Her Texan Tycoon

A Hitch in Heaven

Plain Jane's Texan

The Cop by Jan Hudson
Harl. Amer. Rom. #1025, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-75029-3
Part of the Texas Outlaw series, The Cop is about Cole Younger Outlaw, one of the Outlaws of Naconiche, Texas. Each of the children were named after Old West outlaws, for some reason. Cole is a Houston Police Department homicide detective who is recuperating from gunshot wounds. He came back home at the insistence of his family and now he is regretting it. He is unable to get down the stairs and his pride is in the way of asking for help.

Enter Dr. Kelly Martin Ė young, pretty and just as stubborn as any of her patients have proven to be. She checks out Coleís wounds and figures out what is really wrong with him. He hates being pampered and wants to feel useful as he is returning to health. She arranges with Coleís new sister-in-law to be (who happens to run a motel) for Cole to live in the managerís apartment and cover the night desk when needed. This puts him on the first floor and gets him out from under his parentís constant care and concern.

Luckily, Kelly isnít his full time doctor. She is just checking him for her associate. This frees her up to enter into a romantic relationship with Cole. And enter it they do. The two find themselves attracted right away and it isnít long before their lust overtakes their sense. In fact, they are so caught up they forget protection. And in true romance form, she gets pregnant. The tale is basic formula up to this point.

But Kelly and Cole are better heroes than to fall into a bland and predictable tale. Kelly decides she is quite capable of raising a child on her own and so wants to wait to tell Cole until she is surer of both of their feelings. She is also involved in this small town, trying to set up a hospice program, keeping her patients healthy and even looking at the need for a womenís shelter. And she canít envision moving back to Houston, a town she left for the small town intimacy she craved.

Cole is just trying to get better while maintaining some of his dignity. He remembers why he left this small town for Houston. He only has two years to go on the force to get full pension, but he starts to ask himself what he really wants to do. He realizes he has become the cynical, calloused man he never wanted to be. He is scared when he starts to consider just existing as the Naconiche chief of police (a job he is offered) even as he realizes he would stagnate. His dilemma rings true and the author is adept at helping the reader to understand his feelings.

While they both do soul-searching, they also deepen their friendship and their relationship. The scenes of their interludes are entertaining. There is one scene when Cole is jealous of a friend of Kellyís. The silliness of his actions just adds to his lovability. Coleís family is a treat and they add to the sense of family and small town enjoyment. The people in the town are basic small town stereotypical characters. Luckily, both Kelly and Cole are not. They are intelligent people who think through their actions, even while they acknowledge that sometimes they donít know what the right thing to do is. They generally talk and get to know each other. It is a treat to watch them fall in love.

The Cop starts off slow and predictable, but evolves into a compelling, character-driven love story. I read this tale in one sitting so to say it kept my interest feels redundant. Kelly and Coleís story is anything but.

--Shirley Lyons

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