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Longhorn Christmas * The Sweetest Gift * The Christmas Candle by Mary Connealy

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Three previously released Christmas novellas.

Longhorn Christmas
Netty Lewis, a lonely young widow is saved from a raging mama longhorn by a passing cowboy who’s been wandering since the end of the Civil War.
She needs help surviving her rugged life and caring for Jeremiah, her young son. And that means rounding up a nice-sized herd of wild-as-wolves longhorns.
Netty and Roy, along with Jeremiah begin a journey toward Christmas, family, home and love.
And a herd of longhorns are making the way hard.

A sweet re-telling of The Gift of the Magi–with a happy ending
The Sweetest Gift
She longs for music. He needs a valuable horse to improve his herd.
When Christmas comes the gift they truly give is the gift of love.

The Christmas Candle
A lonely widower with a pair of out-of-control sons he never got to know while their mother was alive.
A woman with a love of nature and beauty and scent…and the little boys seem determined to destroy her way of life.
A feisty Ozark mountain granny who doesn’t put up with much nonsense.
The gift of a candle for Christmas and a Christ child who is a perfect match for this scent of heaven.

The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy

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1868 – Nevada

Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He’s come to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children.

When danger descends on the cabin where they’re huddled, Cam is hurt trying to protect everyone and now finds Gwen caring for him too. He soon realizes why the kids love her so much and wonders if it might be best for him to move on without them. When she sees his broken heart, Gwen decides to help him win back their affection–and in the process he might just win her heart as well.

The Southern Belle Brides Collection

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Welcome to the Old South where hospitality is king and charm is queen. Can lasting love been found here amidst chaotic life challenges?
 
The Belle of the Congaree by Lauralee Bliss
Columbia, South Carolina—1866
Mason Bassinger reluctantly travels to post-war South Carolina seeking lands his carpetbagger brother can buy. Elisa Anderson barely survives after her family’s plantation was destroyed. She welcomes visits by the handsome and wealthy Mason who makes the cottage by the Congaree feel like a home. But when Mason’s true purpose is revealed, will her heart be broken by betrayal?
 
Thoroughbreds by Ramona Cecil
Lexington, Kentucky—1918
A family tragedy reunites Ella Jamison with her childhood tormentor, igniting surprisingly different sparks. Clay Garrett questions why God would allow him to fall in love with the one woman least likely to return his affections. But when love blooms against all odds, old secrets threaten to destroy it and, in the process, tear an entire family apart.
 
The Marmalade Belle by Dianne Christner
Ocala, Florida—1893
A decade-old note draws Maribelle Sinclair into the arms of Jackson, her childhood hero, but the Cavalry dragoon’s soul appears dark and dangerous as the Florida everglades. Virgil, on the other hand, is sweet as mama’s orange marmalade and optimistically forthright. If hearts are windows, like the glass-bottomed boats on nearby Silver River, Maribelle can trust hers to make the right choice.
 
Debt of Love by Lynn Coleman
Palatka, Florida—1868
Adeline Edwards, a Southern Belle with strong calloused hands from tending cattle, no longer attends balls. Banker, Phineas George Hamilton III, arrives at the plantation to recover the bank’s debt and discovers strong-willed Adeline doubts the bank’s claim. Can they figure out the debt, or will they find balance in love?
 
Hometown Bride by Patty Smith Hall
Marietta, Georgia—1870
Jilly Chastain never lied, but when her mother fabricates a marriage with her childhood sweetheart, Grayson Hancock, Jilly goes along with it, never expecting Grayson to show up, ready to make their make-believe marriage real.
 
Miss Beaumont’s Companion by Grace Hitchcock
Baton Rouge, Louisiana—1892
When lady’s companion Aria St. Angelo is coerced into posing as her political employer’s absent daughter for the evening at the Louisiana Governor’s masquerade ball, she wasn’t planning on falling for Byron Roderick, the most eligible bachelor in the capitol.
 
Above All These Things by Connie Stevens
East central Georgia—1855
Pre-conceived opinions and stubborn pride builds walls of resentment between Annulet Granville, the belle of Thornwalk Manor, and a visiting stranger. Annulet’s parents urge her to find a husband, but she labels Peyton Stafford the enemy. So what is she to do with Christ’s command to love her enemies?

The Heart of Home by Stephenia McGee

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1865 – Mississippi

Once a wistful romantic, Opal Martin now simply aspires to scrub the remnants of the War Between the States from her tattered life. But when a nearly drowned soldier appears and asks if he can die on her porch, she must guard against the sudden revival of her heart’s hope for love.

Haunted by the war, Tristan Stuart just wants to escape the pain. But when he wakes up at a house that looks too much like home with a woman determined to mend him, he may discover a new life worth fighting for. In order to save the last of what Opal holds dear, will he become the man she needs or let the troubled waters carry him away?

The Heart of Home is a companion novella to In His Eyes. While The Heart of Home stands entirely on its own, readers will enjoy seeing Ella and Westley again in Opal’s story. This book was originally published in the Timeless Love: Romantic Stories That Span the Ages collection.

A Love Restored by Kelly J. Goshorn

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1873 – Virginia

With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to Society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.

Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earns him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect he craves. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?

To Catch a Bride by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham

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1865 – Montana

Across the vast Montana Territory, dreams have no limits . . . and prayers can be answered in the most unexpected ways.

After the untimely death of her husband, Marilyn Svenson has one option to keep her isolated ranch in Montana Territory: Remarriage. Of the two men in the rough mining town of Helena who fit her criteria for a husband, the charming resale shop owner is her preferred choice. Logically, she proposes.

David Pawlikowski came west to escape past heartbreak. Just when he thinks he’s content, Marilyn shakes up his bachelor life with her innovative spirit and unexpected marriage proposal. As much as David would like to say yes to the beautiful widow, he’s thinks Marilyn would be better off with the town’s dapper new lawyer. But when real danger closes in, only Marilyn can decide whom to keep close to her side forever.

A Rebel Heart by Beth White

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1870 – Mississippi

Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family’s Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.

Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he’ll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to “supervise” while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.

Selah isn’t sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she’d do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.

Handpicked Family by Shannon Farrington

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1865 – Virginia

After the Civil War, newspaper editor Peter Carpenter insists he’ll never marry or raise children in such a troubling world. His commitment to bachelorhood only intensifies as he and his lovely assistant, Trudy Martin, search the ravaged Shenandoah Valley for his missing widowed sister-in-law and her baby.

Ever the optimist, Trudy refuses to embrace Peter’s bleak outlook. Unfortunately, that doesn’t diminish her deep feelings for him—feelings she knows he’ll never reciprocate. But when Peter and Trudy become responsible for two war orphans, will Peter still keep his heart closed to his newfound family…or can he find hope in fatherhood?

Romancing the Runaway Bride by Karen Kirst

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1869 – Kansas

Though she came west in her wedding dress, Deborah Frazier isn’t looking for a groom. She fled St. Louis to escape marrying a man she didn’t love. In Cowboy Creek, she’s found shelter, friends and a job. All that’s now in jeopardy, thanks to a handsome newcomer.

Undercover Pinkerton agent Adam Halloway is hunting for his family’s greatest enemy. The pretty baker at the boardinghouse is certainly hiding something—but is she an accomplice to a criminal? As evidence against Deborah piles up, can Adam trust his heart and make Deborah a bride at last?

 

His Substitute Mail-Order Bride by Sherri Shackelford

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1869 – Kansas

Russ Halloway’s mail-order bride never boarded the bride train! In her place is recently widowed Anna Darby Linford, sister of the last woman to jilt Russ. He’s surprised to see Anna again—and stunned when he discovers she’s pregnant. Marrying Anna seems the right thing to do…especially since love continues to evade him.

Anna hopes Russ will help her find employment—becoming a wife again never even crossed her mind. Yet as she struggles to start over in the small town, Anna forges a genuine connection with Russ. When secrets from her past threaten Russ’s future in politics, can they protect their family in the making?

Last Chance Wife by Janette Foreman

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1878 – South Dakota

When six-time mail-order bride Winifred Sattler is stranded in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, she’s grateful to find a temporary position at Mr. Ewan Burke’s business until she can return home. Ewan is handsome, but stuffy and serious—her complete opposite. Unlike her new anonymous correspondent, Mr. Businessman, who appreciates her bubbly optimism.

To keep his mining company afloat, Ewan can’t be distracted by Winifred’s vivacious beauty. He needs a no-nonsense wife. Someone like Miss Thoroughly Disgruntled, the only respondent to his recent ad with whom he truly connected. In person, Winifred and Ewan don’t get along, but in their letters they’re falling in love. Will they discover a perfect match in each other?

Accidental Sweetheart by Lisa Bingham

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1874 – Utah

Suffragist Lydia Tomlinson won’t stand for the rule banning women from the Batchwell Bottoms mining camp…even if protesting it means “kidnapping” miners to use as leverage. And with Pinkerton detective Gideon Gault guarding the mail-order brides, the women have chosen her to distract him. Now Lydia just has to pretend interest long enough to reach their goal…

Gideon promised to uphold the camp’s code of conduct, but he’s met his match in feisty Lydia. When a gang of outlaws threatens the town, he and Lydia must put their differences aside. And as they join forces to stop the thieves, he can’t help but wish her protest will succeed…so she can stay by his side forever.

The Rancher Inherits a Family by Cheryl St. John

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1869 – Kansas

The pretty redhead Seth Halloway pulls from a derailed train has surprising news for him. The children she’s accompanied to Cowboy Creek aren’t hers—they’re his, thanks to the last wishes of a late friend. Busy rancher Seth must suddenly cope with three rambunctious boys…and try to ignore his growing feelings for independent Marigold Brewster.

Marigold hopes to start over as the town’s new schoolteacher. She’ll choose her own path, and stay aloof from the adorable Radner boys—and their guardian. But the man who rescued her from a wrecked railcar might just be the one to save her from loneliness…if she dares to let him in.

Mail-Order Bride Switch by Dorothy Clark

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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?

The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy

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1867 – Nevada

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he’d finally carved out a home and started a herd–while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He’d
hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around, and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling–yet enticing.

Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together–yet every day approaches the moment she’ll leave forever. 

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