Emma: Bride of Kentucky

By: Peggy L Henderson

American Mail-Order Brides, Book 15




Introduction





Emma: Bride of Kentucky is fifteenth in the unprecedented 50-book American Mail-Order Brides series.

Forty-five authors come together to bring readers a new series of epic proportions. On fifty consecutive days beginning November 19, 2015, a romance, featuring a mail-order bride, will be published--one set in each of the fifty states. The books will be released in the order the states were admitted to the union  . The stories all take place in 1890, following a day when a factory in the East burns to the ground, leaving these women unemployed and forced to choose mail-order marriages for survival. Share the experiences of these brides as they seek love and new lives across the United States.



Emma Waterston is determined, headstrong, and comes from a lifestyle where class structure determines one’s associations. Left destitute after the death of her mother, she takes a job at a textile factory. When a fire destroys her place of employment, leaving her penniless again, she makes a desperate decision and answers an ad for a mail order bride from a wealthy Kentucky horse breeder.

Sam Hawley is content with his life as a horse trainer on an affluent Kentucky estate. His primary focus has always been on the horses. He views their owners as rich people with nothing to do but flaunt their money. Loyalty to his mentor is the only thing that keeps him rooted to one place. When he meets the bride-to-be of the man he detests the most, his life is about to change.

Too late, Emma discovers the ad she answered was too good to be true. Her future husband is not what she was led to believe and a horrific experience leaves her no choice but to face the kind of life she’s been trying to escape. Kentucky was supposed to promise a return to her life of wealth. What she finds instead will redefine her definition of being rich.





Chapter One





Lawrence, Massachusetts, March 1891



Emma Waterston pushed the door shut with more force than necessary. A cold blast of air still managed to rush into the small room of her apartment. A shiver raced down her spine. She rubbed her hands up and down her arms, and pulled her shawl more firmly around herself. The footfalls down the hall outside grew faint.

Alone again after her cousin, Rose Winchester, had left in such a hurry, Emma sighed and moved across the room. She placed another log in the small pot-bellied stove that stood in the corner. It didn’t take much to draw out the warmth in the place, especially on a cold March day such as today. She wearily eyed the dwindling pile of firewood. Fuel was costly, and her savings were soon depleted, as much as she hated to admit it.

“Time to sell off a few more gowns,” she mumbled. She barely had any decent clothes left.

Her eyes drifted to the front door again. Maybe her cousin had the right idea, after all. Rose was on her way to post a letter to a stranger in Colorado, agreeing to become his wife. Another shiver passed down Emma’s spine. Had it really come to this for the both of them? Becoming some man’s mail order bride was one of the most detestable thoughts that could ever enter her mind.

Then again, their friends, Gillian and Willow, had gone off to marry men they’d never met before, and both of them seemed happy with their lot in life. Emma rubbed at her arms more vigorously in an effort to dispel the unsettling tingles, as if a man had touched her. Only a destitute woman without any other recourse would even consider such a vile notion, and go off to some unknown part of the country to marry a complete stranger. Why, there was only one thing worse, in her opinion.

You are destitute, Emma Waterston.

Even more destitute than when she’d agreed to apply for work as a seamstress at the textile factory at her friend, Gillian’s suggestion. She’d swallowed her pride at the time and accepted the position, as a means to stay off the streets. At least it had been slightly better than taking a job as a scullery maid.

She drew in a deep breath and glanced around the sparsely furnished room of the apartment she shared with her cousin from her mother’s side of the family. It was only the two of them now. The financial burden had been slightly easier to bear when Willow and Gillian had still lived with them. Several months had already gone by since the two women had left to begin their new lives, and the money was dwindling quickly.

Anger welled up inside Emma. Less than a year ago, she’d still lived in her mother’s expansive Beacon Hills home. She’d had servants, the finest clothes money could buy, and not a care in the world. Suitors lined the front door, hoping for her favors. Now, she was one step away from being homeless and begging in the street.

Emma scoffed. Men. Because of her father, she knew their games too well. She’d flirted with would-be suitors over afternoon tea, had allowed them to take her to social events, even lavish her with gifts, but not one of them sparked even the slightest interest in her. Not that she’d ever planned to marry any of them. They’d only come to call on her because of her wealth, just like her father had only been interested in her mother for her money. When the funds had dried up, so had Emma’s callers.

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