The Doctor Wore Spurs

Expecting His Child

The Secretary &
the Millionaire

Bride of Fortune by Leann Banks
(Silh. Desire #1311, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76311-5
Ah, that Ben Fortune! What a man! He left broken hearts and babies strewn all over the place, for which the editors at Silhouette are eternally grateful. Yes, Fortune fans, they’re back. For those of you unfamiliar with the premise of the “Fortune’s Children” serial soap opera, Ben Fortune was the founding father of the Fortune fortune, with the able assistance of his wife, Kate. He has gone on to his reward, leaving the Fortune fortune under the control of his children and grandchildren, with the able assistance of his widow Kate.

In the original series, Kate - who if my calculations are right, must be into her eighties - by playing dead after an assassination attempt, managed to save the Fortune fortune from a secret enemy and get all of her grandchildren, great nephews, and great nieces happily wed. Ah, that Kate Fortune! What a woman!

Now, this posed a problem for the Silhouette editors. There simply weren’t any Fortune’s Children left to pair off. But wait! Ben to the rescue! Not only did he conspire with the nasty Monica (I think that was her name; it’s been a while) to kidnap his own infant son. He also hied himself off to Arizona where he proceeded to impregnate a lovely Native American maiden who went on to bear twins. These twins, having married, have managed to produce five children. Which means that good old Kate now has five more step-grandchildren to marry off. And the Silhouette editors can sleep better at nights.

The hero of this latest installment is Jason Fortune, Vice President of Marketing for the Fortune Construction Company, the successful business run by the two Fortunes born on the wrong side of the blanket. But if one is a Fortune, one is a member of the clan. (Kate has to be the most tolerant and forgiving wife I’ve ever encountered.) Thus when the Fortunes decided to use some of their fortune to build a children’s hospital, the decided to build it in Arizona and to have the “other” Fortunes build the place.

Kate has decided that there should be a medical ethicist involved in planning the project, so she sends for Adele O’Neill. It’s pretty clear that Kate is also matchmaking again, having decided that it’s time for single dad Jason to marry again. Of course, Jason cooperates (the Fortune’s Children are always very cooperative about falling in with Kate’s schemes) and is attracted to Adele the minute he sees her. Instant lust.

But Adele isn’t like the other women who have angled for widowed Jason. Raised in a series of foster homes, she has no model for marriage or parenthood and is resigned to living single and helping children through her profession. She shies away from getting involved with handsome, debonair, wealthy Jason. Which just makes him all the more interested.

There is certainly nothing wrong with Bride of Fortune. Banks knows how to create characters and tell a story. But there is nothing particularly special about the book either. Indeed, it’s a pretty standard tale which I have read, oh, several dozen times before. In addition to the romance, there is a bit of a mystery about who is trying to sabotage the hospital project, a thread that I am sure will be carried through the next four books of “The Grooms” series.

I suppose that all those thousands of other Fortune fans will buy into this new series just as I have. Should they (and you) decide to follow the Fortunes to Arizona, well, this first installment is a pleasant enough read.

--Jean Mason

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