Quick background into this scene:
Boaz showed up in Mitch’s Win as Mitch’s brother who was struggling to get his life back on track. At the end of Mitch’s Win, he finally does, but until he gets married, he can’t get his children back because the children (Leroy and Hannah) are 3 and 4 and need a mother to take care of them while he works.
In the scene below, Boaz finds two women are for sale. His friend Herb just bought one. Now Boaz is going to bid on the second one.
Fun side note: Eva Connealy (the heroine in this book) originally appeared in Isaac’s Decision. She had a crush on Isaac Larson, but he ended up marrying Emily instead. So this is her happy ending. 😀
“Now,” the man who was standing next to the brunette began, “this here is Eva.”
“I’m not for sale!” she protested and tried to free herself from his hold, but he held onto her arm. “Unhand me at once, you brute!”
“She’s a fiery one, but that’s good news, gents,” the man said then his smile widened. “Imagine this kind of passion in the bedroom.”
The men roared with laughter and Boaz took the opportunity to wiggle his way closer to Eva. It didn’t really matter what she looked like. One woman was as good as another as far as he was concerned, but he was happy to note that she was pretty.
“Who’ll start the bidding at $20?” the man asked.
Eva gasped and voiced her protest, but someone called out, “$20!”
“$25,” Boaz countered. If he was going to do this, he needed to do it quick.
“$30,” someone else called out.
$35,” Boaz replied.
And so the bidding continued. The higher the bidding went, the more irritated Eve got, and considering how upset she’d been before, that was saying a lot. He’d be lucky if she talked to him after this was over.
Finally, the bidding came to a tie at $150, and that tie was between Boaz and Otis Mills. The man holding onto Eva searched the crowd. “Come on, men! Doesn’t anyone have a little bit more than $150? Women don’t come to Lewistown every day.”
Boaz mentally thought of everything he owned and as much as he tried, he couldn’t figure out anything that was worth adding to the money he had saved. He looked at Otis to see if he could top that amount, but Otis shook his head.
“Why don’t we race for it?” Boaz asked Otis.
After a moment, Otis nodded his agreement.
“Sound fair?” Boaz asked the man holding Eva’s arm.
The man glanced at his partner who said, “Alright. You two will race from the wagon down there to this line.” He walked over to a clear spot and used the boot of his heel to make a line in the dirt road. “The first one over that line gets his bride.”
“I won’t marry either one of them,” Eva protested, doing her best to slap the man’s hand from her. Again, it was to no avail. She grunted and stopped fighting. “This isn’t fair. I am a human being, and it’s not right to sell a human being.”
Ignoring her, the man gestured to Boaz and Otis. “You ready to race?”
Boaz tightened the reins on his horse, hesitant to go through with it, but then he reminded himself of Leroy and Hannah and strengthened his resolve. Eva was going to be married before the night was over, so it made no difference to her which man got her.
Taking a deep breath, he led the horse away from the crowd then hopped into the saddle so he could trot over to the wagon.
As Otis approached, he smiled. “I think you’re a good man and all so don’t take it the wrong way when I say I hope you lose.”
“I was about to say the same to you,” Boaz replied with a chuckle.
When they ready, they turned their attention to the men selling Eva. From the distance it was hard to make out Eva’s facial expression. Boaz gripped the reins. If he won the race, it was going to be an interesting evening.
One of the men held his hand up in the air and counted down to one then told them to go. Boaz kicked his horse in the sides and began to race. Leaning forward, he ignored everyone else and focused on his goal. Leroy and Hannah. He was doing this for them.
The length to the finish line wasn’t long, and really either he or Otis could easily win the race. Otis was just as good on a horse. Though he was tempted to look over at his competitor, he reminded himself to stay focused on the line in front of him. Taking the time to see where Otis was at could slow him down by a couple seconds, and right now, he needed every second he could get.
The crowd cheered them on, some calling out Boaz’s name and others lent their support to Otis. After Boaz crossed the line, the crowed erupted into a round of applause. Boaz ventured a look in Otis’ direction, wondering which one of them got to the finished line first. To his relief, he won. But he’d only won by a couple inches. That was closer than he liked, but he did it. He took the hat off his head and wiped the sweat from his brow. He did it. The point was he did it. And now he could take his children home to live with him.
Boaz slid off his horse and Herb ran over to him to pat him on the back. “You did it! Congratulations.”
“Thanks.” Boaz glanced at Eva then the blonde woman. Both remained with the men who were selling them, but he could tell that the blonde was more shocked than angry about being sold. “You too. I think you’re going to have an easier time with your bride than I will with mine.”