Montana SEAL's Mail-Order Bride(2)

By: Elle James

“If I could have it all, yes.” Gavin turned away from the scene and paced the office floor. “Maybe I should move to a city where I could meet more women. Women who would be tolerant of my…shortcomings.”

Lori gave a bark of laughter. “You? In a city?” She shook her head. “Not happening. You’d shrivel up and die.” Her gaze never left him. “You’re serious, aren’t you?” She touched his arm. “Gavin, you’re a good guy. Your gal just hasn’t made her appearance yet.”

“And she’s not going to. Not out here.”

“Shoot, Gavin, how many women have you dated since coming to Montana?”

“None,” he said, his tone flat. “There aren’t that many out here.”

“Maybe you should broaden your horizons. Have you signed up with an online dating site?” Lori asked.

“Hell, no. Have you?” Gavin shot back at her.

“I don’t want a mate so badly I’m ready to put myself out there.” She shook a finger at him. “Besides, we weren’t talking about me. We were talking about your situation. Gavin Blackstock, you’re lonely.”

“I’m not getting any younger,” he said, his jaw hardening. He didn’t like admitting that he was lonely. But Lori had hit the nail on the head. “I don’t want to put my name on some site, and then meet a woman who has expectations of meeting a whole man. I want to be up front with a woman. She needs to know the truth before we even meet.”

“Then do it,” Lori urged. “There has to be someone out there for you.”

“But I don’t want to date. Why can’t a guy advertise for a wife, get one and be done with the whole damn thing? Courting is a pain in the ass.” He ran a hand through his hair. “Oh, forget about it. It doesn’t matter, anyway.”

“Gavin, sounds like what you need is a mail-order bride.” Lori grinned and plopped down at Gavin’s desk and booted up the computer. “I bet there’s a place on the internet where you can advertise for a bride. We just have to look.”

“No. I’m fine being alone. Sorry I ever opened my mouth.”

“The hell you are. Look at you, mooning over Hank and Sadie.” Lori clicked on the keys and brought up a browser window. She typed in mail-order bride and waited as suggestions popped up on the screen. “Wow. Who knew there were that many porn sites for mail-order brides? Dang…”

“Just shut it down. I’m not interested. Besides, she’d have to be pretty desperate to agree to be a mail-order bride.”

“Wait, here’s a site that looks legit.” Lori paused and read through the information provided. “All the applicants are vetted to make sure they aren’t felons or already married. If they’re foreign, they have to have a valid passport. They suggest the parties meet online first, and then arrange a meet and greet in person. If the parties are in agreement, a special license can be obtained, or they can fly to Vegas for a quick wedding.” Lori clicked more keys.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m entering your information.” She glanced at him, running her gaze over him from top to toe. “You’re what…six-feet tall?”

“Six-one,” he corrected. “But stop right now. I’m not interested in marrying a stranger. We might not even be compatible.”

“You can enter exactly what you want in a bride. A full list of requirements.” She cocked an eyebrow. “So, what’s top on your list?”

“Damn it, Lori. I’m not ordering a bride.”

She acted as though he hadn’t spoken, her lips pursing as she typed. “Must be female with a Y chromosome.” She laughed. “You never know.”

“Lori…” Gavin gave her his most dangerous tone.

She still wasn’t listening. “Must love horses. Must want children. Willing to work hard.” She smiled up at Gavin. “Am I right?”

“Yes, but you’re missing the point.” He clenched his fists. “I’m not marrying a stranger.”

Lori glared at him. “You’re the one missing the point. If you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t get anything.” She raised her cell phone and snapped a picture of him. Then she typed more information onto the screen and hit enter.

Gavin stared over her shoulder. “What did you just do?” A screen popped up congratulating Gavin Blackstock on joining the site. “You didn’t.”

Lori pushed away from the desk and out of range of Gavin’s hands. “Now, you wait and see if you get a live one. I’ll be back later to go through the responses with you.”