cover image The Marriage Pact

The Marriage Pact

Linda Lael Miller. HQN, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-77870-6

In Miller’s lackluster contemporary series opener, 18-year-old Hadleigh Stevens’s wedding is rudely interrupted by Tripp Galloway, who sweeps into the church of their small Wyoming town’s and literally carries Hadleigh out so she won’t marry the wrong man. Hadleigh’s vulnerable heart is broken twice that day when she discovers that Tripp isn’t the right man, either; he’s only keeping a promise to her dead older brother by keeping an eye on her. Ten years later, Hadleigh remains single but has formed a marriage pact with her two best friends, swearing they will each settle for “true love or nothing.” She crosses paths again with Tripp, who is divorced and back home to take care of his ailing father, but this time, their relationship grows. Miller (Ragged Rainbows) treads familiar ground with her detailing of close-knit small town life, developed characters, sweet romance, and a hint of cowboy excitement. However, a strong reliance on internal angst rather than external action slows the story’s forward motion. (June)