“But Ma, I HAD to kidnap her!”

Mary Connealy
Mary Connealy-Click to Find a List of my Books

I have this thing about my characters. I have no idea if it’s normal. Of course I don’t know if any writer’s brain can ever exactly be described as ‘normal’. (Sorry filly sisters!)

But me…I really know my characters. I know that Seth Kincaid spent some time in a hospital in Omaha on his way home to his book “Over the Edge.”

I know Luke Stone when he left his father in a rage, between the war and his book, spent some time visiting Dare Riker in Ohio.

I know Kylie and Aaron Masterson, from Tried and True, eventually sell their beautiful home in the Shenandoah Valley and move to a ranch nearer Kylie’s sisters. But it is years after the book is over.

And I know Belle Tanner and Silas Harden, from The Husband Tree, have five sons. One of whom, their first born (remember Belle has four grown daughters at this point) finds his wife through an episode some more law abiding types might call …ahem…kidnapping.

That kidnapping has always intrigued me and I finally got a chance to see just exactly what that youngster did.

Hint, Belle Tanner Harden is NOT HAPPY WITH HER SON!

The story comes out in January and I just got my authors copies. So this is before the kidnapping but I think if you read this, you will see it coming.



The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection

My novella contribution stars hero Tanner Harden

Sweetwater Bride

(this is NOT the beginning, they’ve known each other for almost thirty minutes now)

“Come out with me. Come and meet my ma.” Tanner now felt an almost overwhelming need to take her away from this canyon.

It was so strong he was determined to throw her over his shoulder and kidnap her out of here if he had too.

He hoped it didn’t come to that. “We’ll feed your grouse and hope that’s the only wolverine that comes by for the year.” He tried to sort out all she needed to do before she left. What chores did he see to before riding to his folks’ place?

“Your cattle will be fine for a few days while I introduce you to my ma and my sisters their husbands and my little brothers—who are near grown up men these days.”

“You have a huge family.”

Tanner smiled. “My sisters all have little ones so it’s even bigger than it sounds.”

A bellow sounded from behind him and he whirled around to face the biggest long horn bull he’d ever seen. Standing not twenty feet away, it’s head down, pawing the dirt. It was the color of midnight, with a spread of black tipped horns that had to be more than eight feet. He lowered those massive, sharp horns and kicked dirt onto his belly with his front legs. Tanner reached back to grab Debba and run.

“Shadow, you sweetie.” She’d run all right. Right around him and right up to a bull that looked like a killer.

“Debba!” He drew his gun, knowing a single bullet would never kill this thing, not in time.

She didn’t even notice his warning or his gun because she was busy hugging the monster. She wrapped her arms around his neck. Arms that had just been around him. The bellowing stopped, the pawing stopped. She pressed her cheek against his massive forehead and crooned. Then, with a pat on his massive black nose, she stood up and took one of his horns and led the critter right up to Tanner.

Well, he’d seen a lot of things in his life. Seen his skinny, squirt of a ma throw a thousand pound bull. Seen every one of his big sisters rope and brand a spring crop of jumping, running calves. Seen a neighbor, Mandy Linscott, shoot a running wolf from five hundred yards out. So Tanner didn’t underestimate women, ever.

Click to Pre-order Lassoed by Marriage
Pre-order Lassoed by Marriage

But this moment, right now. He looked old Shadow in the eye and saw his own death. That bull was as good as speaking to him, telling him no outsiders were welcome.

“Scratch him between his horns. He loves that.”

Tanner could swear the bull’s eyes narrowed, daring him to do it, daring him not to. Tanner figured either way, unless Debba could save him, he was bull fodder.

And, since there was no way to save himself, what the heck? He reached out and scratched the old beast. The bull lowered its head and tilted it as if he had an itchy spot Tanner wasn’t reaching.

“C-can…uh…do you pet all your longhorns?”


If you don’t see a kidnapping coming…the book releases January 1.

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Lassoed by Marriage AND to make it interesting, tell me your first memory of when you met the man you married, or when you knew he was the one, or a first Christmas memory of someone you love. BONUS POINTS IF HE EVER KIDNAPPED YOU! Doesn’t HAVE to be your husband and the story doesn’t have to be about you.

I actually knew My Cowboy was ‘the one’ after a very special Christmas gift. We were 18.

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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

71 thoughts on ““But Ma, I HAD to kidnap her!””

  1. My husband kidnapped me from a girls night out to propose to me! Well, I thought it was girls night but they all had it planned 😉 We pulled up to a stop sign on top of a hill in Presidio Park in Old Town San Diego, and there was a homeless man holding a cardboard sign… wearing my Jason’s shoes! I’ve always thought it hilarious that I recognized his shoes before him. He pulled me out of the car and my cousin drove off; a few yards away was a candlelit picnic table under a trellis overlooking the city lights. He pulled off his homeless garb as we walked over and by the time he sat me down on the bench he was looking great and shaking like a leaf 🙂 And then we got engaged!

  2. I first met my husband in the parking lot of the Commissary at West Point. No kidnapping for me but I do have a friend who future husband took her from a bar. We were all in on it.

    • Debra My husband and I are from the same town but we went to one room country school houses about ten miles from each other and never met until………the eighth grade country school track meet.

      He remembers me.

      I don’t remember him. (Hey! It was a big CROWD)

      We went to the same high school and I got to know him then.

  3. In met my husband in college when he was dating my roommate. I thought, “Why would that handsome, sweet guy wanna date a goof like her?? He’s way too good for her!!” I was dating a nice, sweet “friend”, but saw SOMETHING in Johnny that looked like Forever!

    Months later, he asked me out, made my other roommate mad ?(she thought she was His Type ?) and 5 1/2 weeks later we were engaged, married 6 months later! Wasn’t in my plans at all, But WAS in God’s Plan!!??

    And so it began…….Here we are 35 1/2 years later!!! Going strong! A beautiful Daughter and a Beautiful Granddaughter!!!???????

  4. First memory of my husband: walking into my normal Sunday School classroom and seeing a new person already sitting in one of the rows. Stopped me in my tracks. 🙂 We were married a little over a year and half later! He didn’t kidnap me though! 😉

  5. Back in my parent’s time it was tradition for groomsmen to kidnap the groom after the wedding so the wedding night couldn’t happen right away. What a crazy tradition! They tried with my dad, but a friend of his was prepared and my mom and dad hopped in his car and a chase ensued. It ended when this friend drove through an old orchard and lured the chasers into a hole. Left them there and my parents got away. Even though it wasn’t funny at the time for them, they love to tell the story now. As for my hubby, we have always gone to church together, but finally noticed each other after high school. No kidnapping stories, though!

    • IS that what the car chasing thing was about? My family all did that, drove around town with a line of cars chasing and honking, usually the groom’s car all decorated up. But I didnt’ know they were trying to KIDNAP my husband!
      But I’ll get that’s what it’s rooted in.

  6. What a wonderful beginning. I want to finish the book now. I knew my husband was the one when he constantly made me laugh. I know a marriage with him would be far from boring.

  7. Favorite family story! When my big brother was barely 2 years old, my GrandDaddy dressed up like Santa & came in to surprise him. After “Santa” left, little baby Jeff said, “That was PaPa!”. Everyone asked how he knew, and he said, “He was wearing PaPa’s boots!”
    So Funny! I wasn’t born yet, but I’ve seen the pictures! 🙂

    Reading “Cowboy Christmas” again at our house & the Christmas novellas, collections, etc.
    Merry Christmas to Everyone!!

  8. I first met my husband at church. A few weeks later he asked my older sister out on a date. By the second date she had reconciled with an old boyfriend. Several months later he asked me out. He originally wanted to ask me out, but his mother didn’t like the 7 year age difference….she insisted he ask the older sister. He gave us a try anyway. We have been married 32 years!

  9. My favorite story of my oarents- they met under an oak tree. Daddy played the banjo in his and his brothers blue grass band.
    They were playing at a Sunday School ice cream social.
    Saw my mom and took a break and met under the oak tree.

    Daddy said he could only drive her home so far. The road in the mountains were bad so he had to walk her the rest of the way.

    Momma told him not to cause her daddy met boys with a shotgun – daddy kept walking her- told her he would meet her daddy

    Glad to say Grandpa didn’t shoot him.

    Side note my momma – would often do for my daddy’s momma – buy they never met.

  10. Met my husband at Bible College when he asked me to “come and play the piano” for him at the Mission where he was preaching and leading songs. That was our first “date” and I knew he was the one from the beginning. We have now been married 47 years. He tells people all the time that he picked up at the mission. 🙂

    • Wow, 47 years. Okay you get total full credit points.

      My dad met my mom because she was working at the Methodist Kitchen at the Nebraska State Fair and dad went in there to eat.

      We always told people, Dad picked Mom up at the fair, she was ‘one of those carnival people.’

  11. My husband and I first met at church camp then he was appointed Pastor of our church. Through church functions and youth get togethers we became good friends. In December he asked me to go to a Christmas banquet with him and we were pretty much together from that point on. Christmas eve he told me he loved me before he left to spend time with his family, I replied “ok, have a safe trip”. I was a little nervous I guess. Anyway New Year’s night he asked me to marry him 18 days later I did just that! On January 19th we’ll be married 14 years and looking forward to many more together!

    • Wow Jennifer. And 18 day engagement. My Cowboy and I were engaged for two months. You know you don’t HAVE to take a year or two to plan a wedding PEOPLE!

      We all know that.

      My cousin’s son just got married with five days notice.
      I mean he phoned home, he had a long time girlfriend, and they were engaged. He said, “We want to get married with all of you there, when we’re home next week. We can all go to the justice of the peace. (he’s talking his immediate family and her parents. Ten people or so.
      His mom said, “Let me ask our pastor if we can do it at church, if he’s free on Sunday afternoon.”

      It just was not that hard to arrange. My cousin said it was an insane five days and the invitations were strictly, “You’re welcome, come if you can.”

      They even threw her a bridal shower on Saturday.

  12. When I was in high school I was friends with my husband’s cousin. My first sight of him was when his cousin and I were going to a 4-H meeting and had a little extra time so we went over to his house. He had just come in from hunting and I thought he was so cute. A couple years later a friend of his asked me for a date and I turned him down but I told my brother(who was a friend of his) that if it had been the other guy who asked me I would have gone with him. So naturally he told him and the next day he came and asked for a date. Now 62 years, 6 children, 15 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren, later we are still together and living for Jesus. No kidnapping involved unless you want to say I was kidnapped from his friend.

  13. I met my husband in high school. He was the new kid in class and had to take PA history so he was older too. He had traveled the world (air force brat) and I had never left my hometown. It’s been 46 years!!

  14. I met my husband 55 years ago when I was 16. Feelings of love grew over time. He was very attentive and kind, not only to me but my 5 younger siblings. We were engaged at Christmas and married the following September. We have been married 52 years. I think he’s a keeper!

  15. No kidnapping but my husband proposed to me on our first date. I thought he was crazy and soundly turned him down. What’s really strange is that it was so out of character. He’s not one to make snap judgments and takes his time before making a decision. Just picking out a Christmas tree with him is a nightmare as he has to check out every single tree before settling on the “perfect” one. It seems like choosing a wife should take at least as much consideration as picking out a tree.

    • Wow, Judy. Good for you. That bad huh? Like he was your bail bondsman?

      Or you were in a holding cell together waiting for your case to be called?

      Or he pulled you over for speeding and you, “made a deal…” that led to marriage???

      Oh my imagination is now officially running wild!

  16. Well….ALL of your stories are so much more exciting than mine! When I first met my now husband, we were both married to other people. So it wasn’t an immediate attraction (God forbid!). I got to know him and his wife….a very sweet couple indeed. They quickly became my friends and helped me through some very rough times. Fast forward almost 2 years later….I had left my abusive husband and moved back in with my mom & step-dad taking my young daughter with me. His wife passed away in 1995 & he happened to have my phone number still and called me to tell me the sad news. That began a long-distance relationship the more we talked and exchanged letters. We’re happily married 18 years now & God has blessed us in more ways than I can count! I don’t know if this counts, but he “kidnapped” me from my hometown when I decided to move across the US for him 🙂
    I think for me, we both knew that we wanted to marry one another after a few phone calls and letters. I already knew what kind of husband he would make as I watched his marriage to his first wife. Strong friendships make the best marriages in my opinion!:-)
    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “The Lassoed by Marriage Romance collection”. I love the excerpt of the story you included….had my heart in my throat with that long-horn cattle pawing at the ground….lol!! What a surprise at the end 🙂 Gotta hand it to gals with gumption….haha!

  17. Met my man at a prayer meeting at our little country church. We didn’t date much cause he was a busy farmer and I worked second shift. We mostly did grocery shopping for my mother on my day off. One day he got very romantic and said, “You wanna?” and I said, “Yeah, I guess so.” We are still just as romantic,still do the grocery shopping together, and after nearly 42 years we’ll be talking about something and he will say, “You wanna?’ and I will say, “Yeah, I guess so.”

    I can’t wait to read your newest story. It reminded me of our Jersey cow, Twinkle, who was by no imagination a long horn nor a bull, but a gentle lady with a nice set of horns. As kids we would sit between those horns and ride her. She never complained. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Mary.

  18. No kidnapping … I met my husband through mutual friends and I knew right away he was special and could be a great friend. We started dating a couple months later. The following year, he drove through a blizzard (a trip that should have taken 2 1/2 hours took 6 hours that day) to propose on Valentine’s day. We were married 2 years after meeting and celebrated our 25th anniversary a few months ago.

    • I forgot to comment on the book … I’m a big fan of your books (can always count on laughing) and love the unconventional women you write about.

  19. I fist met my hubby in a college class we had together. At the time I didn’t know he liked me. Anyway one day I noticed he was getting to class always before me from our previous class we also shares. I was barley making it on time to our second class,so I just went up to him introduced myself and asked, “how do you get here so early?” He thought that was amuzing and said he could show me tomorrow which was Friday. But that night I felt ill and didn’t attend classes. So it looked like I just stood him up lol. I felt bad that next Monday. He came up to me and said with his handsome smile, “so you didn’t want to walk to class with me did you?” I explained and of course he understood but from that day on he made sure to help me to get to class on time and with his company. ?

  20. Met my husband in high school, I thought he was really adorable with the best smile (still is!)!! Although we did see each other everyday (our lockers were close to each other), we didn’t talk much since we’re both pretty shy. Really became friends our senior year when we were in a small, laid back class setting with lots of free time. During our first fall semester in college, a group of about 6 of us would go to another friend’s football games together when we could. One time, my man and I were the only ones who could make it so we were alone for the first time. To this day, my husband won’t say how long he liked me before that day but I felt like everyone else knew something I didn’t! Sparks were flying but all he asked for was a hug at the end of the night. The next day I got a message from him, “Out of all the fish in the sea, I’d pick you! I love you!” WHAT?!? I was completely shocked! I drove home the next weekend (first weekend of November) to meet with him and talk, that night ended with a kiss, his first Christmas gift to me was a heart pendant with “I love you” on the back (15 years ago and I still wear it all the time), and the rest is our happily ever after 😉

  21. Met my husband, Bill on a blind date set up by my cousin. The guys worked together. We met at a bowling alley. Bill was in a league and I had never bowled before. There were 3 couples total, all my older cousins and their spouses. They told me to go first. I threw the ball and it bounced down the lane. Everyone was laughing but Bill was laughing loudest.

  22. I met my husband when I was 16. We had one class together for 3months then he moved away. Before moving he came by my house, kissed me, said he loved me & said he wished he wasn’t moving so we could date. Nearly 8yrs later we reunited thanks to Facebook. We’ve been married nearly 4yrs now and just welcomed a son to our little family on the 8th. Can’t wait for this book to come out!!!

  23. Met my wonderful husband at singles class at church and got to know him through fellowships with that class. Knew he was the going to be special to me before we ever dated and turned down other dates waiting for him to ask. God blessed me.

  24. I love the way characters (or their descendants)from your previous books show up in new books.
    I met my husband in my backyard when I was trying to eradicate bindweed that was growing around my roses. His dad lived across the street from me and his aunt and uncle rented a house for the summer that was behind mine. He’d walk from one place to the other, seeing me work out in my yard (I hadn’t paid much attention to him).

  25. I was matched with my husband online and our first date was the first time we met. I was so nervous until I saw him walk toward me and then it melted away. I knew from that moment on he was the one.

  26. Well I knew Bob was the guy for me when he smashed chocolate cake in my face at a baby shower !!! ? I knew he liked me – but that really got my attention ( and everyone else’s , haha )!! I was a bit upset at first but while I was ” fixing ” my face, The Lord got my attention and ” fixed” my heart and I knew that he was going to be my husband. We’ve been married for 22 years now ?

  27. I absolutely remember when I met my husband! I was dating another guy and he introduced us! ha ha! About a year later, my now-husband and I went on TWO dates – yes that’s TWO WHOLE dates and got engaged!!!!!! We’ve been married for over 30 years, have 3 adult kids and 2 gorgeous grand girlies! I’d say it worked out just fine! I knew my hubby was the one the first time I met him! As for the kidnapping part…..my hubby never did it but two guy friends in high school! AND they had my mom’s permission! Cheeky momma! They kidnapped me and took me up into the mountains behind my house…we were “shooting a movie” (oh we were inventive in our high school years!) and I was the heroine! They wanted a “real” look of surprise on my face when they took the blindfold off – yea, they got one alright!!!

  28. My husband and I were classmates in high school. I was “local” and he was one of the Air Force brats from the neighboring base. I was friends with many of the base kids who had traveled so much. When he moved away after our junior year, I wrote to him several times a year, like I did several of the other guys. We both went to college, me in NY and he in FL. Then he joined the Air Force and I joined the Peace Corps. We met up again 7 years later when I came home for Christmas after extending for a third year in the Peace Corps. I stopped off at a base in CA to visit my cousin whose husband was stationed there. My now husband was also at that base. My cousin invited him over for dinner the first night I was there and he took the three of us out for dinner the second night. I think he saw me off at the airpot as I continued on home. In May, he, along with a couple that were his parents best friends (now stationed at Clark AFB, PI), came to the town where I was stationed with the Peace Corps. They were there for the town fiesta, then I took time off to show them around the Philippines a little. The day before he left, he asked me to marry him. We had never really dated. I will say that the first time I saw him at my cousins, I saw him in a different way than I had in high school and wanted to get to know him better. He obviously felt the same and came half way around the world to tell me. I didn’t give him an answer until I got back to the States and we didn’t get married until the following year. The Vietnam War among other things got in the way. It was the right decision. We have been married 43 years and are looking forward to many more to enjoy our 3 children, 4 grandchildren, and one great granddaughter born this month.

  29. It just took a wink from across a room and my guy snatched my heart right then and there. He was in the Army and I was in college and many a letter we did write. Eleven months later we were married and celebrated our 40th anniversary last October. What a grand life we have enjoyed!

  30. My husband and I did not date until after we were both out of college. He wanted to date me during college but I thought he was a little to “party type”. We finally got together after he settled down :).

  31. It was Dec. 6, 1973, Kansas State University. His dorm floor invited ours to a dance at their hall. He asked me to dance, then walked me back to my dorm afterwards, asking to take me to a KSU basketball game after Christmas break. Been together since that fateful night.

  32. Oh, and I should have added I can’t wait to read about Belle’s boys. Belle is my absolute favorite character in all your books.

  33. I met my cowboy at a dance.. My friend invited me to come & then she dragged this man she wanted me to meet across the floor (hmm would that be like kidnapping??) so we could meet & we have now been married 39 years!

  34. Married twice, Divorced twice and no there will never be a third one. Your are one brave woman to be on the cow.

  35. He was one of the new kids in school in 8th grade. The local parochial school raised tuition and we got a lot of imports ;-). He seemed like a big mouth to me most of the year but then I had a 14th birthday party over the summer. He stayed late and showed up again bright and early the next morning (after telling me he was “booked” for the next 3 weeks but would see me soon) and that was it. 46 years later . . . he is still kind of a big mouth but my lovable big mouth! He didn’t have to kidnap me; I wouldn’t let him out of my sight.

    Happy Holidays!

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