Thursday, 1 October 2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015 -

The Reluctant Bride

by Susan Thomas
Published: Aug 16, 2015
Words: 33,233
Category: western, romance
Orientation: M/F
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"Sheriff, thar's a ruckas at the hotel."

The sheriff frowned, he had calmed the town down considerably since he'd taken the job; bad elements had been cleared out and the town worthies were eager to continue that trend. They wanted it to be a place attractive to women and families. The pioneering days were gone; time to become respectable.

He strode across the road, newly made up so that in rainy weather it wasn't a mud bath which no lady could cross, and quizzed his informant as he went. It seemed a man had a woman confined in a room, and there was shouting. Someone thought they'd overheard the woman threatening to shoot the man, behavior the town worthies definitely didn't want. The owner, Bob Giles, was waiting anxiously in the lobby for his arrival, and he was led upstairs to the door of what was undoubtedly the best room.

There was indeed a loud and passionate argument going on, and he could hear in her voice that the woman had been crying. He banged the door loudly.

"Sheriff here, open up."

The argument was silenced, suddenly the door was flung wide open and an angry man waved him in.

"Come in Sheriff, perhaps you can talk some sense into her very stubborn head."

Chapter 1

"No Grandfather, I will not marry Mr. Monroe."

"Ellen, you will do as you're told. You are only eighteen and I make these decisions. Mr. Monroe is a highly respected and wealthy businessman. It will be a good match."

"Mr. Monroe is in his forties!"

Her grandfather snorted. "A perfect age. He will not be led astray, not with a beautiful young wife at home. Now that is an end to it. You will begin to prepare for your wedding day."

Ellen faked a solicitous manner. "Grandfather, your hearing is not beginning to go is it?"

"What do you mean, girl?"

"I said that I would not marry Mr. Monroe."

"Damn you, girl. I'll take a switch to you for your impertinence! You will damned well do as you're told! You'll marry Hector Monroe if I have to drag you down the aisle myself."

"You'll naturally want a society wedding, Grandfather."

Her grandfather eyed her suspiciously. The wretched girl suddenly seemed very docile. "Of course, all the best people must be there. The union of our two families will be an important event."

"I expect you will want the cathedral, Grandfather?"

"Of course."

"Picture me standing next to Mr. Monroe, all the 'greatest and good' of the city present. The minister will turn to me and say, 'Do you Ellen Mary Standish take Hector Monroe to be your lawful wedded husband?' or words to that effect. And I will say, 'no I don't, I am being bullied into this by my grandfather.'"

Her grandfather slammed his fists down onto his desk and rose abruptly to his feet, his face purple with rage.