by Ann Jacobs

September 2003
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Ann Jacobsí Dallas Heat, tells the story of Gayla and Dan, two emotionally and physically wounded people who are afraid of love and commitment. Gayla, a swim coach who was once on track for the Olympics, has spent much of her adult life addicted to drugs and alcohol. When she meets Dan, sheís recovering from her addictions, but knows she has a long road to hoe.

Dan is a surgeon with a big heart and an open mind. As a child, he lost his leg to cancer and then overcame many odds to become the talented surgeon that everyone knows him to be. Unfortunately, he works in a hospital run by a ruthless, hateful man who also happens to be Gaylaís father. We donít know at first why Gaylaís father canít seem to stand the sight of her, but we do know that it hurts her to the core to know that he does.

When Dan and Gayla meet, he falls for her almost immediately. She is hesitant at first because she thinks he only wants to be with her in an effort to win points with her dad. When she finds out that isnít the case, she still hesitates because she fears her father will ruin Danís career if he gets involved with her. However, against her better judgment, she and Dan start a relationship Ė a relationship that is based on laughter, friendship, hot sex, but not, however, true honesty. Dan is holding something back from Gayla; a secret that he feels will make her leave him. Of course the mere presence of a secret causes problems in the relationship, because Gayla mistakenly thinks that she is somehow lacking what Dan needs.

Also having pretty big roles in this novel are Sylvia and Ruth, Gaylaís and Danís dead mothers, respectively. These two heavenly spirits hatch a plan to get their two offspring together. Throughout the book, they scheme and try to think of ways to get their children to realize that they belong together. I liked Sylvia, but not Ruth. Ruth was domineering and, sometimes just downright awful.

Gayla and Dan are both likable, believable characters who are struggling with self-doubts and very real human fears. Dallas Heat, was a pleasurable read that made me smile.

Reviewed in November 2003 by Lisa.

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