Conveniently His by Shirley Rogers
(Silh. Desire #1266, $3.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76266-6
***
Conveniently His is a competently written, nicely plotted but not particularly exciting book, except for one attribute. That attribute had me reading and rereading The Romance Reader’s Sensuality Ratings, trying to decide whether this book was a hot PG-13 or a wholesome R.

Grant Dennison is recently divorced, with sole custody of his two little girls, Stephanie (four years old) and Kimberly (13 months). At age 28 he is doing well professionally…he has just been offered a big promotion that will require him to move from Columbia, South Carolina, to Atlanta…but he has spent the year since he divorced Lisa in an emotional deep freeze. He has made up his mind never to fall in love again; he won't risk the pain of losing someone he loves once more.

Grant is only able to juggle the problems of single parenthood and a demanding job because of Tracey Ashford. Four years younger than Grant, Tracey has been his best friend since high school. Since she was widowed about the same time Lisa and Grant were divorced, it seemed natural for Tracey to pitch in and help out during the many times when Grant found himself between housekeepers.

In fact, although she maintains her own apartment, Tracey is quite at home at Grant’s house. She has her own (unshared) bedroom and a studio where she creates the stained glass pieces she sells. Most of her time, however, seems to be devoted to performing wifely chores: cooking, cleaning, and feeding and caring for the two little girls.

Even though Grant views Tracey as his best friend, he has always meant a great deal more to Tracey. So, when he starts to see Tracey as a desirable woman, she responds to his overtures even though she knows that he is not in love with her and doesn’t want to be in love with her or with anyone else.

On the other hand, when Grant is faced with the dilemma of either turning down a significant promotion or separating two little children from the woman they have come to love and rely on, he finally considers marrying Tracey. Certainly such a marriage would be convenient for Grant -- he badly wants Tracey in his bed -- but Tracey is the one who risks the most on the hope that they can have a true marriage.

Given that Conveniently His is well-written, with a plausible plot and reasonable motivations for its characters, why didn’t it appeal to me more? I just never got interested in Grant. I found his character believable but unexciting. Obviously, Tracey found him sexy and appealing, but he struck me as completely ordinary…a nice guy but nothing special. Because of my lukewarm reaction to him, I can only rate Conveniently His a three-heart read.

Oh yes, that Sensuality Rating? As you've already noticed, I rated it a PG-13. There are plenty of steamy scenes, but nothing beyond heavy petting…very heavy petting…before marriage and nothing unconventional afterwards. So wait for that cold winter’s day when it’s too miserable to go out, and Conveniently His may well warm you up.

--Nancy J. Silberstein


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