A Bride in the Bargain Part 45

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She nodded. "You did, but I haven't had time to sew it up yet."

He shrugged off his jacket and laid it on her lap. "Well, put mine on, then."

"No, no. I'll be fine."

"Put it on."

"But then you won't have anything."

"Put. It. On."

"But, Joe . . ."

He turned to look at her. Slowly, slowly. "Don't make me stop the wagon." His voice held a mixture of teasing and seriousness.

She tilted her head. "And just what exactly do you think you'd do then, Mr. Denton?"

He gave her an exasperated look. "For the love of the saints, Anna. Put the stupid thing on."

A breeze cut straight through her clothing. Smiling, she tucked the jacket over her shoulders. Warmth immediately encompa.s.sed her along with the now-familiar smell of cedar, which still lingered after a week away.

The farther they went, the thicker the forest grew. Many trees had long since lost their leaves, but the conifers were still verdant. Shakespeare's hooves made a suctioning noise in the mud, lulling her with its repet.i.tive rhythm.

Her eyes grew heavy. She allowed herself to close them for just a minute, then jerked her head up when her chin bounced.

After the third time, Joe pulled her onto his lap. "Here, little robin."

She grabbed his shoulders to steady herself.

"You're going to tumble right off the wagon. Just close your eyes and see if you can get some sleep. We're still a long way from home."

A long way from home? Wrapping her arms around his waist, she snuggled close. She wasn't a long way from home. She was already home. And there was no place she'd rather be.

AUTHOR ' S NOTE.

The premise for this book is based on fact. Asa Mercer was a real man who did, in fact, collect three hundred dollars from the bachelors of the Was.h.i.+ngton Territory in exchange for eastern brides. I managed to find copies of a couple of contracts that Mercer used, and the contracts for the women differed considerably from the contracts for the men!

His scheme garnered quite a bit of media attention. The newspaper clippings I used were real ones, though I confess to condensing and combining a few of them in order to make them more manageable (they were really wordy back then). And in the case of the wedding announcement toward the end of the book, I exchanged Joe and Anna's names for a real couple's.

As often as I can, I try to include real anecdotes in my novels. Though Bertha Wrenne was a creation of my imagination, there was an actual account of a woman on the Continental who "lost" her teeth during a bout of seasickness, and the other women on the boat nicknamed her "Toothless." There was also a woman onboard who was in active pursuit of a husband and was described in a journal as being "as old as the Flood."

As hard as it may be to believe, the letter of warning that Anna received from her father was based on an actual letter written by a Civil War soldier to his daughter. The man was, in fact, killed and some sweet girl back in 1866 really did feel responsible for her father's death. So tragic!

Doc Maynard was an actual person and instrumental in Seattle's birth and growth. If you visit the city today, you'll see his influence everywhere. I'm pretty sure he wasn't doctoring anymore by 1866, but he was such an intriguing character that I couldn't help but include him. I hope I did him justice.

When I started this book the only thing I knew about lumberjacks was that they were big, burly men who chopped down trees. You would not believe some of the stories I uncovered. I could never have used them in fiction-they were too unbelievable! So if you read something and thought I was exaggerating, I wasn't.

I found accounts of men who climbed trees the way Joe did-with no more than an ax and a springboard. They also thought nothing of jumping from ridiculous heights to get down from their work or to escape a falling tree.

One thing I left conspicuously out was the spiked (caulked) boots that lumberjacks are famous for wearing. I looked and looked but could never find reference as to when spiked boots were first used. In all the research I did, they were never mentioned in any of the early records I found. So I left them out. If I am in error, please accept my heartfelt apologies.

I couldn't convince my sister that they really did have redwoods in Was.h.i.+ngton. They weren't like the ones in California or Oregon, but they definitely had them. So I promised I'd put a disclaimer in for the rest of the doubting Thomases out there.

One of the things I found peculiar was the complete lack of information about what happened between Mercer and the fellows who paid three hundred dollars for brides that never showed. Nothing is recorded-at least not that I could find. So I guess we'll just have to use our imaginations.

Last, I had to bend the timeline a little to suit my story. The real Mercer girls started arriving in Seattle in May 1866. But if I'd done that, then Joe and Anna would've had to go to town for a Fourth of July celebration and I just did a Fourth of July thing in my last two books. I didn't want to do another one. Nor could I afford to have Anna go to town and find out about Bertha.

So I made Anna's boat land in Seattle on July 8. Not at all accurate, but necessary for my story. The rest of the Mercer-girl timeline was as close as I could get to being accurate.

All in all, I fell in love with Seattle. If you ever have a chance to go, please do. The bluest skies and greenest hills you'll ever see really are in Seattle.

Blessings, Deeanne.

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Shocked at the unrefined way of life in Gold Rush San Francisco, prim-and-proper Rachel van Buren is about to learn an eloquent but humorous lesson on what truly makes a lady.

The Measure of a Lady.

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After deciding the Lord has left her to find a husband on her own, Essie Spreckelmeyer writes down the names of all the bachelors in town, closes her eyes and picks one. But convincing the lucky "husband-to-be" is going to be a bit more of a problem.

Courting Trouble.

A Texas-Sized Tale of Unexpected Love.

She's a headstrong woman. He's out to prove himself to the world. When their worlds collide, is it love or are they deep in the heart of trouble?

Deep in the Heart of Trouble.

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Books by Deeanne Gist.

A Bride Most Begrudging.

The Measure of a Lady.

Courting Trouble.

Deep in the Heart of Trouble.

A Bride in the Bargain Part 45

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