Just a Little Bit Married

Just a Little Bit Pregnant

Midnight Cinderella

Night of No Return

The Virgin & the Outlaw

Jacob’s Proposal by Eileen Wilks
(Silh. Desire #1397, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76397-2
Three brothers, born of different mothers, but raised by their father and his many wives. After the death or divorce of one wife, there followed another. The boys were close out of necessity and raised more by their housekeeper, Ada than by all those wives. Dear old dad left them loads of money when he died, but tied it up in a trust fund that can only be dispersed upon the marriage of all three boys. They have sworn never to touch that money…but things have changed. Ada has been diagnosed with a disease that requires experimental treatment costing millions of dollars. For her, they will marry…and marry quickly.

Jacob's Proposal is a great beginning to this trilogy. Jacob, the eldest, is known for his cool, controlled business dealings and his lack of emotion in personal relationships. He is eccentric, living in an old castle-like home built by his father. One of the rules of his business is that his small, dedicated and loyal staff must live at the mansion with him. Now he is looking for a wife. His first choice is an old friend…no passion, no promise of love, just a friend with whom he can relax. But she turns him down cold.

Jacob decides to turn to a new temporary assistant he has hired. He has her investigated and feels she is a good substitute. Of course, she doesn’t know this. Enter Claire McGuire. Claire is a beautiful woman who has been through a messy public scandal in the past when her ex-fiancé, Ken, tried to kill her in a fit of psychotic obsessive passion. In the last 6 years, Claire has built a consulting business and is filling in as Jacob’s assistant while his long-time assistant, her friend, is on vacation. Claire just wants a place to hang out for a while since Ken just got released from the psychiatric hospital. She has worked hard to gain control of her life and feels she needs to be away from Ken’s possible interference.

Both Jacob and Claire fight their feelings, and try not to get emotionally involved. Then they both decide independently of the other that they do want to be involved, but they try to hide it from each other. All of this happens amidst the backdrop of Ken coming after Claire and Jacob’s hasty proposal of marriage.

Ms. Wilks’ style of writing makes this work. She alternates the point of view back and forth between Jacob and Claire, helping you see how they think and why they act the way they act. It is this in-depth look at their reasons that make this book better than the average marriage-of-convenience tale.

Jacob is the kind of man you wish would show up on your doorstep. Besides being tall and handsome, Jacob has a wry sense of humor and although outwardly forbidding, underneath it all is a real pussycat. I wanted his relationship with Claire to work because I thought she deserved to have this man love her. She is vulnerable, yet has an inner strength one respects. And she and Jacob just gel. When they go through a crisis together and finally consummate their relationship…pull out the fan… you are gonna need it!

Ada and the other employees are good secondary characters who could have been given more depth, but you see enough to like them and understand why they stay with Jacob. It is through their sense of loyalty to him that you see the compassionate side of Jacob and that endears him to you even more. You sense Claire is really right for Jacob when they accept her into the family before she and Jacob even know their own minds.

The brief glimpses you see of the other brothers give you a thirst for their stories, but I was a little disappointed in the blatant flaunting of the plot line for brother Luke’s story in the final chapter of this book. However, I look forward to part II of the trilogy just to discover if Luke and his love are as hot and compelling as Jacob and Claire…and of course, to check up on these two to see how they are getting along!

--Shirley Lyons

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