Today was release day!
I was honored to have been asked to join this project! My contribution is Emma: Bride of Kentucky, and it is Book 15 in the Series.
Forty-five authors come together to bring readers a new series of epic proportions. On fifty consecutive days beginning November 19, 2015, a romance, featuring a mail-order bride, will be published--one set in each of the fifty states. The books will be released in the order the states were admitted to the union. The stories all take place in 1890, following a day when a factory in the East burns to the ground, leaving these women unemployed and forced to choose mail-order marriages for survival. Share the experiences of these brides as they seek love and new lives across the United States.
Emma Waterston is determined, headstrong, and comes from a lifestyle where class structure determines one’s associations. Left destitute after the death of her mother, she takes a job at a textile factory. When a fire destroys her place of employment, leaving her penniless again, she makes a desperate decision and answers an ad for a mail order bride from a wealthy Kentucky horse breeder.
Sam Hawley is content with his life as a horse trainer on an affluent Kentucky estate. His primary focus has always been on the horses. He views their owners as rich people with nothing to do but flaunt their money. Loyalty to his mentor is the only thing that keeps him rooted to one place. When he meets the bride-to-be of the man he detests the most, his life is about to change.
Too late, Emma discovers the ad she answered was too good to be true. Her future husband is not what she was led to believe and a horrific experience leaves her no choice but to face the kind of life she’s been trying to escape. Kentucky was supposed to promise a return to her life of wealth. What she finds instead will redefine her definition of being rich.
“Miss Emmaline Waterston,” someone called from behind her.
Emma’s heart lurched in her chest at the deep voice calling her name. Finally. Curbing her agitation at having been left waiting for so long, she plastered her best smile on her face, and swallowed the lump of apprehension in her throat. When she wheeled around, she nearly tripped on a loose wooden board under her feet.
The smile faded, and her forehead wrinkled when she glimpsed the man walking toward her. Her eyes darted around to see if it might have been another man calling out her name, rather than the one heading directly at her.
She mentally recited the description David Benton had given of himself - dark-haired, with a moustache, nearly six feet tall, and wealthy. The man in her direct line of vision did not fit that description, not in the slightest.
He was dressed in a simple, light-blue cotton shirt tucked haphazardly inside tan britches that were held up by dark suspenders. The sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, and his wide shoulders did not escape her notice. Neither did this man’s dirty blond hair that poked out from beneath a brown cap that reminded her of the newspaper boys back in Lawrence. The other ends of his britches were tucked into old, worn boots.
He stopped just in front of her, and Emma raised her head to look him in the eye. He languidly peeled the cap from his head, revealing a disheveled mop of hair that fell forward over his eyes. His lips curved in a slow grin, creating indents in his cheeks. Emma’s heart fluttered inexplicably in her chest. She blinked, and shook her head slightly at the reaction. She stared up into deep-blue eyes that threatened to suck her right up. She’d never seen a man this handsome before, even if he appeared unkempt.
“Miss Emmaline Waterston?” he asked again in that rich drawl she’d already heard once before.
A slight shiver passed down her spine, and goose bumps formed on her skin, despite being warm under her cloak.
“Yes,” she answered, having to clear her throat to say it a second time. “And you are?”
Surely, this couldn’t be David Benton. If so, she’d been deceived.
“Sam Hawley,” he said, holding out his hand.