Don’t Look Now

High Country Bride

In Your Dreams

The Man from Stone Creek

One Wish

Springwater

Springwater Wedding

Two Brothers

The Vow

 
McKettrick’s Pride
by Linda Lael Miller
(HQN, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-77190-8
***
This is the second installment about the McKettrick cousins. Rance is a widower with two young daughters. He is still grieving even though his wife has been dead for seven years. He is a jet setter – he travels all over the world making deals and buying companies for the McKettrickCo and is a partner to his cousin Keegan, who handles things on the home front.

Rance is a good dad, but he often misses important events, partly because he is dealing with guilt about his wife Julie’s death (the exact issue is revealed late in the story). But he clearly loves his daughters and treats them like the precious beings he feels they are. He leaves his girls with his mother-in-law, Cora, who happens to run the Curl and Twirl – a combo beauty salon and baton twirling studio. Cora has just sold the building attached to her business to a young woman who is determined to start all over in Indian Rock with a bookstore. Her name is Echo Wells.

Echo and Rance don’t exactly hit it off on the right foot, even though there are some sparks. Echo is a bit of free spirit, who adopts stray animals along the side of the road and sells love potions on the internet. Echo was raised by her relatives and never had a place she felt she belonged. When her fiancé stood her up at a Las Vegas wedding chapel, she sold everything in Chicago and moved to Indian Rock. Echo is wary of men, and Rance seems as insensitive as many she has met. But his girls are adorable and she makes friends with Cora. Before she knows it, she has made friends with many of the ladies in town.

Rance struggles through the tale due to his guilt and his lack of direction. He is known as being structured and conservative; the exact opposite of Echo. Rance wants to be a better father to the girls, but often feels out of his element. He is at times, caring, courageous and downright funny when he is in over his head. Cora is his confident and best friend, yet at the same time, he resents her because of his feelings about Julie. Rance is likable yet because of his confusion; he goes from tackling issues to jet setting to Toyko to avoid dealing with issues. It is hard to totally identify with him.

Echo is not consistent in her life either. One minute she is fighting off a man who is trying to steal her adopted dog, and another she is crumbling because of some emotional upset. She is a business woman, yet there is no evidence that this is a thriving community and a good place to open a new store. Her love potion business looks like it will give us insight into her Native American background, but fizzles to just a plot device to get the townspeople to like her.

There is no real action in this story…it is purely based on the characters dealing with their individual angst while they fight their attraction to each other. Having waited a few days to write the review, I find myself fuzzy on many of the details. It is not a story that stays with the reader long.

However, while I was reading it, I was engaged and enjoying it. McKettrick’s Pride sets up Keegan’s story nicely too. If you have been following the series, this will probably not disappoint you. If not, Miller has written many tales more worthy of your time.

--Shirley Lyons


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