Violet's Mail Order Husband (Montana Brides #1)Kate Whitsby / History & Fiction / Romance & Love / Western
Violet’s Mail Order Husband
Montana Brides: Book 1
Copyright © 2014 by Kate Whitsby
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This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places and events are the product of the author's imagination or used fictitiously.
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“You know I don’t approve of your mail-order husband idea, Violet.” Cornell Pollard shuffled the papers on his desk and bristled his eyebrows over the top of his spectacles.
Violet Kilburn lounged her long, slender body on a divan across the room, her brown eyes gazing out the library window at nothing in particular. Rocking Horse Ranch spread out before her, but she didn’t take much notice of it. Her thoughts wandered elsewhere. “Yes, I know you don’t approve, Cornell. You’ve only told me about a thousand times.” She touched her straight auburn hair, put up in curls on top of her head, but didn’t adjust it.
“Whatever possessed you to get a mail-order husband, I’ll never understand.” Cornell laid down one paper and picked up another. “You know, I have young men in mind for you and your sisters, young men who will suit you better than perfect strangers.”
“Yes, I know you have young men in mind for us,” Violet returned. “That’s precisely why we chose to get mail-order husbands. We want to marry men of our own choosing. Surely that’s not too difficult for you to understand.”
“I understand it,” Cornell replied. “I just don’t think it’s a very wise policy. For one thing, you aren’t marrying men of your own choosing. You’re marrying strangers picked out of a hat. You have no notion of these men’s true motive. They might be marrying you for your fortune. Did you ever consider that?”
“Marrying us for our fortune?” Violet repeated. “You mean, like the men you have picked out for us? I can guarantee they would be marrying us for our fortune and nothing else. Of that I am quite certain.”
Cornell’s head shot up and he gaped at Violet. “What has gotten into you, child? I’ve never seen you so petulant before.”
Violet scowled at him from her couch. “I’m not a child, Cornell. I’m twenty-three years old, and I want to get married. That’s all you need to know about it.”
“You’ve never acted like this before,” Cornell exclaimed. “You’ve always been so sensible about things in the past. I worry you’ve quite taken leave of your senses.”
“I haven’t taken leave of my senses just because I won’t do what you want me to do.” Violet turned back to the window. “If I’ve been so sensible in the past, you should trust me not to do anything foolish now. I know what I’m doing, and there’s nothing you can say to convince me otherwise.”
“I only want what’s best for you and your sisters, my dear.” Cornell’s voice took on the pleading whine of an old man with no other weapons in his arsenal. “You’re my nieces and my wards, and I only want to see you happily married to men who will do you credit. I hate to think of you married to some rude cowboys with no refinement or breeding.”
Violet sighed. “I understand you want what’s best for us, Cornell. But there’s no point in arguing about it anymore. My sisters and I will drive down to the train station in Butte to pick the men up off the train today. The deed is done, and you can’t undo it by pestering me about it. So I would appreciate it if you would drop the whole subject.”
“I don’t know if I can do that,” Cornell told her.
“You better do it,” Violet snapped. “Because my sisters and I agree that we won’t stand for you harassing these men once they arrive. If you can’t accept the situation for what it is, then keep quiet.”
Cornell stared at her. Then he shook his head and sighed down at his papers. “I don’t believe I’m hearing this from you, Violet. I just don’t believe it.”
“Believe it.” Violet compressed her lips and kept her eyes fixed on the scene outside the window.
The sunshine of early spring blazed down on the range outside. The green grass disappeared before the viewer’s eyes into the purple and blue of the horizon. A gust of wind sent ripples through the grass.
A split rail fence separated the yard in front of the ranch house from the open range beyond. A herd of cattle ambled by on the other side of the fence, and two or three figures on horseback rode among them and around them. They swung whips above their heads to keep the cattle moving, and a few scruffy dogs ran around barking at the cows’ heels. Even through the window, Violet heard the shouts and whistles of the cattle punchers urging the animals forward.
Violet spotted one of the riders veer off and steer toward the fence. The figure swung down from the saddle, tied the horse to the fence, and climbed over it. Then the lanky rider strode across the yard toward the house.
What was the point of wasting her breath trying to convince Cornell of anything? Heaven knew she’d spent the better part of her life in the futile attempt. He never listened to anything from anyone. He only cared for his own opinion.
She hadn’t relished the idea of contravening his desires by marrying a mail-order husband. She’d spent her life trying to please him. After her parents died, Cornell took over the management of Rocking Horse Ranch as well as the guardianship of Violet and her sisters. So Violet always treated him as a third parent. She never questioned his motives or his competence at handling their affairs.
But when he decided to arrange their marriages, Violet began to question her loyalty to Cornell. When she discussed the matter with her sisters, they agreed they wouldn’t allow Cornell to determine the rest of their lives.
Violet heard a door slam somewhere in another part of the house, and the next moment, the library door opened, and a young woman entered. Her blonde hair hung free around her face, and her sun-kissed cheeks glowed with the flush of activity. Violet exchanged a knowing smile with her middle sister.