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1910 – Florida
In the world of the wealthy, things are never quite as they appear.
Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper—and poor-relation companion—to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball?
Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. When Florence Hastings’s diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love.
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1868 – Texas
When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with his new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. After her job is put on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?
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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.
Shine Like the Dawn
1903 – England
In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart because she wonders if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.
When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son and Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, Nathaniel returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.
Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?
1874 – California
As a draftswoman in a man’s world, Jessica Sinclair causes a stir as her new male colleagues vie for her attention. And the company manager has an ultimatum: fake a courtship with her boss, Flynt Kavanaugh…or lose her job. But pretending to be smitten with the handsome engineer unleashes a real, complicated attraction—and could reveal the past she hoped to keep hidden.
Jessica is certainly the best person for the job. But as their make-believe romance escalates, Flynt knows that’s not the only reason he wants her on his team. However, with his past shrouded by a shameful secret, Flynt has always focused his ambitions on building a career, not a family. Now he has designs on Jessica’s heart, but can they trust each other with the truth?
Full Steam Ahead
1851 – Texas
When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she’s stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he’s only ever focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping. Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole’s father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping’s good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father’s work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father’s rivals–the Jenkins brothers–on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.
Darius Thornton needs a secretary–someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana, Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he’s determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won’t distract him from his important research. The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she’ll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can’t remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn’t fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.
The Courting Campaign
1815 – England
Emma Pyrmont has no designs on handsome Sir Nicholas Rotherford—at least not for herself. As his daughter’s nanny, she sees how lonely little Alice has been. With the cook’s help, Emma shows the workaholic scientist just what Alice needs. But making Nicholas a better father makes Emma wish her painful past didn’t mar her own marriage chances. Ever since scandal destroyed his career, Nicholas has devoted himself to his new invention. Now his daughter’s sweet, quick-witted nanny is proving an unexpected distraction. All evidence suggests that happiness is within reach—if only a man of logic can trust in the deductions of his own heart.
It Happened at the Fair
1893 – Illinois
A transporting historical novel about a promising young inventor, his struggle with loss, and the attractive teacher who changes his life, all set against the razzle-dazzle of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
Gambling everything, including the family farm, Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the Fair’s Machinery Palace makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.
The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like the newly invented Ferris Wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away?
The Engineered Engagement
1906 – Minnesota
A Kennebrae keeps his word….
But Grandfather made the promise, and Eli Kennebrae is expected to carry it out. And maybe Grandfather got lucky with Eli’s brother’s brides, but there is no way Eli is going to participate in an arranged marriage. . .or is he?
Josie Zahn has admired Eli from a distance for years, but he hardly knows she exists other than as just “one of the Zahn girls.” If only she could get his attention. . . When Father announces her older sister Clarice’s engagement to Eli, both girls are crushed. Is there no way out of this nightmare?
Deception, intrigue, and danger make life miserable for the Zahns and the Kennebraes as they learn that Divine engineering is far better than human manipulation.