cover image SWEET NOTHINGS


Catherine Anderson, . . Onyx, $6.99 (464pp) ISBN 978-0-451-41015-3

Pick a romance cliché and you're sure to find it in this lengthy, formulaic offering from one of the genre's veteran writers. After Molly Wells steals a badly abused race horse from her nasty ex-husband Rodney, she takes the animal to Jake Coulter's Oregon ranch. Molly had hoped Jake, a horse whisperer, would be a man like Robert Redford, and she isn't disappointed; he's handsome, gentle and caring, and he has a way with horses. Since Molly is homeless and on the lam from Rodney, who had her committed for mental instability so he could gain control of her estate, she accepts Jake's offer to work as cook and housekeeper at the ranch. Molly's lack of domestic skills isn't lost on Jake, but he's willing to put up with stir fry dishes and disgruntled ranch hands just to keep her close. The situation takes a personal turn when Rodney shows up to drag Molly back to the institution. The only way to stop him, and a court order, is for Jake to marry Molly. But for Molly, marriage means letting a man take control of her life again, and she wants nothing to do with it. Fans who enjoy double-sized category romances will devour Anderson's latest offering (after Phantom Waltz), but others might find themselves yawning through the 400-plus pages of over-used phrases and predictable plot turns. (Jan. 8)