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Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees a chance for escape. Having turned down the dreary suitors that have come her way, is it possible a new existence also offers a different kind of man?
Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud. Even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy.
But people are not always as they seem, and sometimes the heart knows more than the head.
Page Count: 106
Word Count: 25525
Daniel angled his slouch hat back on his head and ran his gaze over the little lady. She bore no resemblance to the photograph. She was fair where the lady in the picture was dark; her hair was brushed back off her face whereas his betrothed had a fringe, and this lady had a little turned up nose while Ethel Darton’s had been long and straight.
“Who the hell are you?” he blurted out.
The woman took a step back. “My name is Emily Darling—”
“Darling?” His eyes narrowed as his hands went instinctively to his hips.
“I received your letter,” she continued somewhat breathlessly. “I know…”
“Stop. Just tell me where Ethel is.” The blood rushed through his veins, pulling anger and uneasiness with it. “What’s happened to Ethel?”
“I know it wasn’t meant for me,” the blonde continued, “but—”
“But? But. Lady, are you telling me you received a dang letter meant for someone else, and you went and hightailed it out here with a train ticket and stage ticket meant for that someone else?”
This impostor’s eyes widened. Emily’s eyes, not Ethel’s...
“You know how the hell long it took me to save for that trip? You have any idea of the cost of all that?”
“I don’t give a good gosh damn what the heck you thought. That money was meant for…” Total disbelief swallowed his tongue. Daniel took some paces and struggled to control his temper before he shot off his gun. “Damn!” he said at last. “Damn!” He stomped back to her. “Well, what the hell do you expect to do now—now that you’re here, may I ask?”
“Well...” Emily visibly gathered herself and straightened up. “Marry you, of course.”