Crumpets and Cowpies
by Shanna Hatfield
Series: Baker City Brides, #1
Rancher Thane Jordan reluctantly travels to England to settle his brother’s estate only to find he’s inherited much more than he could possibly have imagined.
Lady Jemma Bryan has no desire to spend a single minute in Thane Jordan’s insufferable presence much less live under the same roof with the handsome, arrogant American. Forced to choose between poverty or marriage to the man, she finds herself traveling across an ocean and America to reach his ranch in Oregon.
“I agree, Weston. The longer we wrangle with this won’t make it any easier.” Thane looked to Jemma and she gave an almost imperceptible nod for him to continue. “I’ve taken into consideration Henry’s wishes, the needs of the children, and what would be most beneficial to all parties involved.”
When Thane paused, Jemma leaned forward, waiting. “And…?”
“I think Weston’s idea holds merit. In the vein of doing what is best for the children, I’m requesting the honor of your hand in marriage, Miss Bryan.”
“You are what?” Jemma rocked back so hard in her chair, it nearly tipped over. A most unladylike grab for the edge of the table is all that kept her upright. “How could I possibly marry you? I don’t love you. I can’t even claim to like you, Mr. Jordan. You are quite possibly the most maddening man I’ve ever met.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, honey. I sure didn’t take one gander at you and fall madly in love. You’re the most opinionated, obstinate, razor-tongued woman I’ve had the misfortune of encountering.” Thane held up a hand to silence her when she opened her mouth in rebuttal. “However, you love my brother’s children with a fierce devotion and I don’t want to take them away from you. What I propose is a marriage of convenience, in name only. Your sterling reputation will remain untarnished. As my wife, I’d provide for you, protect you, and share whatever I have with you. Everything except my bed.”
Jemma drew a deep breath, prepared to lambast him, but Thane’s stoney glare held a warning.
“Before you insult me further or push my patience beyond endurance, I encourage you to think over your next words very carefully. If you need time to consider my offer, I plan to spend the day at Henry’s office, going over his accounts. You can give me your answer this evening.”
Without waiting for her response, Thane rose from the table and strode from the room.
A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.