I’m currently in the process of finishing book 1 in my new ‘Ruby Springs Brides series’ and it will be published very soon 🙂
Meanwhile enjoy the blurb and excerpt.
Welcome to Texas and the growing town of Ruby Springs – a place where dreams can come true and fortunes made if you are brave enough to take a chance. Handsome and tough heroes with a softer side meet plucky and determined ladies who want more than society thinks they should have.
Catherine Pinkiss is a chambermaid. Her employers are ungrateful and expect too much of all their employees. Knowing that only she can change her life, she takes her chance and replies to an advertisement in the Matrimonial Times. She knows she could be risking her very life, but when a handsome man arrives on her doorstep will she regret the actions she has taken?
Dylan Jones believes that love will never find him again. Left alone to bring up his son after the tragic loss of his first wife he knows that happiness is fleeting. He knows he has already been blessed, growing up to wealth and privilege and having found the one woman who could make his heart sing. But Kyle needs a mother, and he needs companionship as he tries to build a new life away from everything he once knew. He is not looking for anything more, but will he find out that sometimes we don’t get quite what we might think we are looking for?
The house was quiet at last. Catherine heaved her weary body up the back stairs and into her room in the attic. She collapsed onto her narrow iron framed bed and lay prone. Though life would still be busy in her employers’ absence, it was a blessed relief to know that Mr and Mrs Caldwell would not be in Richmond for the next three months whilst they visited Europe. Of course the past weeks had been a flurry of packing and panic as they prepared for their extended tour of Italy and Greece. Choices were made and then rescinded as the younger girls in particular changed their minds at every turn as to which of their many gowns and hats they would take with them. A part of her envied them their wealth, their ability to travel wherever their whims chose, but they never seemed to be any happier for it. But for now, she was content to revel in their absence, and the thought that she would be able to have a lie in until six o’clock in the morning.
She rolled onto her back, and stared up at the ceiling. Her back ached and her feet were sore from all the running up and down stairs she had undertaken, and it made her restless. She fidgeted, knowing she should undress and wash before bed, but though her mind was willing her body rebelled at the very suggestion of movement. Sluggishly she dragged herself into a seated position at the edge of her bed, and then pushed herself up onto her feet and walked slowly, her heels burning and toes curling inside her boots with every step she took towards the wash stand. She poured water into the bowl and splashed her face. Carefully she unpinned her long, dark chestnut hair and fastened it in a night plait. She stripped off her apron and gown, her under clothes and pulled on her nightgown. She grinned at the sight of her boots poking out from beneath the long white cotton shift and hobbled back to the bed to remove them, taking the basin of water with her. She placed it on the floor by the bed and took off her stockings. Bracing herself for the cold water she dipped her toes tentatively into the bowl, letting them sink in fully as she got used to the temperature. She sighed, and leant back on her elbows as the water soothed the burning heat out of her tired feet.
“Cat,” her friend, and fellow chamber maid, Ellen said, standing in the doorway, dressed in her own nightgown. Catherine opened one eye, but did not move. “May I come in?”
“Of course you may, just don’t make me move a muscle. I have never felt so tired in all my days.”
“Me neither,” Ellen agreed settling down beside her on the bed. “I thought they would never leave!”
“If those girls were mine I would give them a sharp slap,” Catherine said, opening her eyes and sitting up a little. “My father would have me over his knee for a tenth of the mischief they cause.”
“Ah, but that is because our parents instilled discipline and respect into us,” Ellen said with a grin. “Poor little mites have to be spoiled as they have only ever known the care of a Nanny, and spend their lives away at school.”
“Ahh, to be so neglected!” Catherine said with a glint in her eye. “I find it hard to fathom that they are all older than us, yet have no common sense between them.”
“They don’t need to Cat. They will always have the likes of us to clean up their messes and make things right however badly they may behave.” The girls sat on the bed quietly, wondering about what life might be like if you never had to worry about the consequences of your actions, knowing that your Papa could make even the very worst of troubles disappear because of his wealth and position.
“I’m not going to be here much longer,” Ellen said suddenly. Catherine looked at her askance.
“Whatever do you mean? Have you found a new position?”
“But they won’t give you a character if you just up and leave.”
“I don’t need one. I am going to Texas, am going to be one of those mail order brides we always laugh about from the newspaper,” she said determinedly.
“You are serious,” Catherine said, amused but concerned too. “Ellen, you cannot. You simply don’t know who you will meet at the other end of that long journey. What if they are some kind of monster?”
“Oh Cat, you worry so. I shall be quite alright. I have been on my own, here in Richmond for most of my life. There are just as many dangers here as there are anywhere else in America. I am capable of taking care of myself, and I am sick and tired of fetching and cleaning for people who don’t appreciate it.”
“I can understand entirely why you wish to go, I just don’t know why you can’t find a nice young man here,” Cat said. “At least you would still be here, with your friends.”
“When was the last time you or I had the chance to meet a nice young man Cat?” Ellen asked her frankly. Catherine had to admit they had precious few opportunities, but she refused to believe there wasn’t any hope at all for them to find a husband and raise families of their own.
“You have already written to someone haven’t you,” she said looking at her friend’s features. She had that stubborn look about her that told Catherine she had already taken matters into her own hands, and did not care to be talked out of it.
“I have, and he sent me a train ticket to go and join him in Dallas. He has a ranch about a day’s ride from there. He seems nice, tells the most terrible jokes in his letters. But I think I like him, he seems kind and sweet.”
“How can you possibly know? He could be anybody. How long have you been writing to him?”
“For six months.”
“And you did not tell me?” Catherine exploded. Ellen at least had the decency to look ashamed.
“I did not know how to. We have always laughed at the other girls when they pore over those advertisements. But none of them would ever do anything about it, but I did and I cannot wait to be gone from here.”
“You would leave me here alone?”
“Oh Cat, I don’t want to – but this may be my only chance.” Ellen’s eyes were imploring her to be kind, to say she supported her madness but Catherine was suddenly more than a little scared for her friend. “Please say you are happy for me, I could not bear to think you disapprove.”
“But I do,” she said then paused. “No, not exactly. I just don’t know where you get the courage to do such a thing. I would be scared stiff.”
“No you wouldn’t. You just aren’t as desperate as me yet,” Ellen said with a wry smile.
“I think I am,” Catherine said fervently.
“Then let us find you a man to write to before I leave. Mayhap he might even be from Texas too!” Ellen leapt up, and dashed into her own room next door before Catherine could tell her not to.
She reappeared with the Matrimonial Times in her hands, and a huge grin. “He’s in here somewhere, that perfect man just waiting to meet you,” she teased.