1888 – Wyoming Territory
1909 – Wyoming
Susie Crowell née White is a desperate young mother with another baby on the way. Her late husband left her nothing but his bad reputation. She has no money and is too ashamed to return home to her family. When she is trapped alone during a snowstorm with a stranger and the baby coming, her only choice is to rely on him.
Gil Hart came west to find healing for his consumption. He never expected to find himself trapped with a lost young widow. Or how fast he could fall for her and her two little ones. But it doesn’t take long for his secrets to come to light.
After everything she’s suffered in the past, can Susie ever trust another gambler?
1870 – Wyoming
Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He’s got brothers he can’t remember, and he’s interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he’s already married. He can’t imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that–twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix.
Soon it’s clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. As love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they’re to have any chance at a future.
1870 – Wyoming
Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he’s inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin’s supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life.
But danger seems to track Kevin along the way, and he wonders if his half brother, Wyatt, is behind the attacks. Finally arriving at the ranch, everyone is at each other’s throats and the only one willing to stand in between is Winona Hawkins, a nearby schoolmarm.
Despite being a long-time friend to Wyatt, Winona can’t help but be drawn to the earnest, kind Kevin–and that puts her in the cross hairs of somebody’s dangerous plot. Will they all be able to put aside their differences long enough to keep anyone from getting truly hurt?
1906 – Wyoming
Swirling rumors forced Cecilia White out of the teaching job she loved. She vowed not to get involved with a man again—no matter what. But when the term begins at a new schoolhouse in a new town, disaster strikes. No matter what she does, she can’t seem to escape the handsome, single chairman of the school board.
John Morgan has a secret. He’s not who he says he is. He’ll do anything to protect and provide for his young sister—including cozying up to the prickly schoolmarm.
Sparks fly and Cecilia must deny her heart if she hopes to keep her job. But what’s more important? Duty or love?
1884 – Wyoming
Can the joy and hope of Christmas restore their love before it’s too late?
Leah Whitsett’s life was ideal until the disastrous day she nearly died because of her husband’s deceit. When he returns home weeks before Christmas, she knows the best gift she can give him is forgiveness, but how can she relinquish her hard-won independence knowing he plans to turn their family’s life upside down again?
Bryant has always known his wife was a gift he’d never deserved, but how can he provide for her in a town that no longer wants anything to do with him? He longs to atone for the misery he’s put his loved ones through, but when he brings a family member home for the holidays, he and Leah may end up even further apart.
With emotions high and their marriage at stake, will the season bring the hope they need…or are their rifts too large to mend?
1861 – Wyoming
After her mother’s death, Alannah Fagan is left in the care of a brutal stepfather. When he demands that she marry his youngest son, her only hope is to escape. Together with Conn Fagan, her younger brother, she flees their westbound wagon train with no plan other than to survive.
Stewart McCann left northern Virginia behind to take the stationmaster job at the Pony Express’s Horseshoe Station in Wyoming territory at the start of the Civil War. He has struggled with that decision ever since. When he discovers a battered young woman and her brother, he is once more thrust into the midst of a fight.
Can two wounded hearts—with the help of a one-eyed Pony Express mount—support each other when faced with decisions that could cost them both dearly?
1886 – Wyoming Territory
It is 1886, and the government has given the US Cavalry control of Yellowstone. For widowed hotelier Kate Tremaine, the change is a welcome one. She knows every inch of her wilderness home like the back of her hand and wants to see it protected from poachers and vandals.
Refused a guide by Congress, Lieutenant William Prescott must enlist Kate’s aid to help him navigate the sprawling park and track down the troublemakers. But a secret from his past makes him wary of the tender feelings the capable and comely widow raises in him. As they work together to protect the park and stand firm through injustice and tragedy, they may just find that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in control.
1884 – Wyoming Territory
It’s a match made in heaven…as long as they don’t fall in love!
The ranch Nolan Key has spent decades working for, even lost a leg for, is now his—or at least it should be. But an absurd clause in his father’s will means he’s in danger of losing the place to his lazy, undeserving cousin. Nolan finds himself scrambling to save his home—by proposing marriage to the town laundress.
Corinne Stillwater’s hands have betrayed her. Numb from hours of doing the same work over and over, her hands will only heal, according to the town doctor, if she gives up the laundry and marries. But she’s been stung repeatedly by love before, so that is one remedy she can’t swallow.
When Nolan offers Corinne a marriage in name only, how can she refuse? Such a partnership could give them the security they seek, but what if the ranch isn’t as secure as they believe, and their lives—and dreams—aren’t quite as compatible as they thought?
Pretending to Wed is the second book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like marriage of convenience stories that deal with the nitty-gritty of making a relationship work, you’ll love this authentic romance set in a time gone by that tackles issues still relevant for today.
1850 – Wyoming
Felicity’s father dies, leaving her stranded at Ft. Laramie, Wyoming, one-third the way to homestead 640 acres in the Oregon Territory. She has money and supplies to continue her journey, but a woman alone cannot claim the free land. So, she advertises for a husband.
Ben’s got massive debt and Gold Rush fever and heads to California. But at Ft. Laramie he’s robbed of everything he owns, including his horse. His only recourse is to strike a bargain with Felicity.
At the fork in the trail, will he trek to Oregon to help her homestead, or will she accompany him to dig for gold in California? Can these two stubborn people with very different goals make the right choice?
1933 – Wyoming
A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.
Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?
1902 – Wyoming
The Sweetheart Arrangement
After two broken engagements, Isobel Glasen’s determined to stay single—until a runaway horse makes her an accidental entrant in the Ride for a Bride race. And her ex-fiancé’s brother is the winner. With a successful business and a cozy apartment, Isobel has a life as carefully constructed as the beautiful gowns she designs. But now a fake courtship may be the only way to quell town gossip.
New to town, Alec Russell aims to get his veterinary clinic off the ground. Though he once secretly pined for Isobel, he’s determined to escape his brother’s shadow and find a woman who chooses him first. But could time spent together provide a second chance—and turn pretense into the perfect match?
1884 – Wyoming
Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.
Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?
Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?
But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?
1890s – Wyoming
Joel Chapman’s spirit is dying a slow, painful death. An amputee, he can no longer fulfill his duties as a cavalry soldier. According to his wife, without two good legs, he can’t fulfill his duties as a husband and provider. In a world of able-bodied men, it seems honor and faith don’t count for much.
Angela Fairbanks is the daughter of a cattle baron known for his iron fist and cold heart. She has no doubt once her father learns she is carrying an illegitimate child, he will banish her from the ranch.
A chance encounter with Joel results in a reckless but compassionate offer: for one day, he’ll play the role of her husband, and then “abandon” her. For the sake of the baby, Angela agrees to the ruse.
But when love weaves itself into the lie, Joel and Angela will discover there’s much more at risk than just their hearts. Faith. Honor. Love. Which one will they sacrifice?
1901 – Wyoming
A real home—it’s what Vienna Howe dearly wants for her young daughter. Yet the ramshackle property she just inherited hardly qualifies. She can’t afford the repairs—until foreman West McCall suggests they start a dude ranch together. For propriety’s sake, they’ll need a marriage in name only…a practical solution for two wary hearts.
Years ago, West convinced Vienna to marry a man of means, never realizing how cruel her husband could be. Guilt-ridden, he intends to secure the lovely widow’s future. But despite his reluctance to get close to anyone, this union might do more than fix Vienna’s ranch. It could open the door to a warm, loving future…
1869 – Wyoming
Garret Stevenson must find a bride or forfeit his newly built hotel. With his deadline approaching, he plans an in-name-only marriage with a maid who’ll cook and clean for his guests. When a pampered, pretty heiress arrives instead, the deception confirms Garret’s distrust of women. But Virginia Winterman has more substance than her elegant clothes suggest.
Fleeing West to escape a cruel suitor, Virginia finds a business arrangement with Whisper Creek’s brusque hotel owner is mutually beneficial, and she relishes being useful. Yet what was once a practical solution soon blossoms into a deeper union. Can Garret get past old betrayals before his future with Virginia slips away?
1898 – Wyoming
The Pinkerton agent that Edward Kent hired is intelligent, capable—and unexpectedly female! Though shocked to learn that Maggy Worthing will be investigating the threats to his Wyoming horse ranch, Edward needs to find the culprit. And if that means a temporary engagement to give Maggy a cover story, he’ll play along with the feisty detective.
Maggy always gets her man—at least when it comes to solving crimes. The young widow refuses to marry again and land under another husband’s thumb. Unmasking Edward’s enemies will earn her a longed-for promotion…but the heart has its own mysteries. Could working together with the handsome English aristocrat spark a real and loving partnership?
1890s – Wyoming
Sometimes, it takes a really strong man to surrender to love…
Evergreen’s sheriff, Dent Hernandez, has to learn to live with love. Not an easy thing for a man who for years made a career of hunting down and hanging some of the worst outlaws in the territory. Can he find his romantic side and ask for Amy’s hand in a truly unique, magical way?
Or will a suave, handsome ghost from her past derail Dent’s plan—if he can even come up with one?
1890 – Wyoming
Intrepid reporter Ellie Blair wants a story–the one story–that will make her name bigger than Nellie Bly’s. She’ll do anything to get it. Lie, masquerade as someone else … even walk away from a man she could love.
Treasury Agent Jim West has to break the back of the Irish Mob and will do anything to make it happen–lie, masquerade as someone else, even sacrifice his heart to see justice done.
Blinded by ambition, these two stumble into each other on a Wyoming ranch…so what will it take for them to see past the masks they’re wearing and discover true love?
1867 – Wyoming
Stripped of the family so important to his Viking heritage, Matthias Bjork is now on the hunt for his sister. Despite combing the entire Wyoming Territory, he hasn’t found any substantial leads regarding his sister’s whereabouts, but he has discovered a most unusual woman. This woodland nymph who’s come to work for his good friend in the quiet town of Mountain Bluff is like no one he’s ever met.
Opal Boyd has finally found the haven she’s longed for all her life, in a most unlikely place—working for a German couple in this remote Wyoming mountain town. She learned long ago that most men couldn’t be trusted, but when a mountain man stops in the boarding house where she works, he seems to have the respect and affection of the two people she’s learned to trust implicitly. And the more she comes to know Matthias, she struggles not to trust him the same way the others do.
When he shares the magical experience of his family’s traditional Viking Yule celebration, she can’t help but fall a little more in love with him each one of the twelve days of Christmas. But when Matthias’ search for his sister takes an unexpected twist, Opal is forced to make a choice that will alter the course of her life—no matter which answer she chooses. When Matthias’ decisions land Opal in danger, what must he sacrifice to rescue her
1861 – Wyoming
Pony Express manager Clayton Young arrives for his new assignment at a Wyoming ranch just in time to save Maggie Fillmore’s ailing baby. The lovely young widow is struggling to care for a ranch, her sister and a newborn, and Clayton plans to pursue medicine—not marriage. Yet Maggie’s dire situation spurs him to offer a match of convenience…
Maggie hoped never to rely on any man again, even one as kind as Clayton. But with her late husband’s greedy cousin trying to take away her ranch, she has little choice. And though Maggie worries her union with Clayton might not be enough to save her ranch, she soon sees it could be just what her heart needs.
1868 – Wyoming
For widower and ex-doctor Trace Warren, a fresh start in Whisper Creek comes with a catch: to save his home and apothecary shop, Trace must remarry. While making Katherine Fleming his wife is simple enough, he refuses to fall in love again. But keeping his distance from the kind, beautiful woman and the infant she brings with her is dangerously difficult…
Katherine promised to protect the baby left in her care, and a marriage of convenience to Trace is the only way to do that. But all too soon, Trace possesses Katherine’s heart, even as he still carefully guards his own. With hopes of turning their arrangement into a true love match, can Katherine convince Trace to forgive himself for his past mistakes and embrace his new family?
1892 – Wyoming
When Tex Beckett arrives at Ravena Reid’s farm, he’s eight years too late for the elopement they’d once planned—and it’s far too early to win her forgiveness. He’s seriously wounded, though, and she can’t turn him away, though she knows better than to trust him. Yes, it’s wonderful having help with the farm, and with the orphans she fosters, but if she opens her heart, she’ll get hurt again when he leaves. And Tex always leaves.
As a notorious bank robber, Tex is used to danger. Yet reuniting with the only woman he’s ever loved is the riskiest thing he’s ever done. All he wants is to stay with Ravena and the children. But can he build a new start before his past catches up with him?
1866 – Wyoming
Taking flight from their quiet Pennsylvania town seems like the only way for Tori Boyd to protect her dearest cousin’s virtue. And the success of their escape may now depend on the man she’s been writing letters to for over a year now in the vast wilds of the Wyoming Territory.
Ezra Reid has finally stepped out from under the shadow of his older brother and sister, now having full responsibility to man the Rocky Ridge Stage Stop through the winter. The success or failure of the stage and telegraph contracts falls squarely on his shoulders, and he’s entirely focused on the work – at least until his mysterious correspondence partner shows up on his doorstep.
As Ezra takes on the search for a proper situation for Tori and her cousin, there seem to be no good options for the ladies. Especially since Tori won’t even discuss the one option that might succeed – marriage. When the danger chasing the women takes on a form none of them anticipated, how far will Ezra have to go to keep the Tori and her cousin safe? It’ll take a lot more than luck to ensure his heart is the sole casualty.
1882 – Wyoming
Hiding his true identity is the only way for US Marshal Jesse Cole to bring bank robbers to justice. But the lovely widow whose Wyoming ranch he stumbles onto reminds him of everything he’s sacrificed for the law. When his job is done, he’s resolved to leave Lenora Pritchard behind—until she and her son are threatened. Now the only way to protect them is to make her his wife.
To conceal her late husband’s guilt, Lenora hid his stolen haul. And with a ruthless gang leader determined to retrieve it, she needs Cole’s protection for herself and her son. It’s a marriage in name only, founded on dangerous secrets…but could it possibly lead to a true and loving family?
1866 – Wyoming
The Wyoming mountain country seems like the perfect place for Zeche Reid to find himself. When a blizzard sends him scrambling for cover, he stumbles upon a lady and her professor father holed up in a remote cabin. His protective instincts won’t let him desert them to continue his travels, especially when the father’s haunting memories from the War of Secession put his daughter’s safety at risk.
Fighting her own nightmares after the war, Greta Michelly is trying to settle into this rugged mountain land, but her bad memories are nothing compared to the demons that haunt her father. The haven they’ve found in these Rocky Mountains seems to be the solace he needs to find peace—until a mysterious sojourner appears on their cabin doorstep. She can’t help but be drawn to the wild aura that surrounds the man, but that strength seems to be that very thing that intensifies her father’s struggles.
As Zeche is torn between his craving to protect Gretta and the awful realization that he’s the one putting her in more danger, he’s forced to make a difficult choice. But when a run-in with an elk changes his plans and Gretta is faced with a danger Zeche is powerless to control, Zeche has to find a way to protect her at any cost. Even at the cost of his heart.
1861 – Wyoming
Needing a home and a husband to help her raise her orphaned nephews, Bella Wilson travels to Wyoming in response to a mail-order bride ad. But when she arrives, she discovers Pony Express rider Philip Young didn’t place the ad. With her groom-to-be insisting he’s not looking for a wife, Bella must convince him to marry her for the sake of the children.
Philip never planned to marry, but he can’t possibly turn away a woman in distress and allow her nephews to end up in an orphanage as he once had. A marriage of convenience is the perfect solution. But when he slowly discovers that family life may be what he’s been looking for all along, can he convince Bella to give love a chance?
1892 – Wyoming
Getting taken hostage by a gang of train robbers wasn’t in dime novelist Essie Vanderfair’s plans, but interviewing these men could make her career soar. Especially since the gang includes legendary outlaw Tex Beckett, better known as the Texas Titan. Tex is famed for his protection of women and children, so she’ll be fine…right?
1868 – Wyoming
Blake Latherop needs a wife in order to keep his business, and his betrothed has apparently eloped with another man. So when his fiancée’s sister, Audrey Prescott, steps off the train in Whisper Creek offering to be his bride, he’s in no position to refuse. But it’s hardly the marriage he had in mind.
Audrey knows she shouldn’t have answered Blake’s letters in her sister’s name…but she couldn’t bring herself to tell him of his fiancée’s betrayal. Now the only way to fix things is through a temporary marriage. But as she comes to love her new life in the West, Audrey dreads the day Blake finds another solution to their situation. Because what started as a marriage of convenience has become so much more for her…
1860 – Wyoming
Mail-order bride Josephine Dooley’s trip West was supposed to end in marriage to her intended groom—not with the discovery that he hadn’t actually placed the bridal ad! Now her only choice is to convince Pony Express rider Thomas Young to wed her anyway to save her from her scheming uncle.
A bride shouldn’t be a surprise package, and when Thomas finds out about his meddling brother’s ruse, he plans to send his would-be wife packing. However, when he realizes Josephine desperately needs his help and a marriage of convenience is the only way he can protect her, he vows to become the husband she needs. But he quickly learns that it will be hard to keep his new bride at arm’s length…because Josephine is his perfect match.
1890s – Wyoming
Audra Drysdale grudgingly accepts that the mere presence of a husband will keep her men working on her ranch, and a greedy cattle baron under control. It seems a perfectly reasonable idea, then, to ask her uncle, who is the town attorney and a matchmaker of sorts, to find her a groom–a “proxy” who will take her orders and dish them out to the men. A marriage of convenience seems to be in order …
Dillon Pine is in jail for a conspiracy charge, but because of certain mitigating factors, he’s deemed a good risk for an unusual form of probation: serving as Audra’s husband. After a year, he can abandon her and she won’t tell. By then, she will have proven to the cowboys she’s a competent rancher, and the cattleman next door will be looking elsewhere for a wife. But when word gets out that Dillon came to Audra via Evergreen’s matchmaker, he’s dubbed a “male order bride.” The resulting jokes at his expense are constant and brutal. Just how much abuse can Dillon’s pride stand?
When Audra discovers her father’s death was no accident, she realizes her new husband is in danger, too. And she cares . . . quite a lot, it turns out. To save Dillon, she may have to let go of the one thing she’s fought her whole life to keep.
1860 – Wyoming
Turning her farm into a Pony Express station is the only way for recently widowed Rebecca Young to provide for her seven adopted sons and her young daughter. It also means contending with new station manager Seth Armstrong as he trains her boys to be riders. But Rebecca soon sees he has her children’s best interests at heart—and perhaps hers, too…
Seth plans on staying long enough to teach the boys how to survive the trail, before continuing on to search for his lost mail-order bride. But now, as he works so closely with Rebecca and her children, he’s glimpsing the possibility of a different future. Could changing course bring this cowboy the chance of true love and fatherhood he never expected?
1902 – Wyoming
Bear Creek sheriff’s deputy Matt White is used to being the rescuer, not the rescued. But now the hurt lawman’s marooned on Catherine Poole’s remote homestead. The little girl he’d known briefly as a child is all grown up—and tugging at his heart.
Isolated from the world around her, Catherine’s spent her whole life caring for her ailing grandfather. The last thing she needs is a cowboy stranded in her home. Let alone the memories he dredges up of a past she’s tried to put behind her. But can this deputy be her chance to finally move forward and find true happiness?
1890s – Wyoming
He wants justice–some say revenge. She wants peace. A deep betrayal may deny them everything.
As punishment for a botched arrest, U.S. Marshal “Dent” Hernandez is temporarily remanded to the quiet little town of Evergreen, Wyoming. Not only does his hometown hold some bad memories, but he is champing at the bit to go after vicious killers, not waste his time scolding candy thieves. And he most certainly should not be escorting the very pretty, but jittery, schoolteacher around. What is she so afraid of? Turns out, a lot of folks are keeping secrets in Evergreen.
An old-fashioned Western, Hang Your Heart on Christmas reads like an episode of Gunsmoke or Bonanza. Packed with drama, a tantalizing mystery, and a heartwarming romance, you’ll come back to read this lawman’s story, again and again–a story you’d expect to see on the the Hallmark Channel but one with a mystery worthy of Longmire.
Post Civil War – Wyoming
Emmie’s hope for a life with Isaac is overshadowed by a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny.
Isaac Liddle is keen to marry Emmie, and she knows she shouldn’t hide her pregnancy from him any longer. But before she can tell him her secret, a widower friend asks the impossible of Emmie: Will she honor her promise to his dead wife by marrying him to care for the orphaned baby?
With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?