Faith Blum

Redeemed

He has a plan, but it backfires

Alexander Granger is tired of his father’s lectures and sermons. It’s time for payback. His plan is to pretend to marry a woman and scandalize his father when he finds out they aren’t really married. Will Mona accept his offer? Can Alex get away with his plan?

A companion novella to Amazing Grace.

Chapter 1

Alexander let the newspaper flop, a smug smile expanding on his face. After the way his father had laid into him today, he’d decided he had to get back. So what if it was Sunday yesterday and he’d slept in? Where was the crime in that? He looked back at Mona’s advertisement. What a way to get his father mad at him. All he had to do was convince her to come here, pay her off, and… He bit his lip. If she was advertising, though, she’d probably be too old for him or too sissified for fine country living out in the Wild West.

He picked up the newspaper. Pittsburgh couldn’t be too bad. He wondered what her story was. Why had she written an ad in a paper? Maybe the rich snobs in town were too...snobby for her. Or maybe she wanted adventure out in the Wild West. Alexander sat up straight and dragged his heavy form off the bed.

“It doesn’t matter. Dad won’t like it and that’s all I really care about. If I can get a woman to do what I want out of the arrangement, all the better.” The smug grin on his face twisted into a sneer. He opened the top drawer of his desk and pulled a piece of paper out. He searched the desk for the inkwell and pen. “Charlotte,” he muttered, “where did you put it this time?”

His hand brushed against something and he looked at it. “Ah, there it is.” Alexander picked up the quill and dipped it in the ink. “Now where do I start?”

After scribbling away for half an hour, he read through the letter. Smiling, he signed his name and blotted the ink. “There. Now to find out more about the woman before Dad catches wind of what I’m doing.”

He chewed his bottom lip. “That could be a problem.”

With a shrug of his shoulders, Alexander stuffed the letter into an envelope, sealed it, and wrote Mona’s address on it.

“I’m going to town for a while,” he yelled as he clomped down the stairs.

“Try to be quiet when you walk around,” a shrill, feminine voice said.

“Yes, Charlotte,” Alexander said with a grin.

“Say one thing, do the opposite” was Alex’s motto. It gave him freedom and still made him seem obedient. He saddled his horse, Flame, and rode hard for town. The wind blew through his hair and whistled past his ears, knocking the hat off his head. Alex grinned as he let the string attached to the hat tighten around his neck.

Flame cantered straight to the post office and Alexander jumped off the horse and strode into the small building.

“Got a letter to mail. Anything for us?”

“Nope,” the postmaster said.

Alex shrugged and turned around. “Okay. Bye.

“Friendly fellow,” he muttered as he left the office. He stopped outside the door and looked up and down the street. “Now what? To the saloon to see the pretty girls and get a couple whiskeys? Or shall I go…? I don’t even know where else I would go.” He picked up Flame’s reins and led him across the street to Judd’s Saloon.

He tied the horse to the hitching post and pushed open the batwing doors. A couple people looked up when the doors scraped against each other, but otherwise nobody noticed his arrival. He wasn’t surprised. He’d made an effort to keep a low profile in town.

With a nod to one of the men playing poker, he made his way to the bar. “Whiskey,” he said.

The bartender turned around and poured a brown liquid into a small glass and slid it across the counter to him. Alex nodded his head. Two drinks later, he decided he’d had enough. He looked around the room and walked to a poker table. “Can I join you?”

The men at the table looked up. The man who seemed to be winning so far smiled. “We’d love to win some of your money, Alex.”

Alex smirked. “Good luck.”

A saloon girl brought another chair over and the men made room around the table for him. “Thanks.”

An hour later, Alex had lost twenty dollars and was just sober enough to decide to cut his losses and go home.

On the ride home, Alex wondered what Mona would think when she received his letter. He hoped she was up for his idea. If not, he would just have to find someone else.