First Love Forever Romance Collection
9 Historical Romances Where First Loves are Rekindled
by Susanne Dietze, Cynthia Hickey, Marcia Gruver, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Martha Rogers, Lorna Seilstad, Connie Stevens, Jennifer Uhlarik, Erica Vetsch
A first love is never easily forgotten...
and coming face to face with that person again can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the “what ifs.”
In settings from 1865 to 1910, nine couples are thrown back on the same path by life’s changes and challenges. A neighbor returns from law school. An heiress seeks a quick marriage. A soldier’s homecoming is painful. A family needs help. A prodigal son returns. A rogue aeronaut drops from the sky. A runaway bridegroom comes home. A letter for aid is sent. A doctor needs a nurse. Can love rekindle despite the separation of time and space?
First Things First by Susanne Dietze
1877 – South Texas: Texas rancher’s daughter Georgie Bridge mourned when her first love, Ward Harper, left town to study the law, but now he’s back—as opposing counsel in a case against her father.
A Most Reluctant Bride by Cynthia Hickey
1880 – Ozark foothill ranch: Maggie Spoonmore marries her father’s former foreman, Zach Colton in order to salvage her reputation, yet struggles to believe he married her for love and not her inheritance.
Weeping Willow by Marcia Gruver
May of 1861 – Port Royal, Virginia: In Civil War Virginia, tables are turned for Willow Bates when Julian Finney, her childhood crush and steadfast defender, returns from the war a broken man in need of rescue.
His Anchor by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1894 – Mackinac Island, Michigan: Robert Swaine, a ship captain, returns to Mackinac Island where his first love, Sadie Duvall struggles to support her siblings. Will she anchor him to the island he has vowed to leave behind?
After the Ball by Martha Rogers
1910 – Dallas, Texas: Chase Thornton, a wealthy oil man yearns for the life of a cowboy and his first love, Susannah King, but can she trust him to keep his word to leave the city and stay on the ranch?
Lighter Than Air by Lorna Seilstad
1900 – St. Louis, Missouri: After Titus Knott crashes his hot air balloon behind Ella Mason’s boarding school, he must convince his former sweetheart that his words are true and not full of hot air.
In Due Season by Connie Stevens
1901 – Whitley, Kansas: Leah Brown accepts her role of town spinster until Gareth Shepherd unexpectedly steps back into her life. Now she’s faced with a choice. Can she forgive the man who jilted her?
Heartfelt Echoes by Jennifer Uhlarik
1875—Virginia City, Nevada: A short, urgent letter mentioning his childhood love, Millie Gordon, forces deaf Travis McCaffrey to turn to his estranged birth father for help rescuing the woman he can’t forget.
Prescription for Love by Erica Vestch
1905 – New Orleans: Erstwhile fiancée Natalie Morrison is the last person Dr. Mackenzie wants as his new nurse, but when an epidemic hits, Phin finds she’s come back into his life at the perfect time.
Susan Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances. A pastor's wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com, and sign up for her newsletter for an occasional cheery hello.
First Things First
Wildrye, South Texas
For the first time in her twenty-three years of life, Georgia Bridge was rendered speechless.
“Georgie?” Pa removed his Stetson now they’d moved inside the courthouse vestibule. He smoothed his gray-streaked brown curls and peered down at her, his brows furrowed. “The ledgers show missing cattle?”
She blinked in case her vision was somehow affected by the change in light, or because of the headache she’d had since studying Pa’s ledgers earlier—
Oh. Yes. The ledgers. Missing cattle.
The matter lost its urgency at the sight of a man across the whitewashed vestibule. She blinked again. It was really him, all grown up, carrying a worn satchel and wearing a dark gray suit. Looking quite handsome in it too.
Pa’s gentle touch on her shoulder drew her gaze back and jostled her tongue loose. “Ward.”
“Ward. Harper.” Her childhood friend. One of her favorite school companions who, when she was fifteen or so, became her favorite companion, ever. He was at the house all the time until that day five years past. A day full of expectations and hope, until he walked out the door.
Ward Harper had broken her heart, and while it had healed, she wasn’t sure it worked properly anymore. Even now, it thumped in her throat instead of her chest, pumping jitters through her veins and making it hard to breathe.
A low whistle escaped Pa’s lips. “I’ll be. He’s changed a fair piece.”
He had and he hadn’t. His sandy-blond hair was shorter now, neater than it had ever been when he was younger. His shoulders had broadened and stubble darkened his cheeks more than when he was nineteen, last time she saw him.
But those blue eyes were the same. And they widened when they met her stare across the crowded vestibule.
Ward’s gaze fixed on her longer than it should have, considering he spoke with two gentlemen. She might have stared at him, too, had the mayor not blocked her view to greet Pa.
After offering a brief hello to the mayor, she shifted position, the better to view Ward while he talked to the fellows she didn’t recognize.
He was back in Wildrye. For how long? When had he arrived?
Regardless, it was no wonder he found himself at the courthouse today. He’d probably viewed hundreds of trials since he went to study law at Baylor and then found an apprenticeship position in Fort Worth. He’d enjoy today’s events, and not just because he studied law. No, he’d get a good laugh out of this ludicrous, so-called trial.
To think, someone was suing Pa.
Sure to be dropped immediately, this frivolous lawsuit was brought by a neighbor who hadn’t fared as well as Pa in the financial panic of ’73. Pa’s cattle ranch was thriving and his horse-breeding business was ever growing, so more than one person thought he could try to squeeze something out of Pa, while assuming Pa wouldn’t even feel the pinch.
Well, Pa did. Every loss hurt, not just her family, but the families who relied on Pa for employment. When Georgie found that discrepancy in the ledgers today, it looked as if the loss of stock would cost Bridge Ranch a few hundred dollars.
But folks like their neighbor Mr. Odell Norwood, who thought to make money off Pa today by quibbling over well-established water rights, clearly didn’t care about honesty or integrity.
As the mayor moved off, Georgie bit back a harrumph. Pa’s business had grown the right way: legitimately, over time, with a great deal of hard work, patience, and care. He and Ma had been a team, building their home, family, and business together. They did not cheat their neighbors out of water, land, stock, or anything else.
Ward should know that as well as anyone.
Her heart plummeted from her throat to her stomach when he pulled away from his conversation and strode toward her.
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