A New Life, A New Wife by Dort WesleyMontana rancher Carter Answorth advertised for a wife but when Cory arrives they are off to a rocky start. The drama deepens when Cory finds out that Carter is an old-fashioned sort of husband who believes that disobedience should lead to spanking.
Montana rancher Carter Answorth needed a wife, but in his area of rugged Montana, women were in scarce supply. So he advertised in the Eastern states for a bride.
Cory Anne Winters had nothing but trouble in Boston. Her parents were dead, and her mercenary brother was determined to marry her off to the highest bidde. She was hiding out in a tiny room in the "wrong" section of town, under an assumed name, taking any jobs she could find, but finally decent work just wasn't to be had.
Desperate, she accepted Carter's ticket, promising to marry him before the New Year, knowing that unless he was an absolute toad, it would have to be better than what she had.
Carter was hoping that Cory Anne was as pretty as the picture she sent to him. More importantly, he hoped she could tolerate the isolated Montana Territory winters when they could be snowed in for weeks at a time. His hopes high, he headed for town to meet the train.
But a terrible accident, leading to a serious misunderstanding, as he traveled towards town threatened to end the relationship before it even started. Can Cory and Carter overcome the rocky start to their relationship? A rocky start which deepens when Cory finds out that Carter is an old-fashioned sort of husband who believes that disobedience should lead to spanking, even for grown women?
"A New Life, A New Wife," is a sweet old-fashioned Western romance with historical domestic discipline elements, including the spanking of grown women. If such elements offend you, please do not buy this title.
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A New Life, A New Wife (Sample Chapter)
A sweet old-fashioned Western romance with historical domestic discipline, including the spanking of grown women.
© Dort Wesley and Blushing Publications, 2013
December 22, 1880
The train seemed to pick up speed as it neared her stop and Cory was finding it more and more difficult to breathe as she contemplated what she would face when the train finally stopped. Part of her wished she'd never answered the advertisement in the paper looking for a wife. But, as afraid of the future as she might be, she knew there was nothing for her in Boston. Her father was dead, and there were very few men who would consider courting her. She'd lost her job, and there was no one willing to hire her. With no prospects at all, coming west to marry a stranger seemed to be a logical solution, but after talking with an elderly woman on the train out of Boston, fear had set in. She knew very little about Carter Answorth. And, what she thought she knew could very well be a lie. Even though she'd sent the man a picture of herself, he had not done the same, and as Mrs. Fisher pointed out, he could be a teenager or a toothless old man. The elderly widow had pecked away at her confidence for miles before they parted ways, but she did tell Cory that if things were not to her liking she could come and make her home with her. Cory politely thanked Mrs. Fisher, but went on, determined to keep her word and marry the man who wrote the letters... unless he turned out to be a murderer or something equally as awful.
"This here is Crawford's Station comin' up," the conductor called out as he passed through the car. "Miss, this here is your stop." He stopped beside Cory to make sure she knew it was time for her to depart.
"Yes, thank you," she answered, her voice sounding squeaky to her own ears.
"You got someone meetin' you?" the conductor asked kindly.
"Yes," she replied, trying to smile. Surely Carter Answorth would show up to meet the train? After all, he did send her a ticket. It would be a waste of hard-earned money if he bought the ticket and then refused to come for her. She took a deep breath as the train slowed down and came to a stop in front of a dilapidated station. She and a portly man carrying a peddler's suitcase were the only passengers departing from their car. Cory picked up her small valise and carried it to the end of the car and reminded the conductor that she had a trunk that needed to be unloaded from the baggage area. He nodded and said it would be seen to within a few minutes. He told the other passengers that they would be leaving in twenty minutes. If they were going to get something to eat, they should do so quickly and get back on the train before it pulled out. He reminded them that they wouldn't wait on anyone.
It was cold outside and Cory pulled her coat tighter around her slender body. She was disappointed when no one came up to her to greet her. Her trunk was placed at her feet on the platform and the conductor looked at her and said, "Now, don't look so glum, Miss. It ain't unusual for folks to run late sometimes. Things come up, you know, especially in this country."
Cory tried to think positively and put a smile on her face, but when the train pulled out some twenty minutes later she was left standing on the platform all alone. She felt bereft and didn't know what to do. The wind was picking up and she was even colder now that the train wasn't blocking any of the cold air from blowing on her. She waited at least ten more minutes, then stomped her foot in frustration. She would go inside the train station and see if there was a hotel or a boarding house for women in the small town. Cory knew she couldn't very well stand outside indefinitely and wait for Carter Answorth!
Carter came to and raised one hand to the aching spot on his head. His stiff, cold fingers came away bloody, but he wasn't dead, and that was clearly the shooter's intention. He realized the sun was going down, and that meant his mail order bride was in town all alone and thinking he'd jilted her. What a damn mess! He gave out a sharp whistle and Mac snorted and came running toward him. "Good boy." Carter patted the animal. "I need to get to town, Mac. I probably look a mess, but that can't be helped."
Cory hated spending her precious few coins to hire a man to tote her trunk to the one and only boarding house in Crawford's Station, but she couldn't remain at the train station forever, hoping that Carter Answorth would show up. She was completely surprised when a heavyset woman who introduced herself as Mrs. Bates answered the door to her polite knock. Cory explained the situation and asked if she could rent a room, and the woman shook her head 'no'.
"You most certainly can't, young lady. All my rooms are spoke for, and lucky for you, Carter rented yours weeks ago. He said you'd be staying here until the two of you are married. He's a good man, and wanted to make sure your reputation was protected. I can't imagine why he didn't meet your train and bring you here himself like he planned; that ain't like him."
Cory was so relieved to know she had a place to stay that she almost burst into tears. She refrained with great difficulty, and instead asked, "Do you know Mr. Answorth well?"
"Why, yes, I sure do. He bought me this house and set me up in business when my Luke was killed. The boy has a heart of pure gold. You come on in now and let me show you to your room, lady. I'll bet you're ready for a wash up and a rest on your bed." To Cory's surprise, the woman picked up her trunk and hoisted it up the steps to the second floor as if it didn't weigh that much! However, Cory knew it was packed to the brim, and she'd brought along several leather bound books that used to belong to her father.
"Ma'am, please allow me to help you with my trunk!" Cory protested, following as quickly as possible.
"You're too thin to lift this trunk, lady. You'd best let me. Don't you worry none; I've been doing this sort of thing since I was a girl on my Pa's farm. He didn't have no boys, so I had to work hard. My Luke liked the fact that I was a hard worker, and I sure did love that man. I miss him something fierce on those long cold nights out here, but he's gone now, and a body has to eat. You come on now, and see if this here room suits you. It ain't fancy, but it is sure enough clean as can be."
"It's very nice, Mrs. Bates," Cory stated, sincerely pleased. "It's much nicer than the room I stayed in back in Boston. I appreciate your kindness."
"Call me Aggie. My real name is Agatha, but I don't like it near as much as Aggie. If you need anything at all, you just holler down for me."
"Aggie!" a loud, deep voice hollered up the staircase. "Aggie, you up there?"
"There's our Carter," Aggie said with a relieved smile. "Come on up here, Carter. I'm just settling your bride in her room, but she's decent yet, and I'm here to make you behave yourself!"
Cory blushed from her toes to the roots of her red hair, positive that her freckles stood out even more. She simply couldn't believe that Aggie invited a man upstairs to her bedroom! Or that she eluded to improper behavior! She heard Carter chuckle as he clunked up the steps. He filled the doorway to her room, and she cried out when she saw the blood covering his face.
"Why, honey, what happened to you?" Aggie asked, taking him by the arm and steering him to a chair and sitting him down with a thump. "You are bleeding like a stuck pig," she stated succinctly. "And don't tell me you cut yourself shaving or I'll take a razor strop to your backside," she threatened.
"Aggie, I would like to apologize to Miss Cory before you start dabbing at me," he growled.
"The apology can wait until you are cared for, Carter," Aggie said gently as she wet a washcloth in the basin in which she'd poured water from the pitcher.
"I'll live, Aggie."
"That damn fool Grainger shot at you again, didn't he?"
"I can't prove it was him or one of his men, Aggie. I didn't see anyone or anything."
"You going to tell the Sheriff?"
"We both know how much good that would do. Owww!" he complained, wincing.
"Settle down, Carter," she ordered as she continued to doctor what appeared to be a flesh wound. "There now. That's much better." She finally had him cleaned up. "I'll get a bandage while you speak to Miss Cory," Aggie said, moving for the door. "If you get out of that chair, young man, I'll tan your hide proper."
Carter shook his head, grinning. Once Aggie was gone, he stood up and said, "Miss Cory, my deepest apologies for not being there when the train got in. I was unconscious for a good while, and there was no way I could get here on time. I'm sure you felt like getting right back on that train and heading back to Boston."
"There wasn't another train for two days or I would have been gone," she admitted, feeling very self-conscious. "I thought you'd come to your senses and changed your mind."
"Come to my senses, eh? Is that how you are feelin', Miss Cory? Like you've made a terrible mistake?" he asked, looking down at the spirited redhead with a smile on his face.
"I'm sure of it!" she told him without a bit of hesitation, and then put her hands on her hips when he burst out laughing, his voice filling the room and bouncing off the floral paper that adorned the walls. "You find me amusing?" Her voice was full of challenge.
"I find you sassy and spirited and I like that just fine, Miss Cory. I know how to deal with that; it's cryin' and weepin' I can't abide in my woman." Those green eyes were flaying him alive and rather than find it upsetting or intimidating, Carter found it refreshing. This young woman didn't care two hoots about impressing him, and she certainly wasn't fawning all over him because he was shot. Somehow he got the impression that she blamed him for that. "I promise you I didn't get myself shot on purpose to keep from meeting your train."
"And what manner of man are you that someone would wish to kill you?" she demanded.
"Why, Miss Cory, if I knew you better I'd take a hairbrush to you!" Aggie declared as she entered the bedroom carrying a rolled bandage in her hand. "Carter, here, is the finest young man in these parts. It's that Grainger, or one of his hired guns, who went after Carter. That fool man moved into these parts a year ago and he decided his ranch wasn't big enough, so's he's been tryin' to run Carter off ever since and take his place, too. He already run off a couple of smaller ranchers, but Carter won't give in to the likes of Grainger. Now, you just stop thinkin' this boy done you wrong in some way. He's a good man."
"Thank you for the high praise, Aggie," Carter said, kissing the woman on the cheek. "But, don't scold Miss Cory too much. She only knows what I told her in those letters I wrote, and how is she to know I wasn't lying to her? We both need a bit of courting time, Aggie, and that's why I appreciate your making room for Miss Cory here until we know for sure that we suit."
"As if I'd tell you 'no', young man," Aggie admonished him. "Now, sit yourself down and let me bandage your head. I don't think that Doc can do anything for you that I didn't already do." She spoke calmly, but his dark eyes were on the pretty redhead who was looking at him just as intently. That's why he let out a holler loud enough to wake anyone who happened to be trying to take a nap!
"Damn, Aggie, what are you doing to me?" he exclaimed.
"Making sure the wound is clean, honey. I'm sorry I had to hurt you," she said softly, patting his shoulder comfortingly.
"I'm sorry I swore," he answered, his face red.
"It's not something I haven't heard before," she calmly replied as she wrapped the bandage around his head, and then tied it off to hold it in place. "That should do you just fine, Carter; if you go to gettin' dizzy or seein' double, you might want to rest up some. Hear me?"
"Yes, ma'am. Thank you kindly," he said, rising to his feet again. He had a splitting headache, felt sick to his stomach, and the room was spinning, but he didn't want to show any weakness in front of his pretty bride-to-be. "I guess I should get out of here and let you rest up from your long trip, Miss Cory. May I call on you later?" he asked formally.
Cory studied the expression in his dark eyes and then said calmly, "Aggie, Carter needs to sit down before he falls down. He's got a concussion." She moved forward and carefully guided him into the chair once again. "Your head is pounding, isn't it?" Her voice was soft and full of compassion, and Aggie nodded in satisfaction. She would make a good wife for Carter.
"I don't want to be a bother," he muttered self-consciously. "Besides, I need to get back to the ranch. The stock..."
"I'll send someone to let Mano know, Carter," Aggie stated, taking charge. She looked at Cory and said, "Sorry, honey. Your man needs a bed, and I've got to put him here. He won't fit in the only place I got left." Her face was red with embarrassment. "You turn down the covers while I steady Carter."
Cory didn't argue. She knew that Carter was feeling the effects of the wound and she realized it was only sheer willpower that brought him on into town to see her. It spoke volumes of his character and she was impressed in spite of her earlier upset with him.
"This ain't right, Aggie. Where's Cory going to sleep now?" he asked.
"I've got a cot where Judy rests when she comes for a visit. It'll have to do. I'm too big to sleep in there, or I'd give up my bed to Cory."
"The cot will do nicely after sleeping on the train, Aggie," Cory assured her. "Back in Boston, I slept on a small cot that I turned into a sofa of sorts during the day. My room was very small, but it was all I could afford on my wages, so I made do." She didn't add that it was in a part of town her brother would never think to look for her. She wouldn't mind sleeping on a cot in Aggie Bates' clean house, not at all. "I'm glad you have room for me."
"You aren't a bit spoiled, honey. I like that," Aggie told her as she tugged on Carter's boots.
When she reached for his belt buckle, Carter's large hands reached out to stop the widow. "Aggie, I'm not a little boy, and Miss Cory is an innocent unmarried woman. You'd best take her on out of here, and I'll take off my own pants." He couldn't remember a time when he'd felt so embarrassed... and helpless. And just when he needed to make a good impression.
Cory just knew her face was beet red and she hated the fact that she colored so easily. Carter was right; she had been sheltered by her dear father, and she would come to her marriage bed a virgin. But, she forced herself to speak in a calm, practical tone of voice, "I've never been married, but since you are injured, I would help you if need be, Carter."
"Not like this, honey. I have some pride, and this sure ain't the way I wanted us to get acquainted. Damn Grainger anyway. I'm going to bust his nose for him!" he growled. To his amazement, Cory giggled. "What's so funny, little girl?"
"I don't think you're up to busting noses right now, Carter." She smiled tenderly. "I am impressed that you forced yourself to come on into town when I know how badly you feel. You are a man of your word."
Carter nodded slightly. "You're a sweet lady, Cory. Thank you for understanding."
"Honey, you get whatever you think you'll need for the night and I'll show you where to bed down. We'll have us some supper in another hour or so, and I reckon you'll be ready to turn in right soon after that. You couldn't have slept much on that train, not the way it jostles a person." She pointed a finger at Carter, "You stay in that bed, young man. I'll bring you some supper later, but if you need something, call out. I'll leave the door open so's I can hear you."
"Best you close it, Aggie. I'd like to know if someone tries to sneak up on me to finish the job," he stated without opening his eyes.
"I don't want to get shot for bringing you supper," she told him with a grin on her face.
"Never, Aggie. Your cookin' is too good." He was still capable of teasing, and Cory took that as a good sign that he wasn't seriously injured.