|Caroline Clemmons: The Most Unsuitable Wife|
Zebra (Paperback), ISBN 0-8217-7443-3
Drake Kincaid knew about the condition of his parents' will ever since their death a decade ago. But he believed his grandfather, a judge, wouldn't hold him to it -- or else his cousin Lex Tremont would find a loophole to squeeze through. No such luck. So to keep his beloved ranch, Drake must find wife before his thirtieth birthday, which looms ever nearer.
Pearl Parkerís life began poorly and went downhill from there. But she puts on a cheerful face and weathers each hardship as it comes, doing everything possible to keep her half brother and half sister with her. Her compassionate nature extends itself to others in her small town, where she serves as the local healer. Drake passes through the town searching for horses to buy and discovers Pearl fending off three local thugs.
Drake and Pearl decide that marrying solves many of their problems -- he keeps his ranch, she and her family can move to a safer place. After a quick wedding, Drake, Pearl and Pearl's entourage -- including Pearls' half sister Sarah, half brother Storm and "cousin" Belle (really a whore recovering from a severe beating at the hands of a patron) -- head off to Texas.
But the danger Pearl
fears doesn't stay behind. A rockslide stalls their travel, and an attacker
tries to throw Pearl off a train. A mysterious fire razes the small restaurant
Pearl sets up in her new hometown. As the danger grows, tender feelings
develop between Drake and Pearl. Once her pursuer arrives in town and
abducts Pearl and her siblings, Drake becomes hell-bent on saving all
of them. However, the pursuer's identity and hideout remain a mystery.
Caroline Clemmons writes an average plot, but the romance between her lead characters comes across as forced and wooden. Also, she throws a few too many extra plots into the mix. They would flow well in a longer book, but it becomes too much in a mere 300 pages.
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