A Bride for Luke

By: Cyndi Raye

 Book #1_ Sons of Nora White

Chapter 1

Prologue 1870’s

Nora White stood in front of the boarding house on Main Street in Wichita Falls ready to make a deal with the devil. Well, perhaps not the devil. She heard many great things about the matchmaker Miss Addie. She wouldn’t be here if she had heard any different. It didn’t help her nerves were all over the place.

“Only the best for my sons,” she whispered. Her voice caught the wind as a man walked by, tipping the rim of his hat in greeting. “Good day to you, ma’am.”

Nora tucked back strands of dark lustrous hair peppered with gray. If there was one thing her husband always said it was she had a great head of hair. A slight smile curved her lips at the nostalgic thought. She still missed Robert so much. He had always taken the time after a long day to place a hand over her cheek and tell her how beautiful she was. He had done it every single day no matter how exhausted he was after a hard day’s work on the ranch they owned.

Enough day dreaming, it never got her anywhere. Squaring her shoulders, she stood in front of the big door and lifted a hand to knock.

Before she made contact, the door swung open. A beautiful woman stood there, one of advancing age but well groomed with dark hair and wearing a lovely, expensive gown. “Welcome to Wichita Falls, Mrs. White. Please, do come in.”

She held the door open while Nora contemplated spinning around and walking away.

It wouldn’t get her sons a good wife if she did so.

Miss Addie led her to the dining room table, offering her a seat while picking up a tray from the side board. “Let’s have some tea,” she offered, setting a cup in front of Nora.

“Thank you, Miss Addie. I’ll get straight to the point. I hear you are the best match-maker in the whole of Texas and beyond. Is this true? I want only the best for my boys.”

Miss Addie smiled. “I suppose you are referring to my one hundred percent success rate? You’ve come to the right place, my dear. Now, what is it you want me to do for you?”

Nora sighed. This Miss Addie was certainly sure of herself. When the decision came upon her to find her sons good Christian women, the others in church told her of Miss Addie’s success. She had immediately sent a letter not expecting a reply so fast. Within two weeks, the woman had replied with an appointment to come see her. Two hours later, she found herself smack dab in the middle of the Main Street of Wichita Falls. “I’ve heard this town is mostly filled with mail-order brides that you are responsible for?”

“You heard correctly. I’ve chosen the best grooms for the lovely ladies and the most suitable women. This is my life, Miss White. I don’t mess around or truffle with tender feelings. You may expect the best, top-notch service from me.”

“Thank you.”

“Now, tell me about you?”

“Me? Why me? I have no interest in a man? I want this for my three sons.”

Miss Addie leaned forward, setting her tea cup on the saucer with a delicate hand. “Miss White, in order for me to find your sons a good, Christian wife, which is what I believe you said, I’ll need to know all about the woman who raised them. Fair enough?”

Nora nodded. “I suppose.” She didn’t like to get personal with others but this was for a good reason. Her sons were her world, her life.

“Tell me about you, Miss White.”

“First of all, please, call me Nora. I’ve been a widow for ten long years now. The boys lost their father and I lost a good, hard-working husband when rustlers tried to steal some of our cattle. He was wounded by one of them and never recovered.”

Miss Addie steepled her hands. “I’m sorry for your loss. What is it that brought you to me, Nora?”

“I’m getting older. From the day my husband died, the boys have taken over the ranch. When I tell one of them to go find a nice, sweet Christian woman, they shrug it off, determined to be there for me. I’m not going to be here forever, Miss Addie. I want them each to have a full life with a wonderful woman and not take care of an old lady, but they won’t try to find their own happy life.”

“You are hardly old, Nora. Why, there are plenty of eligible men who would agree with me.”