The Cowboy’s E-Mail Order Bride
by Cora Seton
Ethan Cruz should be mending fences on his Montana ranch, but instead he’s driving to the Chance Creek, Montana, airport – to pick up the bride he didn’t know he had. This latest salvo in his ongoing practical joke battle with his best friend, Rob Matheson, has gone too far, and Ethan plans to send his “bride” right back home, then get busy plotting his revenge. One look at Autumn Leeds changes his mind, however. Perhaps he needs a bride, after all. A breathtakingly beautiful city bride.
Autumn Leeds needs a story – fast – or she’s going to lose her lucrative contract with CityPretty Magazine, so when she sees the crazy video plea for a modern mail-order bride for a cowboy, it sounds like the story of the century. Making a video of her own, she casts herself as the perfect mail-order bride for a rancher, but when she finally reaches Montana, she’s surprised to find Ethan’s the perfect cowboy husband-to-be. Against her better judgment, her plan to keep her handsome groom at arm’s length disintegrates into a night of passion spent in his arms.
Ethan knows he can’t keep playing this game – he has to come clean with Autumn and tell her the truth; about the practical joke and about the state of his ranch. He’s about to lose it all because of the debts his mother racked up before his parents’ deaths. Now his sister, Claire, wants to sell the ranch and collect what little money they can. He’ll be out of a home and a job, and in no shape to support the bride he desperately wants to marry, after all.
Autumn’s in bigger trouble than ever. Not only has she fallen in love with the subject of her expose – she might be carrying his child. If she doesn’t write this article and secure her job for another year, she’ll lose everything – her career, her apartment, and more importantly, her family’s approval. The only alternative is to stay and marry Ethan. But how can she trust a man she’s just met when she knows too well that men always let you down?
Can a love based on lies last?
She glanced up at Ethan to find him glancing down, and the warm feeling curved around her insides again. Surely New York men couldn’t be shorter than this crew, or any less manly, but she couldn’t remember the last time she’d been around so much blatant testosterone. She must be ovulating. Why else would she react like this to a perfect stranger?
Ethan touched her arm. “This way.” She followed him down the hall, the others falling into place behind them like a cowboy entourage. She stifled a sudden laugh at the absurdity of it all, slipped her hand into her purse and grabbed her digital camera, capturing the scene with a few clicks. Had this man – this…cowboy – sat down and planned out the video he’d made? She tried to picture Ethan bending over a desk and carefully writing out “Sweet. Good cook. Ready for children.”
She blew out a breath and wondered if she was the only one stifling in this sudden heat. Ready for children? Hardly. Still…if she was going to make babies with anyone…
Shaking her head to dispel that dangerous image, she found herself at the airport’s single baggage carousel. It was just shuddering to life and within moments she pointed out first one, then another sleek, black suitcase. Ethan took them both, began to move toward the door and then faltered to a stop. He avoided her gaze, focusing on something far beyond her shoulder. “It’s just…I wasn’t….”
Oh God, Autumn thought, a sudden chill racing down her spine. Her stomach lurched and she raised a hand as if to ward off his words. She hadn’t even considered this.
He’d taken one look and decided to send her back.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle eight years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.
Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a neglected one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes, and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini. Visit www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, locate your favorite characters on the Chance Creek map, and learn about contests and other cool events!