Should Women Own Land?

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Colleen L Donnelly on women and property laws.

A lover of old buildings, especially houses, I jumped at the chance to purchase a one-room schoolhouse ages ago and turn it into a home…a project, actually. Twelve-foot ceilings, wainscoting that reached higher than my head, nine-foot windows, uninsulated walls, no plumbing or heating—a myriad of challenges and treasures, but none that outdid the deed which came with it. I learned in that deed the history of the land and all of the hands it had passed through. I recognized only one name on the document, and that was Abraham Lincoln. Sometime during his era, the man who owned the property passed away, leaving behind a wife who was forced to leave what had been theirs. Kansas law decreed no woman, not even a widow, could own land. From that shocking piece of information my book, “The Lady’s Arrangement” about a woman who found herself facing that very same situation, was born.

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A One-room Kansas Schoolhouse Photo by Brylie [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

About the Book

Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.

Ranger Rex Duncan needs a false identity—just long enough to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves. Answering Regina’s ad for a temporary husband, he leaves his beloved red dirt of Oklahoma to assume that disguise. But the most obstinate woman he’s ever known confounds his assignment, and with hair the red color that has always made his heart beat a little faster.

Regina Howard needs a new Mrs. in front of her name—just long enough to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch, since Kansas law won’t allow women to own property. When Rex answers her ad for a husband who can take orders as part of a brief business arrangement, she finds this stubborn man ignores her every command. Yet a good man is far more than just a name…

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Ben was tall, and he felt even taller as he took a step closer and leaned my way. “It takes two to bind a contract, and since I’ve just withdrawn, your arrangement is null and void. And just so you know, you can thank your lucky stars I’m not staying to marry you, because I take surprises a lot better than I take orders.” His eyes stayed on mine until his gaze traveled from my face down to my boots. “And wearing trousers doesn’t make you any more suited to giving orders than wearing a skirt would make me fit for giving birth.”

My nails dug into my palms as I rolled my hands into fists. A word I’d heard Ted say when a pail slid off his bad arm came to mind. The word was immoral, but probably not too immoral for Ben Miller. “Just so you know, Mr. Miller, I’ve been running this ranch for three weeks now, in pants. I find skirts get in the way of things you’d probably be surprised I can do.”

The half-smile returned. “I won’t argue that. Skirts surely do get in the way.” Ben straightened and slapped his hat tighter on his head. “Been my experience, too.

Fortunately, neither one of us has to put up with one, since you can keep right on doing things the way you have been. I’m giving you an early parting. I’m leaving.”

Buy Links:

The Lady’s Arrangement:

Other books by Colleen L Donnelly:

Mine to Tell:

Asked For:

Love on a Train:

Out of Splinters and Ashes:

About the Author

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Born and raised in the Midwest, Colleen studied and worked in science, using that career to travel and explore other parts of the country. An avid fan of literature, both reading and writing, she loves and loves to tell tales involving moral dilemmas and the choices people come up against. A lover of the outdoors as well as a comfy living room, Colleen is always searching inside and out for the next good story.

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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