Blue Skies by Cynthia VanRooy
(Precious Gem #248, $1.96, PG) ISBN 0-8217-6551-5
Blue Skies is based on a premise that's a familiar one. A woman who has lost her husband, in this instance a Navy pilot whose plane crashed, is afraid to fall in love with another pilot. She's already seen one love die and is unwilling to trust her heart to a man whose job is just as dangerous, a man who risks his life every day. Yet she's drawn to him in spite of all her good intentions.

Gina LaSalle is a Navy widow whose husband died five years ago. Monk Jamieson, a good friend of Gina's husband, is a Navy pilot who's relocating to San Diego. These two share a history; Monk was the one who broke the news to Gina about her husband's death. Even though they haven't seen each other for five years, they're comfortable together. Gina, a San Diego realtor, is even helping Monk find a place to live.

In addition to being too sexy for a woman's peace of mind, Monk is genuinely affectionate toward Gina's two children, ten-year-old Doug and budding charmer Emma. Monk's interaction with the kids is great fun to read, if a trifle unrealistic. It takes a rare man to deal with children on a level that they can accept logically and graciously, but Monk manages to placate the children time and again.

As I was reading, I began to notice that I was feeling an intensity, an interest that I hadn't felt for quite a while. It took me a while to analyze what was causing my curious, newly-whetted interest. Essentially Blue Skies is told from Gina's POV. Instead of knowing Monk's private reactions and motivations, we're as clueless as Gina. That spark, that tiny bit of fear, added to my enjoyment. I do appreciate an author giving us dual points of view, but this was an entertaining change.

Another thing that I liked about Blue Skies was the writing. It's clean, with well-chosen adjectives and snappy dialog. As short as Precious Gem Romances are, this didn't have a hurried or unpolished feel to it.

If you're looking for a romance that's reminiscent of older stories, ones written before his and her points of view were common, Blue Skies would be a good choice. It has just enough low-key angst and uncertainty, those ‘butterflies in the stomach' feelings, to remind us of real-life dealings with the opposite sex.

--Linda Mowery

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