Here Come The Brides – Marriage of Convenience

Romance. Weddings. June has got it all. And as we kick off our special event week here at the Junction, we’d like to invite you to join us for some Filly wedding excerpts. No two weddings are alike, so all this week we will be featuring different themes. Vicki and I will start the ball rolling with two marriage of convenience scenes. One from Short-Straw Bride and the other from Marrying the Major.

Vicki and I will also be drawing winners from those who comment. So tell us something about your own wedding or one you attended to be entered to win a copy of either Short-Straw Bride or Marrying the Major!

Excerpt 1 – Short-Straw Bride

“It’s not too late to change your mind, you know.” Meredith’s husky whisper met Travis’s ears before he’d fully turned.

A gallant denial sprang to his lips, but the moment he saw her, his ability to speak vanished. She was a vision. Her honey-colored hair rolled against her head in thick, soft twists accented by loops of blue ribbon with long tails that draped along the side of her neck. His fingers itched to follow the trail of those ribbons, to brush the tender skin at her nape.

Her lashes were lowered, and he wondered at her shyness until he recalled that he hadn’t answered her comment. “Meri, look at me,” he murmured in a quiet tone that no one would overhear.

Those thick, dark lashes lifted slowly, and the blue of her eyes, made even more vibrant by the blue of her dress, pierced his heart. Her teeth nibbled her bottom lip as she forced her gaze to hold his.

“I’ll not be changing my mind.”

Her shoulders relaxed and a tentative smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. His own mouth curved in response. Then he remembered the awkward bouquet he’d brought. Feeling a little sheepish, he raised his arm and held it out to her.

“It’s not much, but I thought you might like them.”

Her breath caught and for a moment she did nothing but stare at the rustic offering. Unable to see her eyes, Travis’s doubts grew. “I know they’re just a bunch of weeds, so don’t feel like you have to carry them. It was probably a stupid idea anyway.” As his mumbled excuses tapered off, Meredith’s head snapped up.

“Don’t you dare call them weeds, Travis Archer. They’re glorious!” Her eyes glistened with a moisture he didn’t understand. “No bride could have a more beautiful bouquet. Thank you.”

The softness of her palm caressed his knuckles as her hand circled the stems, and the contact had an odd tightening effect on his chest. He offered her his arm and led her over to the parson.

To be honest, Travis didn’t remember much of what the preacher said during the brief ceremony. He supposed he answered at the appropriate times and vaguely recalled Meredith doing the same, but when the parson announced that he could kiss the bride, his senses came on high alert.

How did one kiss a bride he’d never expected to have, one he’d known less than a week? Thinking to buss her chastely on the cheek, he leaned forward. But somehow his mouth found her lips instead. The kiss was brief, gentle, but exquisitely sweet. If not for the hoot Neill let out, he would have returned for another.

A pretty blush colored Meredith’s face as she turned away to accept her cousin’s congratulations, and Travis had to fight the urge to swagger when he approached his brothers.

Excerpt 2 – Marrying the Major

Here comes the bride from Marrying the Major . . . Some of you will recognize Caroline Bradley. I just loved giving her a happy ending.  Caroline is a young widow who accepts a position as a governness because it’s the only way she can be part of a family. When a threat puts  the children in her care in danger, she makes a startling offer to her employer. A retired British army officer, Tristan Willoughby Smith is the third son of a duke, fighting malaria and raising horses in Wyoming. In the following scene, Caroline has just offered to marry him as a way to help protect the children from his evil father . . .

  “It’s a generous offer,” Tristan said to Caroline. “But I can’t take advantage of your good will.”

            “Why not?”

            He didn’t want admit to his potential feelings, but the possibility of affection, or the lack of it, had to be addressed. “You’ve been married before. I presume you loved your husband just as I loved Molly. A marriage in name only strikes me as . . . inadequate.”

            She stood straighter. “Women marry for all sorts of reasons.”

            “Of course.” In England men and women alike married for money and prestige. In America, women married for survival. He’d seen the advertisements for mail-order brides in cheaply bound catalogs. Those creatures struck him as pitiful. Caroline struck him as remarkable. He didn’t intend to accept her offer to marry him, but he wanted to know why she had made it. “If you’ll forgive my boldness, why would you settle for an arrangement of this nature?”

            Color stained her cheeks. “That should be obvious.”

            “It’s not.” At least not to him.

            She held out her arms in a manner that put her life on display. “Look at me, major. I’m almost thirty years old. It’s true I’m widowed, but my marriage was clandestine. In the eyes of society I’m on the shelf. I have no children, no family except for Bessie. My prospects for marriage are nil.”

            He couldn’t believe she thought so little of herself. “That’s simply not true.”

            “Forgive me,” she said with a touch of sarcasm. “But you’re either blind or an incurable optimist.”

            His gaze flicked from her face to her curves and back again. How this woman could believe she had no hope for a husband was beyond him. She was lovely, smart, brave and kind. She wasn’t a naïve girl anymore, but that hardly mattered to a mature man. Tristan preferred a woman whose character had been tested, someone who understood that life had ups and downs. He looked boldly into her eyes. “I assure you, Caroline. I’m not blind . . .”

If you’d like to read more about Caroline’s walk down the aisle, Marrying the Major is available on Amazon . . . I hope you all enjoy the story.


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45 thoughts on “Here Come The Brides – Marriage of Convenience”

  1. Oh my, I just went to the most beautiful wedding ever- my sister got married at the barn and historical site of Alexander Majors (founder of the Pony Express). It was casual, down-home, and yet so meaningful. Cowgirl boots on all the bridesmaids, leather vests on the men. An array of brightly decorated cupcakes all over a table and big wagon wheel. Ashoken Farewell was the processional played by amazing musicians. Everything was just perfect. I also found out that I love her even more than I realized, after seeing her as a bride.

  2. My wedding wasn’t anything special except I was marrying my soul mate. After 25 years a soul mate I want to kill sometimes (lol).

    We where married in his mom and dad’s house by his grandmother, (which is pretty special) an amazing lady. We had homemade punch and a cake from Piggly Wiggly.

  3. I attended my nephew’s wedding Memorial Day weekend. We drove into downtown Milwaukee. The wedding was in a beautiful, historical building. The wedding contingent all marched in, a poem was read, a judge pronounced them man and wife and voila it was over! Shortest wedding I ever attended. I felt short changed! We then had 4 1/2 hours to wait until the reception took place.

  4. Christina – That wedding sounds like so much fun! I love the boots on the gals, and what western man doesn’t look extra handsome in a leather vest? Great story!

  5. Sherry – I’ve been with my soul mate for 20 years, and yes, there are those times when you just want to shake them. But overall, he’s still my hero, and I wouldn’t change the last 20 years for anything.

  6. Laurie – I love those old historic buildings. What a great build-up only to have such a short ceremony. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if there hadn’t been that horrendous wait for the reception. I hope you at least got to tour the historic building while you waited.

  7. My husband and I both are private and don’t want to make a fuss over everything. Our families wanted to do this or that for our wedding. We were getting stressed. So one day we decide to elope. Our “wedding” included us two and the preacher in the church. It was great.
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  8. Hi Sherry, Congratulations on 25 years! My husband and I are at 32 years and I totally get what you said! We’re soul mates, but we’re still human!

    Hello Laurie G, That *was* a quick wedding! There are pros and cons to that. If you’re outside and it’s a 100 degrees, short is good. But did the couple exchange vows? That’s my favorite part.

  9. Hello Amy, Eloping is so romantic! And much less stress, like you said. Mike and I had a teeny tiny wedding — both sets of parents, my brother, his sister and the minister. We loved every minute because it was so “us.”

  10. Wonderful excerpts from both books!

    No wedding for me…yet. I’m thinking of starting my collection of cats and practicing yelling at children to get off my lawn. :o)

    But today my parents celebrate 44 years together and still going strong!


  11. Diane – That fairy tale wedding is what we all dream of, isn’t it? I’m glad you got to have yours. My concession to the fairy tale was the big, ball gown type dress. My big splurge.

    Crystal – Simple weddings are so lovely, too. Especially the lower stress that goes along with them. And hooray for 9 years! That’s wonderful!!

  12. My husband and I were married by a judge. Just the two of us and a friend for a witness. I guess it was o.k. because we will be married 50 years this September.

  13. I have never been married, but I have been a bridesmaid in a few.. I think the best wedding I have every been to, is when a freind’s stepdaughter got married, and on the bottom of the groom’s shoes, when he knelt at the alter, were the words “Help Me”. One of my friends who was sitting beside me in the church got the giggles and then we both did.. You see the bride was a Bridezillia and we could not help ourselves. We felt sorry for the groom… We nearly were kicked out of the church, because we could not get a hold of ourselves.. We still talk about that wedding..

  14. I was a June bride 35 years ago. On our recent anniversary, I looked at our wedding pictures and thought “Who are these kids?” It’s hard to remember being that young. What really made me laugh were the salmon-colored tuxes the guys wore. That was the style back then, but now it looks silly.

  15. 50 years, Goldie? Thats fabulous! Congratulations!!

    Kathleen – That story is hilarious! I wonder if the groom knew the words were there or if one of his friends pulled off the stunt. Too funny!

    Cheryl – Salmon tuxes? LOL. Isn’t it crazy what we do to our men? Just proves how much your hubby must have loved you. 🙂 Oh, and the 35 years says it even stronger. Congrats!

  16. Howdy! I’ve been to a “help me” wedding LOL. But my favorite episode just happened:

    Although our son’s little boy performed fantastically as ring bearer at age 2 1/2 when our daughter got married, he bailed as ring bearer a few weeks ago, at age five, for his cousin. Awwww, sheesh. He looked so darn cute. After the ceremony when I found him, he hugged me and said, Gramma, I love you…I guess he thought I might be upset. I wasn’t…he’s such an angel and was adorable anyway.

    Great exerpts, girls.

  17. Great thoughts, Anon! The older I get, the more I tend to agree with you. Of course having a teenage daughter makes me want to avoid weddings of any kind for a good long while. 🙂

    Hi, Tanya. Kids make the weddings, don’t they? Besides seeing the wedding dress, I think seeing the kids and watching to see if they do anything funny is the highlight of the ceremony for me.

  18. I had a very small wedding in a little country church 27 years ago. It wasn’t anything special but I did have some flowers and a cake with reception after. It was nice but nothing special. Like Sherry its been 27 years and I do want to kill him sometimes LOL

  19. Our 40th anniversary will be next Sunday – so long ago I can hardly remember back that far! 🙂
    I have heard a story about how my husband’s 4 yr old nephew stood up in the pew right before the ceremony to yell to his grandfather, “I sure hope Uncle shows up this time!” Apparently my husband had failed to show for a family gathering earlier, but it sounded as if he routinely left ladies at the altar.

  20. My wedding was very normal. However there happened to be a wedding, here in the valley, a few years ago that was one for the books. I didn’t attend, but from reports it was a doozy. At the bachelor’s party (it was all cowboys), they all got VERY drunk and started to fight! Most who attended the party showed up the next morning for the wedding with a broken nose, broken arms, many bandages, many black eyes and bruising that was starting to appear on body parts. Most all the men were related, so they were part of the wedding party. What a sight of them coming down the aisle, accompanied by a beautiful lady and brides maid, sporting a hideous black eye or 2 or a cast on the arm and various bruises marring the walk.
    There was a lot of snickering behind hands as the ceremony went on. The groom was hardly able to walk with the best man literally holding him up.
    It was the wedding of the year for our small valley.

  21. Love the excerpts.

    A couple weekends ago I enjoyed a stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Our room overlooked the courtyard so my friend and I ‘attended’ a wedding one afternoon. It was fun watching the staff get the area ready (including wiping off chairs twice after showers) and then looking down on the gathering and wishing the couple happy lives.

  22. I love weddings and wedding stories. We were married in the fall of the year and fall has continues to be my favorite time of the year. Our flower girls stood in front of us and sang Jingle Bells while the soloist sang The Wedding Prayer. Only the minister and us could hear them and we all got the giggles. Everyone wondered what was so funny.

  23. My husband and I were married in our own home–almost 23 years ago. I had a just below the knee dress and I was shaking so hard I could feel the dress brush against my legs.

  24. Thanks for the excerpts ladies. When my husband and I married, we couldn’t get the Unity candle to light. We must have tried five or six times. No luck. The minister even tried. Finally, we all gave up and just continued with the ceremony.

  25. Judy H – What a fabulous story! I might have to steal that for a wedding scene some time. Precious!

    Mary J – That would make a great fictional scene, too! Wonderful stuff. I wonder how the bride reacting to seeing all the black eyes and broken limbs on the male members of the wedding party?

  26. Lizzie – What a perfect was to crash a wedding without really crashing it! I would love to peek over the ledge to watch, too. How fun.

    I love those secret giggle moments, Connie. I was a bride’s maid at my brother-in-law’s wedding and I can’t remember what the mishap was, but the bride mixed up a line of the vows in a really funny way. She was so soft-spoken, though, that nobody but the attendants heard. My husband was performing the ceremony, so I tried really hard not to look at him, fearing that we would both bust up laughing.

  27. Estella – How lovely to be married at home. So glad you made it through the ceremony without your knees knocking. 🙂

    Joanne – I had nightmares about our unity candle not lighting. Thatnkfully it came together, but at least you’ve proven that it’s not a bad omen. And it makes a great story to tell later. 🙂

  28. Diane and Crystal, Isn’t it wonderful how two very different weddings (big or little) can still be so special to the brides?

    Hi Kirsten! Congrats to your parents on 44 years … That’s just awesome!

    Hey, Goldie! I think 50 years gets the prize for the longest marriage 🙂

  29. Hi Kathleen! Hilarious story . . . I wonder if the B&G are still together?

    Hi CherylC — Nothing says “wedding” like a salmon colored tux 🙂 I know what you mean about thinking “we were such kids.” Both of my sons got married last year . . . How can I have kids old enough to get married!

    anon101 — I agree! Eloping is definitely romantic!

  30. The only wedding I have been to was my sister’s. It was nothing special… they just had a ceremony in a court room… had their son hand them their rings.

  31. Hi Tanya! What a sweet little guy! I bet he loves his grandma the best!

    Hello Quilt Lady, 27 years is awesome!!! We wouldn’t be human without occasional homicidal thoughts after all that time. But then the good times come back and we go on for another 27 years.

    Hey Judy! Cute story! Glad your hubby made it to the altar!

  32. Hi Mary J! With the right build-up, that scene would be hilarious …

    Hello Lizzie, I’m amazed at the prep that goes into a big ceremony. Seating. Flowers. Music. It’s a big job–but a fun one, no doubt.

    Fun story, Connie! I bet you smile whenever you hear Jingle Bells.

    Hello Estella! A good case of the nerves makes total sense considering the commitment. Congrats on almost 23 years!

  33. Hi Joanne B! The little glitches make a wedding extra special 🙂

    Hello Colleen, I’ve always thought what makes a wedding truly special is knowing the bride and groom love each other–everything else is icing on the cake. Best wishes to your sister 🙂

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