Texan's Bride by Gail Link
(Silhouette Special Edition #1163, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-24163-1
Texan's Bride is my second Gail Link book to read. The first was Marriage-To-Be? #1035, of which TB is a spinoff. I remember MTB so well because, quite frankly, it was laughable. The heroine was lovely, had an active social life, and was a 35-year-old virgin. To top that, the hero, in his early thirties, hadn't had sex since he impregnated a young woman when he was seventeen. I really wasn't looking forward to TB, which features a family member. Obviously I survived and do think it's better than MTB. Not great, but certainly better than its predecessor.

In the prologue sixteen year old Linda Douglas and twenty-eight-year-old Clay Buchanan meet. Her life is forever changed. We've already met Clay in MTB when he was courting and losing the thirty-five-year-old virgin to his almost-virgin brother. Speeding up to the present, Clay is over losing Emma to his brother and is happy with his life. He's got his trusty assistant, Linda Douglas, now twenty-six. Does he know that she's been in love with him since adolescence? Naah. He only sees her as competent, wholesome and devoted.

Things change when she invites him to her sister's wedding. Clay, almost thirty-nine, wants a wife and family. Nothing else, however. No love, just a wife and family. Well, maybe a dog. He decides that Linda will suit him, and he proposes. No surprises here; she accepts. They marry and live happily ever after . . . for about two months. Then the old theme of "I love him, but he doesn't love me . . . and never will" rears its ugly head.

Texan's Bride suffers from the same malady that many romance books suffer from: the blahs. There is no excitement in the story or the character's lives. That's really bad when the main character is described as a gazillionaire. A recurring theme in romance books is that of changing the habits/characteristics of the partner. I can almost always count on that change or lack thereof as being part of the "Big Misunderstanding." This time I almost felt sorry for Clay. Out of nowhere, Linda leaves (although not for good, of course), claiming that she needs time to think. Poor guy can't figure out what's going on.

Is this story line predictable? Oh, yes. It has no originality or flair. Reading this story was a mechanical exercise. There was certainly no emotional involvement on my part. As I read, I just kept reminding myself that Ms. Link has gotten better, in my opinion. At least I wasn't laughing about the sexual status of the lead characters.

--Linda Mowery

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