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God made romance, we just need to use it properly

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously.

 2018 by Barbara Goss

All rights reserved

 

First Edition May 15, 2019

Printed and bound in the United States of America

B07NXZQZ8T

Coming soon in Audio!

Cover by Chautona Havig

Copyright: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

All scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this book is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage system without express written permission from the author.

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Chapter OneChapter Two

Chapter ThreeChapter Four

Chapter Five         Chapter Six

Chapter Seven Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine           Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen    Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen     Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen           Chapter Twenty

                           Epilogue

 Sneak Peak / Grace

All the Prairie Roses Collection Titles

Chapter One

February 1862 — Independence, Missouri

Callum Butler locked the small trunk, put the key on a string, and put it around his neck. He smiled. Now, all he needed was a wife. He had to appear as a casual traveler. A young couple traveling to a new life in Oregon would be perfect. The last time he traveled West, he'd ridden a horse on his own, but this time he had his special trunk and all of his belongings.

The wagon trains usually started to form around April in Independence, so he had better find himself a wife by then.

After Callum had brought his prairie schooner to Independence from Kansas City, he put an ad in The Matrimonial News.  His plan was to bring a woman to Independence for marriage. His ad read: Wanted: A young woman to marry and travel the Oregon Trail. She needs to be proficient in cooking over an open fire and strong enough to endure the hardships of the trail.

Callum bought the supplies he’d need for the trip and checked the post office several times a day. He finally had a few replies to his ad, and he read each of them carefully. The job of selecting the right person would be harder than he’d thought. Each day, he received another two or three letters, and he started making piles: "No" and "Maybe."

By mid-March, he'd narrowed his applicants down to just two women: a Millicent Parker and a Hope Carlson.  Millicent lived in New York City, and Hope lived in Quincy, Illinois. Both women were orphans, and that appealed to Callum. He didn’t need in-laws breathing down his neck. His own parents were bother enough. They were always telling him to settle down in Kansas City and start a family while he wanted adventure. Besides, he’d found a much better way to make money.

He measured the two women's attributes. In her letter, Millicent had said she was single and age thirty, while Hope had said she’d lost her fiancé in the Civil War and she was twenty-two. Hope could get to Missouri faster since she was from Illinois. He threw Millicent’s letter into the “no” pile and took out a pen to answer Hope’s letter. He figured that if she’d already been betrothed, she must be decent-looking. He wondered why Millicent would be single at age thirty unless she was plain. He also figured that the younger the woman was, the stronger she’d be and that would be an asset on the trail. He sent Hope a train ticket to Independence with instructions as to what to bring along.

 Hope Carlson and her best friend, Betsy Wheeler, sat in Hope’s small flat above the barbershop, laughing over tea.

“And then Edward gave me flowers with a bee in them,” Betsy said.

“You’re joking.”

Betsy held her right hand up. “Honest. It was the worst courtship, but then he sort of grew on me. It will be an interesting marriage.”

Hope leaned over and hugged her friend. “I’m so happy for you.”

“It’s time you caught up, girl. You haven’t even been courted since George, and you’re gorgeous.”

Hope sighed. “Betsy, I’m not gorgeous. My hair isn’t blonde, red or brown, but something in between, and my face is too long. My eyes aren’t green like yours or blue, they’re a boring shade of brown.  Besides, the love of my life was killed at Fort Sumter.”

 “Your hair is the color of honey, and your brown eyes are extremely becoming.”

“I just haven’t found anyone I want to be courted by is all. George was the love of my life, and I still dream about him.”

Betsy pulled a newspaper from her pocket. “That’s why I brought you this.”

Hope took the newspaper and opened it. “The Matrimonial News?”

“Yes. There are several good ads and think of the adventure. Look at this one.” She pointed an ad she’d circled.

“That does sound tempting.”

Betsy stood. “I have to dash. Edward is taking me to meet his parents, and I really need to spruce up a bit. You can keep the newspaper. Give it some thought.”

Hope did nothing for two days except read and re-read the newspaper ads. The circled one really tempted her. Traveling by wagon train all the way to Oregon would be an adventure. She’d never cooked on an open fire, but how hard could it be? Should she answer the ad?

There was a knock on her door,

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