Miranda Wentworth never imagined becoming a mail-order bride. Now marriage to a stranger is her only hope of finding a home where she and her two younger brothers can escape the brutality of the Chicago orphanage where they live. With any luck, she can even start a family of her own, once the three of them are settled at Jacob Creed’s Texas ranch. But Miranda has one gigantic concern: Her husband-to-be knows nothing about the brothers she’s bringing along. What if he calls off the deal when he discovers the trick she’s played on him?
Jake Creed is hanging on to his Texas ranch by his fingernails. His nemesis, Alexander Blackthorne, is determined to ruin him. Jake will never give up, but he’s in desperate trouble. His wife died six months ago in childbirth, along with their stillborn son, and his two-year-old daughter needs a mother. The advertisement Jake wrote never mentioned his daughter—or the fact that he has no intention of consummating his marriage. He’s determined never to subject another wife to the burden of pregnancy. But Jake doesn’t count on finding his bride so desirable. He doesn’t count on aching with need when she joins him in bed. And he never suspected his bride would have plans of her own to seduce him.
Texas Bride is the first in a new series by Joan Johnston. There’s 4 girls and 2 boys in the Wentworth family so there’s plenty of books to come. If they are at all like this book I look forward to reading them. I have to admit I was skeptical at first when picking this book up. The heroine is an 18 year old mail order bride who’s been living in an orphanage with her brothers and sisters. Somehow the author made it all work for me. The story is set in the late 19th century west when times were hard and life was much different. This made the premise of the book much more believable. The hero is still grieving over the death of his wife and as the reader you can really feel his desperation for a woman to help take care of him and his family and his home. The author did a good job balancing the innocence of Miranda while still creating a strong smart woman that the reader can really root for. Miranda’s brothers who she sneaks with her to her new husband’s ranch provided comic relief and shows off Johnston’s ability to write well-rounded characters with unique voices and distinct personalities. It’s each individual character in this book that has me liking it so much.
I will say the first sexual encounter between Miranda and Jake made me a bit uncomfortable as it definitely wasn’t romantic. Also the plot of Jake’s stepfather trying to ruin Jake felt forced to create angst, especially as we get to know Jake’s mother – another one of my favorite characters in the book. But as Miranda takes over the household, she also won me over and was the driving force in this book. I ended up enjoying this book and this family. I look forward to more in this series.
“You don’t have her using a fork?” she asked Jake.
“Don’t see the point,” Jake said. “She does fine like this.”
Miranda pursed her lips. She could see why a woman was needed in the house.