Meet nine men from bygone days who have all the qualities of a true hero and who all the single ladies wish to court—though some are unassuming and overlooked until their worth is revealed. The socialite, the architect, the doctor, the masked vigilante, the missionary, the postmaster, archaeologist, the wealthy widower, and the heir can have their pick of brides, but which one will they choose?
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.60(d)|
About the Author
Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves books and history, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, an avid museum patron, and wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul mate. Erica loves to hear from readers. You can sign up for her quarterly newsletter at www.ericavetsch.com And you can email her at email@example.com or contact her on her author Facebook page.
Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than eighty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and is the winner of the 2014 Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine. Kathleen is a paralegal, a proud military wife, and a tenth-generation Texan, who recently moved back to cheer on her beloved Texas Aggies. Connect with her through social media at www.kathleenybarbo.com.
ECPA bestselling author Amanda Barratt, fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story—a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes inspirational historical romance, penning stories that transport readers to a variety of locales. These days, Amanda can be found reading way too many books, watching an eclectic mix of BBC dramas and romantic chick flicks, and trying to figure out a way to get on the first possible flight to England. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and through her website amandabarratt.net
Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her online at www.susannedietze.com and subscribe to her newsletters at http://eepurl.com/bieza5.
Cynthia Hickey grew up in a family of storytellers and moved around the country a lot as an army brat. Her desire is to write about real, but flawed characters in a wholesome way that her seven children and five grandchildren can all be proud of. She and her husband live in Arizona where Cynthia is a full-time writer.
Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. Gabrielle can be found at www.gabriellemeyer.com where she writes about her passion for history, Minnesota, and her faith.
CONNIE STEVENS lives with her husband of forty-plus years in north Georgia, within sight of her beloved mountains. She and her husband are both active in a variety of ministries at their church. A lifelong reader, Connie began creating stories by the time she was ten. Her office manager and writing muse is a cat, but she’s never more than a phone call or email away from her critique partners. She enjoys gardening and quilting, but one of her favorite pastimes is browsing antique shops where story ideas often take root in her imagination. Connie has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2000.
ECPA- bestselling author Gina Welborn worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She serves on the American Christian Fiction Writers Foundation Board. Sharing her husband's love for the premier American sportscar, she is a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club and a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum. Gina lives with her husband, three of their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, two guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn't realize rabbits and pigs are edible. Find her online at www.ginawelborn.com!
Read an Excerpt
The Most Eligible Bachelor
By Amanda Barratt, Susanne Dietze, Cynthia Hickey, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Connie Stevens, Erica Vetsch, Gina Welborn, Kathleem Y'Barbo
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Amanda Barratt
All rights reserved.
New York City 1898
The words bit through her sleep-dazed brain with the intensity of a thousand bullets. Machines whirred, orders bellowed, and Mr. Hunt stood over her, a superior smirk on his beefy face.
Ada McClane blinked the gritty feeling from her eyes. Straightened her stance. Sweat slicked her palms, dampening the skirt of her work apron.
"Please, Mr. Hunt. I'm so sorry. I was up late last night and ..." Her words stumbled over each other.
"None of your excuses!" Mr. Hunt held up a hand. "Falling asleep while in charge of valuable machinery is a serious offense."
"I know. I'm sorry." She should be used to the noise of the factory after three years. But even now the din of machinery, like hundreds of booted feet stomping in unison, made her head throb.
"Sorry won't suit. You're dismissed, and there's an end of it. Collect your things and get out." He turned and walked away.
She rushed after him, grabbing his shirtsleeve. This couldn't be happening. She had to convince him to change his mind. Their very livelihood depended upon it. And with Teddy weaker by the day ...
She wouldn't go without a fight.
He wheeled around, scowling. "I thought I told you to go."
"Please, let me explain. My brother is very ill. I was up late last night tending him. I promise it won't happen again. Give me another chance."
"Never." He leaned so close she could smell the stench of onions on his breath. "Little enchantress. Distracting every man here with that face of yours." Pain shot through her arms as he gripped her shoulders. "It's time your lot learned the hard truth of life. Batting your eyes won't always get you a ride on Easy Street."
"But I don't—"
"But you do." He chuckled. Then shoved her away from him. "Go!"
Her stomach coiled tight. She swung her gaze this way and that. Surely there was someone to aid her. No. Only her fellow workers. Powerless to change a thing.
For at the largest sweatshop on the Lower East Side, Ralph Hunt ruled supreme.
She turned away, her shoulders slumped. It was no use. She'd been fired. Mr. Hunt had gotten his chance at last. The man hated her because she'd rejected his many overtures. Yet until now, her work had been flawless, and he'd never had reason to complain.
"May we never meet again," she muttered as she started for the door. "You no-account, sneaking cad."
Outside, the afternoon sun bathed her skin. She took a deep breath, a medley of odors assailing her. Brine from a fishmonger's stall, smoke from the factory chimneys, and the rotten stench of decaying garbage.
She walked away from the factory and the Lower East Side. She should return and face Teddy, but not now. Enduring the brave smile on his wan face, the feel of his spindly arms around her, his words of empty reassurance ...
Why this, Lord? Our apartment is falling to pieces, my brother is ill, and now I lose my job. Why can't something good happen for a change? Just one thing.
She stared up at the clouds. God loved her, of that she was sure. But sometimes His silence in moments when she needed Him most sent doubts creeping in like cold air under a door.
She stepped in a puddle of refuse, wetness seeping through a hole in her shoe. She hadn't had a new pair in three years, what with medicine the doctor prescribed for Teddy, rent, food, coal. Her old brogans would suit just fine if only they didn't expose her stockings to a soaking every time she accidently stepped in the garbage lining the streets.
A fine carriage rattled past, the thick curtains ajar. She caught a glimpse of the elegant lady within, her face shielded by an enormous flower-bedecked hat. No doubt the hat alone cost more than what the factory paid in a year.
Still, oh to be rich. To have enough food to fill your belly, enough coal to warm your hands. To wear gowns not made of feed sacks and shoes that didn't pinch.
Paradise, for sure and certain.
An impossible dream.
She kept walking, leaving the Lower East Side behind for good. Trudged along block after block until she reached the wide, gated entrance of Central Park. The graveled paths, rows of neat trees, and robin's-egg blue sky, put her in mind of the family farm in Malone. It was worth the walk to come here and leave the city behind. Lose herself in what-might-have-beens.
Once inside the park, she sank upon an iron bench, breathless with exertion. Teddy would love it here, if only he could stand the walk. Though he didn't remember the farm, it ran through his veins just as it did hers. The longing for fields to roam, forests to explore ...
If Mother and Father were alive, they never would have left. They'd still be breathing fresh air and eating homegrown food. Not in this hateful city where you were nothing but a grain of sand in a rapidly shifting pile.
She covered her face with her hands and gave in to the luxury of tears. Sobs clogged her throat, shook her shoulders, but she didn't care. Life had whipped her too many times.
And she was tired of fighting back.
* * *
There were days when landing face-first in a den of stinging ants sounded more appealing than being rich as Croesus.
Today was one of those days.
On the third ring, Geoffrey Buchanan reached across his mahogany desk and picked up the telephone.
"This is Geoffrey Buchanan speaking." He cradled the receiver under his chin. Across the room, one of his office staff added kindling to an already blazing fire. Sweat trickled under his collar. He tugged at the tie noosing his neck. The moment he left work he'd yank it off quicker than one could say "freedom."
"The man from the Times is arriving in ten minutes, sir." A wave of static punctuated the last words.
"That soon?" He flicked a glance at the clock. Two thirty already.
Time sure did fly when you were having fun. That is, if going over last month's books and drafting letters to foreign agents counted as fun.
"I'm afraid so, sir." Apology laced his secretary's tone. "You'll be meeting them in the foyer?"
The ache hovering near the edges of his temple turned into a throb. Confounded pressmen. He could hear them now, pestering about the railroads, his latest Wall Street successes, his stance on politics. Not to mention their less than subtle inquiries about which lady he favored in this year's social scene.
What he wouldn't give to be home. Not his overwhelmingly glamorous Fifth Avenue town house, nor his mother's mansion in North Carolina, but home. His simple cottage near the Hudson River. Where he could tinker with motorcars to his heart's content. Where it didn't matter whether he wore a suit from Henry Poole and Co. or preferably, a practical pair of trousers and a polo shirt. Where he could simply be himself. Something he was woefully out of practice at.
"Mr. Buchanan?" His secretary's voice crackled on the other end.
"You'll be doing the interview today?"
He rubbed his forehead, the headache sending circles dancing before his eyes. Duty. Always duty. Responsible. Dependable. Practical.
Oh, how he hated it.
"Sure, sure. I'll be right down." He hung up and leaned back in the padded leather chair, taking in an office the size of his mother's drawing room. Twin fireplaces flanked opposite sides of the oak-paneled apartment. Rich Turkish carpets cluttered the floor. A painting by Reynolds hung above the mantle across from him. The desk he sat at could, if needed, make an impressive battering ram.
He stood, stretching kinks from his neck. Gave a cursory glance at his appearance in the mirror, setting his tie straight, combing back errant strands of his dark hair.
He took the lift down to the first floor and made his way through the foyer, his polished leather shoes tapping the black-and-white marble. As expected, three pressmen, all alike in baggy suits and carrying identical notepads, waited. Like three ravenous wolves licking their chops as they watched a hapless sheep.
"Good afternoon, gentlemen." He put on his signature smile, the one his mother said could break any female heart in America and beyond. Best to keep smiling and get it over with.
"Ah, Mr. Buchanan. At last." They, too, pasted on smiles—patronizing ones. "We won't take much of your time, precious as it must be. We only have ..." The tallest of the three tapped pencil against paper. "A few, short questions."
Geoffrey nodded. "Short questions, yes." He forced back a grin.
"How would you say the railroads are doing since last month's coal shortage?"
"Be confident. Be cool." His father's words drummed in his brain.
"Never better." He folded his arms and smiled a cocky smile. Least said, soonest over.
The pressman waited, eyes expectant. Geoffrey said nothing.
"Is it true you're considering entrance into the political scene?"
"No," was all he gave in answer to that inane rumor. Politics had been Father's forte. Not his. Although he'd taken on the mantle as head of the family, he wouldn't add anything else to his pile of responsibilities.
"How are you enjoying society this year? Any young lady in particular you fancy? Rumor has it you were spotted driving down Fifth Avenue with a certain Miss Tremaine at your side." One of the pressmen waggled his brows.
"Miss Tremaine is a lovely young lady and undeniably the season's brightest star."
The pressmen exchanged looks as if he'd just given them a nugget of gold.
"Do we hear wedding bells, Mr. Buchanan?"
Not on your tintype, Mr. Curiosity.
"No comment. Now if you'll excuse me, gentlemen, I have other matters that require my attention." With a parting smile, he sidestepped the group and made his way through the glass double doors bearing the letters Buchanan Railroad Offices. He'd put in enough work for one day.
Outside, the city boiled over with life, a great bubbling cauldron of sights and people. He caught a glimpse of the Astor carriage clattering down the street, the footmen bedecked in their signature maroon livery. The pungent aroma of chestnuts from a nearby vendor teased his senses, tempting him to purchase a bag, but he forged ahead. He had to think.
The best place to organize his thoughts—Central Park.
A slice of countryside in the city, a place to be alone and contemplate.
He quickened his steps. The letter within his pocket burned like a brand.
Mother's blasted house party. An annual event held at the family masterpiece in North Carolina. Hosted for one reason alone.
To find him a suitable wife.
Or maybe two. Mother did enjoy showing off the family silver.
If only there was a way to wrangle his way out of it. Or at the very least, something he could do that would allow him freedom from his dreaded enemy—the marriage-minded miss.
He used to go with expectations high, hoping against hope to meet the one. Not anymore. Those hopes had dried up like the Sahara Desert on year three of Mother introducing him to yet another batch of women who wanted him only for dollars and cents. Foolishly perhaps, he still dreamed of more. The moment when he would look into the eyes of a woman and see not mere greed for his millions, but a love for himself ...
Then, and only then, would anyone hear wedding bells.CHAPTER 2
Are you all right, miss?"
Ada gasped. She swung her gaze upward and glared at the intruder through a haze of tears.
"I'm fine." The words rasped against her raw throat.
"Pardon me for saying so, but you look anything but fine."
She dried her eyes and gave the person a cursory glance. A tall man, probably over six feet. Eyes bluer than the stream near the farm. A gray pinstripe suit that looked straight out of The Gentleman's Magazine encased his broad shoulders, a gold watch fob dangling over the vest. Sunlight caught the glint of a signet ring, the warm rays accentuating his coal-black hair.
Everything about him oozed money. Since rich stiffs didn't bother to acknowledge her existence, that meant he was either crazy or dishonorable.
In either case, she'd better go.
"Truly, I'm fine." She hiccupped, wincing at the juvenile effect that a bout of tears always brought on. A half-torn piece of newsprint cluttered the ground. She picked it up, shredded pieces off a corner, and flung them onto the dirt. Anything to still her shaking hands. To avoid looking into those summer-day eyes, while her own were undoubtedly puffy and red.
"Do you realize you're demolishing Geoffrey Buchanan's face?" Amusement lit the man's tone.
"What?" She flattened the newspaper. Sure enough, a picture of Geoffrey Buchanan stared back at her. Wall Street wonder. Eligible bachelor. Richer than a man had a right to be.
Another gasp escaped.
The man in the paper and the man standing in front of her looked ... identical.
Not only had she gotten sacked from her job, but she'd also nearly beheaded a picture of one of the most famous men in New York. While he stood right there and watched.
This took the ticket for tale of the year.
"You're Geoffrey Buchanan?" Her words came out, a whisper.
He nodded, grinning.
"Good gracious!" She shot to her feet, fire braising her cheeks. "I'm so sorry. I didn't recognize you at first. You look ..."
"Ten times more princely in real life?" His grin deepened. "Don't worry. The Times has a dreadful artist." He leaned closer. "But don't tell the press I said so."
"That wasn't what I was about to say." She resumed her seat on the bench, wishing for a breeze to fan the heat from her face.
He shrugged off his jacket and tossed it on the grass, then sat, looking up at her. "You know my name, but I haven't had the pleasure of hearing yours." His voice could charm a tightwad into handing over their wallet. Deep and well modulated, with the slightest hint of a British accent.
"Ada McClane." She pushed a strand of hair out of her eyes.
"Pleased to meet you, Miss Ada McClane. I promise to give you full benefit of my years of lessons in how to bow to a lady, once I stand up."
She laughed, in spite of herself.
"Now, Miss Ada McClane, what were you crying about?" Those blue eyes—cobalt really—watched her intently.
She shouldn't even consider telling him. After all, what did he know of poverty? Geoffrey Buchanan, with New York City in the palm of his hand? Who didn't have to ration out a loaf of bread to make it last a week or stave off creditors with paper- thin promises. The mere thought of how much food undoubtedly resided in his kitchen, this very moment, made her mouth water.
Yet ... he looked at her. Not through her, but at her. With a stare that no doubt had every debutante in Mrs. Astor's Four Hundred falling in heaps at his feet. Inviting her to pour out her heart and be understood.
After all, what girl of her acquaintance could say they'd had a tête-à-tête with the King of Railroads?
"I got fired from my job today." She swallowed hard, the memories rushing back. Mr. Hunt's look of triumph, the dread in her stomach like a lump of lead. "I fell asleep while operating one of the machines. It was just for a moment, but he saw."
Geoffrey Buchanan simply nodded.
"I wouldn't care so much, but there's Teddy."
"Teddy is?" Surely this man had better things to do than listen to her tale of woe. But he studied her as if this were the most engrossing conversation he'd ever heard.
"My brother. He's ... not well. He's had a cough for the past six months. The doctors say it's consumption. The medicine costs almost all my wages, and doesn't seem to do much of anything. And what with the rent on the apartment and food and all ... Well, you see, I can't afford not to be earning." She twisted her hands in the skirt of her dress. Now he would recoil as if she were dirt under his feet. He, with his fine life, probably didn't know a thing about how people like her earned their bread.
Instead, he rubbed a finger across the bridge of his nose, as if in thought. "What your brother would truly benefit from is a sanatorium. The air in New York—"
"I would do anything to send him somewhere else, but travel costs money, and I haven't got any." She stood and brushed at her skirts, preparing to walk away. Surely now, he'd be glad to be free of their conversation.
He picked a blade of grass and stared at it. She bit her lip. One didn't walk away from Geoffrey Buchanan without so much as a word.
Suddenly, he looked up. "Anything?"
"You said you'd do anything."
"Anything honest and honorable." Was he suggesting some kind of fling? Did he think her "one of those girls"? Who he could take advantage of just because she happened to be poor and desperate? If he did, she would show him a thing or two. One of which would include a bloody nose or a black eye.
Still, the glare she aimed his way didn't ruffle him in the least. He only smiled, his gaze lit with a strange excitement.
Excerpted from The Most Eligible Bachelor by Amanda Barratt, Susanne Dietze, Cynthia Hickey, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Connie Stevens, Erica Vetsch, Gina Welborn, Kathleem Y'Barbo. Copyright © 2015 Amanda Barratt. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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
ContentsA Bride for a Bargain by Amanda Barratt,
Love's Reward by Susanne Dietze,
A Doctor's Agreement by Cynthia Hickey,
The Highwayman by Shannon McNear,
Four Brides and a Bachelor by Gabrielle Meyer,
The Most Ineligible Bachelor in Town by Connie Stevens,
The Archaeologist's Find by Erica Vetsch,
Baker's Dozen by Gina Welborn,
The Final Baker Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1) "A Bride For A Bargain"- Amanda Barratt Poor Ada McClane agrees to be wealthy Geoffrey Buchanan's pretend fiance. She desperately needs the money for her brother's medical treatments. How much longer can they keep pretending? A darling story. Geoffrey is a dear and Ada is a hoot. I enjoyed getting to know this couple and seeing how things would work out. Ms. Barratt is a new author to me, but I would not be adverse to reading another story by her. 4.5 stars. 2) "Love's Reward"- Susanne Dietz A prank advertisement makes architect Daniel Blair the most eligible bachelor in San Francisco, but he's always had one girl in mind to end his bachelorhood. A story that has some laugh out loud moments. Some of the story is rather stiff, but there were other times the author let the words come out and play. I enjoyed getting to know Daniel and seeing how he loses everything. Ms. Dietz is good at making the characters hurt. As with the first story in this collection, Ms. Dietz is a new author to me, but one I would consider reading again. 4 stars 3) "A Doctor's Agreement"- Cynthia Hickey To drum up sales for her father's newspaper, a young woman places an ad for a most eligible bachelor lottery to find the town doctor a wife. Little did she know she would be one of the candidates! I have to admire Ms. Hickey's ability to put stories out quickly and get picked up by publishers. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this story. Zeke was likeable enough but seemed a bit wishy-washy and able to be dragged around by a nose ring. And Sadie was just plain immature. The writing is good enough. The story, not so much. 3 stars. 4) "The Highwayman"- Shannon McNear Set during American Revolution, an innkeeper's daughter becomes enamored by a masked crusader the locals called the Highwayman. An apprentice wagon master wishes he were the object of her affections. Who will she choose? This story seemed terribly familiar, but I can't remember who I read the similar one by. An innkeeper's daughter, harassed by an "outstanding" citizen's son and a masked man (the Lone Ranger type) who rides in and saves her... multiple times. But while the son asked for a kiss (admittedly he was prepared to force it), the masked man also ... took... without asking. I wasn't impressed by this story, a romance born out of deceptive measures, especially since she wouldn't give the man behind the mask a second glance... until she knew. 3 stars. 5) "Four Brides And A Bachelor"- Gabrielle Meyer A missionary minister has five days to choose a wife from a group of four missionary teachers in an 1852 Minnesota mission. Will sensibility or his heart win out? Okay, so far, this has been the cutest story in the bunch. I couldn't help but fall in live with the sweet, funny, dear Sarah. I wasn't sure how I felt about Luke. He was judging on the outside appearance and not on the heart. The story is beautifully told and I loved the happy ending . 5 stars. 6)"The Most Ineligible Bachelor In Town"- Connie Stevens Set in 1885 Kansas, a shy postmaster has an unrequited love for a preacher's daughter. Will she ever notice him? Another dear story. Micah was a real dream. Shy and quiet, working behind the scenes and not realizing his own worth. Gabby was a dear too, and Micah loved her with all his heart but was so scared to speak to her. But then her ex-fiance returns, as well as his much more outgoing cousin... I loved this story about how Micah had to discove
A Bride For A Bargain Amanda Barratt Delightful tale (think Prince and the Pauper) of two very different walks of life stumbling across one another and striking a bargain to aid the other. Ada McClane is supporting her ailing brother when she is fired from her job and is struggling to find a way out of her predicament when she runs into one the the richest bachelor in the area. Geoffrey Buchanan has problems of his own with a scheming mother doing all within her power to marry him off. He offers Ada a job to "pretend" to be his fiancé but will the ruse stray into more real territory than either had predicted? Love's Reward Susanne Dietz A ad placed by persons unknown announcing that any lady who can win the heart of architect Daniel Blair kicks off a unique (miss) adventure as the towns young ladies vie for a $1000 cash prize. Meanwhile Daniel has eyes only for childhood sweetheart Josie. A clever little story that doesn't suffer from being of the shorter Novella format and it's author managed to multilayer several complex characters and storyline. It left me chuckling to the end. A Doctor's Agreement Cynthia Hickey Probably my favorite story so far (I'm reviewing each individual one as I read) and will be hard pressed to be beaten. Harlarious scenario as childhood sweethearts end up on opposite sides of a contest with with price marriage. Loved the multitude of characters for a short story to include and the time frame which never felt rushed or too slow. Brillant. The Highwayman Shandon McNeal Loved this Clark Kent/Superman (modern example I could think of) which pits a wagon master who travels by day with his brother and struggles to string two words together around the girl who loves, Sally the innkeepers daughter. But by night he dones the mask of a Highwayman and literally sweeps in to save the day. Sally meanwhile has no idea of the connection between the two and soon is madly in love with said Highwayman and the mystery and danger that brings. A cute little tale which let's the reader in on the plot before the character which I enjoyed. A different time and setting to most of the other stories kept it fresh too. Four Brides and a Bachelor Gabrielle Meyer Another cute story - a old fashioned version of the bachelor tv show meets arranged marriage and that's not a sentence I imagined I'd be tying about this short story. Read it and you'll know what I mean. The Most Ineligible Bachelor in Town Connie Stevens Loved this sweet tale of michah the post and Telegraph operator who had admired his beau from afar but didn't know what to do about it. Not a deeply absorbing take but still a fun little read. The Archaeologist's Find Erica Veatch Another great little tale with a twist. The two protagonists think each other are the Pauper in this prince and pauper style set up. Misunderstanding and miscommunication abound. But you know it'll all work out in the end...somehow. Baker's Dozen Gina Welborn Classic storyline of Duke Baker recently widowed and trying to bring up his daughter and his well meaning father insisting on helping him find a new wife. 12 socialites enter and the choosing begins. But might Duke's choice he closer to home than he could imagine? The Final Baker Bride Kathleen Y'Barbo A cute little tale of initial mistaken identity - she thinks he’s a taxi cab and he’s destined to be her new boss. I loved the starting premise which drew out into a cute little story of two very different people
A WINNER!!! WONDERFUL collection of nine Christian historic romance novellas! The earliest story is set in colonial times and the latests in the early 1900s. I predict this will become a CBA Bestseller! This is one of the best collections from Barbour I have ever read. This will be on my Best of 2015 list. ***** Love's Reward by Susanne Dietze I absolutely loved this novella by debut author, Susie Dietze. When a rather mean-spirited "friend's" ad drives unmarried ladies to pursue talented architect, Daniel Blair, the San Franciscan's life takes a turn. I felt so badly for the young women who believed the advertisement was genuine. Life at the rooming house begins to sour as his landlady tires of the deliveries made by young women to her home. Meanwhile his longtime friend, a sweet and spunky young lady, finally seems to be realizing what a wonderful man Daniel is. Josie is definitely her own woman and a bit avant grade for the times. Her brother is a piece of work. The scheming behind the scenes was especially well done. Even thought this was a novella, Susanne did a great job of working in the elements of a large architectural contest and also used that to show the competitive nature of various characters. Many characters, and their situations, aren't at all what you think they are. This is the kind of complex and layered novella that I love to read. Lovely job of showing the whys and the why nots of Josie's and Daniel's relationship. I see Josie as rather adorable and ADHD and when... (never mind--I won't spoil that one scary scene for you!!!) This was a darling story and Daniel was a sigh-worthy hero! Fantastic debut! ***** The Highwayman by Shannon McNear This lovely colonial story features a young wagon master who simply cannot get his tongue to work properly when he is around Long Tall Sally, the daughter of the main innkeeper on the Great Wagon Road in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. However, she's frustrated by his lack of communication, especially since she has known him for years. Her brothers constantly thrill over the adventures of "The Highwayman" a savior who swoops in and rescues people. When Sally is rescued from a local miscreant, by the famed masked man, her heart thrills. But she doesn't know the wagon master is the one risking all for her. Shannon was a Rita nominee for her first colonial era novella and this new release is a great read! Four Brides And A Bachelor by Gabrielle Meyer I love this story set in the 1800s in Minnesota. Being from upper Michigan myself, this particularly interested me. In this novella, the your women teaching in a mission are told they MUST be married to continue in their jobs. One of the teachers was originally supposed to marry a minister from another mission. This eligible bachelor has been summoned forth but doesn't realize that NOW he has four young women to select from, which was decided by the directors of the mission as being most fair. Very nicely done, especially with the little twist with the father at the end! Baker's Dozen by Gina Welborn I had high expectations of this story, which were fulfilled. As per usual, Gina writes a compelling story which great characterization. Set in the household of Duke, a wealthy widower whose daughter needs a mother, he has decided to bring in a bevy of young women to find a wife to be mother to his child. Having grown up in the household, Irie secretly was in love with Duke before she left for training school. Her mother is employed by his father. Duke's father asks her to help his son find the best woman to be his wife and mother to the granddaughter. This is one of the first stories I have read with a divorced heroine in it, so that was an interesting twist and far overdue. A Doctor's Agreement by Cynthia Hickey I had the privilege of reading this excellent story as a Beta reader but then forgot I'd read it! Cynthia Hickey consistently writes great books and this is no exception. When the newspaper owner's daughter places an ad for a lottery to obtain a spouse for the single physician, she doesn't realize she'll be entered! The Final Baker Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo Determined that she can prove herself capable of being self-sufficient, heiress Octavia doesn't realize there are many forces at work. She finds a "taxi cab driver" in New Orleans, Merritt Baker who may be the antidote to her marriage avoidance. Charming tale. The Most Ineligible Bachelor In Town by Connie Stevens Turn of the century Kansas is the setting for an unappreciated postmaster's fine traits to finally be noticed. But first it will take a visit from his flashy cousin, supposedly a Pinkerton agent, to have the pastor's daughter finally be able to see who the best man in town is. But when danger comes to town, will they survive to finally express their affection to one another? "A Bride For A Bargain" by Amanda Barratt Fired from her lousy job, Ada McClane calls out to God to help her figure out how to pay for her younger brother's treatment for his lung ailment (t.b.). Meanwhile the richest bachelor in the city, Geoffrey Buchanan wonders how he can get his mother off his back. The society matron has set up yet another weekend at their posh country home in which she'll parade more single women from the proper "set" in front of him. Geoffrey contracts with Ada to act as his fiance for this event and offers her too much to refuse. But when the farce ends, will Geoffrey be able to leave Ada behind? Archeologist's Find- by Erica Vetsch This is the most unique of the stories which made it just a little jarring although it was good. A wealthy young lady, Ally, is given an ultimatum by her mother to either find herself a husband within three weeks or agree to be courted by someone her parents approve of. Egyptologist and archeologist Max falls for the young art student who has so beautifully captured the essence of his collection. But when he discovers her true identity can their relationship survive?
This book wasn't what I was expecting--it was better! Different settings, different time-periods, but very good stories. Loved it!