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Montana Bride

Cover of Montana Bride

Montana Bride

A Bitter Creek Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A DESPERATE DECEPTION
THE PROMISE OF FOREVER

When Karl Norwood's mail-order bride meets an untimely demise on the way to the Montana Territory, Hetty Wentworth steps in to take her place. Hetty has no idea how she's going to pretend to be all the things she isn't--including the mother of two kids. She only knows her deception is necessary if she's going to save two orphans from the awful fate she suffered as a child.

Karl smells a rat when a much younger woman than he was expecting arrives with two children who look nothing like her. But his mail-order bride is so beautiful, he doesn't object--until he realizes that his charming new wife has been lying . . . about everything. Can a woman forced to keep secrets and a man hindered by distrust ever hope to find happily ever after in each other's arms?

Praise for Montana Bride

"[A] swiftly paced romance."--Publishers Weekly

"Montana Bride is a compelling read and definitely a noteworthy addition to a great series."--Fresh Fiction

"Joan Johnston knows how to spin a story that will get to the readers every time. [Montana Bride] is no different. . . . It was emotional, heartfelt and real. It was honest. . . . It was simply magic from a master storyteller."--Night Owl Reviews

"If you are a fan of historicals, a fan of beautiful descriptive writing, and a fan of steamy romance, you won't want to miss out on Montana Bride."--Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

"Johnston has a keen eye for quirky circumstances that put her characters, and the reader, through a wringer. Laughing one moment and crying the next, you'll always have such a great time getting to the happy-ever-after."--Romance Junkies Reviews

From the Paperback edition.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A DESPERATE DECEPTION
THE PROMISE OF FOREVER

When Karl Norwood's mail-order bride meets an untimely demise on the way to the Montana Territory, Hetty Wentworth steps in to take her place. Hetty has no idea how she's going to pretend to be all the things she isn't--including the mother of two kids. She only knows her deception is necessary if she's going to save two orphans from the awful fate she suffered as a child.

Karl smells a rat when a much younger woman than he was expecting arrives with two children who look nothing like her. But his mail-order bride is so beautiful, he doesn't object--until he realizes that his charming new wife has been lying . . . about everything. Can a woman forced to keep secrets and a man hindered by distrust ever hope to find happily ever after in each other's arms?

Praise for Montana Bride

"[A] swiftly paced romance."--Publishers Weekly

"Montana Bride is a compelling read and definitely a noteworthy addition to a great series."--Fresh Fiction

"Joan Johnston knows how to spin a story that will get to the readers every time. [Montana Bride] is no different. . . . It was emotional, heartfelt and real. It was honest. . . . It was simply magic from a master storyteller."--Night Owl Reviews

"If you are a fan of historicals, a fan of beautiful descriptive writing, and a fan of steamy romance, you won't want to miss out on Montana Bride."--Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

"Johnston has a keen eye for quirky circumstances that put her characters, and the reader, through a wringer. Laughing one moment and crying the next, you'll always have such a great time getting to the happy-ever-after."--Romance Junkies Reviews

From the Paperback edition.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    "Don't you dare strike that child!" Henrietta Went­worth set her plate of hardtack and beans aside and rose from her seat on a fallen log beside the campfire.

    "He's my son. I'll hit him if I want." Mrs. Lucille Templeton had grabbed her seven-year-old son, Griffin, by the arm as he tried to escape after "accidentally" dropping a plate of beans into her lap.

    "Look at my dress!" Mrs. Templeton wailed, staring down at a green-velvet-trimmed traveling dress that was clearly ruined. She tightened her grip until the boy grimaced and said, "This fiendish brat spilled that plate on purpose. He deserves the whipping he's going to get."

    Hetty balled her fists and took three steps to put herself toe-to-toe with Mrs. Templeton. "You will beat that child over my dead body. Let him go."

    "Hah!" Mrs. Templeton snorted. Nevertheless, she loosened her grip, and Griffin jerked free and fled. He disappeared behind the Conestoga wagon in which they'd all been traveling from Cheyenne, in the Wyoming Territory, to Butte, in the Montana Territory, where Mrs. Templeton was destined to become a mail-order bride.

    The hodgepodge Templeton family included the widow Templeton, her nine-year-old daughter, Grace, and her seven-year-old son, Griffin. Hetty had trouble imagining how Mrs. Templeton had produced a daughter as kind as Grace, although she had no doubt how she'd spawned a hellion like Griffin.

    Nevertheless, not one of the three Templetons looked like any of the others or seemed anywhere near their professed ages.

    Mrs. Templeton, with her dyed blond hair, muddy brown eyes, and substantial figure, looked considerably older than twenty-eight.

    Grace was plump, had flyaway red hair and green eyes, and was already sprouting small buds on her chest, which told Hetty she was more likely twelve or thirteen than the nine she professed to be.

    Her brother, Griffin, was a skinny stripling with dark brown eyes and tangled black hair that made Hetty itch to take a brush to it. Hetty figured he'd last seen the age of seven three or four years ago.

    No less odd was the short, slender, but very strong young Chinese man who was their guide, protector, and driver, Mr. Lin Bao, who said he'd come to America ten years ago to work on the transcontinental railroad. Hetty had learned that the Chinese put their family name first, so Mr. Lin's first name was Bao, which he'd told her rhymed with cow. Mr. Lin now worked for the man who would become Mrs. Templeton's husband, Mr. Karl Norwood.

    "If I'd had my way, Miss High-and-Mighty," Mrs. Templeton muttered as she lifted her skirts to dump beans from its folds, "we would have left you to rot in that wagon where we found you."

    Hetty had no doubt of that. She'd never met a lazier or more selfish person in her life than Lucille Templeton. It was appalling that she owed this woman her life.

    Mrs. Templeton had forced Mr. Lin to stop near the apparently abandoned Conestoga wagon because she'd wanted to scavenge whatever remained inside, but someone had already looted the wagon. All she'd discovered was Hetty, dehydrated, weak from loss of blood, and with a wound that had become infected from the arrow deeply embedded in her shoulder.

    If not for Mrs. Templeton's avarice, Hetty would be dead.

    Although, honestly, it was Mr. Lin's doctoring that had kept her alive. He'd used mysterious medicines from the Orient to bring Hetty back to life over the past seven weeks as they'd traveled north. Mrs. Templeton claimed to be a nurse, but she didn't seem to know much about caring for anyone. Hetty shot a quick look at the young Chinaman, who was sitting quietly beside the fire smoking a...

About the Author-
  • Joan Johnston is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many historical and contemporary romance novels. She received a master of arts degree in theater from the University of Illinois and graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. She is currently a full-time writer living in Colorado.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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