A Bride Worth Waiting For

First Time, Forever

Husband by Inheritance by Cara Colter
(Silh. Romance #1532, $3.99, G) ISBN 0-373-19532-X
The delight, the sheer joy that I received from reading Cara Colter's Husband by Inheritance is the reason that I read category romances. In those 184 pages, I experienced the pleasure of meeting two unique people who have heavy baggage, but don't allow past tragedies to ruin their future. I experienced a well-plotted story with no obvious weaknesses, despite its brevity. In one sitting I experienced all the enjoyment that I get from reading romances. The only difference is that my reading time was shorter, and my enjoyment more concentrated.

Husband by Inheritance is the first of a trilogy about triplets, separated at birth, who meet for the first time at the reading of a will, a will that gives each of them . . . well, I won't give too much away. In order to inherit their gift, they must meet two criteria: they must move to Miracle Harbor, Oregon for a year, and they must marry within that year.

Single mother Abby Blakely is delighted to be moving from Chicago to the small town of Miracle Harbor, a move that she hopes will be good for Belle, her delightful two-year-old daughter. She's also happy that she's inherited a house, one that she hopes will be suitable for her seamstress business. What she doesn't know yet is that she's inherited a tenant ­ one gorgeous reclusive hunk.

Ex-drug enforcement agent Shane McCall surprises a burglar breaking into his home at 2:00 A.M. He's chagrined when the burglar, instead of raising his hands as he's told, retorts that he can't. If he does, he'll drop the baby. Shane quickly realizes his mistake. This isn't a burglar. It's his new landlady. He also realizes that he can't stay. Being around this lovely, vivacious woman and her delightful daughter is more than his bruised heart can bear. Even though Abby's delighted to ‘own' her home, it does need repairs. In a charming episode, Shane shows Abby how to check the fuses, which, unfortunately for Abby, are in the basement. Abby has an unholy fear of spiders and you'll never guess what's in the basement. Yep, one gigantically huge, horrid spider who has the audacity to land on Abby's shoulder. After the spider episode, Shane realizes that he can't move out without assuring himself that Abby will have a tenant who can help her maintain the house. From a purple-haired girl who thinks babies are icky to a young man who appears to be perfect until he realizes that Abby is an unmarried mother and turns holier-than-thou, Shane interviews candidates. And scratches them off.

The only part of this story that left me uncomfortable, cringing in the direction it took, is the episode in which Shane discovers that Abby can only inherit her house, the one she's come to love, if she marries. He immediately suspects her of feigning an interest in him, an interest which will gain her a husband and thus secure her ownership. Mercy, can men be Homo saps sometimes.

Husband by Inheritance combines intriguing characters with a brisk plot. As we discover the depths of Shane's anguish, it's easy to understand why this valiant man is fearful of new relationships. It's also easy to appreciate how far Abby has come in her quest to become a self-sufficient, capable woman.

I'm looking forward to Brittany's story in The Heiress Takes a Husband and Corrie's in Wed by a Will. I want to meet these sisters, plus I want to meet their anonymous benefactor. Cara Colter's talented storytelling has hooked me.

--Linda Mowery

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