At the advanced age of 19 Bedelia Longmore had resigned herself to becoming the town spinster. Physically, she was not particularly impressive to the male population of Centerville, as her mother so frequently pointed out. Her light-brown hair was extremely wild and curly, and Biddy had given up on taming it. As a rule, her spectacles rested on the tip of her nose, and she was frequently in a hurry. She might start her day out neat as a pin, but by mid afternoon she often appeared frazzled, with her hat perched slightly cock-eyed on her head.
Fortunately, this did not bother Biddy. She had many friends and was well liked by nearly everyone in town. She was observant, intelligent and if one wanted to know what was really going on in Centerville, all one had to do was seek out Bedelia Longmore and ask her.
Bedelia began to consider a career. Being an old maid was one thing. Being an old maid with nothing to do other than sit around and listen to her mother lament that fact was untenable! While she might never be a wife and mother, she was certainly capable of making her mark on the world, and she quickly determined she would be the first woman publisher of Centerville’s very own newspaper. She began to plan accordingly.
Successful reporter Thornton James arrived from Topeka with a plan. He too was looking for a place to begin his publishing career and had concluded Centerville might be perfect. A chance meeting with Bedelia Longmore was an unexpected stroke of luck. Thorn was immediately taken with the friendly young woman. Biddy was what he considered, pretty enough, but her real appeal sprang from her quick, sharp mind and her witty conversation. She knew everyone, their habits, their preferences and clearly more than she revealed regarding their personal lives. He made up his mind. Centerville it was! He liked Bedelia Longmore! She wasn’t flighty or flirty. She didn’t bat her eyelashes, giggle incessantly, or accidentally drop her handkerchief. No, Bedelia Longmore was unlike any young woman he’d ever met before.
Bedelia was quite taken with him as well. Tall, handsome, and intelligent, Thorn seemed to be a perfect gentleman and although she’d never had a beau, if she got to choose, she’d pick him to be her first. Then it happened:
“Mr. James,” she said as she hurried to catch up with his long stride. “You never did say what you were planning to do here in Centerville,” she said breathlessly.
“I guess I didn’t,” he admitted with a smile. “I was taken completely off guard meeting you. But yes, you should know that I am not a rambling man without means,” he continued. “You see Miss Longmore; I plan to start Centerville’s first newspaper. I’ll see you on Saturday. I really must hurry if I’m going to make my appointment on time. Thank you for taking tea with me, pretty lady.”
It was a long time before Biddy moved from that spot. She watched him until he was out of sight and still she stayed as though glued to the boardwalk. A newspaper! He was the reporter and he was planning on starting a newspaper. He was one of the reasons the bank had denied her a loan that very morning! Damn, she’d given him far too much information, told him far too many details and unwittingly passed on some of her best ideas to her competition! Hell’s bells.
Let the contest begin!
Book 3 in the Come Sundown series, The Newspaper Man and Bedelia is now available at your favorite eBook retailer.
Bedelia and Thornton both want the same thing. She has the advantage, for she knows his plans. Unfortunately, Thorn has no idea he's revealed his intentions to his fiercest competitor. With her dearest friends, Carrie Ann and Kate, at her side she sets her out to secure her future, knowing when he finds out there will be hell to pay.
For a man who stated he was not a fan of corporal punishment, he's given her a surprising number of warnings that he's looking forward to taking her over his knee and discovering her secrets. Once he makes good on his threats things change.
“He’s compromised you then,” Carrie Ann insisted almost jubilantly. “He’ll have to offer for you, and you can then turn him down most cruelly.”
Bedelia rolled her eyes before glaring at her friend.
“Don’t you see? Now that he’s kissed me, I’m not sure I have the fortitude to refuse him.”
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll enjoy this 'battle of the sexes' American Historical Western Romance. Check out the first two books in the Come Sundown series, The Rancher and Carrie Ann and The Marshal and Kate.
Happy Summer Reading!