by Linda Lael Miller

December 2004
ISBN: 0-7434-2275-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

Who doesn’t love Linda Lael Miller’s stories? One of the leading voices of today in both historical and contemporary romance, she delivers another chapter in the McKettrick Cowboys series with Secondhand Bride.

Jeb McKettrick the youngest of the brawling brood of patriarch Angus McKettrick’s sons won’t let his older brothers win the contest their father set in motion. The first of the brothers to wed and father a grandchild for Angus gets the family ranch, the Triple M. His two older brothers, Rafe and Kade, have already found their brides, and no one believes Jeb when he returns from Tombstone claiming he too has a bride. At least that is until a hellion with flaming red hair comes storming on to the ranch all bent on getting her hands around Jeb’s throat. Welcome, Chloe Wakefield, the woman Jeb married!

After a whirlwind courtship, and quickie marriage, Chloe Wakefield cannot believe she has been duped…..again! Having once before leapt before she looked into marriage, Chloe thought it was the real deal with Jeb McKettrick that is until their wedding night! Jeb learned from Chloe’s gunslinger ex-husband, evil Jack Barrett about their short lived marriage, which Jack claimed was still valid! Chloe found out that all Jeb is interested in her for is to win the contest that will give him the ranch! What a dilemma! Then Jeb disappears before Chloe can produce the now missing proof of her divorce from Jack and it isn’t until Chloe winds up in Indian Rock looking for her uncle that she sees her no account husband Jeb and is hell bent on making him pay for all her troubles! The chemistry is explosive between these two as the McKettrick family looks on! Yep, Chloe will fit right in!

In a way, I was kind of happy and disappointed with this latest installment to the McKettrick series. The romance of Chloe and Jeb almost plays second banana to that of the plot of Jeb’s half brother Holt finding out he has a ten-year-old daughter. The majority of the book Chloe and Jeb are at each other’s throats with Holt thrown in as the third in a romantic triangle. To add to an already convoluted plot, we get the standard evil villain in the form of Chloe’s former husband, twisted Jack Barrett, who for the life of me I cannot figure out why he didn’t just grab Chloe back in Tombstone, but has to follow her to Indian Rock to seek his revenge? Then the emotional pay off we all want comes very quickly at the last few pages. I was pleased to see that Angus’ first-born son, Holt finally begins to become one of the McKettricks. I so enjoyed the first two installments of this series, High Country Bride, and Shot Gun Bride. Here’s hoping Linda Lael Miller gives Holt a better story when his turn comes!

Reviewed in January 2005 by Bonnie.

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