A Knight to Cherish
Youíre Marrying Her?

 
The Millionaire's Reward
by Angie Ray
(Silh. Romance #1764, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-19764-0
**
This story has a nice hero, most of the time, and a nice heroine, most of the time. The premise is rather implausible and a big misunderstanding gets in the way, and then resolves itself in a most unbelievable way. Beyond that, The Millionaire's Reward has moments of providing entertainment; the question remains: is it enough?

CEO Garek Wisnewski is full of himself and has been dubbed Chicago's most eligible bachelor. He hates it and finds he now has women falling all over themselves to get to him. Even his sister Doreen, a divorcee, is determined to get his money and use his influence to get into the Social Register. Why this is so important is never really clarified and what we know of her is that she is a witch who cares only about appearances. She is sullen, nasty and relatively useless except as an antagonist.

Ellie Hernandez is the innocent miss who has grown up from poor roots and made something of her life. She runs an art gallery for an older widower, who is thinking of retiring. Ellie loves art and tries to find ways to help the starving artists, even when their art is bad. She seems to wear her heart on her sleeve. She loves her extended Hispanic family who include all the stereotypes one can think of including a brother just getting out of jail and plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins.

Ellie literally bumps into Garek and in the collision, a garish ruby necklace Garek had bought for his sister gets mixed up in her packages. When she tries to return it, Garek accuses her of wanting money and/or just trying to win his hand. She gets angry. He gets turned on and the relationship has begun. Garek decides to sponsor her gallery, initially to appall his sister. Then he finds he likes Ellie and just wants to spend time with her.

Through a series of dates and then a big misunderstanding, they are married at gunpoint (I tried to warn you about implausibility) and then hate each other for a while. The tale goes on and true love eventually prevails; however, even that resolution is outlandish.

Ellie is the penultimate innocent, sweet girl who everyone loves. She has a temper though, and uses it without any thought. This makes her at times a shrew and at times naÔve. Garek goes from ruthless businessman, nasty egotist and snob to being a nice guy who just wants to date a nice girl, all the while never certain he can trust her. Neither stands up to scrutiny, so it was difficult to root for the home team here. At times, there was no home team!

The secondary characters like the sister and the jailbird cousin are pure stereotype. The unsympathetic lawyer friend and the snobbish ex-girlfriend are just as bad. The moments of entertainment I mentioned above occur when Ellie and Garek are alone together and just try to act like normal people. There are glimpses of a sensual, fun and engaging romance. But the glimpses are too small and spaced too far apart for me.

The Millionaire's Reward is less than a treasure. Pass it by.

--Shirley Lyons


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