A Bride Worth Waiting For
by Cara Colter
(Silh. Romance #1388, $3.50, G) ISBN 0-373-19388-2
A letter from a dead man changes Adam Reed’s life. A year ago Mark Mitchell died at age twenty-nine, the victim of cancer. From childhood, Adam, Mark and Tory Bradbury had been inseparable, the three musketeers. Adam and Mark loved Tory. She loved them. But Tory turned down Adam’s proposal and married Mark, sure of his quiet, gentle love, sure that they would grow old together, in side by side rocking chairs.

But instead Mark died, leaving Tory a widow, angry and unhappy.

When Tory married Mark, Adam moved away. He had to. Mark knew him too well, would know that he had never stopped loving Tory. Now a letter delivered a year after Mark’s death gives Adam new direction, new hope.

…This is my last request, Adam, and only you can do it. Go home. Go to her. Make her laugh. Teach her how to have fun again.

Rollerblade and ride bikes with two seats, fly kites….

Adam, haunted by Mark’s letter and acknowledging that he still cares for Tory, goes back to their hometown. He’s going to do it. He’s going to save Tory and maybe himself in the process. He’s been given a second chance with the woman he’s loved since childhood. Adam realizes it may not be as easy as he’s imagined when Tory’s first words to him in seven years are, “Go away.”

Hummm, so how’s Adam supposed to rescue Tory if she won’t even talk to him? Oh, he does and manages to fulfill all of Mark’s requests, freeing himself and Tory in the process, freeing them from guilt and from recriminations, ultimately regaining lost trust.

With the use of effective dialog and a balanced blend of backstory, Tory, Adam and even Mark become three-dimensional characters, people who’ve hurt the other unintentionally, but with real, deep hurts nonetheless. An added bonus is that this story is told with Grade A humor, entertainment that’s gentle, affectionate and warm.

Tory comes alive, wrapped in a blend of reluctance and willingness. She’s still afraid of Adam, awed by the way he seizes life. “His electrifying presence had always seemed to make other men seem smaller, infinitely less interesting, as if they were black-and-white cutouts, and he was three dimensional and in living color.” In painful, poignant revelations, she admits to herself that she had always loved Adam best, but had chosen Mark for his quiet intensity and gentleness, chosen him because she felt comfortable with him.

Adam has never even suspected that Tory was in awe of him or that she considered herself dull and predictable, someone who’d never make him happy. He was the poor kid, while she and Mark were from well-to-do families. He had been amazed that Mark and Tory had accepted him unconditionally. Although it had hurt when Tory had rejected his proposal when they were twenty-three, Adam had always felt that Tory and Mark belonged together, with their wonderful decency that changed everything they touched for the better.

The book’s G rating is deceptive. Here the sex is whisper quiet and viewed through a lace curtain filter. Adam “reached out and touched the fullness of her bottom lip with his finger, something in that small touch full of reverence and longing.” And it’s easy to smile during a scene in which Adam works hard just to touch Tory’s shoulder.

Skewed perceptions are about to be righted. Trust that was bent, not broken, is about to be repaired. And two people, with the blessings of a third, are going to discover that love is always the final victor.

A Bride Worth Waiting For is a gentle, polished, satisfying story, written with humor and joy at its core. When I finished the last page and reluctantly closed the book, I knew this slight, unassuming book was a keeper. I had just experienced written magic.

--Linda Mowery

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