Three bridegrooms for three sisters: Roberts (True Betrayals
, 1995, etc.) stylishly moseys into Big Sky romance. Jack Mercy was a mean son of a bitch when he was alive, and as a corpse, buried with his Stetson and his bullwhip, he's not much better. According to his will, his three daughters, who've never met and whom Jack had by three different wives, must live together for a year at his big Montana ranch house in order to win their inheritance. During the long winter, the women bicker and bond and get entangled with three sexy, strapping fellows. Roberts has always been a winner at sexual tension and sexy dialogue, and so the reader gets to see not one but three couples get past the preliminaries and into the sack. The youngest sister, cowgirl Willa, manager of the Mercy ranch and daughter of an Ute mother, matches wits and strong wills with Ben McKinnon, lusty part owner of the Three Rocks spread. Lily, from Virginia, is a delicate, bird-boned creature who's been battered by her husband, but is now taken under the wing of Adam Wolfchild, Willa's Indian half-brother. And, finally, Tess, a sharp-dressing, wisecracking screenwriter from Hollywood who couldn't wait to get back to Rodeo Drive, stays to marry Nate, a frontier lawyer who raises horses, graduated from Yale, and loves Keats. Providing the usual Roberts suspense is a serial killer who guts and scalps his victims—not only humans but (in the newest romance-novel manifestation of evil) calves, cats, skunks and deer. (Why would anyone do that to Bambi's mom? wails Tess.) Roberts also includes a genuine, successful red herring, virgin territory for most romance writers, and incorporates all the important rituals of the genre with her customary skill and humor. A good read on a long winter's night.
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