Monday, May 26, 2014

The Marriage Pact- Linda Lael Miller

The Marriage Pact Linda Lael Miller Harlequin HQN, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778706 In Mustang Creek, Wyoming, determined Tripp Galloway marches to the front of the church with no opposition; as no one dares stop this resolute man on a mission. At the altar he tells the congregation there will be no marriage and dares the groom Oakley Smyth to explain to his fiancĂ©e why he will not wed the eighteen year old sister of his late best friend Will. Angry and confused Hadleigh Stevens begins a tirade that ends when he points out her “mate” kept silent rather than defend their right to wed. As he explains that Smyth has two kids with his pole dancer, Hadleigh hopes Tripp intruded out of love for her; but her fantasy dies when she realizes he acted on behalf of Will as he is already married. After her humiliation and rage diminished, Hadleigh and her BFFs Bex and Melody pledge The Marriage Pact in which each vows to marry for “true love or nothing.” A decade later, divorced Tripp returns home from California to care for his ailing widower father and save the family ranch. Hadleigh knows why she remained single; as Tripp is her one, but though attracted to her then and now, he hesitates. The characters and setting read similar to the Big Sky tales with Parable and Mustang Creek seemingly interchangeable; Linda Lael Miller fans will enjoy this second chance Cowboy State ranch romance as the support cast adds small-town depth to an entertaining storyline. The lead couple’s changing relationship is fun to follow as we get inside their heads although that profound look into their thoughts and feelings also slows down the pacing of a fine contemporary. Harriet Klausner

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