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Lilac City Series Bundle

Lilac City Series Bundle

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Discover love in unexpected places with the Lilac City Romance Novella Series, where each story unveils a tale of heart, resilience, and the courage to love against all odds. Celebrating love's transformative power, these novellas navigate protector-charge romances, unexpected rancher love stories, societal challenges, and companionship in disaster, all set in the early 20th century.

Main Tropes

  • Pinkerton Agent
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Love Triangle
  • Class Difference
  • Fake Marriage
  • Earthquake

Synopsis

Celebrating love's transformative power, these novellas navigate protector-charge romances, unexpected rancher love stories, societal challenges, and companionship in disaster, all set in the early 20th century.

Intro Into Chapter One

From the epilogue for A Lady for Luke.“

"I can’t believe you were able to get your hands on this so quickly,” Nick said, hurrying to the wagon. Where he’d come from in Texas, they hadn’t had much snow. Definitely not enough to make it worth the effort to put sleigh runners on a large wagon.

“I didn’t think it was going to make it here in time.” Luke grinned. “This will be the perfect Christmas present for Frances. Can you run and get some more help? This thing’s a bear to lift, even with the legs off it.”

“Sure thing, boss.”

Nick didn’t have far to go because several of the other hands had come outside to see what Luke was up to.

“Throw some more dirt on the walkway,” Tom called. “We don’t want to slip carrying this to the house.”

“Nick, you come help lift it off,” Luke said. “I trust you not to drop it.”

“Yes, sir.”

He hurried over. He’d heard of a Steinway before had brushed it off as one of those fancy and expensive things the rich folks back East liked to brag about owning. He’d been with Luke when he’d placed the advertisement in papers from larger cities between Billings and Salt Lake City. Judith had said a Steinway could take a year to build. No wonder they cost so much. Luke had gotten lucky to find a used one in Cheyenne.

They carefully moved it into the parlor where they put on the legs and positioned it near the Christmas tree. Nick kept glancing at the door, expecting Frances to come down the stairs and catch them at it. But she didn’t.

He came to stand by Luke and said, “This is nothing like my mother’s upright. These things certainly deserve the name ‘grand.’”

“I imagine all of you are hungry for breakfast,” Mrs. McDaniel said from the doorway. “I’ve got it set up on the sideboard.” She shot a concerned glance at the stairs. “I thought Frances would be down by now.”

“I think she’s probably missing her father,” Nick said, shooting an awkward glance at his boss, whose expression had darkened at the mention of the man.

“Ah, that makes sense,” Mrs. McDaniel said. “It is her first Christmas without him. Well, let’s bless the food, so you men can eat.”

Once Luke had, the cowhands hurried into the dining room. Nick held back. He wanted to see the look on Frances’s face. She might even be willing to play something. She’d only mentioned once she could play, but her expression had turned so sullen he’d never dared to bring it up again. He’d assumed it was because she hadn’t liked to play and had considered it one of those womanly things she’d been forced to learn and hated on principle.

“Any sound of her moving up there?” Luke asked as he returned from the dining room.

“There she is now,” Nick said, as her booted feet appeared at the top of the stairs. He’d recognize the sound of her footstep anywhere.

Luke let out a deep breath. It was the first sign the man was nervous. Was he worried his sister might not like his gift?

“You okay, sir?” Nick asked.

“She’s either going to love it or hate it and make our lives miserable.”

“Nah.” Nick watched as she came down the stairs. “Frances is opinionated and not afraid to speak her mind, but she’s got a good heart. She’d never punish anyone for such a thoughtful gift.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“What are you two standing like that for?” she asked with a frown.

“I’m waiting to show you your Christmas present.” Luke extended his hand.

“Now?” Her posture had turned wary.

“Now.” He took her hand and gently led her into the parlor.

With a gasp, Frances came to an abrupt halt. Nick nearly ran into her back.

She dropped her brother’s hand and dashed to the piano. Running her fingers over the wood, she looked up, her eyes glistening. Then she launched herself into Luke’s arms with a sob.

Nick took a step back. Frances hated to cry, especially where anyone could see. Whenever one of the men suggested she might be about to cry, she’d go after him with her gun. It was only new guys now who dared to pull it. Yet, here she was, crying like a baby.

“Do you like it?” Luke asked

“I love it.” She released him and spun on Nick. “If you dare say anything—”

“Not a word.” He raised his arms like he was being held up. “I promise. You going to play something?”

“Don’t be an idiot. Even shifting it a little requires a professional tuning.” Frances went back to it and sat on the bench. Nick expected her to lift the fall-board and expose the keys, but she only rested her hands in her lap and stared at it.

“Judith mentioned it’d have to be tuned, so I have someone coming from Billings tomorrow.” Luke came to stand beside her. “I didn’t know what music you might like, but we can order whatever you want.”

“For right now, it’s all here.” Frances pointed to her temple. “I can’t thank you enough for this, Luke, but it’s too much.”

“Consider it ten years’ worth of birthday and Christmas presents.”

“You’d best come eat before it’s gone,” Mrs. McDaniel said, peeking in.

Luke bent over and kissed his sister on the temple before striding from the room.

Watching her gaze lovingly at the piano, Nick experienced a twinge of jealousy. His thoughts drifted back to the Christmas Fair where Reverend Pearce had approached him and asked his age.

“Twenty-three, parson. Why?”

“I’ve recently talked with Mrs. Champion.”

“I ain’t heard of her. She must be new in town.” Nick had wondered what the parson was leading up to.

“She’s starting up a business.” Reverend Pearce had rubbed his jaw. “She’s a matchmaker and will be bringing in some mail-order brides.”

Nick had taken a step back. “Why are you telling me that?”

“Well, a young man your age ought to consider getting married and settling down.” With a glance at Frances, the parson had patted Nick on the shoulder and said, “Some women just have no desire for matrimony.”

Watching her now, Nick wished she’d look at him like she did that dang piano. He heaved out a breath. No matter what the parson had said, Nick didn’t want any other woman. Either he convinced Frances to marry him when she was ready, or he’d stay single.

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