I’m obsessed with mail-order bride stories. I can’t imagine what would make a young lady leave her home and head west to marry someone she’d never met, live in unfamiliar surroundings, and basically consign herself to a life of uncertainty from the moment she stepped foot on the train (or stagecoach).

But this “wondering” was what got me started on a massive writing project that I’m loving every minute of! My SWEET TEXAS GAMBLE series (and this is my first series!) was born of wondering what would happen if a gambler, Calum Ross, had won some mail-order brides for himself, his cousin Blake, and their best friends Paxton, Collin, Liam, and Jordan Taylor—four brothers who they’d grown up with.

Returning to Texas when the Civil War ends, the men are eager to get back to life as it was “before” they went off to fight. Calum has all but forgotten that odd bet he “won” in a smoky bar near the end of the war, and the others never even knew about it. Of course, marriage is the very last thing on any of their minds on their travels home. 

The six brides who are traveling to Texas from “back east” are as different from one another as any people could be, but during this long journey, they have embraced one another and become as close as sisters—they are family long before they ever cross the Red River.

The brides arrive before the men, to the unsuspecting Taylor family’s spacious home—and this excerpt is about the greeting they receive.

As I said, this is slated to be a series, as each of the couples have their own problems to overcome, with issues that happened before they ever met—and also, those that any couple might face—especially since they are starting marriage on such shaky ground.

I’m hoping this first book of the series will be released by early fall—and I’ll be sharing more about this venture as time goes by—but let me introduce you to some of my characters from SWEET TEXAS GAMBLE!


“Oh…my…stars,” Noelle gasped as the coach pulled to a halt in front of the elegant Spanish-style stucco home.

“As I live and breathe…” Angelica murmured. “Things are looking up already.”

“If we’re welcomed here, that is,” Tabitha added.

“Which we might not be,” Cami said quietly.

“Only one way to find out, ladies,” Jessamyn said firmly. “We’ll ask Mr. Fielding to wait a moment and see what kind of reception we get. No need to unload the luggage until we see.”

Just then, the front door opened wide and a man emerged. At the same time, the stage driver and shotgun rider called out a greeting, and the man lowered the barrel of the rifle he carried.

“Ain’t no call to shoot us, Lowell. We’re bringin’ a bevy of beautiful brides to your door!” Arnold joshed. He stepped lively to the stage door and opened it, and the women began to emerge in the heat of the June day.


“What in the cornbread hell—Arnold, is this some kind of sorry joke you’re pulling?”

The driver gave the man a peeved look, his bushy brows furrowing sharply. “I’ve saved you a drive into town, Taylor,” he said in a low growl. “The least you can do is be respectful in front of ladies.”

“Ladies!” Taylor scoffed loudly. “Load ’em back up. Only one here needs a bride is my foreman, J.A. Decker, and I ain’t gonna tempt him with a woman.”

“What’s going on, Lowell?” A woman’s voice came from somewhere inside the open doorway.

“Nothing, Ellen, just—”

A woman with a head of dark hair and emerald green eyes peered around the door, then, a wide smile of greeting lighting her features she moved past her husband onto the porch.

“Arnold Fielding, and Joe Darwin! Oh, and some weary travelers! Is there trouble?” Her look turned anxious.

“Only just now, Mrs. Taylor,” Joe muttered darkly.

She whirled to look at her husband, who towered over her by a good ten inches. Defiantly, she turned back to the group in the front yard and graciously announced, “Please, come inside and refresh yourselves.”  Looking past them, she motioned one of the stable boys forward. “Jose, please unhitch the team and take care of the horses. They’re hot and tired, too.”

The boy nodded, moving toward the horses.

“Should we unload the—” Arnold began.

“That can wait until we’ve cooled off some,” Ellen interrupted, motioning them forward. With a welcoming smile, she threw the door wide. “We have guests, Pilar,” she called.

Si, senora,” came a muffled voice.

Lowell Taylor stood aside as the travelers climbed the front steps and entered his house. As Arnold brought up the rear, Lowell put a staying hand on his shoulder. “What the hell, Arnie?”

Arnold shook his head. “I don’t know any more’n you. They say they’re mail-order brides on their way here from back east somewheres.”

Where back east? Hell, ever’thing’s ‘back east’ from where we are.”

“I don’t know, Lowell. It wasn’t my business. Said this is where they was headed, and I offered to bring ’em on out to save you a drive into town. It ain’t too far out of the way.”

Lowell stepped aside grudgingly. “You’ve never been one to trurn down Pilar’s lemonade and sopapillas. Reckon that’s why you offered so kindly.”

Arnold smiled. “No, sir. And I ain’t gonna make today any different.”

“Let’s go see what this is all about,” Lowell muttered. “Then I’ll decide if those women stay.”

Arnie chuckled. “Or, Miss Ellen will.”


It was impossible to remain proper and aloof, the women soon discovered, in Ellen Taylor’s home. What her husband lacked in manners, she made up for in spades, with her welcoming demeanor, the genuine friendliness of her smiles, and her God-given ability to draw them out of their awkward reserve.

“When was the last time you ladies had a proper meal?” she asked, assuming that, no matter what, their funds would be running low by the end of their journey.

Quick looks at one another darted around the room, and she turned a blind eye, as if she didn’t notice.

“Pilar, perhaps you and Luisa could make some sandwiches for everyone,” Ellen instructed. “I’ll pour the lemonade.” 

“I’ve made tea, as well,” Pilar said with a quick nod as she excused herself and called to Luisa.

“Let’s move to the back porch, everyone,” Ellen said when she’d poured their glasses full of something to drink. “There’s a good breeze out there, usually.”

They’d all seated themselves except Lowell, who remained standing in the center of the porch looking around at all of the travelers, the driver, and the shotgun rider.

“Now I want some answers. Not to be rude—” he held out a hand as Ellen started to intervene, “—but I need to know what this is all about.”

Silence fell, and the others looked to the woman with blonde hair that was once curled, but now hung in tired, relaxed ringlets at the back, beneath her hat that looked as frayed and threadbare as her spirits. Her blue eyes still sparked with determination, and it was plain to see she was the one the others had come to depend on.

“Miss…” Ellen questioned, meeting the woman’s eyes.

“Thomas. Jessamyn Thomas. But I go by Jessie to my friends.”

Ellen smiled. “Jessamyn. What a lovely name. May I call you Jessie, then? Can you shed some light on this situation?”

Jessie nodded, and glanced at the others to be certain they approved of her speaking for all of them. “For various reasons, we had all ended up in Charleston, South Carolina, during the war, or at the war’s end. Also, we had all applied to the Potter Marriage Pairings Agency—”

“Mail-order brides,” Lowell muttered, raking Jessamyn with a disdainful gaze.

Seeing the fight come into her features, Ellen sent her husband a quelling look. She reached across one of the other women to touch Jessamyn’s hand. “Please, continue, my dear.”

Jessamyn turned away from Lowell’s steady glare to look at Ellen, effectively dismissing him. Ellen held back a smile.

“Yes. But we each have a reason for becoming a mail-order bride. And those reasons are for each of us to tell—our own stories—when the time is right.”

“But how did you come to be here? In Texas?” Ellen prodded.

Jessamyn lifted her chin. “We were…won. On a gamble. It-it was a card game, and Mr. Potter had nothing else to wager but part of his business holdings. Normally, he charges a fee to the—the prospective groom. And the groom would also pay travel expenses for—for the bride. So, Mr. Potter bet six brides.”

Lowell let out an indignant huff of disbelief. “And who would you have us believe would be stupid enough to wager a pot of money against six women who are desperate enough to—”

Jessamyn stood quickly as her anger got the best of her. “Mr. Taylor, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Whatever man becomes the husband of any of us will be the winner of that game, I can promise you.” Her voice shook with fury. “We are all here of our own accord. We are here honestly. We were told that we had husbands waiting for us.” Her blue eyes narrowed, but by now, Lowell Taylor stood, slack-jawed at the young woman’s dressing down.

“As for the man who—as you say—was stupid enough to gamble on us? That would be a dear friend of your family—a Mr. Calum James Ross.”

Lowell’s eyes widened at this, but Jessamyn wasn’t finished.

“So you see, when we meet with Mr. Ross, he will be able to explain everything to your exacting satisfaction, I believe, Mr. Taylor.”

The room fell deathly quiet, and a muttered “Sandwiches are ready,” sounded from the doorway.


I don’t know if I could be a mail-order bride–could you? 

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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
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41 thoughts on “A NEW SERIES–COMING SOON FROM CHERYL PIERSON! by Cheryl Pierson”

    • Good morning! Your first series, how exciting! It sounds like an awesome Mail-order-bride series too! I’d love to read this series because I’m loving what I’ve already read! Can you imagine!?!? I, too, cannot begin to imagine what circumstances a young lady had to find herself in to commit to being a mail-order-bride. Then there is the brides in your series that didn’t even correspond with their prospective husbands. Wowza! I can only imagine how much Ms. Ellen is going to love this and her taking charge over her husband in the situation! How fun! Best of luck with your new series!

      • Stephanie, thank you so much for your encouragement! Lord knows, I need it at this point. LOL No, those girls don’t know much at all about “who” they are going to end up with, and the men don’t even know they’re coming. My big dilemma was how I was going to keep them all together long enough to get to know one another, but that solved itself pretty darn well, I think. Yes, Miss Ellen is one of those unique women who is a lady, but she can be darn tough when she must–she’s raised 4 boys, so she’s seen about everything. LOL Thanks so much for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpt, my friend! XO

    • Denise, I don’t think I could either, unless what I was facing at home was horrible.

  1. This sounds great CHERYL.
    I don’t think I could be a mail order bride. I would be one to travel west, but I would want to not be promised to any one. I would want my freedom to choose.

    • TONYA! Hey girl! Thank you–it has been a lot of work already and it “ain’t” over by a longshot. LOL But what fun! Like you, I would want my freedom to choose, too. Remember “Here Come the Brides”? That would have been more my style. LOL

    • Hi Debra! Thank you–I have had such fun coming up with the personalities of all these people. I’ve got the first draft done and working on edits, and just realized I need to change the beginning. LOL That’s how it goes, it seems. Glad you enjoyed this!

    • Hi Estella, I’ve written some other mail-order bride stories–they’ve all been so much fun to imagine, but I’m sure my own fear would outweigh any excitement over such a situation! (I’m a worrier!) LOL

    • Quilt Lady, my circumstances would sure have to be dire to make me up and leave everything I knew and go into a situation where I didn’t know WHAT I was getting into! That would be one of the hardest things to do, I think.

    • HA! That’s how I feel too, Kim–but then that little niggling doubt takes over and the “what ifs” begin and I realize maybe if things were bad enough I COULD do it! LOL

  2. I think it depends on how desperate I was. If it means getting out of a bad situation or a matter of survival, I guess I would do what I had to.

    • YES, Janine! I feel that way, too. I don’t like a lot of change, though, so things would have to be really bad or I’d have to be worried about surviving if I was going to do this.

  3. I dont know if I could be a mail order bride or not. Oh wow, this blurb had me on the edge of my seat. I cant wait until they come out.

    • Lori, I’m so glad you enjoyed this. I still have a lot of work to do on it, and so many ideas for what I want to do with the other stories–I am gonna have to carve out more writing time! Thanks for stopping by today!

    • Awww, thanks, Tracy! I admit I’m worried about writing a series. I’ve never done it before and I think that’s the scary part. I love reading them, but have never tried writing one! Thanks for stopping by today! XO

  4. Oh my gosh! This new series sounds so fun! I’m just finishing up a mail order bride series and I really enjoyed writing these women’s stories. I think you’re going to love it. Women became mail order brides for a lot of reasons, most to escape something or that they had no other choice left to them. But my favorite is the woman seeing this as her chance for a family and to go West. After all, the Civil War killed off such a high number of the men back East so marrying and having kids wasn’t possible for many. Anyway, I wish you tons of success with this, my Filly sister! 🙂

    • Linda, I want to be you when I grow up, sister! LOL I MEAN IT. I admire anyone who can write a series, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m taking the plunge. Yes, each of these brides-to-be has a special reason as to why she is coming west into such an unknown situation. I’m enjoying creating their backstories.Thanks so much for your very kind words and good wishes! XOXO

  5. This sounds like a really fun read! I can’t imagine myself ever having the courage to be a mail order bride.

    • Christy, thank you! I hope you do enjoy it when it comes out. I think that people don’t realize their own courage and strength until they’re put into a situation that makes them have to react in ways they wouldn’t have ever thought they could. It’s hard to think about CHOOSING to do that, though, isn’t it?

  6. I love mail order bride books!! I honestly don’t know if I could have or not. Times were so very different, and there wasn’t much a woman could do to support herself. I guess it would depend on the circumstances.

    • Trudy, I agree. Women were at the mercy of the world in so many cases, back then. So I think there would be cases where a woman would say, “I’m going out west and taking my chances!” I just don’t know if I could have done that.

  7. I just don’t think I’d like not having a real choice in the matter. I’d rather travel to a different town then see my choices!

    • My kind of thinking, Susan! Because it could be “out of the frying pan, into the fire” otherwise. I would want to see my choices too!

  8. This series sounds awesome! I can’t wait to read the first book. I marvel at the courage it would take to be a mail order bride and I doubt if I could do it.

    • Edwina, thank you so much–I hope it truly is awesome and am sure working hard to make it so! Like you, I think it would take so much courage to be a mail-order bride. I think of the doubts that would just be continual, the wondering, the worrying…and the hoping. It would be so hard to just throw caution to the wind and take that chance. My brides in these stories each have different reasons for doing what they’re doing, but none of them really have much choice. Thanks for your kind words!

  9. Congratulations on your new mail-order bride series. I love it! I’ll look forward to reading these books.

      • Kathy, I love your attitude! You are one of those people that would take a chance and see the hope and advantage in doing so–that’s great! I worry too much so I probably would just be a basket case by the time the stage pulled up at the door. LOL Thanks so much for stopping by!

  10. Cheryl, I am so thrilled you’ve taken on this project. I know it will be amazing and I will look forward to each story. Yay on taking on a series. I’m so excited.

    As for a mail-order bride, I’m not sure. I would probably have been one of those who just headed west of my own accord, but then …(GRIN).


    • Hey Doris! I’m really thrilled with this, though sometimes it seems daunting. But I’m excited, too! Thanks so much for your very kind words and your constant encouragement. I appreciate that so much!

      I kind of think you would be one of those that “just headed west of my own accord” too, Doris. You are someone I think who would do that and do well, no matter what happened along the way! XOXO

    • Thanks, Caryl! I’m looking forward to getting it all written. LOL I don’t know if I would be brave enough, either. I know it would depend on what I was going through at home. If someone was trying to barter me off to some old man I think I would have to take my chances and leave! LOL

  11. I did an overly long comment last night and evidently forgot to post it.
    I am so glad you are doing this series. Mail order brides are a favorite story line. I know you will give your own special treatment to each of their stories.
    I don’t know if I could be a mail order bride, but back then women had very different and few options. There are mail order brides today and most are looking for the same things those in the late 1800’s were – a better situation, security, and hopefully love. Some of them were lucky and did find a better life. Some had tolerable, experiences and the very unlucky ones were lied to and mistreated.
    Most of the interaction between my husband and I before we got married was through letters. After having one class together in high school, we didn’t see each other for 7 1/2 years and wrote each other maybe twice a year, usually just a Christmas card. After seeing each other briefly for 2 days, he traveled to the other side of the world to propose. It wasn’t much more interaction than many early mail order brides (over a shorter period of time) had with their future husbands. 48 years later, I am definitely among the very fortunate ones.

    • Oh, what a story that is, Patricia! Now I wish I knew MORE! LOL Yes, you are definitely lucky, and as my sister says, “The heart wants what the heart wants…” so evidently, your two hearts KNEW what they wanted! Thanks so much for your encouragement with my stories. This is a daunting task, in a way, especially since I’ve never tackled a series like this! Hugs, my friend! XOXO

  12. I don’t believe I could do it. I am not amenable to people telling me what to do and I have not found anyone I could be with. LOve men but some are very annoying and or evil.
    Everyone can be evil but I fear a man who could be abusive.

    • Connie, I know what you mean. It would be so terrible to think you were going to something better and then find out you’ve fallen into a relationship with an abusive man that you can’t get out of, simply because there is no other choice. I think a person would have to be extremely brave and/or extremely desperate to do that.

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