"An awesome culmination to a great western romance series." —Fresh Fiction
Once Upon a Mail Order Bride
An outlaw falls for his mysterious mail order bride in this sweeping western epic by beloved author Linda Broday.
Accused of crimes he didn't commit, ex-preacher Ridge Steele is forced to give up everything he knew and make his home with outlaws. Desperate for someone to confide in, he strikes up correspondence with mail-order bride Adeline Jancy, finding in her the open heart he's been searching for. Upon her arrival, Ridge discovers Addie only communicates through the written word, but he knows a little of what trauma can do to a person and vows to stand by her side.
Addie is eager to start a new life with the kind ex-preacher and the little boy she's stolen away from her father—a zealot priest of a terrorized flock. As her small family settles into life at Hope's Crossing, she even begins to find the voice, and confidence, she'd lost so long ago.
But danger is not far behind, and her father will not be denied. While Addie desperately fights the man who destroyed her childhood, a determined Ridge races to the rescue. The star-crossed lovers will need more than prayers to survive this final challenge...and find their way back to each other again.
In the author's words . . .
I loved the "heart" and pure grit that Adeline Jancy showed. She had every reason to give up but she kept on fighting even when she had no more strength to do so.
An Interview with Ridge Steele from
Once Upon a Mail Order Bride
I’m so excited! The outlaw Ridge Steele is dropping by and my heart is pounding. I got a glimpse of him several years ago when he was riding with old friend Jack Bowdre and I almost walked in front of a steam locomotive. For the record, I think dark haired men are most handsome. Their dark looks add to the element of danger wafting around them. As if Ridge needs that.
(Books & Benches: We already want to take this outlaw home with us!)
Oh look, there he comes! His boot heels are pounding the wooden boardwalk like bullets from a Gatlin gun.
“Hello Mr. Steele. I’m glad you could take a minute to talk.”
He removes his Stetson. “It’s my pleasure. But call me Ridge and keep this short. I told Addie I’d be back to give her shooting lessons.”
I clear my throat. “Why does she need lessons? You’ll most likely be with her.”
Ridge holds the door to the newspaper office for me. “Her father’s sent men out to hunt her down and they might catch her when I’m nowhere around.” He gives me a tight smile and I don’t feel that comforted. “And a woman needs to know how to handle a gun.”
“I see. Have a seat at my desk. I promise this won’t take long.”
“If you don’t mind, I’ll stand.” He moves to the window and glances out at the street.
I notice the sharpness of his eyes, the length of his denim clad legs, and the Colt hanging from his holster. I say a prayer of thanks that I’m not in his sights.
“Let’s get started.” I lift a pencil and poise it over a pad. “Tell me what you thought the day Addie came to marry you.”
“She was as pretty as a spring meadow after the rain.” He gets a far-off look in his eyes and the lines of his face soften. “Golden hair and the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t have cared if she was missing an arm or leg. I wanted her.” He paused then added quietly. “I still do.”
“Was it difficult with her being unable to speak?”
He turns, his dark eyes on me. “There are other ways of talking without using words, ma’am.”
A flush rises up my neck. His meaning is clear. “I understand you have a high price on your head, Mr. Steele. Does that hinder your duties as mayor of Hope’s Crossing or your job at the land office?”
The outlaw gives a soft snort. “I’m always aware of my surroundings, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I know a bullet can come at any minute from anywhere and make Addie a widow. But the danger is lessened as long as I stay close to Hope’s Crossing, ma’am. Lawmen tend to give us a wide berth. They’d have to have an army to come in and then they have a big battle on their hands. We’re pretty protected both strategically and in sheer numbers.”
Deciding I’d asked enough about that, I turned to questions about Addie. “Tell me why your wife’s father is so hell-bent in getting her.”
“The man’s a lunatic and when you put someone like that in a position of power, he thinks he can do whatever he pleases. He set up a whipping post in the middle of town and anyone who displeases him or dares to criticize gets a certain number of lashes. Everyone’s attendance is mandatory. Jancy calls himself the new Messiah and his word is law.”
“So Addie somehow crossed him?” I’m trying to figure this all out.
“My wife did what she thought was right and he didn’t like it. That’s all I’m saying.”
The set of Ridge’s jaw told me to drop it. I’m a smart woman.
“I understand you had a tornado hit your place. Tell me what that was like.”
“It caught us in open country. Our horses bolted and left us afoot.” Ridge runs a hand across his eyes. “I didn’t think we’d live to tell about it. If it hadn’t been for a ravine for us to jump into, we’d be dead. It was close.”
“I’ve had the experience myself so I know what you’re talking about.” I jot down some notes and look up. “Tell me about Bodie Nix.”
“He’s a fifteen-year-old boy that bounty hunters were taking to Mobeetie to jail. They’d stopped on my land for water when I found them. We had a shootout and I killed one. The other got away. But I was able to free Bodie then I asked him to work for me. Never knew a more deserving kid.”
“He became part of yours and Addie’s family?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Ridge put his hat on. “I hate to be rude, but I need to go. Just tell everyone to read the book.”
I watch him stride out and get on his horse. Such a strong, honorable man. “Folks, if you want to know more, pick up a copy of Once Upon a Mail Order Bride and follow along with Ridge and Addie. Better have a firm grip of the reins though or you’ll end up on the ground.”
(Books & Benches: Do you think Addie will share?)
I'm a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 30 full length western romance novels and short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. Here in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian, Comancheros, and early cowboys once roamed, I can often hear their voices whispering in the breeze. I love research and looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories and quite often make a nuisance of myself at museums and libraries.
Learn more at lindabroday.com.
Title: Once Upon a Mail Order Bride
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Release Date: November 24, 2020
Content Note: 4 Hearts
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