Mail-order bride Minda Becker arrives in Paradise, Nebraska and eagerly marries the handsome man who meets her stagecoach. His wedding kiss melts her toes. Too bad he's the wrong bridegroom. Having honored his brother's deathbed request to marry Minda, Cowboy Brixton Haynes can't deny he'd like a wedding night with the eastern beauty. But the last thing he needs is to be saddled with a wife and the three children his brother left behind. First chance he gets, he'll be back point riding along the Goodnight. But leaving Minda proves to be harder than he expected.
Norman Dale was simply not the charming father he’d presented in his letters. What other surprises did he have in store for her? Did he imagine her so besotted she wouldn’t mind?
No matter. She’d signed that register pure and simple. He’d made her his wife, and she’d willingly taken him as her husband. For better or worse.
“Sit yourself down. I’ll go get Silly and the rest of the kids,” he said through slitted lips. He raised his brows at the blonde woman and she nodded, leaving them in private.
“The rest of what kids?” Minda’s skin prickled. Deciding to obey him for the first and only time, she sat down.
“Our kids. Yours and mine.”
“Our kids? What in the world do you mean, Norman Dale? You wrote that you’ve got one daughter. Fourteen years old.” Minda’s voice rose and despite the heat, her shoulders tensed with a sudden chill as if a clump of snow had just fallen from the treetops. “What kids? What on earth are you saying, Norman Dale? Your letters didn’t say one single words about kids.”
He glared down at her. “You must’ve misread my brother.” The last two words slid from his tongue in slow deliberation.
His brother? She sat helpless, hopeless, paralyzed against the back of the hard little chair. For a moment, she had no air to speak.
“Your brother? Your brother? What do you mean?”
He leaned close to her, like he had during their kiss, but at her ear he growled, low, “You promised to wed a Haynes today. Well, I’m the only one left. Your Norman Dale, my brother—” His fingers, calloused and hot, held her chin still so he could glare into her eyes, “—is dead.”