Dean smiled at Jack. “Yeah, sure. See right there.” He pointed it
out to Jack. “I’ll get you to learn it and write it tonight, ok?”
Jack nodded. “I’m hungry. When ya gonna read it?”
Dean loved the way his son was able to focus on two things at once. His
son had a busy mind and he was very intelligent for his age. He got
that from his mother, rest her soul.
“You’re hungry? I’m not surprised. You’re always hungry. What
are you making for dinner?” Dean asked.
That stopped Jack. “Me? I don’t know how to make anything except
sandwiches and we had that for lunch. Can’t we have steak?”
Dean said, “Hmm. Steak? What do you wanna have steak for? It’s
not like you like it or anything.”
“Pa!” Jack said with a laugh. “Quit teasing me. C’mon, let’s
go get dinner.” He tugged at Dean’s arm. “I’ll carry the
toolbox. You’re probably tired from all that hard work you did.”
“Ok.” Dean agreed and gave the box to his son.
It was heavy and it fell to the ground at first. Then Jack picked it up
in both hands and began walking with it. He didn’t complain about the
weight, but Dean could tell it was tough going.
About halfway to the barn, Dean said, “Hey, Jack. You go on ahead and
get cleaned up. Tell Sadie to get that steak out of the cold cellar and
get it on the stove. I’ll take the tool box. Where’s Uncle Seth
“Went in the barn!” Jack shouted. He dropped the tool box and ran
off to the house.
Dean smiled as he watched Jack go. He picked up the tool box and
proceeded to the barn. Horses whinnied as they heard him approach.
Dean stopped by each stall, patting and stroking their sleek coats. His
brother, Seth, came out of the tack room.
“I see you got your letter,” he commented.
Dean nodded. “Jack was all wound up about it. I guess it’s because
we don’t get a whole lot of mail.”
“Who’s in Pittsburgh?” Seth asked. His blue eyes held curiosity.
Seth was well known for being nosey.
“I have no clue,” Dean answered.
“Are you going to read it now?”
Dean frowned at his older brother. “You’re as bad as Jack. No.
I’m going to read it after supper.”
“How is it you have so much patience?” Seth said shaking his head.
Dean retorted, “And how is it you have so little?”
Seth smiled. “Because you’re like Ma and I’m like Pa,
remember?” It was an old joke between them.
“How could I not? You staying to dinner?”
“I better get some kind of reward for goin’ after the mail,” Seth
“Well, c’mon then. I’m hungry.”
Sadie was her mother, Sarah, all over again, Dean thought as he watched
his daughter set the table. Her light brown hair was pulled back in a
long braid with little wisps flying about. Her coffee-brown eyes looked
to and fro as she went about her work. At eleven, Dean saw glimpses of
the beautiful woman she would become. He thought about the boys who
would come sniffing around in a few years and his stomach clenched.
Sadie looked up and saw his expression. “Did I do something wrong?”
“What? No, sweet pea. I was just thinkin’ how pretty you are.
Just like your Ma. I’m gonna have to beat all the boys off with a
stick before too long,” he replied.
“Pa, do I really look like her?” Sadie said.
Dean nodded. “You sure do. Why do you think I tell you that? Look
in the mirror and you’ll see your ma.”
Sadie’s smile of pride touched Dean’s heart and his throat
constricted with emotion.
“Is it ready yet?” Jack said.
Dean checked the meat and saw that it was done. “Yep. Let’s
Once dinner was cleaned up and the children sent to bed, Dean sat down
in one of the comfortable chairs in the parlor. The ranch house was one
of the larger ones in the area because of several additions that had
been made over the years. As the eldest son, Seth had originally
inherited the house when their parents had passed on, but he’d given
it to Dean because he’d gotten married.
Seth had always been a talented cattle driver and preferred to be on the
trail. Dean would rather work the ranch than drive the herds so it
worked out for both of them. Seth still retained his share in the
ranch, but didn’t like being tied down, which was why he’d never
Their parents, Ralph and Catherine Samuels, had built the house after
they’d settled the land back in 1839, before that area of Montana was
sectioned off into Dawson County. Their house had been four rooms at
that time, consisting of a kitchen, parlor, and two bedrooms. It had
been a lot of hard work, but their parents were determined to make a
nice home and build a stable business to pass down to their children.
Seth had come along first, only six months after the house and barn had
been finished. Back then, the barn had only been big enough for four
heads of cattle; a bull and three cows. That was how their ranch had
started. Another year passed and, soon, Dean was born. When the boys
were five and six, Ralph decided they needed more room because Catherine
was pregnant again.
Excerpted from "Montana Mail Order Bride Box Set (Books 1-3)" by Linda Bridey. Copyright © 2014 by Linda Bridey. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.