Look of Love/
Miradas de Amor

One Perfect Man

 
Déjà You by
Lynda Sandoval
(Silh. Special Ed. #1866, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-24866-0
***
Obviously part of a series set in Toublesome Gulch, Colorado, Deja You is the story of a young woman who has scars on her body and in her mind from a car crash 12 years before. She finds love with a guy who is almost too good to be true, but because of the deep sense of the romance, the story is enjoyable.

Erin DeLuca was one of six kids who survived a car crash on their prom night. She came away with burns over her torso and a broken spirit from the loss of her boyfriend and baby. Kevin and Erin were the couple everyone, including their families expected to graduate and get married. They thought so too and jumped the gun on their wedding night. Erin was just a few months pregnant when she lost the baby as a result of the accident. Due to the injuries and surgeries doctors told her not to expect to ever carry a baby again.

Erin put her life together by denying everything. She became a firefighter. Her friends are all still here, working near her as the police dispatcher, a county sheriff, and a paramedic. Some of them have built an emotionally stable life and others are just going through the motions like Erin. One night, after a fire in which a pregnant woman loses her husband, Erin finds herself unable to push the memories back into their walled-in area in her mind. She leaves and drives to Denver, hoping to lose herself in booze and regroup. But once in the bar, she starts dancing with the wide variety of men and comes across as someone who is both vulnerable and ready for action. One lone man sees the vulnerability is the bigger of her issues and protects her from possible rape. One thing leads to another and they end up in bed. Erin swears she is sterile but she just needs someone to connect with her. She ditches him before sunrise, with them only have shared first names and minimal information.

Nate Walker is a pyrotechnic engineer and has been hired by Troublesome Gulch to put on their fourth of July fireworks display. He is concerned about the dry weather, yet the Mayor convinces him to set things up anyway. Five months after his nighttime sojourn and rescue that he can’t get out of his mind, he walks into a meeting to find none other than the woman who has haunted his dreams – obviously pregnant. The story follows Nate and Erin as they figure out what to do. Nate even moves to Troublesome Gulch, convinced he wants to be a part of his child’s life, even if he isn’t a part of Erin’s. But that attraction and lust they felt in Denver hasn’t gone away.

I enjoyed this story on the basis of depth of their relationship building. If these two had met under normal circumstances, they would have been polite and courted and probably fallen in love. Yet the stress of the child and their unique beginning has put a strain on their attempts at normalcy. Nate is kind, considerate, willing to let Erin muddle through her feelings of loss. He even agrees to sleep with her every night without making love, just to help her get through the nights. While on the one hand, this is a dreamy kind of man…I just wanted once for him to say – NO.

Erin, on the other hand is so full of guilt, she bends over backwards to try to make amends. She also is terrified he will reject her due to her scars, (Nate didn’t see them their one night since she kept her shirt on).

One might ask how I can say this is an acceptable story when neither character is stellar. And my response is: I am not sure. Despite their individual traits, together they make sense and seem like they should be together and in love. The author blends their stories and pulls in their friends. The story feels comfortable and warm.

Déjà You may not be the best I have read, but it is one that provides that warm romantic feeling.

--Shirley Lyons


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