The Proposal by Linda Turner
(Silhouette Intimate Moments 847, $4.25, PG)
ISBN 0-373-07847-1
****
Attorney Noah Baxter and Judge Sadie Thompson know each other by reputation. He's a studly bachelor, and she's a hang-'em-high judge. They meet in court, sparks fly and then they're back on their separate paths. Ha! That never happens in RomanceLand. Not only are these two destined to cross paths often, but when Sadie moves into her new apartment in the "Lone Star Social Club" a turn of the century club transformed into apartments Noah lives there, too.

This is the third book in the 'Lone Star Social Club', but it does stand alone. A friendly landlady tells everyone who moves in that their single days are up. While all scoff, true love wins every time.

Both lead characters have emotional baggage. Sadie is slowly emerging from the ashes of a bitter divorce, one that left her financially 'lighter' and doubting her sexuality. Not only that, but the scum-sucking ex was such a gossip monger that most residents of San Antonio's legal community now know her 'dirty laundry' secrets. So her plans do not include a man, much less a relationship. Noah has younger sisters and feels responsible; he wants to see them all educated and in careers before he gets serious.

It takes a long time for these two to trust each other. Both misinterpret the other's actions and words. Noah is the more intuitive and sees through Sadie's tough facade and senses the hurt and doubts below. They slowly begin to trust and need one another. There's plenty of internal conflict, but Ms. Turner has also thrown in a high-profile case involving the Mexican mafia. Seems the defendant thinks that eradicating the judge will make his legal life easier.

I read this at the request of someone who has lots of legal experience. She was troubled by various aspects of legal criminal procedure and wanted to know if I, as a legal novice, saw any problem areas. I sailed blindly onward, never seeing anything that seemed questionable. You've got to remember, though, that I am a resident of the Lone Star State. Legal ethics are sometimes an oxymoron. Here we fry our meat and our criminals.

The Proposal is interesting, with flawed people who do overcome past hurts. It's not so dark and angst-ridden that reading it is troublesome. While I can't give rave reviews to this story, I can suggest that you give it a try.

--Linda Mowery


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