Unconventional Series Collection

Unconventional Series Collection by Verna Clay Read Free Book Online

Book: Unconventional Series Collection by Verna Clay Read Free Book Online
Authors: Verna Clay
Tags: Romance, Historical, Literature & Fiction, Historical Romance, Western, Westerns
Cora's handshake. "Please call me Abigail…or Abby," she
    Brant said, "Luke, help me unhitch the
horses and move them to the corral."
    * * *
    While the men tended the horses, Cora smiled at
Abigail. "You come with me and I'll introduce you around." She looked
at Jenny. "My goodness, Jenny, what a pretty dress!"
    "Miz Abby fixed it up for me," she beamed,
and turned in a circle. Laughter caught her attention and she looked past Cora
to children playing tag. "Miz Abby, can I go play?"
    "Honey, you go play to your heart's
    Jenny started to run toward the children,
paused, and turned back to Abigail. "I'll come back and help you with Ty
in a little bit."
    Abigail shook her head. "No, you just play
and have fun. Ty and I will be fine." She glanced at Cora to see an
approving look.
    Cora grasped her elbow. "Com'on and meet
some folks." A wonderful lightheartedness entered Abigail's heart. She
felt connected to Cora and these hardworking country people. She almost felt
like she belonged there.
    Her hostess led her to a group of elderly women
sitting on chairs and benches beneath the tallest oak. "Howdy, ladies. I'd
like ya'll to meet Miz Abigail Vaughn. She's a friend of Brant Samson. Abby,
this is Miz Mina Priestly, Miz Vera Simpson, Miz Kathryn Nantucket, and Miz
Sadie Thomas. And, of course, ladies, you know Ty Samson."
    The baby clutched Abigail's neck and twisted to
look at the food table.
    "I'm very pleased to make your
acquaintances," said Abigail.
    "So you're the mail order bride," said
Mina Priestly. The way that baby's clingin' to ya, looks like Brant's done good
in pickin' ya out. Why don't cha grab a seat next to me so's we can get to know
each other."
    The other women heartily agreed with Mina.
    The wail of a child captured everyone's
attention and Cora said, "That's my youngest. Better see why he's carryin'
on so. 'Scuse me, ladies."
    Abigail sat on the bench beside Mina and set a
squirming Ty on the ground. She laughed, "I may only be able to stay a
minute if he takes off running."
    Vera said, "I understand. I raised ten
youngins meself. Didn’t get any rest 'til I was in my sixties."
    "So when's the weddin'?" asked Mina.
    Abigail bent over quickly to keep Ty from
putting a stick in his mouth, grateful for the distraction. Still leaning over,
she said, "Ah, I'm not sure."
    One of the women clucked and Mina said, "No
doubt it'll be soon. Brant's an upstanding young man and wouldn't do anything
to tarnish your reputation."
    Another buckboard rolled up near the corral and
Sadie said, "It's the Pitts. Wonder why they came? They don't usually
associate much with the other ranchers."
    "Aw, come on Sadie," said Mina.
"You know Lola's been tryin' ta hog tie Brant into marriage since she was
sixteen. I imagine she's right miffed that he's gettin' his wife from a
newspaper advertisement."
    Abigail continued giving all her attention to
Ty. This wasn't a conversation she wanted to participate in. Mina reached an
arthritic hand to pat Abigail's knee. "You keep an eye on her, hear? She's
as sneaky as the day is long. This is her last chance to snag Brant and she
knows it."
    Abigail nodded because she didn't know what else
to do.
    "Mina's right, lookey there." Sadie
    Abigail glanced back at the Pitts to see Brant
and Luke had left the corral and Brant was lifting Lola down from the wagon.
When he set her on the ground, she stepped close to him and reached to touch
his shoulder.
    "See what I mean, Abigail," said Mina.
"Maybe you should mosey on over there and lay claim to your man."
    "Ah, ah…I-I…"
    Kathryn said, "Mina, stop embarrassing the
girl. She's an easterner and they don't do things the same out there."
    "Oh piddle, a man's a man and a woman's a
woman and a floozy's a floozy, no matter how you spell it out."
    Abigail was saved further embarrassment when Ty
took off running. "Excuse me, ladies. It was nice chatting with you."
    Ty ran to the tables of food with billowing tablecloths.
Giggling, he

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