Authors: Janelle Daniels
Tags: #Historical, #Romance, #Fiction, #Forever Love, #Victorian Era, #Western, #Fifty In Series, #Saga, #Fifty-Books, #Forty-Five Authors, #Newspaper Ad, #Short Story, #American Mail-Order Bride, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Marriage Of Convenience, #Christian, #Religious, #Faith, #Inspirational, #Factory Burned, #Pioneer, #Illegitimate Daughter, #Billionaire, #Railroad Tycoon, #Half-Brother, #Hawaii, #Castle Sugar, #Plantation, #Foreman's Betrothed, #Life Threatened, #Consequences
: BRIDE OF HAWAII
Dream Cache Publishing
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015 by Janelle Daniels
Cover Art © 2015 Creative Book Covers
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
s the beloved
illegitimate daughter of a billionaire railroad tycoon, Kitty Jones should have had a comfortable life. But soon after her father passes away, she is forced to go on the run when someone hired by her half-brother tries to kill her. While hiding in Lawrence, Massachusetts, working at a textile factory, the mill is torched by an unknown arsonist—with the workers still inside. Desperate for safety, Kitty accepts a position in a location where her brother will never find her: Hawaii.
Warren Castle, the owner of the Castle Sugar Plantation, has no intention of marrying for convenience, regardless of his company’s needs. But when he sets eyes on his foreman’s mail-order bride, he’s determined that she’ll marry no one but him.
After Kitty’s life is threatened, Warren convinces her to marry him for his protection, regardless of the consequences. But when someone unexpected turns against them, it’ll take everything in Warren’s power to keep her alive.
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o Kirsten Osbourne
for being such an amazing friend and inspiration. Thank you for including me in your Kweenly shenanigans.
. For always believing.
Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1890
the rough cotton fabric through the sewing machine, her fingers raw from the hard work. At least they weren’t bleeding anymore. She shouldn’t complain. She was safe here among the other women of the factory.
That’s all that mattered.
The needle on her machine slowed as it ran out of fabric. Kitty wiped the sweat from her forehead, her gaze drawing up to the sea of women surrounding her. They hunched over, wisps of hair clinging to necks as they pushed fabric through humming machines at frantic paces.
The windows on the wooden building blazed with light, but they didn’t open to let in fresh air. The building became an oven during the day. Heat from the sun filtered in but had no place to leave, rising in the air until relief could only be found out of doors.
Everyone needed their job at the textile factory, and each and every woman was willing to push herself toward the limit to meet the demands placed on them. Lawrence, Massachusetts, wasn’t large by New York’s standards, but it had enough opportunity that relocation to the big city wasn’t necessary. There just wasn’t a large variety of jobs to be had.
While the crowds of New York beckoned her to find safety in their numbers, it was too risky. Frederick Craven would locate her there. She wasn’t about to give her half-brother the opportunity.
Cutting the thread from her machine, she pulled the finished garment in front of her for a final inspection before folding it up and placing it in the half-f basket beneath the table. She was ahead of schedule today.
“Kitty, did you see him?”
Kitty turned toward two of her roommates. There were four of them in total, but Josie, Lessie’s twin sister, was out of work. That left Lessie, Maddy, and Kitty in charge of bringing in enough income to cover their living expenses. Kitty didn’t mind though. Others had been there to help her, and she was grateful she could do the same.
Not sure if Maddy or Lessie uttered the question, she asked, “See who?”
The dark-haired women passed a look between themselves before Lessie said, “Mr. Brown. He’s in Roberta’s office right now.”
“Mr. Brown? The owner of the factory? I don’t think I’ve ever seen him.” Kitty glanced up to Roberta’s office, but couldn’t make out anyone in the room above. “I wonder what he’s doing here. Have either of you seen him before?” Kitty had only been at the factory for two months, but the two of them had worked there much longer.
“I have. But only once,” Maddy explained. “Roberta says he doesn’t want anything to do with the business, and as long as it makes him money, he has no reason to come here.” She sniffed in disapproval.
Kitty’s lip curled. If she owned the textile factory, she’d have her hand in running it. Leaving a business for others to manage left one’s self open to being robbed. And while rumors circulated that money was missing, Roberta had never confirmed them one way or another. Besides, Kitty had come to know the hundred or so women who worked at the factory. None of them had it in them to steal from the company.
Mr. Brown slammed the door to Roberta’s office, and for the first time since she’d started, each and every machine paused at the scene.
“Well, that doesn’t bode well,” Lessie said. “What do you think that was all about, Kitty?”
Kitty’s eyes narrowed as Mr. Brown stormed away. Roberta and Mr. Brown had argued from the looks of it. “I couldn’t say. Nothing good though.”
Roberta calmly walked out of her office to the railing, her eyes searching for someone out in the sea of women. “Let’s get those machines running again, ladies.”
No one questioned Roberta’s orders. They respected her too much. Each and every woman knew that Roberta cared for them. Not just as cogs in a wheel, necessary for the running of the factory, but as people. As women. As friends.
The loud hum of machines started up again as soon as she’d asked.
Sarah joined Roberta in her office, and Kitty’s roommates shared her worried look. Something terrible must have happened. No doubt Roberta would tell them all soon enough.
Kitty wiped her sweat-grimed hands on her gray cotton work dress before reaching for another piece of fabric. Regardless of what happened between Roberta and Mr. Brown, there was still work to be done.
Maddy muttered as she worked at the station next to hers. The oldest of the roommates, Maddy had previously been married but didn’t talk about it much. No doubt it was a bad union. But Kitty hoped she’d marry again. Although sassy, Maddy possessed a heart capable of deep affection.
If only Kitty’s future was as hopeful—
Glass shattered across the room, disorienting her. She frowned. How had that happened? She pushed away from her machine to check on the women closest to the window for injuries when a fireball flew into the room, landing on heaps of cloth.
Kitty’s feet rooted in place as her mouth went dry. Flames licked at the fabric, consuming the pile in greedy gulps.
Before screams could echo in the room, another window shattered, and more fire was flung into the crammed building.
Sweat iced her skin. She couldn’t look away from the destruction.
“Get out! Everyone!” Roberta yelled from the office.
Screams surrounded her as women fought their way around machines to safety.
“Kitty!” someone yelled, but she couldn’t answer their call. Her heart beat too forcefully in her chest. Her lungs worked too hard through smoke and fear.
He’d found her. Frederick had found her.
“Kitty!” Lessie grabbed her arm. “We need to get out of here! The whole building is going to go.”
Lessie and Maddy tugged on her arms, jarring her from her shock. Her eyes wide, she took in the scene around her, the worst nightmare any factory worker could dream of. And she’d just stood there.
She squeezed her friends’ hands as they ran to safety, joining the others outside on the street. Alarm bells rang in the air, warning the surrounding buildings of the fire and calling for help.
But assistance wouldn’t get there soon enough. Flames hungrily consumed the dry wood exterior, chewing through the building without pause.
The factory had been a haven for her the last few months. And living with her friends had been some of the best times she’d had in her life. That was over now.
Where would they go? What would they all do? Half the workers weren’t married, and there weren’t enough factories to absorb the workforce. Some would have to leave to find opportunities to support themselves.
She’d be one of them.
She studied the people crowding around the edge of the building to watch its destruction. He could be out there. Frederick. Or whoever he’d hired to come after her. She’d stayed here too long, had gotten too comfortable with her arrangement.
While her brother hunted her, she couldn’t stop, couldn’t settle. Because he never would either.
“What are we going to do?” Maddy whispered as she watched the destruction before her.
Kitty squeezed her hand. “What we need to. We’ll survive.”
They had to survive. That’s what their lives were all about.
But Kitty’s heart ached. She’d never see her friends again.
he small park
on the bank of the Merrimack River was Kitty’s last stop before she headed to the train station. Once she’d convinced herself that the fire was started by someone other than her half-brother, she’d given herself a week to arrange her departure.
Josie, Lessie, and Maddy walked with her to the park to hear an announcement from Roberta, but none had decided what they were going to do. Finding employment turned out harder than they’d originally anticipated.
But Kitty knew what she would do. She needed to run.
She didn’t have enough saved to get far, but once at the train station, she’d see where her money could take her. She’d make it work from there.
“I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’ve gathered you here today,” Roberta said, quieting the crowd. “All of us have been left jobless by the fire in the factory. Mr. Brown has no intention of rebuilding. I, like you, had no idea what to do next, but my sister recently went to Kansas as a mail-order bride. A matchmaker in Beckham found a groom for her, and she’s happy. I went to see the matchmaker yesterday to find out if she had any other prospective grooms out there.” She held up a newspaper. “She had just received the first hundred copies of the Grooms’ Gazette when I arrived. I told her about our predicament, and she gave me fifty copies.”
Kitty’s breath shortened as she stared at the Gazette—her way out of Massachusetts. Roberta said something else about how she was going to a man in Wisconsin, but all Kitty could think of was how far away she could get by becoming a mail-order bride.
Josie gasped as Lessie and Maddy marched to the front, taking the first papers offered, but Kitty couldn’t worry about her friends now. They’d work it out. They always had.
As if outside her own body, Kitty took a copy from Roberta, the noise around her fading to a dim buzz as she scanned the names and states of potential grooms.
Georgia, Maine, Montana, Oregon…
The list included every possible state and even several of the territories.
For the first time since her father died, a glimmer of hope lit in her chest. If she could get to one of the territories, move far enough away from New York, her brother would never find her. She’d be safe.
She’d be free.
She wouldn’t have to work in factories or as a lower-class servant. She could put the education her father had paid for to good use. She could become a teacher or governess. Something where she could support herself and a husband if need be.
She could be herself.
At that moment, she wasn’t picky who she married. All she hoped for in a husband was kindness.
She moved under one of the shade trees, blocking out the stifling September sun and read the descriptions of each man.
Her eyes latched on one, gulping down his words.
Mr. Timothy Banner, Hawaii
Mr. Banner is 28 years of age, hard-working, and in good health. He is employed as a plantation foreman at Castle Sugar, and is of above-average means. He is of medium height and build, possesses a good moral character, and of average appearance. He is seeking an honest woman who is not afraid to work hard, brave the Hawaiian climate, and is reasonably educated, with a view toward matrimonial engagement.
Please contact Mr. Banner at Castle & Snow Industries, San Francisco, California.
Geography wasn’t Kitty’s strong suit, but she knew Hawaii was located in the Pacific Ocean.
side of the American Continent.
She couldn’t imagine another place in the world farther than that. Her brother would never look for her there.