From well known author Cynthia Woolf, comes a new instalment of the Matchmaker & Co series.
You haven't read the previous books yet? Don't worry! this amazing book, can also be read as a stand alone, in fact it's the perfect place for you to start! What are you waiting for?
by Cynthia Woolf
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This is the third installment in the Matchmaker & Co series. I was introduced into the Western/Historical Romance genre when I read the second book in the series, “Heiress Bride”. This series has left me hungry for more and I hope it will be continued.
In this installment, it is the matchmaker’s turn to be a possible bride. Margret “Maggie” Selby was the matchmaker for the two women in the first two books. When the would-be bride she is forced to accompany to Colorado from New York City falls in love on the train ride, Maggie is pressured into taking drastic measures.
Caleb Black kept refusing every bride’s portfolio Maggie sent to him because the matchmaker herself had captivated him. With a ranch to run and a seven-year-old daughter to raise, Caleb needs a wife and he lets Maggie know the instant she arrives alone that she is whom he wants.
Maggie agrees to fill a wife-like roll on his ranch until she can find him a suitable bride. Once she realizes the man from the letters is as amazing in person, she knows she is in for heartache.
I love how Woolf writes the strong-willed Maggie. The story begins in April of 1871. In that era, marriage meant ownership and the widow Maggie was not willing to let another man own her. Woolf gives Maggie quite a challenge with Caleb and I thoroughly enjoyed their lively banter.
Once Caleb and Maggie get their act somewhat together, Woolf creates some steamy period love scenes. A romp in the hay loft has never seemed so intriguing.
I don’t know if this is the last in the series, but I do hope Woolf continues with it. If not, I will be sure to read what she releases in the future. She has made me a true fan of the genre.
Thank you to Cynthia Woolf and Black Lion Book Tours for offering me a copy of “Fiery Bride” in exchange for an honest review. I am honored to be part of this tour and share my love of this delightfully sinful series.
“What do you mean, you quit? Mr. Sinclair, you just can’t quit.” Margaret “Maggie” Selby put her pen down on the desk. She would not raise her voice. She would not lose control.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Selby, but I got no choice. There’s an opening at the sanitarium in Albany and my Mary, she needs to go right now. The doctors there might be able to help her. We leave on the morning train.”
Maggie took a deep breath and nodded. She understood. She really did, but it didn’t change the fact that she was now in a difficult situation. “Of course, you must go. I know how poor Mary’s health is and any help that can be obtained for her, must be.”
“I wish I could give you some notice, but we just received the letter in yesterday’s post.”
“It’s fine, Mr. Sinclair. I’ll manage.”
He handed her an envelope. “Here are the train tickets.”
“Yes, well, I’ve wanted to see the frontier I’ve been sending my these girls to. I’m simply going to see it sooner than I anticipated.”
“I’m truly sorry, Mrs. Selby.”
Maggie got up, came around the desk and held her hand out to him. “You just take care of Mary. That’s your job now.”
He shook her hand, nodded. Mr. Sinclair put on his hat and wiped his brow with his kerchief before venturing back out into the already hot and sunny morning.
She went to her desk, grabbed Caleb Black’s file, put the closed sign on the door and then went upstairs to her apartment to pack. Her bride, Jenny Talbot would be by in an hour or so to pick up her tickets. Maggie would tell her then that she’d be accompanying her, not Mr. Sinclair. It was just as well. Jenny was nervous as a kitten and Maggie worried about the union, but both Mr. Black and Jenny had been adamant that it take place. If truth be told, Maggie herself was a better match for Mr. Black than Jenny. But she was here to find matches for others, not for herself.
Jenny’s reasoning she understood. Jenny was the oldest of the seven Talbot children. At twenty-two years old, felt she was a burden on her parents even though she worked and helped out with the bills. She hated her job and wanted to get married. Her chances were growing slim. Most men of marriageable age were either already married, old or widowers with hellions for children.
Jenny was a tall, slim girl with pale blue eyes and dark blond hair. Her lips were full, her nose long and straight. Just a plain young woman from a struggling family who wanted a better life. One that the wild frontier might be able to offer.
Mr. Black’s reasoning was less clear. He was successful and wanted children. Maggie had presented him with several other possible candidates, some more attractive, some younger, some older, all of whom he’d rejected. The reasons he gave were weak. Brown hair. Too short. Too fat. Too thin. Too young. Too old. There seemed to be a reason for rejecting every one she sent him.
Finally, he’d settled on Jenny with the proviso that Maggie herself accompanied the girl. She’d agreed, but stated only that Jenny would be accompanied. With her full intention having been to send Mr. Sinclair in her place. Maggie’s time was much more well spent here in New York. Finding clients, assigning candidates that is where her mind, body and commitment lay. Yes, running her business is where she belonged more than on a trip to the wild West. She didn’t feel bad about her decision. Really she didn’t, she told herself over and over. But she was lying. If she were honest, deep down she was afraid to meet Mr. Black. Afraid her image of him would be wrong, but even more afraid it would be right and he really was the man he depicted in his letters.
She shouldn’t have allowed it, the private correspondence, but it had been innocent enough. In the beginning. A simple flirtation with someone she’d never meet. But now, the thought of actually meeting him terrified and thrilled her at the same time. Now she had to go. Maggie released a rather breathless sigh. She blinked repeatedly against the harsh sunlight. So Mr. Black was getting what he’d asked for after all. Much to her dismay.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.
Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.
In 2001, she saw an ad in the paper for a writers conference being put on by CRW and decided she'd attend. One of her favorite authors, Catherine Coulter, was the keynote speaker. Cynthia was lucky enough to have a seat at Ms. Coulter's table at the luncheon and after talking with her, decided she needed to get back to her writing. She rejoined both CRW and RWA that day and hasn't looked back.
Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she's made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.