- A Runaway Bride -
In 1955, Beth Dalton is a runaway bride. Her father, who owns a large ranch in the Texas Panhandle, in effect sells his daughter to keep the bank from foreclosing on his mortgage. Mr. Dalton signs a contract with one of the wealthiest oil-and-gas tycoons of the region: his daughter for the mortgage. The forty-five-year old widower will take the eighteen-year-old beauty in exchange for his paying off her father’s mortgage. Beth steals the tycoon’s 1932 Ford V-8 Roadster and runs away the night before the wedding.
She runs out of gas near Sedona in central Arizona. She ends up at the campsite of Silas McGuiness, a Korean War veteran, who is on his way home to the Texas Panhandle, after eight years in the U.S. Army. Beth then devises her plan – the only way out of the arranged marriage is to entice the twenty-six-year old veteran to marry her, before her father finds her. But it was not love at first sight. Silas finds her spoiled and over the top. He is from the working class and she is from wealth – they have nothing in common.
A retired Methodist minister and his wife are camping in the adjacent campsite and they convince the odd couple to date for five weeks, before considering marriage.
Will the runaway bride stop running and marry Silas, or will she run away again? Will class differences keep them apart? Will Silas be able to overcome his wartime nightmares—PTSD—and wed? Will Beth be able to give up her taste for an elite life-style and settle down to a simpler life? Find out by reading this third tale in the series, Once Upon a Time in the Texas Panhandle.