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The Brides of San Francisco ~ Book 3
BY CYNTHIA WOOLF
Cora Jones has a dilemma. She was engaged to be married but her fiancé Asa Woods was killed in the Civil War. She’d never been madly in love with Asa, but she did care for him deeply and grieved his loss. When she stopped grieving she decided she wanted to put everything behind her and became a mail order bride for Harry Belcher.
Cora sailed to San Francisco to meet Harry. She’s checking into her hotel when she hears a voice from the past say her name. No, it can’t be. She turned to find Asa Woods behind her, just as Harry comes up to her, too.
What’s a girl to do when one fiancé returns from the dead and she has another one calling to her from across the lobby? Cora decides to have both men court her in order to make up her mind.
Who will she choose—the man back from the dead who wants her for his wife or the man who sent for her to be his bride?
The Brides of San Francisco ~ Book 3
BY CYNTHIA WOOLF
Cora checked in and found a message waiting for her from Harry Belcher.
My dear Cora,
I have instructed the staff at the hotel to send a messenger to me when you get there. I should be arriving shortly after that as my bank is only minutes away. I can’t wait to greet you in person.
Cora read the missive and smiled. It was so like Harry to come to greet her right away.
A deep, familiar voice came from behind her. But that was impossible…she slowly turned toward the sound.
“Cora. It’s me.”
“Asa?” Cora shook her head slowly back and forth. It couldn’t be. Asa was dead. They’d told her he died at Appomattox more than two years ago. Her eyes filled with tears. “No. No. You’re dead.”
He held his hat in his hands, rolling the brim and crushing the felt between his fingers. His black suit and tie fit him well and his tanned skin was stark against the white of his shirt. She remembered his beautiful blue eyes, but the gray in his brown hair was new.
“I wanted you to think that. I was wounded and I…”
He took a step toward her and she saw his limp.
She stepped back. “Asa, I—”
Another male voice called to her from across the hotel lobby.
She looked up and saw Harry Belcher crossing the room toward her. He looked just like the picture he’d sent her. He had blond hair, parted in the middle and slicked down. She knew from her correspondence with him that his eyes were green. The tan three piece suit, with brown tie and top hat would have washed out his pale skin, but the blue shirt he wore with the suit added color to his face.
“Cora, I’ve come home to you,” said Asa.
Harry reached them and took Cora’s hand, brought it to his lips and kissed the top. “You’re as beautiful as your picture and such a tiny little thing.”
“Cora, you can’t mean to marry this man since I’m back,” said Asa. “You belong to me.”
“What does he mean you belong to him? Who is this man and what does his being here have to do with anything? You’re going to marry me. We have a contract.”
She looked back and forth between Asa and Harry and burst into tears.
“Cora, are you alright?” called Nellie on her way to her room.
“Yes, I’ll be fine,” said Cora, sniffling.
Nellie nodded and went on her way.
Cora turned back to the two men, each vying for her attention and each demanding that she marry him.
She took a hanky from her reticule and dabbed at her eyes. “Asa, I have no idea what you’re doing here, but after two years, you cannot really believe you have any hold upon me. You could have contacted me anytime in those years but you didn’t.”
She turned to the other man. “Harry we do have a contract, but that was when I thought myself a single woman. With Asa back I must give all of this more thought. I have two months here at the hotel and I won’t be bullied by either one of you into making a decision right this second.”
“Well, I never,” huffed Harry.
Asa looked smug and Cora wanted to wipe that look off his face.
She narrowed her eyes and stared at the both of them. “You’re going to have to convince me before I’ll marry either one of you. In other words you’re both going to have to court me. I’ll make my decision within the next two months. And let me warn you, I may decide not to marry either of you. Right now, neither one of you is showing me your best side.”
“Well, I want to court you,” said Asa. “I didn’t have time before I went into the army. I want to prove to you I’m the man you should marry.”
“I’ll be the man you choose. I’ve never lost something that was important to me and you, Cora,” Harry looked her straight in the eyes, his green ones meeting with her brown ones, “are important to me.”
“Very good. We’ll start tonight. One of you is going to take me to dinner. I’ve got a number in my mind. The one of you closest to the number will take me to dinner.”
“Six,” said Asa.
“Five,” said Harry.
“The number is seven. Asa it is. Pick me up here at seven o’clock.” Cora turned on her heel and walked toward the stairs to her room.
“I’m going to win her,” said Harry. “I never lose.”
“Prepare to lose this time. I’ve loved Cora all my life and I’m not going to lose her to you.”
Harry snorted. “If you’d really loved her, you wouldn’t have disappeared from her life for so long.” He turned and left the hotel.
That stung and Asa knew he was right, but he’d been scared. He’d awakened in a field hospital minus his left leg below the knee. His immediate thoughts were he wanted to die because he was no longer a man.
Cynthia Woolf is the award winning and best-selling author of twelve historical western romance books and two short stories with more books on the way. She was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.
Their closest neighbor was about one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.
Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.
Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner.
Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she’s made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.
NELLIE – The Brides of San Francisco 1
ANNIE – The Brides of San Francisco 2
CORA – The Brides of San Francisco 3
JAKE (Book 1, Destiny in Deadwood series)
LIAM (Book 2, Destiny in Deadwood series)
ZACH (Book 3, Destiny in Deadwood series)
CAPITAL BRIDE (Book 1, Matchmaker & Co. series)
HEIRESS BRIDE (Book 2, Matchmaker & Co. series)
FIERY BRIDE (Book 3, Matchmaker & Co. series)
TAME A WILD HEART (Book 1, Tame series)
TAME A WILD WIND (Book 2, Tame series)
TAME A WILD BRIDE (Book 3, Tame series)
TAME A SUMMER HEART (short story, Tame series)
Links to Cynthia’s website, blog, books, etc.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Cynthia is giving away a paperback copy (US only) or ebook copy (International) of CORA to one lucky reader who comments on her *Author Peek* Interview or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs. Don’t miss the chance to read this book! Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing your story with us!