The Bartered Bride (The Brides, #3)
Jem Wheeler has always been a survivor. He just wants to make a fresh start in Colorado after the loss of his wife. Then he happens upon a young mute woman being sold to the highest bidder. He wasn't looking for a mail-order bride. He wasn't looking to rescue anyone either. But desperate circumstances can drive a good man to do things he hadn't planned on doing...
When Jem steps into Annie's life, she's not expecting anyone to save her. Mute from birth, she's just using all her wits to survive. All she's ever really wanted is a family of her own. For someone to see her. To look at her long enough to hear the things she can't say.
Jem took the apple core from his daughter and passed her one of the remaining crackers with a piece of cheese on it. Mae munched that down and looked to him for another.
He gave it to her, then spread his empty hands.
She frowned. "More?"
"No more." Jem showed her his empty hands again, making a bigger gesture of it, as if the little girl was accusing him of hiding some.
If Annie weren't so intent on eating her share of cheese and crackers she might have smiled at the sight of them, one of the most dangerous men she'd ever seen sitting side by side with that tiny little girl. They made quite a mismatched pair.
Mae looked at Annie, at the last cracker in her hand and the last bit of cheese.
Annie gulped down the mouthful she was chewing. She looked at the last of her meal and back at Mae. To her shame, she didn't want to give up her last cracker. She could barely remember her last meal.
"That's Annie's food," Jem admonished the little girl. "You've had yours."
Mae bit her lip. She glanced down at her lap, then back at Annie again.
I can share, Annie att