WESTERN ROMANCE: A Ranch to Call Home (Texas Romance, Mail Order Bride Romance, Clean Romance, Christian Romance) (Clean and Wholesome Romance)

WESTERN ROMANCE: A Ranch to Call Home (Texas Romance, Mail Order Bride Romance, Clean Romance, Christian Romance) (Clean and Wholesome Romance) by Grace Warren Read Free Book Online

Book: WESTERN ROMANCE: A Ranch to Call Home (Texas Romance, Mail Order Bride Romance, Clean Romance, Christian Romance) (Clean and Wholesome Romance) by Grace Warren Read Free Book Online
Authors: Grace Warren
him. Annoyed, he pressed his lips
together.
               
“I have a proposition for you,” she said. “Please, just listen…”
     
               
After Alton’s father walked out on his mother several years ago, Alton stopped
believing that people got married because they were in love. As far as Alton
was concerned, when two people got married, they were simply making an
agreement that at least one of them wasn’t going to die alone. It was shallow
and idiotic, and he never thought he would ever be a part of such an
arrangement. But, to be fair, he had never thought he could profit it.
               
Marriage for money and a luxurious lifestyle? Who would have thought?
     

 
    Mary Anne, 1887
     
    Kansas City,
Kansas
     
               
Marrying a stranger and then having his family move into her father’s home…the
process of it all was much easier than Mary Anne thought it was going to be.
Her father agreed to pay for the tutoring of Alton’s siblings, all of whom were
interested in it. And, of course, her father agreed to pay for Alton’s mother’s
medical bills. After that, life was nice again. Well, except for the people she
now had to deal with every so often—those people being her father’s friends,
people her father had heard about, people who her father thought were
important—just…people.
               
“So Alton Smith and his entire family are moving in with you and your father?”
one of these people had asked her at the wedding. He was a business man of some
sort, and based on his judgmental and belittling tone, he did not approve of
the future living arrangement.
               
Anger had twitched within Mary Anne’s psyche, but she smiled through it. “His
mother has taken ill, and he has been staying close to her and his younger
siblings throughout it all.” She brought a hand up to her mouth and blinked
hard. “For a while, they didn’t think she was going to make it.”
               
“Oh my,” the man had said, sounding guilty and horrified. “How awful.”
               
“He’s a good man, Alton Smith,” Mary Anne continued, making her tone watery and
dramatic. “He is exactly the kind of person I want to be. And I want to be
close to him and my father—close to family, always. It is the honorable thing
to be.”
               
At the time, the weight of her lies—of her exaggerations, hadn’t bothered her
in the slightest, and that in itself bothered her. Was lying second nature to
her? Was her heart so cold that being immoral didn’t faze her?
               
Mary Anne mentally shook these thoughts away. It was silly to fret about the
past and such, especially when life had returned to the way she wanted it to
be.
               
She was in her study and sitting in an armchair in the corner. A novel was in
her hands, and, though her mind kept drifting, she actually found the story
interesting. She took in a slow breath and shifted in her seat. Life was good.
It was.
               
She returned her attention to her book. Or she tried to, but then she
remembered lying to someone else—someone whose name she couldn’t even remember—about
how Alton came from a wealthy family who worked in timber. She hadn’t even
known what that meant—working in timber. Did they chop down trees? Did they
sale land with timber on it? Were the buildings in which they worked made out
of timber? What did working in timber mean exactly? But she had said it, the
person had believed her, and Mary Anne was clearly a gifted liar. How awful.
               
Mary Anne clenched her teeth and closed her book. She decided that the guilt
and confliction that made her stomach churn was unfair. She had been doing
right by her father. By telling people the truth about Alton, she would have
humiliated him more so than he already was. Now that would have

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