Bride for Theodore (Mail Order Mounties Book 0)

By: Kirsten Osbourne

Introduction





Jessica Sanderson knows what it means to love unconditionally. She has doted on the same man for over a decade, and she’s in her early twenties. When that man’s mother asks her to be her traveling companion, she gladly accepts. She doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life sitting in a bank, after all. When the plan changes to something a bit crazy, she drags her feet, but finally agrees, only to have her heart broken in two.

Theodore Hughes remembers Jessica from when they were younger, but he hasn’t given her a second thought in years. When she comes to visit him as his mother’s traveling companion, he’s shocked to find out what his mother has up her sleeve. It doesn’t take him long to think that his mother might be right. But could Jess give up the comforts of city life to be a Mountie’s wife? Or will they spend the rest of their lives alone?





1





Ottawa, July 1910



Hazel Hughes had too much time on her hands, a condition which even the sweet matron of Ottawa admitted was good for no one. Not a single good thing could come from her having too little to do and too much time to do it in. She’d been a widow for fifteen years, and at the beginning of that time, she’d been able to occupy herself by being the best mother a teenage boy could ever want. But now that teenage boy was grown and off saving the world as a member of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, and she was drifting. Drifting in a way that might be dangerous for Ottawa, or worse, for all of Canada!

She stared out the window, watching the bustling street in front of the huge stone house she’d occupied since the day she’d married her late husband. Everyone she could see had a purpose. Everyone but her.

She shook her head. She wasn’t going to wallow, because she wasn’t a wallower. Instead, she’d go to the church and join in the ladies’ luncheon. She’d give counsel to the young ladies of the congregation and teach them how to stitch the perfect quilt block. They were making quilts for the poor, a project she’d organized in a desperate attempt to fill her empty life.

As she was leaving to make the ten-minute walk to the church, she encountered the postman, who had a letter for her from her son—her only child—who was serving as a Mountie in the West. She tore open the letter, desperate for news from him. Reading his words, she pictured him sitting atop his horse in his uniform, his red serge jacket looking majestic.

Dear Mom,

I hope this letter finds you well. Are you still doing your work with the church? I know how important it is to you that the poor in Ottawa have what they need to keep them warm through the winter and fed throughout the entire year. I do hope you find what you are looking for in the good works you do.

As for me, I’m still very thankful that I’ve found my calling here in the West, though there are times I miss your cooking fiercely. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve had good chicken and dumplings? Or just some fluffy pancakes? We Mounties take turns cooking for each other, but none of us have the skill in the kitchen you have.

I know you’re going to tell me to find a wife, but truthfully, there just aren’t enough women here to go around, and a man who stays in one town all the time has a much better chance at courting a pretty lady. No, it seems I’m doomed to bachelorhood.

I hate to cut this short, but it’s time for my rounds. I’m going out with Kendall Jameson today. He’s our newest man at the post, and he needs someone to show him the ropes. I happen to be very familiar with the ropes, so it’s my duty to ride with him.

Sending you love from rainy British Columbia.

Theodore

Hazel hugged the letter to her, dashed a tear from her eye, and marched onward toward the church. There were young ladies there who needed to learn how to make a difference in the world, and today, she was the woman to show them.



Jessica Sanderson looked around the room full of young ladies, thinking all of them had a purpose—well, everyone but her. Her dear friend JoAnn was a teacher, working at disciplining and tutoring young minds. Her friend Lisa was known as the kind soul of the congregation. She visited the elderly and the sick. Only she and JoAnn knew the truth about Lisa—that she was as sassy as she was sweet when no one was looking.

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