Young Elena Benning rapped her knuckles on the door as hard as she could. She held her green woolen cloak tightly against herself as a bitterly cold wind tugged at her hair.
The door opened, and her mother beamed. “Elena! Welcome home, and happy holidays!” She stepped aside as Elena stepped in. Elena inhaled deeply. The smell of the Christmas tree and pine garland mingled with holiday baking spices and the irresistible smell of roasting chicken. The coachman carried a trunk inside and up the stairs as directed by her mother.
Elena hugged her mother. “I love this time of year. I’m so glad I finally made it home.”
Her mother held her at arm’s length. “You have grown so much since last year. I remember when you first left for school…” She held her daughter’s face in her hands.
Elena kissed her mother on the cheek. “Mother, I’m almost fourteen. Where’s Grandmother?”
“In the kitchen, making your favorite dish.”
Elena peeled off her cloak as she headed back to the kitchen. “Nana Essie!”
The elderly lady put her stirring spoon down and gave her granddaughter a hug. “My, you’ve grown so much since you were last home.” She tucked a stray lock of light brown hair behind Elena’s ear. “And it doesn’t look like they’ve been feeding you. You look thin.”
Elena snuck a slice of carrot from the cutting board. “They’ve been feeding us, but their cooking is nothing like yours or mothers.”
Her mother stepped into the kitchen. “You must be exhausted. How was the train ride?”
“Long. And cold. But it sure feels nice and warm here. And it smells incredible.”
Her mother handed Elena her cloak. “Dinner will be ready in a few minutes.”
Elena snuck another piece of carrot. “Then I guess I will get cleaned up and change.”
Elena ran off to her room. Other than fresh linens on the bed, nothing had changed since she last came home from boarding school the year before. She opened her trunk and carefully pulled out a wooden doll dressed in a ragged, simple blue cotton Victoriana dress and placed it on one of her pillows.
“I can’t believe you still have that.” Her mother leaned against the door jamb.
“I remember you told me father made the wooden doll out of an old peg for me, and you made the clothes.”
Her mother smiled at the memories. “You used to play with it for hours in front of the fireplace.”
Elena laughed. “I remember father used to tell us stories in front of the fireplace too, and I used to hide behind your skirt when it got too scary.” Her expression suddenly became melancholy. “I miss father.”
Her mother hugged her. “I miss him too, especially this time of year. Maybe after dinner we’ll look at some pictures together.”
Elena nodded. “I would like that. Even after all these years, I can still smell his cologne and hear his voice, but I’m starting to forget what he looked like.”
Her mother kissed her forehead. “As long as he’s in your heart, you will never forget him.”
Elena changed the subject. “I better get washed up. Nana Essie hates it when I dawdle to the dinner table.”
When Elena was finished cleaning up, she bounded down the stairs. Her grandmother and mother brought out the last of the dishes to the dining room table. Elena poured water into glasses for the three of them and then sat down. She gawked at all of the food at the table: a beautifully roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted carrots, and braised cabbage with apple. “This looks delicious. It looks like enough food to feed a small army.”
Her grandmother raised her eyebrow. “I remember how the next day you like to eat a chicken sandwich made from the leftovers.”
Elena nodded. “It’s almost as good as the dinner it came from.”
As they ate, her mother asked questions. “How is school?”
Elena shrugged. “I guess it’s okay. They are very strict, but I’m learning a lot.”
“Strict is a good thing. Otherwise, the environment wouldn’t be good for learning.” Her grandmother nodded.
“Even after dinner, we have study hall until bedtime. There isn’t a lot of time to socialize.” Elena frowned before she took a sip of water.
Her mother nodded. “We are not paying money for you to socialize. We are paying for you to get a good education.”
“What is your sleeping arrangement like?” Her mother asked.
“I have the same roommate as last year, Grace. She is nice, and we get along well. We try to help each other in our studies. She is good at music and art, and I am good at math and debate. I told her I’m afraid I don’t have the hand-eye coordination or the aesthetics to fully appreciate music and art. She plays the piano beautifully. She says I have an uncanny knack to be able to debate myself out of a corner.”
Her grandmother swallowed. “What are you learning?”
“We started learning something called basic algebra in math class.”
“It sounds hard.” Her mother took a bite.
“It is kind of. It’s just substituting a letter for an unknown number. Like A+3=4. Then you solve the problem by figuring out what number A is supposed to be.”
As the ladies finished eating and cleaned up, the trio went to the parlor to catch up on the news from the last year. Her mother sat on the sofa and worked on her embroidery, and her grandmother sat in a side chair next to the fireplace and knitted a sweater.
Elena picked up an old box of photos and started to finger her way through them. She occasionally pulled one out to look at it closer. She pulled one out and stared at it. It was her mother and father holding herself as an infant. Her finger traced the outline of the man’s face in the photograph.
Her mother peered over her shoulder. “That is the only picture we have of you and your father together. We were going to take another photograph when you turned five, but he was killed, and we had to leave town.”
“You never told me what happened.” Elena looked at her mother.
Her mother looked at Nana Essie for support before she spoke. “Your father purchased rights to a mine on what was our property. He hit a vein of gold, and even though he never told anyone other than myself, somehow, people found out about it. He was able to dig out most of that vein and knew there were others. Charles Westfield came to the house and offered to buy the mine. The price was much lower than what your father had already extracted from the mine, so he declined.”
“The next night, he and his gang of hoodlums came to the house again. Your father went out to talk to them again, and they shot him. They threw lit torches into the house. I grabbed what I could and you and escaped through a trap door under the house your father had the sense to put in. We escaped into the night and got on the first train out of town the next morning.”
“That’s terrible. Did they ever pay for their crime?” Elena was glued to her seat.
Her mother shook her head. “There were no witnesses. At least there weren’t any that were willing to testify. And Charles owned most of the town, and the people including the sheriff.”
“That’s the problem with living in a territory. Too much lawlessness and bribery.” Grandmother huffed again.
Elena’s mother continued. “The conductor on the train was good friends with your father. When we got to the station, he told us Charles had inquired about us and to let them know if he saw us. When we boarded the train, he whisked us into a private compartment, drew the curtains, and told us to lock the door and not make any noise until the train got out of town. According to him, his men were searching for us. They even came onto the train.”
“If he had turned us in, what would have happened?” Elena looked at the photo again.
“I don’t want to know. I grabbed the deed to the property that includes the mine, so that was probably what they were going after.” Her mother dug to the bottom of the box and pulled out a folded piece of parchment.
Elena looked at her mother. “You seem so calm about it now. Aren’t you upset?”
Her mother took a deep breath. “Oh, I was bitter about it for many years. Then I realized the only person being hurt by me holding on to the vengeful attitude was myself. I looked to the Bible, and it tells us we need to forgive others for their indiscretions against us, so that’s what I finally did. I couldn’t change what had happened even if I were able to get revenge for your father’s death. I realized I had wasted so much energy and emotions over it. I don’t think your father would have liked me doing that anyway.”
Grandmother Essie shook her head. “Too bad about the mine. No doubt it’s been illegally mined in your absence. A pity since we could use the money.”
Elena looked concerned. “Why? What happened?”
Her mother looked sternly at Essie. “Nothing. Your father had me sew as much of the gold as I could into my dress. The rest I had sewed into the carpetbag I had grabbed when we left the house. It was definitely heavy, but it has paid for your education in full until you graduate.”
“But if you need the money, I can quit school and get a job at the mill.”
Her grandmother sat forward on the chair. “You will do no such thing, young lady. You will stay in school. This is what your father wanted for you if the mine was profitable.”
Elena sighed. “I guess we will never see justice done for father’s death, will we?”
Her mother shook her head. “It would take a miracle for that to happen, especially now since so much time had passed.” Her eyes watered. “I just wish I could have given your father a proper Christian burial. He deserved that much.”
Elena hugged her mother.
Her grandmother huffed. “If you stayed behind to try to bury Walter, they would have had to make graves for you and Elena too.”
Elena’s mother put the deed back at the bottom of the box and sighed. “Well, all that is in the past. I’m just grateful nothing happened to you, Elena.”
“I wish I knew my father better.” Elena stared at his picture.
Her grandmother left the room and came back with a bundle of letters tied with ribbon. She gave it to Elena.
Elena looked confused. “What is this?”
Her grandmother sat down in her chair again. “I waited until you were more curious about Walter, my son and your father. These are letters he wrote me while he was away from home. Some were before he met your mother. I remember in one of the letters when he found out your mother was pregnant, how thrilled he was, and then he was so scared because he didn’t know what to do. He was so afraid he was going to mess up. And when you were born, he had no idea what to do with a baby girl. He wanted advice from me.” She laughed.
Elena’s mother was curious. “What did you tell him?”
Her grandmother’s eyes watered. “I told him your daughter will love and respect you. No matter what you do. Make sure she knows you love her and don’t shoot her boyfriends.”
The women laughed.
Elena’s mother wiped a tear from her eye. “Oh, poor Walter. He was so terrified after you were born. Here is this hulking man, and he didn’t even know how to hold you, Elena. He held you like you were a piece of porcelain, and he was afraid he was going to break you.”
Elena smiled. “He obviously got over it. I remember he used to flip me upside-down on his shoulder.”
Her mother sat back as she remembered. “It took him a while, but he figured out you were pretty resilient.”
The mantle clock rang ten o’clock. Elena stood up. “I would love to hear more stories this evening, but I am exhausted. I didn’t sleep much these past couple of weeks due to exams. Will you both tell me more about father while I’m home?”
“Of course, sweetie.” Her mother kissed her on the cheek. “Good night, Elena.”
Elena stepped over to her grandmother and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Good night, Nana Essie.”
The elderly woman kissed Elena on the forehead. “Good night, my darling. Sweet dreams.”
Elena trudged up the stairs to her room and changed into her nightgown. She stoked the embers in her fireplace and added more coal before she hopped into bed. By the light of the lamp, she untied the bundle of letters and read the first one.
My dearest mother,
I write you this letter and pray you are well and happy. Grace and Elena send their heartfelt love to you.
I can’t believe how fast Elena is growing. Yesterday was her fifth birthday. Grace made a most delicious layered cake filled with custard and jam. My dear friend from the railway Reginald Landry and his wife Beatrice also joined us to celebrate. I had not felt so festive for quite some time as I did last night.
I fear we may have to leave our home and land soon, despite our mining efforts finally producing a profit. A man by the name of Charles Westfield has been incessantly badgering me. He wishes to buy my mine, but at a price that was even lower than what I paid to get the property. He is very wealthy and influential, and he gets whatever he wants, no matter the cost. Rumor has it that he has been behind the unfortunate accidents that have happened to several other small mine owners in the area. I do not want to leave as this is our home, but I will vacate if needed. I have put several precautions in place, including telling Grace she is more than welcome to visit with you until she can find other arrangements if anything should happen to me. I hope you don’t mind.
I miss you and send my love to you. We hope to visit you soon.
Your loving son,
Walter, Virginia City, Nevada
Tears fell from Elena’s cheek. She realized this was the last letter he sent his mother just days before he was killed. She patted her face dry with a handkerchief and read through several more letters.
She cried as she read another letter dated a couple of years earlier.
My dearest mother,
I write this letter to you in hopes you are well. We enjoyed your last letter and laughed at how you described the antics of your dog, Chauncey. I think Elena wants a dog now.
I bring sad news to you. Grace went into labor with our second child earlier this week. We sent for the doctor as it was too soon for the baby to be born. Our son, Henry James, was born nearly three months early and lived only a few hours before his tiny body succumbed. It was a difficult pregnancy for Grace, and I nearly lost her as well. She is understandably sad and very weak, but Elena and I try to keep her in good spirits and well-tended to.
I’m afraid our plans to come and visit you next week will have to be postponed. I know Grace was looking forward to spending time with you, and you were looking forward to seeing the children. It may be some time before Grace will be able to travel.
I apologize the news could not be of better circumstances.
Your loving son,
Elena read another letter further into the stack and further into the past, shortly after she was born.
My dearest mother,
I write this letter to you with the joyous news of the birth of our daughter, Elena Margaret Benning. She is of a good weight and is very healthy. Her eyes are blue, and she has blonde hair as soft as the feathers of an angel. She has your eyes and Grace’s smile. I am glad she does not have any of my attributes as I fear she would scare away any suitors when it came time for her to marry.
I look into Elena’s eyes and see how innocent and vulnerable she is and how it is my responsibility to make sure she is happy and safe.
We hope to come visit you as soon as Elena is old enough to travel.
From your son, with much love,
Elena settled down on her pillow and wondered what it would be like if her father were still alive and if any justice ever came from his murder.
Years have passed, and young Elena has graduated from boarding school. Even though she was only eighteen, her manners were polished and refined, and she has matured into a beautiful woman. On the train, she took up a conversation with a young man who was also returning home after years in boarding school. He explained he wanted to go to college but wasn’t sure if his family could afford to send him. He said he would probably work at his father’s grocery store until he had enough tuition. The two enjoyed each other’s company. Since they departed to different parts of the city, they both continued to correspond with each other. Excited about the possibilities of her future, she beamed as she helped her mother with the housework.
Her mother sewed the hem of a skirt. “You look very happy this morning. I normally wouldn’t see so much enthusiasm when you are dusting.”
“While on the train, I was quite engaged in conversation with a young man who also finished school. His name was Seth Middleton.”
Her mother stopped her work and smiled. “Does Mr. Middleton live here in the city?”
“Yes. In fact, he is only about a half-mile from here.”
Her grandmother came into the room. “What does his father do for a living?”
Elena paused in her dusting. “Um, he is a grocer. He said he would work at his father’s shop until he could make enough money for college.”
Elena caught her mother and grandmother exchanging a concerned glance with each other. “Why, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing, darling.” Her mother returned to her sewing.
Her grandmother sat down in her chair. “We have very little money left and had to start selling off some of our possessions.”
Elena’s mother interrupted. “It’s not as bad as Nana Essie makes it sound. I’ve been working as a seamstress doing alterations. It helps with the bills.”
Grandmother spoke up again. “But, it isn’t enough, especially after your mother was ill and unable to work for quite a few weeks. We like having you home, but it has put a strain on our already threadbare budget.”
Elena threw up her hands. “Why didn’t you tell me this? I can get a job and help pay for the bills.”
Her grandmother gave Essie a stern look. “You will do no such thing. You are at the perfect age to get married and start a family. I don’t want any potential suitor to get scared off because you work.”
Her mother looked up at her. “Why don’t you write back to Mr. Middleton and get together with him?”
Elena shook her head. “He probably won’t be interested in marriage right away. He wants to save up enough money to go to college, so it will be a few years before he would start to see anyone seriously.”
She glanced at an illustration in the newspaper of a wild west town, and Elena thought of a solution. “I could marry someone in the west and get a job there. They said because there aren’t a lot of women there, that most places have women working in some capacity, and some even own their own stores. I could send part of my earnings back to you to help with your bills. I heard several ladies in school talking about answering some of the mail-order bride advertisements to help their families out.”
Her grandmother and mother looked at each other. Her mother spoke up. “I would hate for you to be so far from home.”
Elena shrugged. “Maybe it won’t be too far, and I’ll be able to visit.”
Her grandmother dug into her silk coin purse and handed Elena a few coins. “I think they carry a copy of that magazine at the corner newsstand.”
Elena smiled and ran out the door.
Elena’s hand shook as she held an envelope in her hand. “It’s addressed from Virginia City, Nevada. I can’t believe he responded.”
“Why wouldn’t he respond? You’re beautiful and smart.” Her grandmother huffed from her chair.
Elena shook even more. “He might be a gentleman responding to me just to tell me that I am not the one that he is interested in pursuing. Well, here I go…” She opened the envelope and read the letter.
Her mother sewed a button onto a jacket. “Well? What did he say?”
“Mother! It isn’t proper for a lady to divulge the contents of a private letter.” Elena held the letter to her chest.
“Just let us know if he is interested or not. That’s all we want to know.” Her mother began work on the second button.
Her grandmother sat up in her chair. “Speak for yourself, Grace. I want to hear what he said to her.”
Elena laughed and sat on the ottoman. “For you, Nana Essie, I will entertain your request.” She cleared her throat.
“Dear Miss Benning,
I write this letter to you in response to your inquiry about my solicitation. I am quite impressed that you graduated with honors from Briardale School for Women. I know it is a prestigious school, and you should be very proud of your accomplishment.
To answer some of your questions, my name is Thomas Kennedy. I am about 6’ tall, with blonde hair and blue eyes. I have graduated from Harvard University with a business degree. I currently run the family’s businesses, which include several enterprises. The one I am most proud of is the management of the railways in Nevada and surrounding states. My home is in Virginia City, where it seems to grow larger with every blink of my eye, but it somehow has retained its small-town charm. I can only describe the town as rough around the edges, and the people are down-to-earth.”
Elena’s grandmother patted her throat. “Oh, my. If only I were forty years younger.”
“Nana Essie!” Elena laughed. “May I continue?”
“I decided to put a solicitation for a wife in the magazine because of some extenuating circumstances with past relationships and the size of the town I live in. Unfortunately, my reputation precedes itself, and I feared I would not be able to find a suitable wife with a traditional courtship.
I do consider myself a gentleman and do not gamble, nor do I drink excessively. I also have the utmost respect for women and am not abusive. I earnestly seek not only a wife but an intelligent and entertaining hostess. And when the time comes, I wish for her to also be a nurturing mother as well.”
“He sounds too perfect, and he isn’t asking for anything any man would want in a woman.” Her mother cautioned her.
“I was very selective in which solicitation I was going to answer.” Elena held her breath before she continued.
“When I read your letter, I was impressed by the quality of your writing. I felt as if I was there with you when you described your city and neighborhood. I feel as if I know you and your family.
When I viewed your photograph, I was mesmerized by your beauty. I know this is very forward of me, but I would love to meet you in person. I understand that money may be an issue, so I will pay for your passage to Nevada if you are interested. You may stay in the guest wing of the house, or I can arrange for you to stay in the hotel a few blocks from my home. If things do not work out for some reason, I will be more than happy to pay for your travel back to Pennsylvania if you so desire.
I hope to hear back from you and pray you will consider coming here so we may meet properly.
Sincerely yours from Virginia City,
“Virginia City is not too far from where we used to live.” Her mother put her sewing down as her expression became somber.
“Guest wing of the house? He must be fairly rich to have a separate section for guests. He sounds like a wonderful gentleman, Elena.” Her grandmother continued her knitting.
“Is there a problem with Virginia City, Mother?”
“I don’t think so. It was so long ago. I doubt anyone remembers, and I’m sure Charles Westfield and his family have long since moved past that day.” A furrow of worry knitted itself in her mother’s brow.
Virginia City bustled with activity as the late afternoon sun drew longer shadows. The roads were still unpaved and dusty most of the year, and for the few weeks in spring after the winter thaw, those same streets were nearly impassable with shin-high mud. The mid-summer sun would feel intolerable if it weren’t for the constant breeze from the mountains and nearby steppes. Thomas dismounted his horse and strolled into the post office. “Good afternoon, Jarred.”
The elderly postmaster tipped his cap. “Good afternoon, Mr. Kennedy. You have quite a stack of mail today. The mail came in on the train this morning.” He handed him a couple of bundles of letters tied with twine.
“Wow, I certainly do have a stack, don’t I?” Thomas grabbed the stack from the postmaster. “Thank you, Jarred. I’ll see you later this week.”
He walked past a few storefronts and entered a small office. He was immediately greeted by a man in a three-piece suit. “Good afternoon, Thomas.”
“Good afternoon, Anthony. I’m just going to stop by my apartment for a few minutes.”
“Would you like for me to bring you anything?”
“No, I think I’ll be fine. I just need to sort through some of this mail I received. Did you want to get dinner?” Thomas asked his friend.
Anthony nodded. “Sure. I just have to finish a few things down here, so give me a few minutes.”
Thomas bound up the stairs and unlocked the upstairs apartment. He grabbed his letter opener from his desk and sat down. His fingers flipped through the pile. His face lit up as he pulled one letter out and opened it.
He smiled as he read the letter. Anthony knocked on the door. “Ready for dinner?”
Thomas put his feet up on his desk, and he leaned back. “What do you think about her?” He pulled Elena’s picture from his jacket’s inside pocket.
“Wow, she’s really pretty. Did she answer your solicitation?”
Thomas nodded. “Yes. And I wrote her, and I just received a letter back from her.
Anthony perched on the corner of his desk. “So, is she coming?”
Thomas handed him the letter.
Anthony cleared his throat. In a high-pitched shrill to mimic a woman’s voice, He straightened his back. “Dear Mr. Kennedy…”
Thomas chuckled. “Stop it, Anthony. I’m sure there aren’t any women that sound like that.”
Anthony cleared his throat again. “Okay…”
“Dear Mr. Kennedy,
I write this letter and hope this finds you well. I was elated to hear back from you. Virginia City sounds interesting. It sounds far different from the cobbled streets of Philadelphia. The mountains and intensely blue skies sound lovely compared to the mountains of buildings and the soot that seems to cover everything here.
I am most interested in meeting you. I think we would get along famously. I do have a request if it isn’t too much for me to ask you. I will be leaving my mother and grandmother alone here in Pennsylvania. I am worried about their well-being. If our union does happen, I wondered if a small salary could be sent back to my mother to help them with their bills? If needed, I would be more than willing to work to earn the money that will be sent to them.”
“Is she really asking you for money for her family?” Anthony shook his head.
“She doesn’t have a paternal figure that brings income into the house. I can see why she is concerned for her mother and grandmother’s welfare.”
Anthony continued. “I know my request is a lot to ask of a man that I only have known through our correspondence. I will understand if you wish to not pursue this relationship any further. I hope to hear back from you, and regardless of the outcome, may you find your happiness soon.
Elena Benning, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania”
Anthony shook his head. “I can’t believe she is asking for money upfront.”
Thomas shrugged. “Well, to be fair, she mentioned she is willing to work in order to make the money to send back east. And in all honesty, I was pretty brazen asking her to come so we can meet each other after only a single correspondence.”
“Well, you are coming out of an engagement that went bad, so I can see you wanting to move on quickly.”
Thomas continued to justify his decision. “After all, marriage is just a contract of a union. She was very smart to negotiate terms upfront before she commits to a trip.”
“But what a hassle. You would have to pay her mother for life.”
Thomas shook his head. “In most cases with mail-order brides, they have no choice due to their station in life or because of financial hardship. I’m sure her absence may be hurting her family financially.”
“You could see if that pile of letters might have another lady that doesn’t have a long-term financial commitment for you to make.”
The two friends systematically reviewed the rest of the letters. After they finished, the stack of women that were not being considered towered over the two that Thomas would seriously consider.
Anthony scratched his head. “It appears you’ve narrowed your choices to Miss Benning that needs financial support for her family, or to Miss Ferrum that doesn’t seem to be as polished and refined as Elena.”
“But she is also very pretty.” Thomas pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers and groaned. “No, this won’t do. Someone of my station needs a wife that can entertain guests eloquently. I have politicians and business owners that I have over at my house regularly. Betsy has only had a grade school education and grew up in the rural south as the daughter of a mill worker. “As admirable as her search for a husband is, I’m afraid she isn’t quite right for my needs.”
Anthony leaned over the desk. “But what about the obligation to support Miss Benning’s family? I have to admit there is a part of me that wonders if her proposition is some sort of scam for money.”
“It’s not like I can’t afford it. I can.” Thomas pointed that out to his friend.
“Then what’s holding you back?”
Thomas groaned again. “Your point is valid. What if she is trying to scam me for money?” He shook his head. “That doesn’t make any sense. Why would she go through the trouble of being willing to travel all the way to Nevada on the chance I will love her enough to marry her? And only then would her family get the money? There seem to be a lot less cumbersome ways to get money.”
“Then I guess you made up your mind.”
Thomas put his arm over Anthony’s shoulder. “My head is spinning after all of that. Why don’t we go eat dinner?” He grabbed Elena’s photograph and put it back in his jacket’s inside pocket. As the two friends left the apartment, Thomas sighed. “Now I wonder what circumstances would force a woman to be so bold as to ask for this so soon in our correspondence?”
“For the Sake of Her Heart” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
After her father is tragically killed, Elena Benning and her family are left in an unimaginable situation. In order to help with their financial burden, Elena decides to answer a mail-order bride solicitation by Thomas Kennedy. Their connection instantly feels magical, like a match made in heaven. Just before their wedding though, Elena discovers a terrible secret about Thomas’ family and is heartbroken to realize they are connected to her father’s death. Yet her troubles are just beginning and before long she finds herself kidnapped by her fiance’s biggest rival… Will Elena find a way to escape? Will she manage to overcome this traumatic experience without losing the man she has come to love?
Thomas Kennedy has known from an early age that his late father gained his wealth in unethical ways. Ever since his death though, he has made it his purpose to reverse the wrongs his father created. At the same time, his bad luck with local women forces him to try to court a woman from out of town by placing an advertisement. Using a different name to spare his family’s reputation, he soon meets a captivating young woman who immediately steals his heart, Elena. Yet when his true identity is exposed along with deeply buried secrets, a rival vows to make him pay… and the price could be his heart. Will Thomas be able to save Elena from peril or will past choices ruin his dreams?
While ghosts from Thomas’ past are coming for revenge, he must earn back Elena’s trust and win over her heart. Their feelings bring them closer than they ever imagined, but Elena will never feel safe until Thomas confronts his past and makes peace with it forever. Will they break down the barriers that are keeping them apart and lay claim to a future at each other’s side?
“For the Sake of Her Heart” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.