Just the Husband She Chose
by Karen Rose Smith
(Sil. Rom. #1455, $3.50, G) ISBN 0-373-19455-2
***
This is a nice, solidly constructed romance that begins with a terrified woman walking up to her one and only ex-lover and asking him to marry her. Itís been years since Hunter Coleburn last saw Eve Ruskin and he had been the one to propose to her then. She had refused him. So Hunter is a little stunned at her question and even more so when Eve explains that she needs him to inherit her fatherís estate. He very calmly tells her he needs to think it over and has her make an appointment to hear his answer the next day.

I always like Silhouette Romances that actually let the hero and heroine make love -- I feel like theyíve beaten the system. Here Hunter thinks over the proposal and agrees to marry Eve on the condition they do make love and move out to his home in Colorado.

Hunter was adopted as a child and has never felt like part of a real family. Eve has always been the one who made him feel like he belongs. When Eve refused to marry him he never recovered. Now he wants Eve and he wants Eve to have his children. Eve consents to the whole thing. What Hunter doesnít know is that Eve had been pregnant with his child after their long-ago affair and had a miscarriage. That is just one of the many secrets the two donít tell each other until after the wedding. Secrets, an almost-instant pregnancy, insecurity, hurt feelings -- all of these problems guarantee a stormy marriage. And that is exactly what the two of them get.

Things arenít all bad. The Southern Eve learns to enjoy her new setting. Her presence gradually lets Hunter feel like he has a home. She helps him reconcile with his adopted family, even though a lot of petty jealousy has kept all of them apart. They both become close to Hunterís actual twin who he has just recently found. But Hunter and Eve are afraid to admit their love to each other since they each were hurt badly during their past affair. Neither of them trusts the other to stay this time.

There arenít any huge surprises in this book, but it doesnít let you down either. The characters have real reasons for their hesitations with each other and they have some real attraction toward each other, too. Eve has to show she has grown up since she last refused to marry Hunter and Hunter has some growing up to do, too. Hunterís dealings with his adopted family have some realistic moments as well, especially when the familyís birth son canít easily let go of the rivalry he has kept up with Hunter all his life.

The only disappointment in the Just the Husband She Chose is that there arenít any surprise twists to it. You know what Eve and Hunter are like and how they will react -- and they do what you expect. That doesnít make for a bad book, but it doesnít make for a great one, either.

--Irene Williams


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