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Carolyn Brown | Inspiration for THE COWBOY'S MAIL ORDER BRIDE

The Cowboy's Mail Order Bride
Carolyn Brown




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Cowboys & Brides #3

February 2014
On Sale: February 1, 2014
Featuring: Emily Cooper; Clarice Barton; Gregg Adams
383 pages
ISBN: 1402280521
EAN: 9781402280528
Kindle: B00FG9GUOA
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Carolyn Brown:
Coming Home to Paradise, October 2024
Add to review list
Just a Cowboy and His Baby, August 2024
The Sawmill Book Club, July 2024
Sisters in Paradise, May 2024
Add to review list


The inspiration for THE COWBOY'S MAIL ORDER BRIDE came from a situation near and dear to my own heart and life. I am a mail order bride. More than forty years ago my best friend's fiancée sent home a picture of him and bunch of his soldier buddies and I simply picked out the one I thought was the best lookin' one in the bunch. Brazen hussy that I was at the age of fifteen, I wrote the first letter. Two years later I received an engagement ring and proposal on paper and after I graduated from high school, I got on a bus in Oklahoma and went to Pennsylvania to marry the soldier without having ever met him.

Fast forward from 1966 to 2013 and I got to wondering what if that engagement ring and letter had been lost in the mail. This was pre-texting, pre-Skype, pre-cell phones or even the luxury of talking to anyone on the telephone when long distance was so expensive. We were putting a lot of faith in the postal service.

If the letter and ring did get lost would my handsome young soldier think I'd forsaken him and my lack of response as a no to his question? Where would the path of my life have taken me had that happened?

And that became the story of Marvin and Clarice, a young couple that had the course of their lives changed because a letter got stuck inside an old mail bag fifty years before. But the story didn't end there. Marvin had a granddaughter and he made her promise to take the letters he'd kept all those years back to the woman who'd written them. Clarice had a grandson and so fate steps in once again... maybe a little excerpt from the first of the book? Emily has just reached the ranch and rang the doorbell...

"I'm here to deliver this box."

"Your nose is red and you look chilled. Come on in the living room. We got a little blaze going in the fireplace. It'll warm you right up. This weather is plumb crazy these days. February ain't supposed to be this damned cold. Spring ain't that far away. Winter needs to step aside. What'd you say your name was?" Dotty motioned her into the living room with a flick of her wrist.

"I'm Emily and thank you. The warmth feels good," she said.

"Well, you just wait right here. She won't be long. Go on and sit down, honey. Take that rockin' chair and pull it up next to the fireplace. Can I get you a cup of coffee or hot chocolate?"

"No, ma'am. I'm fine," Emily answered. She would have loved a cup of anything hot just to wrap her chilled fingers around but she didn't want to stick around long enough to drink a whole cup.

"Well, I'm in the middle of stirrin' up some hot rolls and I got to get back to them. Just make yourself at home until Clarice gets here."

Dotty disappeared, leaving Emily in the living room alone. She held the ancient boot box in her lap. Her grandfather had probably worn the boots that came in the box and now it held letters from a woman who was not her grandmother. His passing and her two promises to him in his final days seemed surreal, especially sitting in the woman's house who'd written the letters more than sixty years before.

Warmth radiated out from the fireplace as she took stock of her surroundings. The room was a perfect square with furniture arranged facing the fireplace to give it a cozy feel. A framed picture of a cowboy took center stage on the mantel. She set the box on the coffee table and stepped in closer to really look at the photograph. He had dark brown hair and green eyes behind wire rimmed glasses. It had been taken in the summer because there were wild flowers in the background. One shiny black boot was propped on a rail fence and he held a Stetson in his right hand. His left thumb was tucked into the pocket of his tight jeans, leaving the rest of his hand to draw attention to the zipper. And right there in the corner of the frame was a yellow sticky note with the words, "Miss You, Nana!" stuck to it.

The crimson flushing her cheeks had nothing to do with the heat rising from the fireplace and everything to do with the way she'd mentally undressed him when she focused on that left hand. She backed away quickly and stood by the door but when she looked over her shoulder, the cowboy was staring at her. She moved to the other side of the room and shivers shot down her spine when she realized he was still looking at her. She tried another corner and behold, those green eyes had followed her.

She was tired. It had been a long emotional week and this was the final thing she had to do before she could really mourn for her grandfather. She'd driven since daybreak that morning and her eyes were playing tricks on her. Her dark brows knit together as she glanced at the picture from across the room. Did he have a wedding ring on that left hand? Determined not to let a picture intimidate her, she circled the room so she could see the photograph better and his hand was ring free.

How old was he and when was the picture taken? Not one thing gave away a year or a time other than it was spring or summer. He might be a fifty year old man with gray hair nowadays and bowed legs from riding too many horses through the years. Or he could be a lot younger than he looked in the photograph and still be in college, just coming home to work on the ranch in the summer time like she had when she was getting her degree.

Unless he came looking for a warm spot to take the chill off, she'd never meet him anyway. Her mission was to deliver letters and studying the picture was just a diversion while she waited on Clarice.

"My grandson, Greg Adams," a woman said from the doorway. "Fine lookin' cowboy, isn't he? His daddy and momma sure didn't want him to be a cowboy but he's got his grandpa's ranchin' savvy. He's down in southern Texas at a cattle sale. Cute little sticker he left there, isn't it?"

© Carolyn Brown, 2013


She's Got Sass...

Emily Cooper promised her dying grandfather that she'd deliver a long-lost letter to a woman he once planned to wed. Little does adventurous Emily know that this simple task will propel her to places she never could have imagined...with a cowboy who's straight out of her dreams...

He's Got Mail...

When sexy rancher Greg Adams discovers his grandmother Clarice has installed Emily on their ranch as her assistant, he decides to humor the two ladies. He figures Emily will move on soon enough. In the meantime, he intends to keep a close eye on her—he doesn't quite buy her story of his grandmother as a mail-order bride.

A lost letter meant a lost love for Clarice, but two generations later, maybe it's not too late for that letter to work its magic.


Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than sixty books published. She writes bestselling single title cowboy and country music mass market romances as well as women's fiction. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma. For more information, please visit www.CarolynLBrown.com.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBookstore | IndieBound | Sourcebooks | Discover a New Love

Billion Dollar Cowboy

The Cowboy's Christmas Baby

The Cowboy's Mail Order Bride

One lucky commenter will get all three books in the Cowboys & Brides Series (BILLION DOLLAR COWBOY, THE COWBOY’S CHRISTMAS BABY and THE COWBOY’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE), along with a cute cowboy charm gift from Carolyn herself!




53 comments posted.

Re: Carolyn Brown | Inspiration for THE COWBOY'S MAIL ORDER BRIDE

Good morning, everyone! Thanks, Sara and all the gang at Fresh Fiction for hosting me again. I love visiting here. I've got coffee in one hand and donuts in the other. Y'all come right in and let's visit!
(Carolyn Brown 8:17am February 20, 2014)

Carolyn what a lot of spunk you
had to take a chance On your
future. I can't wait yo read
this next book.
(Kathleen O'Donnell 8:48am February 20, 2014)

I love romantic western books...who doesn't love a handsome cowboy? Would love to read this one too!!!!
(Bonnie Capuano 8:49am February 20, 2014)

Wow. That is so brave to marry someone you have never met. But I am glad it worked out and it does make for an interesting plot in the story.
(Pam Howell 9:09am February 20, 2014)

I LOVE this!! What kind of donuts do you have?
(Barb Han 9:19am February 20, 2014)

I loved "your story" of how you were a mail order bride. Thank you for sharing!!! Your book sounds wonderful. Even if I'm not lucky enough to win a copy, I plan to get it to read because I now feel even more curious, knowing the inspiration for the tale. Thanks for the chance to win.
(Nancy Reynolds 9:26am February 20, 2014)

I'd love a little warmth..Thanks for the reads!
(Beth Elder 9:28am February 20, 2014)

Oh my! This sounds fabulous! I love sassy heroines and have
fallen in love with books featuring cowboys! :-)))
(Linda Townsend 9:33am February 20, 2014)

A good romantic read in the West is always one I enjoy.
Appreciate the giveaway.
(Leona Olson 9:34am February 20, 2014)

i love the romantic western books i love cowboys the book
sounds so great
(Denise Smith 9:39am February 20, 2014)

Kathleen, don't know if it was spunk, sassy, bull-headedness or just plain ignorance but I'm really glad it worked out. 47 years and counting!

Bonnie: There's just something about a cowboy that takes my breath away. Sure makes it easy to write about them when they live in my head most of the time.

Pam: At the time, and after two years of writing almost every day there at the end, I felt like I knew him. That does not mean we didn't argue but there is an upside to every argument...making up.

Barb: Maple iced ones are my favorite but I will share with you!

Nancy: Emily, Greg, Clarice and the ladies are so excited that you want to read their story!

Beth: Warmth promised in The Cowboy's Mail Order Bride. Giggles, warmth and lots of love.

Linda: Sassy ladies are my trademark. And Miz Emily is pretty sassy.

Leona: Here's hoping you enjoy Ravenna, Texas and fall in love with the characters.

Denise: Cowboys are easy to love, aren't they? One reviewer said that this book has an old world feel to it. I was elated because that's what I was hoping for when I blended the past (real letters) to the present (texting and cell phones)!
(Carolyn Brown 9:52am February 20, 2014)

My wife would love these!
(Richard Proctor 10:06am February 20, 2014)

Wow. That's amazing. I don't think I would've had the
courage to do it.
(Karin Anderson 10:24am February 20, 2014)

I've always been fascinated by cowboys! I'd love to meet
(Maria Proctor 10:28am February 20, 2014)

I love mail order bride stories, But your real life story is the best. You took a chance and listened to your heart, Wonderful !!!! I love it .
(Kathy Copeland 10:40am February 20, 2014)

I love cowboys and I can't wait to read these, great blog thanks for being here today
(Penney Wilfort 11:08am February 20, 2014)

Many years ago, a friend at school's father actually got a mail order bride. Being so young, I thought it rather interesting. You get a book and order up!
(Barbara Wells 11:10am February 20, 2014)

Cowboys are captivating and heroes in my world. Thanks for
your fascinating post.
(Sharon Berger 11:25am February 20, 2014)

Richard: Thank you for stopping by and I hope that when your wife does love the Cowboys & Bride's series.

Karin: I was pretty brazen! LOL

Maria: Greg would love to entertain you with his story. Emily says that she'd love to meet you, also.

Kathy: Me, too. I wrote a historical series several years ago about a whole wagon train full of mail order brides.

Pen: Thank you for stopping by to visit for a spell. Welcome to Garvin and Fannin Counties, Texas!

Barbara: That creates a funny picture in my head...a catalog of women's pictures and a blurb underneath that says "good woman, looking for the perfect husband."
(Carolyn Brown 11:28am February 20, 2014)

Your story really touched me deeply, and moved me to tears!! Back then, times were so different, and a Woman could take a chance, knowing that her odds of making it were pretty darn good!! Back then, and even going back to WWII, soldiers had pen pals, and that's how a lot of the solidiers ended up finding their "dream girl." I admire you for taking the leap, and congratulate you for staying together for so many years. The excerpt from your book took my breath away, and left me wanting more!! I can't wait to curl up on my favorite chair, with a cup of hot chocolate, and start reading!! The cover was beautifully done, too!! The background reminds me of the couple riding off into the sunset. Congratulations on your book!!
(Peggy Roberson 11:32am February 20, 2014)

My Mum wrote to a soldier when she was 16 too! She never met him though. All three books sound great.
(Jen Barnard 11:34am February 20, 2014)

How interesting! I had a great-uncle who got a mail order bride. It used to be by mail, but nowadays it's by the internet, or so I have been lead to believe.
(Anna Speed 11:36am February 20, 2014)

Love mail order bride stories and I can't wait to read this
one. Thanks for sharing
(Gail Hurt 11:57am February 20, 2014)

I have not read this series yet, congrats on this latest release! love your cowboys!
(Colleen Conklin 12:07pm February 20, 2014)

Peggy, your comment is my ego trip for the whole day. Things were different then and it wasn't so unusual for girls right out of high school to be planning their wedding.

Jen: Thank you...Hope you enjoy them when you get your hands on them.

Anna: Letter writing has been replaced by the Net, fancy cell phones, FB and texting. I incorporated both in the book. The meddling elderly ladies even go on dating sites, pretend to be Greg and get all mixed up with today's techno-lingo. One thing they learned was "bringing the leather" did not mean a horse riding date! LOL

Gail: Emily didn't plan on being a mail order bride but fate sure had other plans.

Colleen: Thank you so much...hope you like the Cowboys & Brides as much as the other series.
(Carolyn Brown 12:42pm February 20, 2014)

Love Them Cowboys You Write About Carolyn! Yee Haw!
(Carolyn Rhodes 12:51pm February 20, 2014)

I love the excerpt, but especially love your own story of finding your hubby! Can't wait to read your newest.
(G S Moch 1:48pm February 20, 2014)

Your personal touch makes me want to read the book. I'm also wondering what reaction your parents had to your marriage proposal.
(Sue Farrell 2:05pm February 20, 2014)

I think this giveaway is great! Thanks. I always enjoy the mail order bride books, I know someone who actually did the mail order thing. He sent away for a bride from Hungry and he treated her like gold! But, it was through the mail and telephone, although the internet was very available.
(Vennie Martinisi 2:19pm February 20, 2014)

Carolyn: I'll take that Yee-haw and raise you two in the form of The Cowboy's Mail Order Bride and How to Marry a Cowboy (July)!

GS: It's a story that gets told often because folks wonder how in the world a Tex/Okie ever got acquainted with a Pennsylvania Yankee!

Sue: My mother, bless her heart, took me to the bus station herself and put me on the bus. Looking back, I don't know if she was glad to get rid of her rebel child or if she was hoping I'd find out I'd made a big mistake and come on back home.

Vennie: It does happen, maybe more in today's world than almost 50 years ago. I was determined to make it work to prove my MIL wrong! She said her precious son wouldn't stay with a girl who wore her skirts too short more than six weeks.
(Carolyn Brown 2:37pm February 20, 2014)

I love a good romantic western story. Can't wait to read. Thanks for the giveaway.
(Kathleen Beale 2:42pm February 20, 2014)

Can't wait to read it!
(LeeAnne Hardin 3:03pm February 20, 2014)

I do love a hot cowboy and historicals are my favorites!!
(Betty Hamilton 3:11pm February 20, 2014)

I love western themed books.
(Rita Wray 3:37pm February 20, 2014)

I love books about cowboys.
(Wilma Frana 3:42pm February 20, 2014)

I love stories with mail order brides. I don't know if I could just meet a guy for the first time and marry him but the stories are great. Will put your book on my "to read" list. Thanks for having this giveaway.
(Sharon Extine 5:04pm February 20, 2014)

Carolyn- your story sounds a lot like my parents' story, except that it was
my dad who saw my mom's picture and started writing to her! She received
a letter that started out with 'You don't know me, but...' Funny thing is, they
got to know each other really well through letters, which never would have
happened if they'd met in person because my father was a quiet, shy sort
of man. It's too bad that actual physical letter writing is becoming a lost art.
I'm looking forward to reading your newest book- your stories always put a
smile on my face.
(Debbie Burdeen 5:06pm February 20, 2014)

Kathleen: Come on down to Ravenna and meet the characters!

Leanne: Thanks for stopping by and for wanting to read our (the characters tell me it belongs to them as much as it does to me) story.

Betty: this is a contemporary with an old world feel to it. Hope you like it.

Rita: There's just something about a cowboy that puts a little extra giddy-up in the pulse, isn't there?

Wilma: With a heart as big as Texas, here's hoping Greg steals your heart and keeps you entertained from beginning to end.

Sharon: After writing to a guy for a couple of years, it's more like meeting an old friend that a stranger.

Debbie: Thank you for that story. Reverse of mine. Mr. B in those days was shy and quiet and I was the brazen hussy!
(Carolyn Brown 5:13pm February 20, 2014)

Wow that would be a treat all three books sound so great and a charm to boot!
(Denise Austin 5:44pm February 20, 2014)

Awww, Carolyn I love your personal romance and am happy that
it worked out for you! I would have been terrified! I'm a
transplanted Texan after coming here for a temporary job
assignment that introduced me to my husband of 22 years. :-

I adore your books!
(Glenda Martillotti 6:19pm February 20, 2014)

sounds wonderful
(Denise Holcomb 6:20pm February 20, 2014)

I love mail order bride stories and I'm tickled to find out you were one, Carolyn. LOL I loved the excerpt and the book is already on my wish list.
(Marcy Shuler 6:31pm February 20, 2014)

Wow! Imagine being a mail order bride!! Must have been scary and exciting. I would love to read this one, it is on my wish list. It sounds really great. Thanks for the chance.
(Martha Lawson 8:06pm February 20, 2014)

What an incredible story-- thanks for sharing it!
(Mary Ann Dimand 8:54pm February 20, 2014)

Denise: Just a note here. Husband does some really great woodworking. He's built a lot of my furniture and is constantly remodeling something for me. And he made those little charms.

Glenda: Ahhh, bless your heart for reading my books. You know they say ignorance is bliss. Forty seven years later, I would be terrified to do what I did at 17. LOL

Denise: Thank you and thanks for stopping by today.

Marcelyn: Love your name! Enjoy the reading!

Martha: It was very exciting...being a new bride in a totally new world. Pennsylvania is a long way from southern Oklahoma and this Tex-Okie (born in Texas, raised in southern Oklahoma) felt like a fish out of water some of the time for sure.

Mary Ann: At the time, it didn't seem incredible but the older I get...well, I'm not sure I wouldn't hog tie my granddaughters (I have 12)and put them in a convent if they wanted to do the same thing.
(Carolyn Brown 9:01pm February 20, 2014)

I have got to get these books! They sound awesome and I love
reading cowboy romances.
(Tina Rucci 10:08pm February 20, 2014)

I love your books, I just saw a bunch of them at the library today. In my
neck of the woods someone would steal the mail around holidays & open
the colorful envelopes looking for money. He was finally caught and was
(Laura Gullickson 10:21pm February 20, 2014)

I love books about cowboys. Great cover! Thanks for a chance to win your book.
(Linda Hall 10:54pm February 20, 2014)

I love your story of being a mail-order-bride. Would love to win your books too.
(Carol Woodruff 7:37pm February 21, 2014)

Cowboys and mail order brides, what a duo! I am definitely keeping my
fingers crossed for this giveaway of great cowboy books.
(Melanie Backus 10:49pm February 21, 2014)

WOW!!! How brave were you????
(Mary Preston 10:50pm February 21, 2014)

What a romantic story! I think YOUR story is almost more
romantic than the one that you wrote! Fate plays such a big
part of who you end up with sometimes. I met my husband by
chance, and I was even with another guy when we met. But I
agreed to go out with him and we've been married for 35
years. Such a chance we took.
(Marcia Berbeza 11:10pm February 21, 2014)

A story that hinges on a letter gone amiss is one I want to
read. I love tales taming cowboys and all that entails. Is
being a mail order bride the ultimate blind date?
(Alyson Widen 5:39pm February 25, 2014)

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