GENEVIEVE: Bride of Nevada, American Mail-Order Brides Series, Book 36

Genevieve,BrideofNevadaI was so honored to be asked to write a book for this series. I chose Nevada because of the beautiful Ruby Mountains where I’d decided to place the story. I hope you will enjoy Genny and Stuart’s love story. Here is an excerpt.

Genny boarded the train headed west. All the money she had in the world, thirty dollars, was in her reticule. As the train pulled away from the station, Genny watched Lawrence, Massachusetts, the only place she’d ever known, fade away. Fear mixed with excitement enveloped her.

Her husband-to-be had two children. A little boy and a baby girl. And eventually they would have children of their own. His already having children was one of the things that appealed to her about him. Genny loved children. She’d been raised in an orphanage and from the time she was ten, she cared for the younger children and babies that came through. The children were the only thing she missed about the orphanage.

She was seated in a sparse car with ten rows of padded wooden seats, two on each side of a center aisle. A latrine was located in the rear of the car and she’d had to open her window several times to get rid of the stale smell. A little fresh air was all she wanted but more often than not, the refreshing breeze was accompanied by ash from the locomotive.

When she left Massachusetts she’d bought a loaf of bread, a round of cheese, and a couple of apples. That supply only lasted the first two days. The rest of her trip she had to buy food at the stops along the way or not eat at all which she did for two meals every day. She figured she could get by on one meal a day, though her stomach think so if the sounds coming from it were any indication.

She would travel to Elko, Nevada where Stuart would pick her up and she hoped they would stay for a few days getting to know each other before they married and left for her husband’s ranch in the Lamoille Valley, seventeen miles east of Elko. His letter said the trip would take three hours by wagon. She grimaced at the thought of more travel, but thought it would give them a chance to get to know each other. Give her more of a chance for a congenial relationship.

Genny’s train arrived in Elko seven days after she left Massachusetts. She had changed trains four times before getting on the Western Pacific Railroad into Elko.

A week of sitting upright in a rail car with ash and smoke wafting through the air was more than enough for her. She’d kept as clean as she could, using public bathrooms where she could find them and water pumps when she had to. All she wanted was a hot bath, and to get out of the corset she wore.

The discomfort she felt didn’t distract at all the different landscapes she’d been through. She thought the Rocky Mountains were the most magnificent things she’d ever seen. The Ruby Mountains she was in now though were quite lovely, too.

“Elko. Elko station.” The conductor for the came through announcing the stations as they approached. All of the conductors on each rail line had done this.

“This is your station, miss.”

She looked at the man and smiled. “Thank you, Henry. You’ve been most kind to me.”

She held out her gloved hand.

He took her hand in a gentle shake.

“I hope you have a good stay in Elko. Though, for the life of me I can’t imagine what a woman like you will do in a place like this.”

She sucked in a breath wondering what he meant by his statement. Though she had noticed that the little town seemed rather sparse and drab in comparison to some of the cities and towns she’d been through. “I’m getting married. I won’t be in Elko long.”

“Well, congratulations. Have a wonderful life.”

She hoped the conductor’s words came true. She always wanted a home and family of her own and this was her chance. Her only chance. “I will. Thank you.”

Henry tipped his cap and walked on, announcing the station one more time before exiting her car.

Once the train slowed and finally stopped, Genny grabbed her bag from the overhead bin. The contents of one carpet bag were all she claimed for possessions. A couple of gingham dresses, two black bombazine skirts, and three blouses—one  pink, one blue and one white. One change each of chemise and of bloomers, and two pairs of socks rounded out the clothing she owned. She wore a traveling suit, her only petticoats, her black wool coat and lace-up boots. Not much to show for twenty-five years on this earth.

Genny was an orphan, so she didn’t have anything from her parents and had never had enough money to buy herself jewelry. Her wedding ring would be the first piece she’d ever owned.

Putting a roof over her head and food on the table had taken just about everything she earned. Seven dollars and fifty cents a week didn’t allow much room for anything but the essentials. She had taken months to save enough money for the boots she wore, but she needed them. She’d been lining the old pair with newsprint because of the holes in the soles. Half of what would have been this month’s rent had finally given her sufficient funds.

She walked out to the platform between the cars and down the stairs to the station platform. Excitement made her stomach feel as though butterflies were fluttering around inside her.

Never in her life was she so glad to be somewhere as she was now. And she didn’t care if she ever rode a train again.

“Have a good life, Miss Genny,” the conductor said, holding her bag with one hand and helping her down the steps with the other.

“Thank you, Henry. You as well.”

Genny took her hat and slapped it against her thigh hoping to remove some of the ash from the journey. Looking down she saw that her coat was the worse for wear and took it off and shook it, ash and dirt floating from it into the air. She shivered and put back on her coat, then picked up her bag and walked up to the one-story yellow station. She peeked in the window and saw a small waiting room with a potbellied stove and a ticket window.

The wind rushed past, making her pull the lapels of her coat closer and she thought about heading inside to get out of the cold. But how would Mr. MacDonnell find her? For the time being, she waited where she was. If she got too cold before he came then she could always retreat into the building.

Genny shivered in the cold wind, her coat unable to keep out the invisible force that froze her to the spot. Or had the approach of the tall man in the black hat, the collar of his sheepskin coat flipped up against the chill kept her motionless?

He stopped in front of her.

“Miss Copeland?”

His voice washed over her, a deep, silky baritone that sent shivers—having nothing to do with the weather—up her spine.

“Yes, I’m Genevieve Copeland, but everyone calls me Genny.” She held out her gloved hand. “Are you Mr. MacDonnell?”

His hand engulfed hers.

“I am. Stuart MacDonnell.”

He held her hand for a moment too long as his gaze took in her face and then traveled down her body. Perhaps she wasn’t wrong to hope for a solid marriage.

Neither had removed their gloves, but Genny would bet that his hands were rough, given the work he did for a living. She knew a rancher worked outside a lot, tending animals.

“Please come with me. I’ve taken the liberty of arranging for the judge to marry us upon your arrival.”

Genny’s heart leapt to her throat.

“So quickly? I thought we’d have a day or two in town to become better acquainted before we married.”

“I’m sorry, but we have to return to the ranch before this storm sets in.” He gestured toward the sky, full of storm clouds she hadn’t noticed before. “I brought a couple of blankets to wrap up in for the ride.”

This was what she’d signed up for…to be this man’s wife. Genny took a deep breath and pressed a hand to her nervous stomach.

“Very well. Let’s get on with it, shall we?”

The corners of his mouth turned up, but he said nothing, just picked up her bag and started toward a wagon at the end of the platform.

Genny walked beside the man who would be her husband. Close up, she saw he had blue eyes and brown hair. He was lean but by the way he moved she could tell he was also muscular. That made sense. From what she’d read at the library in Lawrence, ranching was a hard life. That was all right. Genny wasn’t afraid of hard work.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *