This week's Blog Tour Tuesday features
Lorna Loves a Lawyer
by Linda Hubalek
Description for Lorna Loves a Lawyer,
Brides with Grit Series, Book 9:
A sweet historical romance set in 1873. Lorna Jantz left Boston looking for adventure, signing up as a mail-order bride for a rich Kansas rancher. But, the groom only becomes rich after taking off with her money, after their twenty-four hour marriage. Which left Lorna in a pickle, stuck in a little town with no money, no home and a growing belly.
July 1873, Clear Creek, Kansas
What?! The waitress just slapped him with her dish towel!
“Where have you been?!” she hissed.
Lyle Elison’s hands shot up around his head as he tried to duck her blows.
Whap! Whap! Whap!
“Answer me! Where have you been?!”
“Uh, back East, ma’am.”
“You said you were going to Hays and would be back in a day!”
“Look lady,” Lyle rose out of the dining room chair so he could move out of the way of the next swing and see who the heck was hitting him. “I don’t know why you’d be mad at me…”
Lyle grabbed and twisted the offending towel out of the woman’s hand before focusing on her face. Probably in her mid-twenties, she wasn’t much shorter than his five-foot, eight inch frame. Her light blonde hair was in a bun on the nape of her neck, but wisps of escaped curls flitted around her head as she shook with fury. Her eyes were so narrowed to slits he couldn’t see what color they were, but her lips were pale pink since they were pressed together in a thin line. Her fisted hands were raised to punch him in the face as soon as he let down his guard.
“Maynard Jantz, you took off the day after we were married!”
There wasn’t a sound in Clancy’s Café as the patrons watched the woman scream at him.
“And with my money!” she added.
Lyle’s brain finally caught up with her conversation.
“Who’s Maynard Jantz?” Lyle looked at the woman, then at his brother, Carl, who still sat at their table, chewing on the piece of tough chicken fried steak they’d both unfortunately ordered.
“Maynard? Don’t act like you don’t know me! I’m your wife!”
Carl choked on the meat and spit it out onto the plate. Lyle felt like he’d swallowed the whole steak now.
“I’m Lyle Elison, ma’am, and I do not know you,” Lyle shook his head as he stepped back from the fuming woman.
“Really? You don’t remember our marriage ceremony in Ellsworth and our wedding night?” Her hands were fisted at her waist and she was fuming mad.
Carl rose from his seat, acting like the mediator he always was when Lyle needed help.
“Ma’am, I’m Carl Elison and I assure you there are several people in this café who can vouch that my brother’s name is indeed Lyle Elison. Even though we’re just here visiting for our sister’s wedding this week, we did live here for a while, before returning to our home in Boston early last spring.”
Lyle looked around, hoping a few people would nod their heads. During the short time he did live here, he hadn’t tried to make friends or fit into the community. His father had exiled his sons to this forlorn prairie hoping they’d “straighten up”, and fit the mold of the elder Elison’s plans of his sons taking over the management of the family’s textile mill. But Lyle hadn’t taken on any responsibility of the Bar E Ranch—his parents had bought for him to run—instead, spending his time horse racing, gambling, and traveling.
Although his family didn’t know it, after moving back to Boston, Lyle had begun working on getting his life straightened out, by studying law.
“Well, nice to meet you, Carl. I’m your new sister-in-law, Lorna Adams Jantz,” she snipped while holding out her right hand for Carl to shake. Her left hand was still firmly balled at her waist.
“Lyle,” Carl growled while still looking at this Mrs. Jantz, “did you do something to this woman I should know about?”
“I swear, Carl, I’ve never seen her before,” Lyle felt sweat beading on his forehead as he tried to think if he had met her somewhere…that he shouldn’t have.
Her green silk brocade dress wasn’t the usual attire for someone working in a café. The other woman serving here wore a plain cotton dress and apron for her attire. And her voice was definitely from the Eastern seaboard. What was this high society lady doing in the frontier town of Clear Creek, Kansas?
“So, your name isn’t the same as you wrote on our marriage certificate? Is that part of your scheme to scam me out of my money?”
“Besides not marrying you, I did not take any money from you, either,” Lyle emphatically stated. The woman was getting downright scary.
“Daisy!” the woman yelled to the young girl who stood in the doorway between the dining room and kitchen watching the drama. “Go get Marshal Wilerson for me. He’d be at the jailhouse or at his house behind it. I want this man arrested for stealing my money.”
Lyle inwardly groaned. He’d been in trouble a few times with Marshal Adam Wilerson when he lived here. He’d done some silly pranks when he was drinking with his friends, not causing any property damage, but still disturbing the peace. His father was right. His past would catch up with him someday. It was past time to start acting like a responsible man, not a rich playboy.
“Lorna, get these plates out to customers,” Dan Clancy barked from the open window between the two rooms. “Quit pestering the Elisons and get back to work!”
The woman glared at Lyle before trouncing back to pick up the plates of food lined up to be served. She gingerly tried to balance one plate on her forearm before picking up two more plates in her hands. The woman was shaky, not smooth like the other waitress carrying food to her tables. Lyle guessed she hadn’t had this job for very long, as she wasn’t very good at it.
He and Carl sat back down at the table to eat their cooling food while the lady tended to her job. Hopefully, Marshal Wilerson was out of town and wouldn’t be available to come to this lady’s “rescue”.
“So?” Carl spoke again after grimacing and swallowing his last bite of meat. Unfortunately, this was the only café in town so it got the business if a person wanted to eat.
“I do not know the lady, I did not marry her, nor did I meet her upstairs in any saloon in the past, where I might have met her. For once, I am in the clear.”
“Stealing a thousand dollars from me does not put you ‘in the clear’, Mr. Jantz!”, the woman hissed as she passed their table with a pot of coffee. Lyle grimaced and pulled his shoulders up to his ears, waiting for the scalding liquid to drain down his back.
“A thousand dollars?!” the woman at the next table exclaimed, causing all the customers to look up from their meals to stare at Lyle, then Mrs. Jantz. Now her accusations were getting serious, and Lyle would welcome the marshal’s help.
Purchase links for Lorna Loves a Lawyer:
About Linda Hubalek:
Meanwhile, Linda wrote about pioneer women that homesteaded in Kansas between 1854 to the early 1900s, especially her Swedish immigrant ancestors. Eventually the Hubalek's returned to Kansas, back to the area Linda's ancestors settled in 1869.
Her historical fiction book series are Butter in the Well, Trail of Thread, Planting Dreams and the Kansas Quilter.
Currently she is writing the historical western romance series, Brides with Grit.
Brides with Grit Series in order:
Helen Heals a Hotelier (Helen and Ethan) pre-release for Sept. 27, 2016
plus more Brides with Grit stories to be released in the future.
You can find out more about Linda on her social sites.
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