Daddy by Default

Father Fever

Father Found

First Born Son

Gift-Wrapped Dad

The Hunk & the Virgin

Man with a Miracle by Muriel Jensen
(Harl. Super. #1093, $5.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-71093-3
Take a soul-wounded cop transplanted to a small town and add a scared woman running for her life, throw in circumstances to wrap them up together and you have this Superromance story in a nutshell. Man with a Miracle is a conventional, but enjoyable yarn set during the holidays.

Beazie (short for Beatrice Zoe) Deadham is on the run from men in a red SUV who killed her boss and now are after her. As he lay dying, her boss, an insurance salesman, gave her a tape telling her to take it to Maple Hill and give it to “Evans”. Beazie ran home, and these men showed up. She took off with nothing but the clothes on her back and the tape stuck into her bra.

“Evans” turns out to be Evan Braga, cop turned house painter/general fix-it man. He is a member of Whitcomb’s Wonders, a group of handymen out for hire. Evan has come to Maple Hill to hide from his feelings of guilt and anger over the loss of his brother, Blaine. Blaine was involved in some type of shady dealings and before Evan could discover what was going on, they were involved in a car accident, where Blaine was killed, Evan was badly injured and the large sum of money Blaine had burnt to a crisp.

Things are not always what they seem. Beazie discovers a connection to Blaine, as she had dated him for a short period of time, only now to find out he was married with two sons. Evan is amazed to ascertain that Blaine and Beazie’s boss were business associates. He is surprised when one of the men chasing Beazie turns out to be a detective from the Boston force. The mystery unfolds slowly throughout the story, and is really a backdrop to the romance.

As Beazie and Evan are forced to spend time together, they learn to trust their instincts, which tell them both they have found what they are looking for - safety for Beazie and peace of mind for Evan. These feelings develop into love. When they are unexpectedly thrust into the role of an engaged couple, the chance at love intensifies.

Beazie is a well-rounded heroine, standing up on her own and showing lots of guts when confronted with a weird circumstance such as this. She falls victim to trying to see life out of rose colored glasses at times, and seems to forget the danger she is in, but otherwise she is true to her form.

Evan is traditional, yet likable. He blames himself and acts the martyr. But he doesn’t wallow in it once he starts to see the light from Beazie. This keeps him from being dull and maintains the reader’s interest in the story. These two characters actually seem to grow and learn from their errors. What a nice change of pace that is!

The other couples and family members are a nice addition to the story. Since this is part of the Maple Hill series, my assumption is that many of these folks have had stories told and others are just waiting their turn. It seems like a nice, homey place to fall in love. There is some nice humor and anecdotes thrown in to highlight the unique features of this anywhere town USA.

Man with a Miracle is an entertaining, yet predictable little romance that has just enough intrigue to move the story and provide a good reason for these two to come into contact. Overall, it provides a nice afternoon reading experience.

--Shirley Lyons

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