Sweet Laurel

The Trouble With Mary

True Love

The Pregnant Ms. Potter by Millie Criswell
(Harl. Am. Rom. #863. $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-16863-2
When Maddy Potter runs from her job, thinking nothing could get much worse, she finds herself alone in a snowstorm, her rental car in a ditch and in danger of freezing to death. She’s furious at herself for being stupid in all kinds of ways but, most importantly, for allowing herself to endanger the baby she’s just discovered she’s carrying. Realizing the father - who is also her boss - doesn’t want her or the child was bad enough but nothing compared to dying.

Then Pete Taggart comes to the rescue. He’s sexy, he’s helpful and he’s rude. Pete has no desire to have another headstrong woman come into his home, but he has no choice. Pete is a widower whose wife’s car crash killed both her and their unborn child. No wonder Maddy’s predicament reminds him of lots of things he’d rather forget.

And there they are - trapped together on Pete’s ranch in a snowstorm. They’re interested in each other, they decide they’re very different people who shouldn’t ever be able to get along and, before Maddy can leave the ranch for good, they’re engaged.

There is a subplot about a quilt Maddy uses which apparently will make a couple marry before a month is over. Except that Pete seems to suddenly decide they should get married and Maddy decides it’s because of that quilt, it isn’t played up much. (Then again Pete has two unmarried brothers, so I see a continuing theme coming up in the second and third books . . .)

They do get married quickly but the story isn’t over. In this book the couple actually has to learn to get along after marriage before they reach their HEA. Maddy is a career woman who wants to continue her career. Pete had a career woman before and he adamantly wants a stay-at-home wife and mother this time. Their clash over that helps them to really get to know each other and decide whether marriage is what they should have opted for. Both of them are forced to decide just what they can compromise over for love.

Every once in a while you just have to acknowledge a writer is a pro. That’s true for this book. There really isn’t much to this story - but I was absorbed. I should have wanted to strangle Maddy for getting into her stubborn snits (such as deciding to go out driving in a snowstorm) but I enjoyed her. Pete should have been irritating since he insists on having his wife stay home and not work - no matter what she wants - but you see the deep concern he has for Maddy and you understand him. There’s enormous potential for guilt and conflict concerning the absent real father - but you don’t get any. Maddy is annoyed by her stupidity in making love with him, but she doesn’t have any regret over never seeing him again. Perhaps since there is more than enough conflict and character growth with the characters you do see, you only give the absent dad a passing thought.

The story keep you turning the pages despite what should be problems in the story. It must be the writer’s skill in creating characters that seem real.

--Irene Williams

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