The Heiress & the Sheriff

Millionaire on Her Doorstep

White Dove’s Promise by Stella Bagwell
(Silh. Sp. Ed. # 1478, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-24478-9
White Dove’s Promise starts out with a bang. Kerry WindWalker’s little daughter, Peggy, is missing. The three-year-old wandered away from her grandmother’s house while Kerry was at work, and search crews have had not luck. Then Jared Colton arrives to join the rescue efforts - Jared, the town playboy-turned-engineer whom Kerry had a crush on years ago. Jared manages to locate Peggy - deep inside a drainage pipe that’s in danger of collapse. He rescues her and returns her to Kerry.

Single mother Kerry is grateful, yet wary. Jared wants to get to know her, and Kerry’s mother is downright hostile to Jared. Kerry cautiously agrees to get to know Jared as a friend, aware that he could break her heart if she lets herself fall for him. One broken heart per lifetime is enough, she reasons.

Jared is puzzled. He can’t seem to get to first base with Kerry, which is not the normal course of events for him. When Jared turns up the heat, he’s in for a surprise: the more he gets to know Kerry, the less he’s interested in a seduction. Before he knows what’s hit him, he wants to become a permanent part of their lives. How can he convince Kerry he isn’t the playboy she thinks he is?

Jared is a smooth operator. His initial overtures to Kerry felt polished and superficial; he’s bowled over by her looks and her reserve. She’s a novelty to him, a woman who doesn’t fall at his feet, and this was a bit distasteful. Kerry’s resistance felt absolutely correct.

Kerry waffles between “I don’t want to get hurt again” and “I need to get on with my life”. One has to wonder why she puts up with her domineering, mean-tempered mother, rather than moving out and getting on with her life. We’re told she got pregnant and was dumped by a rich Eastern type who disdained her Comanche heritage, so her reluctance to getting involved with Jared was understandable.

The book doesn’t really take off until midway, when Jared begins to realize just what Kerry and Peggy mean to him. There are secondary characters such as Jared’s ancient grandfather who help nudge them together, even as Kerry’s mother is doing her best to drive them apart. Her reasoning - that Jared will leave Kerry just as her husband left her - felt forced. This was resolved in a heartbeat at the end.

White Dove’s Promise could be termed a standard “playboy meets his match romance”. Jared and Kerry aren’t difficult to be around, just not very memorable.

--Cathy Sova

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