Waiting for Nick by Nora Roberts
Silhouette Special Edition 1088, $3.99, PG-13
ISBN 0-373-24088-0
Let me be perfectly candid with you. I am in awe of Nora Roberts' writing. If she were writing the information on the back of a cereal box, then that's the cereal I 'd be eating. If she were writing the instructions on how to make a blouse, then guess what I'd be sewing. Her writing charms me like no other author. So here it is up-front: I'm biased.

We first met Frederica Kimball in Taming Natasha. She was six and already a little charmer. We've watched her grow up in Luring a Lady, Falling for Rachel and Convincing Alex. She's now 24 and has moved to New York to accomplish two goals: to work professionally as a lyricist with Nick LeBeck and to marry him. After all, she's loved him for ten years.

Nick LeBeck, the delinquent kid brother in Falling for Rachel, is now a successful Broadway composer. Nick has known Freddie for ten years and has no idea that he's the reason behind her move from West Virginia to New York. As he becomes aware of her as a woman, he's uncomfortable with his newly awakened feelings. This is little Freddie, for crying out loud. Little does he know that she has grandiose plans for him.

One of the added pleasures, and very much a surprise, is the re-appearance of the O'Hurley family from "The O'Hurleys!" series of four books. Freddie and Nick spend the weekend with Maddie O'Hurley and her husband, Reed Valentine, at the Valentine estate. Chantel, Abby, Trace and their respective families are there. We're allowed to find out what this wonderful quartet has been doing since we last saw them.

One of the funniest moments centers around Chantel, the Hollywood beauty. Nick has just met her and when she leaves the room, he stares blankly at the piano keys, speechless. "Don't worry," Maddy consoles him, "Chantel affects men that way. Testosterone poisoning."

There's only one change that I would make in any of Nora Roberts's books, and it's really a simple request. I wish her heroes wouldn't smoke. This is the '90's. We all know that smoking is dangerous; besides, it's smelly. Let them chew nicotine gum.

Waiting for Nick contains characters from eight other books. Can it stand alone or do you need to have read the others? I honestly don't know. I have read the other books and did recognize the characters. It was like a big, joyous family reunion.

Nobody does family sagas better than Nora Roberts. Her characters -- whether it's the MacGregors, the O'Hurleys, the Calhouns, The Donovans, the MacKades, the Stanislaskis- are intelligent, humorous, likable...with faults, frailties, strengths. Hmm, it sounds as though I'm describing people I know. Well, that's what her writing does to me. It makes me feel as though I know these people. I certainly care about them. Her dialogue is realistic, sparkling, witty; her characters have depth. I like them. And I like Waiting for Nick. A lot.

--Linda Mowery

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