Award-winning author Linda Carroll-Bradd creates a heartwarming holiday story in A VOW FOR CHRISTMAS, part of the Spinster Mail-Order Bride multi-author series.
Suddenly left on her own, spinster Vika Carmichael answers an ad for a mail-order bride then travels to Colorado Territory to marry a rancher. She needs security but hopes for love. But Chad Rutherford appears to still love his late wife. Their differences drive them apart until a threat arrives on the doorstep.
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Mister Rutherford straightened. “We’d best collect your luggage. Come along, children.” He urged them forward.
She was left staring at the back of the three people who looked like a self-contained unit. Did room exist for her in any of their hearts? Shoulders drooping, she trudged behind them, wishing for a strong arm to lean on. On the platform near the freight car rested the trunk holding all her clothes, accessories, and valuables. Next to it were two wooden crates packed with kitchen items, linens, blankets, and her mother’s porcelain tea set. On top of the crates sat the wicker basket holding her beloved pet.
The baggage clerk lifted a hand. “Ah, Miss Vika. She’s been whimpering the last few miles.” He lowered the basket to the platform and worked to loosen the rope knot.
“Thank you, Mister Frederick, for all your good attention.” She reached into her reticule and pulled out a dime for his tip. Maybe extravagant but the clerk took good care of her Biscuit. Then she leaned down to drop her carpetbag before lifting the lid with one hand and slipping the other into the slim opening to grab Biscuit’s collar. “Calm down. I’m here.” Once she was sure the dog wouldn’t escape, she slid in her other hand to grab the leather leash and clipped it on. With a shove, she flicked back the lid.
Biscuit jumped out then shook herself before running her nose along the platform boards.
“What in blue blazes is that thing?” Frowning, Mister Rutherford pointed.
“She’s my dog, Biscuit.” Vika hurried to the platform edge and let her pet run down the four steps to the dirt to take care of her needs.
“You wrote nothing about bringing a pet.” He scoffed and waved a hand in the air. “And a scrawny dog, at that.”
After a moment, Biscuit hopped back to the platform then trotted toward the children, tail wagging like a flag in a stiff wind.
Her stomach rolled.
Both children looked at the dog then glanced at their father’s frown.
Would the presence of this surprise pet invalidate their agreement? Tiredness swamped her. “You never wrote that I couldna.” Needing the comfort of a warm being who loved her, she scooped up the dog, hugged Biscuit to her bosom, and kissed her furry head between her pointed ears. “Actually, you never wrote much of anything.”