Marrying for a Mom by DeAnna Talcott
(Silh Romance #1543, $3.99, G) 0-373-19543-5
Logan Monroe is looking for a teddy bear. His foster daughter, Amanda, lost hers when Logan’s wife died. He can’t replace Amanda’s mother and he’s scared the authorities will replace him as Amanda’s father now that he’s single. But he can try to replace one thing in Amanda’s life: he needs that bear.

Whitney Bloom has known Logan forever. She’s the owner of a teddy bear store now but when she first knew Logan she was the poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks. She’d been impressed with him, but the much wealthier Logan didn’t notice her much. Next they met when her then-husband was found embezzling from Logan’s business. That had been a terrible experience. This time, as a small business owner who has worked to make her life over, Whitney can do Logan a favor.

Whitney promises to find an identical bear - and gets more involved with Amanda and Logan than is good for her. However, when she lies and tells her friend (who is also Amanda’s social worker) that she’s marrying Logan, Logan goes along with it. He’s determined to keep Amanda. Being married again would ensure the adoption. The problem is that he’s not so sure about keeping Whitney.

This book has all the romance trappings - the wealthy widower, the adorable child, the poor but plucky heroine who helps make them a family. Here the story works because of the tension between what appear to be the ultimate romantic wedding with all the lovely details and what the couple fear is the reality - it’s only a facade and there’s no real romance at all.

Whitney is the more compelling character. She’s smart and resourceful, loving and thoughtful, but she’s never had a real romance before. She’s not sure she is even worthy of one, although Logan is her idea of a fairy tale prince. Logan, who isn’t sure what he’s agreed to once Whitney impulsively got them engaged, is more charmed and more afraid to be charmed by the day. While his childhood was privileged, his parents never put him first. He doesn’t want that for Amanda, but for himself? He isn’t used to being thought of as special and he thinks all good things will come to an end, just like his previous marriage.

Amanda, the third part of this family, is cute and curiously free of childish tantrums, but still comes close enough to a believable kid. Her struggle to figure out what Whitney is to her and why her dad and Whitney are fighting isn’t very complicated but seems real. Her decision about what kind of family they should become also helps decide the outcome.

Marrying for a Mom is a story where you like the hero and heroine, where the romance has kids, teddy bears, fairy tale weddings . . . and the complication of the marriage being a charade. This isn’t a perfect prince and princess getting married. Even better, we have a much more real hero and heroine who have problems to solve before reaching a HEA.

--Irene Williams

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