Is an ad for marriageable women their key to finding a happily ever after? Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited to find out!
Caledonia McBride thought war destroyed her chance at happiness. But then an ad for marriageable women offers hope for a second chance, and soon letters from a lonely rancher fill her heart. Ready for a second chance, Caledonia pulls up her Virginia roots and travels west toward the promise of a new beginning.
Maxwell Barringer is a good friend. When three well-meaning ranch hands accidentally bring a young woman to town to be the bride of a man who's already married, he steps in to help his friends save face until they can raise the money to send her back to Virginia. The only problem is, the more he gets to know Miss Caledonia McBride, the harder it is for him to imagine her leaving.
As Caledonia settles into her new life at Rattlesnake Ridge, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out. Can Max untangle the web before he falls for the blue-eyed beauty?
If you enjoy the romantic adventures of mail-order-brides, then you’ll love Riding from Richmond. Get your copy and start reading now!
Read an Excerpt
It all began with this…..
Three cowboys stood in front of the message board hung in the rear of Handley’s General Store. Their earnest faces looking interested as they studied the bits of newspaper hung by nails below a large notice that read, Messages for those wishing Matrimony.
One tall, lanky cowpoke raised his right hand and pushed the battered Stetson away from his face.“Sure is a lot of ‘em.”
His remark brought an agreement of grunts from the two friends standing on either side of him.
“What ‘cha make of it Dill?”
“Makes me wonder why they can’t find fellers at home?” He remarked scratching his chin in the process.
“There’s been a war, Dill. Fellers are in short supply. Now, Miz May said to come over here and look. There’s got to be a likely candidate for the boss. I’m tired of spending eight days a week in the saddle.”
“There ain’t eight days in a week, Lou,” Teddy spoke up. “Even I know that.”
Lou’s mouth pressed into a thin line.“Of all the times for you to develop brains,” he grumbled.
“How come the boss can’t find a girl around here?”
Lou’s eyes narrowed. “You boys looked around lately? How many unavailable women you see pining for the boss to come courtin’?”
The other two men hung their heads.
“Yeah, I thought so. Besides, it can’t be hard. It’s just females.” Lou’s focus went back to the board. “Here look at this one.” He pointed to the board.
Teddy narrowed his eyes and stepped close.“Lady wishes to marry. No children. No pets. Must be a fine upstanding member of society.”He blinked. “I don’t think this is a good choice. Seth likes his dog.”
“Me either,” Lou agreed.
“Here’s one,” Dill piped up.
“Shh, keep your voice down. We don’t need Handley’s wife poking her nose in our business.”
Dill pointed to the newspaper clipping.“Husband needed. Respectable woman seeks male. Can cook and clean prefers a close proximity to town.” He turned to look at Lou. “Is this proximity a disease?”
“Naw, means she wants to live near town. The boss lives around ten miles away.”
“So, that’d be a no.”
“That’d be a no.” Lou nodded.
“Look at this,” Teddy remarked. “Nineteen-year-old refined lady from Virginia wishes to make the acquaintance of a genteel man of sweet disposition and means, with the ultimate goal of making a home in the western paradise of Rattlesnake Ridge. She is five foot and not afraid of hard work. Prefers a man of good moral faith but will accept any Christian Religion. Will correspond before deciding if the move is beneficial to both. If interested, please write in care of Miss McBride at P.O. Box 503 North Broad Street, Richmond Virginia.”
“She wants a lot,” Dill pointed out.
“I think she just might do.” Lou smiled. “She’s young enough. Wants to work hard. The boss will be plum happy to have her.”
“What are you three up to?”
The tart voice made them jump.
Cautiously, Dill turned his head.
The round, face of Handley’s wife confronted them.
“How do, Mrs. H-Handley,” Dill managed to stammer out. “Nice day.”
“Nice day,” she mimicked. Her eyes narrowed as each of the boys turned. “What are you three up to?”
Lou pulled the newsprint from the board and slipped it into his pocket.“We thought we’d check out Winthrop’s ads. Teddy here was thinking of getting a wife.”
“Me?”The sheer terror in the young man’s voice could not be hidden.
Lou sent an elbow into his ribs.“Oh, yeah.” He gave a grin. “Yes, ma’am. MizMay sent us over here to check the responses, said it would do us good to find a nice wife.” He lifted his hand and jerked it back toward the board.
The woman’s eyes continued to glare as she lifted her hand and placed a fist on her hip. “And who would ever give you a second glance?”
Lou clapped his hands over the other cowboy’s ears.
“Aw, Mrs. Handley, a boy can dream. You wouldn’t want to rain on young Teddy’s desire to be a family man, now would you?” Lou smiled.
The woman crossed her arms and took a moment to think.
“I suppose not.”
Lou took his hands down and Teddy put a finger to his ears to make sure he could still hear.
“Come on, let’s get back to work.”
“Yes, you do that.”
The three made their way outside and to their mounts.
“Now what we gonna do?” Dill grumbled.
“Not to worry.” Lou grinned.Lifting a hand, he patted his shirt pocket. “I got it all taken care of. Now, all we have to persuade Miss McBride to pack up and come west. If we’re lucky, the boss will be besotted before we know it and ready to walk down that petal path. And us…” He slapped Dill on the shoulder. “We’ll have two days a week all to ourselves.”
“And how do you suppose we do that?” Dill asked.
“Well, we get us a smooth talker that knows what ladies like.”
“Whose that gonna be?” Teddy piped up. “The only thing we talk to is cattle.”
“Max. Max owes us one.” Lou nodded. “Besides, Max has book learning. He’ll know just what to say.”
The three looked at each other with their smiles growing and mounted their horses to ride away.