"BRIDES OF THE WEST is a delightful trio of wonderful stories written by three very talented authors who each based their plot on 'mail-order-brides.' SATIN AND SNAKESKIN by Michele Ann Young--This story started off with a big bang that grabs your attention from the very first words and holds on tight till the very joyful ending. For Jake who was expecting a plain motherly looking but robust bride that could hold her own in the inhospitable land, Tess was a big surprise. She may have been skinny, but she had all the right parts in all the right places and she scared the heck out of Jake. Jake's main problem was would she have the strength to adapt to a hard working ranch, or would he be adding more to his own problems by having to look after her! In fashioning Tess, with a gigantic strength of character and a bit of bull-headedness, Ms. Young clearly laid Jake's problems aside. Interspersing periods of humor with honest dialogs coupled with well built secondary characters, this story that started out as blatant rejection turned into a very lovely and sensual romantic courtship. Well done Ms. Young. GRAY WOLF'S BRIDE by Kimberly Ivey--This was another fabulous story that author Kimberly Ivey gave life and breath to. Ivey managed in this short story to give the reader a huge dose of sensualness, forgiveness, and suspense. Both Evangeline and Gray Wolf were victims of bigotry and hatred. Evangeline's father had almost succeeded in murdering Gray Wolf and then had sentenced his own daughter to a fate worse than death. Incorporating a villain in this story who did not want to see Evangeline have a second chance at happiness, Ivey packs a wallop into this fast paced story with an exciting finale. The reader should be misty eyed at Gray Wolf and Evangeline's story of survival, love and forgiveness. THE CHANCES ARE BRIDE by Billie Warren Chai--This also was a lively and very entertaining story from the talented pen of up and coming writer, Billie Warren Chai. Annabelle was running away from a slavelike existence caring for a father and five brothers--no chance to wed there. Naively believing her intended was a respectable restaurant and hotel owner Annabel set out on a journey and was fortunate enough that her intended was murdered before she met him. Ms. Chai's wonderful interpretation of Josh and Annabel's mutual attraction, coupled with the mystery of who would want to kill Annabel made this a fast paced edge of the seat thriller, and sensual laden romance. Bottom line, is all three of the stories in this wonderful anthology are based on women who gambled their future in blindly accepting complete strangers for husbands. It was a different era when a woman must have a husband to survive and all three of these phenomenal authors wrote exceptional stories featuring fascinating and gutsy heroines and the men who loved them. For an engrossing read with splendid original stories I highly encourage reader's to pick up a copy of this marvelous anthology."--Marilyn Rondeau, Reviewers International Organization
"BRIDES OF THE WEST ANTHOLOGY is a nice collection that shows three very different stories of mail order brides. SATIN AND SNAKESKIN by Michele Ann Young--Aw, cowboys. Ya gotta love them, and Ms. Young does a good job of helping you fall in love with her characters. Not only are they great, but the story has wonderful continuity. SATIN AND SNAKESKIN was a very enjoyable read. Although the ending was predictable, there was an unexpected twist near the end. Jake and Tess are characters that are real and endearing. This type of story is made for rainy, Saturday afternoons. Michele Ann Young has a very nice writing style and is an author to look for.GRAY WOLF'S BRIDE by Kimberly Ivey--Love, love, love it!! From the first page, I knew this was going to be good, but I had no idea how good. Evangeline and Gray Wolf are flawed characters that pulled at every heartstring, not to mention Mac, their son. GRAY WOLF'S BRIDE is a sweeping story that has nonstop action and drama. This story is gripping, sweet, tense, and kept me on the edge-of-my-seat. When secrets are revealed, along with a hideous villain that I personally wanted to rip apart, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. GRAY WOLF'S BRIDE is not to be missed. The only complaint I have is that it is not a full-length novel. Pure and simple, I gotta have more of this author. THE CHANCES ARE BRIDE by Billie Warren Chai--As a mail order bride, Annabelle Yeager has kept her end of the bargain only to find that her intended groom has passed away. While waiting for the next stage heading east, she learns that her fiancÚ, who was known to everyone as a horrible person, has left her an inheritance, the town brothel. Ms. Chai does a lovely job displaying scenes that allow a woe-be-gone character a chance to triumph."--Gardenia,The Long and Short Reviews
"This anthology contains three inventive stories about three intrepid mail-order brides and the men who prove worthy enough to claim their love. These three original stories provide an absorbing read about the dangers of making the wrong assumption and the rewards of finding the right person to love."--Carol, Love Western Romances
"I fear you don't believe the things I've told you."
Oh, he believed her. Elijah Braddock was a hard man and Wolf had no doubt he'd threatened both his and Mac's life. Still, the truth did nothing to quell the hurt.
Her eyes lifted and she met his gaze. "Papa forced me to go to the girl's home in Georgia. He eventually paid Garrick Payne to marry me."
Wolf blew out a breath, not wanting to hear any more. "Hand me my clothes."
She complied. "It's the truth, Wolf. He swore he'd kill you if I ever returned, if I ever contacted you again. The girl's home was Mac's and my only hope of survival."
He shook the wrinkles from his shirt, then flung it aside, anger spewing forth again. "I would have taken you and our child far away where no one could harm us. I would have married you, would have cared for you and Mac!"
"Things were different ten years ago. There was nowhere for us to go. After what happened in Palo Duro canyon the year before with the Comanche, no town would have accepted our union, considering you're half Indian and I'm white. No minister would have married us."
"Enough of this talk."
She implored him with her eyes. "You know what I say is true, Wolf. You were forced to change your name to acquire land. Have you forgotten that fact?"
No, he hadn't forgotten the bigotry he'd encountered all his life.
She drew closer to him on her knees. "Please, Wolf, I can't bear to see hatred in your eyes. I would rather you not look at me at all, than have you look at me with such contempt."
His heart softened. He almost reached out and touched her beautiful face, but refrained. "I do not look at you with contempt, Evangeline."
"But you do! How long before our son realizes you despise me?"
He blew out a breath of disgust. "For God's sake, I don't despise you."
She sniffled. "Yes, you do. You wish I'd go away."
"I never said such a thing."
Her lower lip quivered. "Perhaps not, but two days ago you were prepared to put me on a train back to Georgia, ready to give me an annulment."
True, but only after he'd realized the wrong he'd perpetrated against her. "Only if that's what you wished."
She shook her head. "It is certainly not what I wish. And after what happened between us yesterday at the hotel, I do not think it is what you wish either."
Then he touched her, lifted a few strands of her hair and twirled them around his fingertip. "It does not matter what I want. What do you want, Evangeline?"
"I wish to be your wife. In every sense of the word," she said, quoting him from the previous day.
He watched as she reached up and finished unbuttoning the bodice of her dress and drew it open. "Please do not make me beg you to touch me, to make love to me."
He swallowed hard and stared at her breasts, both surprised and pleased she hadn't donned a chemise or corset. She rose up on her knees and shimmied out of the garment.
Quickly, he dropped the canvas flap behind him. Darkness filled the cramped space.
"What if Mac comes looking for us?" He unknotted the shawl and drew it from his hips.
Cautiously, she struck a match and lit a small candle. Her eyes lifted to his and he heard her breath catch, saw her swallow hard as her eyes caressed him. "I am certain Mac will be no bother. Yesterday I explained you and I need our privacy. He'll not interrupt when we are alone."
After setting the candle aside, Evangeline turned her face away and lay back on the feather tick, clad only in pink, lace-trimmed drawers. She was beautiful, gloriously so, her waist-length golden hair spread out on the pillow, her firm breasts full and luscious, the tips erect and waiting to be tasted.
Wolf knelt and moved closer to fan out her long silky hair among the pillows. He wanted her, wanted the physical pleasure her body could give, yet this would change nothing between them. Ten years of hell, lies, and betrayal still burned hot between them.
She gazed up at him with soft, misty eyes. A part of him wanted to forgive the hurt, but the wound in his heart was too fresh. Perhaps someday, but for now he would take what she offered and hope it would be enough to sustain him.