Montana SEAL's Mail-Order Bride(4)

By: Elle James

“The only men who sign up for those sites are desperate.”

“Exactly,” Lilianna said. “No questions asked, just get married and make a baby.”

Olivia shook her head. “I can’t do this.”

“Just humor me, will you?” Lilianna said. “Here you go. Bachelor number one lives in England. He’s a professor of history and likes playing cribbage. Sounds boring, but manageable.” She scrolled down through the man’s details.

Olivia grabbed the phone from her and looked at the man’s picture. “No way. He has to be sixty years old. And look, he doesn’t want children.”

Lilianna took the phone back from Olivia. “Scratch bachelor number one. Oh, look. Bachelor number two is from Louisiana in the US. He’s twice divorced, has two teenaged sons and is looking for a woman who likes hunting and race car driving.” She looked up. “He has two sons. That means he’s fertile. He’s not horrible to look at, and he’s a mechanic, so he’s bound to be good at fixing things.”

“I’m not into hunting, and speed makes me nervous.” She shook her head. “Besides, he probably doesn’t want to start over with an infant if he already has teenaged sons. Give it up, Lilianna.”

“I refuse to have your cousin as my king.” She kept looking at the phone. “Wait, I’ve got the man for you. He’s never been married.”

“No woman would have him…?”

“He’s good-looking,” Lilianna went on.

“Then he’s probably a man who always has to be in control. Maybe even abusive.”

“He’s from the US, the state of Montana.” Lilianna switched apps on her phone. “Where is Montana?”

“A state in the northwest. Known for its cold weather and miles and miles of nothing. There’s not much out there, until you get to the western side of the state where all the mountains are. Even then, not many people live in Montana, from what I recall of my geography class.”

“Wouldn’t that be perfect?” Lilianna’s face lit in a grin. “Sounds like it’s way out in the middle of nowhere. A place you could get lost in. Whoever is sabotaging you won’t find you there.” She practically jumped up and down on her seat. “It’s just what you need.”

“I’m not going to Montana. I’m not marrying a stranger,” Olivia said.

Lilianna switched back to the mail-order bride app and held up her hand. “Listen to this. If this isn’t perfect, I don’t know what is.” She wiped the smile off her face and read out loud.

Wanted: Bride to live on a ranch in Montana. Must be willing to work hard and bear children.

“He sounds like a cowboy from way back in the old American west of the 1800s.”

An image of a man wearing a cowboy hat and chaps rose in Olivia’s mind. She wouldn’t admit that she was intrigued. She’d spent many an evening watching old westerns on her television and had dreamed like many young girls of being rescued by a man on a white horse and riding off into the sunset.

“Look at him,” Lilianna said. “He’s even good looking. That strong chin and piercing eyes.” She sighed. “If you don’t go after him, I just might.”

Olivia took the phone from her and glanced down at the image, hating to admit Lilianna was right. The man looked at her as if staring into her very soul. Awareness rippled through her body, coiling tightly in her belly.

“Caught your interest, didn’t he,” Lilianna whispered.

He had.

Olivia read the ad again.

Wanted: Bride to live on a ranch in Montana. Must be willing to work hard and bear children.

She scrolled further down to the part Lilianna hadn’t read aloud.

Undaunted groom, one leg short of a pair, loyal and respectful.

She frowned, squinted and read it again. “You didn’t read this part.”

Lilianna leaned over her shoulder. “I didn’t see it.”

“What do you think this means—one leg short of a pair?”

“One leg short…” Lilianna’s eyes rounded. “He only has one leg.” Her face fell. “Well, shoot. And I thought we had a winner.”

Olivia read more of the man’s background. “Prior military, Purple Heart recipient. Lili, he lost his leg serving his country.”

“Sounds like an honorable man. But we can keep looking.” She reached for the cell phone.

Olivia turned away without giving it back. Something about the former warrior’s face resonated with something deep inside herself. “No. I don’t want to look at another.”