The Gate to Eden

X-Treme Dating

Wild Notion

His Only Wife
by Cathy McDavid
(Harl. American #1168, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-75172-9
Here is a story that has not only a happy ending, but also has entertaining characters, an engaging plot and a romance that makes one smile. His Only Wife sounds like so many other plots, but it is unique in its character maturity.

Gage Raintree and Aubrey Stuart have known each other since they were ten years old and Aubrey would come to spend summers with her grandmother; they were inseparable friends. No one was surprised when they married when Aubrey was about a year out of high school. Everyone was saddened when the marriage ended in divorce. Gage was struggling to learn ranching from his father and Aubrey had just flunked out of college trying to be a doctor. They broke up when her father offered her the opportunity to go back to school as a nursing student and Gage didn’t want to leave his home in Blue Ridge, Nevada. So Aubrey headed to Tucson.

It is now ten years later and Aubrey’s grandmother has broken her hip. She needs full time nursing care to recuperate in her home. Aubrey has taken a leave of absence from her job as an E.R. nurse to help. She is also running away from her fears. Aubrey’s friends were killed in a car accident and when they came into the ER, she froze for just a second. Her psyche has been taking a beating since then. Her father, a doctor, thinks she should get right back into the saddle. Aubrey has decided to take a break.

Gage, meanwhile, is the head of the local volunteer fire department and one of the Hotshots, a group that fights forest fires all over the country. He is up for promotion to team leader and is excited about it. He is still helping at the ranch, although it is not in his heart. He and his father have a running feud about it. His sister, however, loves ranching and is taking courses at the local college so she is ready to take over. But there is still tension.

Obviously, in such a small town, Aubrey expects to see Gage again. But she is surprised at the intensity of her feelings when she does. They were so connected when they were young; it is almost inevitable that the emotional connections would still be there. The question is how close the connections will take them.

Gage is a hunk of a hero. He can be stubborn, but he is caring, romantic and just an all around nice guy. He is well-respected and he is still in love with Aubrey. Aubrey is an intelligent lady who is in a bit of slump, but she too, built a career and easily recognizes that things were left unresolved between them. At first they battle their feelings, but both realize how futile that will be. Despite their differences and the barriers between them, they explore their feelings and hope things will work out. Throughout it all, there are fires and opportunities for Aubrey to realize that there are nursing needs in the community. Even when they argue, these two act like adults and actually discuss compromises. It is a refreshing view of what a relationship can and should be.

The firefighting scenes are exciting without being too filled with technical jargon. The lovemaking is fresh and engaging. The secondary characters are not just small town robots like often appear in tales where small town wins out over big city. And the issue is not small vs. large towns. The author makes this decision about life’s ambitions and fulfillment.

This is my first exposure to Cathy McDavid. If His Only Wife is a sign of things to come, I will be keeping my eye out for her stories.

--Shirley Lyons

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