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No Match for Love: A Match Made in Texas Novella 3

No Match for Love: A Match Made in Texas Novella 3

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No Match for Love: A Match Made in Texas Novella 3

Bewertungen:
4/5 (29 Bewertungen)
Länge:
139 Seiten
2 Stunden
Freigegeben:
May 6, 2014
ISBN:
9781441263384
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?
Freigegeben:
May 6, 2014
ISBN:
9781441263384
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Native Arizonan Carol Cox has an abiding love for history, mystery, and romance. The author of more than 25 books, she believes in the power of story to convey spiritual truths. Carol lives with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where deer and antelope really do play--within view of the family's front porch. Visit her website at www.authorcarolcox.com.


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No Match for Love - Carol Cox

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DRY GULCH, TEXAS

FALL 1893

Lucy Benson cleared her throat. Walter proposed to me this morning.

Not one of the members of the Dry Gulch Ladies’ Sewing and Prayer Circle gathered in Prudence Whitfield’s parlor missed a stitch.

One corner of Dottie Jackson’s lips quirked up. Again?

Lucy jabbed her needle into the dresser scarf she was embroidering. Again. And to tell you the truth, it scared me a little.

Emilie’s good-natured laugh echoed throughout the room. This makes the sixth time Walter has asked for your hand. Or is it the seventh? I’ve lost track by now. It’s about as surprising as the sun coming up every morning. Predictable, but hardly frightening.

It wasn’t the proposal that scared me, Lucy shot back. It was the fact that I was tempted to say yes.

Dottie and Emilie gasped.

Mrs. Whitfield’s finely arched eyebrows soared toward the white hair coiled atop her head.

Hannah Taylor, who had stopped by for a moment just to say hello, plopped into a chair and stared.

Dottie found her voice first. "You can’t be serious! Marry Walter? How could you even consider such a thing?"

Lucy pressed her lips together. It isn’t like I have much choice, Dottie. It was wonderful of your family to take me in and give me a home after Papa died and left me penniless. But your wedding is only a month away. Once you’re married, I can hardly expect your parents to let me continue staying with them.

That’s where you’re wrong. You’re my oldest and dearest friend, and Mother and Father love you like a daughter. I know they would be happy to have you stay on. It would keep the house from seeming empty after I’m gone.

Lucy knew from long experience there was no point crossing Dottie once she’d made up her mind—even when she was wrong. She forced a smile to her lips and tried to lighten the mood. You’ll be in charge of your own household soon. Maybe you should consider taking me on as your maid once you’re Mrs. Richard Brighton.

A ripple of laughter ran around the room, and Lucy flinched. She hadn’t intended her remark to be quite so humorous.

Gertie Claasen laid her needlework down and wiped tears of mirth from her eyes. What an idea! I can just see you trying to iron linens or clean a floor. Face it, Lucy, apart from embroidery, you’re utterly unsuited for doing anything along domestic lines.

Lucy ducked her head and focused on the dresser scarf, hoping her irritation didn’t show. Still, she had to admit the truth of Mrs. Claasen’s statement. You’re right. I have no domestic skills . . . or any other prospects. Which is why I may have to take Walter up on his offer.

Oh, my dear. Mrs. Whitfield laid her knitting on her lap and reached over to press her hand on Lucy’s arm. It takes more than money and land to give you happiness and a true home.

I know, and believe me, that isn’t my first choice. Or my second. Or my tenth. Walter Harris’s tightly controlled approach to life meant everything had to be done the right way—his way. If she gave in to his demands and agreed to marry him, her every action would have to fit that narrow mold, as well. Just the thought made her feel as though her chest were being squeezed in a vise.

But I don’t have any other place to turn. I simply can’t impose on Dottie’s family indefinitely. I’ve prayed about this ever since I learned about the bad investments Papa made, but God hasn’t opened up any other doors. Lucy drew a deep breath. Maybe marrying Walter is His will for me.

Dottie clicked her tongue. Pastor Eldridge keeps reminding us that God is a loving Father. I can’t imagine marrying Walter Harris being His will for anybody.

Hannah leaned forward, concern shimmering in her light blue eyes. You truly have no other prospects?

Lucy shook her head. Hearing her predicament put into words made the situation seem even more disheartening. I’m afraid not.

Mrs. Whitfield drew herself up and folded her hands. Ladies, we need to take Lucy’s problem to the Lord.

After a round of heartfelt prayers, Hannah excused herself to go tend to her three little brothers, and the rest resumed their needlework.

While the group chattered about a new shipment of fabric that had just arrived at the general store run by Mrs. Claasen and her husband, Lucy’s attention remained focused on her dilemma. And on trying to choke back the lump in her throat.

It wasn’t her fault she’d never learned to be useful about the house. Being raised by a doting father who catered to her every need, she never had to acquire such knowledge. It wasn’t that she was unwilling to work hard. She just didn’t know how to run a home. But surely she could learn, if only someone would give her the chance.

Dottie’s wedding was only a few short weeks away. The Jacksons could hardly be expected to extend their hospitality after their only daughter left the nest. Which meant Lucy needed to find another place to stay . . . and soon.

She wrapped the navy embroidery floss around the tip of her needle to form another French knot. Was marriage to Walter the answer God had for her? A vision of her insistent suitor swam into her mind. Walter, with his watery blue eyes and the jutting Adam’s apple that made him look like a tom turkey. Walter, with the controlling nature that made her feel unable to breathe freely in his presence. True, his family had plenty of money. He could offer her a fine home and servants, every comfort her heart desired.

But would that be enough?

Over the next week, it seemed as if Lucy stumbled across Walter every time she turned around.

On Sunday, he sat across the aisle from her at church and sent meaningful glances her way during the sermon.

On Monday, she spotted him coming out of Claasen’s General Store just in time for her to beat a hasty retreat down a nearby alleyway.

On Tuesday, she spied him loitering across the street when she and Dottie emerged from the dressmaker’s shop.

Was God trying to tell her something?

When Dottie’s mother tapped on Lucy’s bedroom door on Wednesday afternoon and said she had a visitor, Lucy felt almost resigned to her fate. She checked her appearance in the oval mirror and descended the staircase, feeling a bit like a French aristocrat walking to the tumbrel.

To her surprise, Pastor Eldridge awaited her in the parlor.

I’m here on a mission of mercy. He smiled. Shall we sit down?

Mystified by his cryptic statement, Lucy gestured to a wingback chair and settled herself on the settee opposite.

Pastor Eldridge folded his hands and peered at her over his pince-nez. It has come to my attention that you are in a rather desperate situation. I want you to know you’re in my prayers. . . . Although, I must say I’m a bit saddened that you didn’t confide in me about your plight.

Lucy’s eyes widened. Pastor Eldridge knew all about her dire financial straits. What else could he mean, unless . . .

Walter came to see me yesterday and asked me to talk to you. He wanted me to help plead his case.

He didn’t! Lucy gasped and half rose from the settee.

The pastor waved her back to her seat. Don’t worry. As your pastor—and friend—I don’t believe it would be in your best interests to be joined to Walter in matrimony. Unless, of course, that is where your inclination lies?

Heavens, no! The words blurted from Lucy’s lips before she could stop them, and she felt her face flame. That is . . .

Pastor Eldridge shook his head. Say no more. I’ve known Walter since he was barely out of knee breeches. I understand your feelings completely.

Oh. So maybe God wasn’t trying to coerce her into an unwanted match?

That being the case . . . Pastor Eldridge reached into his coat pocket and drew out an envelope. Walter wasn’t my only visitor this week. I was asked to deliver this to you. He tapped the envelope on his knee, then handed it to Lucy. This just might be the answer to your prayers.

Thoroughly baffled, she took the sealed envelope. Without pausing to find a letter opener, she wedged her finger under the flap and tore it open. A single sheet of paper lay inside. When she drew it out and unfolded it, a slip of cardboard fluttered into her lap. Lucy picked up the small rectangle and gave it a quick glance. A train ticket?

Her pastor nodded. Read the note.

Lucy smoothed the paper and began to read:

Andrew Simms of North Fork, Texas, is looking for a companion for his widowed aunt, Martha, whose dearest wish is to remain on the ranch she owned with her late husband. Andrew is concerned for her welfare, but he can’t be at the ranch all the time. Finding someone trustworthy to stay at the Diamond S with his aunt would relieve Mr. Simms’s concerns for her welfare. If you choose to accept this position, you would be helping not only yourself, but this dear saint who would love to finish out her years in the place that holds so many happy memories for her.

Lucy took her time folding the paper, pressing the creases into sharp lines while thoughts tumbled through her mind. She looked back at Pastor Eldridge. Where did this come from?

I’m afraid I can’t tell you. He answered Lucy’s incredulous look with a rueful smile. I realize that sounds odd. I do know where the note came from, but I promised not to reveal the identity of the person who wrote it.

Lucy pressed her hand to her throat and tried to slow her racing heart. A ticket. The promise of a job—one far away from Walter’s unrelenting pursuit. It sounds like an answer to prayer.

Then common sense asserted itself. It also sounds too good to be true. How could I accept this offer without knowing anything about it? It would be like buying a pig in a poke.

Pastor Eldridge tented his fingers. "I understand this puts you in an unusual position. While I’m bound to keep the writer’s name a secret, I can tell you I have the utmost confidence in this

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4.2
29 Bewertungen / 7 Rezensionen
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  • (5/5)
    Great book inspiration and interested. Another look at early American history
  • (3/5)
    7/10

    I think Novellas in this genre have a decent shot at being, well, decent. A lot of the things that I complain about when reading historical christian romances (such as: stereotypical characters, way too predictable plots, and drawing out the obvious in attempt to create tension and suspense thereby making the ending sweeter just to name a few) don't really have the time to develop in a novella. If they do dip into any of these areas, it's easily forgiven due to consideration for length.

    When I heard that this was being published and that Karen Witemeyer was one of the authors, I was very eager to get my hands on it. I don't know if I didn't read the plot synopsis very thoroughly or if it's not mentioned, but imagine my surprise when the opening line tells of an Archer's story. !!!! Yay! I thought to myself, cozied up in a blanket with a warm mug of cocoa and snow gently falling outside my window, "it's like Christmas again." Short straw bride was possibly the first book of this kind that I really fell in love with, because of how different it was. I might have loved Stealing the Preacher even more. My only disappointment with this story is that I believe it's the last of the Archer tales (unless Ms. Witemeyer does something unheard of and writes more stories about them, focusing on their married life. I vote for this!) and I would have preferred a full blown novel to a novella. It's like getting a fun size candy bar instead of a King size.


    Surprisingly, I liked the second story even better. I've only read one other book in this genre featuring a blind woman and it was just awful. This one was very well done and interesting. A couple of parts were a tad melodramatic and cliche (but it's a novella! there wasn't time to flush these things out!) for my taste, but it was different. I didn't feel like I was reading a story I've read a thousand times before, even though I knew where it was going. Reading about how a woman in that time period might approach blindness was very interesting to me. I also liked how Clayton viewed his scars as if they were lit up with fire, yet everyone else noticed them, but were more struck by his good looks. Isn't that the truth? Our perception of ourselves is rather distorted and we often let our insecurities get the best of us. Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised by this author. I'm going to have to look up some of her other books now.


    The third story I was not particularly taken with. This is probably because extreme drama (fires, kidnappings, dirty dealings, really any kind of danger that directly and aggressively threatens a character's life/wellbeing) comes off as very cheesy to me. Rarely do I read a book with one of those events and think to myself, wow. Unless it's a sarcastic 'wow.' On the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm very impressed when daily activities and turmoils are portrayed very honestly and accurately (like Lawana Blackwell's Gresham series for example). Anyway, this story was set up to be more exciting with an unwanted aggressive suitor, potential insanity, frequent threat of being shot, trespassers with ill intent and fire. All of which rubbed me the wrong way. I did learn something though- I had not previously known that you could burn tea. I guess it makes sense since you can also scorch coffee. I just never thought about it before. It's amazing to me, the conveniences of modern life that we never even think twice about, which is one of my favorite things about reading historical fiction- being transported to another time and learning something new.


    I almost did not read the last story by Ms. Connealy. I had attempted to read a book of hers before- one of the Kincaid Bride series- and it just was not my taste at all. But I felt it wouldn't be fair to ignore her in this review, nor mention something about how her style isn't my taste, without even giving it a try. So I resolved to take a few tentative steps into the story. My first thoughts were that the language didn't fit the period. But before I knew it, I was really into the story. What sets Ms. Connealy apart is that she allows her characters to have flaws and she allows them to be wrong. Some of the characters development happened too rapidly, but in a short story, an authors options are limited. I wonder how she would approach these themes in a full length novel. I also liked Hannah's resolve to marry a man of faith and how she acknowledged that the really only left one man in town. Her reasons for putting romance on the back burner (and Mark's giving her space) were genuinely good reasons. I actually liked the super fast pace. I feel like a lot of historical romances really drag out major changes and decisions, so the abruptness was refreshing, and also, probably accurate for the time. Life did happen in the blink of an eye. People, family members, did get sick, did die, did marry etc at a much faster pace, usually, than today. A couple other tidbits- I liked that Mark blushed and how their families blindsided them into a shotgun wedding.

    There were a couple of things that, though they did not stop me from devouring the story, did take some of the glossiness off.
    1. Hannah and Mark's character lines blur a little. They use the exact same phrases (someone moving like a locomotive, and "poor Marcus," "that poor girl," "his poor lip" etc) that sometimes made me feel like I was in the head of one person and not two.
    2. Along the same lines, Hannah immediately realizes that Marcus is probably shy, as he acknowledges it to himself. And then, at the end of the story, she seems to have forgotten that and states that she thought he didn't like her and just went out of his way to avoid her. Maybe I misunderstood, but these thoughts didn't seem to match up.
    3. Chapter 11- the declarations of love and feelings- was just not my taste. It was too over dramatic for me. I do believe that there are many different degrees of love and that feelings, once sparked and acknowledged can consume like a wildfire. So I'm not saying this would never happen, just that it's not the kind of love story that makes me smile stupidly all day, unless I get to see that story play out for a long while to come (like in Short Straw Bride for example).
    4. And this is super minor, but I love historical romances because I like being transported, wholly, back to those times. It bugs me when it's half baked (characters having modern concerns, conversations, goals, opinions etc- like modern people plucked into a different century) and so any anachronisms stick out to me like a sore thumb. The biggest one to me was the conversation about kids at the end of the story. While it's true that not every family was a big one, people did not have control over the number of kids they had like they do today. Maybe the conversation was meant to be more cute than serious, but I just couldn't see it taking place.


    I think this is the longest review I've ever written, but considering there were four seperate stories in one, it's not too crazy. All in all, this was a sweet collection of novellas, with my favorite being An Unforseen Match by Regina Jennings.

  • (4/5)
    The Synopsis:

    “In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can’t keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she’s also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?

    A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer

    Neill isn’t sure who hired him to repair Clara’s roof–he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?

    An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings

    Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace’s doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though–and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on.

    No Match For Love Carol Cox

    Andrew can’t fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?

    Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy

    When the tables are turned and a tender-hearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker’s son how much she cares for him?”

    My Review:

    My mom read this book, so she has supplied me with a review:-)

    Each of these books takes place in the same town and they all tied together at the end. The first had a little mystery in it and had a few funny parts. The second book was very sweet and had a curve-ball that was nice to read. The third had some action and was pretty funny in places. While the fourth left me frustrated because of how the family operated, but it did work out nicely in the end.

    The overall book was sweet and it was nice to see as the reader, that God was in control of every situation throughout the story. However, the book did have quite a bit of description that had me just skipping paragraphs at a time. Also, each story is extremely predictable. But, this book was nice to read and I did enjoy reading it.

    “I received this book from Bethany House for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are my own.”
  • (5/5)
    A Match Made in Texas: A Novella Collection by Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Carol Cox is a very enjoyable read and provides a lot of laughs and leaves you feeling happy. In the first story, A Cowboy Unmatched, Neill is hired to repair the roof of Clara, a young widow who is also pregnant. Clara is determined that she will never love and marry again but Neill works to change her mind. In the second story, An Unforeseen Match, Clayton is on his way to the Oklahoma Land Rush and stops in Dry Gulch to earn enough money to be able to participate in the land rush. He answers a classified ad put in the paper by Grace but to his surprise it is not the ad he thought it was. In the third story, No Match for Love, Lucy has come to Andrew’s ranch to care for his aunt and her arrival causes many bizarre things to happen.. Lucy and Andrew work together to solve the mysteries and soon other feelings develop between the two. In the fourth and final story, Meeting Her Match, the matchmaker has the tables turned on her as she is now the one being matched up with a possible husband.All three authors did an excellent job in the development of all the elements in these four novellas. Characters were brought to life on the pages of the book and I found myself cheering each one on and hoping that they would find a true and lasting love. The dialogue was many times extremely funny and gave me some good laughs. Even the serious dialogue was true to life and very interesting. As I was reading the different stories I found myself submerged in the action that was taking place. These three authors have an ability to bring characters and their dialogue to life.I highly recommend this book to everyone that likes a good romantic story with a happy ending and in this book you get four such stories.I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
  • (4/5)
    Dry Gulch, Texas is a town in need of some romance. A meddling matchmaker sets things in motion for some very strong women dealing with hardships to find good and faithful men to help them tackle their problems head on. And with that help comes some serious romance. A Match Made in Texas is a novella collection written by some of the best authors in the historical romance genre – Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings and Carol Cox. With their talents you get a very satisfying collection of sweet and sassy tales. Each novella stands alone, but shares their beginnings in Dry Gulch along with some supporting characters. The main characters are well-developed and the plots, though quick to develop, never feel rushed or thinly written. Each story was my favorite, until I read the next one! All are great and fit February’s month of love or anytime you need a romance fix.If you like female characters that are determined and independent, male characters that are hunky and faith-filled, your romance clean with a little bit of heat and a story set in the Old West then you need to grab A Match Made in Texas.Recommended.(Thanks to Bethany House for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful read! I'm a fan of these Christian authors and love everything that they do individually. So, when I saw this collaboration with them all together, I jumped at the chance to review this. I was not disappointed! These four lovely authors have taken the heart of Texas circa 1800s and brought it to the reader full swing. I felt like I was taken to the center of the story and made a part of romance, fun, and matchmaking beyond compare! I could feel the dust in my face, I could hear the stagecoaches rolling in, and see the beautiful dresses worn in that time. That's a plus for me when I'm completely transformed into someone from historical times! My favorite story in the collection was Karen Witemeyer's A Cowboy Unmatched. I loved watching Neill and Clara together. Neill's character was sweet and loving, and Clara was cautious and captivating. The two of them together made a fun loving pair and I had so much fun following along with their story! This collection is definitely fun and worthy of high 5 star praises. Each author has a talent beyond words and lend the perfect blend of sweetness to the novella! Grab this up if you're looking for a charming, historical romance novella about match making antics, sweet friends and a bit of laughter! --**Disclaimer: This book has been provided to Reviews By Molly free of charge by Bethany House via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of this title. No money has been exchanged for this review. This review reflects the opinion of the individual reviewer and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any other RBM reviewer or this blog’s owner, editor or administrator.
  • (5/5)
    A Match Made In Texas has four different Novella’s to read and enjoy!A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer:I loved this novella for the simple reason the author wrote about Neill Archer. Oh how I love those Archer Brothers. Neill is the youngest and he feels it is time for him to venture out on his own and make his mark in the world. He is tired of being treated like a child. He ends up in Dry Gulch, Texas and sets about looking for work. Enter the, very pregnant, beautiful widow Clara Danvers and watch this story unfold. This is one you don’t want to miss!An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings: I loved how this Novella ties in with the first story in this book. We read about familiar places and familiar character names.Grace O’Malley is forced to leave her teaching duties because of her declining eyesight. She has now been banished, if you will, to the old homestead that belonged to Clara Danvers. However will she survive being alone but dependent on others to bring meals to her?Clayton Weber arrives in Dry Gulch long enough to earn some money to replace his horse Sal that broke his leg by stepping in a jackrabbit hole. Clayton is on his way to the Cherokee Strip land run. It is his only hope to have a ranch of his own.Will Grace survive on her own or will help arrive? Does Clayton finally reach his dreams of owning his own ranch?Through sheer determination of two lonely souls and God’s hand in their lives we read about their courage, faith, and love. No Match For Love by Carol Cox:Lucy Benson learns upon her Father’s death, because of bad investments he made, she is now penniless and dependent on her friend’s family. Not wanting to impose on them any longer she accepts a companion position for Martha Simms in North Folk, Texas. She isn’t sad to leave Dry Gulch behind and the likes of Walter Harris who wishes to marry her.Andrew Simms, Martha Simms nephew, meets Lucy at the train station and cannot believe someone as refined as Lucy would accept this position to be a companion for his widowed Aunt.There are a few mysterious and strange things that happen a short time after Lucy arrives. Will this bring Andrew and Lucy closer together? Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy:Once again we find ourselves back in Dry Gulch. Hannah Taylor has been a successful match maker and is quite pleased with herself. Now she is wondering if she is destined to be a lonely spinster for the rest of her life. Is there anyone out there that might be a match for her in the future?Hannah is a school teacher and loves her job, at least she did until some unforeseen things take place that steals her joy. I found my heart going out to Hannah. Will she ever know true happiness?Marcus Whitfield works in his Dad’s bank. He has admired Hannah from afar for many years. He is positive she could never be interested in a shy man like him who doesn’t talk much. Is it possible that someday he might get up the nerve to tell Hannah how he feels?I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well as the other three novellas. If you want some good stories to read this is the one. You will love it!I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Bethany House Publishers to enjoy and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.