The Wedding Rescue
by Dianne Castell
(Harl. American #1007, $4.75, PG) ISBN 0-373-75011-0
***
The Wedding Rescue starts slow, but the story grows on you as the strengths of the characters grow. The two main leads start off thinking life is either horses or airplanes and there is nothing more to it. Nor can you have both. Luckily, the setting and sub plots are distinctive and this adds to the flavor of the story.

In thoroughbred country, the worst thing that could happen is a mysterious illness affecting the horses. And that is occurring this spring in Kentucky. Horses are not eating and it seems to be affecting the mares ready to deliver the next generation of racers. Finding the cause and then the cure is something that is taking over everyone’s thoughts. But it is also the time of celebrating a marriage between two old families – Nate Davenport, owner of Thistledown, and Savannah MacKay, sister to the owner of her own small neighboring spread.

Nate’s brother Tanner has just flown in from Alaska. He left the area years before when his penchant for flying and his father’s need to have a son who loved horses came to a head. Now dad is gone, and Nate is in charge. Tanner just doesn’t believe Savannah is the right girl for his brother. He is determined to prove that to him in the final two weeks before the wedding.

He enlists the help of Savannah’s older sister Charity. Tanner’s concern is that Savannah was always the wild child and won’t settle long for Nate’s priorities of horses and the land. Charity, on the other hand, sees the love between the two and also thinks this will be the best thing for Savannah. Her task now is to foil Tanner’s plans to ruin the relationship. She decides to fake helping him so she can counter his every move.

The only problem with her plan is that she is in major lust with Tanner and he with her. Of course, they both realize the futility of their lust. After all, horses are Charity’s life and Tanner is a bush pilot, living in Alaska. Since nothing can come of their feelings, they decide to keep them tamped down. This is easier said than done, especially since they are in each other’s presence almost constantly.

I had several issues with this tale in the beginning. This is modern times, but Charity refers to herself as a spinster. I know of no self-respecting woman who uses that term in seriousness. And this immediate attraction is almost comical. At one point, Charity falls off her horse trying to keep her eye on him because he is shirtless and she muses that he is a “babe”. And Tanner decides he needs to keep his mind on something besides jumping her bones, so there is a running joke throughout the book that every time he gets a little horny, he asks for food. The joke gets old pretty quickly.

Once the story starts to revolve around the horses and the mysterious illness, the pace picks up and the interludes become more natural. There is still some annoying lustful stuff, but eventually the relationship starts to mature as Tanner and Charity start acting more like the adults they are. They don’t make a switch completely, which adds to the sense that they are growing up as their relationship builds and this is a redeeming quality in the book.

By the end of The Wedding Rescue, I was firmly of the mind that these two were suited for each other and they now were acting like adults who could handle a relationship. It is good to know that there is more to life than horses and airplanes, too.

--Shirley Lyons


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