Meredith Hayes has dreamed about handsome Travis Archer since she was ten years old. The thing is . . . she hasn’t seen him since she trespassed on his family’s land twelve years ago, got into trouble, and he rescued her. But Meredith’s aunt and uncle are set on her marrying a man she doesn’t love for their personal gain. There’s also the fact that Travis and his three younger brothers never leave their ranch, and they don’t allow anyone on it. Meredith overhears the man who wants to marry her conspiring to burn the Archer brothers off the ranch so he can force them into selling, and she becomes determined to warn Travis.
Travis Archer has been the head of the family since his parents died, and he’ll do anything necessary to protect his three younger brothers. But he’s forgotten they’re no longer little boys, but grown men. When Meredith shows up with news of impending danger, they prepare for it the best they can. Despite precautions, Meredith is hurt, and they have no choice but to take care of her. When her uncle discovers she’s been staying alone with four men on the ranch, he demands that one of them marry his niece to save her reputation. When all four brothers offer to step in as Meredith’s husband, Travis decides the best way to handle it is to draw straws, but Meredith isn’t happy about the men not giving her a choice.
Meredith and Travis are thrown into a relationship that neither knows quite how to handle—or how to be truly honest about their feelings—especially living under the same roof with three other men. That’s not the only thing they have to deal with—there’s still a man out there who is dead set on getting Archer land.
Review . . .
In Short-Straw Bride, author Karen Witemeyer gives us a heroine who is likeable, strong . . . and stubborn. If Meredith is determined, nothing will stop her. But everything she does—even things that cause trouble—is done out of a caring heart and desire to help people. Travis is handsome, strong, and underneath it all, sensitive. His family and the ranch are all that’s important to him.
One of the author’s strengths is the ability to write a story that balances substance with humor. Witemeyer creates a romance between two people that is honorable and spiritually grounded—but also wonderfully sensual without crossing any uncomfortable boundaries.
Woven into the story is a theme about reaching out and helping others—and allowing them to help us. Even more, it’s about accepting the fact that we don’t have to do everything on our own—God is there, wanting to help.
This novel is a great example of how to write secondary characters, especially if an author is interested in writing a series. As a reader, I cared about not only Meredith and Travis, but also his three brothers. Each has his own distinct personality and role in contributing to the family. It was easy to see how a story could be developed for each one. Originally, this book was written as a stand-alone, but Stealing the Preacher, which focuses on one of the brothers, will be released in June 2013.
Submitted by a Christian Editor Network member.
Karen Witemeyer holds a master’s degree in Psychology from Abilene Christian University and is a member of ACFW, FWA, and her local writers’ guild. She is the author of A Tailor-Made Bride, which was honored as one of the Best Western Romances of 2010 by the Love Western Romances Web site, as well as being nominated for a RITA Award and the National Readers’ Choice Award. Short-Straw Bride is her fourth novel. Karen lives in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.
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