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    Review of PRICELESS MARRIAGE by Bonnie Gardner

    MILLIONAIRE MONTANA

    Harlequin American Romance #970, May 2003

    When her husband broke her promise to her to stay away from dangerous air force missions, Ruby Cade files for divorce. She can't stand the helpless feeling of waiting for him to be hurt. Now she's won the Montana State Lottery and has made a new life for herself as an organic farmer. But when injured Sam Cade returns from the wars, all of her resolutions threaten to go out the window. Ruby still feels the attraction, still burns with desire, still loves the man she married ten years earlier. But can she risk her heart again, when she is finally getting back to her feet? If he betrays her again, she will surely never recover.

    Sam Cade doesn't know exactly why his wife filed for divorce, but he's a soldier--and he plans on putting up a good fight before he gives up this battle. He pitches in on her new farm, all the while shooting nasty looks at the hunky 'hippie,' Nick, who seems just as ready to help comfort Ruby in any way he can. Sam has always craved adventure, whether from driving his corvette or dropping behind enemy lines. Little did he know that his ultimate fight, and peak excitement, would come from the battle to reclaim his own wife.

    Author Bonnie Gardner writes a nice story, but one that she doesn't really seem to put her heart into. Rose spends the first half the book avoiding conversation with Sam although she claims that she wants a chance to get to know him again before deciding what to do--wouldn't it make more sense to talk to the man? I would also have liked to see more development of the conflict. Ruby has been hurt, but she doesn't seem to do much with the hurt except hold onto it. The black moment and resolution are telegraphed early, reducing the book's emotional pull. The hints at the mystery that ties together the novels in the MILLIONAIRE MONTANA series don't really add much.

    PRICELESS MARRIAGE comes alive when Sam takes center stage. He is an American hero who is willing to fight for what he wants. His suppressed jealous feelings about Nick are sympathtic and useful in showing the deep feelings that he has a hard time expressing in words. His willingness to pitch in at building Ruby's farm--a dream he doesn't really understand but is willing to accept for her sake--and his raw emotions when he sees the bed he and Ruby shared, and that she abandoned when she moved to the farm all ring true.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/24/03

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