Olivia Stewart risks everything to accomplish her dreams. She’s tired of being pitied because she’s been jilted, tired of teaching other people’s children without any of her own. When she signs with a matrimonial agency, a letter from Jamie Fraser sounds perfect. A widower with two young children will give her a head start on the family she’s determined to have. But Colorado holds surprises for Olivia that endanger her goals and even her life.
Rancher Jamie Fraser is shocked to learn his mother has written for a mail-order bride for him! He has two children and no plan to marry again. Ever! His late wife taught him women can’t be trusted. Even his beloved mother isn’t above tricking her sons to achieve her heartfelt ambitions. Now he’s stuck with a wife he didn’t want—a stubborn woman bent on changing his home and his life.
Can two strong people at odds achieve happiness? Angel Springs, Colorado is a small town that inspires big dreams. Olivia and Jamie just might find their dreams meld to form a powerful and enduring love.
That night when Olivia and Jamie were in their room, she slowly undressed. All day she’d thought about what she would say. How naïve to think she could trust this man so easily. How stupid she’d been not to ask more questions before surrendering her body to him.
Somehow, Olivia had the sense of having been cheated in the marriage bed. She had no real experience to go on because she had no one in whom she could confide. Judging by the novels she’d read, though, there should have been talk after their coming together.
She faced him. “Jamie, why did you go through with the wedding?”
He sat on the bed holding the boot he’d just removed then set it on the floor. “No choice.”
What a maddening answer. She wanted to plant her fist on his handsome chin. Instead, she took a deep breath before speaking and exhaled slowly.
“Of course you had a choice. You’re the head of the family and could have refused and sent me back where I came from or set me up in town so I could meet someone else. Barring that, you could have paid me off and sent me to Denver. There’s always a choice.”
He shook his head as he started on his shirt buttons. “Not in this case. Any of those options would have caused talk. After you’d been here several nights, your reputation would have been compromised.”
“If I weren’t here, why would that matter to you?”
His hands stilled. “Ah, well, because Mama’s reputation would also have been damaged, as she pointed out to us brothers.” He removed his shirt and hung it on the bedpost.
As she unfastened the ties of her petticoats, a horrible thought occurred to her and she froze. “Do you mean you don’t want more children?”
His powerful chest muscles rolled with a shrug. “Wouldn’t mind, now that we’re wed, but I was content with Jake and Cat. Matter of fact, earlier today I mentioned how nice life would be with us brothers taking our kids to visit with their cousins.” He stood and unbuttoned his pants.
She turned her back and slid off her clothes then quickly pulled on her gown. “Weren’t you lonely?”
Her back was to him and she couldn’t see his expression, but his voice sounded hard, “Look, Olivia, you seem like a nice enough woman, attractive, and intelligent. Sorry as I am you were brought here under false pretences, I don’t know what you expected to find.”
Again, she froze for a moment. He thought she was attractive? When she turned around, he was sitting up in bed with the sheet at his hips. How could she concentrate on the conversation with all those rippling muscles and skin in sight?
Despairing of the situation, she admitted, “I wanted a husband who would grow to love me and who’d love the children we’d have together. From the letters I thought were from you, I wanted to be a mother to your children, to be your partner and friend as well as your lover.”
“I’ll love any children we have and you’re stepmother to my children. As for love, sorry but you’re out of luck there. You’ll have to be content with us being partners and friends. I’ve tried love and found it lacking.”
Jamie Purchase Links
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