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Image: Four moon gifPocket Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0-671-04248-3
Like a present all wrapped in a pretty package, review books arrive in my mailbox. Wanting to prolong the moment, I hold them, look them over, and then open and begin to read. Sometimes the work doesn't live up to the wrapping, and sometimes the author gives me a gift to treasure.

Book: Linda Lael Miller, Springwater Wedding Springwater Wedding meets all the qualifications for a treasure, and now I need to find the six books that preceded it and read more about the wonders and genesis of the town of Springwater, Mont. As I understand it, the previous books are historical romances, and this stand-alone contemporary romance stars the descendants of the town founders.

Quitting a high-pressure job and a former husband, Maggie McCaffrey, descendant of town founders June-Bug and Jacob McCaffrey, returns to Springwater and begins converting a 19th century stagecoach station into a bed-and-breakfast. Maggie yearns for close family ties and old friends. She didn't expect to find her former sweetheart J.T. Wainwright -- a man who can still set her pulse racing -- in residence or her parents' marriage dissolving into acrimony or any number of other things.

Book: Linda Lael Miller, Springwater Seasons

After surviving a gunshot wound, a failed marriage, and the death of his partner, J.T., a former New York homicide detective, returns to his family ranch hoping to return it to a paying proposition. He hopes for a second chance with Maggie, but lawbreakers rustling cattle, poisoning herds and then doing some killing hamper his courtship. J.T. allows himself to be recruited into the local police force and begins unraveling the clues to a crime spree that began long ago -- and led to his father's death.

Endearing characters, small town togetherness, neighbors caring for neighbors, crimes that shouldn't be happening and a beautiful and sensual love story -- what more could a reader want? Springwater Wedding goes on my keeper shelf and stays there. I loved every word of it and intend to see what other marvelous books the author can gift me with.

Patricia Lucas White

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