Bandera's Bride

Bluer Than Velvet

Just One Look

The Marriage Knot

Storming Paradise

Moonglow, Texas by Mary McBride
(Silh. Int. Mom.#1082, $.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-27154-9
Looking for a contemporary romance laced with lots of humor and sass? Look no farther. Moonglow, Texas will satisfy.

Molly Hansen hates tiny Moonglow, Texas. She doesn’t want to be here, living in a rundown house, teaching English through an online university, running from her past. But she has no choice. Molly witnessed a terrorist attack, and now she’s in the Witness Protection Program, banished to this out-of-the-way town to safeguard her life.

Unbeknownst to Molly, the computer security system of the witness program has been compromised. Hackers? Maybe. But until the security breach is solved, all available U.S. Marshals are called into duty to protect the witnesses. Dan Shackelford is among them. He’s recovering from gunshot wounds and re-evaluating his career after the death of his partner - a death for which he feels personally responsible. The last thing he wants is to return to his hometown of Moonglow, a place he left twenty years before. And Moonglow isn’t sure about the return of Danny Shackelford, former heartthrob and hellraiser. But orders are orders, and soon Dan is ensconced in Molly’s backyard, living out of a battered Airstream and ostensibly there to “fix up” the place.

Molly and Dan strike sparks from the moment they meet, when he accidentally backs the Airstream into the side of her house and she attacks it with a garden hoe in an effort to stop him before he causes more damage. The fact that Dan spends most of his time lounging around in Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops and doesn’t seem to know the first thing about fixing up a house only makes Molly more suspicious. But the Marshals Office in Houston verifies his story. So the hunky “handyman” and the wary witness are left to come to terms with each other, and soon other sparks are starting to fly.

Dan Shackelford is one of the more hilarious reluctant heroes to come along in recent memory, and sassy Molly is his perfect foil. She’s wary, but intrigued. He’s wary, but intrigued. There’s plenty of heat between them, and when they finally do shed their fears and take the final step to intimacy, it sizzles.

A host of secondary characters add flavor to the mix. The whole town remembers wild Danny Shackelford, it seems. Molly’s closest friend, the local beautician, offers good-natured advice. The sheriff’s trampy wife wants to catch his eye. The sheriff would like nothing better than to throw Dan in jail. Everywhere he turns, Dan is reminded of the reasons he couldn’t wait to get out of Moonglow in the first place. It takes a former high-school teacher to help him overcome his past, in a lovely, poignant scene.

Molly, for her part, is written (thankfully) as a smart woman who is frustrated by her lack of choices but wise enough to know that Moonglow is the best place for her to be, at least for the time being. And her deepening relationship with Dan makes it sweeter. Their relations ship felt completely realistic and satisfying. These two are meant for each other.

The ending will probably strike more than one reader as pretty implausible (I know it did me) but it’s a minor irritation in an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable novel. Moonglow, Texas is a smart, witty romance full of sexual sparkle. I can’t wait to read more by this talented author.

--Cathy Sova

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