Her Holiday Secret

The Honor Bound Groom

Kiss Your Prince Charming

Prince Charming's Child

Rock Solid

 
Millionaire M.D. by Jennifer Greene
(Silh. Desire #1340, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-76340-9
****
Millionaire M.D. is the first of five books, all by different authors, set in and around Royal, Texas and the Texas Cattleman's Club, a mythical organization whose members use the club to disguise their philanthropic activities.

As book one, Millionaire M.D. has to lay the foundation and set the framework for the next four books. Because of that responsibility, the story at times feels somewhat laborious. Trying to determine the principal players is at times confusing. Add to that two fictitious European countries of Obersbourg and Asterland, and you've got a fairly complicated plot that in less talented hands could have been leaden. Thanks to Jennifer Greene's adept touch with rose-colored realism, the story moves at a good pace.

A good ol' boy at heart, millionaire physician Justin Webb has been in love with Winona Raye for more than fifteen years. Justin has made no secret of his desire for Winona. The rub is that she's never taken him seriously. He's just Justin, her good friend. That rock-solid friendship becomes important to her when she finds an infant at her front door, with a note asking Winona personally to care for ‘Angel.' She knows immediately who to ask for help . . . Justin.

Winona, who grew up in foster care, is reluctant to trust the baby girl to that same system. When Justin suggests marriage for seemingly the 50th plus time, the seed finally begins to germinate in Winona's consciousness. Maybe marriage to Justin wouldn't be such a bad thing. It will certainly aid in keeping the baby out of foster care.

Against the backdrop of Justin and Winona's blossoming relationship, add intrigue, mystery, robbery, diplomatic relations, investigative work trying to determine the baby's parentage and murder. Justin and Winona's relationship is what kept me going. All the other stuff is merely stage decoration. For me, keeping everything but the relationship in the background is how I was able to keep my focus.

These two are complicated characters, with bruised psyches. Winona's life is still colored by her early years in foster care. That time makes her reluctant to trust, but that time also makes her fight like a lioness to protect the infant she's rapidly falling in love with. Justin's life has also been changed by the time he spent in Bosnia. He feels less comfortable with trauma medicine and instead has opted to practice plastic surgery. Both will have to deal with their own and the other's fragility before their relationship has a chance to grow and solidify.

As I said earlier, without Jennifer Greene as the author of this story, it might have flopped. There's a lot of history that has to be told. Where Jennifer Greene shines is in her characters. Winona and Justin are realistically portrayed, yet have a vulnerability that always makes them appealing. It's this realism mixed with vulnerability that saves the book.

It's been my experience that a Jennifer Greene story is almost always a winner. While I enjoyed Millionaire M.D., I'm not sure that I'll want to buy the other books in the Texas Cattleman's Club series. I'll probably have a hard time remembering who's who among the Texas aristocracy. Hmmmm, I wonder if my Texas citizenship will be revoked for that bit of blasphemy.

--Linda Mowery


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