I've been working on Colleen, which is the next book in the Mail-Order Brides series. I have my cover ready to go and should hopefully be publishing this within the next two weeks. Here's a bit of the opening scene....in this story, Colleen, who lived with Julia at the boarding house in Boston, decides to head west to Montana and has two Donovan brothers that are interested in her and she finds them both intriguing. Paul is blonde with a sunny personality similar to Liam and David is dark and moody and a bit mysterious.
Back Bay, Boston, 1897
“I’d like to have a really grand dress made. Something suitable for New York City. My husband is treating me to a long holiday weekend. I’ve never traveled anywhere before,” the woman at the front counter admitted. Gibb’s Dressmaking Shop was among the finest in Boston and attracted a wealthy clientele. The shop was located in the heart of Beacon Hill, just steps from Grosvenor Square, the city’s most important neighborhood. When you walked into the shop, you could feel the richness in the air, from the polished mahogany cabinets and woodwork everywhere, to the rows of beautiful fabrics and elegant dresses displayed in the large, bay window.
Colleen Shea was usually in the back room sewing while her employer, Miranda Gibbs, ran the front of the store and met with all the customers. But at the moment, she was covering for her while Miranda ran to the bank to make the daily deposit.
“Well, that sounds exciting. What color were you thinking?” Colleen asked.
The woman standing in front of her looked to be in her mid-twenties, same as Colleen, but her hair was a rather brassy yellow shade. The clothes she wore were anything but grand, so Colleen carefully asked what she was thinking she wanted to spend to get a better idea of what she could work with and which fabrics to show her. The woman mentioned a sum that surprised her as it was high enough to afford a grand dress indeed. Regrettably, Colleen’s surprise must been apparent because the woman quickly said,
“Frank came into a bit of money recently. His favorite Uncle died and left him a business, a house and a healthy bank account. He didn’t have any children of his own.”
“That’s wonderful! Have you been married long?” Colleen noticed a small baby in a carriage next to her.
“It will be a year at the end of this month. We’re going to celebrate our anniversary in New York.”
“That sounds lovely, and very special.” Colleen had never traveled anywhere either and a long weekend in New York City sounded exciting to her.
“We never actually had a honeymoon, so this is partly to make up for that,” the woman admitted.
Colleen showed her some fabric swatches and took her measurements. She was just writing up the order form when the front door chimes twinkled as a man walked in.
“Did you order the most beautiful dress they can make?” The man said to his wife in a teasing, charming tone.
At the sound of his voice, Colleen froze and felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She’d know that voice anywhere, and the woman said her husband’s name was Frank. With her head still down and her pencil shaking, Colleen asked, “What is your full name please?”
“Sally Ann Cummings, and this is my husband, Frank.”
Colleen looked up then, and into the eyes of the man who had said he would love her forever. He had told her this over a lovely, expensive dinner. Frank had been such a charmer and had won her over so quickly. After nearly a year of dating, everyone—especially Colleen, had assumed a proposal was coming.
It did—but the one who received it was Sally after what Frank explained to Colleen was a ‘moment of weakness’ that resulted in her being in the family way. The only thing to do was get married. He didn’t really have a choice in the matter. But, he assured her, it was Colleen that he really loved. As if that did her any good!
“Hello, Frank, it’s very nice to meet you,” Colleen said sweetly and saw the color drain from his face. Typical Frank. He was so self-centered he hadn’t even remembered that this was the dress shop she worked in.
Colleen will be out in the next few weeks, sign up here if you'd like an email alert when it is available, http://bit.ly/AshleyMerrick