A Convenient Husband
Bluestockings Florence Peabody and Elizabeth James had been friends since they were small. She helped Elizabeth escape a horrible fate—marrying a man twice her age who was rumored to have unnatural tastes. She’d listened to her brothers talk about him beating at least one prostitute to death. She not only warned Elizabeth, she helped her hide in the Peabody home until she could escape on a Bride Train to freedom.
Being plain with a very pretty older sister, Florence had been left to her own devices. Her father had indulged her intellectual interests, thinking she would change and accept the man he chose for her. A spinster, she’s used to men rejecting her as she’s plain, outspoken, and too well educated. The men are not used to discussing issues of importance with women, or expect to take their wife’s wishes into account.
Beth sends her brother, Timothy, a letter saying she has a son named James and reminds him he is to send her money. Since it’s obvious Florence will not find a husband in Philadelphia, Timothy goes to her father and suggests Florence might find a husband in Montana. After all, if his sister could find a man to suit her, anyone should be able to. Her father wants her to have a family and a strong life, both denied in the East. He pays for her trip and wishes her his best.
When she arrives at the train station she’s stopped by a woman who is obviously sick. The woman speaks well, proving her education. She’s a widow who had to do the only thing possible to keep her children alive, but is now dying. She begs Florence to take her two children to save them from the same fate. Already men are showing an interest in her daughter due to her golden-red hair and unusual violet eyes.
Florence doesn’t hesitate. She slips the woman’s wedding ring on her own finger and becomes Mrs. Peabody, widow with children Emma and Johnny.
Benjamin Elliott, newly fledged lawyer, arrives late at the station, barely arriving in time. He couldn’t miss the train as he had a promise to keep. When he was sent from Texas to attend law school in Virginia, he and his identical twin brother had made a solemn vow. If Ranger found a ranch near their brothers in Tanner’s Ford, Ben would bring Ranger a wife.
Their sister, Jessie, had provided Ranger’s extensive requirements for a wife. Ben always kept his promises. Ranger found the ranch, so it was up to him to provide the wife. Unfortunately, he’d neglected to start his search. When he heard a Bride Train was leaving he immediately booked a ticket. Surely one of the dewy-eyed ladies in the first carriage would accept his brother. He had no plans to marry. When he sees a damsel in distress, one with two children at her side, he decides to solve the problem with a quick ceremony.
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