Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday Wonders: SUBSTITUTE BRIDE

Today's Wednesday Wonders features 
Substitute Bride 
by Margery Scott 

Book Description:

He married the wrong twin! 

Six years after Cole Berringer goes west to build a new life, he writes to his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Main, and proposes marriage. But instead of the woman he left behind, her twin sister, Elizabeth, arrives in Colorado to take her place. 

Elizabeth Main has loved Cole for years, but has always known she isn’t the woman he loves, so when her twin refuses his marriage proposal, she grabs at the chance to make her dreams come true. 

As the weeks go by, Cole and Elizabeth grow closer, and Elizabeth is convinced it’s only a matter of time until Cole returns her love. 

But then, Sarah arrives … 


     “Eighty-seven, eighty-eight …” Elizabeth stifled a yawn as she sat at her dressing table later that night and ran the mother-of-pearl hairbrush through her long blonde hair.
     Suddenly, the door burst open. Sarah hurried in and let out a distressed sigh as she flopped down on the bed, her frilly chemise and pantaloons flapping.
Elizabeth turned from the mirror to face her sister. “What’s wrong? Is Aunt Meg trying to marry you off to old Lucius Grant again?”
     Sarah grimaced and gave an exaggerated shudder. “I don’t understand why Aunt Meg is so insistent I marry him. Why not you? It’s not as if he’d even know the difference.”
     “I don’t understand it either, but I admit I’m glad I’m not the target of her matchmaking at the moment. After her attempts to marry me off to Edgar Whittington, only to discover he has a wife and children tucked away in the country …”
     “That was unfortunate for him, but providential for you,” Sara put in.
     “It was, and since then, Aunt Meg has allowed me time to recover from my broken heart.” Elizabeth began to laugh, and within seconds, she and Sarah were lost in fit of giggles.
     When they finally composed themselves, Sarah gave Elizabeth a stern look. “The problem is that since you’ve escaped her clutches for now, she’s turned her attention to marrying me off. I’m almost tempted to marry Cole just to avoid Aunt Meg’s matchmaking.”
     Elizabeth’s throat tightened. Surely Sarah wasn’t serious. She’d made it very clear earlier that she’d rather wither away as a spinster than live in the Colorado wilderness.
      “But even marriage to that fuddy-duddy couldn’t convince me to go to Colorado. Cole has been out in the sun too long if he thinks I’d ever consider his proposal,” Sarah said, running her braid through her fingers.
     “But you were sweethearts,” Elizabeth said, as if she needed to remind Sarah of her relationship with Cole. “You must have loved him.”
     Sarah waved away Elizabeth’s comment. “He loved me, and I must admit I was flattered by his attention. He was very handsome, after all. But love? Heavens, no. Can you imagine being married to a man like Cole? And worse, living on a ranch in the middle of nowhere?”
     Yes, Elizabeth thought, her mind wandering. She’d imagined just that for years. Well, not the ranch part, but she had fantasized about being married to Cole and living with him in Colorado every night after she said her prayers.
     Now, she could add a ranch into her imaginings along with space, fresh air, land. Working beside him on his ranch, raising his children, building a life together. Her heartbeat quickened at the thought. If only Cole had loved her instead of Sarah. If only the letter had been addressed to her …
     “I’m going to bed,” she announced, slamming the brush on the silver tray on the dressing table.
     Bounding up, she crossed the room, slipped out of her silk wrapper and draped it across the foot of the bed. Sliding under the sheets, she turned her back on her sister lest she see in her eyes the longing for something she’d never have. “Please turn down the lamp before you leave,” she muttered as she pulled the blanket over her shoulders and closed her eyes.
     Hours later, Elizabeth’s eyes sprang open. The house was silent, the fire had died, and faint moonlight filtered through the curtains at the window.
An idea had germinated somewhere in her subconscious as she slept. She and Sarah were twins. They’d spent many hours giggling about how they’d fooled not only their parents, but the servants, their tutors, their friends.
     Why not Cole? Could she fool him, too? Her heart skittered inside her chest. It was a dangerous plan, one that could ruin her reputation and leave her homeless. Yet, excitement gnawed at her at the thought of becoming Cole’s wife.
     Sarah didn’t love Cole, so Elizabeth’s actions wouldn’t hurt her. Sarah would never leave Summerton. So why couldn’t she take Sarah’s place and make her own dreams come true?
     There was no doubt in her mind that what she was considering was wrong. Yet if it made Cole happy to think she was the woman he loved, and she was married to the man she’d dreamed of for years, how could it really hurt anyone?
     She’d loved Cole since the day she’d discovered the difference between boys and girls, and her prayers that he’d somehow discover he loved her, too, had gone unanswered. Now, this opportunity had presented itself, an opportunity to make her dreams come true.
     Yes, it was deceitful, and she was sure her plan was a sin, but the temptation was too strong to resist.
     She would go to Colorado. She would become Sarah. And she would marry the man she’d always loved.

About Margery Scott:

Margery is the author of more than twenty romance novels, novellas and short stories. She lives on a lake in Canada with her husband, and spends as much time as possible travelling in search of the perfect setting for her next book. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her wielding a pair of knitting needles or a pool cue.

Connect with Margery Scott:

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