Ryder (Prairie Grooms, Book Two)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryder

 

Prairie Grooms, Book Two

 

By

 

Kit Morgan

ANGEL CREEK PRESS

Ryder

(Prairie Grooms, Book Two)

by Kit Morgan

 

Copyright 2014 Kit Morgan

 

Find other titles by Kit Morgan Including:

 

The Prairie Bride Series:

 

His Prairie Princess (Prairie Brides, Book One)

Her Prairie Knight (Prairie Brides, Book Two)

His Prairie Duchess (Prairie Brides, Book Three)

Her Prairie Viking (Prairie Brides, Book Four)

His Prairie Sweetheart (Prairie Brides Book Five)

Her Prairie Outlaw (Prairie Brides Book Six)

Christmas in Clear Creek (Prairie Brides, Book Seven)

 

The Holiday Mail Order Bride Series:

 

The Christmas Mail Order Bride (Book One)

The New Year's Bride (Book Two)

His Forever Valentine (Book Three)

Her Irish Surrender (Book Four)

The Springtime Mail Order Bride (Book Five)

Coming in June:

Love in Independence (Book Six)

 

Prairie Grooms:

 

August (Prairie Grooms, Book One)

Coming in late June
:

Seth (Prairie Grooms, Book Three)

Coming in July:

Chase (Prairie Grooms, Book Four)

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without permission in writing from the publisher.

All characters are fictional. Any resemblances to actual people are purely coincidental.

Cover design by Angel Creek Press, The
Killion Group and Hotdamndesigns.com

 

License Notes

 

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

To all the ladies and gentleman (this means you, Henry) of the Pioneer Hearts Facebook Group, this one’s for you! May our camaraderie and joyous love of western romances continue!  For those of you not familiar with our little group, check it out!  It’s full of authors and readers who love, adore, live, eat and breathe western romance!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/pioneerhearts/

Table of Contents

 

One

 

Two

 

Three

 

Four

 

Five

 

Six

 

Seven

 

Eight

 

Nine

 

Ten

 

Eleven

 

Twelve

 

Thirteen

 

Fourteen

 

Fifteen

 

About the Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One

 

The town of Nowhere, in the Washington Territory, April 1871

 

“The Weaver farm!” Sheriff Spencer Riley stared at his deputy like he’d just grown a horn in his head. “What in Sam blazes possessed you to want to ride all the way out there?”

Tom Turner smiled. “They like hearing my stories. Thought I’d take Rose with me this time, make a day of it.”

“Two days, you mean. You know it takes a whole day to ride out there, not to mention another to ride back. That’s three days, Tom. I’m not sure I can spare you that long.”

“Been quiet
around here, Sheriff, and besides, Billy’s wantin’ to work the extra hours on account he can’t stand being in the same house with his mother in-law. You know how Mrs. Davis drives him plumb loco.”

Spencer smiled. “That she does …” He pushed himself away from the
desk he’d been leaning against, and put on his hat. “I’m going down to the mercantile for some licorice. Do me a favor will you and go through those wanted posters before you leave?  It may be quiet now, but who knows how long it will last.”

“Then I can go?”

Spencer sighed. “I suppose, I know you and Rose haven’t had much time to yourselves since you got married a couple months back. Ahhh, go ahead, but three days is all you’ve got.” He opened the door to leave. “Maybe you’re in the wrong line of work? Seems to me you’d make a fine living telling those stories of yours. Maybe you outta write a book so folks can read them instead of you having to take off for the hills to tell them.”

Tom smiled. “Trust me, I’ve thought of it. But with as many stories as I have, it would take too long to write em all down. I ain’t got that much time, Sheriff.”

“Well, at least you’ll have plenty of tales to tell your youngins’, when you have some that is.”

Tom grinned. “Working on it, why do ya think I want
to take Rose with me this time? It’s a long drive out to Weaver country.”

Spencer chuckled. “Three days, deputy. That’s all I can spare.”

“Understood,” Tom said, his smile still in place.  He watched Spencer leave, then turned to the stack of wanted posters and began to sift through them. 

Most were new posters of the
same outlaws, some of which had already been apprehended. One however was new, and he noted something familiar about the man depicted in the drawing. “T.J. Slade,” he said to himself. “Now where do I know you from?” He scanned the poster. The man’s main crime was kidnapping, and that he’d struck in Colorado, Wyoming, and was last seen heading toward the Washington territory. “Well ain’t you a busy bee?” he said to the poster as he pinned it on the wall. He glanced at his rifle near the door and decided to take it with him, especially if Rose was to accompany him. Who knew if T.J. Slade had managed to worm his way as far as the poster stated.

Tom put on his coat and hat
, grabbed his rifle, and headed out the door. If he and Rose left first thing in the morning, they’d be out at the Weaver farm in time for supper, and Mrs. Weaver was a fine cook. He smiled again and thought of poor Ryder Jones and his new wife Constance.  The woman couldn’t cook a whit when Ryder first married her. Neither could any of her sisters, come to think of it. But Ryder not only taught her how to cook, but things no proper English lady would ever dream of. A good thing too, for Ryder’s lessons on how to survive in the wild had served to save him from a horrible fate and kept him alive. A plumb miracle now that he thought on it, but then, Tom’s tales of Clear Creek were chock full of miracles. That’s just the kind of place it was …

 

* * *

 

The following evening, at the Weaver farm …

 

“Don’t leave any of the blood and guts out!” Calvin demanded. “I know there has to be some in
this
story!”

Tom smiled as he squeezed his wife’s hand. “I promise I won’t,” he told him. “But I might tone it down for the sake of the womenfolk.”

“But I like the blood and guts too,” Rose argued. “Don’t tone it down none on my account.”

“I can take it,” Mrs. Weave
r added as she poured everyone a cup of coffee. “Anybody want more pie?”

“No Ma, we’re fine,” said Arlan, the eldest of the Weaver brothers. He looked at his wife Samijo sitting beside him. “What about you? Can you handle a gory story?”

Samijo swallowed hard and looked at Tom. “How bad is it?”

He leaned toward her from across the table. “It’s got some blood, but if Constance could handle doing what she did, her being an English lady and all, then I’m sure you can handle hearing about it.”

Samijo took a deep breath and put both hands on her coffee cup. “All right, you may begin, I’m ready.”

Tom waited
for Mrs. Weaver to sit, took one last look at everyone seated around the table, and began. “This tale is about the second sister that came to Clear Creek from England to get married. Constance was the curious one of the three, and the one most likely to get herself into trouble. In fact she’s a lot like my Rose here.”

His wife looked at him and smiled. “She had an adventurous side?” she asked.

“You could say that,” he told her with a wink. “Constance was willing to take risks her sisters weren’t, including marrying Ryder without much courtin’. Zero in fact.  Eloise, her younger sister, got busy gettin’ herself courted by Ryder’s brother Seth, while Constance and Ryder (already married) were way out on the prairie trying to finish Ryder’s house. Sadie Cooke warned Constance not to marry up so quick like, but that English miss was stubborn, and once she made her mind up to do something, she did it.

“When did she marry?” asked Mrs. Weaver.

“Not three days after her sister Penelope. Other than a couple of trips into town, no one saw them for days and days.”

“If no one saw them for days, then how do you know what happened?” asked Daniel, the youngest of the Weaver brothers.

“How old are you Daniel?” Tom asked.

“Nineteen.”

“Then listen up, cause maybe you can learn something from this story before you’re old enough to marry. That goes for you too, Calvin and Benjamin,” he said as he addressed the twins. “Listen and learn. There are things that happen out on the prairie that no one knows about.

  The twins were a few years older than Daniel. They glanced at each other before giving their attention back to Tom. “We ain’t gonna learn nothin’ if’n you don’t start the dang story!” Calvin pointed out.

Tom shrugged. “Okay, here we go. First let me point out that Constance had about as much patience as a youngin’ on Christmas mornin’. She couldn’t wait to get married and didn’t care none about the courtn’ part.”

“That’s one thing
I never understood about mail order brides,” commented Mrs. Weaver.

“Worked for me
, Ma,” said Arlan her eldest, as he put his arm around Samijo. “We get along fine.”

“Yes, and that’s a good thing, but things didn’t go so smoothly with Constance and Ryder …

 

* * *

 

Clear Creek, Oregon June 1861

 

“I now pronounce you man and wife,” said Preacher Jo. “You may kiss the bride.”

Constance leaned toward Ryder and pursed her lips together.  He lifted the tiny scrap of veil from her face and did a double take at her tightly
shut eyes and lips. “Ya figurin’ a kiss from me is gonna be bad?” he asked.

Constance opened one eye, her lips still pressed together. She puckered her lips,
then re-pursed them. Pucker, purse, pucker, purse. “How am I supposed to know? I’ve never kissed anyone before,” she said in exasperation.

The
preperation had been quick, the wedding quicker.  As soon as the ladies sewing circle got her dress put together, she pleaded with Sadie (who acted as her main chaperone) to bypass any time spent courting, and get right to it.  Sadie was hesitant, if only because Ryder’s place wasn’t ready to house a bride.  The roof wasn’t done, not all of the windows were finished, heck, as far as she knew, the house didn’t even have a functioning door. But Constance didn’t care about any of that, she wanted to be married. 

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