Authors: Linda Bridey
Tags: #mail order bride in old westmail order bride old west romancemail order brides western romancemail order brides westernmail order western romance
Mail Order Bride:
Montana Mail Order Brides: Book
Copyright © 2014 by Linda
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This is a work of fiction. All
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author's imagination or used fictitiously.
First Printing, 2014
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“Let’s have a walk in the park before
going to Stanton’s, shall we?”
Maddie gave Theo a smile. He was a
handsome young man only a couple of years older than her twenty-one
years. He wore his dark hair slightly long and a lock of it fell
attractively over his forehead. Theo Wilson and she had grown up
together and Maddie had always thought of him as a brother. His
green eyes glinted with mischief and good humor.
“What are you up to, Theo?” she asked
as she narrowed her blue eyes at him.
“Why do you think I’m up to something?
It’s a pleasant night and I feel like stretching my legs a bit,
that’s all,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders.
Maddie knew Theo’s penchant for playing
pranks and was slightly leery of his motives.
Theo gazed at her with a serious
expression. “Madelyn, I promise this is not a joke. I just feel
restless, that’s all. I have my boards in the morning and my nerves
are getting the best of me. Help a fellow out, huh?”
Maddie relented. She knew how much
passing his attorney licensing tests meant to Theo and he’d been
studying very hard and could use a respite.
“Since you put it that way, perhaps a
walk would be good for you at that,” she said.
“Splendid! Murdock! To the park. Look
sharp, man!” Theo called to the driver.
Murdock started the horse out at a fast
trot and they soon left the O’Connor residence behind. It wasn’t
long before they reached the park and Theo helped Maddie down from
the carriage and told Murdock to wait for them there. Murdock
assured his young master that he would stay put.
Theo took Maddie’s hand and they walked
along the lit path. Walking hand in hand was something they did
sometimes and Maddie thought nothing of it. She looked up at the
stars and smiled as she found the Big Dipper. This was by far the
best place to see the stars since there weren’t as many lights
around to dim their brilliance.
Following her gaze, Theo found it as
well and smiled. Maddie had always liked the stars. He looked at
her in the moonlight and her platinum hair looked even paler, more
ethereal than it normally did. Madelyn O’Connor was one of the most
beautiful and sought after women in the city and it wasn’t unusual
for several men to be crowded around her at balls and
She turned to look at him and he smiled
at her. “I see it. What is it about the Big Dipper that fascinates
you? Surely there are more exciting constellations to look at,” he
“It’s because of Papa. When were little
and came to the park at night to see the stars, we always imagined
what would be in it. You know; is it milk? Coffee? We would choose
one and he would make up a story about how it got there or who put
it in there. I think Tessa gets her imagination from him,” Maddie
Theo smiled. “How is our
“She’s quite well, actually. She’s very
happy with her husband and their children. I wish they would come
for a visit so I could meet them. I’m sure their little one is
adorable,” Maddie said.
“Oh, yes. They had a little boy. What
did they name him again?”
“Michael, but they call him Mikey. Dean
started that, I believe,” Maddie said.
Theo nodded. They neared the bridge
leading over the brook that ran through the park. He stopped her
and held her hand a little tighter. “Maddie, I need to talk to
Maddie turned to him and was intrigued
by the serious expression on his angular features. “What is it,
“I want you to know how much you mean
to me,” he said. “We’ve known each other for such a long time and
I’ve enjoyed every minute we’ve spent together.”
Maddie smiled. “So have I.”
“I love you, Maddie. I always have,”
“Theo, you know I love you,
Theo could tell from her easy tone that
she didn’t realize what he was saying.
“No, I mean I love you as a man loves a
woman. I’m in love with you,” he said and dipped his head and
brushed his mouth against hers.
Maddie pulled away and laughed at him.
“Theo! What are you doing? I knew you were trying to pull a prank
on me. Now let’s go to Arnold’s and stop this
“I’m serious, Maddie. I’ve been in love
with you for so long but never had the courage to tell you until
now,” Theo said and encircled her waist with his arms.
Maddie pushed at him as he brought his
mouth down on hers. She turned her head to the side and tried to
avoid his kiss. “Theo! Stop this instant! Let me go! We’re just
“That’s the problem. What I feel for
you isn’t something one feels for someone who’s just a friend,”
Theo informed her and held her even tighter.
“I’m sorry, Theo, I didn’t
“Can’t you see how perfectly suited we
are? Our families are close; we share the same interests, and have
so much fun together. Why shouldn’t we be together?” Theo
Maddie said, “Because I don’t love you
in that manner, Theo. I’m not romantically attracted to you. Now I
demand that you release me!”
Her highhanded attitude brought out an
explosive anger in Theo. Maddie watched in horror as she saw Theo
change from her good-natured friend into an evil-faced stranger.
His eyes took on a furious gleam and his mouth twisted in an ugly
snarl. The first blow came so swiftly that there was no time for
her to react. It made her head swim and she reeled
Theo hauled her back to him and struck
her on the other side of her face and Maddie felt her left eye
begin to immediately swell. Self-preservation kicked in and Maddie
began to fight furiously, scratching and kicking. No man had ever
touched her in a violent manner and she’d be damned if she was
going take Theo’s abuse like some weak-willed woman.
Her further resistance infuriated Theo
even more and he hit her harder and faster. Maddie fell as her
senses became muddled from pain and dizziness. Theo was on her,
ripping her bodice and trying to do the same with her gown and
“If I can’t have you willingly, I’ll
take you any way I can,” he told her. His tone was hate-filled and
his voice coarse with rage.
Maddie still struggled, although she
knew it was futile and there was no way she could hold off Theo’s
assault. Through the fogginess in her pain-riddled mind, she heard
“Hey! You there! Leave her alone!” a
male voice came.
Theo looked up and saw the man coming
at him. He gave Maddie a last shake that bounced her head off the
trail and then ran.
The man knelt next to Maddie and was
shocked to see the awful state she was in. The woman, whom was with
him, took her battered hand gently in hers. “It’s all right, Miss.
You’re safe now. We’re going to help you. We have to get her to the
John saw how badly Maddie’s bodice was
torn, exposing her bare flesh. He took off his suit jacket and
wrapped it around Maddie to cover her. Then as gently as he could,
he picked her up and carried her to the street were cabbies tended
to sit and wait for customers.
“Ashley, hail that cab over there,”
Ashley did so and informed the cabbie
of the situation. The cabbie helped John get Maddie into the
conveyance and he cracked the whip at his horse and they took off
at a canter.
Geoffrey sat with his wife in their
front parlor reading one the financial papers to which he
subscribed. Maureen worked at a particularly difficult piece of
needlework. She sighed and Geoffrey looked over at her and
“If it frustrates you that much, why
not quit it and word on something else?” he asked.
She flicked an annoyed glance at Geoff
and said, “When have you ever known me to give up on something just
because it was difficult. If I did that, you and I would not be
Geoff laughed at that. “’Tis true,
lass. It’s lucky for me that you didn’t cease your pursuit of
“You weren’t the only one being
pursued, if you remember correctly. We led each other on a merry
chase,” Maureen responded.
“Right again. You have to admit that
there was a lot of fun moments involved, though.”
“Yes, there were,” she
The front doorbell chimed and they
looked at each other. It was nearly eleven and they wondered who
could be calling at that time of night. Mrs. Duncan had been sent
home for the night and they’d also given the butler, Richard the
night off. Geoff answered the door and was surprised to see a
police constable standing on the stoop.
“Hello. Can I help you?” Geoff
“Are you Mr. O’Connor?” the man
“Might I come in, sir? I have something
of a serious nature to discuss and I don’t think you want to talk
here,” the policeman said.
Geoff stood back and motioned the man
into the foyer. Maureen came out of the parlor.
“What’s happening?” she
“Well, ma’am, I’m sorry to inform you
both that your daughter, Madelyn, was attacked tonight in the
park,” he said shifting from foot to foot. He was obviously
uncomfortable at having to impart such terrible news.
“What?” Geoff said.
“Attacked? By whom?” Maureen
“Apparently, it was a family friend.
Theodore Wilson,” the policeman told them.
Maureen put hand to her bosom. “Theo?
But, they’re friends. Why would he do such a thing? Never mind that
right now. We need to get to her.”
Geoff asked, “What is her
“Very serious, I'm afraid. It was a
brutal assault. I have a carriage out front to take you to the
hospital,” the policeman said.