Her Little Secret

The Irresistible
Mr. Sinclair


Rancher & the Amnesiac Bride

Taming Tall, Dark Brandon

The Homecoming Hero Returns
by Joan Elliott Pickart
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1694, $4.99, G) ISBN 0373-24694-3
2 Hearts A new series called “Most Likely To” starts with a tale of two people who are married and need to rediscover their love for each other. The Homecoming Hero Returns is a unique category because the love story is about David and Sandra Westport, a couple who has been married for a dozen years with twin ten-year-olds and who are difficult to embrace. It is a well-written story, but the thing holding it back is that fact that it is the start of a series, and the major plot line doesn't end.

David Westport was a great baseball player and would have been drafted by the Boston Red Sox if he hadn't flunked out of college and then married his childhood sweetheart because she was pregnant. Sandra Taylor loves David with all her heart. But she is also aware that her pregnancy changed their dreams to a very different reality. David was going to make millions as a ball player and Sandra was going to travel the world as a journalist. Now she writes fluff for the local community newspaper while raising her two beautiful children. David owns and operates a community grocery store.

They suffer from what many married couples suffer – complacency. Sandra is satisfied and loves her life, but thinks David doesn't love her because he never says the words. David feels completely happy – he has a wonderful soul mate in Sandra, two great kids who he loves coaching in baseball and soccer – but he worries about the tight budget they are on and knows he should be thinking about expanding the store to bring in more money.

The plot twist is thrown in when an old professor from Saunders College invites David and Sandra to a "reunion" of sorts. He is gathering a variety of his old students and wants them to visit him at the campus. When David and Sandra arrive, they discover that David's scholarship was not from the college, but from a benefactor who shall remain anonymous. Professor Harrison is meeting with the students this benefactor helped asking them how they have "passed on the baton" or in other words, done something to help others.

This revelation angers Sandra and intrigues David. They each handle their issues alone. Sandra joins a friend (who was also a recipient) by searching files to find the name of the person. David turns introspective, trying to figure out ways to do something. Thus the big misunderstanding looms. Sandra thinks David realizes all that he has missed by marrying her and now is preparing to leave her. David is clueless that Sandra is thinking this.

That's it - the big misunderstanding. While their love story is resolved, the other issue is left for the rest of the series. It is hard to recommend a book that doesn't end.

The story is evenly paced and the sense of suspense regarding the benefactor rises as the tale unfolds. Professor Harrison is an enigma – just when you think you have him figured out, something else is thrown in to raise questions. Sandra is not easy to like because she is so insecure. She spends the majority of the book worrying that David is planning to leave. But she never asks him or confronts him. David is just oblivious to everything but his own thinking. He treats Sandra well and it is obvious in his mind that he can't live without her. But because he doesn't tell her, she can't see the signs. The kids are well-written and actually act like normal kids.

If you plan to read the entire series, you will need to start here. But if you are looking for a stand alone and satisfying romance, this one isn't enough on its own. I can only hope the rest of the series completes The Homecoming Hero Returns.

--Shirley Lyons

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