Our heroine Boston debutante, Julia Crawford, has a secret that is destroying any chance she may have at happiness. Desperate to escape the only other person that knows the secret, her mother, Julia answers a newspaper ad for a wife in South Dakota. In the excerpt below, Julia arrives at the train station in Cedar Ridge.
Julia forced a smile to her face and imagined meeting her future husband for the first time. If she held her purse strings tight enough, Mr. Snelling would never see how badly her hands shook. If she pulled the yellow netting down over her chin, demurely, he would never see her lips tremble and the terror in her eyes. She would nod and speak little so he did not hear the tremor in her voice. She would meet his mother and settle into the small house with her. Maybe Mr. Snelling would take her to dinner tonight. Begin to get to know each other before their wedding next Saturday. Dear Lord, she thought, I’ll be married next Saturday.
The train began to slow down, and Julia could see from the window a huge crowd of people milling about. Banners were hung, and she thought she could hear the blare of an Oompah band. It looked as though the train tracks ran right through the middle of a town that sprawled out in all directions and was larger than she had expected. Her mouth was dry and her nerves shakier with each slowing chug of the train and each passing street sign. Finally the locomotive stopped with a loud steamed belch, and other passengers stood up in the aisle. Julia rose, took a deep breath and wondered what had ever prompted her to reply to Mr. Snelling’s ad.
Julia stood on the step of the train and looked at the vast crowd of people. Her departure from her lifetime home was the least of her problems at this moment. How would she ever find Mr. Snelling in this crush?
The conductor shouted in her ear that her trunks and bags were being deposited on the boardwalk, one car down. Julia thanked him and hurried to find her things. It was difficult, working her way through the throng especially being at best shoulder height with some of the shorter men and women. She found her leather strapped trunk and her other bags and planted herself beside them, looking through the mob for a fiftyish, balding, thin man. It was impossible. She couldn’t see further than a lapel. She stood on tiptoe with no better results. Julia had to get a better view but didn’t want to leave her luggage to find a higher vantage point.
Julia stared down at her trunk. Glory hallelujah. Her trunk. She would stand on it and have a clear view of all the faces milling about. Her mother and Jolene would have a fit if they knew what she was thinking of doing. Better though to imagine their censure than find herself east bound if she couldn’t find Mr. Snelling. She had no doubt her father would be sending someone to escort her home. Julia had to be married when that day arrived.
What circumstances would prompt you to marry a man you’d never met? Are there any?
I love to connect with readers! Please follow my Facebook page for current information about sales and releases. You can also find me on Twitter or check out my Website to read excerpts of all my books and please sign the Guest Book while you’re there. If you’re an Amazon shopper, please like my Amazon Author Page to be notified when my new books are available for purchase.