Journey the Transcontinental Railroad along with nine unlikely couples who encounter all the dangers and disappointments of traveling the rails in the late 1800s. From sight-seeing excursions to transports toward new lives, from orphan trains to circus trains, can romances develop into blazing love in a world of cold, hard steel?
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.
1895 – Texas
Sweet mail-order bride Nancy Bennett can’t believe it when her husband is exposed as a cattle rustler—and killed. And when the banker holding the ranch’s mortgage questions whether she can run the ranch on her own, the pregnant widow has nowhere to turn. Until steady foreman Hank Snowden proposes marriage…
Racked with grief about his role in Lucas Bennett’s death, Hank resolves to do right by the man’s wife and child. So it’s natural for him to step in as Nancy’s newly minted husband. But the marriage of convenience may become more than a mere obligation…if only Hank and his bride can brave the first steps toward elusive true love.
1898 – Texas
After a life of drudgery on her family’s farm, Cassie Lynn Vickers relishes her freedom working in town as a paid companion for feisty Mrs. Flanagan. When her father suddenly demands she come home, she has no choice. Unless she can find a husband. If only she could convince handsome town newcomer Riley Walker to marry her…
Riley is on the run. He’s desperate to keep his niece and nephew safe from his crooked half brother. But a delay in Turnabout, Texas, shows him everything he didn’t know he was missing: home, family—and Cassie Lynn. Can he find a way to become her Prince Charming…and build a real family with the children and Cassie Lynn?
1882 – Colorado
Polly MacDonald intends to tame Mitch Taylor’s five mischievous children, even though every other nanny has fled. She needs this job—and Mitch’s brood sorely needs affection. Perhaps their widowed papa does, too. But when the children begin scheming to make her their new mother, Polly must resist. She’s seen too many bad marriages to want one of her own.
Mitch has come to Leadville, Colorado, to escape a scandal, not find a wife. After the disaster of his first marriage, he’s sure he isn’t husband material. Though Polly’s tender care is working wonders with his children, Mitch knows he should keep his feelings to himself. But can two wary hearts deny the dearest wish of five eager matchmakers?
From a Wyoming ranch in 1880, to a logging camp in Washington Territory in the late 1800s, to Denver, Colorado, in 1913, meet nine couples who find that Christmas is the perfect time for climbing to the heights of romance. Watch as their faith and courage propel them through challenges that come with mountain winters to cozy fireside celebrations that lead to lasting proclamations of love. Penned by an exclusive selection of Christian fiction authors—including Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, and Carrie Turansky—this collection of nine romances is one to treasure.
1890 – Virginia
Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.
As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.
1892 – Washington
Mary Smith was never one to back down from a challenge. Her father’s health may be failing, but their dairy farm was her mother’s dream, and Mary will do whatever it takes to keep her father from selling it—even if it means sneaking off to the next town to earn money by playing the piano in a questionable establishment. No one seems to understand why home is so important to her, least of all her childhood nemesis who’s just wandered back into town.
When injured Texas Ranger Luke Thomas is forced to return to Pine Creek, Washington, he’s hailed as a hero and thrust into the town’s first race for sheriff. But no one knows the secret he carried to Texas, nor the secret he’s brought home. Setting his perfect aim on returning south, he refuses to get tied down by the town’s admiration, his brother’s disapproval, or the spirited, hardworking dairy girl who’s less annoying than he remembers.
But strange things are happening at the Smith dairy and in Pine Creek, and Luke’s instincts tell him Mary is in far more trouble than she realizes. One thing is certain: “home” is about to get more complicated for them both.
1895 – Texas
Rancher Edmund McKay likes his life simple and quiet—everything feisty neighbor Lula May Barlow is not! But with a cattle rustler on the loose, he’s duty-bound to protect the widowed mother, even without her approval. Yet he never expected to enjoy her company. And he certainly never thought her crowded, bustling house would be the first place he’d ever feel at home…
After a harsh childhood, Lula May knows how to stand on her own two feet. She doesn’t need Edmund’s help—but she’s starting to want it, all the same. So are her children, who clearly have matchmaking in mind. And when a threat from the past resurfaces, she realizes all that’s at stake…including her chance for a lifetime of love.
1887 – Arkansas
After a storm strands her overnight in Will Slade’s cabin, Blythe Granville’s reputation is in shambles. The townspeople doubt that she was innocently nursing him back to health after saving his life. Now Blythe must accept Will’s proposal: a marriage in name only to save her good name. But the former socialite is determined not to fall for her new husband…even if she’s drawn to the gruff stranger who’s vowed to stand by her, in sickness and in health.
Will never wanted to remarry after his ex-wife betrayed him. But now he finds himself hitched to a city girl who has no idea how to keep a house…but is somehow chiseling her way into his heart. As Blythe melts Will’s crusty facade, though, they’re discovering that this most unexpected union might just lead to true love.