Unexpected Bride

Forever His Bride
by Lisa Childs
(Harl. American #1222, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-75226-1
Forever His Bride is the third in a series, but does stand alone. The premise is that a group of girls, who have grown up as best friends, gather for one of their weddings. When the wedding doesn't go off, each deal with it and in the process, finds their true love. The stories happen simultaneously.

Brenna Kelly is the maid of honor and proud to be a friend to the bride, Molly McClintock. Since Molly was busy in her medical studies, Brenna did what she loved and organized the bulk of the wedding plans. In doing so, she got to know the groom, Dr. Josh Towers, who is divorced with twin four year olds, Buzz and TJ. He is a plastic surgeon whose wife left suddenly to seek her fame and fortune, leaving him with the boys. For three years, he has raised them and built a successful practice with his friend Nick in Grand Rapids. Now he is looking for a smaller town so the boys can feel safe while growing up and he has settled on Cloverville. The fact that Molly grew up there is a bonus. He convinces Nick to open up a practice and they are on the way. Until that is, Molly decided to skip the wedding...leaving a note saying she needed to think.

Josh is actually relieved, and when his almost mother-in-law declared that they should celebrate someone's homecoming at the reception, since everything had been paid for, he didn't feel bad. He knew that was a sign that Molly had made the right choice. He didn’t really love Molly; he just thought their friendship would be enough. Even as he was standing at the altar, his eyes were following Brenna's red-haired loveliness.

The rest of the story follows the dance between Brenna and Josh. Brenna fights her feelings, both of attraction and guilt for lusting after her best friend's man. Josh struggles with his impetuous nature, which got him into the mess with his first wife and with Molly. Off to the side, we see the various other romances happening, but the focus of this tale is Brenna and Josh.

This is a nice little story despite some rather convenient resolutions. Brenna takes to the boys and this of course, is a key to winning Josh's heart. They both fall in love with the same house and Brenna helps Josh make it a home, even while denying her attraction. Their encounters get rather steamy at times and there are definitely lots of issues to deal with. Brenna's parents push her towards Josh and it just seems that they fit together nicely.

Having read Josh's story, now I am intrigued to see if I can find Molly's. It isn't easy to see how Molly and Josh teamed up in the first place, but when one failed wedding leads to four happy ever afters, it can't be all bad.

--Shirley Lyons 

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