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Leaving Independence by Leeanne W. Smith

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leavingindependenceLeaving Independence

Post Civil War – Several US States/Wagon Train

Abigail Baldwyn might not be a widow after all…

Ever since she received word that her husband, Robert, was killed in the Civil War, Abigail has struggled to keep her Tennessee home and family together. Then a letter arrives claiming that Robert isn’t dead, yet he has no plans to return. Desperate for answers, Abigail travels to Independence, Missouri, where she joins a westbound wagon train to find him.

Leading a company along the Oregon Trail isn’t part of Hoke Mathews’s plans. But then the former cavalry scout gets a glimpse of Abigail—so elegant compared to the rest of their hardscrabble wagon community, yet spirited and resilient. Through every peril they encounter—snakebites, Indian raids, fevers, dangerous grudges—his bond with Abigail grows.

Abigail knew this journey would test her courage. Now it’s testing her marriage vows and her heart, daring her to claim a future on her own terms in a land rich with promise.

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Forever Safe by Jody Hedlund

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foreversafeForever Safe

1876 – Massachusetts

Heiress to a vast fortune, Victoria Cole has everything she wants, including the perfect fiancé. Having left two other men at the altar, Victoria is sure that now she’s found her true love and will finally live happily ever after. As her wedding draws near, however, Victoria’s life is threatened. To keep her safe, Victoria’s father hires a bodyguard.

Tom Cushman’s number one priority is protecting his clients, which means no personal entanglements. But he’s never guarded someone as beautiful and winsome as Victoria. After a near-kidnapping, the wedding is cancelled, and Tom hides Victoria at Cape Cod’s Race Point Lighthouse until her attacker can be found. Appointed as assistant light keeper with Victoria posing as his wife, Tom believes the isolation of the lighthouse will keep her safe.

As Victoria struggles to live without familiar luxuries, her heart betrays her with growing feelings for her protector. Determined to help Tom stop fleeing from his haunted past, can the runaway bride learn to face her own fears? With the attacker closing in, will both of them ever be able to stop running and find the safety they long for?

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love

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mrsleemrsgrayMrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray

1820s-1870s – Virginia

A general’s wife and a slave girl forge a friendship that transcends race, culture, and the crucible of Civil War.

Mary Anna Custis Lee is a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and heiress to Virginia’s storied Arlington house and General Washington’s personal belongings.

Born in bondage at Arlington, Selina Norris Gray learns to read and write in the schoolroom Mary and her mother keep for the slave children and eventually becomes Mary’s housekeeper and confidante. As Mary’s health declines, Selina becomes her personal maid, strengthening a bond that lasts until death parts them.

Forced to flee Arlington at the start of the Civil War, Mary entrusts the keys to her beloved home to no one but Selina. When Union troops begin looting the house, it is Selina who confronts their commander and saves many of its historic treasures.

In a story spanning crude slave quarters, sunny schoolrooms, stately wedding parlors, and cramped birthing rooms, novelist Dorothy Love amplifies the astonishing true-life account of an extraordinary alliance and casts fresh light on the tumultuous years leading up to and through the wrenching battle for a nation’s soul.

A classic American tale, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray is the first novel to chronicle this beautiful fifty-year friendship forged at the crossroads of America’s journey from enslavement to emancipation.

Bride by Arrangement by Karen Kirst

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bridebyarrangementBride by Arrangement

1868 – Kansas

Newly minted Cowboy Creek sheriff Noah Burgess doesn’t want a wife—despite his friends insisting that he needs one. So when they send for a big-city single mother to be his mail-order bride, he’s fit to be tied. Even if vivacious Grace Longstreet might just be the only person who can see past Noah’s scars…and help him heal. 

Grace needs a husband to keep her and her twin daughters out of her brother-in-law’s grasp. And she’ll do anything—including taking on her cousin’s identity—to find one. But as the attraction between Grace and the lawman sparks higher, she begins hoping for a real marriage. So she needs to tell the truth…or a mail-order match that’s meant to be could crumble.

The Reluctant Bridegroom by Shannon Farrington

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reluctantbridegroomThe Reluctant Bridegroom

1865 – Maryland

Marriage for any reason but love was once unthinkable to Maryland councilman Henry Nash. But when an innocent encounter with a criminal puts Henry’s reputation in jeopardy, he’ll make any sacrifice to maintain custody of his orphaned nieces. And an alliance with a powerful politician’s daughter could secure the little girls’ futures. As long as gentle Rebekah Van der Geld never hears the rumors surrounding her new groom… 

Refusing her father’s choice of husband wasn’t an option for dutiful Rebekah. But Henry’s kindness is a happy revelation, and she’s quickly falling for his adorable nieces—so she allows herself to hope this unconventional arrangement could become much more. But can it survive a shattering revelation that puts their new family in danger?

Special Delivery Baby by Sherri Shackleford

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specialdeliverybabySpecial Delivery Baby

1868 – Kansas

An abandoned baby is the last thing town founder Will Canfield expects on his doorstep. He’s not the father—and the mother’s unknown. But the precious little girl needs a protector. And Will never backs down from a challenge, even if it means caring for a newborn…or dealing with spitfire cattle driver Tomasina Stone. 

With her father gone, Tomasina’s trail life has ended. Yet becoming a polished city lady feels far out of her reach. All she wants is a place where she’ll be appreciated, respected…maybe loved. And the more time she spends helping Will care for the baby, the more she wonders if she’s found it. She’s never wanted to settle down…but Cowboy Creek—by Will’s side—might finally give her heart a lasting home. 

The Boden Birthright by Mary Connealy

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bodenbirthrightThe Boden Birthright

New Mexico

After the death of his wife, prosperous businessman Chance Boden heads west along the Santa Fe Trail with his son to escape the powerful, controlling hands of his in-laws. He has plans to establish his own ranch, but instead he finds work with Frank Chastain, owner of a vast amount of land.

Chance doesn’t want to work for anyone, but Frank’s beautiful daughter gives him reason to delay buying his own holdings. With winter coming, no home in which to live, and Veronica’s offer to care for young Cole while Chance learns the ways of successful ranching in the desert, Chance has little choice but to accept the Chastains’ offer to stay on.

When Frank is attacked, his dying wish is that Chance marry his daughter, but after dealing with his in-laws, Chance isn’t going to let anyone come between him and his son. Then Frank’s precarious hold on the land he received as part of an old Spanish Land Grant forces Frank to make a desperate choice to save Veronica’s inheritance–and also gives the men who attacked Frank reason to come after him.

Hearts Tightly Knit by Jodie Wolfe

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heartstightlyknitHearts Tightly Knit

1875 – Texas

Orphaned at age ten, Ellie Stafford and her twin sister Mae made a vow—to stick together and never marry. Now in their mid twenties, they are bucking convention in Calder Springs, Texas, as women with respectable occupations who can take care of themselves. Ellie works at the Good Fixin’s Diner and spends her evenings knitting garments for The Children’s Aid Society. When a handsome local rancher shows up searching for a cook, she’s hardly tempted, despite his good looks.

Luke Rogers owns a spread just outside of Calder Springs. It was running as smooth as cattle going through a chute until his cook up and marries and high-tails it back east. With no cook and a bunkhouse full of ranch hands ready to revolt, he persuades Ellie to temporarily fill in until he can hire someone else. He should have known better than to get tangled up with another woman.

Mail Order Mix-Up by Christine Johnson

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mailordermixupMail Order Mix-Up

1870 – Michigan

When Pearl Lawson sees an ad for a mail-order bride, she leaps at the opportunity to find a husband for her best friend. But the town’s most dashing bachelor has caught the eye of several aspiring brides-to-be…and even Pearl is drawn to him. Though the schoolteacher has no intentions of marrying, her instant connection with Roland Decker cannot be denied. 

Roland doesn’t know how an ad seeking a wife for his brother found its way into print. But now he has to handle the hopeful applicants—women who think he’s the future groom. Not to mention the feisty, matchmaking schoolteacher who is just as determined not to marry as he is. Will this mix-up push Roland and Pearl to forget their plans of staying single and allow love into their lives? 

Want Ad Wedding by Cheryl St. John

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Want Ad Weddingwantadwedding

1868 – Kansas

When Daniel Gardner convinced the residents of his Kansas boomtown to advertise for mail-order brides, he never expected the woman he once loved to respond. But Leah Swann steps off the bride train…pregnant and widowed and in need of a husband. Drawn to protect his fragile childhood friend, Daniel proposes a marriage of convenience. 

Seeing her onetime best friend waiting to meet the bride train is a wonderful shock for Leah. After her first rocky marriage, a practical partnership with Daniel sounds perfect—as long as her heart doesn’t get involved. But when she starts to fall for her husband, will her plans of a fresh start be ruined…or is a real marriage to Daniel exactly what she needs? 

Lark by Julane Hiebert

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larkLark

1878 – Kansas

Can one wrong turn put Lark’s life on the right pathway?
Lark Wenghold hates Kansas, gets queasy around small humans, and has vehemently declared she has no intention to marry. Ever. However, to honor her papa’s dictum that the Wengholds never go back on their word, she consents to travel to Kansas to be present at the birth of her sister’s first child.
Her obligatory adventure begins when she hurriedly boards the train to Kansas, hoping to thwart Albert Harvey’s uninvited company. On the wrong train, going the wrong direction, and with a family of six children as seatmates, Lark is forced to face challenges that heretofore were her worst nightmares. Within a few short days of arrival in Cedar Bluff, Kansas, Lark’s ordered world begins spinning out of control.
While in a dark cellar of fear and despair, will Lark finally accept that God’s plans are better than hers?

A Home of Her Own by Keli Gwyn

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ahomeofherownA Home of Her Own

1871 – California

Becky Martin knows that she can’t stay at James O’Brien’s apple farm forever, but she wishes she could. After her brother framed her for arson, she flees Chicago, traveling cross-country to California and finding work caring for James’s ailing mother. Beneath the apple blossoms, it’s almost as if she has a real family…but her secret won’t stay buried forever. 

James, scarred from an explosion, didn’t expect to connect to the pretty young traveler. Could she really love someone damaged like him? He knows she’s hiding something. If only she’d trust him. Can she let go of her past and believe in the possibility of a future amid the apple trees?

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch

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My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveillepriscillasreveille

1874 – Texas

Journey to Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle of emotions versus ideals is about to be waged. When a high-steppin’ eastern fashion artist, Priscilla Hutchens, swoops down on the fort to gain custody of her twin niece and nephew she is met with resistance by their uncle, post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who thinks he knows what is best for them. Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family?

The Texas Ranger’s Secret by DeWanna Pace

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thetexasrangerssecretThe Texas Ranger’s Secret

1868 – Texas

Willow McMurtry’s writing career could end before it even begins—unless she learns the ways of a Texas Ranger. She can’t write tales about Ranger life if she’s constantly making mistakes, so she needs handsome Texan Gage Newcomb to teach her. Willow just can’t tell him the true purpose behind her request. 

Gage agrees to teach Willow how to shoot, ride and lasso—but only to keep her close. An outlaw who’s cost him dearly is still on the loose. And the hidden lawman trusts no one, especially not a feisty woman who might be working with his foe. But as the cowboy lessons progress, Willow may convince him to share all of his secrets—and his heart—with her.

Instant Frontier Family by Regina Scott

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instantfrontierfamilyInstant Frontier Family

1866 – Washington

Maddie O’Rourke’s orphaned half brother and half sister have arrived safely in Seattle—with a man they hope she’ll wed! Though Michael Haggerty’s not the escort she planned for, Maddie allows him to work off his passage by assisting in her bakery…and helping care for her siblings. But she’ll never risk her newfound independence by marrying the strapping Irishman—or anyone else. 

In New York, Michael ran afoul of a notorious gang. Traveling west was a necessity, not a choice. The longshoreman grew fond of his young charges, and now he’s quickly becoming partial to their beautiful sister, too. So when danger follows him, threatening Maddie and the children, he’ll do anything to protect them—and the future he hopes to build.

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