Marriage, Outlaw Style

The Outlaw Jesse James

The Outlaw's Wife

In His Loving Arms by Cindy Gerard
(Silh. Desire #1293, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-76293-4
Mark Remington gets a telephone call telling him that his adopted brotherís widow is not doing well after the car accident that killed his brother. Dutybound to help, he returns to find out Lauren McKenzie is not just grieving but newly pregnant. Of course the two of them have known each other for a long time. Mark met her when he first ran away from his abusive home and was adopted by the Remington family. Both of them share even more history -- they nearly made love to each other the night before Laurenís wedding. After that Mark, ashamed of himself, stayed away from her and his brother. In fact he hasnít been around for seven years.

But since Lauren now needs help, he comes back into Laurenís life and takes her away to his home. Of course it is a very nice home. He had made plenty of money as a racecar driver before he abruptly retired. Now he owns a ranch where he takes care of two little girls who call him Uncle Mark and where a beautiful housekeeper takes care of them all. Lauren doesnít know what to make of all this and begins by being jealous, but she gradually settles into the family routine. Eventually, she is charmed at how Mark relates to the children and the housekeeper becomes a good friend.

Both Mark and Lauren have a lot of passion simmering between them -- and a lot of guilt, too. Itís fairly interesting to read how both of them resolve the two emotions in a satisfactory way. Lauren comes to see Mark as a good man, not as a heartless seducer, reckless playboy or abandoner of his family. The reader figures this out a lot faster than she does, but then she has some old problems to work through before she can see Mark for what he has become. She learns to live with the guilt and anger she had over being fascinated by someone else while married to a good husband. Once she overcomes that, she falls in love with Mark all over again.

Mark already knew he was in love with Lauren. He is fascinated by her pregnancy. But he is even less convinced than Lauren that he is a good man. Based on what he has done in the past, he thinks he needs to keep away from her. What he needs to learn is that he doesnít have to walk away from her because he can be the right man for her after all.

The story isnít deep. There isnít a complicated plot line. But thatís fine. On the plus side there is plenty of sexual sizzle and the psychological tension feels right. The resolution to the story works. I liked Lauren and wanted Mark to learn to get over his feelings of worthlessness. All in all, it makes for a decent read if youíre in the mood for a quick, sensual story.

--Irene Williams

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