Honey of a Husband
by Laura Anthony
(Silh. Romance #1322, $3.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-19322-X
Kael Carmody is a bull...rider. As the only child of the wealthiest man in Eagleton, Texas, Kael was not content to live in his father's shadow, he went off "in search of his manhood" and to make a name for himself on the rodeo circuit. He accomplished his goal. Kael Carmody is "the most famous person ever to come out of Eagleton," winner of the PRC bull riding championship two years in a row.

Yep, Kael was riding on top of the bull world, so to speak. That is until he was thrown and sustained a career-ending injury. Kael's back in Eagleton to lick his wounds, decide whether to have experimental surgery and face the inevitable confrontation with the girl he left behind.

Beekeeper Daisy Hightower has been stung by life and love. Her parents were killed in an automobile accident when she was sixteen. Determined to keep the family and the family business in tact, Daisy applied for and obtained emancipated minor status from the courts. She cared for her ailing aunt, endured her oversexed twin sister, Rose, ran the family business and still managed to graduate at the top of her high school class.

Daisy and Kael had argued about his career choice. Daisy issued an ultimatum: "marriage or nothing." Kael, who had not found his illusive manhood, drowned his sorrows in the local bar. Rose took the opportunity to impersonate her twin sister under the ruse of a reconciliation and seduced Kael. Daisy, of course, found them together. Kael ran with the bulls. If Daisy needed a constant reminder of Kael and Rose's betrayal, she got it when her twin gave birth to a son, Travis, who could be Kael's. Could be, because Rose got around...a lot. Shortly after her son's birth, Rose left town and the ever-responsible Daisy adopted him.

Seven years have passed. Rose is dead. Kael is back. He does not know that Travis may be his son. Understandably Daisy's not happy. Their feelings for each other are still strong, although hers are seasoned with anger, bitterness and suspicion. Kael is determined to win her back. In a tirade, she shares her misgivings about revealing Travis' parentage. "I'm certainly not going to tell him his mother was a loose woman and his father is a no-good scoundrel." She is unwilling to forgive and forget. "It's a little hard when your biggest boo-boo is a seven-year-old child," she says.

Honey of a Husband is a very predictable second chance/marriage-of-convenience story. Kael and Daisy enter into an arrangement that will provide a father for Travis and revive Daisy's honey farm. It's a nice story, a sweet story. There's a wealth of built-up sexual tension between the main characters.

The secondary characters with the exception of Travis are pretty much relegated to the sidelines. The book's few light moments are overshadowed by Daisy's anger and unwillingness to forgive Kael.

If you're looking for an innovative story with a different twist, you won't find it here. Honey of a Husband offers a touch of the familiar with a certain built in sweetness.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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