turned into an unholy mess.
He kneed Rebel into a trot and navigated a small rise before reining the powerful buckskin to a halt to take in the breathtaking sunrise. This was his favorite vantage point from which to gaze out over the gently rolling hills that comprised the Long Odds Ranch.
Tall cliffs bordered the six hundred and forty acres on three sides. The only way to enter his spread was from the east. He felt safe here.
It had taken blood and sweat and dogged determination to get where he was. Fair to say he'd been through hell and come out the other side to claim this life for his own.
He rested his elbow on the saddle horn and took in the view.
This wild Texas land was his home. For the first time in his almost thirty years, he'd truly found a place to belong. It felt right, and his soul was at peace at last.
Or as much as it ever would be.
The rich black soil that could raise fine crops or prime cattle was now in his blood. It had put back together his broken dreams.
He'd chomped at the bit to get out and put his hands to work...until he got to breakfast. Mack Malone, the cook he'd hired a month ago, had burned the biscuits, charred the eggs, and mangled the flapjacks. Then his horse threw a shoe and Cooper had to round up the ranch blacksmith to put a new one on. And to make matters worse, one of his ranch hands up and quit with branding about to start. All before dawn. He needed this moment of peace before heading back to work.
Because heaven only knew what awaited him next...
His middle brother, Rand Sinclair, sat cooling his heels on the porch when Cooper finally made it back to the house sometime that afternoon.
Rand's ever-present grin widened as he unwound his tall frame and got slowly to his feet. "Thought I'd have to send up smoke signals or get Brett to track you down or something. Figured you'd be coming in to get some vittles sooner or later, but I'd about decided maybe you'd packed up and moved on without telling anyone."
Cooper dismounted. "I do run a ranch, you know. Out here we work from can to cain't, unlike you. All you do is pour whiskey down drunks and watch their wives have a conniption."
"There's a lot more to it than that, and you darn well know it. I work hard to make a living."
"Reckon so. You eaten?"
"This an invite?"
"All you'll get."
"In that case, I can always eat."
"Don't I know it." Cooper led the way to the kitchen table.
Over a plateful of beans with chunks of ham and fried potatoes that were thankfully almost edible, Cooper turned to Rand. "What brings you all the way out here? Shouldn't you be in town lubricating those drunks and taking their money?"
Rand owned the Lily of the West in the nearby town of Battle Creek. Their younger brother, Brett Liberty, had acquired the Wild Horse Ranch, five miles as the crow flies from the Long Odds Ranch, though it was more like seven or eight if you traveled by road.
"They don't need me for that. It'll happen whether I'm there or not." A big grin stretched from ear to ear and devilment twinkled in Rand's blue eyes. He leaned back as though very satisfied with himself.
"What's got you in such a good mood?" Cooper sensed a shoe was about to drop. He didn't like dropping shoes. Or grinning brothers who knew something he didn't. "You look like a cat that just caught himself a big fat mouse."
"A woman arrived on the stage today. A mail-order bride. Claims you agreed to marry her."
Cooper's fork clattered to the table. "Of all the...! Whose idea of a sick joke is this?"
"Can't understand why you didn't see fit to tell Brett and me that you'd changed your mind about taking a wife," Rand teased. "You being head honcho of the Battle Creek Bachelors' Club and all."
"You know better than that. Wipe that grin off your face before I knock it off," Cooper growled.
Rand shrugged but kept grinning anyway. "Fact is, she stepped off the stage and was mighty put out that you weren't there waitin' to welcome her. I did what I could to help."
"I'll just bet."
His brother put his hand over his heart in mock horror. "You wound me."
"Yeah, well, whoever is behind these rotten shenanigans had best take warning and find a rock to crawl under. When I catch him, there'll be hell to pay. For all I know, this could be one of your harebrained stunts. You seem to think it's so all-fired hilarious."
The grin faded from Rand's face. "I wouldn't joke about anything as serious as this, Coop. After all these years, surely you believe that."
"Yeah, I don't reckon you'd be mixed up in something like this. But someone sure the hell brought her here and put her up to this." Either that, or the woman had hatched the scheme all by herself. Maybe she was looking for some easy money and thought Cooper would pay her off to leave.
Well, the joke would be on her. Cooper had little money, easy or otherwise. What he got he turned around and put right back into the ranch. All except for the nest egg he'd put aside to buy the Zachary place that neighbored his property. He almost had enough saved, and then the better portion of the valley would be his.
Rand laid a hand on Cooper's shoulder. "Reckon only one thing to do. Come into town and straighten her out. Name's Miss Delta Dandridge. Came all the way from Georgia. Says she's not leaving till she talks to you. She took a room at Mabel's Boardinghouse-you can find her there."
If that wasn't just dandy! The day that had begun with such promise had certainly gone to hell in a handbasket fifteen ways from Sunday.
And who in the hell had a name like Delta?
"You tell that little conniver I'll be in town first thing in the morning," Cooper snapped. "I'll send her packing."
Delta tried to still the tremor in her hands as she stepped onto the porch of Mabel's Boardinghouse. She breathed the crisp morning air.
Rancher looking for a wife. Must be of sound mind, body, and moral character. That's what the notice in the Matrimonial Harvest catalog had said. She'd upheld her end of the bargain and could attest with certainty to her exemplary mind, body, and character.
But the gentleman?
That Mr. Thorne hadn't seen fit to meet her stage yesterday still smarted. Alone, with only a stranger to guide her, she'd taken a room here at the boardinghouse rather than the dark, dreary hotel that had sent a sense of foreboding shivering up her spine.
Now she wasn't sure she was quite ready to meet the man who'd agreed to be her husband.
Yet, here he was, a few feet away.
Fortunately, the tall rancher had his back to her, which gave her the advantage of seeing him first.
"Mr. Thorne? Cooper Thorne?"
He turned and Delta's breath caught in her throat. My goodness, he was quite impressive. Tall and lean, there was a rugged quality about him from his chiseled features down to boots that had many miles on them. And a good deal of cow manure, if she wasn't mistaken. His dark gray shirt stretched tight across his broad shoulders, and the black Stetson that shaded his eyes had seen better days.
Yet it was the deadly Colt on his hip that gave her pause. He appeared a man to be reckoned with. Everything about him was hard and unyielding and put her in mind of someone who'd never known any kind of softness. For a moment, it took her aback. She wondered if she could please him.
"Miss Dandridge, I suppose." The deep timbre of his voice seemed to vibrate the air between them.
"Yes. I'm so happy to finally meet you." She smiled, covering the few steps with her hand extended.
He touched her palm for the briefest of seconds and cleared his throat. "There's been a terrible misunderstanding."
The wild beating of Delta's heart suddenly stopped, and for a moment she feared it wouldn't start again. "What are you saying?"
"I don't know how to break this to you gently. I'm not looking for a wife, ma'am. Never was. I'm a bachelor and quite content to stay this way. I'm not sure how such a mix-up could happen."
"So you never intended to keep your promise? You dragged me here under false pretenses. Why would you do that, Mr. Thorne?"
From under the brim of his hat, she glimpsed surprise and something indiscernible in an honest gaze that was the color of gunmetal.
"What I'm saying is...well, I didn't send for you."
White-hot anger swept over Delta. It was one thing to spurn her, but calling her a liar made her mad enough to fight. Yanking the packet of letters from her pocket, she thrust them into his hands.
"Then would you mind explaining these? If you can."
Cooper didn't spare them a glance. "Look, lady. I didn't write them. And if I ever find out who did, I'll make him rue the day he took it into his head to claim to be me."
"If you'll just read the letters, you'll see the promises, the words of endearment that brought me here."
A muscle in his jaw worked as he shook his head. "Once and for all, I'm sorry. I truly am."
"Maybe if you just gave yourself a chance to get to know me."
"I can't offer hope where there is none. I'm sure you're a very fine woman who'll make someone an excellent wife." Finality echoed in his soft words. "I'm not on the market."
Delta went very still. Slowly, her situation began to sink in. There would be no marriage. She was stuck in Battle Creek, Texas, with an empty purse and no prospects. She blinked back the tears that threatened to spill and humiliate her even further.
He continued, "Seems we've both been played for fools. I'll be glad to pay your way to wherever you want to go."
The last thread of Delta's dignity held fast. Her voice was cold and brittle. "You can keep your money, Mr. Thorne. I won't take one cent from you."
With that, she jerked the letters from his hand and strode into the boardinghouse with her head held high.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cowboy love story 282 pages. Loved it!
Linda Broday has woven together another intriguing tale from the fringes of the Old West. In the first book of The Bachelor of Battle Creek series, we meet three brothers determined to never marry, Oh, they had their reasons alright, but Cooper Thorne was no match for the blonde haired beauty that stepped off the stage claiming to be his mail order bride. It was obvious someone had tried to play matchmaker for the tall handsome cowboy, but who? It was also obvious that Cooper Thorne wanted nothing to do with this woman who claimed he'd sent for her. Delta Dandridge wasn't the kind of woman to tuck tail and run, never mind the fact that she had nowhere to run to. She dug her heels in and in no time, won the hearts of the residents of the small failing town of Battle Creek. Cooper Thorne saw red when Delta not only stayed in Battle Creek, but set about spiffying up the town and seeing to it they gained a school and school teacher. Through lots of twists and turns in this story, an old nemesis comes gunning for Cooper and his two brothers, dragging Delta dangerously into the fray. Cooper realizes he loves this woman and not only does he love her, but he can't imagine life without her when she goes missing and he knows she is in grave danger. I loved this story and all of the characters that are woven through it like a delicate spider web. Romance sizzles on the pages and the good guy wins. If you love a great love story set in the old West, you'll love Texas Mail Order Bride!
This is book 1 in the Bachelors of Battle Creek series. Having arrived in town to wed a stranger, Delta Dandridge is taken aback when rancher Cooper Thorne says he didn't write the letters that brought her to town. Not having a home to go back to, she finds a job at the local store and starts to make a life for herself in the new town. Cooper is happy to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life, but the sweet charm of Delta keeps him guessing if it is the right decision. When a person from his past comes back to take revenge, Cooper realized just how much Delta means to him. Is he willing to give up bachelorhood for the chance of a once in a lifetime love? This is my first book by Linda Broday and I really enjoyed it. I usually read stories set in Europe, but do love a good western thrown in every once in awhile. This story was a nice change of pace. I really liked Delta. She came out to the west to make a new life for herself. When things didn't go her way, she made the most of it. She stepped up and really tried to be a productive member of society which meant that she stepped on a few toes along the way. But that just added to the antics of the story and made it move along a good pace. I am intrigued by Cooper and his "brothers" and look forward to reading the rest of the series which will include their stories. Thanks go to Sourcebooks via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
I really did become engrossed in the story right at the beginning . I did enjoy the book and would have given it 5 stars instead of 4 because the villain always seemed to have the upper hand. Other than that it was good.
Two people, both with secrets to hide and pain in their hearts to heal. Someone secretly brought them together in a mail-order bride scheme. Cooper is having none of it, and puts and end to that! Delta has no other choice but to find work in this small town in Texas. Author Linda Broday pens a wonderful tale of determination, and what you can do when everyone comes together for a cause. The main characters are brilliant, Delta is sassy, has a heart of gold and determined, Cooper is stubborn and determined to make his ranch succeed, but the many secondary characters in the story are wonderful and they bring this passionate story together. I love that the author involves the entire town in this well written story, with plenty of mystery, and drama. Well deserved 5 STARS! I can't wait to read Bachelors of Battle Creek, #2 and #3. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did. This one goes on my keeper shelf to be read again, and again.
The author takes you on a spin through the Wild West in a little town called Battle Creek before you are done you realize the town has the right name. Many battles will be fought in this little town from many different angles. Ms. Broday spins a tale that could have happen back when there were mail order brides. She throws in a little mystery which keep you turning the pages to see who did what and who will win what battle. As Delta feet hit the ground in Battle Creek this little spit fire stirs things up to no end. She starts with a hand full of letters from her future husband..now things start getting interesting. It seems someone forgot to send the telegraph to Crooper who is totally clueless when he is told his has a bride waiting for him in town. Letters what letters he didn’t write any letters. No gold digger is going to take what is his…. He will get this straighten out right way the only thing he wasn’t planning was to find a very beautiful women waiting for him. He has to let the little missy down easy, he wasn’t counting on her to hold her head high and give him a few home truths as she saw them. He thinks she will leave town, she isn’t letting any no good for nothing man run her out of town. Oh my and the plot thickens faster than the gravy in the pan. These two will hit head more than once both being a little hot head not to mention bullheaded. The author has stories inside of stories that all tie together in one way or another. The chemistry between these two is strong, the pull is powerful. They fight it but the whole town has fallen in love with Delta and is pulling for her. She has turned this town on its ear with putting her nose in where most think it doesn’t belong. She had a hard life but life might just be getting better for her, as in life things must get worse before they turn around. Crooper is about to find out a thing or two as he finds his self in a fight for his life in more ways than one. I wish the author would have let us see Crooper reaction to him finding out who sent the letters that would have been interesting. I found this to be a delightful read and couldn’t put the book down. I loved the way she twisted the story giving us mystery bring us to the top only to twist a little more. There are a few shocks you do not see coming. I loved how the town took in a stranger after a few pit falls and make her one of their own. How they took care of each other and gave so much to make this a place you would want to live in. The author does touch on some serious issues of abuse and how it was taken care of as only the people from the west can do. I myself would have loved to have helped. There is much heartbreak but much love in this wonderful little town. I fell in love with it and it’s wonderful characters. The author gives you a wonderful tale with wonderful characters from the brothers to the store owners. Each you will fall in love with and won’t be able to wait to see what the author has in store for you as she writes this series. I can’t wait to see Rand story he has had a troubled life as the author shows you life for him might be getting better real soon. These are strong characters that stand up for what they believe in, keep those they love safe, they have honor as only the west can have. I highly recommend this book of Western historical romance
It was strange how a day could go south quicker than a steam locomotive on a downhill slope. With her very first sentence, Linda Broday had me hooked on Texas Mail Order Bride. Well, I am partial to steam locomotives, but what really grabbed me from the first chapter is the way Linda sets up the perfect conflict in what could’ve been a standard mail-order bride story. She flips the trope on its head, and adds a twist of mystery and danger that’ll keep you turning the pages. Delta Dandridge shows up in Battle Creek with a fistful of letters from a suitor, Cooper Thorne. Only Cooper didn’t write those letters, and he rejects her right off, despite being attracted to her, despite her obvious sincerity, despite what would’ve been the gentlemanly thing to do—marry the girl. He’s a bachelor, he explains (like a dimwit) and content to stay that way. Cooper goes back to his lonely ranch, and Delta finds herself respectable employment and thumbs her nose at the man who spurned her. Good for her! I love heroines who are strong ladies, and Delta is both. Now before you get too put out with Cooper, the rancher has his good side, and you see it in his mile-wide protective streak toward his brothers, an abused woman and her child, and ultimately, Delta. These two complex characters are feisty, tortured by their pasts and hardheaded as a pair of mules. But when they’re together on the page, oh man, do the sparks fly! And the love scenes are oh so sexy without being over the top. Just as well drawn are the characters who surround them, the other brothers and residents of the town, who bring you into their lives and leave you wanting more. Broday deftly weaves in touches of history with her creation of a town at an actual battle site (so clever), and then we see that town come to life through Delta's eyes. I won’t tell you the rest of the story. If you love Western historical romance, you’ll want to read this book, as well as the rest of the series, The Bachelors of Battle Creek.
'I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review' Cooper is set as far as he is concerned. He and his brothers now live in Battle Creek. They each had their own bad childhoods. Which is what bonded them and made them brothers in the first place. So imagine his surprise when one of his brothers tells him that his mail order bride is waiting for him in town. He did not send for a mail order bride. Now he needs to send this little liar on her way back home. Or so he thinks until he meets Delta. He can see that she has been duped just like he has. He still does not want a bride so she still needs to go. She decides to stay. Now every time he turns around she is there. Delta cannot go back home. Answering the mail order bride add was her chance to get away from her past. When she finds out that she was scammed and she did not have a groom expecting her she decides to stay in Battle Creek anyways. She gets a job at the mercantile. The owner is a grouchy man that she is determined to win over. She is bound and determined to stay away from Cooper. Which is hard to do when he won't stay out of the store! This is the first book that I have read from this author and I am hooked! I cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out. I will definitely be checking out other books from this author. It is a great Western Romance that draws you in from the start and keeps you hooked! I definitely recommend reading! 'Read and Reviewed by LSK Sweetheart Reviews'
Broday brings the trials of the west to life in a vividly real manner. Her quietly picturesque descriptions allow readers to visit this town. Her writing tone and style takes you back to old Texas. The harshness of the land and times shine through but the characters’ persistence and love for one another capture your heart. Top this off with an exciting and suspenseful story and you won’t be able to put this one down. Broday has definitely created a complexly multifaceted romance that definitely stands out. This story started out as a bit of a comical comedy of errors that endeared me to the characters. Broday lets you in on her characters’ inner thoughts so that by the end of the novel you feel like you’ve spent time with old friends. And this doesn’t just refer to the main characters. I felt like I was part of this town, getting to know all of its inhabitants. It was a wonderful feeling. This is the type of story that has you thinking about it all day and rushing home from work to finish reading it. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others and will be waiting with baited breath for the next novel in the series. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
In Texas Mail Order Bride, Cooper’s story will remind you why western historical romances are alive and well; why we’ll never stop reading great, heartwarming, well-written stories such and Cooper’s and Delta’s story. You’ll love the sassy, but level-headed Delta Dandridge who stepped off the stagecoach and claims she’s Cooper’s mail order bride. She’ll change the town and Cooper in ways you could never imagine. Rancher Cooper Thorne has sworn never to marry and sets about to find out who played an embarrassing and painful prank on both of them. But, can he avoid Miss Dandridge and not act on his own feelings until the mystery is solved? A fantastic “real west” novel!
In my opinion, no one writes western romance better than Linda Broday, and with her latest release, she once again proves why she is one of the tops in her genre! This story has everything a fan of western-themed love stories could want - great characters that include a handsome cowboy (plus two equally handsome brothers), a damsel in distress (but also smart and feisty) and a supporting cast of interesting folks; a fascinating setting in post-Civil War Texas; and a fast-paced whirlwind of a tale that will keep readers riveted to their seats until the very satisfying end. Linda has such a great way of pulling her readers into the heart of the story and through her superb storytelling skills she creates such an imaginative tale that one can almost fancy themselves right there along side the characters as they work to carve out a life and as well as find love in the wild, wild West. "Texas Mail Order Bride" is the first book in Linda's "Bachelors of Battle Creek" series, and I can't wait for the next books, featuring those other two hunky cowboy brothers, to come out! I highly recommend any and everything Linda Broday has written and urge you to check out this new fabulous novel! You'll be glad you did
I don't usually write reviews, but I had to let everyone know what a great book this is. I always want a story to pull me into it from the first page. This one did it!!! If there was one thing that stopped me from giving it 5 stars, I found that Delia's acceptance by the towns people was to easy. But other than that, wow what a book. Cooper could be my hero anytime.
Historical romance with sizzle! A hot sexy brooding cowboy and a feisty, sassy woman determined to build a new life for herself, this plot guarantees fireworks and a fantastic read. Loved this plot, it's well written and not your typical historical romance - it has everything a lot of historical romances are missing with numerous twists and turns. It's fast paced, steamy, funny and heartfelt with a full cast of amazing characters. I cannot wait to read to next in the series and catch up again not only with Cooper and Delta, but also Granny, Brett and Rand!
This book made me cry, sigh, laugh out loud, and curse at the villain! I became totally immersed in the romance of Delta and Cooper, as well as the lives of the colorful residents of Battle Creek, Texas. I read this series out of order, and after having read the 2nd book and then the 3rd and final book, I had to read the beginning of this captivating series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but trust me, once you've read one, you'll crave more and have to read all three.