NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Wedding bells are ringing on the Double-Bar-K and Luke Matheson is determined to make his move on his favorite bridesmaid—sweet, sexy Mia Start. Though she’s shared his house for more than two months, she’s remained elusive. Luke’s ready to cross that divide, and win her love for good.
Mia would give anything to marry Luke, but he won’t want her once he knows the truth; she’s four months pregnant with another man’s child. It’s time to find a real home—and a real job—so she can raise her baby alone.
When a nosy neighbor exposes Mia’s pregnancy at his brother’s wedding, Luke sees his chance to finally get what he wants. He lays claim to the baby—and to Mia—but their happily-ever-after lasts barely a day. When Luke’s pride clashes with Mia’s need for independence, Mia calls the wedding off.
Can Luke convince her to change her mind? Or will these wedding bells sound the death knell of their relationship?
This book opens with a confrontation between Mia and the father of her child, a meeting with an acquaintance from her pageant days . We then progresses to the breakfast at the Matheson ranch the day of Ned and Fila’s wedding. A trip to Paris might be in the works for Lisa if Holt doesn’t mind his own business when it comes to Luke and Mia.
When Autumn has her baby at home with only Mia and Luke present, Luke confesses he wants to marry her and for them to have a family. Mia confesses she’s already pregnant and Luke finds himself angry, but not a Mia, at the man who did this to her.
Things come to a head at Ned and Fila’s wedding though, busybodies can’t help themselves and they out Mia’s pregnancy. Luke is having none of it and comes to Mia’s rescue.
This is a favorite scene.
“Mia Start—there you are. I was looking for you.” Linette’s voice cut through the murmur of the crowd like chalk on a blackboard. She took Mia’s hand and tugged her closer. “See, I told you there was something different about her, Enid. Mia, you’re getting fat!”
Mia’s cheeks flamed as her mother turned around to look. Surely the old busybody couldn’t have spotted her pregnancy. She searched for a quick retreat. “Sorry, Mrs. Wilcox. I have to go help out in the kitchen.”
“Nonsense. You never could cook. See Enid? What did I tell you?” Her bony fingers wrapped more tightly around Mia’s wrist. Mia saw heads all around them turn her way. Damn it—she had to get out of here.
Before she could move, Linette reached down and patted Mia’s belly, giving a hard push on her abdomen. Mia sucked in a gasp of air.
“I knew it!” Linette crowed. “I know a pregnant woman when I see one! Did I or did I not say your daughter was hiding something, Enid? Mia always was sly. Shame on you, keeping a secret like that, girl. Where’s the ring on your finger?”
Mia thought she would die. Now everyone had turned to look at her. This was the stuff of nightmares—the very reason she hadn’t told a soul except for her closest friends. Her mother turned pale as parchment. Her father stood as still as the statues on Lisa’s mantelpiece. She’d get no help there. They would be thinking of their church—their friends—the same friends who turned a cold shoulder to anyone with a wayward child.
“Mia! Say something!” her mother hissed. “Tell her she’s wrong.”
“I…I mean—” A chill swept over her, followed by another flush of heat. This couldn’t be happening. It couldn’t. Not at Ned and Fila’s wedding.
“See? I was right. She won’t even name the father. You certainly won’t find him in this crowd. I heard Ellis Scranton already left town. Things must’ve gotten too hot for him here. I bet you gave him what-for, didn’t you, Bart?” Linette looked utterly victorious—she knew as well as anyone else Mia’s father was not the type to confront anyone. Mia had a sudden flash of insight—this was about the Easter bazaar. Her mother had been nominated to run it this year. Linette’s face had looked like she was sucking lemons for a week afterward.
“I…it’s—” But what could she say to deflect Linette’s words? She didn’t want it known that Ellis was the father of this child. He was gone and good riddance. But she had to say something, fast. Maybe Ellis was right—she should say it was a one-night stand. Just a guy she’d met at the Dancing Boot. Someone she’d never seen again.
But when she opened her mouth to repeat the lie, she spotted Luke watching her. He stood just ten feet away and his face showed his feelings. Anger. Disgust. A sob caught in her throat. She needed to leave, now. Before she sank to the ground in a puddle of humiliation.
“Mia Start, you tell me if it’s true!” Her mother’s voice rang out, the finger she pointed at Mia shaking.
Mia jerked. She hadn’t spoken.
But Luke had, and every head in the room swiveled toward them at his authoritative tone. Luke stepped to her side with all the calm confidence of a lion strolling through the savannah, and Mia bit back a cry of pain. Why had she told him about her affair with Ellis? Luke was going to expose her. She’d never live it down.
“Mia is pregnant with my baby,” Luke announced to the crowd at large. “We’re getting married. We planned to make the announcement tomorrow.” He clamped an arm around her, which was a good thing, Mia thought. Because she was going to faint.
Luke caught Mia when she began to sag and ushered her into the kitchen quickly, pursued by Mia’s mother. So much for finding Ellis and warning him off. So much for talking things through with Mia after the wedding. He’d started down a road from which there’d be no turning back.
“Luke? Oh, my goodness—what’s happened?” Lisa bustled over to meet them, a spatula still in her hand. Luke helped Mia to a seat at the rustic kitchen table and faced her.
“Linette Wilcox just forced our hand. We had to announce our engagement.”
Mia gaped at him, but he ignored her. As chaotic as this turn of events was, he felt in his element. He was a man of action, not words, and this situation called for action. He refused to let the woman he loved bear the brunt of other people’s wrongdoing.
“Your…engagement?” Lisa’s voice rose to an excited squeal. “You and Mia are engaged?”
“And pregnant,” Enid said, bustling into the room behind them, her face still red with the shock of her recent encounter with Linette. “Don’t forget pregnant, too. Enough to show!”
“Pregnant!” Lisa’s face lit up even more, and it felt like a kick in the gut to Luke. What would she say when she found out the baby wasn’t his? She’d better not say a damned thing.
No one had.
Then he remembered his mother’s words from this morning when he’d said he didn’t see any reason for rushing into matrimony. I’m afraid you will soon.
Had she known?
“When?” Lisa cried. Luke didn’t know if she referred to the wedding or the birth. He squared his shoulders. “The wedding is the first weekend in March. Two weeks from today.”
“Two weeks!” both mothers chimed.
“That doesn’t give us any time to plan,” Lisa said.
“You’ll figure it out.” He clamped a hand down on Mia’s wrist and hoped she understood his message. She was his now. She needed a man and he’d be that man. He wasn’t asking her—he was telling her, the way he should have months ago. And he didn’t care what anybody said.
Seton, Cora. The Cowboy Earns a Bride (Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 8) (pp. 55-59). One Acre Press. Kindle Edition.
Of course it’s not going to be that easy. Mia decides she needs to take charge of her life. She wants to have a career of sorts and no one is taking her seriously. I love the way Mia gets a not only a make-over but starts an event planning business.
Luke isn’t going to have an easy time convincing her to marry him and there’s mysterious notes showing up as well.
Lots of fun and laughter as this story progresses and there’s some tears as well. Oh and some very serious sizzle too.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Cora!
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USA Today and NYT Times bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.
Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini.