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Snowbound Bride

Plain Janeís Secret Life
by Cathy Gillen Thacker
(Harl. American #1029, $4.99, R) ISBN 0-373-75033-1
Holly Springs is the little town that hosts this series of Brides. Plain Janeís Secret Life is the tale of Dylan Hart and Hannah Reid, old friends who fall in love after being reintroduced as adults. It is a nice romance, but pretty tried and true, full of lust, slowly falling in love, denial of those feelings and then the big misunderstanding.

Hannah is a mechanic and owner of the local auto repair garage. She has always been the friend and pal, playing poker with the guys, talking about cars and just being one of them. She started dating and went out with local racer Rupert Wallace, who dumped her for a beauty queen wife when he made the big time. She decided then she would never marry, just have fun, have sex and lead her own life.

Dylan Hart is the observer of the family, always into sports but just as a spectator and now as the nightly news sportscaster in Chicago. But he comes home for his sisterís wedding and discovers he has been fired. Now he is on vacation but without a job to return to and with secrets he hasnít even told his family. He had a brief love affair and ran off to the Caribbean to get married, only to discover on his honeymoon that his wife was really in love with someone else who happened to be married. He got divorced before he even got home, vowing never to be so vulnerable and naÔve again.

Dylan finds himself attracted to Hannah and when he overhears her making plans with his married (but separated) brother Cal, Dylan decides he must step in. So he follows Hannah, misinterpreting everything that happens, and then convinces her to let him use her place to hunt for a job during the day. One thing leads to another and they find themselves having a hot affair. But Dylan still needs to find out what Hannah is doing with Cal and it doesnít look good.

The problem with this whole thing is that a few simple questions to Cal and the mystery would be solved. Or some direct questions to Hannah and she would have at least told him Cal needed her help. But no, Dylan is stubborn and would rather protect his pride than learn to trust another person. Hannah is not much better.

It is obvious this is a series, as people are introduced and it is assumed the reader knows their stories. We meet the entire family and Hannah is absorbed into them with ease. There is little other action, so as a reader, I found myself feeling a little tired about the third time Dylan distracts Hannah with sex instead of confronting her about his growing mistrust. Other complications include Dylan looking for work and trying to decide if he wants to stay in Holly Springs or take one of the offers in Chicago or San Francisco.

While it was ultimately nice seeing these two work out their problems and getting together, without the hot sex interludes, there wasnít much of a story. Calís story, next in the series, is set up nicely however. Fans of the series may enjoy Plain Janeís Secret Life. Others may just find it an acceptable read.

--Shirley Lyons

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