The Millionaire's Waitress Wife
by Carolyn Zane
(Silh. Romance #1482, $3.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-19482-X
***
Reading The Millionaire's Waitress Wife and expecting a story with any bearing on reality is like watching the Miss America Pageant and expecting to see average women. It ain't gonna happen, folks. The Millionaire's Waitress Wife takes a very lighthearted look at relationships, with an emphasis on the word very.

The Millionaire's Waitress Wife is book six in the Brubaker Brides series. This time around Big Daddy Brubaker has three hunky nephews who'll need ‘Brubaker Brides.' The nephew in this story is Dakota Brubaker, millionaire in disguise, who appears to be a devotee of HeeHaw's brand of humor.

Following Dakota's story, Montana Brubaker will get his story told in Montana's Feisty Cowgirl (SR 1488), available in December. It's Tex Brubaker's turn in January, with Tex's Exasperating Heiress (SR1494).

Elizabeth Derovencourt, who's only lived in Hidden Valley, Texas for two months, has caught the eye of Dakota Brubaker, one of the filthy rich Texas Brubakers. Elizabeth is a waitress at Ned's Lonestar Grill and lives in a single-wide trailer. That's low on the housing chain; the higher-ups have double-wides. She's as happy as a family of ticks on a hound dog with her life in Hidden Valley. Dakota is smitten with her, and part of her appeal is that she doesn't know he's rich and doesn't look at him with dollar signs in her eyes.

When Elizabeth's brother, a man with a black shoulder bag, walks into the grill, Elizabeth knows her escape is over. She had come to Hidden Valley to escape the pressures from her wealthy family. Big brother has come to take her back to Dallas, where she's supposed to marry a wealthy man, a merger that will enhance both family fortunes.

As a last ditch effort to save herself from a life she's come to loathe in Dallas, she lies to her brother, telling him that she and Dakota are newlyweds. One thing leads to another, and Elizabeth and Dakota are on their way to Dallas to meet Elizabeth's grandmother, the matriarch and CEO of a large cosmetic firm. Elizabeth loves her grandmother, but wants to be able to live her own life. The only way she sees herself doing this is to be disinherited.

And this is where Dakota will prove invaluable, Elizabeth reasons. What makes Dakota so appealing to Elizabeth is that she thinks that he's poor, just a guy who works on a ranch. Elizabeth has seen firsthand how immense wealth can corrupt a family. Dakota seems perfect, a man to whom money isn't important. She's even going to pay him to come to Dallas to be her pretend-husband, a husband so outlandish that her family will be repulsed at her choice of a husband.

Is there anybody who doesn't see where this is headed?

Dakota fully embraces his role as Elizabeth's hillbilly hick champion. Their dinner with her family takes on surreal overtones. How else would you describe a dinner where someone wears chaps and spurs, practices roping techniques with an extension cord, licks his plate clean, brags about weekend hunting to lob grenades at Thumper and Bambi, and leaves a tip under his plate for the maid? Add a few more scenes like this, and you've got the gist of the humor.

The only thing that I don't find plausible is that both Elizabeth and Dakota profess a willingness to give up all their money if that smoothes the course of true love. Elizabeth's desire to be free of all of her family's wealth doesn't ring true. Call me mercenary, but there's nothing romantic about poverty for poverty's sake.

Even though I consider this story silly, it's a well-done silly. It's the sort of book that you give to somebody with a wink and a grin. Hee-Haw, the Three Stooges and Ace Venture are silly, too, and they appeal to somebody. The Millionaire's Waitress Wife just needs someone who appreciates the goofy, laughable side of life.

--Linda Mowery


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