Sarah smiled and took the letter from the clerk, her heart fluttering in her chest. It was another letter from Bobby, and she was more than excited to open it. From the feel of the envelope, something a little stiffer than paper was enclosed.
Her breath became short and quick.
Sarah and Bobby had been corresponding for three months. She’d answered his ad specifically because he was not nearby, and she had seen so many books with pictures and drawings of Oklahoma. She’d been wanting to go there for a long time. Just seeing the address the ad was sent from had drawn her attention right away.
Of course, that was not to mention that she was desperate to get away from the life she was currently living.
Sarah hurried back toward her father’s house, eagerly unfolding the envelope and sliding out the letter. She wanted to read it before she got back. If Bart and Danny saw her, they would likely take it and her secret would be exposed.
She spread it open and read the words Bobby had written.
It wasn’t like she was smitten completely. She’d never seen Bobby—he had no photograph to send her, nor did she have one to send him. But he was adamant that he wanted her to come and had sent the train ticket with his letter, just as she’d suspected he would.
Her smile was genuine, and a little bit afraid. She was unhappy. She had done something she probably shouldn’t have done out of desperation and misery.
She’d told Bobby she was an orphan with no brothers or sisters.
It was a justified lie, in her mind. She’d had enough of their abuse and the way her father took advantage of her. Her father and brothers could be brutal. They didn’t care about anyone else, that was a fact. They cared about money and getting as many women in their beds as possible, sometimes joking about how many partners they’d had.
She’d decided that fateful day three months ago that she couldn’t bear another moment. It was time to find a way out. She needed someone to rescue her, and who better than a stranger looking for a bride by placing an ad in the newspaper? That seemed pretty desperate to Sarah. She figured if a man was going to resort to that, he must be as miserable as she was.
They could share the misery together. Maybe bring each other out of it. Maybe find love.
Sarah could only hope.
She tucked the letter inside her light coat as she walked, pinching the front together so it wouldn’t blow back and reveal what she had hidden there.
He was losing his meal ticket and didn’t know it yet. Her brothers’ friends wouldn’t have someone to leer and howl at when they came over to discuss their next big heist.
She wouldn’t be living in fear.
Sarah hesitated before going up the steps to her father’s house. She hadn’t called it home in a long time. She wouldn’t have a home until she was in a place she could call her own.
The train ticket was for the next morning. She’d gotten it just in time. Her father wouldn’t be able to hurt her anymore.
That alone made her breathe a sigh of relief.
She pushed open the front door and went inside, looking from left to right, her heart fluttering nervously in her chest. She didn’t want to see him but he always knew when someone came in the front door, even if he was in his back study. She didn’t know how he did it and she hated it.
True to form, Bruce came storming from the small living room, glaring at her.
“You got the money from work today?”
Sarah nodded, looking around for her brothers. They weren’t there, which was a relief. The only thing better would have been if her father wasn’t there, either. She reached in her small handbag and pulled out the five dollars. Bruce scowled at it. She could have given him fifty and he wouldn’t have been satisfied.
“What’s this? Where’s the rest?”
“That’s what I made today,” Sarah responded indignantly.
Bruce snatched the money from her and crumpled it in his large fingers, shaking it in front of her face. For a moment, she thought his fist might make contact with her nose, but it barely brushed her skin before he drew it away.
“This is nothing! Do you know how much it costs me to keep this family going?”
Sarah didn’t respond. He wasn’t asking for an answer. He was going to berate her no matter what. Bruce was never complimentary, no matter how much she brought in from working as a seamstress. She’d actually worked her small fingers to the bone to get that five as it was. Lorenville, New York wasn’t a big city and only a few people had needed repairs. New York City was close enough for her father and brothers to travel to for their gambling and criminal activities. But Sarah didn’t like going there. She hadn’t had a big job since the Argabrights asked her to create a wardrobe for their newborn. Which she had done, and was well paid for.
Even that job hadn’t brought a compliment from Bruce. He was never satisfied.
When she didn’t say anything, Bruce narrowed his eyes and went on, spitting in her face as he spoke. She turned her face away to keep it from getting on her, wishing she could run away from him.
In due time, she thought, comforting herself. In due time.
She was more glad than ever that her brothers weren’t there.
The next moment, Bruce suddenly reached out and closed his strong fingers around her chin, jerking her head back. She glared at him furiously.
“You will look at me when I speak to you, young lady!” he barked, spraying her with his spittle.
“Don’t spit on me!” Sarah yelled at him, her stomach turning with disgust. She wriggled against his grip, trying to break free but only causing her skin to burn under his grasp. “Let me go!”
“You’re a nasty little wench!” Bruce let her face go but proceeded to give her an open-handed slap that made her skin burn and tingle. She cried out and covered the heated spot with her hand. “You don’t speak to me that way! You ain’t bringing me enough money. You gotta work harder if you expect to eat.”
“I make enough to eat,” she protested, thinking that if she was alone, she wouldn’t have to worry about feeding his fat gut. “I’m the only one bringing in any money at all. Why don’t you go get a job?”
Bruce opened his eyes wide and looked at her, shock covering his features. Sarah knew why. She had courage now. He’d never seen it before.
With the letter from Bobby, she finally had the confidence to stand up to Bruce. Normally, she would take his abuse because she had no other way out. No one would help her. No one cared.
But now she was leaving, she knew it was so—her ticket to freedom hidden inside her jacket, where she’d sewn a special pocket so she could hide things from Bruce, Bart, and Danny whenever necessary.
She felt empowered, knowing the ticket was there, so close to her. Bruce knew nothing about it, so he wouldn’t try to take it away from her.
She straightened her spine, focusing on him.
“What did you just say to me?” His voice was cold and dark, implying she was about to be seriously punished for her transgression.
Sarah wasn’t about to wait around for that. She stepped away from him and moved quickly toward the stairs.
“You’ll be working in the saloon tomorrow night!” Bruce called after her. She glanced over her shoulder to see him shaking his fist at her, the five dollars still crumpled in his fingers. “This isn’t enough! I want more! You’ll get a lot more working in the saloon. Lots of nice men in there wanting companionship. Tomorrow night! You hear me, girlie!”
She refused to acknowledge that she’d heard him. She wouldn’t be there tomorrow. She was leaving tonight. She would spend the night in the train station.
The only problem was waiting until she could leave. She still had to make supper for Bruce—if she didn’t, she would get a terrible beating. And she needed to eat anyway, so it was best to appease him and ensure she could have a peaceful dinner.
She stepped into her room and looked around, as if somehow Bruce could see her even in there. She closed the door behind her and leaned back against it.
If there was one thing Sarah knew, it was that she was safe in her room. Her mother had put on a lock that Bruce had never tried to get through. Bobby wasn’t the kind of man to take advantage of her feminine status, but her father wasn’t afraid to raise a hand or a fist to her. Bruce had given her many bruises.
But Bruce knew that if he tried to remove the lock from her door, she would leave before he had a chance to say “Cockadoodledoo.”
Sarah shouldn’t have stayed as long as she had. She was twenty years old, which was a prime age for marriage and starting a family. If she had to do it with a stranger, that was what she had to do. She was trusting that God would take care of her. He usually did. He gave her strength when she had none, which was a lot recently. As she’d gotten older, Bruce had become more and more belligerent. Her brothers became her bullies instead of her protector. They were all living on the other side of the law and if she mentioned their ways to anyone outside their group of men, she would get a hiding like she’d never had.
Sarah went to her bed and got down on her knees to pull out the luggage trunk she’d stored underneath.
She flipped the lid open and turned to her dresser. The ticket made it real for her. Now it was time to really pack.
Should she pack light? Should she try to take everything she owned? Sarah didn’t expect to be back in her family home ever again. She had to make sure anything that was precious to her stayed with her. She had no doubt anything she left behind would be burned in the fireplace come nightfall. All Bruce had to do was realize she was gone.
Life in Oklahoma would be better. Bobby was charming and sometimes funny in his letters. He was also complimentary. He hadn’t seen her, so he could only say she seemed smart, had nice handwriting and things like that, but it was more positivity than Sarah had heard in quite some time.
And she felt free to compliment him back. When she got to his ranch, she would make sure to confess her lie and hope that he would forgive her. She was sure if she explained herself, he would understand.
Still, there was a nagging doubt in the back of her mind. Some men would not tolerate a woman who immediately starts out a relationship with a lie. Sarah wasn’t usually a liar. But her father and brothers made her worry that she would end up with a man like him. She couldn’t go through life that way. She would have to run away again or just end it all. The men they surrounded her with weren’t any better. She was even beginning to wonder if Bobby could be as nice as he sounded. She believed every man had that behavior somewhere inside, they just kept it hidden.
She could only hope Bobby was different.
The thought made her shiver and she pushed it away. Life would be better. She would get married and have children and make new friends in Comstock. She’d learn to do all the things a rancher’s wife was supposed to do.
She wouldn’t force him to marry her, of course. He’d paid for the ticket based on the fact that she was an orphan, attesting to something that wasn’t true, trying to play on his sympathies. If he turned her away, she would find work and start life on her own, staying hidden from Bruce and the brothers for the rest of her life.
She swallowed hard, pushing down on the clothes she’d piled in the luggage trunk. Instead of being careful with them, she swept her arm over her dressing table and knocked all the little bottles of perfume and makeup into a small cloth basket, along with her brush, barrettes, hair clips and hairpins.
She turned and tucked the basket into the trunk.
She heard a noise outside her door and stiffened. Was Bruce coming up to say something more to her? She didn’t want him seeing her luggage being packed.
Sarah flipped the lid and snapped the latches in place. She pulled the trunk toward her and dropped it to the ground at her feet. In one hurried motion, she bent over and shoved the luggage under the bed. She pulled the sham down so it would drape to the floor and cover the opening.
Breathing shakily, Sarah turned and sat on her bed just when there was a knock on her door.
“What?” she asked, trying to sound the least nervous she could.
“Let me in,” Bruce said from the other side.
“I don’t want to see you right now,” Sarah replied loudly, clenching her hands into fists and holding them in her lap.
“You open this door right now, young lady, or I’ll break it down.”
It doesn’t matter anymore, Sarah thought. I’m leaving and I’m never coming back here. Ever. Ever. Ever.
Bruce beat on the door with one closed fist. She could tell because it was so hard, it was like he was made of stone and was about to break through the wood without any help.
“Sarah Donner, you open this door right this minute!” he yelled out.
Sarah tensed up and jumped to her feet. She crossed the room as slowly as she could, but it wasn’t far and she was unlocking the door before she knew it.
She only pulled the door open enough to see him through the crack. “I don’t want to talk to you. Leave me alone.”
Bruce reached out with one hand and shoved the door, knocking it into Sarah. A sharp pain split through her head and she put her hand up to feel blood coming from her forehead. She cried out and rushed past Bruce to get to the washroom, where there was running water and a cloth. The pain was ebbing down into her eye. She was going to have a black eye, most likely. How would she explain that to Bobby? She would be seeing him for the first time tomorrow night or the day after. It wasn’t soon enough for her.
Dismay washed over her as she tended to her wound. Bruce had followed her, bellowing like a monkey that she should have been more careful. She wouldn’t have gotten hurt if she was more careful and had more respect for him.
She was barely listening. She didn’t care what he had to say. He was a horrible man, and she didn’t know what her mother could have seen in him. He’d been a monster for as long as Sarah could remember, so it wasn’t like he was still mourning the death of her mother. For all Sarah knew, he could have killed her mother. She wouldn’t have been all that surprised to find out it was the truth.
Once she had cleaned up most of the blood, she spun around and hissed at her father, “You leave me alone, you horrible man! I hate you! I’ve always hated you! I’m not going to listen to you anymore.”
“You got two choices, little lady,” Bruce snarked, lifting one corner of his lip. “Stay where yer safe or get out!” He held up one arm and pointed outward in a general direction. Sarah was positive he would get Bart and Danny and they’d chase after her and drag her back if she even tried to leave. They’d probably lock her up in the cellar or the attic or—God forbid—a shed outside. She didn’t want to be locked in a shed like that. They’d done that to her as a prank when she was seven. It scared her almost to death.
But she was no man’s slave and never would be. She detested her father and brothers. She was more than happy to take him up on his offer. He just couldn’t know about it until she was long gone. Sarah was delighted for the opportunity to get away from him.
“You don’t have control over me anymore,” she hissed. “I’m twenty years old. It was time for me to leave a long time ago. Well, congratulations, Papa. I’m going. I’m leaving.” She watched his face to see his reaction. If he really wanted her to go, he would help her carry her luggage. The only way to know was to test him.
He scowled at her but said nothing, which meant to Sarah she had confused him. She couldn’t help it when a little grin came to her lips.
“Don’t like that, do you, Papa? But I’m going. And you can’t stop me.”
“You have nowhere to go!” Bruce yelled, outraged that she might actually leave.
She nodded. “I do now. And you’ll never know where I’m going. I have everything I need. What I don’t need anymore, and haven’t for a long time, is you. Goodbye, Papa.”
She pushed past him, satisfied with herself, but the fear of them following and the darkness of the shed lingered in her mind.
If they came for her, she would fight to the death for her freedom.
Bobby Huggins lifted his hat from his head and wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his sleeve. It was hot that Oklahoma spring day, but he didn’t mind it. He was used to working in the hot sun, caring for his horses and working around the ranch with his crew.
He wasn’t one of the wealthiest ranchers in Comstock, but he had all he needed and felt blessed he could afford to pay four ranch hands and one foreman to help him out.
“You about ready?” His foreman, a big, burly man named Steven Dyer, was holding a large fence post up in the air, ready to drop it in the hole Bobby was digging.
Bobby narrowed his eyes at him. “You know you ain’t havin’ no trouble holding up that pole, Steven,” he said wryly. “Just hold yer horses.”
Steven laughed, his big body making a loud sound like thunder rumbling. “You’re right. I was thinkin’ about your welfare. You lookin’ peaked. You might want to get out of the sun.”
Bobby snorted. Steven didn’t mind teasing him and he let it slide off his shoulders.
He stabbed the shovel into the ground and twisted it to get the last of the dirt from the bottom. “About ready,” he mumbled.
There was a moment of quiet as Steven waited. When Bobby stepped back, he dropped the big round pole into the hole and they both proceeded to pack it in.
“You goin’ to get your lady friend today, right?” Steven asked.
Bobby was a little surprised his foreman even remembered him mentioning it. “Yeah, sure am.”
“You still need us to watch Sam?”
Bobby nodded. The image of his five-year-old daughter ran through his mind. Samantha looked just like her mother. She would be the spitting image of her when she was older, which meant Bobby would have to keep a good eye on every man she was ever around.
“Yeah, I don’t think I should take her to the train station. I don’t know how she would handle that.”
“She’s gonna have to meet the woman anyway, Bobby. Better sooner than later. But it’s up to you. Ya know we’ll watch her for ya. That’s where she’s at right now.” Steven grinned as he stomped on the pile of dirt he’d just pressed into the ground around the base of the fence post.
“I know. Yeah, I’m just gonna leave her at your house till I pick up Sarah.”
“Sarah. Always thought that was a pretty name. If we have another girl, we might name her that.”
Bobby stared at Steven for a moment while the man was peering at the ground, examining the work he’d done. It wasn’t like him to express such a sentiment. He was gruff but endearing, and the women flocked to him simply because he represented such strength.
Bobby was blessed to have him as a foreman. He kept the crew in line, immediately gaining their respect the first day they worked for him.
Taking advantage of the man’s current mood, Bobby pulled Sarah’s most recent letter from his back pocket and unfolded it while leaning on the shovel, the blade piercing the soft ground below his feet. “She’s like a poet in some of her letters,” he said. “She says here that she has been longing to see new places and get to know new people. She has nice handwriting and sounds real smart.”
“That will be good for Sam,” Steven said. “She needs a momma. Five is too young to be raised by a papa.”
“Too young for a little girl, I agree,” Bobby replied, nodding as he stepped away from the post. “I think we did a good job with this,” he added, studying the fence post, which was straight up and down. “Let’s get some lunch.”
“You know, you don’t have to run into marriage real fast,” Steven said as they walked away from the post. “You can just have her around as a companion, make sure the two of you work well together.”
Bobby nodded. He’d been thinking the same thing. He recalled the first time he mentioned his plan to Steven, who’d said Bobby should be careful. Sometimes, those situations didn’t turn out well, in his opinion.
But, based on the letters, he was sure she was honest and trustworthy. She seemed perfect for him and his daughter.
Bobby suspected Sam would need some help when she reached her formative years, when she would be changing into a woman before his eyes. He wouldn’t know how to deal with that. He very much doubted Samantha’s mother would have known what to do. She wasn’t the smartest woman in the world. Beautiful, but nothing between her ears, nothing filling her brain.
He hadn’t loved her. He’d hoped he would grow to have feelings for her, but she was not only stupid, she was spoiled and bratty. She flirted with every man she was around, even after they were married, even when she was very obviously pregnant.
He hadn’t felt relief when she’d died giving birth to Samantha. But he hadn’t mourned her for long, either.
Bobby didn’t bother looking for anyone to take care of Sam while he worked. After Rebecca died, Steven’s wife, Clara, had offered to take the baby in her care. She had a one-year-old little boy at the time but swore she could handle it. She also had her older daughter, who had just celebrated her eleventh birthday.
Four months ago, Steven told Bobby they were going to have another baby. He was worried about Clara because she hadn’t been feeling well. It made him nervous to think she would go through childbirth again.
At that moment, Bobby decided it was time to move on. There were no women in Comstock that caught his attention. But he made it his goal to find another woman to help him with Sam because Clara didn’t need the extra burden.
“I’m glad you’re sure about this, boss,” Steven was saying as he pulled a sack from one of his saddlebags. He reached in and grabbed an apple, bringing it to his mouth and taking a large, loud bite. He chewed, giving Bobby a thoughtful look.
Bobby shook his head, walking to his own horse and getting out the lunch he’d prepared for himself. “Don’t know what you’re talking about, Steven.”
Steven snorted softly. “Ya know darn well what I’m talking about. How do you know this woman will be good for Sam? Good for you?” He shook his head. “She’s a stranger. I don’t know how I’d feel letting a stranger watch my children.”
“She’s not a stranger to me,” Bobby said. “She’s written me a lot about helping other people and how much she wishes she had a loving family of her own. She’s an orphan, she’s never known what it was like to have a family.”
“And you have one ready for her right here, don’t you?” Steven nodded, looking like he might understand what Bobby was saying. He was a compassionate man. It was one of the things Bobby liked about him.
“Yeah, that’s right. Not many women I know could write the words she writes. It’s… eloquent.”
“Ten-dollar word,” Steven teased. “Nice.”
“I don’t want Sam to be disappointed. But I really think this is what’s best for her, and Sarah is the right one. I prayed for guidance and… well, I just had that feeling about Sarah’s letters, even from the first one. I’ve got the justice of the peace lined up. And if Sarah isn’t on the train… well, I sure don’t want Samantha to be disappointed further. She’s too curious. She’ll know we were there for a reason.”
“Plus, her pa will be pretty angry. That would mean she took your money, probably cashed in the ticket.”
Bobby shook his head. “She’s not going to do that. She wouldn’t have answered my ad and kept writing if she wasn’t serious.”
Steven looked skeptical. “You sure?”
Bobby nodded. “I’m sure.”
“Well, I’m wishing you the best of luck with that, you know. Sam has grown close to our hearts. We love her as much as our own children. I know Clara is going to be at least a little protective at first.”
Bobby gave him a narrow look. “She’s not going to judge me, is she? I don’t want Sarah feeling bad the minute she arrives. I’m sure this is already a traumatic enough thing for her. All alone in the world and suddenly in a new place?”
Steven looked down at the dried jerky in his hand. “You want some?” He held several pieces out to his boss but Bobby shook his head.
“Nah. You put too much pepper on that for my taste. Gonna make sure Sarah doesn’t do that. Ruins it.”
Steven huffed and looked offended, though Bobby knew he wasn’t. “More for me,” he grunted, sticking one in his mouth, taking off a big bite and chewing visibly but not audibly. Bobby chuckled, shaking his head. “That’s my wife that made that, you know.”
Bobby let his laugh out. “You gonna tell on me? I don’t know if I want to experience the wrath of Clara.”
Both men joined together to laugh. Clara was a small woman, petite even after two children, with the look of a pixie or a fairy. She was surprisingly strong and extremely resilient, but in a physical fight, she wouldn’t last longer than a second or two. Truth be told, Bobby didn’t even want to think about Clara getting in a fistfight. She had the temperament of an angel and the look of one, too. It would take a monster to hit a woman as small as she.
Bobby and Steven had grown close over the past seven years. Bobby was there for the births of Steven and Clara’s children, Bianca and Billy. Steven was there for the birth of Samantha. Bobby had helped with his own hands, as well as enlisting three of his ranch hands, when Steven needed a new roof on his house. When Rebecca died, Clara had immediately stepped in to help with the newborn. He felt like part of their family, instead of Steve’s boss.
Bobby was just as likely to come to Clara’s defense as Steven if the big man wasn’t around to defend his wife.
“When she supposed to arrive?” Steven asked. “You got a time?”
“The afternoon train,” Bobby replied, uncapping his canteen and dumping cool water down his throat. He was instantly refreshed and smacked his lips in appreciation. He stopped when he saw Steven giving him an odd look.
“Afternoon train should be here pretty soon. Why you still here?”
Bobby frowned, thinking for a moment. Had he lost track of time?
“Thought it came around three.”
Steven shook his head. “Nope, been gettin’ here about one for a couple months now.”
Bobby scoffed humorously. “Well, why didn’t anyone consult with me about that? I sure hope she doesn’t get there before me and have to stand around. She might get scared.”
“If she’s even on it,” Steven said skeptically.
“Stop that, Steven,” Bobby said in an insistent voice. “You gotta be supporting me or I won’t know what to do. You’re old and wise and can advise me.”
“Hey!” Steven spat at him indignantly and followed it with a big smile. “I ain’t old, but I am wise, so I guess I’ll take the second half of that and ignore the first.”
Bobby lifted both eyebrows and looked his foreman over from head to toe. He was wide and much bigger than Bobby, who often felt dwarfed next to the large man, even though he was of average height and build himself. Bobby wasn’t small. He could only imagine how a tiny little woman like Clara could handle a giant like Steven. He was probably pretty overpowering.
The thought made him chuckle.
“Yeah, well, I’m counting on ya,” Bobby said, lifting his hat and shaking his sweaty head back and forth. “I guess I oughta at least go clean up before I meet her. And she is going to be there, so don’t be puttin’ no negative thoughts in my head.”
“You got it, boss. I’m gonna help Jack with the feed.”
“And, boss.” Steven stopped him before he could mount his horse. Bobby looked at him. “Good luck. I mean that. I want ya to be happy. Have for a long time. You weren’t happy with Becky. I hope Sarah is the one.”
Bobby smiled at his friend. “Thanks, Steven. I appreciate that.”
He pulled himself up in the saddle and settled in comfortably, turning Gabriel around to go down the gently sloping hillside to the ranch house below.
Fifteen minutes later, he was riding along the dirt road toward town. The train station was on the other side of the main road down about ten miles. It wasn’t the shortest trip, but Comstock was on the other side of that, so he considered it a short distance.
The sun beat down on his freshly washed hair, drying it in the gentle breeze. He let his hat sit on his back, held to him by the string around his neck. It wasn’t yet the hottest time of the day, but Bobby felt like it was dry and dusty. He broke out his canteen before he made it to the train station.
He hoped Sarah wasn’t already there. He didn’t want her waiting and wondering. She needed to feel welcome right away. She deserved nothing but the best after being alone and on her own for so long, struggling just to get by day to day. She had basic skills, she said, but could boast of nothing important or major that she could do.
It didn’t matter to him. She said she could cook, but Bobby had a cook at the ranch on a regular basis. It was only on her nights off that he would have to fend for himself and those times, he and Samantha usually ate with the Dyers.
He rode up to the dirt lot where other horses and several buggies sat, looking around the building to see if the train had pulled up. He berated himself gently, knowing if it had, he would have heard the whistle long ago. It rang out across the valley every day, six times a day. One for arrival and one for departure. It could be heard all the way across Comstock, which was spread out over the land for miles and miles in every direction.
Just as he was dismounting, he heard the fateful sound and his chest tightened with anxiety. He was excited, nervous, a little scared—though he would never admit that. He jogged to the back of the building and went up the steps to the wooden platform. There were large carts waiting for luggage and two attendants standing with the carts, looking anxiously toward the east.
Bobby went to stand near the edge, peering into the distance as steam rose up into the air.
Sarah was almost there. He hoped she was pretty. In his mind, he pictured her blond (as she’d said she was) with a small pinched face, sickly pale with a look of desperation about her.
He felt like he could love her no matter what she looked like. Her letters had spoken to his heart.
“Daring to Start Again” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Desperate to escape from her criminal father and the life awaiting her, Sarah Donner decides to answer a mail-order bride ad. Despite her misgivings about marrying a stranger, Sarah braves her way halfway across the country to begin a new life. A new challenge appears shortly after her arrival, since Bobby, her husband-to-be, has a little daughter whom she has to win over. At the same time, she can’t ignore the fear of her father discovering her. Will her only chance of happiness be destroyed by the very man who brought her to life?
Bobby Huggins is striving to both run his ranch and raise his only child ever since his wife passed away. Deeply worried about his daughter, Samantha, who has been behaving unusually since the sorrowful event, he is looking for a new wife who will soften her grief. Even though he had never truly fallen in love before, Bobby’s heart skips a beat for Sarah, while Samantha finds the rock she so much needs. When Sarah’s past threatens to tear everything apart, will Bobby forgive her for leaving out a secret that could hurt his loved ones?
Bobby and Sarah have been brought together by fate but they will have to stay strong in order to face the frightening challenges coming next. Treacherous people will appear out of nowhere, putting their relationship in danger. Will Sarah manage to make amends to Bobby, after proving herself, or is it too late? Will Bobby give love a second chance by trusting Sarah again?
“Daring to Start Again” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.