That First Special Kiss

Her Very Own Family

It Takes a Hero

The Rebel's Return

Seducing Savannah

Tempting Tara

Valentine Baby

It Takes a Cowboy
by Gina Wilkins
(Harlequin, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-82589-7
I am happy to report that the second series to which I have become addicted, the “Heart of the West” bachelor auction saga, has a real winner in Gina Wilkins entry. It Takes a Cowboy is an enjoyable tale of a woman who is risk avoidant who, by chance, ends up bidding on a man who lives for excitement. This seemingly mismatched couple find that opposites do indeed attract.

Lawyer Blair Townsend had no intention of bidding on a bachelor when she attended the bachelor auction held to benefit the Lost Springs Ranch for Boys. But then she had a brilliant idea. Six months earlier her irresponsible brother had left his ten-year-old son with her. Jeffrey is sullen, uncooperative and perhaps on his way to big trouble. It occurs to Blair that if Jeffrey spends some time with a man who had been a troubled youth himself he might well benefit.

Thus, Blair finds herself bidding on a conservatively dressed bachelor who seems like a perfect role model for her nephew.

But appearances can be deceiving. Scott McKay is no stolid businessman but rather a rancher and thrill seeker. Still, the handsome cowboy is willing to try to help Jeffrey and his common sense approach and clear-headed understanding of what the boy is going through start to make a difference almost at once.

Blair is delighted with this outcome of her impulsive “purchase.” But what is she to do about her own attraction to Scott and his apparent interest in Jeffrey’s aunt?

Blair is a sensible achiever, the family member who was always responsible while father and brother pursued their various schemes. She simply cannot imagine how she can be falling for a man who climbs mountains, rides bulls, surfs in Hawaii, deep sea dives in the Caribbean. Yet she finds herself doing just that.

Scott has his own demons. Orphaned and suffering from “survivor’s guilt” after his parents and younger brother were killed, he has avoided getting close to anyone as he tries to live life to its fullest. How can he be falling for an uptight lawyer? Yet he finds himself doing just that.

Wilkins handles the conflict between Blair and Scott in a very believable fashion. She also does a good job with Jeffrey, poignantly capturing a young boy who has suffered too many losses and too many disappointments in his short life.

It Takes a Cowboy is a most enjoyable fantasy. We suspect that nothing works out this nicely in real life. But we want it to! And for the few hours while we are reading this book, we are able to believe. This is, after all, the essence of good romantic fiction.

--Jean Mason

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