Tuesday, December 7, 2021

AM I WEARING A BLOUSE? by Marisa Masterson

 Shirt waist or blouse? When did women stop wearing shirt waists? After all, that is a term I use in many of my historical romances. Should I be calling the shirts actually blouses?

It's a hard question, As I started my research, I came to quickly see that the terms are interchangeable. Until the 1920s, stores advertised most every shirt or blouse as a shirt waist or simply a "waist".  

Notice the single word "waist" to
describe these shirts and blouses.

By taking a close look at the clothing, I can see that none of these have buttons running down the front. That seems to be key to the difference. The soft look for a woman who wants something feminine to wear outside of work was popularized by the Gibson Girl. She not only wore the puffy updo but also sported at lovely blouse.

In the progessive era that was the 1920s, women's fashions changed. Stores began to advertise both shirts and blouses for ladies. The term "waist" was still used, sometimes interchageably for both shirts and blouses. This seems, though, to be the birth of our modern term "blouse". We have the softer look of blouses that hung untucked down a woman's body to soften her curves. Remember, during the Roaring Twenties, it was all about the straight look.

Notice her shirt waist.

But what about the shirt waist? Buttoned up the front and looking like a man's shirt, it became a symbol at the beginning of the twentieth century for the freedom of women. It was especially associated with women in the workforce. Because women were ideally suited (it was believed) to operated typewriters, the way was opened for many young ladies to move to cities and find jobs somewhere other than merely a garment factory. 

"The typewriter is especially adapted to feminine fingers. They seem to be made for typewriting. The typewriting involves no hard labour and no more skill than playing the piano," wrote John Harrison, in his 1888 Manual of the Typewriter. (https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23432653)

So, I look at what I am wearing. My blouse has buttons down the front. No, I can be sure I am not wearing a blouse.

Enjoy the flavor of 1900 in my turn of the century Christmas story Mail Order Lucy.

    Disgraced and sent east to live with an old-maid aunt, Lucinda jumps at the chance to take Maggie's place. She'll marry a wealthy rancher, a dream come true.
    A farmer and not a rich rancher waits for her. Anders Andersson expects a Swedish mail-order bride. Immediately, he senses that the beautiful woman who doesn't speak a word of Swedish hides more than one secret. No matter, he's anxious to marry her and desperately needs her help on the farm.
    Isolated, will Lucinda discover who she really is as she pretends to be Maggie? What will happen when the real Maggie suddenly arrives at the farm?

Monday, December 6, 2021

New Release: Walnut Cake by Wylene - by Janice Cole Hopkins






Release Day!

Today, we are excited to announce the release of

Walnut Cake by Wylene

Old Timey Holiday Kitchen Book 10

By Janice Cole Hopkins


About Walnut Cake by Wylene:

Jackson Young brings the woman he wants to marry home to Kentucky to meet his parents, but Helen doesn’t act like the same woman away from Boston. He’s stunned by her selfish, snobbish attitude and shrewish behavior. As he reacquaints with people he hasn’t seen in five years, he notices Wylene Ward and remembers the time he rescued her from a group of bullies when they were in school. She’s turned into an attractive, caring woman who bakes the best walnut cake in the world. Suddenly, Jackson finds himself courting one woman but thinking about another. How can he remedy the situation and find his place as a new lawyer? Will it be in Boston as he’d originally thought or in Green Knoll, Kentucky, the place that still feels like home?

An Excerpt:


Wylene Ward squeezed her eyes shut and wished she could close her ears.

“Sugar! Sugar! Give us some sugar,” the older boys taunted. Their laughter rumbled around her after each comment.

She didn’t look to see who said what. She wished she could run away, but they had her cornered.

“Show us your sugar sacks, sweet thang.”

She grimaced, and fear coursed through her as she listened to them move closer. They wouldn’t pull up her dress, would they?

“Go away. Leave me alone.” The words came out weak and shaky instead of commanding and firm the way she wanted.

How did they even know her mother had made her drawers from sugar sacks? The ones she had on were new, and the washing and scrubbing hadn’t bleached the black lettering from the cloth yet.

But she knew the answer as soon as the question ran through her mind. The stairs. The older students went to classes on the second floor of the schoolhouse, and the younger students sometimes played games on the outside steps designed as an escape in case of fire. Someone had no doubt hidden in the shadows beneath the open steps to look up the girls’ dresses.

When she sensed someone close enough to feel his breath upon her neck, she opened her eyes. She didn’t take time to figure out what he intended to do but opened her mouth to scream when hands jerked the bully away from her. She looked into the face of Jackson Young.

“What do you think you are doing picking on a young girl like this?” Jackson shook the bully a little with each phrase he spoke. “What is wrong with you?” The other boys had run for their lives, but Jackson held this one with a firm grip.

“We didn’t mean nothing by it, Jackson.” The boy almost whined. “We were just having a little fun.”

“And you think harassing a young girl is fun?” Jackson sounded completely disgusted. “You need to adjust your way of thinking, and if you bother Wylene or anyone like this again, I’ll give you an adjustment you won’t forget.”

Wylene almost gasped. Jackson knew her name. Did he remember her?

“Do you understand me?” Jackson gave the boy another good shake as if he could shake the answer from him.

“Yes, I understand.”

Jackson looked as if he didn’t think that answered his question thoroughly, but he gave a decisive nod. “See that you don’t bother her again.”

He gave the bully a shove, and the boy took off running.

Jackson turned to her. “Are you all right?” The softness in his voice brought tears to her eyes.

Ugh. She hadn’t cried at all during the harassment, but now that it had ended, the tears flowed down her face. She didn’t want to cry in front of Jackson. At fifteen, he had the respect of teachers and students alike – unlike her. At ten, Wylene didn’t get much respect because her father had been killed in the war, and she and her mother barely scraped by. They were too poor to matter to most people.

“Ah, don’t cry.” Jackson kneeled beside her and wrapped her in his arms. “It’s going to be all right. I’ll see that no one bothers you again. Once it gets out that I took up for you, I’m hoping that no one will dare mistreat you.”

She burst into sobs and cried even more because it embarrassed her to be crying on Jackson’s shoulder. He held her gently and stroked her back as he tried to comfort her.

She wanted to stay in his arms forever, but she knew she couldn’t. She pulled back, hoping the water from her tears would disguise what ran from her nose.

“Here.” He gave her a tender smile as he handed her his handkerchief. “You keep that in case you need it later. I don’t need it back.”

“T-thank you.” She wished she had more words to tell him how much she appreciated his help. She wanted some eloquent, fancy words to let him know the emotions that warmed her heart, but she couldn’t locate any.

“You know, some people are jealous of you.”

“Of me?” She looked down at her faded, worn dress. What did he mean?

“I see you in church now and then, and I saw you in the schoolwide spelling bee. You’re a smart little thing – much smarter than most. I expect you’ll do great things when you grow up. Now, you’d better go. Your class has already gone inside.”

She nodded and turned to go, although she didn’t run the way she should have. Instead, she had to fight with her feet to get them to move in the right direction when they wanted to follow Jackson.

She didn’t look behind her because that would make leaving his side even more difficult. He’d made her feel so safe and protected in his arms, even more so than when Mama held her. Jackson Young had just become her hero.

Walnut Cake by Wylene is now available for sale and at no additional cost on Kindle Unlimited. To find the purchase link, please CLICK HERE.


About Janice Cole Hopkins:

Janice Cole Hopkins is a prolific writer who has published thirty-six books in five years. She has a special affinity for the Appalachian Mountain region where she grew up but has traveled to all fifty states and lived in the West, too. She has three books that have been Amazon bestsellers and is always busy writing on her next one.


Amazon AuthorPage | Facebook | Blog |

Friday, December 3, 2021

Christmas Puppies in Victorian America by Kristin Holt


Kristin Holt | Christmas Puppies in Victorian America

by Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author
of Sweet Romance set in the American Old West

~ this post contains affiliate links ~

Christmas Puppies!

Meet the newest addition to our family. I'm just a little over-the-top in love with our new pup. "Gotcha Day" was Black Friday, making this little guy a Christmas Puppy. My heart is so full!

Kristin Holt | Christmas Puppies in Victorian America. Puppy Love! Photo of Kristin's new puppy.

Puppies in History

Humans and dogs have been friends for millennia. Pups have been companions (and hunting partners) since well before written history.

But what about our great-great grandparents? Did Victorians think puppies and Christmas went together?

Puppies for a Victorian Christmas

Vintage newspapers tell the story! Notice this sampling of newspaper ads for puppies ready for Christmas gift-giving. All sources are cited, including the 19th century newspaper's name and date published.

Here are a few of the very Victorian lines:

"Dogs for the children--"

"St. Bernards for Christmas--Thoroughbred puppies..."

"Finest Christmas display of puppies in the city..."

"If you want to please the little ones, buy them them a fox terrier for Christmas..."

"...fine bred puppies; make Christmas last all year..."

Kristin Holt | Christmas Puppies in Victorian America. Four newspaper clippings from 1890 through 1900, each with puppies for sale as Christmas gifts.

Isn't that sweet? I enjoy knowing families have done the puppies for Christmas thing for a long, long while.

A Christmas Puppy, 19th-Century Style

I have a book recommendation for you! Our own Shanna Hatfield wrote a very special Christmas story, with a sweet puppy as a Christmas gift. You won't want to miss this one. I wrote a review of the book, and the story resonates with me still.


Do you know of family stories (a few generations ago, or present) where a pet made for a happy Christmas present?

Please scroll down and comment.

Related Articles

Kristin Holt | American Victorian Era Christmas Celebrations

Kristin Holt | Wives MUST Buy Correct Christmas Gift for Husbands (1896)

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Christmas Figgy (or Plum) Pudding

Kristin Holt | Sugar Cookies in Victorian America

Kristin Holt | Book Review: The Christmas Bargain

Kristin Holt | Victorian Letters to Santa

Kristin Holt | A Child's Benevolent Wish (1883)

Kristin Holt | Merry Christmas to My Favorite Author

Copyright Ⓒ 2021 Kristin Holt LC

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Dogs of the Old West


Dogs have been around for thousands of years, but did you know that hounds used by many frontier hunters and ranchers belong to a canine group called gaze hounds, or sight hounds? These dogs hunt by sight and speed rather than smell and endurance, as more familiar hound dogs (called scent hounds) do. 

Sight hounds come in various sizes from the Whippet (25–40 pounds) to the Irish wolfhound (160 pounds). Gazehounds also share some common physical traits—deep chests, long legs and strong hindquarters. Three types of Sight Hounds (also known as gaze hounds) came to the American West in the 1800s. These were the Scottish deerhound, the greyhound and the Russian wolfhound, or borzoi. These breeds contributed to gazehound hybrids and evolved into the so-called American staghound. 

Like a blend of nationalities, this truly American dog was strong, incredibly fast and courageous. He could perform the hunting tasks necessary to settle the Wild West and had many names. Russian and Irish wolfhounds, deerhounds, shag dogs, long dogs, Celtic greyhounds, Highland greyhounds or wolfhounds, sight dogs, wolf dogs and shaggy greyhounds—but staghound was the general term used in the 19th century, and it remains in use today. American staghounds have been bred for years, the AKC (American Kennel Club) has yet to recognize the breed.

Custer used Scottish deerhounds to hunt. They were members of one of the tallest gazehound breeds, resembling greyhounds but larger (more than 30 inches at the shoulder), heavier boned (about 100 pounds on a muscular frame) and with rougher, longhaired coats. The deerhound was bred to hunt red deer, or stags, in Scotland and was one of the early arrivals on the Great Plains. Custer also used them to hunt deer, elk, antelope, foxes, coyotes and jackrabbits. 

These dogs also proved valuable against predators. As settlers and ranchers moved onto the Great Plains, their cattle, hogs, and sheep often fell victim to wolves, coyotes, bobcats and even mountain lions. On more than a few ranches, hunting wolves and coyotes became a primary winter job. Once the rancher spotted a predator, he would release the hounds. The chase was “like watching a racehorse catch a pony,” according to one Nebraska coyote hunter.

So the next time you think about dogs in the old west, remember the Sight Hounds that helped settlers and frontiersmen alike.

Until next time,





Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Look what our authors published in November!

Wow! Our authors have really been busy writing and publishing books this past month. Here is what we published in November:

 November Releases:


Train Wreck in Jubilee Springs (Coll. 3 Zina Abbott’s Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs)

By Zina Abbott

Christmas is coming, and the newest brides on the train to Jubilee Springs are caught in a train wreck when the locomotive crashes into an avalanche covering the tracks.

Two Sisters and the Christmas Groom – Kate Flanagan is coming to marry miner Michael O’Hare who lives in the same town as her sister, Annie. As Michael gets to know Annie and then meets Kate, he soon faces a dilemma.

Nathan’s Nurse – Now the father Dahlia Greenleaf has nursed for years has died, she plans to start a new life as a mail-order bride. Just before she boards the train, she learns her groom is in a coma due to a mine collapse injury. Encouraged to marry by proxy so she can ....

Kate’s Railroad Chef –The train wreck is not all that disrupts Kate’s life. As she turns to her rescuer, Garland McAllister, for advice, she realizes his dream of becoming a chef closely aligns with her own dream of baking for others. She helps him start the Jubilee Diner. Only, the railroad has other plans ....

Enjoy this boxset of three related stories previously published as singles.

Released November 5, 2021


 Apple Pandowdy by Alice: Old Timey Holiday Kitchen Book 8

By Kimberly Grist

Alice Connelly agrees to participate in a new matchmaking project organized by her pastor and the orphanage's matron. She can find no peace accepting a role as a mail-order bride and instead becomes the first volunteer to accept a job in a local restaurant and relocate to Carrie Town, Texas.
She hopes the experience will help her to discover what she wants in life. But in a town where single men outnumber women thirty to one, she’s more confused than ever. Determined to put her skills as a baker to use, she plans a holiday dinner for the diner featuring a crowd pleasing deep-dished spiced apple dessert

Can an itinerant mail-order bride find her recipe for her happily ever after?

Released November 8, 2021



Wren's Wooer : Westward Home & Hearts Book 24

by Marisa Masterson

Wren Donaldson rejects her wooer, wanting him to only be her good friend. When Mildred Crenshaw, her mother's cousin, sends "the perfect groom" to Wren, she begins to realize her dream man already proposed. Too bad she rejected him. Her rejected wooer has moved on to another girl--or has he?
And what about the man sent by the matchmaking cousin? What desperate and dangerous measures will her mail-order groom do so he marries Wren?

Released November 9, 2021



A Child's Faith : Keepers of the Light Book 16

by Annee Jones

1892, Tacoma, Washington

Elin Kristiansen has her hands full as a single mother following the tragic death of her husband in a shipwreck off the rocky coast of the Pacific Northwest. Thankfully, the U.S. government has recognized the need for a lighthouse at Brown’s Point, and Elin couldn’t be more pleased when her father accepts the position of Keeper. However, she just can’t seem to bring herself to accompany him on his weekly rowboat trips to the station to tend the lamp – and what’s more, the mere thought of Finn, her son, setting foot on board sets her insides churning.

Elin knows her father keeps hoping she’ll get over the terror that washes over her every time she considers braving the waters, but she's starting to have doubts. When she gets into an argument with Finn over his adamant wish to learn how to swim, she can’t possibly trust the handsome captain who offers to instruct him and vows to keep him safe – or can she?

Released November 9



A Christmas Wish for Clara: Mail-Order Brides' First Christmas Book 7

by P. Creeden

Clara Gibbs has wanted nothing more than a husband and family her whole life, but not one bachelor in Norcross Georgia had ever shown any interest in her until now. She had spent most of her youth taking care of her ailing father, only to find out upon his death that he was the very reason that every suitor had kept a distance from her. Now that she was well over twenty-five years old, the only one who shows her interest is an older bachelor with a known penchant for vice but somehow promises the holidays have made him a better man. Regardless, he's not exactly the prince she's been wishing for, and her only escape is to trust a family friend who knows of a younger man out west in need of a bride.

Clyde Wheeler has just inherited a ranch... or rather, debt. And the bank has come to call. His only way to get his loan approved is to marry the banker's daughter. But part of him would rather die than give the man the satisfaction....

Released November 10


Gold Rush Bride Della: Gold Rush Brides Book 6

By Linda Carroll-Bradd

Bear Valley, California--1861

The mining camp in the San Bernardino Mountains is the latest in a long line of gold fields Della Wolfe and her brother have been dragged to by their father. She clings to a vague memory of living in a house with a flower garden and vows to mine enough to buy such a place of her own. Instead, she has to endure living in canvas tents or poorly built shacks. Since the death of her mother, her father calls her Del and insists Della wears trousers, binds her breasts, and wears a slouch hat to keep others from taking notice that she’s female. The amount Brendan and Gerhard are mining would be enough if Gerhard didn’t gamble away half their earnings.

Harte Thorley is only working a gold claim to earn $200 to pay off his father’s debt on the family farm to provide his mother and sisters a safe place to live. Then he’ll dig enough nuggets from the creek bed so he can open a store. He envies the family mining the adjacent claim because they help each other while he does everything himself and drops onto his bedroll exhausted every night. Instead of sleep, he can only think about the dark-haired woman nearby who passes as a man. Getting close to his monetary goal, he needs a plan for securing his claim while he delivers the money off the mountain.

First, Della’s father is jailed after a barroom brawl then her brother joins a group of malcontents. Left on her own, Della turns to Harte for help. A marriage of convenience is the solution--she receives Harte’s protection and he’s guaranteed a continued presence on his claim. But thrown together into close quarters causes a new set of problems. Will trust and dependence turn into caring, or will the pair go their separate ways when they achieve their own goals?

Released November 11, 2021


Clear Creek Brides Book Collection One: Sweet Historical Western Romances

By Kit Morgan

Enjoy this book collection of the first four books in Kit Morgan's Clear Creek Bride series. Let the matchmaking begin!

Watch out Clear Creek! Leona Riley and Betsy Quinn are coming for a visit. And when they do, chaos ensues. But the mothers of Clear Creek are growing desperate. Many have unmarried daughters and sons and niether seem interested in the other! What's the matter with the young folks in town? Aren't they interested in marriage? Come to find out they're interested all right, just not in anyone from Clear Creek. But as there's no such thing as mail-order husbands, the young women, some of which are already considered spinsters, are going to have to take a second look at what's available in their hometown. The question is, how to get them to look. Can Leona and Betsy make them see reason, let alone the men? Find out in this hilarious new series of sweet, clean, western romances.

Winning the Spinster's Heart: Adele Cooke has a list. ….

A Promise Kept: The last thing Merritt O’Hare wants to do is perform in front of the whole town. ….

To Seek a Jewel: Ruby Bennett is on the shelf. ….

Love's Glory: Lucinda Mae Stone had a problem. ….

Released November 21, 2021


Figgy Pudding by Francine: Old Timey Holiday Kitchen Book 9

By Zina Abbott

Francine Munsen’s life in 1878 had been a series of ups and downs—all because she allowed one of the benefactors of the Albany Elite Academy for Girls to raise a hope that she could attract a man willing to marry her, a spinster math and science teacher.

Jason Sewell, a full professor of science and astronomy at the University of Iowa, was a widower with no interest in marrying again. Then, during a trip to Rawlins, Wyoming to view a total solar eclipse, in the weeks of hunting and exploring that followed, his friend—from whom his mother extracted a promise that a letter from a girls’ academy teacher would be answered before the end of the summer—handed him the letter. As a wedding gift for his friend, he promised to respond. Months later, he invited Francine to spend her Christmas break in Iowa City.

Before Francine could travel to Iowa to meet Jason in person, she must keep a promise. Serving the girls who could not return to their homes for the Christmas holiday a figgy pudding made using a centuries-old recipe had become a school tradition.

Released November 22, 2021



A Christmas Tree for Trudel: Mail-Order Brides' First Christmas Book 12

By Linda Carroll-Bradd

Rancher Gibson Bainbridge travels to Pine Knot to investigate how his younger brother was swindled out of his mining claim. He finds the suspect, businessman Bernard Heinrik, at a poker table and squares off opposite him. Gib goads the man into betting big, staking the mining claim and then ends up with the winning hand and retrieves the deed. Goal achieved, he heads back to the hotel, planning how he’ll leave in the morning and arrive triumphant in Redlands at the family home in time for holiday festivities.

Mail-order bride Trudel Andersen traveled from Los Angeles to Pine Knot to meet up with her fiancĂ©, Mister Heinrik, with whom she’s been corresponding for several months. But he’s a day overdue in meeting her. She waits in the hotel lobby with her lace-making materials and her little dog, Butterscotch. Released from the orphanage two months earlier, Trudel has been on her own and terrified she will always be so.

When Gibson realizes he’s the cause for the lovely lady’s misfortune, he’s stuck with a dilemma. If he confesses what he did, he’ll have to offer the woman a ride back to where she came from. Propriety demands they marry, and both agree it’s only for the duration of the trip. But will forced proximity deepen the relationship into something more?

Released November 30, 2021


Dear Mrs. Pettigrew: Mail-Order Bride Ink Book 13

By Kit Morgan

Mischief, Marriage and Mayhem, matchmaker Mrs. Pettigrew excels at them all!

Yet, for all her wealth and eccentric ways, something's missing in her life. To remedy the siuation, she invites several very different mail-order brides and their husbands to spend part of the Christmas season with her. She hasn't ventured out of her mansion in years, and what better way to do it than in the company of happy couples she's brought together?

But those happy couples, even as different as they are, are quick to notice they have something Mrs. Pettigrew doesn't and think it's high time she did. Can her house guests play matchmaker as well as Mrs. Pettigrew herself? Find out in this mash-up of characters from some of Kit Morgan's other Mail-Order Bride Ink stories. Not to mention a very special dance instructor.

Released Nobember 30, 2021



Holiday Hope: Sweet Historical Holiday Romance (Holiday Express Book 1)

By Shanna Hatfield

Infuse your holidays with hope and humor in this sweet western romance from Shanna Hatfield

Left alone in the world after losing her parents, Cora Lee Schuster travels across the country to the newly-established town of Holiday, Oregon, to become a mail-order bride. She arrives in town to be greeted by her future father-in-law with her betrothed nowhere to be found. When it becomes obvious her reluctant groom-to-be has no intention of showing up at the family ranch where she’s staying, Cora Lee must decide if she’ll follow her head or heart.

Jace Coleman has loved trains since the first time he rode on one as a boy. Now, he spends his days as an engineer driving the Holiday Express line on a new engine named Hope. When a mail-order bride turns up at his father’s ranch to wed his brother, Jace has an idea his meddling father has tried his hand at matchmaking. The longer Cora Lee stays at the ranch, the harder Jace works to keep from falling for his brother’s intended bride.

Will Jace and Cora Lee discover the gift of hope? Find out in this sweet holiday romance full of memorable characters, warmth, and Christmas cheer.

Released November 30, 2021


 Not all our authors put their books up on preorder. For those who do, advance sales go a long way to help their rankings on Amazon. Please consider buying before the book is releases. 


Preorders for December Releases:


Holiday Heart: Sweet Historical Holiday Romance (Holiday Express Book 2)

By Shanna Hatfield

Hearts and humor collide in this sweet holiday romance

Zach Coleman spent his childhood dreaming about trains, and now he’s one of the repairmen at the Holiday engine house who keeps them chugging down the tracks. Life couldn’t get any sweeter, or so he convinces himself, until he’s on his way home from work and saves a woman from getting hit by a wagon. How was he to know that one, brief encounter would upend his world?

Lorna Lennox grew up with the best of everything in life. Her father, a railroad tycoon, has made sure of it. Now that he’s moved her into a new house in a remote Oregon location, Lorna wonders if she’ll fit into the small community. She’s barely arrived in the town of Holiday when an adventure leaves her at the mercy of a handsome stranger. One she finds impossible to forget.

Will the holidays present a chance for hearts to entwine? Find out in this sweet holiday romance rich with history, humor, and the joys of Christmas.

Releases December 7, 2021



Mail Order Lucy: An Impostor for Christmas Book 8

By Marisa Masterson

Disgraced and sent east to live with an old-maid aunt, Lucinda jumps at the chance to take Maggie's place. She'll marry a wealthy rancher, a dream come true.
A farmer and not a rich rancher waits for her. Grant Reynolds expects more than a hot-house flower. He made sure his bride is a farm girl who can do chores and cook.

Which one in this marriage will bend his or her expectations? Does a match built on a lie have any chance of succeeding?

Note--While this is a standalone sweet romance, the heroine was introduced in Lemon Pie by Lucinda. Reading that book first may increase your enjoyment of this story. 

Releases December 7, 2021



Mail Order Letitia: An Impostor for Christmas Book 9

By Zina Abbott

When forced to live with her late mother’s much younger sister, Aunt Matilda, she and Uncle Clarence made it clear, if Letitia wishes to eat, she will participate in the family business ― swindling people. Matilda’s latest scheme is writing to well-to-do men seeking wives through correspondence, with Letitia doing the writing. Collecting spending money and tickets to be cashed in is bad enough. The last straw for Letitia comes when Matilda decides to travel to marry a rancher she learns is well-off. She is already married to Clarence ― isn’t she? Then there is the manner in which Clarence puts his arm around Letitia’s shoulder and assures her he will take real good care of her until Matilda returns.

Samuel Grayson has spent a decade building up a successful ranch near Laramie, Wyoming. He now wishes to marry. After writing three letters to Matilda in Baltimore, he decides she is the one for him. He wants her in his home as his wife by Christmas.

Until the letter with tickets and money from Samuel Grayson arrives, Letitia had never, of her own free will, stolen anything. However, she sees this as an opportunity to save this unsuspecting rancher from Matilda and herself from Clarence. She only hopes, if Matilda’s groom ever finds out the truth, he will see it the same way.

Releases December 14, 2021



A Christmas Dream for Destiny: Mail-Order Brides' First Christmas Book 16

by Annee Jones

1890. Destiny Price works in the sewing room of the Cleveland orphanage where she lives but longs for a better life. Even though she knows she’ll never be able to bear children and has never celebrated a real Christmas of her own, she is plagued by a recurring dream of sitting in a rocking chair next to a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, singing an infant to sleep. Desperate to escape her dreary and monotonous life, Destiny answers an ad for a mail-order bride out west. But when she meets Stuart “Stormy” Holling, a former miner turned woodworker with a peg leg, is she prepared to handle the passionate temper that earned him his nickname?

Releases December 16