Lassoing the Virgin Mail-Order Bride

By: Alexa Riley

When I was there, I was just too young, and all the men treated my mama and me with respect. The owner, Mr. Blackwell, demanded it, not that it even needed to be said. Everyone was like family to me, or the closest I’d ever had to one. I’d never known my father, and I was an only child. Then after we left, I was in and out of hospitals with my mama until she died. Men weren’t even on my radar.

I knew this was coming. Had been thinking about it since the moment I signed on for the whole mail-order bride thing, but having it pressed against my ass was making it all too real. He wanted me, and I didn’t know what to do with that. I was excited, happy, scared, and nervous all at once.

“All done,” I chirp, trying to jump up from Cash’s lap, but his arm comes around my front, snaking around my waist and pulling me back down into his lap. Everyone’s eyes come back to us once again. This is like dinner and a show for them or something.

“Eat. You’re too small.” My stomach knots at his words. The first thing he says about me is negative. The hunger I had been feeling is now gone, the knot filling its place.

Maybe he should have taken me up on the offer to send a picture of myself. Then he would have known what he was getting. I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I saw his picture. It was clearly too good to be true.

I jerk from his lap, harder this time, and he releases me with a grunt.

“Earl, you ever buy a stud without getting a look at him first?” I ask, taking a step away from Cash, not looking his way. I know his eyes are trained on me. Just like everyone else’s in the room.

“No, ma’am.”

“I didn’t think so. You’d think Mr. McCallister would know that, being as he owns a farm.” My eyes finally go to his. He’s staring up at me, shock clear on his face. “Maybe you should’ve had a look before you got me. Could’ve passed and found something a little more to your liking.”

With that, I turn and head towards the kitchen, but then I stop, not knowing where to go. I’m not even sure which room I’m supposed to be staying in.

I turn to see everyone still just staring at me, but I lock my eyes on the front door, my new destination in mind. I have to get away from everyone looking at me and kick myself. I just told Cash he could get rid of me. What if he does?

“Don’t you go running off,” Cash says as he stands from his chair like he’s going to stop me if I try. All the man can do is boss me around and insult me.

“Well then you can have the couch,” I huff before turning again, heading towards the hallway that has to lead to a bedroom or something. Stopping in the bathroom, I grab the bag I’d left in there earlier when I changed, and I start opening doors.

The first leads to an office that looks like a paper explosion occurred inside it. I quickly shut the door because if I look at it even a moment longer, it will get the best of me and I’ll start angry-cleaning, something I’m prone to doing.

The next door leads to a bedroom that looks just as minimalist as the rest of the house. A giant bed sits in the middle. I drop my bag right inside before closing the door. My finger hovers over the lock, but I decide against it. This isn’t my house.

I walk over to the bed and throw myself on top of the white comforter, praying Cash doesn’t send me packing first thing tomorrow morning.

Chapter 4


I stand there as I watch her walk away. I should probably go after her, but I think right now she could probably use the space. I’ve been less than welcoming, and I know it.

“Levi and Brandon, you two are on cleanup duty tonight. Once everybody’s finished make sure that kitchen sparkles. We don’t want Mrs. Clare having a mess in the morning when she fixes breakfast,” Earl tells everyone, and I’m glad he spoke up. I can’t seem to string two coherent thoughts together, and it’s good to know he’s looking out.

Turning, I walk out the front door without saying a word and sit on the porch swing, looking out towards the sunset. Then I put my face in my hands and think about what the fuck I’ve gotten myself into.

She’s beautiful. She’s the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I want to keep her. I didn’t think I was ready for a wife, and I still may not be. But seeing her has done something to me, and I don’t know that I can hold back. I didn’t like the men looking at her, but I don’t know how to keep that from happening.

Hearing footsteps in front of me, I look up to see Earl standing there holding out a big plate of pie for me. I take it and he sits down beside me on the swing, taking a bite of his dessert.

“Damn. I do believe that little thing can cook,” he says around a mouthful of pastry.

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