Lassoing the Virgin Mail-Order Bride

By: Alexa Riley

A marriage of convenience. Someone to warm his bed and cook his meals. He hadn’t said it in such blunt terms, but I could read between the lines. Though I didn’t know why a man as handsome as Cash needed a mail-order bride. Handsome was putting it mildly. He’d given me one picture of himself and said it was the only one he had. It looked like it was taken without him knowing. He was on top of a horse, a stern expression on his face.

I couldn’t make out his hair with the Stetson on his head or his eye color, but there was no hiding he was attractive and massive. Intimidating was the best word I could use to describe him in the picture. I couldn’t imagine a man like him needed to get a mail-order bride, but here I am. Something about not needing the tangles of love. This wasn’t going to be hearts and flowers. We would each do our part.

His words were cold, and at that, I’d pushed the idea of finding my Prince Charming out the window. When I’d first found out about the Cowboy Mail-Order Bride Program, I’d let those little romantic ideas dance around in my head, but it was clear from the emails and the fact that he couldn’t even bring himself to pick me up today that he hadn’t been lying. This is all for convenience.

He didn’t even ask for a picture of me. All he wanted to know was if I could cook, clean, and work a computer. That had pretty much been the gist of it. The agency did a background check, and I’m not sure what-all they’d given Cash of it.

I close my eyes, and soon the hum of the truck puts me to sleep. I don’t know how long I drift, but the touch of a hand to mine wakes me from my sleep.

“We’re here,” Earl says. I look out at a large ranch-style home made completely out of wood. A deck wraps around the whole thing and I see white swings on the porch. The double front door is a dark blue, giving the home a welcoming feeling.

I open the truck door, wanting to see more, but Earl grabs me by the wrist.

“Wait for me.” He exits the truck, coming around to my side to help me down.

There’s land as far as I can see, with barns speckled here and there.

“It’s beautiful here.”

Earl just nods in agreement before going back to the truck and getting my bag. A few men step out of the white barn closest to the house. Both raise their hats, saying hi. I nod back at them.

One thing I’d always loved about growing up on a ranch was that there were always people around. And I love to cook. Mama and I could cook for hours for the men, and it was worth it to see their faces light up when they came in after a hard day of work. It made me feel needed, a part of something. I want that feeling again.

“Let me show you inside.” I follow Earl up the porch stairs. He opens the doors to the house, leading right into the living room. Everything is minimal. It looks like a woman has never even stepped foot in here. The walls are bare, and the only furniture consists of three sofas facing a giant television screen. The living room is open and connected to the dining room and kitchen.

The dining room has a wooden table that could probably seat fifteen people at it, but the kitchen steals the show. I find myself standing in it, not even realizing I’d moved. The countertops are all granite. The island has a sink of its own. One wall has four ovens built into it. The stainless steel appliances practically sparkle. I think I’d marry Cash just for this kitchen alone.

“Brand new,” Earl says, breaking through my kitchen high.

I turn to look at him still standing in the living room as he watches me.

“How many hands are here?”

“Total is eighteen people if you count yourself, ma’am.”

I could definitely handle eighteen people in a kitchen like this. I glance over at the clock. It’s already one in the afternoon.

“Dinner time?” I ask as I start to pull open drawers, looking to see where everything is.

“Six,” I hear him say from behind me as I find an apron and pull it on, tying it behind my neck and making sure not to catch any of the blonde spirals that have come loose from my ponytail.

“Well, I better hop to then if I want to have dinner done by then. I’m guessing that my adoring soon-to-be husband has no plans to marry me today since he couldn’t even be bothered to pick me up.” I turn, putting my hands on my hips.

Earl just smiles. Again.

“No, I don’t think he has plans to marry today.”

I give a curt nod before getting back to the task at hand. Not even married and I’m already mad at the man. But I think this is how our marriage will be. I’ll see him at meals and when he comes to bed. A bed I’m sure I’m supposed to be in. That was never outright said, but that is what married people do.

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