Angie Sargenti is a prolific author and has written eleven books to date. Her latest, The Cowboy and the Mail Order Bride, tells the story of Eleanor and John Henry Morgan.
Eleanor’s parents passed away unexpectedly, leaving her penniless. Fearing she had no other options, she accepts an offer of marriage from a wealthy rancher. She agrees to travel out west and become his bride, but party of that agreement means she must subject herself to his discipline.
Can the impetuous Mrs. Morgan abide by her new husband’s rules and make him a comfortable wife, or will she lose him to his former lady friend, Miss Lou Anne Franklin?
John Henry Morgan expects his new bride to be an obedient wife and a proper rancher’s wife. In this excerpt, he is attempting to teach her a lesson toward that end and instead is learning some things about the headstrong Eleanor in the process.
“A pig? You didn’t say anything about catching pigs in your letters.”
“I must’ve forgot.”
“You didn’t forget that other thing, though, did you?”
He stopped and jerked me around to face him.
“Little lady, you’d better watch your tone when you’re talking to me. And get that scowl off your face before I take you back into the bedroom and make you late for breakfast.”
I wanted to protest, but I didn’t. Instead, I merely nodded and smoothed down my skirts.
Once downstairs, I welcomed the men warmly, treating them like guests at some fancy dinner party. I gathered up my skirts to sit down at the head of the table, and John Henry took his place at the other end.
I still didn’t want to catch a pig, and I wondered why he was trying to get my goat. In retaliation, I started a conversation guaranteed to nettle a man so set in his ways.
“Did you hear, John Henry? They might start letting women vote in Wyoming.”
“The hell you say.”
“No, it’s true,” I told him. “I read it in the newspaper yesterday.”
“Well, even if they do, no wife of mine’s going to stick her nose where it don’t belong. Which puts me in mind of something else: I don’t want to catch you gossiping and spreading rumors like those women in town, or you and me’s going to have us a problem.”
Something about the way he said that made my nether parts clench up, but it also made me secretly angry.
“What else?” I asked him. “What else is against the rules?”
“Well,” he said, stroking his moustache, “I don’t rightly know. I ain’t had time to sit and think it all out.”
“Then how will I know? How will I know I’ve broken the rules if you don’t even know what they are?”
“Yeah, John Henry,” asked Shorty. “How will she know?”
John Henry set his fork down and looked from Shorty to me.
“Well, I’m a fair man,” he told me, “so I think it’s only right you get a warning. You keep it up after that, there’s going to be trouble.”
“Fair enough,” I said, taking another of Mrs. Allen’s delicious biscuits and breaking it open.
“You ain’t scared of nothing, are you?” he asked me.
“Not too much,” I said, catching John Henry’s eye in a challenging manner.
John Henry stopped grinning and looked like he wanted to pound his fist on the table.
“Good,” said Shorty, oblivious. “I think you’ll do just fine out here, won’t she, J.H.?”
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