When Jem steps into Annie's life, she's not expecting anyone to save her. Mute from birth, she's just using all her wits to survive. All she's ever really wanted is a family of her own. For someone to see her. To look at her long enough to hear the things she can't say.
Could this bride be just what a grieving widower needs to make a happy home?
The Brides Series Books 1-3
LENA GOLDFINCH writes sweet historical western romance / inspirational romance and books for teens. She’s always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She enjoys life in a quiet, small town with her husband, two kids, and two very spoiled Black Labs.
Jem took the apple core from his daughter and passed her one of the remaining crackers with a piece of cheese on it. Mae munched that down and looked to him immediately for another, the last one.
He gave it to her, then showed her his empty hands.
She frowned. "More?"
"No more," Jem said, and showed her his empty hands again, making a bigger gesture out of it, as if the little girl was accusing him of hiding some.
If Annie weren't so intent on eating her share of cheese and crackers she might have smiled at the sight of them, one of the most dangerous men she'd ever seen sitting side by side with that tiny little girl. They made quite a mismatched pair.
Mae looked over at Annie, at the last cracker in her hand and the last bit of cheese.
Annie gulped down the mouthful she was chewing. She looked down at the last of her meal and back at the little girl. To her shame, she didn't want to give up her last cracker. She could barely remember the last meal she'd eaten.
"That's Annie's food," Jem admonished the little girl. "You've had yours."
Mae bit her lip. She glanced down at her lap, then back at Annie again.
I can share, Annie attempted to tell Mae with her eyes alone. She snapped her cracker in half--simply unable to bear parting with the whole thing--and passed it across to the little girl. Mae took it and popped the whole thing in her mouth, making Annie smile.
"Mae!" her father said.
She looked at him wide-eyed, her mouth full of cracker. "Whaf dafdda?" she said, muffled, spraying a few cracker crumbs onto his trousers.
He closed his eyes briefly and brushed them off. "You didn't have to give her any," he said to Annie, "but thanks."
Annie grunted, her way of saying she didn't mind that much. She looked down quickly and finished her last bit of food. The crackers had been crispy and the cheese silky and smooth. They'd tasted like heaven.
"You must be thirsty," he said. "Do you mind sharing?"
She shook her head and automatically lifted two fingers.
"Two's no?" he asked.
She nodded, pleased, and lifted one finger. She'd grown up sending signals through the floor of the Ruskins' house, one stomp for yes, two for no. It came natural as rain now.
"And one's yes," he said, catching on quick.
Annie drank deep when he passed her the flask of water, amazed he'd let her drink from it. She tried her best to pour it down her throat without touching her lips to the flask, so he wouldn't regret giving it to someone so dirty. She wished she could tell him thanks, but after Mae had her fill and he took his own swallow, he was back under his hat, likely going over the events of the day.
How he'd stuck himself with her.
How he probably regretted even stepping off the train at the last stop.
She couldn't say she blamed him.
She hadn't much wanted to marry a stranger herself.
Lena Goldfinsh has written a beautiful and delightful story in The Bartered Bride, book three in The Brides Series. Set in Colorado Springs, this western novel is filled with fun, adventure, and of course romance. Jem Wheeler recently lost his wife and is still grieving for her, but when he comes across Annie, a woman who cannot speak and over hears that she is to be sold off. Jem intercedes, paying enough money that Annie does not have to go with the evil man and purchasing the nearby dog as well. After removing them from the situation, Jem’s and Annie’s lives revolve around taking care of Mae, Jem’s daughter, and helping around the family ranch. But danger lurks nearby as the man that previously attempted to buy Annie lives on a neighboring ranch. But Jem determines to protect Annie. This novel also brings to light the struggle that Jem and Annie have with their relationship, as well as, in communicating with one another. But somehow, they find away, and eventually they attend a school and learn to sign. As complicated as Jem and Annie’s romance may seem at the beginning, throughout the story it grows and blossoms into a marvelous and wonderful, soft affair. I would recommend this novel to readers that enjoy western romance novels.
Series: The Brides
Genre: romance, western, historical
Publisher: Indigo Road Publishing
Publication date: December 1, 2015
Number of pages: 390
Content Rating: PG, strong feelings between a man and wife, but nothing graphic
Book Rating: 5 stars
Other books in the series:
1-The Unexpected Bride
2-Sleigh Bells & Mistletoe
A review copy of this book was provided by SLB Tours.
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