Mail-Order Husband:The Millionaire's Debt

By: Rebecca Tilley

Daphne drew in a deep breath, plastered a smile on her face, and swung open the screen door. “Hello,” she said with a false excitement. “I’m Daphne Haynes, and unless you have stumbled onto the wrong farm I am assuming you are Micah.”

The man dismounted his horse and tipped his hat to the lady casting his eyes to the ground as he spoke. “Yes ma’am I am.” Daphne was surprised by the man’s deep voice, and his height. At five feet five inches she barely reached Micah’s shoulder; as she walked toward him with her hand outstretched she was forced to look almost straight up to look the man in the eye. Daphne was not expecting a man of such great proportions. He was in no way fat, in fact, he was the exact opposite. He was lean, but extremely strong with a neatly trimmed beard. His cowboy hat was made of well-worn leather, and his steel grey eyes peered out from underneath its brim. He reached out his hand to meet hers, gently taking hold of her fingers and turning her hand to kiss the back of it. “It is truly a pleasure to meet you ma’am.”

Daphne gasped as she tried to recover from the shock of this man gentlemanly behavior. She felt her cheeks flush and quickly looked away from his gaze. She was embarrassed by her feelings which were a mix of giddiness and infatuation. It had been a long time since a man had treated her so kindly or any romantic gestures had found their way into her life, and this burly cowboy was making her feel things she had not expected to feel ever again. She did not want these feelings to creep up on her, this was nothing more than a business arrangement to save her farm, and besides, she was not going to marry this man anyway. Get a hold of yourself, this is simply business.

“The pleasure is all mine. I don’t see your baggage, did you leave it behind?”

“Yes ma’am, I left it at the station. It will be delivered later this afternoon.”

“Well, you must be exhausted after that long trip, why don’t you come on in and have a glass of water and I will show you around. After dinner we can talk about all of the arrangements.”

“Sounds wonderful, but I was hoping we could ride back into town. I need to return this horse to the livery, and I made arrangements with the justice of the peace to marry us this evening.”

Daphne was impressed by Micah’s go getter attitude. He was really on top of things—a characteristic not found in Hank. But this complicated things as far as breaking things off. She had not anticipated being married before dinner, and that was when she was going to deliver the blow.

“Oh, uh, hmmm.”

“Is there a problem ma’am? If we get going now we can probably take care of our bank problem also.”

Daphne was reeling now. This man was tireless. He was prepared to come into town and take care of all her problems in one fell swoop. He was even referring to it as “our bank problem” not “your bank problem”. This was the kind of man she wished she had married the first time around…a man like Johnny. Someone who would take care of her, cherish her, take away her pain. That was too much to expect from any one man though, and besides, that ship had sailed. She had resigned herself to the fact that she was damaged goods, no man would love her like that now, and she wouldn’t expect them to. She especially wouldn’t expect that from Micah. She would send him on his way so he could go about living his life and find a bride worthy of such a man.

“Micah, I don’t know how to say this. I don’t want to go through with this. I am sorry to have made you come all the way out here, but I cannot marry you.”

Micah looked confused. “Why is that ma’am?”

“I got some bad news today that has changed my plans, and I don’t think it would be fair to you to be tied down to someone like me.”

“All due respect, I feel you ought to let me decide who I get tied down to. I rearranged my life to come out here and be with you.”

“You are welcome to pay off the farm and stay here to do as you please with the place, but I cannot stay here.”

“I didn’t come out here just to take over a farm. I came out here to be wed and work the land with my wife.”

“I understand, but I cannot…” Micah cut her off.

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