Heaven In West Texas

The Last Man in Town

One Lonely Night

The Most Wanted Bachelor
by Susan Kay Law
(Avon, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-380-80497-2
The Most Wanted Bachelorís humorous, intensely sad, and suspense-filled events successfully culminate into a loving story that will appeal to many romance fans. Through sympathetic characters and a fresh approach to the "opposites attract" theme, Susan Kay Lawís newest contribution is guaranteed to win over many readers, this one included.

Kathryn Jordanís father was ruthlessly swindled out of his wealth by Edward Sellington, leading her family into destitution. Soon after, Kathrynís father abandoned his family. Itís now fifteen years later and Kathryn, as the eldest daughter, has taken over the responsibilities of her familyís welfare. Her mother is too bitter and angry to be of much help anymore, and has been forced at times to use her body to pay the landlord when money was scarce. Her eldest brother, Peter, died less than a year before from the poisonous smelter gases from the mines where he worked. Her youngest sibling, Tommy has taken to running the streets with his friends and although heís only 15, Kathryn wants to make sure he never ends up with the same fate that befell Peter. It is through her sister, Isabelle that Kathrynís troubles really begin.

Kathrynís impulsive sister has decided sheís had enough of destitution and starvation and ends up working as a prostitute within Simon Mooreís powerful empire. Kathryn bargains with Simon for Isabelleís freedom, but if she loses, it could cost Kathryn her livelihood and her life. In desperation, Kathryn latches onto the idea of marriage. But how does a poor girl from the wrong side of town attract the attention of Daniel Sellington, Denverís most eligible and wealthy bachelor, and the son of the man who destroyed her family?

Daniel is a lonely and desperate man. Heís wealthy, young, and has countless women throwing themselves at him, but how can he find out if they like him for himself or his money? Daniel is steadily and secretly giving away his money to those most in need because he simplistically believes that the only way to find a woman who will want him for who he is, not what he owns, is to have no wealth to tempt her.

Since Kathryn isnít one to do things halfway, she throws herself into winning Danielís hand in marriage and his money. Kathryn fabricates a story about her past, makes herself and her wardrobe as fashionable as her meager funds will allow, and then conveniently meets up with Daniel on his way out of town. After an hilarious adventure involving a stagecoach robbery, Kathryn eventually ends up with her wish. Daniel believes heís finally found the only woman in the world who doesnít know of the wealth behind the Sellington name, but what will happen to her and Daniel once he discovers her deception?

I thoroughly enjoyed Kathryn and Daniel, both as individual characters and as a couple. Together they are funny, passionate, and loving. Individually, they each secretly want what the other already has; Kathryn wants wealth and stability, and Daniel doesnít want to be burdened by money. However, both are also searching for acceptance and love, which they find in each other.

One aspect of particular interest to the reader is Danielís inexperience with women. Itís refreshing to see both the hero and the heroine discovering all of the aspects of love, physical and emotional, for the first time together.

The biggest obstacles a reader must overcome in this book are loose ends. The author tends to leave some of the questions unanswered and open-ended storylines, which is more bothersome than actually necessary to the plot. I, for one, like storylines that Iím reading to be neatly tied up by the end of the book. If you prefer some storylines to be left to the imagination, this book may be for you.

One disappointment is that the relationship between Kathrynís sister, Isabelle, and Danielís friend, John isnít more deeply explored. They deserve an entire book dedicated to their story. On the same note, the rest of Kathrynís family is more of a distraction to the story, perhaps because the reader isnít allowed to know those characters in depth also. However, other secondary characters more than make up for this.

Overall, The Most Wanted Bachelor is an enjoyable story with witty characters. Itís a traditional love story with enough freshness to make it appealing to most readers.

--Kristy Hales

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