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Taking Care of the Twins
by Robin Lee Hatcher
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1259, $4.25, G) ISBN 0-373-24259-X
****
Ignore this appalling title, one that's only partly accurate, and let Robin Lee Hatcher charm you as she introduces a couple who discover that compromise doesn't diminish a relationship, but strengthens it.

The overriding theme is one I've dubbed as "Wrong for Each Other." We've all read about the minister and the nude model, the librarian and the stripper, the obstetrician and the midwife, etc. Here we've got a heroine, the oldest in a family of seven, who finally has the chance to fulfill her dream of becoming a mystery writer. Claiming her inheritance from an aunt who left her a cabin in Idaho and leaving her stunned family behind, she's going to see if she can be successful. She's afraid that any relationship will interfere with her plans. She certainly doesn't want to become involved with a man who has family obligations. She's learned her lesson.

The hero doesn't want to fall for a city girl, a flatlander, who will leave at the first sign of a bad winter or will develop cabin fever and leave, never to return. That's what his first wife did, and he's learned his lesson.

Um, sure. Whatever you say.

Shayla Vincent and Ian O'Connell first meet when he comes to her cabin to offer her a position as part-time housekeeper. Ian owns the neighboring cattle ranch and wants to know if Shayla will consent to help him with his housekeeping, knowing that his mother is coming to visit. He proposes that they trade skills; he'll do repairs at her place in return for periodic housekeeping. Shayla doesn't want to commit to anything which will interfere with her writing, but agrees, knowing that her funds aren't limitless.

With all the second guessing, preconceptions and wrong conclusions that these two endure, it's a wonder the romance gets off the ground. Yet it does, slowly, with fits and starts. What throws their romance off course is the appearance of Ian's two six-year-old twin nieces, who will be staying with him for a year while their parents are out of the country. Shayla has been a care giver all her life and misconstrues Ian's motives. She thinks that he only wants her to help with the kids.

A feeling of foreboding hovers over most of the book. Ian feels it when he rushes his proposal. He doesn't want to lose this special woman. Shayla and Ian are prepared and almost expect the worst. I cared for these people, Ian especially, but was concerned about when and where the door would slam. Shayla's younger sister becomes her protector and makes Ian realize that Shayla's needs have too long taken a back seat to the needs of her family. How he reconciles his wants with her needs is what makes this a special romance.

Taking Care of the Twins is a gentle, sweet story. Ian is of the old school and makes no plans to anticipate his wedding night. Shayla really is a care giver who has to realize her self-worth before she can accept a future with Ian. Tame kisses abound, but any heat and passion are well-banked. This is a story that you could give to your granny without a worry. Or your daughter. Or just kick back and enjoy it yourself.

--Linda Mowery


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