Miranda Wentworth never imagined becoming a mail-order bride. Now marriage to a stranger is her only hope of finding a home where she and her two younger brothers can escape the brutality of the Chicago orphanage where they live. With any luck, she can even start a family of her own, once the three of them are settled at Jacob Creed's Texas ranch. But Miranda has one gigantic concern: Her husband-to-be knows nothing about the brothers she's bringing along. What if he calls off the deal when he discovers the trick she's played on him?
Jake Creed is hanging on to his Texas ranch by his fingernails. His nemesis, Alexander Blackthorne, is determined to ruin him. Jake will never give up, but he's in desperate trouble. His wife died six months ago in childbirth, along with their stillborn son, and his two-year-old daughter needs a mother. The advertisement Jake wrote never mentioned his daughter - or the fact that he has no intention of consummating his marriage. He's determined never to subject another wife to the burden of pregnancy. But Jake doesn't count on finding his bride so desirable. He doesn't count on aching with need when she joins him in bed. And he never suspected his bride would have plans of her own to seduce him.
Johnston s first Unexpected Bride historical returns to Bitter Creek (last seen in 2009 s Shattered) and explores the dangers of the late 19th-century Wild West. Upon turning 18, Miranda Wentworth is forced to leave the Chicago orphanage where she lives with her five siblings. Her sister Josie finds her a position as a mail-order bride in Texas, but Miranda s life as a new bride is very different from her expectations. Though Jake Creed, her husband, is attractive and attentive, he s haunted by memories of his first wife, who died in childbirth. His subsequent refusal to consummate his marriage to Miranda ruins her dreams of becoming a loved and valued partner rather than unpaid household help. The attraction between the newlyweds creates romantic tension, but the characters lack dimension, and the story is satisfying but never quite captivating.