Rancher's Proposition

 
A Most Desirable M.D.
by Anne Marie Winston
(Silh. Desire #1371, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-76371-9
***
Ever feel you've missed something big? That you're in the dark, while everybody else knows that something is going on? That's how I feel about the Fortunes of Texas mini-series. The Romance Reader has reviewed over fifteen of these book, and my unscientific count shows that there are at least sixty of these books. Yet I, a dedicated category reader, have read only two.

So I wonder if my ignorance about the Fortunes of Texas makes me dumb . . . or lucky?

What caused me to ask to review A Most Desirable M.D. is not that it is a Fortunes of Texas book. How could I? The Fortune books don't register on my personal Richter scale. There are series and then there are SERIES. Think MacGregors, Mackenzies, MacKades . . . Alan, Wolf, Devin. What interested me is that it's a doctor book. Well, books and covers and all of that should have alerted me that a book title has very little to do with the actual contents.

It appears that the Fortune series may be around as long as nuclear waste. Our hero, Dr. Kane Fortune, wasn't even a Fortune until six years ago. His father abandoned his family, so Kane had no problem assuming the Fortune name. That adds a new dimension to this series. I counted three more people whose last names aren't Fortune . . . yet. They're the Lost Heirs. The extended Fortune family could be as big as a zip file. Is this marketing genius or what?

Okay, here's the story. Kane and nurse Allison Prescott have been friends for years, but Kane has never really noticed her. She's been a good listener, a balm to his ego and has asked nothing in return. Yet one day in the parking lot, Kane sees Allison unpinning her hair, restrained in its obligatory bun.

This Allison had yards and yards of thick, bouncy, curling sunlit tresses. The curls cascaded around her shoulders and down her back, glowing in the early morning light . . .

Suddenly he's seeing Allison in a new light.

Almost before Allison realizes what's happened, she's engaged to Kane and is being inexorably pulled into the Fortune environment. Conflict rears its ugly head when Kane's father reappears, threatening to reveal long-hidden secrets. (Pssst, more Fortune soon-to-be characters.) Kane and Allison have diametrically opposed views on fathers, an obstacle that will become a sticking point.

Because of these opposite view points, we're allowed to discover the underlying reasons why Allison and Kane view fathers as they do. This exposes the psyche of both characters. When Kane suddenly decides that he's going to remain apart and will keep his inner needs to himself and begins to resent Allison, I truly wondered where this attitude had come from.

The obligatory scenes, the ones that must appear in series books, feature a whole bunch of Fortunes who, in all probability, have been in past books. Normally I love reunion scenes, but here it's just a bunch of strangers milling around. I had no sense of who's important, who's coming or going. My guess is that my lack of knowledge about the Fortunes does contribute to my less than glowing feel for this book.

A Most Desirable M.D. is why we have three-heart evaluations, those midpoint ratings that allow us to express various degrees of interest in a particular story. Some people may find that this story is their cup of tea, while others may find it too tepid and tame.

--Linda Mowery


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