EXCERPT FROM MASQUERADE MARRIAGE
Like a determined hero, the fugitive warrior strode through the door at the far end of the tiny stone kirk. Megan’s eyes widened. Her clenched jaw relaxed. Some of her dread dissolved. “Impressive.” Molly, Megan’s Irish maid, whispered from where they stood together in the vestibule. He stopped in front of the hand-carved altar and half-turned toward her. Megan pulled in an uneven breath. This Highlander, wearing formal kilts, was no scrawny lad grown older, nor was he a big, hairy Scot with a bushy beard. The tall, strapping soldier stood with legs braced as if about to do battle. Her heart skipped. Though she’d known Brody when she wore short skirts, this blond warrior was far more than she expected. Her pulse throbbed in her temples. Doubt niggled her brain. Brody was too tall, too obviously a Highlander. How could she hope to pass him off as a Lowland Laird? He appeared to have too big a chip on his shoulder to let her command him. Brody’s thick sandy hair swept the collar of his linen shirt. Lace-trimmed cuffs matched the white jabot at his muscular throat. A silver broach clapsed his crimson and black tartan to his wide right shoulder. His Claymore, dirk, and thick sword belt startled her.Megan suppressed a shudder. The English outlawed kilts. With his dress, Brody spat in the face of the English and further imperiled his life. Why? His intense sapphire stare blazed a trail across the empty wooden pews toward her. His eyes made her feel dizzy as if she just danced a fast reel with a lively partner. Molly grinned and handed Megan the bridal flowers. What had she gotten herself into?
Warm Mulled Kisses is the Anthology, my story is A GROOM FOR CHRISTMAS. Felicity Daniels’s father dies, leaving her stranded at Ft. Laramie, one-third of the way to homestead 640 acres in the Oregon Territory. She has money and supplies to continue her journey, but a woman alone cannot claim the free land. So she advertises for a husband. Ben Bonneville’s been called to preach to the Gold Rush towns in the Oregon Territory. But he’s robbed of everything he owns except for the clothes on his back. His only recourse seems to be to take Felicity as his wife and help her homestead. But can these two very different people find happiness together?
ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS is a World War II romance where Steel Magnolias meet Band of Brothers. While test flying planes as a Woman Air Service Pilot, WASP, Mandy McCabe escapes her dead-end life in Hangman’s Hollow, Tennessee. But, can she escape from her past? Major Harvey Applegate lost his wife to the WASP program, and he’s convinced Yankee Doodle Gals have no place flying in the war effort. He determines to protect the remaining WASPs by sending them packing back to the home front. Will their new love survive the test? One love. Two goals. Someone has to give.
A SECRET LIST
He was born to a clan of noted warriors and musicians.Yet to protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, he abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, he vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more thanScotland. But his presence throws her into danger.
A VOW HONORED
She weds a stranger to save his life. But do vows make a marriage? When does a marriage become a marriage?What if she holds a different love inside her heart?
A SACRIFICE MADE
A SACRIFICE MADE
Steeling himself against the pain, he condemns himself to a life of heartbreak without her. Wanting her desperately, knowing he can’t have her, he surrenders her and heads alone to a hostile land across the sea. Outlawed, with a price on his head, does she love him enough to give up castle, lands, and family, and risk the agony of surrendering her heart a second time? Or is there another way?
MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT
A MARRIAGE COVENANT
Why does a handsome, powerful noble of the highest rank in England stoop to marry a mere Lady of Lowland Scotland?
A GREAT SECRET
Are the whispered stories about him true? Each change of clothes transforms him into a different man. With his shadowy past and strange behavior what awful secret does he hide?
AN IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE
Can Lady Cailin keep her vow to make her marriage happy and successful, unlike that of her parents, or to save her unborn child, must she arrange for the Duke’s accidental death?
A spinster on the run from a trumped-up robbery charge finds a position as a Placer Agent on the Orphan Train leaving New York for Cincinnati.
The Pinkerton Agent assigned to protect the train falls in love with her, discovers her disguise, and must bring her to justice.
Will her skeptical, hurting heart accept his love? Will she truly escape her past? Will the orphans under her care find loving homes at the end of the line?
THE MARRIAGE BROKER AND THE MORTICIAN
Not everything that glitters is gold in California gold rush country. The Marriage Broker has a passion for helping others find the love of their life, but she has no desire to prospect that mine herself. Eve, a spunky Irish orphan takes on the responsibility for six 18-year-old orphan girls. She procures husbands for them from the gold mine country of California. Visionary thinker and Mortuary owner Rafe Riley needs a wife for his showy home in Eureka, California, and to console his grieving clients. When Eureka’s mayor campaigns to win Eve for his wife, Rafe ramps up his own efforts to win Eve. But, will he give up the mortuary business and gold prospecting to win her hand?
A FOOL FOR LOVE is my novella in the April Fool's Love anthology. A dream shattered – a love jilted – a heart broken. People change. Is there a second chance for love above the clouds? It’s the swinging sixties. An ex-fiancé flies back into a stewardess’s life. He dumped her once. But this war veteran knows what he wants now. Torn between attraction and fear, will she head for the runway or the hangar?
She’s left behind her past, with its small-town values and jilted love to see the world and become independent. He’s returned from war and death with a single goal—to redeem the worst mistake of his life. She wants nothing to do with him. He wants her as his wife. Will their flight end with an emergency landing, a total crash, or a perfect glide into the right airport, the right gate, and the right destination?
A CHRISTMAS BELLE is my novella in the Christmas Mail-Order Angels anthology. Amanda Jeffrey, mail-order bride, arrives in the Wild West expecting to wed a cowboy. Frank Calloway, Sheriff of Angel Vale needs a mother for the baby left on his doorstep. But can the delicate Southern belle with the disappointed expression accept a Southern man, rather than a cowboy, after another Southern groom jilted her at the altar? And is the delicate Southern belle strong enough to handle life in the rugged western boom town?
RED IS FOR ROOKIE
A rookie private investigator tracks a kidnapper poised to kill her best male friend. Will she find her friend in time to save his life? A seasoned PI from a competing firm dogs her footsteps. So why is she falling for the guy? Will she trust her heart to the life-long friend or the danger-addicted PI?
Heiress Abby Hollister’s Papa demands she stop toying with young men’s hearts and marry within a month or be disinherited. After reading an ad for a mail-order bride in untamed Laramie, Wyoming, Abby makes a list of characteristics she expects for her husband and sets off to claim the perfect mate and secure her personal fortune.
Stage coach driver, Zach Tyler likes his exciting job where he outsmarts robbers and Indians and keeps the stage running regardless of weather, break-downs, and ornery passengers. But passenger Abby Hollister proves to be an unusual challenge. He protects her on the journey to Laramie, but in that town women are as scarce as a bird’s nest in a cuckoo clock, and men go crazy when the beauty arrives seeking a husband.
1925 - What happens in the roaring twenties when a daredevil barnstormer falls in love with a wing-walking flapper threatened by dangerous men who will exploit her?
Orphan and wing-walker Gloria needs a job when her boss dies in a barnstorming accident. With no other jobs available, she sweet-talks Rand into letting her walk his wing. Flying Ace Rand fights wartime injuries that hamper his flying even as he works to gain the world-record for solo flight across the Atlantic. He bucks his wealthy dad’s plans for him to settle down, join the company, and marry a socialite.
Rand falls in love with the courageous, fun-loving, talented, and above all daring Gloria. But Orphan Gloria’s experienced too many men who promise love and marriage and instead take advantage of her being alone in the world. She holds Rand at arm’s length. Without her knowledge, Rand protects her and makes sure she doesn’t starve. When Gloria’s offered a movie contract Rand knows he must intervene.
Will Gloria turn her back on fame and fortune to wed a man addicted to danger?
Amanda Jeffrey, mail-order bride, arrives in the Wild West expecting to wed a cowboy. Frank Calloway, Sheriff of Angel Vale needs a mother for the baby left on his doorstep. But can the delicate Southern belle with the disappointed expression accept a Southern man, rather than a cowboy, after another Southern groom jilted her at the altar? And is the delicate southern belle strong enough to handle life in the rugged western boom town?
The Trail of Tears
My first book was published when my late husband was still living, thus the W.A. Swonger as author. I wrote using my initials because I wanted men to read the historical as well as women. Get a load of my full name - Wilmeth Anne Thomas Swonger Greene. Anne Greene works better, don't you think? You may still find this book through used book sellers.
Castle Drummond, home of Lord and Lady MacMurry, near the Village of Kirkmichael in Lowland Scotland – April 19, 1746
“I won’t run.” A shudder skipped down Lady Cailin MacMurry’s spine, and she stared at her younger sister. “I’m committed.”
“It’s not too late. I heard another scandalous rumor about Duke Avondale.” Lady Megan MacMurry grasped Cailin’s arm.
“I won’t listen to gossip.” Cailin pulled away from her sister and lifted her wedding bouquet to inhale the white rose fragrance. If only the sweet scent could overcome Megan’s words, and her own misgivings. Though most arranged marriages turned out badly, surely God would give her a loving one. After all, since her earliest years, she’d prayed for a happily-ever-after love.
“Ask yourself why such a grand noble would stoop to marry a Scottish lass with but the title Lady? Why did he not choose an English Duchess or Marchioness or even a Countess?” Megan tilted her head and lifted elegant brows.
Cailin clutched her enormous diamond engagement necklace. The thing felt heavy with responsibility.
“The man’s an English duke. He owns palaces all over England.” Megan planted her hands on her slender, mossy-green silk covered hips. “Every noble lass in the land should be offering to give her right arm to be in your shoes. And yet they are not.”
New knots formed in the nape of Cailin’s neck. She held her finger to her lips. “Too late to turn back now. The wedding chorus has begun.” She forced her feet to take the first step and then began the slow glide from the stone castle’s rear archway through the garden toward the rose arbor.
With a jerk, Megan lifted and straightened Cailin’s cumbersome satin train. “In truth, beyond his wealth and titles, our family knows little about the English Duke.” She gathered up her own long skirts, and ran ahead to lead Cailin down the flower-strewn path.
Seven bridesmaids stopped giggling and chatting and moved to their places in front of Megan to head the procession.
Beneath her veil, Cailin smoothed her frown.
Papa had chosen to take this path in light of the violent upheaval following England’s latest battle with the Highlanders. Her marriage to the Duke would shelter her family with his great cloak of protection. Neither the English nor the Scots would dare invade a castle guarded by the powerful Duke’s Coat of Arms.
More goosebump fingers shivered her spine. Surely jealousy fueled the flagrant tittle-tattle. She pulled in a deep breath, straightened her shoulders, and took measured steps in time to the music toward the loch gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight. She would not let whispers spoil her wedding. She laid her hand lightly on her father’s offered arm.
Their procession passed the scores of guests assembled on both sides of the flowered path. Ahead her groom stood beneath the rose bower, sunlight from the loch gleaming on him, the pastor, and his groomsman.
Her heart fluttered.
The Duke looked the perfect picture of manhood. He towered above his shorter groomsman and the pastor. Sun glinting off his iceberg blue satin coat, heavily laced with gold, almost blinded her. His chocolate eyes gazed past the dazzling crowd of guests and focused on her. Beneath those beckoning eyes, the straight bridge of his nose above softly smiling lips formed the most handsome face she’d ever seen. Her pulse quickened. Butterflies flitted from her stomach to her heart and back.
As she reached her groom and the chamber music died, her high-heeled slippers sunk into the grassy moor, but her foreboding dissolved like fog before the sunshine.
The rose bower in the garden where she and the Duke stood together and promised their fidelity was pure romance with its lush greenery, heavy scent of roses, and panorama of softly rolling, newly green glen. Though she didn’t know the man she wed, she repeated with all her heart to love, honor, and obey him as long as she should live.
Marrying a man one had barely met happened more often than not to daughters of Lords. So why were her knees shaking? Her attractive groom, with his mahogany hair, wide shoulders, and square jaw, held her hand gently in his warm, strong grasp. Rumors were just rumors, and, truth be told, if he were not perfect, neither was she.
A breeze loosened strands of brown hair from the gold band that tied the thick mass neatly behind his muscular neck to dance around his face.
She was glad he had not powdered his hair. Her throat tightened. Loving him would be easy.
Oh God, please let him love me.
She would love him so greatly, with everything inside her heart. Surely he would love her in return. She would work hard to make certain her marriage turned out differently from Mums. There would be no coldness, nor violent arguments between her and her grand Duke. No sleeping in separate parts of the castle. No making their daughters’ lives miserable with the dislike they bore one another.
As the magnificent sunset painted him gold, the Duke’s chestnut eyes stared into hers with promise, his inviting lips tipped upwards at the corners, and his demeanor was affectionate and approving.
Joy burst through her chest, and she gave him a brilliant smile. Yes, her marriage would be happy. A storybook marriage like Cinderella’s.
The English parson the Duke had brought with him raised a hand in blessing. “I now pronounce you man and wife.
You may kiss the bride.”
She handed her heavy bouquet of roses and lilies to Megan and tipped her chin up.
The tall, lithe, young Duke stepped forward and lifted her expensive Brussels veil. She was so very fortunate he was not old.
She closed her eyes.
He touched his lips to hers.
Oh! Her eyes flew open. The bridal kiss had been so short…and disappointing. The pledge in his gaze had led her to expect so much more. She frowned. Their first kiss was like melding lips with someone on stage, acting a part.
He dropped his arms and moved back.
She’d scarcely been around men, and the Duke was a stranger. She frowned. And his kiss had held so little promise.
A terrifying thought swirled through her brain like a ghost. Since Papa had betrothed Megan to a cruel man, what type of man had he selected for her? Were safety and titles and lands more important to Papa than both his daughters’ happiness?She shivered.
Copyright © 2016 Anne Greene. All rights reserved.