The rattling of the items around the train’s cabin were no more than background noise as the young woman stretched out her hand toward the sleeping man’s forehead. His wife stood near the door, as if she was worried that being present would in some way cause problems. The concerned expression on her kindly face was partially hidden behind her hands.
Ruby knew her impromptu patient’s wife was on pins and needles, something the young nurse could not fully understand. It was difficult for a 19-year-old to imagine being married for 40 years, a duration of time that was more than twice her lifespan. Shifting a little in her dress, she wished she were wearing something more similar to the outfits at the nursing hospital back in Chicago. The dress was bulky, making it difficult for her to find a comfortable position beside her patient.
When her soft hand touched the old man’s pale skin, Ruby immediately relaxed. It was cold and clammy, a welcome sign. Just the day before, his fever had threatened to end his trip long before he and his wife reached their destination.
Turning with a smile on her pink lips, Ruby said, “His fever has broken.”
The older woman covered her face in her wrinkled hands as a guttural sob burst forth.
Switching her attention from the patient to his wife, Ruby rose to escort the woman away from the room so that the man could sleep. Just as she reached the terrified wife, the train hit some debris on the track, causing both women to lurch to the side.
Ruby reached out and stopped the woman from hitting the door frame. “It’s okay. I’ve got you,” she murmured.
Escorting her out of the cabin, Ruby wrapped an arm around the woman, who was clearly experiencing a unique kind of relief. In an effort to calm her nerves, she led them toward the dining cart.
Once they were seated, Ruby ordered tea for both of them, as well as a biscuit. The wife hadn’t eaten anything since the previous day, at least not as far as Ruby had noticed.
The older woman’s eyes shone with gratitude as her hands wrapped around the warm tea. Her voice shook as she looked at Ruby. “Thank you, dear. You’ll never know how much your help has meant to me. To both of us.”
A sincere smile spread across Ruby’s face, her hazel eyes taking in the small changes in the wife’s expression. “I’m very glad I could help.” She leaned over the table, looking around a little conspiratorially, hoping to further lighten the burden. “Between you and me, I think he was just being a typical man. Making a bit much out of just a little head cold.”
For the first time since they had met, the older woman laughed, causing her white wisps of hair to move around a little more wildly. It was a very different look than from the previous day.
When she finally spoke, she said, “I guess that could be the case. In all of our years, I’ve never known Jacob to be sick. It’s possible it was a shock to him to find out he could fall ill.” Her soft brown eyes widened. “Oh, heavens! You’ve done so much for me, and I’ve yet to introduce myself. I’m Mrs. Martha Walker. And my husband is Jacob Walker.”
With a wide smile, Ruby replied, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Walker. I’m Ruby Langley.”
“And you are a nurse and a blessing in disguise.”
This got a short chortle from Ruby. “Believe me, Mrs. Walker—”
“Please, call me Martha.” She leaned forward and winked. “I would prefer that you think of me as more of a friend.”
“Thank you, Martha. You clearly know a bit about taking care of others. Apart from his fever, there wasn’t too much that I had to do.”
This was met with a heavy sigh. “Yes dear. I unfortunately have seen my share. We lost one son during the war, and the other required a number of years to settle into a career without one of his feet. Taken by a cannon ball.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Ruby placed a hand over her heart. She had known people at the hospital who had either been nurses during the war or who had known people who had served.
Ruby’s family was fortunate to have been much more removed, having no one of age to serve when the Civil War had broken out. Talking to people who were still hurting over two decades later was a stark reminder that life could be so much crueler than her current situation.
“It’s okay, dear. We appreciate that we still have two living sons after that barbaric war.” A scowl crossed the otherwise kindly face. It quickly passed, like a storm cloud that briefly threatened a picnic on an otherwise cloudless day. “Besides, we felt he was in good hands. He has a wife and a couple of children. And his siblings live close by.”
“So you and your husband decided to go gallivanting about the country?”
“We did. After living in Boston for our whole lives, we wanted to get out and see this lovely country.” What remained unspoken was that the couple desired to see the country for which one of their sons had died. To Ruby, it seemed as if they wanted to feel that his death had meaning. “When Jacob fell ill, I thought it might be punishment for leaving our family behind.”
Being more scientifically minded, Ruby quickly shook her head at the idea. “I would say that it’s much more likely that your husband was a little less careful with his health now that he is one the road. All of those old habits are broken, giving him a sense of freedom that made him forget about hygiene.”
Martha’s laugh was almost infectious, the idea that her husband was the cause of his own illness clearly tickling her fancy. “I won’t go telling him that until he’s out of the woods. But I have a sneaking suspicion that you may be correct. I certainly haven’t been keeping an eye on him to the extent that I once did. I suppose that will teach me.”
“Well, you can nudge him a little to do better while he convalesces. That should be easier once you are in one place. How far are you going?”
“Oh, we plan to go all the way out to southern California. We hear that it’s warm and sunny over most of the year. At our age, that sounds like a dream come true.”
Ruby gave her dining companion a warm smile. “Especially after all of that snow.”
“My heavens! The last few years, we thought the snow would be the death of us!”
“Oh, I remember,” Ruby offered. “My family lived in Boston until I was six years old. Losing all of that snow meant something else to me, but now that I’m older, I can understand wanting to escape it.”
Finding out that they were from the same city, the pair chatted a while about Boston and the different places, although Ruby’s memories of the city had faded considerably after thirteen years.
Finally, Martha asked, “Where are you headed?”
The woman’s face clouded over. “As in Texas?”
Shaking her head, Martha said, “You shouldn’t be going to that rebel bastion full of thieves, traitors, and cowards.”
Knowing the older woman’s history with the war, Ruby understood the sentiment. “I’m meeting my fiancé there.”
A frown graced Martha’s brow and remained there for most of the conversation. “I hope you aren’t planning on living among those barbarians.”
“Well, that’s where his home is, so I don’t imagine we will be moving. At least not anytime soon.” As her companion’s expression became more dour, Ruby felt it necessary to explain more about her situation, as if she could change Martha’s mind with the right words. “He’s a rancher. And a very good one, from what I’ve heard. He works with politicians to draw up laws that help the other ranchers.”
“More like to help himself,” Martha muttered. “And you don’t sound very certain.”
Ruby had fallen back on one of her nervous habits, plucking at her skirt as she tried to explain the situation. “I have not met him. He needs a wife, and I needed to move out of my parents’ home.”
“My dear!” The woman placed her cup down and leaned forward. “You are a nurse! Use that to your advantage. I’m sure there are many people who would love to hire you to work for them.”
“Unfortunately, I don’t have the necessary experience. Chicago has more than enough nurses, and nearly all of them have years of experience. I have only worked in the hospital for a couple of years.”
Martha’s frown shifted to a look of concern. “I fear that this is a mistake you will regret far too soon. Being tied to someone who plays at politics in Texas is not someone to be trusted.”
“Have you known many people from Texas?”
“They have never been welcome anywhere near people who are a part of polite society. At least not in Boston,” Martha said, the disdain clear in her voice. “I can’t understand what would drive you to think that you can possibly be happy with a man you’ve never met.”
Ruby considered how much to tell her companion. She could talk about her father’s business issues and how having her living with them was one more financial burden. But looking at the older woman, Ruby had a feeling she couldn’t understand the problem.
Instead of delving into the issues that led to her opting to marry someone who had advertised for a bride, she decided to change the subject.
“I don’t know that my goal is happiness. If I was after happiness, I don’t think I would have even considered nursing.”
“Surely there were some nice Chicago boys could see what a catch you are.” Martha gestured toward her. “You have lovely long, wavy brown hair that highlights those gorgeous hazel eyes. You’re young, beautiful, and compassionate. Surely, the men in your city weren’t so blind that they couldn’t see that.”
The words pricked at her heart, but Ruby was even less willing to talk about her failed relationship with Robert. Two years of courting, and he had abandoned her for a woman from New York. Someone flashier and more feminine. That was part of the reason she had thrown herself into nursing—it was a life that best suited her interests after having her heart broken.
Then her father’s business had started to have persistent financial issues. Although her parents said they didn’t mind her living there, especially while working for the hospital, the $13 a month that she earned was too little to help such a large house with so many mouths to feed.
“It’s possible that I started to panic.” She gave an uncertain smile. “My younger sister just married a banker, and there were so many comments about it.”
She neglected to mention that many of those comments were by her sister, rubbing her success in Ruby’s face.
Martha shook her head. “It shouldn’t be a competition, honey. This is your life. You shouldn’t give it away to some underserving creature. You’re too good a person to be treated as poorly as I fear you will.”
Reaching out and patting Martha’s hand, Ruby promised, “I will be just fine. I’ve handled my share of headstrong, ornery men, so I’ve learned how to placate them to get them to do what’s best.”
After artfully steering the conversation in a different direction, Ruby enjoyed the rest of their time together. She told Martha what to do to help her husband to continue healing. After they split up, Ruby headed back to her cabin to prepare for her arrival in a few hours.
She was a bit concerned about Jacob, especially since the couple still had several days on the train, but based on what she had seen, his ailment was likely little more than a cold that he had neglected. Traveling would exacerbate the problem, especially at his age. Ruby had done everything she could.
When the train started to slow, signaling that they were arriving at the station in Dallas, Ruby was ready, though slightly uncomfortable in the white dress that her fiancé had sent her for the ceremony. Their correspondence had changed a bit after she had sent him a picture of herself, but she hadn’t thought about it too much. Not until the dress arrived.
That was when she’d started impressing on her fiancé that she was not comfortable with physical intimacy, at least not at first. She wanted to get to know him, to build a relationship before making their relationship physical. He hadn’t seemed particularly happy about her terms, eventually saying they would discuss it when they met.
It was the first sign that her relationship was in trouble.
Once the train stopped, she was the first to step off of it, her heart hammering at the idea of meeting the man she was to marry. The dry breeze across her face caused her to flinch, and harsh grains of sand scratched at her skin. The experience was far from what she had expected, and she regretted not asking her future husband for more details about the environment.
When the breeze passed, she opened her eyes to see a man with his arm around a black-haired woman. Her lips were clearly colored, making her look like a lady of ill repute. Ruby had barely had time to notice the color of the woman’s lips when the man leaned over and kissed her, hiding both of their faces. Uncomfortable by the way the two people were being a little too familiar in public, she turned to look for Richard, the man she was to marry.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Are you Ruby Langley?”
The southern drawl drew Ruby’s attention back toward the couple. She looked at the man, his arm still around the woman, who now had her head resting on his shoulder with a smirk on her face. Ruby looked at the man, and that was when it clicked. He had sent her a picture, and now that he was looking at her instead of hiding his face and kissing the woman, she recognized him.
This was the man she had come to marry.
Less than 24 hours later, Ruby found herself back on a train returning to her home. Richard had bought her a ticket and paid for her to stay at the local inn for the night. With just enough money to get to the train station early—Ruby never wanted to see her ex-fiancé again—she boarded, not sure how she was going to explain her return to her parents.
Of course, they would be happy to see her again because they had felt bad about her marrying a complete stranger and moving so far away. Yet it meant they would have one more mouth to feed while barely being able to pay for their home and business.
Dread settled into her stomach, and this time there would be no medical emergency to distract her thoughts as she found the jolting motions of the train far more ominous than on the way to Dallas.
“I’m heading out now, Nel.” Gideon’s hand was on the doorknob as he turned to see his sister sitting peacefully on the couch. The dwindling rays of the California sun created an almost angelic light over her features.
Her pale face looked serene as she smiled knowingly at him. “You’ve said that three times already, Gideon. I’m starting to think you’re waiting for me to ask you to stay.”
“I will if you need me to.”
“What if I tell you I need you to go?”
“I will feel less loved, dear sister.”
Her gentle laugh filled the living space. “You are still loved, but I need a bit of peace and quiet from my overprotective brother. I promise, I will be fine. Go. Have some fun.”
“I think I’ve forgotten how.”
Giving a melodramatic sigh, Nel said, “That isn’t something I can teach you. Wesley is much better suited.”
“Fine. Fine. Do take care of yourself. I won’t be gone long, I promise.”
“I know. Don’t forget, you’re going out to enjoy yourself. That way, you might be a little more bearable in the morning.”
“Keep saying things like that and I may forget to add cheese to your biscuits.”
When his sister stuck her tongue out, Gideon laughed. Grabbing his hat, he left the ranch. About ten minutes later, he sat down at the bar next to his friend.
Wesley looked over at him. “I wasn’t sure you were going to come out tonight, what with all of the recent issues. I’m glad you’re finally giving yourself a break.”
After placing his order, Gideon turned to his friend and tried to smile. Feeling exhausted after another long day taking care of both his ranch and his home, he wasn’t quite able to hide how tired he was—even at just age twenty-five. Seeing no point in pretending he was happy, Gideon said, “I wish I knew how to turn down my best friend when he asks me join him for a few drinks.”
Wesley’s soft brown eyes closed as he let out a hearty laugh. When he finally stopped, he shook his head in disbelief. “You know, you’ve mastered telling me no—for years, you’ve had no trouble with the word. That’s why I wasn’t sure you were going to make it. It wouldn’t be the first time you had an emergency at the last minute, leaving me to entertain myself.”
This got a laugh out of Gideon, and he relaxed somewhat. “If I listened to you all of the time, my ranch would fall apart. And then where would my sister and I live?”
“I would be willing to put Nel up for a while, and if you’re okay with it, ol’ Hank would probably be more than happy to have someone sleeping next to him in the barn. He’s always liked you.”
Giving his friend a bump with his shoulder, Gideon picked up the mug placed in front of him. He took a long drink, and almost immediately he felt more at ease. Turning to look at his friend, he finally admitted, “I should probably take a break a bit more often.”
“It’s been about a year and a half.” Wesley was dancing around a particularly sensitive topic—Gideon hadn’t come out like this since his mother died.
“Has it really been that long?” Gideon offered a small smile. “I guess I should let you drag me out here more. Even if you have to use ol’ Hank to do the draggin’.”
Wesley laughed again, his baritone making Gideon feel a little better. Patting Gideon on the shoulder, his friend replied, “It’s good to see you remember that you have a sense of humor.”
“I know. I haven’t been a great friend for a while, but I’ll try to do better. If for no other reason than to get Nel off my back.”
“Hey, if she’s saying that you’re too obsessively organized and regimented now, I have to agree with her. If you forget to have fun—”
Holding up his hands, Gideon cut him off. “I know. Are you and Nel working on this together behind my back? I swear, you sound just like her.”
“If she’s saying that, and I’m saying that, it’s much more likely that we’re right. Don’t you think? Two people who care about you wanting to see you doing better?”
Gideon’s shoulders slumped. “I know. I haven’t been a great friend, and according to Nel, I’m being an overbearing brother right now.”
“I understand your concern for her, but she’s nineteen years old, Gideon. She’s not a child.”
Gideon glanced sharply at his friend, hoping his warning shone through in his clear blue eyes. “She’s sick, Wes. I won’t let her overdo anything and end up losing her, too.”
His friend realized he had overstepped. Trying to make amends, Wesley said, “I understand. It hasn’t been long since you lost both of your parents just a few months apart. But how much harm are you doing to yourself trying to take care of Nel and your ranch? You can’t do it all. And it’s hard to watch you have so much trouble on your own.”
“Unless you’re offering to come and help me, I really don’t know what else I can do.”
Wesley gripped his beer a little tighter. “If I ever see Harold again, he’s going to have more than gambling debts to worry about.”
Gideon looked down at his mug and smiled. He appreciated the sentiment. Harold, his ranch hand, had taken off six months ago with no warning, leaving Gideon to work the ranch entirely on his own. The day after the ranch hand had slipped away in the middle of the night, a few men had come from the saloon looking to collect the money he owed their boss. That was how Gideon had learned that he’d lost his ranch hand and why.
Fortunately, the people in town—including the men from the saloon—respected Gideon, and when he’d walked the men through all of the places where his ranch hand might try to hide without success, Gideon had assured them he would let them know if Harold ever returned. It was unlikely, but possible. Apologizing to the men that he wasn’t able to do more, Gideon had given the men Harold’s wages, and they’d left promising that they wouldn’t bother him again.
That had been about the only positive outcome from that particular fiasco. Ever since, Gideon had been slowly bending under all of the responsibility.
“I wish I could,” Wesley offered. “But we both know I can’t do any more than a couple of days a week. My parents can’t handle their place on their own.”
“I know.” Gideon downed the rest of his drink. Indicating that he wanted another one, he turned back to his friend. “I was hoping to get some clarity, but right now, I just feel like being away from the ranch is putting me further behind in my work.”
They sat in silence as the hum of other conversations filled in what they weren’t saying. Finally, Wesley turned to him. “Have you considered posting an advertisement for a bride?”
Gideon had been in the middle of taking a drink when his friend had spoken. Spluttering into the mug, he choked on the liquor that didn’t end up back in the cup or dribbling down his chin.
Wesley patted him on the back. “I’m sorry. I probably shouldn’t have asked when you were drinking.”
Shaking his head as he continued coughing, Gideon waved him away. Struggling through his words, he said, “You definitely… should have… waited.”
Wesley took this advice and waited until Gideon finished his coughing fit before trying the subject again. “It’s as clear as a summer morn that you haven’t even remotely thought about it, but I think you should.”
Gideon narrowed his eyes at his friend. “I’m not about to bring in some city woman who has no clue how to work on my ranch. What you’re suggesting will make things worse, not better.”
“You don’t know that. What if you find a woman who can take on some of the chores and handle the work around the house? If nothing else, wouldn’t you like to come home to a nice hot meal at the end of a long day of driving cattle? Instead of having to cook it for you and Nel after everything else?”
“Yes, that would be great. But you’ve heard the stories. How often do those arrangements turn out to be worse for everyone?”
“If you are referring to Jeremiah and Zeke, well, that should tell you everything you need to consider about those situations. Do you honestly think they were looking for a good woman to help them?”
Gideon had to concede that particular point. “I know. Jeremiah wanted a new mom for his kids without disclosing that to the woman.”
“Yes. And Zeke was only looking for a beautiful woman. Can’t say he didn’t get exactly what he asked for and what he deserved.”
Gideon’s lips curled into a crooked smile. “Still, it’s a fairly bad omen to have two men in the area have their marriages fail so spectacularly. And so quickly.”
“That doesn’t mean all of them turn out like that. If so many epistolary courtship brides were failures, they wouldn’t be so common. You can tell any prospective bride exactly what it is you need in a partner. You can even say that you aren’t looking for a traditional relationship.”
“From what I can tell, no woman is going to want to come out here to work on a ranch. They’ll probably want to have children, which I don’t even want to consider right now. And a lot of them are looking for romance. I’m almost certain that’s why so many are willing. They think they can come out here and find love, then live a life of leisure. I have a hard time imagining any of them being interested in the kind of hard work that is required on a ranch.”
“Just be open and honest when you place an advertisement. You can cull all of the romantics and reach the women who are interested in what you have to offer.”
“Can you think of many women who don’t want to have kids, though? That seems like something most of them expect.” Gideon looked at his friend, who looked down at his drink in response. “If I’m honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever want kids. Given everything I have to do, I don’t see having time for that, too.”
“You don’t think you’ll ever have time?”
“I’m having trouble imagining anything past tomorrow.”
“I can understand that. But I think it’s time you try. You have no idea how long it’ll take to get a new ranch hand, or how long they’ll stay. This area attracts far too many saddle burns to trust any of them to stick around for long.”
Gideon rubbed his hand over his face. “Thanks, Wes. This is a real break from the usual worries.”
“I’m sorry to bring it up, but I’m worried about you. And the last time I talked to Nel, she had the same concerns.”
“Please, don’t you two start teaming up against me. I don’t know how I would handle that.”
“Recognize that it’s coming from a place of concern. I think your best option is a bride.”
“I would give a city woman a week before she goes racing back to whatever city she hailed from.”
“What makes you think that? If I had to guess, I think most of them are just looking for a better place in their lives. One of my cousins got a bride that way, and they’re perfectly happy with a marriage of convenience. They made sure to discuss what was important, and that has led to a peaceful existence. I don’t think there’s love, but they definitely respect each other. And his place has never looked so good now that he has half the work to do.”
Gideon sighed. “That sounds so nice right now.”
“You don’t have to make a decision tonight, but think about it.”
They spent about another hour together, reminiscing about easier times. When Gideon finished his third beer, they paid their tab and headed to their respective homes.
As soon as Gideon walked through the door, his sister looked up from the couch, which suggested to him that she hadn’t gotten up since he’d left.
“If it isn’t my favorite brother. You look a little less stressed.”
“I admit, you were right. It was kind of nice to get away from everything for a while. I can’t make a habit of it, though. Not if you want to be able to eat next week.”
Laughing, his sister placed her book down on the end table and stood up. Stumbling a little, she caught herself on the arm of the couch. Gideon rushed to her side, taking her elbow.
“I knew it,” he said, his tone reflecting concern and pain. “I should never have left you home alone.”
Nel tried to dismiss the episode. “I just tripped, Gideon. It’s not like I fainted or anything.”
“But what if you had? No one was here to help you. I couldn’t—”
She placed a hand on his arm. “Calm down. I’m fine. I enjoyed a nice evening reading my book. Like I promised, I didn’t leave the house.”
“Still, it’s a risk I never should have taken.”
“You are driving me up a wall and round the bend!” Her voice was raised as she looked into his eyes. “Gideon, I love you, but I need some time alone. And you absolutely need to spend more time taking care of yourself. This isn’t healthy for either of us.”
Backing away from her, Gideon said in an exacerbated tone, “I don’t know what else to do, Nel!”
“We need help. I don’t know if we should try another ranch hand because that hasn’t worked out well. But clearly we have to do something. As it is, you just can’t do everything, and I’m afraid it’s going to eventually kill you.”
She sat back on the couch as Gideon moved to one of the chairs near the fireplace. For a bit, they sat reflecting on their own thoughts, both aware that they were reaching a breaking point.
Finally, Nel broke the silence. “I’m sorry, Gideon. We would be fine if I could do anything at all to help.”
He waved a hand. “It’s not your fault. Don’t ever apologize for something outside of your control.”
“But my condition is making things so much worse for you.”
Shifting from the chair to the couch, he placed an arm around his sister. “I would do anything for you, Nel. And you do help me because at least I’m not entirely alone like I used to be. It was much rougher when I was getting started on my own.”
With a tear rolling down her cheek, Nel looked at him. “I’m going to call four-flusher on that one.”
Gideon couldn’t stop a snort as he had not expected that from his sister. “It was much harder in some ways. And I never think of you as work. You’re my sister, not a burden. And a pest sometimes, of course.”
She giggled and hiccupped. Sniffling a little, Nel brought up something their parents had mentioned not long after she had fallen ill. “Mom and Dad talked about hiring a nurse to help sometimes. I know that was a lot easier back in the city, but maybe we can find something like that out here.”
“I can’t imagine any woman wanting to move out to the middle of nowhere to be a nurse. Don’t they work in hospitals?”
“I’m sure we can find something, even out here in cattle country.”
For a moment, Gideon thought about what he had discussed with Wesley. Hesitantly, he raised the question with his sister. “Do you think… that I might be able to find someone to come out here to marry me, and she can help take care of you?”
“What?” Nel gave him a look that reflected deep shock. “I’m not going to let you marry some random woman just to take care of me.”
“Think about it, Nel. No respectable woman is going to move out here without marriage, and I don’t want any other type of woman looking after you. I don’t have time to go out and meet women—I don’t even have any interest in it. This may be the only way for either of us to actually end up getting hitched.”
“I really don’t like this idea, Gideon. It’s… it seems wrong for you. If you marry someone, you should at least like her first. Marrying someone right off a train…” Her thin frame shuddered.
“Wesley said if I talk with the potential brides, let them know exactly what we need, it has a better chance of the marriage sticking. And if I let the women know that my sister needs a nurse, I just might end up with a wife who could be useful.”
Apparently ignoring the rest of what he’d said, Nel asked, “What does Wesley have to do with this?”
Gideon made a sour face. “The correspondence bride was his idea. I had the same reaction as you because I didn’t think some city woman would be any help out here. But if she has some kind of medical training, well, it might actually be worth it.”
Nel shook her head. “I don’t want you to marry because of me.”
“Who says I would marry just for you? I would love to have a hot meal waiting on the table for me at the end of a long day.”
This got another giggle from his sister. “I think we should think about it. I hardly think a hot meal is worth trading your chance at finding someone you can actually love.”
“Well, I’m not racing over to the desk to draft up an advertisement now, am I?”
“Thank goodness, no.”
Helping her up, Gideon reassured his sister, “I’m not going to let anyone in here to bully you or to make your life difficult. If I do go through with this, know that you will have just as much say as I do.”
“That will just make me feel guilty.”
“Well, I can make all of the decisions about it if you want.” He helped her to her room and over to her dresser.
“We’ll see if you change your tune when a forty-year-old woman shows up on the doorstep ready to take control of the place.”
The siblings argued playfully for a few minutes before finally saying goodnight. Gideon went to bed with a lot to consider about their future.
Bringing a stranger into their home was a calculated risk, and they had lost enough ranch hands in the last seven years to be a lot more hesitant about trying again.
They needed a new strategy to get help.
“The Nurse’s Prescription for Love” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Ruby Langley’s heart has weathered the storm of love’s disappointments, leaving her content as a dedicated nurse. Approaching 20, her life takes an unexpected turn when financial troubles force her to seek a new path. Enticed by a seemingly perfect opportunity in California, little does she know that life on a ranch will shatter her expectations, drawing her into a tale of romance and resilience.
Will the winds of change sweep Ruby into a love she never expected, or will the turbulence of the past continue to shape her destiny?
Gideon Whitman, a rugged rancher, finds himself at a crossroads, desperate to secure a future for his family. Following his friend’s advice, he seeks a bride through unconventional means, only to discover that fate has woven an intricate web connecting him to Ruby—a woman from his past. As they navigate the challenges of caring for Gideon’s sister and fending off threats to their land, an undeniable spark between them grows.
Will Gideon’s duty to the ranch outweigh the unexpected pull of his heart toward Ruby, preventing him from fully embracing the love he never saw coming?
As danger intensifies, Ruby and Gideon must confront their growing feelings before a deadly game reaches a point of no return. Will they recognize their love in time, or will the stakes prove too high to salvage what they’ve forged together? In this tale of devotion and peril, can Ruby and Gideon triumph over the shadows that imperil their budding romance, or will they fall victim to the darkness that seeks to tear them apart?
“The Nurse’s Prescription for Love” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.