The kernel for the book THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE came from a small detail mentioned once by my grandmother. A girl in her Tennessee hometown quit attending school because of bullying and harassment from other students. Grandmother didn’t know what became of the girl, but her story made me wish the girl’s life had had a happy ending. I decided to give her one in this marriage of convenience romance, which is Book one of the Kincaids.
Here’s the blurb:
Wanted: One completely improper bride.
Even if Drake Kincaid had placed such an advertisement in every paper in the country, he couldn’t have found a better candidate than Pear Parker–which is fine with him. After all, his parents’ will stipulates only that he marry by his thirtieth birthday, not that he marry well. And no one–including Drake’s grandfather, the man determined to hold him to the ridiculous provision–could possibly think that tall, bossy Pearl with her ragtag siblings and questionable “cousin” Belle will make a good wife. Until Drake realizes that in Pearl’s startling violet eyes he sees a beautiful woman with a generous soul…
Their life together may not have started with hearts and flowers, but Drake and Pearl will soon learn that real love–with a breathtaking dose of passion–will make their marriage a true romance.
Excerpt: (set up) Drake has just told Pearl she’s to remain at his grandfather’s home instead of moving to Drake’s home on the ranch while he drive cattle to market in Kansas.
“What do you mean, stay here?”
Pearl had wakened cocooned in the hazy glow following a night of intermittent lovemaking with her husband to find him dressing for the ranch. Then he dropped a bombshell on her.
“You know it’s not safe for you to be on your own. Ranch is too isolated. You’ll be safer here in town.” Drake stomped his feet to settle each in the boots he wore. He retrieved a blue chambray shirt from his bag and donned it.
“For how long?” Pearl slid from bed and grabbed her nightgown from the floor.
She whirled on her husband, confronting him, “You never intended for me to move to the ranch, did you?” She yanked her nightie on. No one could argue buck-naked.
“Don’t get riled. Women hate the seclusion. You’ll be happier in town. Things to do here and people about you.” Drake shoved his shirt into his twill pants without looking at his wife.
She stepped toward him and pointed at her chest. “What do you know about what makes this woman happy?”
A crooked smile broke his face. “Aw, I know what makes you happy, all right. Didn’t I keep you happy all night?”
She shrugged away the comment aimed to distract her. “Did you ask me which I prefer? No.” She hoped her glare chilled his randy hide.
His voice softened, placating. “Pearl, be reasonable. We don’t know who’s tried to kill you and your family. Someone might be trailing you right now, waiting somewhere and watching the house.”
He met her gaze. That muscle twitched in his cheek, letting her know he was less than happy with this conversation. Well, that didn’t bother Pearl in the least. Some things needed talked about.
He walked over and put his hands on her shoulders, then took a deep breath and continued, “Look, the sheriff and his deputy as well as several of the town’s leading citizens will be looking out for any newcomer. I talked to the owners of the livery stable, the hotel, the mercantile, all the places I could think of that a newcomer would stand out. If any strangers come around asking questions, the sheriff will find out immediately. You and Sarah will be safer here.”
“You’re taking Storm with you?” She hugged her arms, sensing a lost battle.
“Yes, um, with your permission. I can’t see him attending teas or shopping here in town. Besides, he’s a big help to me.”
Her head came up and her hands fisted at her hips. “And I suppose Sarah and I are just so much baggage?”
“Now, I didn’t say that and you know it.” He held up a hand, palm out, as if to stay her fury. “But you have no place rounding up cattle and getting ready for a drive.”
“It’s true we don’t ride, but we could learn.” She could learn anything, given a chance. She suspected no chance would come.
“There’s no time to teach you. ‘Sides, it makes the cowboys and vaqueros nervous to have women around the cattle. They think it’s bad luck. And I can’t leave the two of you at the house with only the housekeeper to help you.”
She sagged in defeat. “Okay, Drake. I’ll stay here for now, and I’ll try not to shame you. But this is only until we know there’ll be no more meanness against my family. Don’t think you can keep me waiting too long,” she warned.
His face broke into a smile of relief. “You’ll see. By the time this is over and things calm down, you’ll like this sweet life so much you won’t be able to tear yourself away from Grandpa’s house.”
“Too much sweet gives a body a belly ache.”
Ignoring that and stepping close, he kissed her on the cheek then nuzzled her neck. “I’ll be sleeping tonight in a bedroll on hard ground. Give me a kiss to remember.”
Something to remember. She’d give him something to remember all right. She raised her mouth to his, let him plunder with his tongue. Her tongue did some plundering of its own as she moved her body against him. When their kiss ended, the heat of passion darkened his eyes.
“When you’re sleeping on the hard ground, all alone, you remember that, husband.” Head high, she turned and walked into the dressing room.
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