Their Reluctant Bride by Vanessa Vale

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

You need a wife and Emily is perfect.”

“She’s just lost her husband. How could she be perfect if she’s clearly not interested?” I angled my head toward the direction she’d gone.

“Her husband gambled and drank to excess. While she never once confessed it, I believe he hit her. He was cruel to her at the very least. She is not the least bit sorry he’s dead. In fact, if she weren’t such a nice person, she’d be dancing on his grave.”

The idea of anyone hurting Mrs. Woodhouse made my hands clench. She was too small, too… dainty—even with her lush curves—to protect herself from the likes of a man Olivia described.

“Then she can find a man she truly likes this time around. She’s young, beautiful. She’s a catch for any man in town.”

Olivia grinned. “So you think she’s beautiful?”

“Any conscious man would think so,” I countered.

“Then you should offer for her.”

I sighed, exasperated. “Why?”

“Because you and Xander need a wife.”

I shook my head. “We do not need a wife.”

“I see the way you look at the couples at Bridgewater. Everyone’s happily married. It’s hard, I’m sure, for you to witness since no one else marries like we do. Like your parents. You want a marriage with Xander like all of us at Bridgewater. Admit it.”

“Of course I admit it. I won’t marry any other way.” I put my hand up. “That does not mean that our bride should be Mrs. Woodhouse.”

Olivia pursed her lips. “She has to marry.”

My brows went up. “Again, why?”

“The bank is taking the ranch. Debts, most of them I’m sure are because of her husband’s gambling. She has no place to go. No money. She’ll have to get a job and there are none, unless she wants to work on her back.”

“Olivia,” I warned.

“What? It’s true.” Olivia took a deep breath. “She’s going to have to marry. A woman doesn’t have any other options. It might as well be you.”

I frowned. “Is that a compliment?”

“Of course, it is. She deserves someone—or two someones—who will be good to her. I know you and Xander would be. Plus, I know her well and she knows about how we marry. I like her. Trust me, you’ll be well suited.”

I turned so I could look at the woman’s retreating figure. Well suited? I had no doubt we’d be very compatible in bed. She would be no hardship to look at. That did not make a marriage, but it certainly helped.

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