Sneak Peek of Heiress Bride

Here is a sneak peek of my upcoming book, the second in the Matchmaker & Co series, Heiress Bride. I hope you like it. Leave me a comment and be entered to win a $5 Starbucks card or a copy of Capital Bride the first in the series. There are two winners so don’t forget to comment.


heiress_brideMarch 14, 1868
Dear Mrs. Selby,
It is my understanding from your last correspondence that you have found a bride for me. With this letter is a draft in the amount of one hundred dollars for your fee and the train ticket for a certain Miss Ella Davenport from New York City to Denver, in the Colorado Territory.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Nathan Ravenclaw

Margaret Selby put the letter in the file for Nathan Ravenclaw. The file was thicker than most. He’d been more difficult to help than she’d originally thought he would be. He was a successful rancher it was true but because of his half Arapahoe Indian heritage he was outcast from both the white and the Arapahoe communities. Especially when it came to marriage. They might accept him to do business with but not to marry their sisters or daughters.

She didn’t think she was going to be successful until Ella Davenport came in to her office. Ella was a beautiful young woman with chocolate brown eyes and dark brown hair. She’d been horribly disfigured in a carriage accident and was recluse from her community because of those scars.

Margaret thought these two young people could perhaps help heal each other. She felt this one deep in her bones. This was the right match for them.

She placed the draft in her reticule then readied herself for the short walk to the bank. Her black coat was made of fine wool to withstand the harsh winter wind that whistled between the buildings. She pulled the bright blue scarf over her fiery red hair with not a trace of gray in it despite having reached the age of forty. The scarf was the only splash of color in her entire outfit, even her gloves were black. She blew out the lamp on her desk and closed the door as she left.

Her husband had been kind enough to leave her with this building when he died in the bed of his mistress. He hadn’t managed to leave her with children but he did leave her with a place to run her business and to live. She lived on the second floor of the three story building. The third floor she rented to a young couple for two dollars and fifty cents per month. One quarter of the market rent of ten dollars a month. As part of their rent the young man did the upkeep on the building. It was a beneficial arrangement for all concerned.
She hurried the two blocks to the bank. A storm was approaching and she wanted to be safely tucked in her apartment before it hit.
Miss Davenport was due in the office tomorrow afternoon. In the morning Margaret would go to the train depot and buy the tickets Miss Davenport would need to get her to Denver, in the Colorado Territory. She didn’t want the storm to prevent either of those two things happening but better to put them off than to risk anyone’s safety. She refused to worry about it and would just have to wait until tomorrow to see what the day brought.

She entered the bank at 4:30 PM. It was quiet, the local businesses had not ended their work day. She timed it specifically for that reason. She went to the first open teller, deposited the draft and withdrew the money for the train ticket.
Shoving the money into her reticule she braced for the cold walk back home.
The storm passed in the night leaving a dusting of snow and clear blue skies. Ella Davenport dressed with care for her final meeting with Mrs. Selby. Her black wool skirt and matching jacket were fitted perfectly. She exchewed the bustle that was popular instead preferring a simple A-line skirt. She had her blouses made with a high, straight collar to hide her scars. Her blouses were all plain white. Nothing to attract attention to her face. Even here at home, she was conscious of her facial scars. Today she was going out and would wear the heavy veil to hide her face. It was easier to wear the thick lace than to see the look on people’s faces when they saw her disfigurement. At first horror and then pity. She hated it.

Today she would get her train tickets for the trip west to the Colorado Territory and Mr. Nathan Ravenclaw.

She went down to the breakfast room. It was one of her favorite rooms. The soft blue walls above the chair rail with the dark blue flowered wall paper below appealed to her need for calm. She knew that Cook prepared her favorites for her. Eggs, sausage and mushroom toast.

Joshua was already there dressed in one of his suits. This one brown, the same caramel color as his eyes. Her brother was a handsome man in a quiet way.

“Good morning, brother.”

“Good morning. You look particularly fetching this morning.”

“It’s my final meeting with Mrs. Selby. I get my tickets today.”

Joshua put down his paper and stared at her. “Are you certain this is the right course of action for you? There are dozens of men who would be happy to marry you.”

“You mean they would be happy to marry my money. Or worse yet to marry me out of pity. I don’t want a marriage based on either one of those things. Mr. Ravenclaw knows about my scars but Mrs. Selby said he carries scars of his own because of his heritage. Being half Arapahoe Indian has outcast him from both the whites and the Indians.”

“Have you thought about the fact that if you marry this man you’ll then be outcast as well?”

She finished filling her plate and sat down on her brother’s left. It had become her habit to sit there so he wouldn’t have to look at her scars while he ate. He’d never ask her to do it. Her scars didn’t bother him for the most part, though she occasionally saw pity in his eyes. Then it was gone as quickly as it came.

She sat down, filled her fork with the savory mushroom toast and then set it down again, her appetite suddenly gone. “Have you not looked at me lately? Do you not see the scars on the left side of my face? Do you not see that I have my collars made especially high to cover the ones on my neck? If these are the ones you can see, have you never wondered at the ones you can’t? Not only those on my body but those inside? Am I not already outcast?”

He took a deep breath. “Well, if you’re sure, I will support you. If it doesn’t work out you can always come back here. You will always have a home here with me. I see you have your trunks packed. I’ll have them shipped to you. I don’t want you to have to deal with them when you change trains. From the research I’ve done, you’ll have to change trains at least twice. The trip takes seven days, you may have to change more often than that.”

“I know. I’m prepared. I have one valise with me with a change of clothes in it. I’ll put those on just before I reach Denver. I believe that’s the last stop. Mr. Ravenclaw will have to pick me up from there. I’ve had cook prepare some bread and cheese to take with me and I have cash for the restaurant car on the train. I intend to take the tickets Mrs. Selby gives me and upgrade them to a sleeping car. There is no need to be primitive before I have to be. Listen to me rattle on.” She smiled.

Joshua smiled back. He always told her that her smile transformed her face. That it was so beautiful no one noticed the scars, only her rare beauty.

He set his coffee cup back in the saucer. “I haven’t seen you this excited since,“ he shook his head, “I don’t remember the last time.”

“I am excited. I’m finally getting on with my life. The accident is not going to be what defines me.”

“Well, I only wish they’d caught the man who sabotaged the carriage. You could have died just as father did. I’m sure you were meant to.”

“Probably, but I didn’t. I’m sure it was MacGregor or one of his henchmen who sawed through the carriage axels. They had to be trying to kill us. He’s always wanted the business. Ever since father bought him out and then the business boomed. He wanted back in but father said no. You remember that.”

“Yes, I remember.”

“You’re going to have to be extra careful, Joshua. He’s going to try to kill you too.”
“Now we don’t know that.”

“If we don’t know it, why do you have James and Robert? They’re your body guards. Mine too, if I was staying. I should be safe now that I’m leaving.”

“I’ll be fine. Eat your breakfast and check your hair again. It’s falling on one side.”

“What?” She got up from the table and went to one of the many mirrors that lined the north dining room wall. They made the room seem bigger than it was.

“There’s nothing wrong with my hair you ornery cuss.”

He laughed. “Now, now such language coming from my sweet sister.”

She laughed now too. “There is nothing sweet about your sister and you know it.”

“So you say.”

He had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his beloved face. She would miss him more than she could say. Though she’d never tell him, she was pretty sure he already knew it. They were as close as a brother and sister could be. Their father’s death in the carriage accident that had so scarred Ella, had brought them even closer together.

Joshua had been at her bedside every day while she was in the hospital and then he’d stayed with her when she came home after all the surgery to save her life. He never winced when he looked at her though she was sure he wanted to. Everyone did at least the first time. Friends feeling the pain she must have gone through, strangers at the ugliness of it.

The veil helped when she traveled outside the house. People were less likely to be horrified by her visage if it was shadowed by the veil. That was another reason for the sleeper cabin, a Pullman car if she could get one, to save other peoples sensibilities. Price wasn’t an object. She could afford what she wanted but she wasn’t willing to buy a husband. She much preferred the idea that a man was willing to pay for her hand in marriage.

Ella prepared to journey into the cold and visit Mrs. Selby. She put on her long, black wool coat, pulled her black wool scarf over her head and around the lower half of her face. Traveling in the cold was easier for her than in warm weather because she could cover the lower half of her face with her scarf and no one thought anything about it. She’d pulled on her winter boots. Lined in soft fur, they kept her feet warm even in the snowy streets.

4 thoughts on “Sneak Peek of Heiress Bride

  1. Can’t wait for the release of Heiress Bride! I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, Capital Bride, and you have become a must read author for me.

  2. I can’t wait to read the rest! This was a very very good tease! Love that she has such confidence even tho she’s scared.

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