OPEN IN NINE MONTHS by Leanna WilsonHarlequin American Romance #847, October 2000
When she left Sam McCall's hotel room, Joy Chase never expected to see him again. Of course she never expected to get pregnant either. When Sam moves into Jingle, the small town where she lives, she learns better.
Ex-rodeo cowboy Sam doesn't like women much. His ex-wife left him for another man and dumped their child on him. Since then, he found one woman he actually enjoyed being with, and she dumped him without even leaving a note. He intends to focus his energy on Lacey, his daughter. When he discovers Joy pregnant with his child, he knows he has to do the right thing--marry her. It isn't too much of an imposition, really. He wants a family, something he's never had. One thing for sure, he won't risk his heart.
With advice from Joy's father, Sam puts on a full-court press. He helps Joy at her shop, inveils her into helping him plan for Lacey's Christmas, and romances her with sleigh rides. His plan works, sort of. Despite her intentions, Joy finds herself falling in love with the handsome cowboy. It doesn't matter, though. She won't commit to a loveless marriage and she won't commit to a marriage where the love only goes one way. Until Sam can commit his heart, she isn't interested.
Leanna Wilson is a natural for the Harlequin American line with her deep understanding of and sympathy for small town living. Although Sam is a wounded hero, his wounds are not so deep that they cannot be washed away by love from the right woman. Wilson handles the oft-cliched secret baby hook convincingly, with Sam's reaction feeling right and appropriate for the character she has developed. Although this is her first Harlequin American, Wilson has also written for Silhouette Romance (see our reviews of ARE YOU MY DADDY and HIS TOMBOY BRIDE).
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