Trudy Johnson has a plan: she and her sister Molly are travelling west on the Oregon Trail and starting over in the new territory. After their father died leaving them in crippling debt, Trudy took everything they had left and bought a wagon and supplies to go West. Now all she needs is a reliable driver.
After being lied to by his fiancée, Ellis Hardy is done with love and convention. He’s headed to California to mine gold. After all, gold is something he can truly believe in. Well, he would be going to California, if someone hadn’t stolen his wagon and all his provisions. Now with only a few days left to head west, Ellis is stranded.
Ellis and Trudy team up to get west and sparks fly along the way. Too bad he thinks she’s headed to Oregon to meet up with her husband. Trudy knows that lies broke Ellis’s heart, but she can’t help but dream of a new start that includes Ellis as a father to Molly. When the time comes will he be able to forgive her fibs, or will he leave Trudy and Molly behind forever.
After five years in the California mountains, Birdie Banks longs to return to civilization. Her father is gone and mining camps are no place for a lady alone. With the help of her Asian manservant, Lin Sing, Birdie hires Jedidiah Evans to escort them down the mountain. Jed is a big man, strong and capable and Birdie knows that God sent him to help get them back to Sacramento and to her fiancé Nelson O’Neil.
Nelson is a highly successful California merchant. He’s a bit older than Birdie, but they have been corresponding through letters for the last five years. Now the time as come for them to be together and Birdie can hardly wait. The treacherous trip down the mountain will be more than worth every danger they will face.
Making sure a tiny woman and Chinese man get down the mountains safely will be too easy. Jed is almost embarrassed to take her money, but when they are set upon by would-be thieves the truth comes out: Birdie and Lin Sing are transporting a fortune in gold. They need Jed to protect it—and Birdie—as she makes her way back to town.
Jed hates everything about gold. He lost his brother on the mountain and the precious time he spent looking for a way to save the family ranch in Texas. Birdie agrees. She lost her father and her health. She may have found a fortune, but she has learned the hard way that wealth can be a curse as well as a blessing. That’s why she’s giving it all to the church as soon as she gets back to town.
Once in Sacramento, Birdie gives Jed the money he needs to save his family’s land, though he refuses to take it. How can he take the money from her when he’s fallen in love with her? Yet with a fiancé as perfect as Nelson O’Neil why would she ever fall for a common man like him?
Birdie is confused by her feelings, conflicted over the time she spent loving Nelson from afar to the days and nights she spent with Jed, riding, walking, talking, just being. He’s a good man, a godly man. Still how could she fall in love with someone in a matter of days? She couldn’t. Not when she has loved Nelson for the last five years.
But like gold, love is strange and treasure is in the eye of the beholder. And she’ll have to choose between the treasure she has always known and the one God sent especially for her.
Penelope Pinehurst didn’t reach the ripe old age of twenty-five without knowing what the townspeople call her behind her back: Not So Pretty Penny. So when her neighbor declares his eternal love—citing her beauty among her many attributes—she knows he can only be after one thing: her family’s land. With her father and brothers still not home from the war, Penny needs a husband to help her save the farm. But in a country still in recovery, marriageable men are in short supply, leaving her only one choice.
George Washington Brannock is slated to hang for murder, never mind that he was framed. Only the pouch of gold delivered to the sheriff allows him to walk free. Well, almost free. He still has to marry the homely woman who paid for his life. She may have saved him from the gallows, but he’s not staying with her forever. He’ll help her plant her crops, then he’s off to find the man who killed his brother.
Wash soon learns that God has given him a second chance. Suddenly his life has meaning. He finds himself not only wanting to stay and farm the harsh Kansas prairie, but falling in love with his wife. Then the killer shows up at the farm and Wash has to choose between the wife he never wanted and the justice he deserves.
Maddie Sinclair loves Harlan Calhoun and would do almost anything to secure his attention for her own. Anything including trading her second best dress for a bag of herbs guaranteed to make him fall in love with her.
But after baking them into a batch of gingerbread cookies, Maddie has an attack of conscience. Too late, Harlan eats the cookies and immediately proposes. Now, Maddie has to confess the truth and hope that Harlan understands.
Harlan swears he loved Maddie before he ate the cookies, but how can she accept his proposal knowing what she does?
Grace Sinclair is perfectly content with her position in life. It is her duty, no, her calling, to help her father with his church. She knows she’ll never marry, and she’s accepted this fate. Until she meets the best man at her sister’s wedding.
Ian McGruer came to Calico Falls for one week only. He’s there to see his best friend get married, then he’s heading back to Albany and taking up his position at one of the largest churches the city has to offer.
Neither one planned on falling instantly in love.
How do two people from two different worlds uncover God’s plan for their lives when it might not be what they’ve believed all along?