Suffering the humiliating fall from a Boston Brahmin to a pauper living off relatives, she flees, trading the culture of New England for the hope of living a comfortable and respectful life with a Montana rancher. When she arrives and discovers that her husband-to-be has a reputation for lies and violent behavior, her pride won’t allow her to believe it—she will not return to Boston, and endure the whispers of her gossiping socialite peers!
Handsome widower Clay Porter is sick of everyone trying to match him up. He doesn’t want marriage and family—not anymore. All he cares about is making extra money on the side to save up to buy his own shop. When he is hired to transport a snobbish beauty to the far-distant Croft Ranch, he realizes she is completely in the dark about her fiancé’s character. Is Clay willing to risk his own dreams—and even his life—to persuade stubborn Madeline that she's making a mistake?
[Note: Mail Order Regrets is a sweet historical romance novel of 76,344 words, but is not a Christian/inspirational romance. There is no religious theme, and while there are also no sex scenes, there kissing scenes, and some allusions to sexual tension.]
The sky was obscured by the clouds, and the last bit of light was fading as Clay guided the sleigh off the main road and down a long trail to a small cabin nestled in the foothills.
“We’ll rest here a while before we go on?” Madeline asked, pulling down the furs and blankets from her face.
He brought the horses to a stop in front of the door. "No. We’re not going to make it tonight. We’ll have to stay here.”
“You can’t mean that.” She clutched the furs to her bosom. “You said we’d take shelter—not sleep here!”
He hopped out and started unhitching the horses. “I do. It’s another two hours to my sister’s place, and the visibility is only getting worse. There’s nowhere decent between here and my sister’s house to take shelter. This is it. We’re lucky I found it—I almost missed the turn-off.”
“But—but—” she stammered, “there’s no one else here.”
“And we’re lucky for that. There are only accommodations for two here. Assuming someone hasn’t made off with one of the two chairs that were here last time, that is.”
“You are not funny, Mr. Porter.” She stood up in the sleigh and stomped her foot. “I insist you take me to a proper place to stay.”
The horses whinnied and stomped in place, jostling the sleigh. Madeline slipped fell back into her seat with a hard thump. The driver took the horses by their bridles and spoke in soothing tones until they quieted. Then he stalked back to the sleigh.
“If you insist on throwing a childish fit,” he snarled, “please do it outside the sleigh, before you provoke my horses into bolting, simply because you are indulging in a tantrum over not having a soft, fancy place to lay your head tonight.”
She swallowed her rage at being spoken to with such disrespect, only because she realized he was right—she could have caused a dreadful accident. “I’m sorry. I am. But it has nothing to do with a fancy place to lay my head. That—” she pointed at the ramshackle habitation, “is a very small cabin which, according to you, can only sleep two. Two! There is no one here to act as chaperone. What is my future husband to think when he finds out I spent the night alone with the sleigh driver?”
“If he had any sense, he’d be glad that I made a level-headed decision that kept his bride-to-be safe and alive! Not that I’d accuse Croft of having any sense.” He muttered the last part as he walked back to his horses. “Get back under your covers, before you let out all the heat.”
“What heat?” she grumbled. “You let the coal burn out ages ago."