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A Forever Kind of Hero

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A Hero for All Seasons

A Husband Waiting to Happen

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Once a Father

In Graywolf’s Hands by Marie Ferrarella
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1155, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-27225-1
I couldn’t help feeling that the author was angry with someone when she wrote this book. I just wish she hadn’t taken it out on me.

Cardiac surgeon Lukas Graywolf loves his work, partly because it’s fulfilling to help people live longer, healthier lives, and partly because it helps him to feel a connection to his Navaho shaman forebears.

He’s carrying this satisfaction out of a grueling but successful surgery when he’s nearly run down by a gurney carrying a handcuffed gunshot victim accompanied by the FBI agent who shot and arrested him, Lydia Wakefield. The wounded man is the leader of a white supremacist group that just blew up a Native American exhibit at a large mall, killing a teenaged boy. The wounded man’s heart stops and Lukas jumps into action.

Lucas and Lydia have the usual doctor/agent head-butting over the bigoted assassin’s treatment. Lydia thinks Lukas’s care is more compassionate than the man deserves, not to mention that it’s getting in the way of her investigation. She actually accuses Lukas of putting the guy in a therapeutic coma just so she can’t question him. In the doctor’s opinion, Lydia’s eagerness to interrogate her prisoner is harmful to his patient’s health (as it turns out, he’s right).

And, except for the sex, that’s about it for nearly two hundred pages.

Lydia is a defensive hard-ass from beginning to end and, although she claims to hate bigotry, she has a couple of extremely tacky fantasies about Lukas that involve him wearing little but leggings and war paint.

Lukas seems like a nice enough man - certainly he has the patience of a saint, which is required to deal with the arrogant and emotionally stunted Lydia. I could understand why any woman might be attracted to him, but I would have been much more involved if I’d known more about him than that he was kind and great looking. On the other hand, if I’d cared more, I’d probably have spent more of the book hoping that some nice, adult woman would make him realize he could do better than Lydia.

I bought that they were physically attracted to each other (she has great legs, he has great cheekbones, they’re both in great shape), and they were terrific in bed, but I have no idea when or why they fell in love. Actually, as far as I could tell, they didn’t. For some reason, too many romance authors (Ms. Ferrarella is by no means the only culprit) seem to deliberately ignore what every woman over the age of 20 with even the slightest emotional maturity knows: sex and love are not the same thing.

Right at the end, the author remembers that there’s supposed to be more suspense in this story than whether or not Lydia will ever grow up and everybody rushes into action, but it's too little, too late, for this reader. The world is already well supplied with aggressively immature people who have an inflated sense of their own importance - why would I want to spend my leisure time reading about one of them?

--Judi McKee

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