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Claiming Catherine: Montana Maiden Series, Book 1

By: Vanessa Vale
Published By: Blushing Press
Copyright: �2014 by Blushing Books� and Vanessa Vale
8 Chapters / 33,200 Words
Heat Level:
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Branded a harlot for undoing a confining button on her blouse, Catherine Langton's finds herself rejected by the man she is to marry, leaving her in a predicament: mail order bride or the poorhouse. Her decision is simple and she arrives in Liberty, Montana to marry a man she's never seen, her only desire to be a pleasing wife.

Jake Bridger exceeds Catherine's expectations at first glance. He looks as if he stepped from the pages of the Western romances she knows she shouldn't read. But she's about to find out that the men of Liberty are not like other men. Here, a wife is expected to make all of herself available to her husband, even parts a good girl like Catherine never expected a man to plunder. It's not an easy adjustment, but Jake isn't a man to take "no" for an answer, and sets about training his new bride using techniques that soon have Catherine wantonly eager for his attentions.

But can Catherine live with her new husband's explicit requirements when it opposes everything she's known?

If you're looking for a smoking hot Western that breaks the mold, then this first book in the Montana Maidens Series won't just leave you satisfied, but eagerly awaiting the continuation of the sexiest, most wildly explicit adventure to hit the open range of publishing in a very long time.

Chapter One

The proposition of being married to a stranger held mystery and allure the entire stagecoach ride�three days of rattling and rolling across the open prairie�just until the driver called the horses to a halt in front of the general store in Liberty, Montana. This was the end of the line, where my future husband would be waiting for me. My heart thumped so hard I couldn't imagine it not being noticeable to all, either by beating its way out of my chest or by the sound of its frantic beats. My palms dampened my white gloves and breathing was even more difficult within the confines of my tight corset. My future was beyond the wooden door of the stage. Once I stepped out, my life, I knew, would alter dramatically.

Herbert Beecham had wanted me as his wife, at least until he found me unbuttoning the very top of my blouse beneath my neck one day outside of church. It had been stifling and I was overcome from the heat and thick humidity. The ruffled edge of the high collar was claustrophobic and hot and tickled my chin. With that sole button undone, no one would notice a change, nor would any skin show. It only relieved the constriction about my neck so I didn't overheat and swoon at his feet. Instead of being concerned for my welfare, he'd labeled me a harlot in front of the remainder of the congregation mingling on the city sidewalk.

Did I have such low moral values that I wanted to expose my neck to strange men milling around? Was it my hope to lure these same men into my woman's trap as I had him? Mr. Beecham wouldn't be pulled from his soapbox once he began ranting about my wantonness, but he'd retracted his offer of marriage then and there. I'd been mortified, shamed and publicly humiliated. Even now, weeks later and hundreds of miles away, I was haunted by his words and wore my most severe, and modest, of dress.

Left without other prospects�no one would marry me after that public tirade�I had to consider farther afield, having become somewhat desperate. Work for a woman was unattainable without skills like sewing or teaching and without such, there would not be enough money to pay off my father's debt and survive. Thus, my presence in Montana, far from St. Louis, as a mail order bride. It was either the poorhouse or marrying a complete stranger in a strange land.

What did my husband look like? Was he appealing to the eye? Would he be pleasant or cruel? Would he consider me amoral and a slattern like Mr. Beecham had? When I'd accepted Mr. Jake Bridger's marriage by proxy, I'd envisioned a dime novel cowboy, all virile male and bulging muscle. He'd be able to rope a steer, ride a horse and pleasure a woman with mastery and skill. This last was a phrase I'd learned from such a novel and had no real idea what it meant, although it was a dream that kept me company on the long, arduous trek from St. Louis. Perhaps I was amoral and wanton as I'd been viciously painted.

The driver helped me down from the coach as I shielded my eyes from the bright sun. The air was warm, yet refreshing after the confines of my uncomfortable seat. There had been no reprieve since breakfast. Summers in Montana seemed palatable and pleasant, an appealing change to the sweltering streets of a big city.

“Miss Langton?” a deep voice called out.

I looked up, but couldn't see the man with the voice, as the sun was directly behind him. Stepping closer, he broke free of the glare and stood before me, close enough that I had to tilt my head back to look him in the eye. Oh lord, he was a big man!

As he pulled his hat off, I was able to see he had piercing dark eyes, and equally dark hair that was long at the nape and slightly curled. It was thick and wayward, making my fingers itch to feel how soft it was and to tame it. His jaw was square with dark whiskers, in need of a shave. His lips were full and one corner quirked up in a smile.

This was my husband? He was all the book described and even more. My eyes traveled from his face and over his body. Broad shoulders were covered in a blue cotton shirt, soft from wear and the sun, the sleeves rolled up to expose formidable forearms, all sinewy muscle and tanned skin. His hands were large, and I contemplated what they would feel like against my flesh. I swallowed deeply.

Sweat dotted my brow and I had no doubt the sun wasn't the only culprit. My interest in this man was piqued in a way no other man had done before and he'd only said my name.

“I assume the way you're looking me over that you are indeed Miss Langton,” he prompted, amusement lacing his words.

Oh! I'd been ogling him as if a prized bull. Mortified, I felt my cheeks heat.

“Yes. I' sorry. You must be Mr. Bridger.”

He nodded. “Ma'am. Jake Bridger. I trust that your journey was not too arduous?”

I could only shake my head as the knowledge that I was bound to this man, this man, until death parted us.

“I'm relieved to hear that.” He leaned in close, his eyes darted from mine, to my lips, then back. “You are lovelier than I could have imagined,” he whispered.

My cheeks flamed even hotter, but a thrill ran through me at his pleased words.

“Are you hungry?”

My stomach was filled with butterflies; I couldn't eat a thing. Just the sight of the man made me tongue-tied and flustered. He was my husband! He was so appealing to the eye that it was almost unbelievable. I'd never seen a man quite so handsome before. They grew them well in Montana - a different breed of man entirely.

Mr. Beecham was overweight and balding, with a double chin and pasty complexion. Perhaps my low moral standards had me fortuitously averting a fate that would have been quite unappealing and depressingly lifelong.

“No, thank you,” I murmured.

“If it's all right with you, I'd like to stop at the church to make our marriage even more official,” he said, proffering his arm.

I took it absently. We were legally married, the ceremony taking place in a sterile office in St. Louis, the mail order bride company's clerk acting as Jake Bridger's proxy. It was a typical scenario, wedding in this fashion prior to cross-country travel. It kept both bride and groom from changing their minds at moments just like this one. Why would I back out? The man was utterly appealing to every one of my feminine senses. I was thrilled to be married to him. The very idea he wanted to consecrate the union in a church only endeared me to him all the more.

“We have a ride ahead of us back to the ranch and we won't be returning to town this week, thus the desire for immediacy,” he added as we walked. “You'll be in my bed tonight and I thought you might value the minister's blessing.”

I gulped at the very idea of sharing a bed with this man. The notion was not at all unpleasant. Nonetheless, I was nervous and apprehensive at the daunting, and unfamiliar activity. Would he find me lacking as Mr. Beecham had? And with him, I'd been fully clothed. “Do you you think we can hold off on, um, marital relations until we know each other a little better?"

He looked down at me, and his mouth quirked up. "You mean fucking?"

I darted a glance left and right to see who may have overheard our frank conversation. "Well...yes."

He thought for a moment. "All right. I won't fuck you until you are ready. Is that amenable?"

Relief coursed through me and I smiled. "Yes, thank you."

"You will still be in my bed." He held up a hand as I opened my mouth to speak. "No fucking, but you are my wife and my wife is in my bed."

It was a fair compromise and I should consider it very accommodating. "All...all right.”

We walked through the small town in silence, glad for the time to absorb my new surroundings. A mercantile, a saloon and several other shops flanked the wide, dirt thoroughfare. A number of small clapboard houses dotted the prairie in the distance. We passed the livery at the edge of town to walk up a small rise to the church, it's steeple no doubt seen for miles from the vast openness all around us. Mr. Bridger tipped his hat to those we passed; he seemed familiar with everyone we encountered.

It was beautiful here. Tall grass, green and yellow, waved in the gentle breeze. Purple mountains were hazy in the distance, but I couldn't get over the feel of freedom. The claustrophobic confines of city life were long gone and would not be missed. Neither would the cruel Mr. Beecham, although he seemed to linger in my thoughts and impacted how I perceived myself. It had been my hope that each mile that had passed I would forget him, but the self doubts he'd raised still lingered. Would Mr. Bridger consider me equally unworthy?

My husband allowed me my thoughts as we walked to the church, for he seemed to have a calm and sensible demeanor. Horses were tied up at a rail in front of the whitewashed building. Mr. Bridger held the door as I entered the cool space. Inside, there was the minister�obvious from his black shirt and white collar�a woman of similar age I assumed his wife, and two other men, equally broad, equally tall, and equally as devastatingly attractive as my husband.

There was no question the three men were brothers. Their hair varied from dark brown to blond, but they all had gazes that pierced right through me, a no-nonsense demeanor, and an air of protectiveness that made me feel at ease and reassured.

Mr. Bridger's hand was at my lower back, and tingles from the simple touch shot through me like a bullet from a rifle, as he led me down the short aisle. Our footfall was loud on the floorboards.

“Mrs. Abernathy, Reverend Abernathy, this is Miss Langton, soon to be Mrs. Bridger in the eyes of God.”

The couple shared their greetings and a kind smile.

“These are my brothers, Sam and Cole.”

Both men looked at me in a way that made the hairs on the nape of my neck rise. It was as if I was in their sights as prey. Their gazes weren’t threatening, but purely dominant. They both came forward and shook my hand, each of theirs large as a dinner plate, engulfing mine. Licks of flame warmed my body in places I wasn't supposed to mention.

Heat once again flooded my cheeks�a constant state, it seemed, shame washing over me as I reacted not only to my betrothed, but to his brothers as well. Maybe something really was wrong with me!

“I understand you were wed via proxy, but this will make you all feel as if it is real. Let's make it official in the eyes of God as well, shall we?” Reverend Abernathy asked.

I looked up at my husband, who stood at my side. He nodded to the minister before taking my hand in his. "You may remove your gloves. They are not worn here in Montana."

I did as he bid and removed them as the other two men moved to stand beside their brother, bearing witness.

The ceremony was short, our “I Do's” simple. Mr. Bridger�I couldn't think of him yet as Jake�didn't slip a ring on my finger, but did kiss me at the completion. A simple, chaste affair, however it did confirm his lips were warm and soft and that I wanted more.

As I opened my eyes after this first kiss, all three male faces had hooded gazes of dark desire.

"Do you plan on corking her here?" the reverend asked.

Cork? Was it some Montana tradition? A colloquialism? I'd never heard of it and I looked to Mr. Bridger.

He shook his head and gave me a quick glance. I'm sure he could see the confusion on my face, but didn't elaborate. "She's not from here, nor familiar with our ways. I think it would be better if I did it at home myself."

Reverend Abernathy nodded his understanding, yet raised a brow as he spoke. "The next service you attend, I'm sure we will be able to judge for ourselves that this task has been accomplished."

It was obvious even to me � someone completely unaware of the topic of their discussion - that the minister was not asking Mr. Bridger a question, but instead stating fact.

"Of course," Mr. Bridger responded.

Once the nuptials were completed, my husband bade quick farewell to the couple and led me from the church as quickly as we arrived, his brothers following. The sun warmed my skin and I wanted to savor the moment of my wedding as it only happened once in a woman's life. I felt rushed through this moment, however I could appreciate the need to return to the ranch with daylight holding, if the ride was as far as I imagined. Life was different in Montana, I knew, and I would need to accustom myself to the change.

“We will ride together,” Mr. Bridger told me as we approached the horses. Sam and Cole escorted us, a man on each side as well as behind me. I felt sheltered, surrounded by such large and commanding men.

My husband undid the lead of one horse, swung up into the saddle and held his hand down to me. I glanced at my new brothers-in-law, who both gave quick nods. I took the proffered hand and was pulled easily up onto my husbands lap, sitting with my legs and skirts off one side. I could feel his strong, muscular thighs beneath my bottom, his arms encircling me. My head rested beneath his chin and could feel his heart beating against my back, could smell his clean scent of leather, horse and pure male essence.

I had never been this close to a man before, certainly never sitting upon one. His broad hand held me about the waist, his thumb brushing the underside of my breast. Even through the heavy confines of my corset could I feel the searing heat at the contact. I sucked in a breath at the action, but knew he was now legally able to take liberties with me in any manner he chose. The fact that I longed for the kind of things I read about it the dime novel made Mr. Beecham's harsh words ring true.

The brothers accompanied us, forming a line as we moved southwest out of town, the sun working it's way behind the distant mountains in front of us. The men were a quiet group, content to remain silent on our way.

“My things!” I cried, surprised that Mr. Bridger could make me forget something so important with just his hand upon me.

“Your trunk's being brought out in the wagon by one of my men,” Mr. Bridger murmured against my hair. “Don't worry, sweetheart. I'll provide everything you will need. Your city clothes won't have use here.”

I thought his comment strange, although the endearment he'd used intimate and quite pleasurable. I didn't need my clothes? I knew it was bitterly cold in Montana in the winter, but surely my summer dresses would prove useful in the short term. I hadn't brought many other possessions, having been forced to sell them to pay off my father's debts after his death. The mail order bride service had been my saving grace, keeping me from the poorhouse and potentially even more undesirable outcomes.

“The role and expectations of wife around here are different than what you're probably used to,” he added as we rode.

“Oh?” I asked, wondering what the variations might be.

“There are many things for you to learn. I was going to wait until we returned to the ranch, however perhaps now may be useful to start.”

I knitted my brow in confusion. “Useful, how?”

“You can't run away if you're sitting in my lap,” he answered.

I tensed against his body, still confined between his arms that held the reins. I worried my lip, for the first time fearful of the man I married. “And why...why would there be cause to run away?”

"Because I'm going to make demands on your body you never considered before."

"You agreed no, um, no...intercourse." I whispered the word, glancing to see if his brothers heard. "Not until we know each other better."

"I wasn't referring to fucking."

Kirsty on 12/07/2015 07:53pm
I was really disappointed by this book. Considering Vanessa Vale is such a successful author I had high hopes for it but there really wasn't a plot, just a lot of sex. Don't get me wrong, lots of sex is good, but it needs to have a great plot as well, to interest me. I skimmed over much of it, hoping to find an actual story, and one just wasn't forthcoming.
Monique Dillon on 11/28/2015 10:14pm
So this book is complicated in that it is consensual and yet not consensual at the same time. I believe it's called "dubious consent", where consent is given but under duress. I feel that lying to a woman to get her to take something that she doesn't know is an aphrodisiac, is dubious consent. I believe that saying there will be no relations until consent but then using a chemical means to secure that consent is again, dubious consent. The story line also was a little dry as there was virtually no character development. I'm sure if you "suspended reality" you could make ANY story work.
Michelle on 11/17/2015 10:49am
I'm glad I found this book. The whole series is amazing.
JANE A on 07/16/2015 05:32pm
Well written. Hot, hot sex!
Val on 06/22/2015 05:27pm
Too much anal play. I will not read the rest of the series.
Angie on 05/19/2015 05:22am
Catherine is Jake's mail order bride. Catherine doesn't realize that being a wife in Liberty, Montana is different than the city. We see how Jake trains Catherine to be a good wife.
Brigitte on 04/03/2015 02:23am
Sorry for such a low rating, but not my cup of tea really. Although I'm not adverse to a bit of anal play this book just made me feel dirty, not least because of the reluctance of the characters to wash off bodily secreations, gross!! Also there were no spankings ( I do not call the fact that his hand landed on her backside 3 times a spanking). On the whole a bit of a disappointment
Jaycee on 03/25/2015 06:04pm
The only reason I read this book was that it was one of the free ones in the 50 shades promotion. I know why I stayed away from it for so long. There was no romance, no emotions other than sexual satisfaction. Yes, I realize it was fantasy, but the men LIE to their woman their whole lives! There is no submission when it is forced by the use of drugs and lies. How is this loving or caring? Jake never bats an eye when Catherine is humiliated in front of others, doesn't care that she's in constant discomfort, or sore beyond anything realistic. And the men happily talk about "breaking" the women. Again, how is this even the least bit romantic? I can only hope that the remaining books in this series are not filled with such misogyny - but I will not be reading them to find out.
Margaret Corcoran on 03/06/2015 01:17pm
What a great start to this series. Well worth the read. I have no problem to recommend this book.
Adele on 03/05/2015 08:50am
I made myself finish this book hoping for some redeeming quality. I found none. Catherine was treated poorly. She had no choice in her life. She was tricked and drugged. I will never read anything in thus series again. I'm not sure I will read anything by this wither again.
Redrabbitt on 03/03/2015 08:14am
Catherine was treated horribly by a man she was supposed to marry, when he accused her publically of being a harlot, a slut, just because she let the top button undone on her high necked blouse when it was extremely hot and she feared passing out. The humiliation left her feeling as she had no other choice except to become a mail order bride. Arriving in Liberty, MT to her new husband by proxy, Jake Bridger, she is relieved to find him handsome and caring. Even to the point of taking her to the church for a wedding by a minister. On the way back to the ranch he starts explaining her as his wife, her life of submission. What a shock all this is to Catherine. Wives are given a daily dose of an aphrodisiac anally, and told it is because the water will make them sick and plugged or corked. The story has Jake dominating Catherine by using her arousal to make her acquiesce to his desires. The story is heavy on power play, has lots of sex, anal play and total domination in a western setting.
Livvy on 03/03/2015 03:23am
was an ok book but there wasnt enough spankng in it and it seems a bit extreme
Patricia on 01/17/2015 10:11pm
I found this more disturbing than anything else. Could't finish it
Denise on 01/11/2015 07:10pm
There were so many things wrong with this story it is hard to review it. It would have been better if it was based on another world, make it a sci-fi story. I do not see how this could ever happen. The other thing that bothers me is when an author writes about things that would eventually hurt another person, and what was happening to Catherine and Maura would eventually hurt them, or they would be complacent about it, not caring if they had sex or not and with the furniture and stimulants they would soon not even need a man. Catherine is way too naive to ever believe that this is the way things should be, or her ex-fiance warped her so badly, that she isn't all there. I didn't care for Jake that much, nor his cousin or brothers for that matter, and that adds to my dilemma of reviewing this story. They just weren't likable. What would have made this story great, would have been to have one Maura or Catherine find out what is going on and turn the tables on the men, or something along those lines. I didn't hate the book, but i definitely don't want to go any farther with the series. Also there is only slight punishment, i would not call this a spanking book.
Tina on 11/23/2014 02:46pm
Catherine decides to become a mail order bride after being dumped by her fiancé and seen as a disgrace by the people in her home town for the simple act of undoing a button on her top when she was stifled with the heat. The new town she goes to live in with her husband is the opposite of her home town and she struggles to adjust from what was considered indecent in her home town to normal in her new town and more. I was caught unaware by this story and I did struggle with how I felt about Jake effectively drugging his wife Catherine in this book; the redeeming factor was that due to the historical setting and the factor that it was a norm for the entire society, it was a little easier to accept it as a culture in the story. The story itself is well written and I did like how Jake began to care for Catherine and fell in love with her despite Jake never expecting that. So if you can accept that the culture of the society in this story has a non-consensual element to it (since none of the women are aware they’re being drugged), then I’d recommend it because the story itself is good. I received this as an ARC for an honest review.
charlie on 11/20/2014 11:41am
I liked this book because it shows the acceptance she finds after being a woman scorned for Little. She is taught a whole different set of rules and is accepted finally.
Katy Beth McKee on 11/15/2014 03:43pm
Catherine goes to be a mail order bride. Jake shares the ranch with his brothers. Catherine finds out that this community has a whole lot more rules than she's interested in. She needs to learn to adjust to all the differences and try to understand her new life. She struggles to come to terms will all of it but in the end she is thankful for her new life.
anon on 11/14/2014 10:12am
I don’t understand the problem with the premise of this story. There are stories about communities that reject all technology, spanking communities, farming communities that keep women in the kitchen, communities that have adults as infants so why not a community where women are sexual objects. We have stories about women spanked for 72 minutes, striped until five branches are worn out, paddled for 45 minutes so what’s so hard to believe in women being plugged. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I felt it was a parody on the genre and very well done. It kept my interest from beginning to end and I want to read the next installment. Jake never used force on his new wife, as is so often done, and because of that Catherine adapted easily into his lifestyle. I say give it a go and read this story. It will make you smile.
Marybeth on 11/11/2014 08:21pm
OK, I’ve read a few of the other reviews for this story and I don’t disagree. But, if you view it in the context of being non-consensual, it is a very erotic book. Also, let us not forget that women were viewed as property in those days and a man could do pretty much what he wanted. I really liked this book. It was sexy and very well written. Catherine is a mail order bride and Jake is the man who ordered her. Lol The community that Catherine has moved to does things differently. They make their wives sexually submissive by giving them and aphrodisiac that makes them needy all the time. In this story, we learn how Catherine is trained by Jake to become a wife in this community. When you read this story, look at it in the eyes of someone from this time and suspend your disbelief and outrage. It is after all, a story. I give this story 4 stars.
madpuss on 11/09/2014 10:03pm
I have to admit I was a little surprised by this story. It was not what I expected. I knew the blurb said 'Here, a wife is expected to make all of herself available to her husband, even parts a good girl like Catherine never expected a man to plunder.' This is an understatement. I can't like the fact that Jake lied to Catherine to get what he wanted or used an aphrodisiac to keep her in a perpetual aroused state so that Catherine can barely function as an individual. It almost sounds like torture as there is no relief from it. However, Catherine ends up adjusting and liking her life with Jake. I can say I quite enjoyed it as a piece of fiction. Of course it's unrealistic fantasy, if it could be reality it would be no, NO, NO.
Meg on 11/09/2014 11:04am
Catherine comes to Montana as a mail order bride after her intended accuses her of being a harlot. Stepping from the coach, Catherine is very happy to discover that Jake, the man she wed by proxy, is not only considerate and leads her to the church for an additional ceremony, but has agreed there will be not ‘relations’ until she is ready and asks for him to consummate the marriage. Jake and his two brothers are all very handsome, large and makes her feel safe and protected. However, she quickly learns that customs on Montana’s open ranges are nothing like a ‘citified’ girl could ever have imagined. This is not really a spanking novel, it is more about the sexual awakening and training up of a wife to the exact specifications of a determined husband. While I agree with some that the plot is unrealistic, this is fiction after all. I would have liked Catherine to discover more of actual living on the ranch and becoming more of a partner in the marriage.
may on 11/09/2014 09:20am
Great read! Hope there are more books with the other brothers.
Timberlan127 on 11/09/2014 06:35am
Married by proxy Catherine went to Montana as a mail order bride. She found her husband handsome and appealing. Then he started to tell her about her new life and how it would be different. He said that a wife's only job was to make her husband happy. From that point on Catherine starts on a journey of sexual discoveries at the hands of her new husband. The story is well written but I could only give it 4 stars because although it is fiction I felt it portrayed women as only being valued for their submissiveness. I like strong intelligent heroines who think for themselves. Since this is book 1 of a series maybe the author intends to revise that portrayal in the next book. Interesting read.
Avid on 11/08/2014 04:19pm
This is a dreadful book. The worst wedding night ever. If I had bought from Amazon, I'd request a refund.
SH on 11/08/2014 02:03pm
Honestly, I had a problem with the premise of this story. However, since I knew it wasn't really trying to portray how things were back in those days and was trying to be more erotic in nature I could overlook it. Given that, it is written well and even though I had some strong feelings with the male characters I did enjoy the story for what it is. I did appreciate that there appeared to be more caring between Jake and Catherine as the story continued.
Pat on 11/08/2014 12:40pm
This story is about nothing more than Jake's horrible betrayal of trust and complete abuse of power over Catherine. To be fair, Catherine is so stupid she should not be allowed in the gene pool but, by the same token, Jake (apparently along with all the other men in town) is so limp dicked that the only way he could manage to get and keep a woman was by drugging her until she was barely able to function. The plot is disgusting and the characters are absolutely pathetic.
Paula on 11/08/2014 05:57am
Interesting and stimulating read. Although the storyline is unrealistic and the hero is manipulative, this is fiction so I could put those aspects aside and enjoy it, and to be honest I found it erotic. My only complaint is the length.I would have liked to see where the couple goes from here.

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