TEXAS BRIDE Joan Johnston
A Bitter Creek Novel
Dell
ISBN: 978-0-345-52744-8
April 2012
Historical Western Romance

Chicago, Illinois and San Antonio, Texas 1874

Seventeen-year-old Miranda Wentworth comes from money and privilege.  But that all changed in one day as the Chicago fire of 1871 swept through the city and burnt her home to the ground.  Her three sisters made it out of the house alive.  Miranda ran back in to rescue her brothers, Harry and Nick, but she couldn't save her parents.  She begged their Uncle Stephen to allow them to live with him, but he left them at the orphanage instead, then he walked away and simply forgot about his brother's children.

Now, three years later, Miranda's eighteenth birthday tomorrow will be her final day at the orphanage.  She'll be cast out on the streets to make her own way with no job or anywhere to go.  But fifteen-year-old sister Josephine has a plan.  Unknown to the others, Josephine answered newspaper ads for mai-order brides, and one man, a Mr. Jacob Creed in San Antonio sent first class tickets.  Miranda can leave tomorrow.  After she arrives in Texas and marries Mr. Creed, she should be able to persuade him to send for her sisters and brothers!  Miranda will do anything to escape the heavy hand of Mrs. Birch and her whipping cane.  And it's a good plan, until Mrs. Birch interrupts their secret meeting.  Miranda faces the evil headmistress and never cries out as the woman beats her mercilessly.  Hurt and bleeding, she gathers up the boys, writes a note of explanation for her sisters, and leaves the orphanage that very evening.  She prays that Jacob Creed is an understanding man who will accept his ready-made family.

Jacob Creed never intended to marry again, but with a crippled father-in-law and a two-year-old daughter to take care of, he needs a woman in the house.  He lost his wife nearly six months ago and he can't keep up with all the work that goes into taking care of the household chores, his daughter and the ranch.  Jake was so in love with his wife, he has no desire to take up with another woman, but he needs help. A woman in the house means he can concentrate on maintaining his ranch and keeping it out of his evil step-father's clutches.

When Jacob and Miranda meet, the electricity sparks between them.  Miranda is naive in the ways of marriage, but she'll do anything to help her brothers and sisters.  She'll hide Harry and Nick until after the wedding.  Hopefully, he won't be angry and he'll understand why she needs to get her sisters away from Mrs. Birch.  Marrying a man sight unseen and bearing his babes in order to keep her family safe is a risk she will take.  What Miranda doesn't know is that Jake has no intention of sleeping with his new wife in the Biblical sense.  He will not lose another woman to the danger of childbirth gone wrong.

TEXAS BRIDE is the first novel about the Wentworth children and is part of the Bitter Creek series, but stands totally alone.  Next up is sister Hannah's story, WYOMING BRIDE (December 2012).

TEXAS BRIDE sparkles with bright characterization and sizzling romance.  You'll grow to love Miranda and Jake, and all the Wentworth children, along with Jake's father in law, Slim, his mother, Cricket, and little Anna Mae, Jake's daughter.  You'll be glued to the pages right down to the end!

Diana Risso