Everett made his first appearance in THE DEPUTY’S DAMSEL. He’s the eldest brother of six, and he takes his responsibilities seriously. As I found out more about him, I realized if he ever started looking for a wife, he’d make a list.
And, of course, that list would get him into trouble.
I adored helping Everett find his lady love, and I adored causing problems for him, too! He’s such a sweetheart because he is highly devoted to his four younger brothers and his step-sister, and the fact that he wants to hold happily-ever-after at arm’s length just broke my heart.
So…AN UNACCEPTABLE WIFE was written, and I promptly corrected his backward thinking!
AN UNACCEPTABLE WIFE
Texas Brides of Pike's Run
Houston, Texas, 1888
Everett Crawford needs a wife. An acceptable one who’ll be a mother to his four younger brothers. He has no intention of falling in love, as he doesn’t have time for it. He owns the Texas Coast Railway and is too busy for romance. And…he doesn’t deserve the sentiment, anyway. No sense in trying for it.
Except…Ginny Dixon, one of his maids, keeps wreaking havoc on his will and heart.
Virginia “Ginny” Dixon loves Everett Crawford. He’s dependable, cares for his brothers immensely and takes his responsibilities seriously. Almost too seriously. But his commitment enthralls her. He’s like a prince in a castle. A lonely prince. And she longs to bring him comfort.
But Ginny knows, without a doubt, that she is quite…unacceptable.
Miss Dixon had to go.
Everett never talked about his mother. That topic was closed and had opened only for his sister one time. Miss Dixon was luring him into her web somehow, and he had to release her.
But what would he say?
Everett paced behind his desk late Tuesday evening. He rubbed the back of his neck, as his gut roiled with disquiet. She was taking up too much space in his mind, and he’d been unable to pay a call on Miss Raleigh because of it. Every time he tried to make his feet move in the direction of the young lady’s abode, a vision of Miss Dixon stopped him.
He paused his anxious trek and glanced at the list sitting on his blotter. Five names with detailed descriptions of why each would make an acceptable wife. Miss Raleigh was at the top, and he had reason to believe she would welcome attention from him. He should visit her, ask if she’d like to go for a jaunt in the park.
But Miss Dixon intruded.
He had to let her go, but what plausible reason existed? The truth could not be shared. How could he be honest?
“Miss Dixon,” he muttered to himself, “I’m afraid you must seek other employment because I find you too attractive and disarming. You’ve taken over my mind and have caused inappropriate fantasies that are much too strong.”
What a horrible, unfair basis for firing someone. It was ridiculous.
But bringing home a bride when he longed for the maid would be troublesome. Having both of them under his roof would wreak havoc on his senses, and he feared being disrespectful. Never had a woman exhausted his control as much as Miss Dixon. He was appalled at himself.
A light knock sounded on his office door. “Come in,” he bid, slipping the list into his desk drawer.
Miss Dixon appeared, and his heart flipped in excitement. Her white cap covered her blonde ringlets, hair that he always imagined tousled and wild upon his pillow. He gritted his teeth.