Elizabeth Bevarly has written more than twenty category romances. I'd rather read a category romance than eat a hot fudge sundae. Yet until I saw Susan's review of Bevarly's My Man Pendleton, I'd never read any of her books. Humph! And here I thought I was well read. Now that I've read MMP and The Sheriff and the Imposter Bride, I'm going to become well acquainted with Ms. Bevarly's books. Her use of whimsy, humor and good people in potentially screwball situations makes for my favorite kind of book.
The Sheriff and the Imposter Bride is part of the Follow that Baby series. I checked in the book and can't determine if Sheriff is the first, second or maybe eighth in the series. I just know it's not the last. We're treated to a teaser at the end of this story, with one of the characters reappearing in The Millionaire and the Pregnant Pauper, available in January. I'm almost shaking my head in amusement at the
titles. Borderline laughably looney, in my opinion.
Sheriff Riley Hunter of Wallace Canyon, Oklahoma, receives part of a fax from a neighboring area asking for information on a missing young woman. The woman in question is being sought by one of The Rich and Powerful families. The fax mentions that the woman, whose last known location was Wallace Canyon, is pregnant, but the part that doesn't transmit is the part telling how many months pregnant she is. That little oversight is what allows our story to evolve. Riley is wondering about the missing woman, but his first concern is to locate his Lorna Doone cookies, stolen from his
desk drawer. My kind of priorities.
Rachel Jenson has traveled to Wallace Canyon to help her twin sister Sabrina. When Rachel arrives at Sabrina's mobile home, Sabrina is gone. She calls Rachel from a bus station to explain that The Rich and Powerful family wants custody of their unborn grandchild. Sabrina, seven months pregnant, is fleeing until she can come up with a solution.
Soon after the phone call, Rachel opens the door to see Sheriff Hunter. All her senses go on red-alert. When Riley mistakenly assumes that Rachel is Sabrina, she lets the misconception stand. She needs to give her sister time and what better way than to pretend to be Sabrina. Rachel has a small problem, though. She's a terrible liar. At one point, not knowing the first names of The Rich and Powerful sons, she inadvertently lets Riley think that both sons could be the father. And to throw him off the trail, she
makes up a third candidate. And here's poor Riley, wondering if he's attracted to a trollop or a ditz. Or both.
A tender theme is Riley's concern for her during pregnancy. Catching her drinking coffee, Riley gives her the "caffeine is bad for the baby" speech. When he surprises her with a glass of wine in her hand, he starts on the "wine is bad for the baby" speech. Claiming that it's non-alcoholic wine, Rachel improvises.Uh . . . it's um . . . I think it's called Château de l'Imposteur.
This gentle love story reminded me of why I read romances. I was meeting two people, with minor warts and good hearts. They weren't afraid to fall in love; they weren't reluctant to express their love physically or emotionally. Better yet, they weren't afraid to laugh. They pulled me along with them. I went quite willingly.
Remember Sabrina, the pregnant twin? She's got to have her story told, too. We can't be left hanging, wondering where she is and what she's doing. Ah, possibilities.
I rarely indulge in comparisons but sometimes they are so obvious as to be virtually impossible to ignore. If you like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, you'll like Elizabeth Bevarly. If you like Jennifer Crusie, you'll like Elizabeth Bevarly. Ditto Rachel Gibson and Susan Andersen. I can see our To Be Read piles growing, just in time for the holidays.