A western homesteading romance!
This is the first book in The Colorado Brides Series, chronicling the lives of the Hoffman sisters and their adventures in finding love out west.
As the days wore on, I sometimes succeeded in being productive, and at other times I failed. After church on Sunday, I went for a walk, but I was overcome with grief, sitting against a tree at the end of one of the fields, weeping for a long time. When I returned to the house, supper had been waiting, and later, bed. Nathan wasn’t in my room, and I expected him to arrive, wondering what was taking so long. He was always with me at this time of night. Irritation and curiosity propelled me to my feet, as I left the bed. I wore slippers, and I thrust my arms through the robe, tying it at the waist.
In the hallway downstairs, I strode to the door, opening it a crack. Nathan sat on the porch, holding his head in his hands. “What are you doing?” The moon shone overhead, offering muted illumination.
“Go to sleep.”
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
“I can’t do this.”
“Oh, that again?” I went to him, sitting on the top step. The night air was cool against my face. “Please, come to bed.”
He glanced at me, his expression earnest. “How long do you think is proper before you can marry again? A month? Two?”
“Oh, my goodness. That would be far too soon. Six months at least, but I’m not ready to do that. I can’t even think of being with man in that regard, and it’s going to take forever to find the right one.”
“And what would that look like?”
“Someone educated, with a good job.”
“Like a doctor or a merchant or a miner?”
“Not a miner.”
“Because, I’m not marrying a miner.”
“What if you fell in love with a farmer?”
“Frank was a farmer, but he was also a clergyman.”
“What if it were a miner who struck it rich? Would that be good enough for you?”
There was anger in his voice. “Nathan.”
“I’m not gettin’ into that bed with you again, unless you marry me.”
I stared at him, my stomach sinking. “Please, Nathan.”
“No. You’re using me like some type of security blanket. It’s not proper to be in bed together all night long, especially when I want to touch you like a man touches a woman, and I can’t. I’m about to lose my ever-loving mind.”
Our eyes locked in that heated, breathless moment. “I can’t marry you.”
“I’m well aware of that. I can’t sleep with you.”
“Just one more night?”
“It’s always one more night.” His gaze drifted to my mouth. “Are you pouting? Is that a pout?”
“Your lower lip is protruding. That’s an honest to God pout.”
“I…wish we could be together—”
“No!” He got to his feet. “I’m hitting the hay, and it won’t be in the house. Good night, Hannah. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
He walked to the bunkhouse, slipping inside, closing the door behind him. I stared for ages, feeling tears prick the back of my eyes. It was some time before I stood and went to my room, but sleep was hard to come by that night…and the night after.