The Kidnapped Bride
Drew Wallin's youngest brother is determined to see him marriedso he kidnaps Drew a prospective bride. Not only is Catherine Stanway beautiful, but she's a nurse who can help their ailing mother. Drew doesn't have time for distractionshe's too busy watching over his fatherless siblings. Yet he's drawn to this woman who carries loss and pain equal to his own.
Catherine has traveled West to use her nursing skills to save lives, not to find a husband. She knows if she gives in to Drew's matchmaking family, she'll be risking her already bruised heart. But maybe it's time she takes the ultimate risk to win the groom she didn't know she wanted!
Frontier Bachelors: Bold, ruggedand bound to be grooms
About the Author
Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually sell her first novel until she had learned a bit more about writing. Since her first book was published in 1998, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She and her husband of over 25 years reside in southeast Washington State.
Read an Excerpt
Seattle, Washington Territory
I need a doctor."
The commanding male voice echoed through the dispensary of Doc Maynard's hospital like a trumpet call. Catherine Stanway straightened from where she'd been bending over a patient, fully prepared to offer assistance. But one look at the man in the doorway, lit from behind by the rare Seattle sun, and words failed her.
He carried himself as proudly as a knight from the tales of King Arthur her father had read to her as a child. His rough-cut light brown hair brushed the top of the doorjamb; his shoulders in the wrinkled blue cotton shirt reached either side. He took a step into the room, and she was certain she felt the floor tremble.
Finding her voice, she raised her chin. "I can help you.
He walked down the narrow room toward her, the thud of his worn leather boots like the sound of a hammer on the planks of the floor. The blue apothecary bottles lined up on the shelves behind the counter chimed against one another as he passed. He was like a warrior approaching his leader, a soldier his commanding officer. Mrs. Witherspoon, waiting on a chair for the doctor to reset her shoulder, clutched her arm close, wide-eyed. Others stared at him or quickly looked away.
He stopped beside Catherine and laid his fingers on the curved back of the chair where the elderly Mr. Jenkins snoozed while he waited for his monthly dose of medicine. Scars crossed the skin of the massive hand, white against the bronze.
Up close, Catherine could see that his face was more heart-shaped than oval, his unkempt hair drawing down in a peak over his forehead. His liberally lashed eyes were a mixture of clear green and blue, like the waves that lapped the Puget Sound shores. The gold of his skin said he worked outdoors; the wear on this clothes said he made little income from it.
He was easily the most healthy male she'd ever seen, so why did he need medical assistance?
"Are you a doctor?" he asked. Everything from the way he cocked his head to the slow cadence of the question spoke of his doubt.
Her spine stiffened, lifting her blue skirts off the floor and bringing her head level with his breastbone. She was used to the surprise, the doubts about her vocation here in Seattle. Even where she'd been raised, a few had questioned that the prominent physician George Stanway had trained his daughter to be a nurse. More had wondered why their beloved doctor and his promising son had felt it necessary to get themselves killed serving in the Union Army. At times, Catherine wondered the same thing.
"I'm a nurse," she told their visitor, keeping her voice calm, professional. "I was trained by my father, a practicing physician, and served for a year at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. I came West with the Mercer expedition. Doctor Maynard was sufficiently pleased with my credentials to hire me to assist him and his wife."
"So you're a Mercer belle." He straightened, towering over her. "I didn't come looking for a bride. I need a doctor."
A Mercer belle. That, she knew from the newspapers back East, was synonymous with husband hunter. Obviously her credentials as a medical practitioner meant nothing to him.
Well, he might not have come to the hospital seeking a bride, but she hadn't come to Seattle after a husband, either. She'd already refused three offers of marriage since arriving two weeks ago. Her friend Madeleine O'Rourke had turned away six. Even her friend Allegra had had to argue with two would-be suitors before she'd wed her childhood sweetheart, Clay Howard, a successful local businessman, only two days after landing.
None of them had left the East Coast expecting such attentions. When Seattle's self-proclaimed emigration agent, Asa Mercer, had recruited her and nearly seventy other women to settle in Washington Territory, he'd talked of the jobs that needed filling, the culture they could bring to the fledging community. Already some of her traveling companions were teaching schools in far-flung settlements. Others had taken jobs they had never dreamed of back home, including tending a lighthouse. They were innovative and industrious, just as Catherine had hoped she'd be when she'd journeyed West.
"I'm not interested in marriage either, sir," she told him. "And I assure you, I am perfectly suited to deal with medical emergencies. Now, what's the trouble?"
He glanced around as if determined to locate her employer. Doctor Maynard had converted the bottom floor of his house for his patients. This room was his dispensary, the medicines and curatives lined up in tall bottles on the triple row of shelves along one wall, with a dozen chairs, frequently all filled, opposite them. The other room held beds along either wall, with an area at the end curtained off and outfitted for surgeries. That room was used primarily as a laying-in ward for women about to give birth.
After conversations aboard ship about the dismal state of Seattle's medical establishment, Catherine hadn't been sure what to expect of Doctor Maynard and his hospital. She'd been greatly relieved to find the wood floors sanded clean, beds nicely made and light streaming through tall windows. The doctor shared her father's view that fresh water, healthy food and natural light went a long way to curing any ill.
"I appreciate your offer," the man said, returning his gaze to hers. "But I would prefer a doctor."
She could see herself reflected in his eyes, her pale blond hair neat and tidy, her face set. She refused to be the first one to look away. In the silence, she heard Mr. Jenkins mumble as he dozed.
"Well, greetings, Drew!" The call from her employer caused their visitor to raise his head, breaking his gaze from Catherine's. She suddenly found it easier to breathe.
Doctor Maynard didn't appear the least concerned to find a mountain of a man in his dispensary. He strolled toward them with his usual grin. A tall man, he had a broad face and dark hair that persisted in curling in the middle of his forehead as if it laughed at the world like he did. After helping her organized father, Catherine had found Seattle's famous founding father undisciplined, impractical and irrepressible. He was also endlessly cheerful and generous. In the two weeks she'd been working at his side, he'd never turned anyone down, regardless of gender, race or ability to pay.
"And what can we do for you today?" he asked their visitor as he approached. "Are all the Wallins healthy? No more bumps, bruises or broken bones among your logging crew, I trust?"
The man hesitated a moment, then nodded. "My brothers are well enough. I'm here about another matter."
"I told Mr. Wallin I could assist him," Catherine assured her employer.
"O-ho!" Maynard elbowed the man's side and didn't so much as cause their visitor to raise an eyebrow. "Are you after my nurse, Drew? Can't say I blame you. Allow me to introduce Miss Catherine Stanway. She's as pretty as a picture and twice as talented."
Catherine didn't blush at the praise. She'd heard it and far more in her hometown of Sudbury, while she'd worked as a nurse in Boston and while aboard the ship to Seattle. Much of the time it came from no sincere motive, she'd learned. She was more interested to see how this Drew fellow would answer. Would he continue to argue with her in the face of her employer's endorsement?
He did not look at her as he transferred his grip to the doctor's arm. "May I speak to you a moment in private?"
Maynard nodded, and the two withdrew to the end of the dispensary nearest the door. Fine. Lord knew she had plenty of work to do. She had only determined the needs of about half those currently filling the chairs, and two women were expected any day in the laying-in ward. If Mr. Wallin couldn't be bothered to make use of her services, the fault lay with him, not her. She was fully prepared to do her duty.
Yet Catherine could hear the low rumble of his voice as she spoke to the woman next to Mr. Jenkins to determine her complaint, then went to reposition the pillow that had slipped out from where it had been cushioning Mrs. Witherspoon's shoulder. But though she tried to focus on the needs around her, she couldn't help glancing up at Drew Wallin again.
Whatever he and Doctor Maynard had discussed seemed to have touched his heart at last. His mouth dipped; his broad shoulders sagged. She could almost see the weight he carried, bowing him lower. What worries forced a knight to bend his knee? Her hand lifted of its own accord, as if some part of her longed to help him shoulder his burden.
She dropped her hand. How silly. She had work to do, a purpose in coming to Seattle that didn't involve any emotional entanglements. She was a trained nurse in an area that badly needed medical assistance. And that was a great blessing.
Every time she eased the pain of another, she forgot the pain inside her. Every time she helped fight off death, she felt as if she'd somehow made up for the deaths of her brother and father on those bloody battlefields. Surely God did not intend her to leave her profession to serve as any man's bride.
Besides, she liked nursing. Medicine was clinical, precise, measured. It kept her from remembering all she had lost. And each time someone passed beyond her help, she watched their grieving loved ones and knew she could not allow herself to hurt like that again.
No, whatever way she looked at it, she had no business mooning over a wild mountain logger like Drew Wallin. He was a knight with no shining armor, no crusade worthier than her own. The sooner she forgot him, the better.
Andrew Wallin stepped out onto the stone steps of Doc Maynard's hospital and pulled in a deep breath of the late-afternoon air. It never ceased to amaze him how Seattle changed between his visits to town. Another new building was going up across the street, and wagons slogged by in the mud, carrying supplies to camps farther out. The sun beamed down on the planed-wood buildings, the boardwalks stretching between them, anointing the treetops in the distance.
Yet he could not enjoy the sight, thinking about what lay waiting for him back at the Landing. If only he'd been able to counter Maynard's logic. But how could he argue one life against many?
He glanced back at the hospital. Something blue flashed past the tall windows, and he couldn't help thinking about Catherine Stanway. For a moment there, when he'd first spied her in the dispensary, he'd wondered whether his mother had been right to encourage him to find a bride among the ladies Asa Mercer had brought to the territory.
He hadn't been interested. The last thing he needed was a wife to look after when he already had the lives of six people to consider. Besides, he doubted that a lady brought from the big cities back East would know how to handle herself on a backwoods farm without more tutoring than he had time to give.
Catherine Stanway seemed a perfect example of a lady more suited to civilization. She was obviously well educated, her skills suited to a city. Her manners had been polished, her voice cultured and calm. Of course, he much preferred that attitude to the coy smiles and giggles that had marked his interaction with the few unmarried ladies of the Territory.
Then there was the fact that she was so pretty. Her hair was like sunlight shafting through the forest, her eyes resembled a pale winter's sky and the outline of her curves looked lovely behind the apron covering her crisp cotton gown. He knew exactly what would happen if his brothers ever laid eyes on her. Either he'd be standing up as best man in a wedding, or his brothers would hog-tie him and wrestle him to the altar. They seemed determined to see him settled with a wife. They couldn't understand that he already had enough on his hands taking care of them, Ma and Beth. There was nothing left of him to give to a wife.
With a sigh, he started down the steps toward where his team stood waiting farther along the block. The two youths arguing at the side of the wagon gave him as much concern as what was happening at home. As he approached, his youngest brother shoved his friend back. Scout Rankin, scrawnier than Levi despite being the same age, took one look at Drew and loped away. Drew grabbed his brother's shoulders and spun him around.
"What?" Levi snapped, fists raised protectively in front of his lean frame. "I was watching the wagon, just like you asked."
"You'd do better to watch the horses than fight," Drew told him with a shake of his head. He went to check that the sturdy brown farm horses were munching from their feed sacks. "What was Scout doing here?"
"Seeing some people for his father," Levi said, lowering his fists as Drew patted their horses down. "And I thought you were more worried about Ma than the horses. Isn't that why we came to town?"
It was, but he didn't like admitting his fears to Levi any more than he liked having to remind his brother why they didn't associate much with their nearest neighbor. The Wallin family had chosen homesteads at the northern end of Lake Union for the timber. Benjamin Rankin had other reasons entirely to avoid town. He'd turned his cabin into a high-stakes gambling den, and the smells issuing from the place told Drew he was likely making his own liquor, as well. Ma had tried befriending Scout, teaching him to read and write beside Levi, but the son's sullen behavior said he was turning out no better than the father. Drew didn't want any of Scout's bad habits rubbing off on Levi.
He removed the feed sacks and tossed them up to his brother. "Stow these."
"Why? Are we leaving?" his brother asked, clutching the dusty burlap close. "Where's Doc?"
"He's not coming," Drew reported. "Too many patients in town right now."
Levi frowned, dropping the sacks into the wagon. He glanced in the windows of the hospital as he tugged at the hem of his plaid cotton shirt. "I saw you jawin' at that gal. She's pretty enough. Maybe she could convince him to come."
Drew leaned against the rough wood of the wagon. "In the first place, it would take more than a pretty face to get Doc to abandon his patients. In the second place, the less we have to do with Nurse Stanway, the better."
Levi threw up his hands. "She's a nurse? That tears it, Drew. You know how bad Ma needs help. You get back in there and tell that gal she has to come with us!"
Frustration pushed him back from the wagon. "I asked Doc, Levi. He says he needs her here right now. Some women are expected in to give birth."
Levi shook his head, curly blond hair creating a halo he didn't deserve. "Women give birth all the time without someone standing over them. Leastways, that's how Ma did it."
"Ma didn't have a choice," Drew pointed out. "And if you recall, that's how we lost Mary, her giving birth without a doctor there to help. Now simmer down. I still need to check for mail and load the supplies we ordered before heading back."
Levi narrowed his dark blue eyes, a sure sign rebellion was brewing. Drew couldn't blame him. His brother had just turned eighteen and was feeling his oats. Drew had been the same way at that age. Then his father had died and left the responsibility for their mother and five siblings on Drew's shoulders. He'd settled down fast. He was glad Levi didn't have to face the same fate.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Interesting view of frontier homesteading and medicine. Clean romance, though rather fast and cliche issues, development and resolution. Like Frontier Family and Bride Ship better
Regina Scott is an author who draws from interesting historical events and settings as backgrounds for stories that both inform and entertain. Would-Be Wilderness Wife, a tender romance set in an area known for its rugged beauty, introduces us to a family that I can't wait to see more of. With its rural setting and close-knit family relationships, not to mention the antics of four brothers, it actually evokes the feel of the classic musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I have always enjoyed Regina's Regency romances, but am especially drawn to the Bachelor Brides series. Would-Be Wilderness Wife opens around Lake Union in the Seattle, Washington Territory during the spring of 1866, at a family settlement called Wallin Landing. Catherine was one of the Mercer's Belles who had sailed from New York Harbor in 1866, bound for what they had been led to believe was a land of promise and opportunity. Book #1 in this series, The Bride Ship, tells of that voyage and the friendship that formed between Catherine, Allie and Maddie, while focusing on Allie's story - and both stories can stand alone. Regina does a great job at creating multilayered characters that are realistic and likeable. Catherine, a skilled nurse with a strong will and tons of determination, has no intentions of marrying and has, in effect, walled off her emotions, for "once she opened the door to feeling, she was very much afraid she'd never be able to close it again." Drew, a lumberjack, has selflessly taken on the responsibility for his Ma and five siblings . . . "He didn't eat until their plates were filled, didn't rest until they were dreaming. And if their sleep was peaceful, it was because they knew he was standing guard." But Drew had set aside any personal aspirations for many years and when it came to affairs of the heart, he had no clue - and that makes him all the more adorable. Love for family is one of this story's strengths and I love how it harkens back to a time when families spent their evenings together, talking and sharing in various activities. One of the brothers, Simon, has a musical gift and I could almost hear him playing a tune which spoke to Catherine "of loves lost and friends parted, yet hope rising through it all, whispering of new life, fulfilled purpose." Simon was one of my favorite secondary characters and I hope to see more of him. Spiritual themes are skillfully woven throughout, for it is so easy to react to life situations in the same way as Drew and Catherine did in allowing outside influences to control their emotions - Drew, the heavy family responsibility he feels; and Catherine, her efforts to avoid the pain of loss that comes from caring. In showing the importance of trusting God and that He walks with us through everything, Regina quoted a Scripture that always ministers to me . . . "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." - John 16:33 I enjoyed Would-Be Wilderness Wife and recommend it to all who enjoy inspirational romance. In comparison to other books of this type, 5 stars. Thank you to Regina Scott for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
An EXCELLENT book, great job Regina Scott! -- I got this book yesterday afternoon and already finished it, one day! Yes, is was that good, Regina did a great job of keeping me up til 3:00 A.M. and got me up early this morning to finish it. This was a wonderful story of how God sees the bigger picture and leads you to what is right/good for you even though you think you know better. I have not read the first one in this series yet, "The Bride Ship" but will have to find it in my TBR pile now. I highly recommend Historical Fiction lovers to read this book and if you like the mail-order bride type of books, even though Catherine was not a mail-order bride, I think you will enjoy this also. I was offered this book in return for an honest review, I was not given any monetary compensation for my review either.
Hott Review: Would-Be Wilderness Wife is absolutely going on my favorite reads list! What I liked: I couldn’t put this book down! I fell in love with the characters immediately, Catherine and Drew are completely awesome but I also loved all of the Wallin family. The imagery and the plot of this story are more than enough to have you looking for the next Regina Scott release!! What I didn’t like: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! More… Author: Regina Scott Source: Harlequin Love Inspired via Netgalley Grade: A+ Ages: 16+ Steam: YA Setting: Seattle, WA
Very good, interesting, great variety of characters made this a story that ended too soon
Would Be Wilderness Wife by Regina Scott Frontier Bachelors Series Book Two Andrew “Drew” Wallin is the man of the house since his dad died ten years ago. He takes his responsibility very serious, perhaps too serious. When his ma falls ill they need to get a doctor out to their lands. When the doctor couldn't come, his little brother Levi came up with his own plan. Kidnap the nurse. Catherine Stanway has no plans of marrying. She was given the gift to be a nurse and that is what she would do. Help nurse people back to health the best she could, and never let anyone in her heart. Heal them and get them out the door. Ending up in the household of Wallin's, her heart had the nerve to start opening up once again. I just loved this story, as I did the first. But this one, all these wonderful brothers came to life. Simon, James, John, naughty Levi and their sister, Beth. And Drew. Catherine was one of three friends that came on the ship with the Mercer Belle's. The story begins with The Bride Ship. Great stories. Looking forward to the third book that will be Maddie's story. **Received from author for honest review
Not Regency, but Great Regina Scott! I love Regina Scott's Regency novels, so even though Western romances aren't my usual genre of choice, I decided to take a chance here since I was already familiar with the author. I enjoyed the historical setting very much--most of the time when I think of the "frontier," Seattle is not what pops into my head, and I chuckled at the thought of that vast city ever being considered that way. But Ms. Scott does a good job of helping us to see it as it was during the time this novel takes place and I smiled to think of it. I tried to picture the fictional Wallin Landing, where it might be situated in the current day setting, and liked that I could imagine it near the places I am familiar with. I am also intrigued with the Mercer Belles and find that I'm going to have to go back and read the first book in this series to learn more (as well as looking for more information on the internet). I appreciate when a book makes me want to know more about any topic, and history is a favorite to research. The spiritual component is very strong in this novel, and I really enjoyed watching the journey each of the main characters takes in learning to trust God more. While both Catherine and Drew know the Lord, their relationships with Him are both strengthened by the hardships they face as the novel progresses. The romance was very sweet, and so were the relationships among the Wallin siblings. It was nice to read a book where the family dynamic, though realistically flawed, was not tortured or angst-ridden in any way. It helped keep the story light and fun, especially when the brothers teased each other. I thoroughly enjoyed this light read and would recommend it for anyone who enjoys historical romance, but especially those who have an interest in the Pacific Northwest. Lots of little details come together to make for a fun book when Regina Scott writes, regardless of the setting, and I'll be reading whatever she pens next! Given the small hints toward the end of this novel, I'm hoping we'll revisit the Wallin clan again soon. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author in exchange for this honest review.
Amazing new book from Author Regina Scott!! I recently read and reviewed the first book to this series, "The Bride Ship" and if you read my review, you would know that I really enjoyed it. That being said, this one was even better!! I was very interested from the start, it pulled me in and certainly held my attention. The story line was something new, after all you don't read about a kidnapped bride much, if any at all. The heroine, Catherine Stanway, was very feisty & determined and I always enjoy that in a female character. She had her faults and fears, but I will not say what those are because it might give away parts of the book for the reader. I will say though, that it made her very real to me. I could connect to her in an easy way. Drew Wallin, the hero, was a strong, tall, handsome character but he also has a soft heart. Something I don't believe you see enough of sometimes in books. He was always protecting his family. Always thinking of others and not himself, almost to a fault. I really liked him as well. Just like the first book I loved the secondary characters, his brothers, sister, mom and Maddie, who is one of her best friends, which the third book is about by the way. There were times when I laughed out loud at different parts of the book, it was serious at times and at other times was light and amusing. Not only that but there was just a little bit of mystery involved throughout the book, which was yet another thing I enjoyed. This book made my favorites list! I could honestly keep going on about it but I will end my review here. I am very excited for the next book in this series!! All in all I give this book five stars!! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good historical read! You will not be disappointed. I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review in which I have given.
The first part of the book wasn't too romantic since the main characters were both adamantly against starting a relationship with anyone, each for their own reasons. There is a bit of a mystery Catherine solves about what made Drew's mom so ill, which deepens into a bigger community conflict. Catherine seems pretty stuffy at first, but her true nature is revealed when her heart softens towards Drew's mother and siblings as they welcome her as one of the family. The matchmaking attempts of his brothers are hilarious- reminding me of the old movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Once Drew and Catherine admit their attraction and realize that a different future than the one they had planned would make them happier, the story was much more romantic. The author did a great job of giving her characters multi-layered personalities, and I especially enjoyed Drew's sister who was sweet and enthusiastic. A romance was hinted at with her and the town sheriff, so hopefully we can see them featured in their own book :) (Thank you to Harlequin and Love Inspired Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Regina Scott's Would Be Wilderness Wife's book is fabulous. This book has romance, mystery, humor and some action. The two main characters are Catherine Stanway and Drew Wallin, but there are many other characters involved in this storyline. The author does great in writing and weaving all these characters together. I was totally intrigued with this book. Would Be Wilderness Wife is Book Two in the Frontier Bachelors from the Love Inspired Historicals. I love and highly recommend reading this book. I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for my honest review. This review is one hundred percent my opinion.
Would-Be Wilderness Wife is the second book in the Frontier Bachelors series. Although it is very enjoyable to know Catherine from the first book, The Bride Ship, it is not necessary to the understanding of this book. It does stand alone just fine. I thought that the first book in the series was great, but I loved this one even more! Catherine is a determined and educated nurse and Drew is a lumberjack. They might seem like opposites at the beginning, but their love of family is clearly a commonality between them. Strangely, it too is partially the reason each struggles to allow themselves to care too much for the other. Fear of loving and losing for one of them, coupled with what sometimes seems to be overwhelming responsibility for the other, threatens to stop love before it can start. I loved the Wallin family interactions that occurred throughout the whole book. It was such a wonderful setting for the story and made me feel as if I was a part of their clan. Drew was the epitome of a handsome, strong, and caring hero. He was a favorite in the story for me. There is a sense of urgency to the story and some dangerous and questionable events occur in the book that must be dealt with. A very important reminder is also woven through this tale. The heroine struggles with wanting to stay in control of her emotions, allowing fear of the pain of loss to dictate her choices, and must learn the lesson that God is always with us through everything. I would like to express my thanks to the author for the complimentary copy of this book that I received in exchange for an honest review.