Tuesday, June 14, 2016


The Bride Brigade Series has been a lot of fun. I love the part of North Central Texas in which I set this series. Let’s face it, I love Texas—though summer months sometimes make me forget why.

The premise of this series is that in 1873 wealthy widow Lydia Harrison tries to save her town of Tarnation, Texas and keep the young bachelors from moving to more diversified populations. That is, where there are marriageable women. To accomplish this she goes back to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia.

If you are a history lover, you know that part of the country suffered greatly in the Civil War and many men lost their lives. Others, rather than return to homes that were no longer there, moved west. The result was that there were far more women than men. Lydia decides to bring a few of these women to Tarnation where they will be her guests until they decide which of the local bachelors they want to marry.

She brings back seven young women and then invites respectable bachelors to receptions and dances at her home. Citizens in town have dubbed these seven women the Bride Brigade. So far, JOSEPHINE, ANGELINE, and CASSANDRA have married. Now it’s OPHELIA’S turn.
OPHELIA will be released later this month.

Here’s the blurb for OPHELIA:

A painful past…
Hope for the future…

Ophelia Shipp wants safety, a home, husband, and to raise a family. To achieve her goal, she travels halfway across the country to a tiny Texas town, Tarnation. What awaits her there must be better than what she left. She longs for a respectable man who will be a gentle and kind husband.

Elias Kendrick had a difficult childhood but he has overcome poverty to build his empire in Tarnation. Now that he owns a successful saloon and the opera house, he is ready to marry and start a family. He’s vowed his children’s life will be different from his—if only he can find the right woman.

Two opposites attract—or are they? Ophelia and Elias must learn to overlook their superficial differences to work out their chance at lasting love.

Here’s an excerpt from OPHELIA:

Mr. Kendrick strolled toward her holding a cup and a plate filled with samples of Mrs. Murphy’s delicacies. “You look as if you could use punch and a snack.”
She fought for something clever to say, but nothing came. At least she managed a smile. “Thank you. I am thirsty after introducing myself so many times.”
He sat in the chair separated from hers by a small table. “Nice shindig, isn’t it?”
She took a sip of punch before answering. “I love watching and listening. Everyone appears so happy and excited.”
“What about you? Are you happy or excited?”
She couldn’t prevent a grin. “Both. Being in Lydia’s home is so pleasant and the other women are very nice. This morning I woke up excited about this event.”
“Me, too.” He chuckled. “What brings you to Tarnation, Miss Shipp?”
“Same as the others I suppose. No point pretending otherwise, I want a husband and home and family. This appears to be a nice town even though it’s small. I notice there’s even an opera house.”
“That there is. I built the opera house only a year ago. The manager and I try for a variety of acts so that by the end of the season, everyone has enjoyed at least a couple of shows.”
She leaned forward, happy to know he was so fair-minded. “I’m sure I’ll enjoy them all. I’ve never been to a live performance.” Oops, she hadn’t intended to admit that.
He leaned back and his eyes widened. “Never? You mean except at school, of course.”
A blush’s heat seared her face. How embarrassing to admit she was a country bumpkin who had done nothing interesting in her life. “My father was very strict. I couldn’t appear in or attend school plays. Mr. Kozlov has invited me to the opera house performance in two weeks. I’m looking forward to the event.”
Was that disappointment she saw on his face? “You’ll enjoy Geraldine Chitwood. We were exceptionally fortunate to book her. Normally, she only plays larger towns more easily reached. Being without railway access places us at a disadvantage.”
“Oh, my bones haven’t forgotten that stage ride.” She leaned toward him. “Tell me about yourself, Mr. Kendrick. Besides owning the opera house, I mean.”
“I’m twenty-nine and never married. If you led such a quiet life that you weren’t allowed to attend plays, then you’ll no doubt look down on me because, as well as the opera house, I own the local saloon.”
She hoped she hid her surprise that Lydia included a saloon owner in this group of “acceptable” men. What should she say?

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