Hard Candy Heart of Texas

Lone Star Heat

One Summer Evening

Southern Fires


Her Perfect Man by Mary Lynn Baxter
(Silh. Desire #1328, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-76328-X
A hero whose profession is the ministry is not often found in romance novels. Mary Lynn Baxter addresses the difficulties of a small town preacher when he falls for not only a divorced woman, but one who owns a sexy clothing and lingerie shop.

Bryce Burnette is a preacher in a small Texas town. He is in the process of developing a plan to renovate and expand his growing non-denominational church. A widower for several years, he is lonely despite being busy. When he sees a pretty redhead in the hardware store, he is immediately attracted to her.

Katherine Mays divorced her politician husband because he became increasingly obsessive and possessive of her. That relationship made her wary of marriage and commitment. She spends most of her time running her successful store and casually dating a variety of men. She likes to dance and frequents bars and clubs several nights a week. She is also attracted to the gorgeous man she meets in the hardware store.

Katherine’s friend, Lee Ann, is in charge of a committee to design the furnishings and finishes of the renovated church offices. She persuades Katherine to help her and to attend a service, despite Katherine’s reluctance. An episode with her former preacher when he sided with her husband rather than help her, has colored her view of all preachers. She is shocked and dismayed when the preacher at Lee Ann’s church turns out to be the man from the hardware store.

Bryce seeks out situations to spend time with Katherine. Even though she wants to be with him, she is always trying to pull back, understanding what Bryce could loose and trying to protect her heart. He works through a lot of her concerns, but the censure of some of the church members nearly sinks the relationship.

Mary Lynn Baxter accurately portrays many of the realities of a preacher’s life including the demands on his time and the careful scrutiny of him by some of the church members. Bryce comes across as a dedicated preacher and very much a man. Katherine’s reluctance seems a bit much at first, but insights presented throughout the story more fully explain her hesitation.

A secondary story of a battered wife who works for Katherine is fleshed out in the first part of the book, but fades before the ending. Parts of the book are rushed. The “getting to know each other” phase is summed up in a few paragraphs, making it difficult to feel the supposed connection that develops between the two of them.

Her Perfect Man is not perfect, but presents two people in a relationship situation not often seen. It’s too bad that it couldn’t be a little longer in length so that more character development could be fleshed out.

--B. Kathy Leitle

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