“Do you think biscuits would be a good addition to the evening meal?” Clemmie asked her mother. She was elbow deep in a basket of beans, shelling them with quick dexterity. Without looking, she could easily pop the shell open with her thumb.
“Biscuits are an excellent idea,” her mother agreed. “Do we have the buttermilk?”
“I’ll check the ice box,” Clemmie volunteered, taking advantage of the opportunity to move around. She had been hunched over the basket for the last hour. She groaned a little as she stretched out the kinks in her back. Then, she opened the wooden door of the ice box, feeling the quick burst of cool air.
“I’ve found it,” she said, holding up the half-full can of buttermilk with a successful shake.
“Close the ice box,” her mother told her, not looking impressed with her find. “The ice will melt faster if you let all this warm air inside.”
Clemmie pushed the door closed firmly and took the buttermilk to the counter to begin preparing the biscuits. She grabbed a couple of eggs, flour, and the container of salt. Her mouth was already watering at the thought of a warm buttermilk biscuit.
“The men will be here at any moment,” her mother said, and Clemmie’s heart started beating a little faster. Normally, the announcement that her family was on their way home wouldn’t affect her heart like that, but one of the members of their family was… different. He might have spent years living with them and have adopted her parents as his own, but he was no blood relative. That was something Clemmie could not forget.
“We should get the biscuits cooking, then,” Clemmie said, measuring out the six cups of flour a bit faster and spilling some on the counter.
“Now, Clementine, don’t go wasting food because you want to eat more quickly. It’s better to be slow and careful.”
Clemmie nodded. Her mother always wanted to do things slowly and perfectly, but sometimes, Clemmie just wanted to get them done. She brushed the extra flour into her hand and dumped it into the bowl, looking at the front door while she did. Her mother was right. The light was starting to fade, and the men would be ready to eat when they came through the door.
She stirred the ingredients for the buttermilk biscuits, already tasting them in her mouth.
“What do you plan to do tomorrow?” her mother asked.
Clemmie pursed her lips thoughtfully. “I would like to go riding.” She gripped the wooden spoon harder.
“Ah, riding. To a specific place?”
“No, I just want to get Banjo out of the field, give him a chance to see more of the world.”
Clemmie’s mother smiled, and she knew her mother was thinking that horses didn’t have such emotions, but when Clemmie was with the horses, she really felt they could understand what she was feeling.
“Perhaps I shall go with you,” Clemmie’s mother offered. “It’s been a while since I’ve left the farm, and I fancy a ride. As long as you don’t plan to go too far.”
“Of course, I would love to have you ride with me,” Clemmie exclaimed. “After we have cleaned up from the morning meal, we can take a ride.”
Her last word was overshadowed by the sound of footsteps on the front porch. She cocked her head in the direction of the door, keeping one eye on the batter that was now becoming just moist enough to form shapes. Clemmie felt her heart thumping faster and faster at the abnormally long pause.
Then, the front door burst open, and her father, brother, and Joey came through. They were talking boisterously and laughing about something. Clemmie automatically smiled.
“We’ve washed up already, Marguerite,” her father told her mother. He showed her his clean hands, still dripping some water on the ground, and Clemmie’s mother shooed him back.
“The biscuits haven’t yet begun baking,” her mother told them. “You’ll have to be patient.”
Clemmie’s eyes followed Joey as he took a seat on the bench, engaged in conversation with her brother, Harvey. It had something to do with horse’s hooves, their favorite topic since they had begun working together as farriers.
Clemmie quickly dug her hands into the batter for the biscuits and began lumping them into tiny balls, smacking them down onto the tray for baking. Once all the batter had been formed into lumps, Clemmie placed the lumps into the bake kettle and thumped it onto the hearth, keeping one ear open to overhear Joey and Harvey’s discussion.
“I’ll sit with the menfolk while the biscuits are rising,” she told her mother.
Clemmie sat down at the table, and Joey turned his sparkling smile toward her. “How was your day, Clemmie?” he asked.
“It was a day filled with hard work,” she said, flexing her hands.
“You haven’t experienced hard work until you’ve shoed a horse,” her older brother teased. “Now that’s hard work, and dangerous, too.”
“If you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t be dangerous,” Clemmie countered.
“Even the calmest horse can get a bit testy when their legs are being examined and turned upside down,” Joey told her.
Clemmie smiled at him and didn’t oppose what he was saying. “You just have to understand them,” she added to her brother.
Horses were her passion. She spent as much time as possible with the family’s three horses—Banjo, Dixie, and Gunner. She regularly took them for rides and to explore the surrounding wooded areas. She even went as far as the large lake on occasion. She liked to think the horses enjoyed their excursions.
“I understand that they are much simpler creatures than we are,” Harvey answered. “They need only sustenance and a place to sleep to be happy.”
“And what do you need to be happy?” Clemmie asked.
“I need a bit more.” Harvey smiled, reaching out to poke his sister. Clemmie dodged the poke and gave him a look that said she was too old for that sort of game. “I wouldn’t mind having a kind woman with whom to share my life.”
Clemmie smiled at her brother. He was only one year older than her, and at twenty-two he was certainly old enough to be married. Still, she didn’t want their family dynamic to change in the least. Clemmie turned her eyes to Joey and saw that he was smiling at her. Was he smiling because he found Harvey’s comment about a wife funny or because he was thinking about her? Clemmie smiled back, biting her lower lip to keep her grin from spreading too much.
“I understand the feeling,” Joey responded. Clemmie’s heart sped up. Of course, Joey would want to get married, he was twenty-four now—but what made Clemmie’s heart beat faster was the fact that he had stated such a desire directly after making eye contact with her.
“So, what did you do today, Clemmie?” Joey asked, suddenly changing the topic of conversation.
“Today, Mother and I did the washing,” Clemmie told him. “You should really stop putting so much pressure on your knees. I think almost every pair of pants had a hole in the knees.”
He smiled good-naturedly. “Well, I wasn’t so worried about the holes, because I’ve heard tell that you’re very good at darning. Was that not true?”
“It might have been,” Clemmie responded, “but that doesn’t mean you should make holes without a care.”
“It’s because Joey thinks he’s too good for a stool when he’s working on a horse,” Harvey explained. “He’ll kneel on the ground before ever using a stool. He says it makes it easier to move in case the horse starts kicking or bucking. I think it makes it harder.”
“Has a horse ever started bucking when you were working on her?” Clemmie asked, and Joey looked thoughtful for a moment.
“My first horse was a nightmare. Your father trained me, as you well know, and with him, the horses were calm and cool. He was showing me on a chestnut, then he steps away to let me do the work. As soon as I sit down, that horse starts protesting. Kicked me in the stomach, it did, but since I was holding its leg, it didn’t have a good enough angle to cause any real damage. Ever since then, I’m more cautious around them.”
“I remember that,” Clemmie said, recalling the story of his first day shoeing a horse. “You said the animal could feel your nervousness.”
“It’s true,” Joey verified. “Animals understand our feelings more than we think. He said he didn’t want someone who didn’t know what they were doing to be working on his foot. I would have been nervous, too.
“Lucky for you, I’m not a doctor or I would make you let me try out what I’ve been learning on you.”
Clemmie waved her hands and laughed. “I shall thank God, then, that you took after Father and his profession.”
“See, look at me,” Joey teased, “I’m causing you to pray more often. I’m an excellent influence on you.” Harvey and Clemmie laughed. Joey had a way of poking fun at them, making them laugh more than they did with others.
“You, Joey, are not what I would call a good influence,” Clemmie told him, her cheeks reddening from his teasing.
“I’m supposed to be cooking, and you’re going to end up with some burnt food if you—”
“Clemmie,” her mother said from where she was stirring a pot of the beans Clemmie had shelled, “can you have a look at the biscuits? They must be nearly done.”
She left the table to check on the biscuits, giving the two men a pointed look, and her mother was correct. The tops of the biscuits were just beginning to turn a golden-brown color. Clemmie scooped them out, piling them beside the finished pot of rice.
“Should I begin serving the plates?” Clemmie asked her mother, and when her mother nodded, Clemmie grabbed a plate and began heaping the food onto it.
Even though Joey didn’t look it, he could eat just as much as the biggest man in a place. Clemmie gave him generous helpings of rice, chicken, and beans, along with two biscuits. She set the plate in front of him, and he grabbed onto it as she was setting it down, causing their hands to touch. Clemmie’s stomach fluttered as Joey looked into her eyes and smiled. She purposely broke away, turning her eyes back to the food to be served and wondering if her brother had seen that moment.
“I have some news to tell everyone,” Joey said once Clemmie had served all of the plates. She was just lowering herself onto the bench across from Joey and her heart thumped even faster as her mind raced over possible things Joey could be announcing. He had learned so much in his apprenticeship as a farrier. She knew he had considered opening his own business. Was he going to announce that he was making a move to fulfill that dream now?
No one said anything, and Clemmie looked around. Too late, she realized they were bowing their heads to pray for the meal. She had been so interested in what Joey had to say that she had forgotten about the food in front of her. She bowed her head and took her mother’s hand on one side and Harvey’s on the other. She listened to her father’s deep, rumbling voice as he thanked God for their food and asked for Him to give them each a fulfilling night’s rest after the meal. Everyone echoed his amen and began eating their food, but Clemmie watched Joey expectantly. Wasn’t he going to announce his news? But he simply dug into his rice, using his biscuit to scoop it into his mouth.
She cleared her throat softly, never good at speaking up as much in front of Joey, especially when what she was doing might betray her feelings—feelings that went beyond sisterly.
“What is your news?” she asked, quickly busying herself with scooping the perfect amount of rice onto her spoon so that Joey wouldn’t think her too interested.
Joey finished chewing and cleared his throat. “I want to start off by thanking each one of you for taking me in twelve years ago.” He made eye contact with each family member in turn.
Clemmie’s eyes dropped to her plate when he looked at her. She would never have said no to taking in someone who needed a place to stay, even if they hadn’t been a good-looking boy. Of course, her affection for him had only grown since then, once she had really gotten to know the boy who had shown up on their doorstep.
She could still remember that moment of discovery, as she had been the one to find him when her mother had asked her to saddle one of the horses. Harvey hadn’t been feeling well, and her mother had wanted to fetch the doctor. Clemmie had gone out the back door toward the barn, the chilly fall air creeping into her skin as she ran through the dark, familiar with the route. She had saddled the horse, talking to it the whole time, then brought it round to the front of the house. She hadn’t noticed the sleeping form on their front porch until she almost stepped on it. She had backed up squealing, which had woken Joey.
The two had looked at one another for a few moments as though not sure how to proceed. “This is my house,” Clemmie had finally said. At nine years old, she had no experience with strangers sleeping on her doorstep.
“I’ll go,” the strange boy had said.
“Why are you here?”
“Don’t have no other place to go,” he had responded, shrugging.
“Well, my ma cooks pretty good. You can stay here, but she’s got to go to the doctor right now. My brother’s sick, so you’d better not come inside.”
That was what had started Joey’s stay at their farm. It had been a bit strange at first, especially when Clemmie had seen him from behind for the first time. The marks on his back had scared her right into her mother’s arms. They had never learned exactly what had caused the marks. Joey hadn’t spoken about it, even when questioned. And her mother had told Clemmie to leave it be.
But it hadn’t taken long for the marks to become normal and for Clemmie to see Joey in a different light. She had begun to care for him shortly afterward. The fact that he always spoke kindly to her and made her feel like he was a real friend only made her adoration grow.
All of this flashed through Clemmie’s mind as Joey said his thank yous. She wondered what made him want to thank them then. When he had first come, he had thanked her mother for every meal and the bed to sleep in every day, as though if he didn’t show his gratefulness, it might all disappear right from under him. But now, he seemed to have accepted that her parents would forever treat him as their child, even though he hadn’t come to them until he was twelve years old.
“You know you’re welcome to anything we have,” Clemmie’s mother told Joey. “You may not be our son by blood, but we will always see you as our own.”
“What’s on your mind tonight?” Clemmie’s father asked.
“I’ve been thinking for a while that I’m of an age when it’s time to start a family of my own.”
Clemmie’s heart rose into her throat. She couldn’t remember how to chew, and the food seemed stuck in her mouth. She hung on to Joey’s next words.
“Wilbur, since you’ve given me that piece of land bordering yours, I’ve been working down there when I have time after my work. Well, the house is almost complete, now, and…”
Clemmie hadn’t known any of this, though her father had talked about giving both Harvey and Joey some land. She didn’t know it had been officially done or that Joey had begun building something on the property. The only reason they would keep all of this a secret from her would be if it was to be a surprise. Clemmie’s stomach was full of emotion as she stared at Joey, waiting for him to finish his announcement.
“Well, I’ve placed an ad for a mail-order bride,” he finally said.
All the air left Clemmie’s lungs in one whoosh, leaving her breathless. The news sank into her skin slowly, as she tried to understand what he meant. Clemmie blinked a few times, but her father seemed to understand the news before she did.
“You’re going to get yourself a wife,” he said, stretching past the corner of the table to pat Joey’s arm. “That’s excellent news. I must congratulate you.”
“I don’t have a response yet,” Joey told them. “I just sent the ad today to be placed in a couple of papers in the big cities back East, but I wanted all of you to know. I don’t know how long it will take.” He chuckled. “It’s not as though I’ve done this before.”
Clemmie’s mother leaned forward to become a part of the celebration, but Clemmie still couldn’t breathe. Joey was going to… get married. He was looking for a wife, someone who didn’t live around here. He didn’t want to marry her.
Of course, he had never dropped any sort of hint that he would like to marry her, but Clemmie had always considered it a matter of time. The relationship she had with Joey was so close. They were friends. They shared their days. They could talk for hours on end.
She couldn’t imagine him having that sort of relationship with another woman.
Joey looked around the empty house. He had hoped to build some more furniture before bringing a woman to live in the place, but once he had moved in the furniture Wilbur was giving him, there would be enough for now.
The house had two rooms. The first room featured a fireplace that Joey hoped was big enough for cooking, and an open space for a sofa and a table. The second room would be the bedroom. Joey crossed the threshold from one room to the other, looking out the window to the fields beyond. He still needed to build a fence for the horses they would have, and a barn, too. But there would be time for that later.
Right now, his horse was content at the hitching post outside the front door. Maybe Harvey would help him with the fence after work the next day.
Joey looked around the room, wondering what a woman from back East would think of his house. He couldn’t be more satisfied with the final product, but for someone who had grown up in the city, they might find a myriad of things wrong with the place.
“Joey, are you in here?” Harvey called from the front room. Joey swiftly exited the bedroom and greeted Harvey cheerfully.
“Looks nice,” he said, thumping the wall to feel the solidness. “I haven’t seen it since I helped you lay the foundation.”
“There’s something about building it on my own,” Joey said, looking around at the building again with awe, remembering the difficulty he had had. “I learned a lot.”
“Yeah, but it took you a lot longer, too. I could have helped you build this thing in two days.”
“Say that again once you’ve actually built a house,” Joey suggested, chuckling. “Two days would not have been enough.”
“Pa said he would come down shortly. I think he was checking something in the barn first.” They had already had a long day at the farrier, and Joey was consistently surprised by their kindness and willingness to help him.
“So, have you heard anything yet,” Harvey asked. “News on who your mysterious bride might be?”
“Nothing yet,” Joey responded. “It’s only been a day. These things take weeks.”
“Then why are you hurrying to move out of our house? I’m not going to move out until the wedding day. I see no point in trying to survive on my own cooking when Ma and Clemmie are excellent cooks.”
“That they are,” Joey agreed, fixing his attention on Clemmie’s name.
He remembered once when she had tried to bake cookies. She had only been ten at the time, and he had been there less than a year at that point. She had burnt them crisply, and her eyes had filled with tears when she saw the blackened circles.
Harvey had refused to try one of the rocks, but Joey had wanted to make her feel better. He had taken one of the cookies and bitten into it like it was the first cookie he had ever had. She had smiled, the sadness from Harvey’s teasing wiped away. It had been a hard cookie to swallow, a really hard cookie, but he had crumbled it up and hidden the rest in his pocket. He couldn’t stand seeing her sad. But now, she was excellent. She often cooked alone when Wilbur and Marguerite needed to go into town or be gone for the day.
“I didn’t say I wouldn’t be back for meals,” Joey explained. Harvey bumped his shoulder.
“I knew you wouldn’t abandon me just yet.”
They heard a shout from in front of the house, and Joey hurried to help Wilbur unload the carriage. They had loaded it up the night before with the furniture Joey had been building day by day in the barn. Seeing it here, in a jumbled mess in the back of the carriage, Joey wondered if it would be enough. He should probably build something else.
“You tell us where you want everything,” Wilbur said, hopping off the front of the carriage. “You put up a fence yet for the horses?”
“No,” Joey admitted, motioning to the hitching post. “This is all I have as a place for the horses.”
“I’ll collect some of the wood I stored away for last winter. We’ll see if we can’t put up a paddock after we get this furniture inside.”
Joey scrutinized the sky. They had worked the day at the farrier, closing up shop a little early so they would have time to move the furniture. Joey doubted they would also have time to build a paddock. Still, he wouldn’t mind the help.
Joey stood at the back of the carriage, catching the end of the bed frame he had built. Harvey took the other corner, and Wilbur took the far side. They marched it up the steps, and Joey directed them through the second doorway to the bedroom. Harvey dropped his end with a thump, and Joey immediately scrutinized the flooring to make sure he hadn’t left a mark in the new wood.
“You can adjust it how you like later,” Wilbur said. “Let’s get everything inside first.”
Joey lingered behind Harvey and Wilbur, looking at the frame taking up a large portion of the room. He had never thought about marriage before, as there was no woman he was devoted to besides Clemmie. Even though she wasn’t his sister by blood, she was his family. They had grown up together and shared many experiences. Of course, he would be devoted to her. He only hoped whoever might come from the East in response to his ad would prove just as easy for him to get to know.
“Joey, are you going to make us do all the work or are you going to help?” Harvey called from outside.
Joey smiled and jogged through the main room and down the steps. He needed to stop thinking about what could have been and start thinking about his life for the way it was.
Once the furniture was moved inside, Joey offered Harvey and Wilbur some water from the jar he had packed. They all took long, deep gulps.
“I’d like to go outside and evaluate the land,” Wilbur suggested. “Did you have a particular place you would like the pasture to go?”
Joey shook his head. “I hadn’t thought that out yet. Do you have a suggestion?”
“I’ll take a quick walk around the property and give you my suggestion.” Wilbur strode out the door, and Joey and Harvey were left alone.
“So, you think you’ll have a family quickly?” Harvey asked.
Joey took a long drink of water. “I suppose if it’s God’s timing, it will happen. Not as though I have much choice in the matter.”
“You’ve been my brother for so long that it’s strange to think of you living somewhere else.”
“You’re twenty-two,” Joey countered. “Don’t you think about getting married?”
“Of course. I know I should find me a wife and have a family. I just haven’t found the right woman yet. ‘Course, you can understand that perfectly as you didn’t see nobody you wanted to marry here, either.”
“I guess you sometimes just have to go after the right woman instead of waiting for her to appear.” Joey ran his finger over a rough part of the wall, making a note to himself that he would have to sand it later. He wondered what Clemmie would think of the place, but he hadn’t thought it proper to invite her here without her family along. The lines of what was proper and what was not were blurred with Clemmie. The rest of the town viewed her as his sister, but Joey wanted to always keep things proper with her so that there was no question of him being a gentleman.
“Is that what you’re doing? Finding her? How can you know if you’ve found the right one if you’ve never met her?”
“I suppose that’ll be easier for me to answer once I’ve met the woman brave enough to move to Minnesota for a man from a paper.”
“If she’s brave enough to come here, she must be running from something.”
Joey chewed on that idea for a minute, taking the last sip of water from the jar and leading Harvey back out to the porch. “Perhaps you have a point there, but there could be any number of reasons a woman would want to leave.”
“What reason would make a woman want to leave her mother? You know what a close relationship Clemmie and Ma have.”
“Not all families are like that,” Joey responded, trying to keep his mind from dwelling on why he had left his. A situation didn’t have to be as bad as his, either, to make someone leave.
“Sure, I suppose she could be someone without any family at all.”
“That’s a possibility.” Joey imagined an orphaned woman with no one waiting for her back East. She would be desperately looking for that family, the family he would be expected to provide. Would it be possible to feel about another woman the way he felt for Clemmie? Or was that only possible when you had lived with someone half your life?
Wilbur strode toward them purposely, and Joey was glad that their conversation was over. It was one thing to turn over the possibilities of the type of wife he might have in his mind, but quite another to discuss them aloud. No one had responded to his ad yet, and he didn’t expect an answer for another week at the soonest. Even if someone did respond, he wouldn’t be forced to accept whoever it might be. He would get the opportunity to correspond, see her picture perhaps.
“I think you’ve got a good acre to your right, just before the hill, that would make an excellent paddock. You can always build a bigger fence later, but you need something for the meantime.” Wilbur motioned to the three horses tied to the hitching post. “This is not quite enough for them, and if you’re to have a wedding soon, you’ve got to be prepared for guests.”
Joey swallowed. “I believe you’re right,” he said, focusing on the paddock rather than the wedding. “Poor Blaze has been disappointed with her lot all afternoon. How long do you think it would take to build the fence?”
“A couple of afternoons,” Wilbur said, waving his hand in the air. “Let’s get the wood from my place. We’ll bring it here and start digging the holes for the posts.”
“Great idea,” Joey agreed. “I’ll leave Blaze at our house, and I’ll ride back with you and the wood to my new place.”
Harvey nodded in acknowledgment of the plan and took off on his horse, pushing the animal faster. Joey shook his head at Harvey.
“Poor horse. It didn’t know what it was in for when Harvey bought it at the auction last year.”
Wilbur agreed with Joey. “I like to think it has some of Harvey’s same spirit and it likes the speed.” Wilbur and Joey took off for the house at a gentler speed, the carriage rattling behind them.
“This was a big decision,” Wilbur told Joey.
Joey cocked his head. “The decision to build a house?”
“No, that’s the natural next step for you. I was referring to your decision to find a bride through the paper.”
Joey nodded. He had expected a talk from Wilbur, something that would let him know how he could be a good husband. He had no practice in these things and no idea what to expect.
“Do you feel ready for marriage?”
“I don’t know if I do,” Joey responded. “It feels like the right next step to take, but I don’t know that it’s something I’m ready for.”
“Well, good thing the girl isn’t here yet, then,” Wilbur joked. “Do you have a time frame? Are you thinking in a month, two months, three months?”
“I suppose I’ll know more if and when someone responds.”
“Oh, someone will respond soon, son. You’re a catch.”
Joey smiled, warming at the compliment. For the first twelve years of his life, he never received a compliment. Nothing positive was said, so the idea that Wilbur thought him a man worthy of a wife was not something taken lightly.
“Do you have any advice for me?” Joey asked. “Did you feel worried when you were going to marry Marguerite?”
“Of course I did, but it was a different situation then. I had known her for a few years. Her family’s farm neighbored ours. I conversed with her, and my sister was friends with her. It was a much easier situation.”
“Do you think this is a bad idea?” Joey asked, genuinely wanting Wilbur’s opinion. During the past twenty-four hours, Joey’s mind had jumped back and forth between applauding him for taking the risk and questioning if he was doing the right thing. Now, he would get Wilbur’s real opinion of the situation.
“I think this might be the right decision for you,” Wilbur finally responded. “It’s not something I would have done, but then again, I had a pretty young neighbor. You don’t have that.”
Joey thought about Clemmie. She wasn’t his neighbor, but she was pretty. “Do you have any advice for making her feel welcome? Obviously, when she comes, I’ll have my house set up and ready, but I would hope she could spend a few nights with you before we get married.”
“Of course she’s welcome here,” Wilbur agreed. “You know she’ll have a place with us. We’ll welcome her as family.”
That made Joey feel a little better as he saw the home he had spent the last twelve years in rising in front of him. He squinted into the sun to see if Clemmie was around, hanging up the wash or beating the rugs. He didn’t see her.
Wilbur drove the carriage behind the house to the barn where Harvey was already carrying some wood toward them.
“You two are slow,” Harvey teased.
“It’s not good to always rush,” Wilbur said. Harvey set the wood in the back of the carriage with a thump.
“You get things done faster,” Harvey pointed out as Joey hopped off the carriage. He looked around one more time, but Clemmie didn’t appear to be outside. The house was quiet, as well. Where could she be? Could she and her mother have gone somewhere?
“But you run the risk of making mistakes. Mistakes can be costly to fix.”
Joey tuned out the conversation between Harvey and Wilbur as he thought about Clemmie. She hadn’t seemed very excited for him when he’d made his announcement the evening before. Did she think he wasn’t ready for marriage?
He didn’t feel ready, but he didn’t know it was so obvious. He wanted to talk with her about what he was thinking. She was always able to understand him.
“Bound by Ties of Sacred Love” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Clemmie Phelps has been in love with Joey ever since they were children, when he turned up at her family’s door, lost and abandoned. However, due to her shy nature, she has never been able to confess to him her real emotions. Time is now running out as Joey has placed an ad for a mail-order bride. Will Clemmie be able to accept this turn of events or will she eventually take action to claim his heart?
She might find a miracle if she just opens her heart…
Joey Sawyer has been extremely lucky to have ended up on the Phelp’s front porch who welcomed him in and made him the man he is today. Still struggling to get rid of the nightmares from his past, he tries to move forward and make his own family. Although he treasures his relationship with Clemmie, he knows he can never be by her side in respect of her parents. But will he ever be happy next to another woman?
Fate is not something that he can define…
As they both struggle to overcome untold suffering, the appearance of Joey’s wife-to-be will only make things worse. Yet, when matters of the heart are concerned, there is no middle way… Will they ever be able to reveal their true sentiments or will they keep on deceiving themselves and their aching hearts?
“Bound by Ties of Sacred Love” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.