The Cop

Her Texan Tycoon

A Hitch in Heaven

Plain Jane's Texan

The Twin by Jan Hudson
(Harl. American Rom. #1290, $4.99, G) ISBN 978-0373-75294-2
Sunny Outlaw Payton and her sister Cassidy are part of the large Outlaw family where everyone is named after some type of, uh, outlaw.  Their father was Butch Cassidy Outlaw, and even though their mother was never married to him, she named them just like he would like.  Sunny is short for Sundance.  Not long ago, the twin girls discovered that there is a whole slew of Outlaw relatives and they are thrilled to death that their uncle had other children.  Sunny and Cassidy run the Chili Witches Café for their mother.  Sunny was a lawman, and she came home after her husband, also a cop, died.  Cassidy is a lawyer and is just looking for a change of pace.

Ben McKee is a Texas Ranger who is divorced with a five-year-old son, Jay.  His ex-wife was a real treat, drinking herself into oblivion even when she was supposed to be watching her child.  After the divorce, Ben has tried to build a home for Jay with some stability.

The tale follows their romance and all the various barricades that seem to come crashing in.  First, Sunny has many friends who are ex-cops and Ben mistakenly believes that she is dating one of them. Then her fear of guns, a fear that manifested itself since her husband’s death, seems to get in the way.  Sunny isn’t sure she can give her heart to someone with a job that may get him killed. Finally, there is the large misunderstanding about Sunny’s drinking. Sunny and several of her cop friends are in a band that plays every Saturday night at a variety of bars; some upscale and some not so.  Ben interprets a “Sunny Special” as an alcoholic drink and he is appalled to watch her slam down quite a few.  He fears that she is just like his ex…but a Sunny Special is sprite and grenadine…the farthest thing from being an alcoholic as you can get.

This is definitely part of a series and a ton of relatives are introduced.  While this is probably a good time for fans, for me, it was quite a distraction, trying to keep all these people straight.  There is a good set up for Cassidy’s story and this was enjoyable enough that I might seek it out.

What made the story most enjoyable was the Sunny and Ben show.  These two are engaging characters even when they are filled with self-doubt and jumping to big incorrect assumptions.  Their relationship is built on trust and friendship, which adds to the entertainment value.  A little danger thrown in doesn’t add a lot to the story, but is not too distracting either. One of the odder parts of the story have to do with Sunny talking to a dead Senator who is connected but has been dead for over thirty years.  He acts a little like a matchmaker and sounding board.  I never quite understood why he was in the story.

Overall, Ben keeps trying to see if he and Sunny will work and Sunny keeps trying to see if she and Ben will work. They play some tug of war at times, pushing each other away and then tugging to get closer. Luckily this seemed to be in just the right dosage and did not get old.

The Twin is an enjoyable story and a good way to spend a few hours.   

--Shirley Lyons

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