Billy and the Kid
by Kristine Rolofson
(Harl. Tempt. #765, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-25865-8
***
Combine two people who are polar opposites. He's positive that he doesn't want to get married; she's negative about marrying a cowboy. Throw in a darling baby girl as the catalyst, and you've got a charged romance.

When you pick up Billy and the Kid, be aware that the back blurb is half wrong. The top paragraph describes the hero, but the bottom paragraph about the heroine must have accidentally gotten post-it-noted to the wrong book. The heroine's name is wrong, as is the fact that the blurb says she's had a crush on the guy forever. Umm, she's new in town and hasn't known him forever. Some junior editor goofed big time.

Will, a.k.a. Billy Wilson, depending on who's doing the talking, is staying at his grandparent's dilapidated ranch, getting it ready to sell. Will was successful on the rodeo circuit but isn't sure what he wants to do with his life. That decision is temporarily removed from his hands when he finds an infant girl on his front porch. He thinks that the infant is his niece, but he also wonders if the baby is his, which means that his past has caught up with him.

Daisy McGregor thinks that Will Wilson is just about the sexiest, best looking man in Montana, but she has convinced herself that she's immune to Will's brand of charm. She's learned the hard way -- twice -- that good-looking men don't make good husbands. Daisy's resolve is sorely tested when Will starts bringing baby Spring to her restaurant.

Daisy wants a steady husband, babies, the whole white picket fence routine. Will has been shying away from a commitment for so long that Daisy scares him to death. It is fun to see him accept baby Spring but there's a sadness as Daisy realizes that the baby and Will won't ever be hers.

The reason that I can't wholeheartedly recommend this book is that Will's desire not to marry and Daisy's desire to stay away from Will obviously change, but those feelings are never really resolved. This is a romance; we know they'll change their minds. But the why was never satisfactorily explained. The magic wand appears, and "Poof," they've changed their minds. The majority of the story deals with Daisy reminding herself that Will is not good husband material, and Will reminding himself that he doesn't want to settle down.

Billy and the Kid is lighthearted, with a good dose of small town Americana thrown in. People butt into other people's business, but they also help each other in time of need. When the ladies of the quilting circle give Will a baby shower, it's a sweet gentle interlude. There are several strong secondary characters who add texture and appeal to the story.

The spoof on the title, the goodness of small town America and the gentleness of the main characters make Billy and the Kid a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

--Linda Mowery


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