The Cold Wife at the Outskirts Press Website
Ruth Ann Nordin's Romance Books
This historical romantic comedy features an unwilling bride who does everything she can to get out of an arranged marriage.
First comes love, then comes marriage - right?
Not so for Carrie Allen. When her newly bankrupt father arranges a union with the wealthy but unappealing Justin Monroe - interrupting a beginning courtship with the one she loves - Carrie's understandably upset. But even after telling her new husband they're wrong for each other, he refuses to grant an immediate annulment.
Instead, Justin offers a deal: a month-long trial marriage. As she does everything she can to prove the marriage is doomed, he tries just as hard to win her affection. All of which makes for an uproarious romantic comedy set amid the manners and mores of the late-nineteenth century. Will Carrie melt under the heat of Justin's desire? Or will she always remain The Cold Wife?
After Carrie asks for an annulment, Justin and his uncle come up with a plan...
As soon as his uncle saw him, he said, “I didn’t expect to see you until Monday after all that fuss you made about not working this weekend. Don’t tell me you changed your mind.”
Justin looked at the older man. “Carrie didn’t want to marry me. I was under the impression that she wished for the marriage as much as I did. Did you realize that she’s opposed to it?”
The older man sighed and sat back in his chair. “Are you sure that she is that opposed to it?”
“She made it clear that she was. She said that she begged her father not to force her into it and she tried to talk to me about it at the engagement party, but since I ran off to attend that business meeting, she wasn’t able to. Oh, there have also been other attempts she made to inform me of her desire to remain single.”
“Had you been able to talk to her before the ceremony, you would have agreed to call off the wedding?”
“Of course. I don’t want her to be a part of this if she doesn’t want it.”
“So it was imperative that you went to the business meetings when you did. All things work out when you notice the details.”
Justin couldn’t believe his ears. “I missed a big detail on Thursday. I didn’t get it until I was walking over here. She wore her funeral dress that night because she thinks marrying me is equivalent to dying.”
To his surprise, his uncle chuckled. “Oh, she’s so cute.”
He groaned. “How can you make light of this?” His heart was breaking because the woman he had hoped to spend the rest of his life with just told him she didn’t want to be with him, and his uncle was acting like it wasn’t important.
His uncle stopped laughing and motioned for him to sit across from him.
Justin rolled his eyes but did as instructed.
Jonathan leaned forward, placing his elbows on the desk in front of him. “I saw the way you two danced at the reception. She wasn’t exactly fighting you on the dance floor. I think she enjoyed herself.”
“Then when I brought her home, she told me that she doesn’t want to be with me.”
He waved his hand as if to dismiss his nephew’s words. “She has a classic case of denial.”
“Yes. She finds you interesting but doesn’t want to admit it. I think she’s upset because she wasn’t given a choice in the marriage. Her father probably just told her that she was getting married and that was it. Since she’s twenty-four, she’s had time to gain some independence. As a result, she has discovered that she was able to make decisions for herself, and would have liked to decide who to marry. Naturally, this led to her negative attitude towards you.”
“Why wasn’t she given a choice?”
“Because her father was sure that she would be miserable if she never married. Let’s face it. She may be pretty and sweet but she’s terribly shy with men, so she wouldn’t have ever found a husband without some help. I could tell that you’ve loved her for the longest time but never made a move. Frankly, this is the best thing her father and I did for both of you.”
“I’m going to let her get the annulment she asked for.”
His uncle shook his head. “That isn’t necessary.” He drummed his fingers on the desk. Suddenly, he smiled. “Kiss her.”
Justin hadn’t expected this. “What?”
“Take her in your arms and give her a long, passionate kiss. Some tongue action would help.”
“Do you want to stay married to her or not?”
“You already know the answer to that,” he softly stated.
“Then you need to fight for your marriage. If you kiss her and you detect even the slightest bit of response from her, then you know that there’s a hint of interest she is harboring for you. If that’s the case, then you ask her for one month to be married to you. In that time, let her have her own bedroom and make it clear to the staff that you won’t consummate the marriage so you can protect her reputation in case she insists on the annulment once the month is up. Take that month to court her. Romance her and show her that you honestly care for her. Give her lots of hugs and kisses. Treat her as if she were the most important woman who ever lived. I believe she’ll come around.”
“Is it?” His uncle shrugged. “If you try it, then the worst that can happen is she’ll go through with the annulment. You’ll be in the same position you are in now. However, if you try it and she changes her mind, then you will have the woman you love. Isn’t it worth a month to find out either way?”
Justin considered his words. He was right, of course. Finally Justin nodded. “I’ll try it.”