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Love Him Love His Mother – This is the second book of my new Mail Order Bride Series – Wyoming Mail Order Brides
Cora O’Malley came out West with her best friend Annie to be a Mail Order Bride, however unlike Annie’s marriage, hers was a disaster and her husband died after only four months. After being left destitute, she has decided to never marry again, but rather, take control of her own destiny, start her own business, earn her own money and remain beholden to no-one, especially a husband.
Jeremy Josiah Paine is the man Annie was supposed to marry when she came out West as a Mail Order Bride, but his mother intervened to prevent the match. In fact, there isn’t a woman alive who could live up to the expectations of Myra Paine. When Jeremy finds himself falling for Annie’s friend Cora, he doesn’t know how he will deal with his sharp tongued, snobbish and shrewish mother. Cora is not a lady and worse, Irish. He fears his mother will suffer from am apoplexy when she finds out.
Betrayal, a bank robbery and a kidnapping play their part in the romance between Cora and Jeremy. An unlikely alliance forms between bitter enemies as their destiny plays out. Does God play a role in their lives and does good triumph over evil? This Mail Order Bride Romance highlights some of the many difficulties faced by women during the nineteenth century on the American Frontier as well as how men thought it was OK to behave.
Find out how Mail Order Brides of the West coped with some of the most challenging situations women have ever had to face … This book can be read as a stand alone book if desired, however there are plenty of adventurous tales to enjoy if you are interested in the whole Wyoming Mail Order Bride Series
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have always been interested in the lives of women who left civilization to settle in the West – particularly when they’d never met the men they were destined to marry. Life for women was no cakewalk back then and I have the utmost admiration for them. So this series is based around some of the issues that women faced as they lived out their destinies.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I do a lot of research about how life was back then – the things people did and how they lived their lives. Several characters for a book always jump out at me while I’m doing this so I make plenty of notes to use later. I also ask lots of ‘what if’ questions as the characters solidify and pretty soon I have a rough outline and know where I’m heading with a book.
Cora O’Malley threw her head back, her thick carrot colored hair cascading down her shoulders and glittering in the morning sunshine. It looked like her head was on fire and she had no idea of the pretty picture she made out on the range as she rode Thunder, her black appaloosa, the one friend she could always count on and tell her secrets to. Of course, there was Annie West, someone she had become very close to in the past few weeks, but Annie had Richard her husband. Not that Cora begrudged her friend her happiness, it was just difficult to pour out one’s heart and mar another’s happiness.
This was freedom, and she laughed, a soft tinkling sound that made Thunder snort in approval. She was happy, she was free and she was never going to allow herself to be put in a position where she had no control over her own life ever again.
Bright green eyes surveyed the area around her and she sat still. Thunder also sensed the importance of the silence and aped his mistress. When she had first gone to live with her husband in Granger she was plump, but hard work and many hours in the open had turned the fat into sinews.
It hadn’t lessened her attractiveness, if anything it enhanced her beauty of which she was unaware. She thought of herself merely as a plain Irish woman. Her arms were stronger now and she believed she had toughened up in the short time she had lived in the Wild Country.
Bartholomew Spinks her husband of only four months, had often told her that even though she was nothing much to look at, she was still good at something because she seemed to be a natural with horses.
As she became accustomed to his cruel words, his barbs stopped hurting after a while. Cora smiled sadly as she thought about her brief marriage that had ended so tragically.
Born to Irish parents twenty two years ago, Cora was the first of eight children and it seemed as though from the moment she began walking she never sat down to rest. All her life she had to help her mother with household chores and then look after her siblings.
Because her father was a simple uneducated dock worker, there was never enough money to feed the family. It was only part of the problem though, because plenty of other uneducated dock workers managed to work hard and make enough money to feed their families.
It was the drink that that ate up the money and Rita O’Malley, Cora’s mother, had to take in washing to supplement her husband’s wages. Life was tough for the O’Malleys and Cora and her mother together rued the Irish propensity for drowning their sorrows in whiskey and beer.
Even as a child Cora always felt that she was different, that she was destined for bigger things and not ending up as a dock worker’s wife and repeating her mother’s circle of misery. On her twentieth birthday her father proposed that she marry one of the Irish boys in the district and she knew that unless she took matters into her own hands, she would end up doing just that.
One thing Cora thanked her mama for was the daily trips they made to the upscale parts of Boston to do other people’s laundry. In a number of the houses Cora found children her own age who were willing to teach her to read. The children didn’t see the differences in their stations in life until they were older, after their parents made sure they’d absorbed the true nature of such things.
She took to reading like a duck to water and her favorite subject was arithmetic. By the time Cora was ten years old she already had a small bank stash where she put her savings, which of course she took pains to hide from her parents and siblings. It was destined to be her ticket to freedom and she was very careful about saving every penny.
When the local parish priest insisted that Cora and her siblings join school for basic classes, she was way ahead of her peers and seemed set to excel. While in school she started a small, yet flourishing business. She would buy candy blocks from the general store, break it down into smaller pieces and sell them to her fellow students. She went on saving and soon had a substantial amount. Sadly though, her father found it one day.
Tom O’Malley loved his beer and Cora watched with sadness and repressed anger as her hard earned cash was transformed into amber liquid that slid smoothly down her father’s throat. Because her mother would have borne the brunt of his anger, Cora kept her emotions well hidden, promising that one day she would be free of such control.
When her father threatened to marry her off by force she decided enough was enough and knew it was time to leave home. But where to go? The answer came to her as she was standing at the railway station watching passengers alight and board the different trains.
This was her favorite pastime. Dreaming about a life beyond the Boston slums and at the train station, she could imagine herself boarding one of the trains to take her away to a new life.
She was curious about the number of young ladies her age who seemed to be always traveling. Where do they always go? She wondered and decided to strike up a conversation with one of them.
“Are you visiting family?” She asked a girl about two years younger than herself who smilingly told her that her name was Mirabelle Simmons.
“No, I am going to get married,” Mirabelle answered with a dreamy expression in her baby blue eyes. She had two huge trunks that she said contained her clothes as well as other items she would need for her new life as a frontier wife.
Cora looked around her with interest but could see no man that looked like he was Mirabelle’s fiancé. “I don’t see your husband, is he traveling with you or has he gone on ahead?”
“No, silly,” Mirabelle giggled. “I am a Mail Order Bride.” She tossed her blond hair backwards.
“What does that mean?”
“Men out in the west place advertisements in the newspapers. There are not enough women in the West so men have to find wives back here in the East. You respond to the adverts and if you are lucky, one of the men will write back and then he’ll send you the fare and you go out to the West and marry him.”
Cora could not contain her excitement. This was her way out, and she tuned the younger girl out as she began to make plans right there on the platform.
She helped Mirabelle get her luggage onto her train when it came and she waved until it left the station. Armed with this new information she began looking for a husband and a few weeks later Bartholomew Spinks a ranch owner in Granger, Wyoming declared that he was ready to marry her and if she consented he was sending her fare with his next letter.
Rita wept when her eldest daughter informed her that she was leaving home for the unknown, to be the wife of a man she had never met.
“What will your papa say?” The tired looking woman with listless eyes and shaggy carrot hair like her daughter’s asked. Her green eyes masked a lot of pain. “He was set on you marrying the O’Brien boy.”
“Please don’t tell him until I’ve left,” she begged her mother. “This life is not for me mama, it would kill me.”
Rita nodded in understanding. “You do what you have to do Cora, may the good Lord go with you.”
Cora sighed. Coming West had been a painful but good learning experience. She would always be thankful that she had sat next to Annie Duvall on the train. By the time Annie got off at Tipton the two women had become good friends and exchanged addresses, promising to write to each other.
Life as Bartholomew’s wife had not been what she’d expected. From the moment she met her husband when he picked her up from the railway station at Granger, Cora had known that this was going to be a difficult marriage. Bart as she called him, was a strong man but like her father, he loved his whiskey.
When he was sober, however, he was a good teacher and he took her to the wilds with him and taught her how to catch, break and tame the wild horses that roamed freely out there. Of course, he laughed at her first feeble attempts, mocking her upbringing and threatening to send her back East if she didn’t pull her weight.
On the train from Boston, Cora had made a promise to herself that she would never return home to the kind of life her mother lived. She’d promised her two younger sisters Marie and Joanna that once she was settled, she would send for them so they could find good men in the West too.
Bart’s threats made her work harder and by the time of his tragic death she was as good as, if not better than most of his hired hands – even though she’d only been catching horses for less than three months. Her efforts brought in a lot of money and Bart began referring to her as his asset.
That’s why they called her a natural with horses. Cora wiped the tears from her eyes. She was never going to subject herself to a life of misery again and this was her ticket out of it. Much as she had not loved Bart, she had been determined to be a very good wife to him and help run his ranch, which was large and set to make a good profit.
Then the accident happened. Bart and a few others had gone to catch some horses and this time Cora had stayed behind to help her mother in law. Regina Spinks was a toughened woman from Virginia and she ran her son’s ranch with a firm hand. Cora was glad she wasn’t too keen on domesticated indoors life or else their personalities would have clashed, as indeed they did on a number of occasions.
Regina did not think Cora was good enough for her son. She had wanted a gentle girl who would sit at home and birth as many babies as her son wanted and who wouldn’t have the temerity to challenge her authority. Cora preferred the outdoors and catching horses.
On the fateful day, Cora finished helping with the cleaning and cooking inside the house and just as she was getting ready to help clean the barn, she saw the workers returning but she didn’t see her husband. Then she noticed he had been jackknifed over his horse.
“He’s dead,” Peter her brother in law answered her silent question, and that was when Cora’s nightmares began. Her husband had left the house drunk and he was not watching carefully, and his horse stumbled into a rabbit hole.
He was thrown off because he was intoxicated and not alert enough to grab the horse’s reins as he went over. He fell on some rocks, hit his head and died instantly. In a not so subtle way Regina blamed Cora for her son’s death.
“Bartholomew was not happy in his marriage which is why he drank too much, and you did nothing to make him stop,” she had pointed out cruelly. “I always told my son that he’d made a mistake by marrying you.”
She was not allowed anywhere near her husband’s body and he was buried the next day. In the coming weeks her mother in law watched her waistline keenly and then one day just blurted out, “Are you with child?”
“No ma’am,” Cora had said, quite surprised by the question and wondered what her mother in law meant by it. She didn’t have to wonder about it for long though, because the very next day she was asked to leave the farm since her services and presence were no longer required.
Cora was not sad to leave because life on the ranch had become intolerable. She was just glad that Annie’s letter had arrived a few days earlier and so she packed her small valise and left her matrimonial home forever.
It was by chance that she’d taken Thunder to the farrier’s, otherwise she would probably not have been allowed to take him with her. Her mother in law hadn’t let her take most of her own clothes either, as well as the items she’d brought with her from Boston, claiming that it was her son who had sent Cora the money to purchase them.
Not willing to argue Cora had left Granger, riding Thunder for a whole day and night until she reached Tipton. Finding Ruth’s farm was not hard and that was how she had come to live in Tipton. She’d arrived to find her friend Annie in a troubled state about events from the past come back to haunt her. Richard, Annie’s husband had left and Cora found herself a desperately needed home with the Wests.
Now she had cause to smile. Richard West was a man of integrity and Cora had met very few of those. When she came to help Annie when her baby was born, the couple had invited her to live with them. She did the outdoor chores without complaining but noticed that the Wests were struggling financially.
“I know how to catch and tame horses,” she told Richard one day as they were having dinner.
“Annie told me that,” Richard looked at her with his kind brown eyes. “It’s a dangerous job for any man, let alone a woman.”
“Bart taught me well and I am very careful.” Cora had looked around their sod house that Ruth painstakingly tried to keep dust free. “Besides, it’s time I pitched in and helped with the household budget.”
“It is very dangerous Cora,” Annie had said, her hazel eyes troubled. “You are already helping so much around the homestead. We’ll make it.”
“I know that,” Cora had smiled. “Let me try and if I get hurt then I’ll stop.”
The couple had been reluctant and Richard had insisted on accompanying her out to the range. They caught one horse and Richard would not allow Cora to do much more. He watched keenly as she gently tamed the horse and once it was broken in he quickly found a buyer. He insisted on sharing the profits equally but Cora refused. “You need the money more than I do, besides, consider it as my contribution for my board.”
They caught and sold two more horses but still Cora refused to accept an equal share. Richard came up with the perfect solution. “We will be partners, equal partners then.”
“I’m still living with you so how can we talk of equal partnership?”
“Cora,” Annie touched her friend’s hand. “You are our friend and we know that you also need to make your way. Please just accept Richard’s offer. Because of you we have sold three horses and earned some very good money. And as you can see, Richard has already made some improvements to our house and is now putting up a second story. It’s because of you that we are now prospering Cora, please don’t refuse.” Annie’s eyes pleaded. “See how beautiful our new home is, with our new wrap around porch, enough room for Alex to wander around when he begins to crawl.”
“Alright then, but I will have to insist that I pitch in for the household budget. That way, I won’t feel guilty about taking advantage of your kindness.”
Annie and Richard had not been able to change her mind and now Cora smiled as she thought about the Wests. They were deeply in love and Annie was so happy, after her terrible past. Richard loved his wife deeply and much as Cora was happy for her friend, she didn’t think marriage suited her.
She had experienced one rough go at it and was not willing to try for seconds. No sir, this girl was going to make money, and one day she would build her own home. Richard had promised her that when she was ready, he’d give her a few acres so she would always have a home close to them. She’d only agreed on condition that she would pay him for any land he allocated to her.
This was the life, this was freedom, Cora laughed softly. She had money in the bank, a good roof over her head, enough food to eat and most of all, she was free to do as she pleased. There was a wide smile on her face as she listened to the distant sounds drawing closer.
It was another herd and she was ready to pull in one horse. Richard had given strict orders that she was only allowed to catch three horses per week, skipping a day in between, and in that way she would get enough rest to be fresh and ready for her next horse catching expedition.
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