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    Review of THE C.E.O & THE COOKIE QUEEN by Victoria Chancellor (see her website)

    Harlequin American Romance # 992, October 2003

    When his baking company gets into trouble with the nutrition police, C.E.O. Greg Rafferty decides that the best defense is to show that cookies are a critical part of being an American. To do this, though, he needs a spokesperson. Since his company's top brand is that based on recipies by Carole Jacks, it seems that she would be the perfect spokesperson. So Greg heads from Chicago to Ranger Springs, Texas to meet the low profile genius behind the top cookies. He's expecting something between Betty Crocker and Julia Child. Instead, he finds a beautiful blonde single mom who is insistent on her privacy and anything but willing to go along with what he knows is essential to save his company. Worst, Greg's hormones spring into instant action. He wants Carole, and for a lot more than just his corporatre spokesman.

    Ten years ago, Carole had run off, gotten married and pregnant, only to find that her husband wanted his career, his drugs, and his alcohol more than he wanted a wife and child. She returned home to Ranger Springs determined to protect her daughter from her mistakes. Although she can't deny the sexual attraction that Greg exudes, becoming corporate spokesman is a nightmare to her, but Greg won't take no for an answer. Without her understanding quite how he is doing it, Greg moves into her life--he even buys her daughter's prize steer when he sees how miserable Jennifer is about the upcoming barbeque where that steer is scheduled to become guest of honor.

    Greg is almost happy when Carole turns him down--it gives him a chance to woo her without the complexities of a employee relationship, but he can't understand her determination to keep herself from the public eye. She is exactly what his company needs and Greg can't think of any other alternative to saving the company.

    Author Victoria Chancellor (see more reviews of novels by Chancellor) continues her popular Ranger Springs series with a charming story of love and cookies. Carole earns reader respect as her protectiveness for her daughter wars with her growing love for the man who wants to make her change her entire life. Chancellor stitches a tapestry of family ties and friendships that enrichen her story even as they give fans a chance to reacquaint themselves with favorite characters from earlier stories.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 9/24/03

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