Everything But the Baby

The Real Father

The Redemption of Matthew Quinn

 
Texas Wedding
by Kathleen O’Brien
(Harl. Super #1572, $5.50, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-71572-5
**
Apparently this couple has a past, or they do according to the author’s note. And apparently readers wanted this story. If you are one of those readers, you may find this story more interesting. I only know the couple from this book and what I read left me dissatisfied.

Texas Wedding has a major backstory that is covered as the book proceeds. But without the backstory, much of the current story makes no sense.  So - eleven years ago when they were getting out of high school, Susannah Everly and Trent Maxwell were in a relationship, one that everyone assumed would result in marriage. They had been friends before becoming part of a couple and their other two friends were Chase and Paul. One night Trent was seduced by the high school hottie and Susannah found out. She decided to dump Trent but wanted to make him jealous first, so she convinced Paul to flirt and tease. Paul and Trent got into it and during their fight, a kerosene lantern got knocked over burning and eventually killing Paul.  Nothing was ever the same.

Now Susannah needs a husband, thanks to her grandfather’s will. She cannot inherit her money without being married for at least a year. She chooses Trent and he agrees. The whole story behind the will and why Trent is the chosen spouse is never really covered, so I can only assume other stories in the series covered this whole thing. But Susannah still hates Trent for that night, even though she is hot for him and thinks herself still in love. Trent feels guilty and knows Susannah still hates him, but he is hot for her and is definitely still in love, so he convinces himself this is the right thing to do.

There are lots of things thrown into this story. First, they have a pre-nuptial agreement that says Trent can’t get Susannah’s money but he can get into her bed. Then on the first night, Susannah reneges on that, causing a major fight and another barrier. Then there is the whole story of Paul’s parents, one of whom has remarried and had more kids and one of whom seems doomed to live in the past and depression. They play a major role when Trent starts having odd things happen, like when the ladder he is on picking peaches breaks and another time when someone puts a copperhead snake under his desk.

There is a lot of information about peaches since Susannah runs a peach orchard. Trent happens to work for Chase and his ranch/orchard. The exact issue as to why Susannah is on the verge of bankruptcy is never explained except to say that it has to do with her hard-headed and obstinate grandfather. There is a subplot about Susannah’s sister who is a teenager and becoming rebellious that doesn’t seem to fit.

So the story follows the love-hate and hate-love relationship. First Trent pleasures Susannah to prove he can. She is mad at him, so she gets him back by servicing him to prove she can and make him feel good and bad at the same time. But they come back for more and actually have a lust explosion…resulting in…yes, you guessed it – more anger and more love/hate. By the time the danger was thrown in and we were expected to believe they have a love that could last, I had long been unengaged and uncaring.

Texas Wedding may appeal to some readers. It is well written, with good dialogue and the actual suspense/danger theme evolved into a story with a surprising villain. But I like a little more substance to the relationship between the hero and heroine than lust and misinterpreted hate that is really supposed to be love.   

--Shirley Lyons


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