Angus's Lost Lady

A Forever Kind of Hero

A Hero for All Seasons

A Husband Waiting to Happen

In the Family Way

Traci on the Spot

Wife in the Mail

Expecting in Texas
by Marie Ferrarella
(Silhouette, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-65032-9
Have I become jaded? Is the bloom off the rose? Have the Fortunes lost their charm? All I know is that the last two entries in the saga of the Texas Fortunes have lacked the spark that kept me reading all the assorted “Fortune’s Children” stories.

Expecting in Texas proves to be a standard, workmanlike category romance, using many of the tried and true plot devices: commitment-avoidant cowboy hero, secret baby, heroine who won’t marry simply to give her baby a name, etc. Ferrarella is a complete professional and knows how to use these old standbys effectively. Still, there is nothing to set this book apart from the scads that appear every month. And Expecting in Texas doesn’t do much to advance the underlying storyline.

Savannah Clark is Vanessa Fortune’s best friend. At Vanessa’s wedding, she is swept off her feet by the handsome horse trainer (and son of the ranch foreman and housekeeper) Cruz Perez. A night of passion helps Savannah forget that she has just been jilted by her fiancé. But nights of passion have consequences, particularly in category romances. Savannah finds herself pregnant and unemployed. Exclusive private schools don’t appreciate unmarried mothers as teachers.

Vanessa comes to the rescue, offering Savannah a job as a bookkeeper at the Fortune ranch. Of course, this brings Savannah back within Cruz’ orbit. (Since Savannah is determined not to tell Cruz about the baby -- her parents married solely because of her and it was not a happy situation -- I wonder if I am the only reader who will find her decision to return to the ranch somewhat inexplicable. (Of course, plot needs prevail over logic.)

Cruz hasn’t forgotten Savannah. Unlike most of the women who have made a play for the handsome cowboy, she seemed genuine and real. Her arrival at the Fortune ranch seems like a fine opportunity to pursue the relationship. If Savannah seems skittish about resuming intimacy, still they do get better acquainted. And, of course, Cruz discovers the pregnancy and, although Savannah denies it, concludes that he is the father.

Cruz immediately offers to “do right” by his baby. Savannah rejects his proposal. Cruz concludes that she doesn’t think he is good enough for her. Savannah disabuses him of this notion. They rekindle the flames, but still Savannah refuses to force him to marry. And Cruz has to decide what really matters in life.

As I noted above, except for a brief appearance of the young woman who took baby Brandon, not much happens regarding either the Fortunes or the missing heir in Expecting in Texas. So unless you have a particular fondness for the above plot, you don’t need to read this installment to keep up with the doings of the Fortunes.

I really was a bit disappointed with this book. Ferrarella has written a number of books that I have enjoyed. Expecting in Texas is an average category romance. Not bad, but Ferrarella has written much better.

--Jean Mason

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