Quotes from Short-Straw Bride

Karen Witemeyer ·  365 pages

Rating: (9.1K votes)


“If you want to protect me, prayer is just as powerful a weapon as that gun you carry.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“No matter how many precautions we take, none of us are truly in control. Only God can claim that kind of authority. All we can do is use the good sense he provides and trust him to guide us.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Honey, if the man is that dense, you can drag that cot he been sleepin' on into your room, nab his clothes, and lay in wait for him. When he comes lookin' for his things, lock the door and settle the matter once and for all.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Archers stood together, no matter what. Not even frilly-smelling laundry could tear them apart.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Honey, if you got yourself a man who's willing to pay court to you even after the vows are spoke, you got yourself a treasure, not a problem.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride



“You think I married you because I lost when we drew straws?” He chuckled softly. “Oh, Meri. Sweetheart. I won the straw draw. I didn’t lose it.” She stared at him, not comprehending the difference. “What are you saying?” Travis grinned. “When we sat around the table that night, we didn’t decide to draw straws because none of us wanted to marry you. We drew straws because all of us wanted to marry you.” Meredith blinked up at her husband. Could it be true? Had she been a prize, not a chore? “And I’ll tell you something else.” He dipped his head and lowered his voice, his grin turning downright mischievous. “But you gotta swear not to tell the others.” She nodded. “I rigged the contest.” “What?” “I made sure that I was the one who ended up with the short straw.” Meredith’s pulse quickened. “Why?” Travis shrugged a bit, and if she didn’t know better, she could have sworn his skin pinkened a bit under his tan. “At the time I told myself that you were my responsibility. That because of our previous encounter, I should be the one to marry you.” A responsibility. Of course. Meredith forced her chin to stay raised and her back straight despite her yearning to curl up into a protective ball. “But I was fooling myself.” Travis’s gaze met hers, and she caught her breath. The way he looked at her, it was . . . was . . . “Even then I was falling in love with you.” It was love. “I couldn’t stand the idea of one of my brothers marrying you. You belonged with me. I knew it. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew it. And over the last several weeks, I’ve only grown more sure. I love you, Meredith. I thank God every day for bringing you back into my life.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Travis, I love you with all of my being, but I love Cassie, too. And right now she needs me more than you do. Forgive me. Meri She loved him. The wonder of the statement seeped into him, but the joy that should have accompanied the knowledge faded beneath his growing frustration and fear. How could she possibly think that anyone needed her more than he did? She was his heart, his very life. If anything happened to her . . . Travis tore the top page from the tablet and hardened his jaw. He’d just have to make sure nothing did happen. After all, if a wife was going to tell her husband she loved him, she ought to do it in person. And he aimed to see that she did precisely that. Right after he kissed the living fire out of her and showed her exactly how much he truly needed her.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Watching the Archer brothers eat was like watching a twister blow through the room. Meredith sat with her elbows tucked close to her side, afraid to do more than occasionally raise her fork to her mouth for fear of being rammed by a reaching arm or thumped by a tossed biscuit. The venison steak was overdone, the beans gluey, and the biscuits were dry as unbuttered toast, yet the Archers attacked their food like a pack of dogs fighting over a fresh kill. No one spoke. They just ate.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“I myself prefer being called Cassie. It's so much friendlier and less pretentious than Cassandra, don't you think? ... I think both fit you right fine. One is elegant and graceful, the other fun and lively.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“A chuckle escaped Meredith's lips as Cassie swung from sleepy little girl to sympathetic confidante to vengeful angel all in the course of a single minute.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride



“You might of put Travis from your mind, but I still think he claims a piece of your heart.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Travis?” Her voice came out scratchy and cracked. “What are you doing in my room?” Those eyes—not quite green, not quite brown—crinkled at the corners. “I’m not in your room, darlin’. You’re in mine.” What? Maybe she was still dreaming. That would explain why Travis was here and why nothing was making a lick of sense. But the throbbing behind her ear seemed awfully real. “My head hurts.” “You were kicked by a mule.” A mule? Meredith frowned. Uncle Everett didn’t own a mule. Had she been injured at the livery fetching Ginger? And why was Travis grinning at her? Shouldn’t he be more concerned? “It’s not very heroic of you to smile at my misfortune.” Really. This was her dream after all. Her hero should be more solicitous. Of course, usually in her dreams, Travis rescued her before any injury occurred. The man was getting lax. She’d started to tell him so when he laid the back of his hand on her forehead as if feeling for fever. The gentle touch instantly dissolved her pique. He removed his hand and met her gaze. “I’m smiling because I’m happy to see you awake. We’ve been worried about you.” “Awake?” Meredith scrunched her brows together until the throbbing around her skull forced her to relax. “Travis, you’re not making any sense. I can’t be awake. You only come to me when I’m dreaming. Although you’re usually younger and . . . well . . . cleaner, and not so in need of a shave. “But don’t get me wrong,” she hurried to assure him. It wouldn’t do to insult her hero. “You’re just as handsome as always. I don’t even mind that you didn’t save me this time. The important thing is that you’re here.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“The Lord probably didn't appreciate her feigning nearsightedness in order to repeatedly lean into her husband when she should've been concentrating on the meaning behind the hymn she was singing.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Travis came up behind her, his hat brim bumping her head as he nuzzled her neck. She giggled and danced away, feeling playful yet oddly shy at the same time. Travis gave chase, his husky laughter blending with hers as the two of them darted out of the barn. When they neared the porch, he grabbed her about the waist and lifted her off her feet. Meredith squealed. “You can’t escape me,” Travis murmured in her ear as he gently settled her back on the ground. Meredith turned in his arms to face the man she loved. “I’ve no desire to.” His eyes darkened, and for a moment she thought he would kiss her. But then he scooped her into his arms and carried her up the porch steps. The front door proved more of a challenge to conquer. Travis had to juggle his hold on her a bit before he could get the latch open. Meredith laughed in delight, endeared by his awkward efforts. Once the door was cracked, he kicked it wide with his boot and carried her over the threshold. “Welcome home, Mrs. Archer.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“When he looks at me, Meri, he makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, as if he could gaze at me for a lifetime and never grow tired of my face. As if he sees not just who I am, but who I can become. And when I look at him, not only do I see a handsome suitor who makes my heart flutter, I see a solid, dependable man who can be counted on no matter how difficult the road may become. A man who wants more than a pretty ornament to dangle on his arm. A man who wants a partner.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride



“Well, if it ain’t Meri Hayes. Come to ask me to the church social?” Hiram Ellis. Of all the rotten luck. The fellow was just as obnoxious grown as he’d been as a kid. “I’m looking for Sheriff Randall.” Meredith ignored Hiram’s cocky smirk and glanced around the office as if he were beneath her notice. “Do you know where I might find him?” “Still as contrary as ever, I see.” Hiram slowly rose to his feet, puffing out his chest as if to emphasize the deputy’s star pinned to his coat. “The sheriff’s transportin’ a prisoner over to Rusk County to stand trial, so it looks like you’re stuck with me, darlin’.” Could this day get any worse? Hiram Ellis was the last person she’d trust with her troubles. But then, they weren’t her troubles.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“But when this slip of a girl with trust blazing in her bright blue eyes looked at him, all he could think about was protecting the one piece of the outside world that had found a way in.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Travis raised his head from sighting down the rifle as shock radiated through him. Those eyes. Such a vivid blue. It was as if he’d seen them before. But that was impossible. Females didn’t exactly pay them calls on a regular basis. Clearing his throat, he readjusted his rifle. “We don’t cotton to trespassers around here, lady. You best skedaddle back the way you came.” “I will. But not until I say my piece.” She pivoted to face him fully, her lashes lowering for just a moment before she aimed her gaze directly at him again. Even knowing what was coming didn’t stop the jolt from ricocheting through his chest when those piercing eyes latched onto him. “I came to warn you, Travis.” Travis? She knew who he was? Most folks meeting the Archers all at once had no way of knowing him from Crockett or Jim. Yet she said his name with the confidence of recognition. He squinted at her. “Look, lady. I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but I want no part of it.” “This is no game. Please, Travis. Just listen.” “You know this gal, Trav?” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his youngest brother start to lower his rifle. “Hush up, Neill, and hold your line.” The kid obeyed without question, firming up his grip. “The man who wants to buy your land is sending men out here tonight to persuade you to change your mind. They plan to set fire to the place while you sleep and force you to accept the next offer in order to recoup your losses.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“He wanted nothing more than to close his eyes and relish the coolness, but all he could afford to do was cough some smoke out of his lungs and turn back to the task at hand. Which apparently included scolding a certain hardheaded woman for not heeding his instructions. Meredith glared at him from where she stood pumping water into the trough, not a hint of apology in her demeanor. Travis stormed past her and worked the knot on Jochebed’s lead line. “I thought I told you to go up to the house.” The pump arm creaked as she gave it a series of vigorous yanks, then fell silent as water gushed into the trough. “As I recall,” she said, rubbing her palms into her skirt, “you never forbade me from working the pump. You simply expressed your doubts as to my ability to do so.” Travis’s grip on the cow’s rope tightened. “Don’t play word games with me, Meredith. You knew what I meant.” “Did I?” She reached for a stew pot and dipped it into the trough. “Seems to me that a man who claims protecting his brothers and his land always comes first wouldn’t be so quick to refuse able-bodied help just because that body happens to be female.” She set the full pot on the ground and crossed her arms over her chest. Travis’s eyes followed the movement, noting the curves it accentuated. Yep. Definitely female. He wouldn’t be arguing that point.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“As she slipped back into the house, Travis mumbled, “It’s about time.” Everett Hayes had the gall to wink at him. “Better get used to it, Archer. Things are never the same after you install a woman in your house.” “That is true,” the parson said as he pushed up out of his chair, his expression slightly censorious as he glanced at Everett. “But if the Lord is installed, as well, the changes can bring blessing to a man.” He shifted his attention and peered at Travis. “Marriage is a sacred union, son, and not something to dread. As Ecclesiastes says, ‘Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. . . . A threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ Keep God woven into your relationship and this union will make you stronger. But if you treat it as a burden, it will become one.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride



“Meredith bundled her shawl more tightly around her shoulders before ducking her head and scurrying past his brother. Travis knew he probably looked like a lovesick pup just standing there watching her go, but he didn’t care. Crockett even came into the room and stared into the newly emptied hall alongside him, obviously trying to taunt him out of his stupor. “So when are you finally going to tell her that you’re insanely in love with her?” Crockett asked, only a hint of teasing in his voice. Travis rubbed a hand over his whiskery jaw, reaching his fingers up to the place she had kissed. “Tonight. Definitely tonight.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Do I really have to face him again, Travis? The man will be insufferable after besting me as he did.” Travis grinned and grabbed up the empty basket. “You can handle him. I’ve got faith in you.” He held his hand out to her after she finished pinning a second petticoat to the line. She glanced uncertainly at his offering, then slipped her palm into his. On impulse, he tugged her arm, causing her to stumble into him. “We’re Archers, Meri,” he murmured as he tucked her briefly against his chest. “We can face anything if we do it together.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“He smiled and lifted a finger to stroke her cheek. Meredith’s stomach roiled. “Oh dear.” She quickly covered her mouth with one hand and her stomach with the other, thanking God for the excuse to cut their time together short. “I think something from lunch may not be agreeing with me.” That something being Roy Mitchell. An impatient frown darkened Roy’s face before he quickly replaced it with a look of concern. “Would you like to sit and rest for a moment? There’s a bench outside the drugstore across the street.” “No. I think I should lie down.” She hunched herself over and added a quiet moan for good measure. “Can you take me home, please?” “Are you sure?” Meredith nodded vigorously, keeping her hand over her mouth. “Very well.” Roy took her arm and helped her navigate the three blocks back to her uncle’s house. When they reached the front gate, however, he used his grip to slow her to a halt. “I’m so sorry to have ruined our afternoon,” she blurted, not wanting to give him the chance to ask her anything. Besides, the longer she thought about what he planned for Travis, the more ill she truly became. She looked up at the brick house, longing for the escape it promised. “Meredith, darling,” Roy said, turning her to face him, “please, just tell me that I can move ahead with our wedding plans.” The idea was so nauseating, Meredith didn’t have to prevaricate. Her stomach began to heave all on its own. Roy must have seen the truth in her face as she bent forward, for his eyes widened and he quickly stepped back. Meredith covered her mouth and ran for the house. “I’ll come by later this evening,” Roy called after her, but Meredith didn’t slow until she was safely inside.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“Your only other option is to marry one of us.” He paused. “Me.” Travis suddenly felt the need to clear his throat. “This alternative would repair your reputation, give you a place to live, and provide the protection of four able-bodied men. Unless you have something else to suggest . . . ?” “Actually, there is something else.” Her quiet statement startled him. “There is?” He glanced over at Crockett. His brother shrugged. Meredith slowly lowered herself into the straight-back chair, the fight draining from her. “I could leave Anderson County. I could go farther west to where the railroad is opening new towns, or head to a larger city where no one knows me.” Her chin jutted upward. “I could find work. Make a clean start.” Leave Anderson County? Travis frowned. He hadn’t considered that option. Didn’t really want to, either. It was reckless. Dangerous. And for some odd reason . . . disappointing. Besides, he’d already settled his mind on this marrying business. No sense muddying the waters. “You’re a good man, Travis. An honorable man.” Meredith plucked at her sleeve. “You drew the short straw, and you’re willing to stand before a preacher because you feel responsible for me. But you’re not. I made the decision to come here, and I’ll deal with the consequences. You deserve to have a wife of your own choosing, not one forced on you through circumstances outside your control.” “It’s not like that, Meredith. It’s . . .” Travis sighed and rubbed his jaw. Why did she say nothing about what she deserved? He didn’t know much about the workings of the female mind, but he knew one thing—she deserved a choice. “I’m not going to force you, Meredith. If you believe leaving is the best option, I’ll not stop you. But if you think you might be able to make a home for yourself here, with a bunch of unrefined men, we’d like you to stay. I’d like you to stay.” Stretching his hand across the space that separated them, he caressed her cheek with his knuckles, then let his arm fall away. “You’re a fine woman, Meredith Hayes. You’re strong and brave and kind. And should you decide to take a chance on me, I’d be honored to make you my bride.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride


“But when this slip of a girl with trust blazing in her bright blue eyes looked at him, all he could think about was protecting the one piece of the outside world that had found a way in.”
― Karen Witemeyer, quote from Short-Straw Bride



About the author

Karen Witemeyer
Born place: in The United States
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