For Corva Collier, life as a mail-order bride in the quirky town of Haskell, Wyoming is her last chance for escape. She longs for a peaceful life away from the darkness of her past where she can create the paintings that are close to her heart, and where she hopes she can grow to love her husband.
But how do you love a man who was persuaded to marry you against his will?
Franklin Haskell never planned to marry. What woman would want a man who was crippled due to his own arrogance? But when he is offered the chance to help a woman in crisis, he agrees to wed. Corva is so much more than he expected, and when a baseball game gives her the chance to shine, he loses his heart.
But how do you tell a woman you love her when she deserves so much better?
The game of love has never been so hard to play…or so worth winning.
“Mr. Haskell?” She pushed her nerves aside and crossed the platform, going to him since it was clear he wouldn’t be able to rush to her.
“Yes.” He nodded, unsmiling. His expression was kind in spite of that lack of smile. “Miss Collier?”
“Yes.” She couldn’t help the smile that came to her at the resonant sound of his voice. She held out her hand. He took it in a firm shake that filled her with confidence.
“Thank you so much.” The burst of emotion that tumbled out from her left her eyes stinging with tears and her cheeks hot with embarrassment. “You have no idea how much this means to me.”
“I—” Whatever Franklin was about to say, he let it go, choosing to study her with his searching, blue eyes. At last, he swallowed, giving her hand—which he still held—a squeeze. “My pleasure.”
He paused after those words, a masculine flush tinting his cheeks. Corva’s mind raced through the paints she’d brought with her to blend that hue just right.
Meet Merry Farmer
Merry Farmer is a bestselling, award-winning novelist who lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. She has been writing since she was ten years old and realized one day that she didn't have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. It was the best day of her life. She then went on to earn not one but two degrees in History so that she would always have something to write about. Her books have topped the Amazon and iBooks charts, and been named as finalists in the prestigious RONE and Rom Com Reader’s Crown awards.
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E.E.: Welcome Merry Farmer for today's Best of the West. Merry, tell us about your new series The Brides of Paradise Ranch
Merry: My latest series, The Brides of Paradise Ranch, has me incredibly excited! Not only is it a chance to build an entire series around the quirky town of Haskell, Wyoming in the late 1870s and to delve into the lives of all of its inhabitants, I’m excited to be writing both spicy and sweet versions of each book. Readers have different comfort levels with sexy content, so I wanted to write a series that would be accessible to people of all comfort levels. Beyond that, I’m having a blast making the town and its inhabitants as complex and dynamic as possible. Each book abounds with secondary characters that will get their own books later in the series, or who will feel like old friends to readers each time they pick up a new book in the series.
The central concept of the series is that Haskell has vastly more men than women, so a few of the town’s prominent citizens put together a deal with Hurst Home, a facility in Nashville, Tennessee that shelters battered and abused women, to bring women west as mail-order brides.
E.E.: How often do you get lost in a story? Every day, for multiple hours a day! As a writer, not only do I get lost in my own stories as I’m writing them, I consider it part of my job to read every day. I tend to read right before making supper and before bed. All sorts of genres and lengths of stories too.
E.E.: What’s the first book you remember reading? Go, Dogs, Go by …gosh, I don’t even know who wrote it. I was just mesmerized by all those dogs in cars going places, though! And the party in the tree at the end was the best way to end a book ever! “Do you like my hat?”
E.E.: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met? I don’t know if this qualifies as “superhero” so much as “romance novel hero,” but there’s a fantastic “old guy” (I think he’s 65, which I do NOT consider old at all) that is a member of the cricket team I keep score for, Mike Thomas. I like to refer to Mike as my “Cricket Daddy.” Anyhow, he and his wife Bonnie have been married for 40+ years, but they are ridiculously in love. Mike is a saucy British guy, extremely clever with a turn of phrase, and definitely the life of the party. But after all those years and the incredibly interesting life he’s led, traveling the world, he is absolutely devoted to Bonnie. They reached retirement age and he gave up everything he was doing to retire with Bonnie to an amazing spread in rural Massachusetts, because “After a lifetime of supporting me, I plan to devote my golden years to supporting her.” Wow! That’s love!
E.E.: What’s your favorite movie of all time? It’s a fantastic Bollywood movie called “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi,” which translates as “God Made This Couple.” It’s about a young, feisty bride whose groom dies on the way to her wedding, which causes her father (her only family) to have a heart attack. So before the father dies, he asks his favorite pupil from back in his teaching days—a shy, painfully nerdy man in his 40s—to marry his daughter and take care of her so she won’t be alone. The movie is then about the two of them falling in love in spite of all odds…and about a dance competition. It’s the most beautiful statement about marriage that I’ve ever seen.
E.E.: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go? I’m a HUGE fan of the last quarter of the 19th century, which is referred to by historians as The Gilded Age in the US and the Late-Victorian Era in the UK. I would especially love to visit the 1890s. People in the 21st century don’t realize how advanced society was back then. Technology was exploding, social laws were becoming more inclusive, medicine had advanced by leaps and bounds, and life was pretty amazing. Plus they dressed beautifully, women and men.
E.E.: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? I’ve been able to travel more as my career advances. A lot of that involves traveling to conferences and book signings, but I’m also able to take research trips to visit the areas I’m writing about or would like to write about. I’ll be driving through Wyoming on my way to a conference in Las Vegas in April and plan to do a ton of looking around for the sake of my Brides of Paradise Ranch series, and this summer I’ll be taking a trip to London to poke around for a Victorian series I’ve been dying to write. But the best part of traveling to conferences is that I get to hang out with my fellow writers and meet readers!