An Outlaw Land Agent, Mayor, and Romantic

In the settling of the U.S., owning land used to be the primary dream of almost every man–rich or poor. It was something tangible that meant you had worth and the owner could use it however he saw fit. But how were the sales handled when almost every town had a land office?

The General Land Office created in 1812 was an independent agency of the United States government responsible for all the public domain lands. It took over this function from the Treasury Department that had been in effect since 1785.

The General Land Office was in charge of surveying, platting, and selling of public lands. In addition they oversaw the Homestead Act and the Preemption Act in disposal of public lands.

During the Westward Expansion period, land sold at such a frantic pace that it was difficult to keep up. As I said, everyone wanted a piece to call their own.

Every town of any size had a land office where prospective buyers could see what was available. If they bought some, a deed was recorded and registered at that county’s courthouse which then made its way to the General Land Office in Washington D.C. But given the slow speed of travel, it might be a year or more before it got registered. And unscrupulous land agents could sell the same land twice or several times over. I see how easy it would’ve been. And how killings would’ve taken place. The West had no one to oversee a lot of things.

In 1946, the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service merged to become the Bureau of Land Management.

In my newest release, ONCE UPON A MAIL ORDER BRIDE, Ridge Steele served as the mayor and land agent in the outlaw town of Hope’s Crossing. Unlike others, he is honest and above board in his dealings and in the recording of deeds.

To settle this fledgling town, he and his friends send for mail order brides through Luke Legend and his private bride service. Ridge is the last of his friends to get one.

When Adeline Jancy arrives, she’s more than he ever dreamed in every respect—other than she couldn’t speak. Due to horrifying trauma, she’s lost her voice. Ridge doesn’t have to marry her, but he does. He likes what he sees and figures she’ll do just fine.

He soon discovers Addie can throw a hissy or argue as well as anyone—all without words.

Their love grows slowly and ripens into a passionate story for the ages. From the moment they strolled onto the page, I knew they were perfect for each other in every way. Each had their own strengths that complemented the other as should a real relationship.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Or do you think it takes time to develop only after the couple has come to know each other? I’m giving away a copy of this book (winner’s choice of either ebook or print.)  I’ll draw on Saturday.


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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

52 thoughts on “An Outlaw Land Agent, Mayor, and Romantic”

  1. I believe love can happen so quickly you may not know what hit you. That is the way it was the first time I saw my husband. We met and the sparks flew! We were married eleven months later and we will celebrate our forty-seventh anniversary this year.

    • Hi Melanie, thank you for coming. It seems love can come at any time or any place. There are no rules when it comes to love. Huge congrats on finding Mr. Right and spending 47 years together. That’s amazing. Have a wonderful day.

  2. Omg the plot sounds fabulous! I can’t wait to read it! Also about your question, I have never been in love before, except with literary characters, maybe it’s just because I’m only 19 and the biggest introvert ever. Anyways, I do believe love can happen at first sight, and also, after a couple of months or years of sights! <3 Also, thankyou for this background info on the Bureau of Land Management, it was so interesting to read!

    • Hi Daniyah, thank you so much for coming. You have made my day. You’re going to have the most wonderful life. Love will come whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. It will find you. I’m so happy my book intrigues you. Maybe you’ll win it. And thank you for finding my information about the land bureau interesting. Wishing you a lovely day.

  3. Wonderful
    Blog. Owning ones land is still a huge privilege and something everyone still wishes to obtain. After all, there is only so much land, that’s one thing that can’t reproduce or be made more of on our round beautiful earth.
    I believe love at 1st sight happens to a few special couples in life, for most, it’s an overtime love that builds. This was such an amazing book and your best book so far. Whoever wins a copy will have a forever treasure,
    Love you and have a great week my sister friend.

    • Hi Tonya, you’re so right. Owning land gives a person such a sense of worth and accomplishment. I don’t think young people today are as driven toward that though. I’ve given up on predicting when or how love will come. It’s different for everyone but it seems the love that has a firm foundation to build on might be the most lasting. You have a beautiful day. Love you dearly.

  4. I believe (like Tonya) that land is still one of the most sought after things we can own. It still means prestige, wealth to some people.

    As for love at first sight. Yes I believe in it. But I don’t believe it happens for everyone. I think that love at first sight is mostly attraction to each other, then you build love from that.

    This book was SOO AMAZING! I love Addie and Ridge. He is so patient and kind with her. He makes my heart melt. This was a wonderful book and I couldn’t put it down. Whoever wins this will love it.

    • Hi Miss Dale, Thank you for the compliment on the book. I’m so happy you loved Ridge and Addie. They were exceptional characters. I agree about love. You kinda have to have something to build on and it keeps growing. I hope you have an amazing day filled with love.

  5. Good morning Ms. Linda! I loved this book and whomever wins it will be blessed!

    I think love happens given time but the length of that time can be very short. I’m not so sure that love at first sight isn’t merely attraction or lust. I think people that say they knew they loved someone at first sight just came to love them quickly and therefore it seemed to them it was love at first sight. Of course, with that being said there is “love” and “in love” so who am I to judge?!?!

    Stay safe in these uncertain and difficult times. Love you dear lady!

    • Hi Steph, That is so true. There are different kinds and levels of love and maybe lust enters into it a lot at first. At first, we like what we see and it gives us all those “feels” of being in love. But that passes and what is left? With luck, a deeper love takes its place. I love you dearly, sweet lady.

  6. Yes, I believe in love at first sight. It happened to me. I met Ron and told my parents later that night that I had met the man I was going to marry. We got engaged in two months and married in six months. It was hard at first because we really didn’t know each other. Now, we are soulmates. Forever and always. Linda, this book you are giving away is awesome! It needs to be breathed in and reread again just to absorb all your words. For the lucky winner, it is a keeper. A shelf occupier to be read again. Love you!

    • Dearest Kathy, I hope you’re feeling okay and this is a good day for you. I think you and Ron have the perfect fairy tale romance. I’m sure God had a hand in you finding each other, Life is full of surprises. Thank you for the kind words about this book. I’m very happy it filled a place in your heart. Love you dearly.

    • Hi Estella! Thank you for dropping by. It’s always nice to see you. It seems love is something to everyone but not all the same and that’s because we feel differently. I’m just so happy that love exists. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. Love you,

  7. Yes I believe that on first sight the heart can decide that that person is the one for you – however I think a lasting marriage takes a lot of work and being respectful to each other!

    • Hi Teresa, I’m so glad you came. Love has to come from respect and caring and I think if you don’t build a very good foundation it will crumble. Love is a delicate thing. Love you,

  8. My husband proposed to me 5 months after we met. He said he knew when he saw me he knew he would marry me. Over 21 wonderful years.

  9. Not sure I believe in love at first site but I guess it could happen. I think most people have to get to know each other a little at first. I think attraction can be there but it takes a while for love. It helps to be friends first.

    • Hi Quilt Lady, thank you for dropping by, Although there are examples of love at first sight that worked and endured, the most lasting love seems to be the kind that grows over time after the couple builds mutual respect, trust, and caring.

  10. Thanks for stopping in today. I believe that an instant LARGE attraction can happen. But that true love really happens as you get to know the person. This can start to grow right away. This is interesting information. I have a number of ancestors that got land grants. One was signed by the president of the US for his duty in the civil war. This sounds like a wonderful book. I have not read one where the hero works in a land grant office. And she cant speak. Oh cant wait to read it.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  11. I absolutely do believe in love at first sight. It’s what happened when I met my husband. I hear it all the time from other people.

  12. My teenage son and I were just debating love at first sight this weekend! I told him I believed in it and pointed to his dad and I as an example. He reminded me that we dated at least a few weeks before we were sure the other person was “the one.” I still think it’s possible, but I think it’s more likely to be infatuation at first sight that quickly grows to love.

  13. My mom knew my dad was the one the first time she met him… even told my grandma that she was going to marry him… took my dad some time though, lol.

  14. Land is such an important commodity. There is only a certain amount and won’t be anymore. I can see where it caused a lot of bloodshed during that time period. I loved Ridge and Addie’s story and I know everyone else will too!

    • Hi Jan, thanks for coming, sister. Land is as important as gold. It’s hard to explain what it means to a man. Gives him a sense of pride. I’m glad you enjoyed Ridge and Addie’s story. It’s one I’ll always be proud of writing. Love you dearly.

  15. I don”t believe in love at first sight. However, at first sight there could be interest in seeking more information about the person. I believe love grows over time.

  16. Great post, Linda! I can’t wait to read this story. Love at first sight…Yes, I think that does happen. You know, Gary and I really didn’t like each other in the beginning. We had some classes together in college, but he was just newly-divorced, had been to Vietnam, had lived in Japan for 4 years…and here I was, just out of highschool and off to college. LOL I was from OK and he was from WV and he thought my accent was “fake” as he told one of our mutual friends. Who set him straight and let him know I was from OKLAHOMA! LOL Anyhow, we did end up going on a date–to the stock car races–and it was there I knew I was going to marry him. A fight broke out and he busted it up and took a knife away from one of the guys. He came back and sat down with me and took my hand and said, “Are you okay?” I guess he thought I was gonna run out of there. LOL So that was our great 1st date and the night I knew we were getting hitched. Though it did take a while.

  17. So looking forward to reading this, Linda! I definitely believe in love at first sight. It happened that way when I met Captain Cavedweller. One look in his blue eyes and I just knew he was the one.

    • Hi Ms Linda!
      I don’t know if you would call it love at first sight or not but when I met the man who became my best friend, my soulmate, my husband and a great friend to my grown sons. Our meeting/relationship brought peace and happiness to both of us! We had been together for 26 years when God called him home 5 years ago! Sure do miss him!!

      Love your blog and your books!!
      Stay safe sweet friend!!??

  18. Yes, I believe in love at first sight. Before I met my husband, the very first time I saw him was when he went and applied for a job where I was working, when I saw him I really liked him and so a week after he got the job there and so I got to know him and we started going out, well 1 month after we started living together and a year after we got married and we have been married for 43 yrs now and together for 44 years.

  19. Yes love at 1st site is great I met my husband on a date i was a substitute for another. The minuate i saw him my toes curled. He went to germany while in the service. He proposed in a card and i still have it. He returned a year after leaving.We were married for 43 yrs when he passed. We only had the one date

  20. I believe the spark can be there from the beginning, but it takes a lifetime of cultivation to keep it up.

    We watched an interesting show the other night about the way land was sold.


  21. Hi Linda – Yes, I believe in love at first site…. I met my husband at a gas station, he was the mechanic there. I needed new tires & he sold them to me & put them on…..and we got to talking while he was working. The rest is history, we have been married 52 years. I love your books & have been reading them for years. I already have your latest book. Have a blessed day and stay safe.

  22. Thank you for the tidbit about land registry. It is not surprising, but I had’t really considered it. I am sure those unscrupulous land agents caused many problems and at times bloodshed over disputed land.
    I don’t know if you would call it love at first sight, maybe at second sight. I knew my husband in high school, but we were just classmates, never even spending much time together at school, let alone dating. We met again 7 years later, and after just a couple hours visiting over dinner at my cousin’s, evidently both of us knew there was a future worth exploring. He definitely was sure of his feelings because he flew to the other side of the world 5 months later to where I was working and proposed. We had never dated and only seen each other 3 times at dinners with others on my short trip home. Saying yes was the best decision I ever made. This year will be our 49th anniversary.
    No need to put my name in the drawing. I have the book and hope to be able to read it after my eye doctor appointment tomorrow,.
    Stay safe and healthy.

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