With the mortgage due and funds scarce, Madge Morgan can't afford distractions. Especially not from Judd Kirk, her sister Louisa's meek tutor andaccording to their mother's planssuitor. Madge's focus is on her housekeeping job little knowing Judd's connection to her employer, or his real reason for coming to Golden Prairie.
At last, Judd has found the man who swindled his mother. Yet if he seeks revenge, he risks losing the one thing he wants even more: a woman with faith enough to rekindle his own. A woman with strong values and a gentle heart. A woman like Madge.
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Golden Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Madge Morgan groaned as steam billowed from the hood of the old clunker that served as car, truck and general chore vehicle. "Why couldn't you save your cantankerous behavior for two more blocks?" So close to her destination, yet so far. And she was late. Mrs. Crebs, her best and most demanding customer, had already warned Madge she wouldn't pay to have her laundry done unless it was delivered spotless and on time.
Madge glanced about. She could either trudge back to the center of town and the public pump for water for the radiator and get to the Crebses' late, or trundle down the street with the bundle of laundry. And still be late.
Her heavy sigh lifted her unruly bangs and provided a welcome breeze to her brow.
Better late than never. She only hoped Mrs. Crebs would agree. At least she couldn't complain about the condition of her clothing and household articles. They were crisp and spotless.
She grabbed the bundle, staggering under the weight of six sets of sheets, all nicely pressed and folded, and an amazing collection of table linens, trousers and starched shirts, all done exactly as Mrs. Crebs desired. She draped the girls' fresh dresses over her arm and plowed toward the imposing Crebs house. The stack blocked her view, but the path was straight and level right up to the front steps. Of course, she would dutifully take her armload around to the back door.
The wind pushed her dress about her legs and fought for ownership of the pile of laundry. A pair of sheets slithered sideways. Madge struggled to keep everything together. She should have tied the bundle with twine, but she hadn't expected to trundle it down the street. She hurried on her way.
And hit a wall, staggered back and lost control of her load. "No!" Her wail was far from ladylike, but she was past caring as the laundry landed in the dirt, little clouds of dust greeting its arrival.
"No. No." She swallowed back the scream tearing at her throat. No sense in announcing her problems to the neighborhood.
She saved her fury and frustration for the source of her problemthe wall shuddering her to a halta living, breathing wall that grunted at her impact. "Look what you've done."
Black eyes snapped. She was certain he saw more than an ordinary man, and she almost quivered. Almost. She knew she'd never forget their intensity nor the surprise in his voice giving it such deep tones.
"Me? You personally own this sidewalk or something?" He picked up his battered cowboy hat and slapped it against his leg before cramming it on his head, restricting his dark, overlong hair to a thick fringe around the brim. He had a square forehead and a firm mouth.
She suddenly remembered his question. "I own my share. What are you doing in the middle of the way?"
"Standing here. Minding my own business. Is that a criminal offense? First I heard of it."
"Not criminal. Just dumb." The accident wasn't his fault, and this whole conversation bordered on the absurd. "These things are as dirty as mud." Mrs. Crebs was going to have a kitten. Probably a whole batch of them, squalling and demanding attention. Nothing to do but pick up the items and try to explain what happened. She reached for the scattered articles, now tossed into disarray by the relentless wind.
Seems the man had a similar notion and bent at exactly the same moment. They cracked heads.
"Ow." She straightened and rubbed her brow.
"Ouch." He grabbed after his hat, getting away in the incessant breeze.
The wind increased, picked up gritty dirt and pelted them. They turned their backs into the attack and waited for it to pass.
She scooped up flapping laundry. The starched-and-ironed tablecloth was no longer gleaming white. Mrs. Crebs would be offended, especially when she heard the whole thing had been witnessed in amusement by a couple of men on the sidewalk and several ladies peeking from their windows.
The man responsible for her predicament reached for a starched and now crumpled shirt. She snatched it from him.
"Only trying to help," he murmured, sounding faintly amused.
"You've already done enough." How was she going to explain this?
Despite her protests, he helped gather up garments and piled them in her arms. Fabric draped and flapped over her shoulders. She hesitated, annoyance and worry warring with good manners.
"You're welcome," the man said, grinning widely. It wasn't his fault. Yet whom else could she blame?
The foolishness of trying to place responsibility for this whole situation on anyone or anything was as silly as trying to attribute the drought, the depressed prices and life in general to someone. Her life, her future, was in God's hands. Not man's. Amusement smoothed her annoyance and relaxed her eyes.
He must have seen the change in her. His grin deepened.
She assessed this stranger. Handsome. Holding himself with strength and confidence. She'd already noted his dark eyes and how they probed. Realizing she stared, she looked away. "Sorry," she gulped and slowly brought her gaze back to his. His wide grin erased the last flickers of annoyance, and she chuckled. "I don't always run full force into strangers. Nor do I usually take out my frustrations on unsuspecting visitors. It's just been that kind of day. I apologize."
He touched the brim of his hat. "Not a problem. We all have our share of troubles these days."
"Far too true." If she didn't take care of Mrs. Crebs, her difficulties would multiply several times. She tore her gaze away from the stranger and paused. "Are you staying in town?" Heat stung her eyes at the boldness of her question. Quickly, she added, "If so, welcome." She fled with her embarrassment. Now the man would think her both cranky and a dolt.
Her feet slowed as the Crebses' house came into view. Lord, help me be gracious. Help Mrs. Crebs be charitable and give me another chance. She sucked in a deep breath that did little to calm her nerves, and knocked on the back door.
Mrs. Crebs yanked it open as if she'd been waiting for Madge. Madge knew she would have been staring at the big clock hanging on the wall and clacking her fingernails against the table as she waited. "You're late again. It's inexcusable." Then she saw her laundry and shrieked.
Madge grimaced at the shrill sound, then hurried to explain. "I had an accident. I'm sorry. I'll take everything home and do it over. I promise it will be spotless."
Mrs. Crebs snatched articles from Madge. "You've ruined my best tablecloth."
"I'll fix it." She would fall on her knees and beg for another chance if it would do any good.
"Don't bother. I've given you more than enough chances. I'll find someone else. Someone I can trust. I've never heard of the Chinaman dumping laundry in the dirt."
The door slammed in Madge's face. Mrs. Crebs, with her five children, had been Madge's best customer. Without the few dollars she made doing the
Crebses' washing, Madge would never scrape together enough for the upcoming mortgage payment.
The future looked bleak.
However, she would not entertain defeat. Somehow, with hard work and perseverance, she would earn the money. Lord, open up another opportunity for me. Please.
With no reason to hurry, she didn't dash back to the car. Instead, she went out the back gate and headed for the church to pray. She desperately needed God's help.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Review: The Cowboy Tutor by Linda Ford 4 STARSThe line of books really fit this book Harlequin Love Inspired Historical. The title also fits well. I enjoyed The Cowboy Tutor that is set in the great depression era. Which a lot of people are now struggling with some of the same problems.Madge lives with her mom and two sisters. Madge was a tomboy who followed her father and learned from him skills. So when her father was died she took over the support of her family. She let the bank have most of the farm land, sold the livestock and kept a cow and calf and some chickens. She took in laundry and because she had a great big room upstairs to hang the laundry to dry so it stayed dust free.Louisa is the oldest girl but has been sick most of her life. She is beautiful and wants so much to learn. So her mom took some of Madge money to place an ad for a tutor and hoped he would marry her.Sally is the youngest and helps with chickens and does cooking too with her mom.Madge had lost her best clinet and then found some of the money missing and took on another job to pay the bank so they would not lose their house too.Justin was the tutor hired for Louisa. He had a limp and long issues coughed and was frail. He quit teaching and became a cowboy.Judd is Justin real name he is hiding who he really is because he learned that the person who took his mothers savings was going to live in this area and he was going to get justice for his mother. Judd than plans to go be a cowboy again he loves working outside.They turn to prayer to get through the tough times and the scriptures. I really like Madge and appreciate her willingness to work for her family. This story did leave me feeling good. I real read more books from Linda. So far I have really enjoyed the love inspires books that I have read. I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley.02/07/2012 PUB Harlequin Harlequin Love Inspired Historical readalot blog
The Cowboy Tutor was another example of Linda Ford's interesting books. I read this one and then ordered the other two in the Three Brides for Three Cowboys series. It was about people who aren't wealthy but are doing for others. It contained several characters who were eeking out a living without a father in the home (he had passed away)at a time when women's were not given employment except for housework or teaching. I thoroughly enjoyed all three books in the series.
A light sweet romance. A terrific romantic plot perfect for all ages. It's a bit reminiscent of Grace Livingston Hill. I loved it & am going to need to grab the rest of the series. Perfect for a YA romance reader.
If you like cowboy romance, you should give Linda Ford a try. Her books are really good and The Cowboy Tutor is a perfect example. Easy to read and enjoyable.
Madge is the middle daughter and with her father dead and a horrible drought and bad economic times she is the one keeping the family a float and trying to keep the mortgage paid each month so they don’t lose there home. Madge goes to pay the banker and finds there is not enough money and she soon finds out why. Her mom has hired a tutor for her older sister with hopes of him becoming her sisters husband. Judd is after revenge for his family. He take the job tutoring Louisa thinking it’s the perfect way to keep track of the man he is after as well as staying busy. Though the one catching his eye is not his pupil but Madge. If she finds out the truth will she be able to trust him? Will Judd be able to forgive the man who did his family wrong and will they both find true love? Read the book to find out. This is book one in the series about three sisters. This book was okay but not as good as I had hoped. What I liked: The author is a good writer and I enjoyed the characters. The time period of the early 1930’s is not an era I have read a lot about so I found it interesting. How hard everyone had to work to survive at that time was pretty heart breaking. What I don’t like: The story line was hard for me to get into. Madge’s family barely had enough money to pay the mortgage yet her mom hired a tutor. They talked about how the money was for the ad but I would figure it would cost more then room and board to pay for it. The revenge story line was kind of weak and there was really no climax to the story. I really finished the book feeling kind of blah about the whole book. I did like the writing style and think for me it was just the storyline it’s self I just did not enjoy it. I did like the characters and look forward to reading the next book in the series to see what happens to the other sisters.
Review: The Cowboy Tutor by Linda Ford 4 STARS The line of books really fit this book Harlequin Love Inspired Historical. The title also fits well. I enjoyed The Cowboy Tutor that is set in the great depression era. Which a lot of people are now struggling with some of the same problems. Madge lives with her mom and two sisters. Madge was a tomboy who followed her father and learned from him skills. So when her father was died she took over the support of her family. She let the bank have most of the farm land, sold the livestock and kept a cow and calf and some chickens. She took in laundry and because she had a great big room upstairs to hang the laundry to dry so it stayed dust free. Louisa is the oldest girl but has been sick most of her life. She is beautiful and wants so much to learn. So her mom took some of Madge money to place an ad for a tutor and hoped he would marry her. Sally is the youngest and helps with chickens and does cooking too with her mom. Madge had lost her best clinet and then found some of the money missing and took on another job to pay the bank so they would not lose their house too. Justin was the tutor hired for Louisa. He had a limp and long issues coughed and was frail. He quit teaching and became a cowboy. Judd is Justin real name he is hiding who he really is because he learned that the person who took his mothers savings was going to live in this area and he was going to get justice for his mother. Judd than plans to go be a cowboy again he loves working outside. They turn to prayer to get through the tough times and the scriptures. I really like Madge and appreciate her willingness to work for her family. This story did leave me feeling good. I real read more books from Linda. So far I have really enjoyed the love inspires books that I have read. I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley. 02/07/2012 PUB Harlequin Harlequin Love Inspired Historical readalot blog
nice story with strong characters that overcome their inner struggles to be happy