Balancing Act

The Baby Bond

The Father Factor

For the Taking

 
The Couple Most Likely To
by Lilian Darcy
(Silh. Spec. Ed. # 1801, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-24801-6
****
Jake Logan and Stacey Handley were childhood sweethearts that everyone believed would end up together forever. But just after their senior prom, Stacey ended up pregnant. While they were struggling with how this would change their futures and were planning their wedding, she miscarried. Jake and Stacey were too young to handle things well and they broke off their engagement. Jake went to college and eventually became a gynecologist. Stacey went her own way, finally marrying a man she met who seemed her complete opposite. They have since divorced and Stacey is raising her twin children, while her ex gets them on weekends.

Jake returns to Portland, Oregon, and joins the staff at the hospital where Stacey works as a human resources manager. When they run into each other, many of the old unresolved feelings rise up. They are still strongly attracted and have to figure out how they can work together and if they can be more than just friends. In the mix, there are commitment issues and how they can have a relationship with two toddlers and an ex-husband.

The Couple Most Likely To is part of a series, so there are a few old secrets thrown in with some family issues that have to be resolved. The Logans have some skeletons in their closet with loads of issues to resolve. There are secondary characters that play into that history but since none of the answers are given, this part of the story feels unrelated to the romance.

Jake has issues about intimacy, mostly resulting from their earlier romance and the way it ended. He has never really worked through his feelings about the baby and why their relationship ended when the tragedy could have brought them closer. He is fearful of kids and spends the majority of the story trying to figure out how he feels about being part of Stacey’s life, knowing that her kids are so important to her.

Stacey, meanwhile, is struggling with her feelings about the end of her marriage. Her attraction to Jake is cosmic, but she must be sure he is able to commit now when he couldn’t 17 years before. She has to put her kids first and he has to be able to do that to if they are to be happy.

This story could have delved into predictability and relative mediocrity. Rather, both Jake and Stacey are well defined and have depths that are slowly revealed. They act and treat each other as adults, with respect and with the sense that trust must be restored to succeed. They actually communicate and share. They also lust and love. The story moves on the depth of their relationship, because there is not much action. There is a slight blip when they start to react rather than to discuss, but they quickly come to their senses, and the story strengthens even more.

Because of the depth of the characters and the strength of the story line, The Couple Most Likely To sets itself apart from the run of the mill tales about lost loves reuniting. This one is worthy of your time.

--Shirley Lyons


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