Dream Baby

Instant Daddy

Sign Me, Speechless in Seattle

A Precious Inheritance
by Emily Dalton
(Harl. American #823, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-1682303
Dr. Spencer Jones, eligible bachelor and small town doctor, has a pretty nice lifestyle in his New England town. Then he discovers his ex-fiancée, the one who left him at the altar five years ago for another, richer man, has bequeathed him a present in her will. Both she and her husband have died in an accident and made Spencer the guardian of their three daughters.

The doctor isn’t sure he is the right guy for the job and the girls’ estranged grandfather is sure that he isn’t. Then Dr. Jones reads the letter the girls’ mother left for him and he changes his mind. He is more than ready to take on the children. But Grandpa Ethington doesn’t change his mind and vows to fight for custody. And Alexandra Ethington, the girls’ aunt, decides to secretly check out just why the doctor has been given the girls and whether he really is the right man to be their new father.

Alexandra “Alex”, who takes her dead Russian mother’s name when she decides to go spy on Dr. Jones and family, is a nicely drawn heroine. Her conflicting emotions are well done. Alex’s initial loyalty to her father wars with her interest in the doctor. Her growing realization that the doctor is a good man, offering a good home, also fights with the obvious problem that the two oldest girls will not talk to their new daddy.

The hero is a little less conflicted and, thus, a little less interesting. He is upset by the girls’ refusal to accept him and he admits his jealousy over Alex’s rapport with the girls -- and he is definitely aware of his lust for Alex. But he seems always willing to do the right thing in any situation. In fact, Spencer Jones is such a nice guy that is a relief when he loses his temper once he finds out Alex’s deception. He would have been really boring if he hadn’t blown his top over just how well Alex has conned him.

By then Alex has managed to become a beloved guest at his mother’s home, his assistant in a home birth and the girls’ constant companion. She fits into his life and the town perfectly, too. She even finds out why the girls won’t talk to Spencer and manages to convince them that it would be safe to do it after all. Alex, who never felt at home anywhere in particular and has wandered the world as a photographer, is a little amazed at how easy it is to feel at home in the town -- at least until Spencer kicks her out.

The revelation as to why he was made the new father and the resolution to the story is satisfactory and reasonably believable, although I kept wondering why the ex-fiancée dumped Dr. Perfect for the not very nice dead father in the first place. Oh well. Maybe he never lost his temper with her and she got bored. You know Alex will keep him off balance and human.

--Irene Williams

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