The Wedding Raffle
by Geralyn Dawson
(Pocket, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-553-56792-6
*****
"Never trust a widow woman wearing a yellow dress."

That statement intrigued me very early on in Geralyn Dawson's newest book, The Wedding Raffle. The widow woman is Honor Duvall, who is known throughout Texas as the Black Widow because of the unusual deaths of her three husbands. She is also known for her beauty and the fact that she always wears the color yellow -- even to funerals.

Honor tries to hire Luke Prescott, a former Texas Ranger, to teach all the members of her household to defend themselves. When Luke balks at such mundane work, (after all, this is the man who's known as "the bravest man in Texas!") Honor conceives an intriguing plan to change his mind. The plan involves a raffle, a champion horse and a little trickery. (Make that a LOT of trickery.)

If that weren't enough, Honor's father is trying to force her into yet another marriage (Number 4!) in order to further his political goals, and he is determined to let nothing stand in his way.

I could tell you more, but trust me, then you'd just hate me because I've read the book and you'll have to wait until its release. So, I'll just tease you with some of my impressions:

1. original
2. charming
3. hilarious
4. touching
5. sweet
6. sensual
7. No, you cannot borrow mine, get your own!
8. How much would you pay me?

Following her very successful The Bad Luck Wedding Dress, Geralyn Dawson delivers another book that will delight and bewitch you. My favorite books usually have both a sense of humor and some really enthralling characters and I'm discovering, with a great deal of pleasure, that Geralyn Dawson's books usually include both. (Her secondary characters, including children, an engaging mother-in-law, and the hero's best friend are all memorable.)

Imagine a book with Julie Garwood's sweetness, Jill Barnett's charm, and Patricia Potter's tough but tender hero. (As my teenage daughter would say, Luke Prescott is a "babe.") Throw in some fascinating Texas history with glimpses of the Alamo and the legendary Sam Houston, and sprinkle the entire book with Geralyn Dawson's own brand of delightful -- sometimes naughty -- humor and what you've got is a book that will need its own spot on your keeper shelf.

--Dede Anderson


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