The Bride to Be or Not to Be?

If Wishes Were....Husbands

Overnight Father

Stud for Hire?

To Love an Older Man
by Debbi Rawlins
(Harl. American #927, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-16927-2
A pet peeve of some readers is an age difference of fifteen years or more between the hero and heroine. To Love an Older Man is unusual in that this very age difference is the main conflict in the story. He thinks she’s too young for him. She’s determined to make him see otherwise.

And thanks to an inventive opening, it pretty much succeeds. Workaholic attorney David Matthews is about to leave his offices late one night when he hears one of his new young lawyers arguing with his girlfriend. The girl is pregnant and asking for the return of her college money, used to put the boyfriend through law school. David is shocked to hear the lawyer berate the girl and refuse to help her, claiming she asked for it.

Unwillingly touched, David offers Beth Anderson a place to stay when he runs into her again at the elevator. Just for the night, he says, and they will be well-chaperoned with his mother and housekeeper in the house. Beth, desperate, reluctantly accepts, vowing to be on her way in the morning. Where, she isn’t sure.

David leaves Beth in the care of his mother and retires, but he can’t help noticing how pretty Beth is - after all, she’s twenty-five to his nearly forty. Much too young for anything but a friendship. When David’s mother offers Beth a temporary position to replace the soon-to-be-vacationing housekeeper, Beth accepts but decides to stay out of David’s way. Easier said than done, and soon one matchmaking mother is doing her best to make David and Beth see they are perfect for each other.

The first half of this book was charming, as Beth and David warily circle each other while tentatively holding out the hand of friendship. The second half of the book runs along on a standard track. Beth and David get sent off to the Napa Valley on an overnight trip, and it’s pretty predictable. (You know their hotel room will only have one room available, don’t you?)

Beth is young, but not too young to take on David’s stereotypes. She is a bit naïve, and a little too quick to assume he’s tired of her. David hides behind his “successful attorney” façade for quite a while, offering Beth every possible opportunity to turn away from him. It was a sweet display of thoughtfulness mixed with a hint of insecurity. Their relationship was warm enough, but not red-hot by any means. Call it gently simmering.

On a side note: since STDs were never mentioned as an issue here, the use of a condom had me snorting. She’s already pregnant! What’s with that?

To Love an Older Man is an interesting premise that doesn’t quite live up to the initial opening, but for an honest story of a romance with a significant age difference, it’s worth reading.

--Cathy Sova

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