A True-Blue Texas Twosome
by Kim McKade
(Silh. Int. Mom. #915, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07915-X
Kudos to debut author Kim McKade for a story with a clever and original plot line starring likeable characters and bad guys you love to hate. Keep an eye on this author because if she gets any better she'll be churning out five hearts routinely.

Corinne Maxwell fled small town Aloma, Texas, as soon as possible after her high school graduation. Her leaving was not without pain, but she never looked back until the day she was held hostage and shot on national television while reporting a news story in the midst of a riot. Her recovery has been impeded by the onset of anxiety attacks. For this and other good reasons, Corinne has quit broadcasting and merely exists in her aunt's home in Dallas.

In the small town good old boy system, Aloma High School needs an English teacher for one semester and through the intervention of her aunt, Corinne is hired as the substitute without the usual certifications. In leaving Dallas, she also has left her reprehensible ex-husband.

Returning to Aloma means seeing Toby Haskell again. Toby was the sheriff's son Corinne had loved and left because of her need to make something of herself in the big city. Toby's family instilled in him the belief that his responsibility is to carry on his father's job. Duly elected sheriff, he has an extreme case of a caretaker personality.

Toby is stunned when he meets Corinne again and notices that her joie de vivre is gone. The many reasons for her flat, dead eyes are gradually revealed through the story. Toby's original plan upon learning of her return is to court her, bed her, and leave her this time to make up for his hurt of the past ten years, but like all best laid plans…

Reluctantly, Corinne becomes involved in the lives of her students and other residents of Aloma. The author deftly touches on alcoholism, Alzheimer's disease and other social problems without overwhelming the reader and detracting from the love story. Author McKade handles teens and their reactions with the finesse of someone who does this successfully on a daily basis.

The romance between Toby and Corinne heats up and meshes with the resolution of some of the small town's crises. A True-Blue Texas Twosome is warm story that uses lively and realistic dialogue to maintain a gradually building level of suspense with an accelerating level of sexual tension. For a nice Valentine's Day's gift to yourself, consider A True-Blue Texas Twosome.

--Thea Davis

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