cover image After Tex

After Tex

Sherryl Woods. Mira Books, $5.99 (401pp) ISBN 978-1-55166-542-9

Woods, in her latest contemporary romance, redeems a silly plot contrivance with energetic pacing, snappy dialogue and an appealing romantic hero. Megan O'Rourke is a Martha Stewart clone with a whirlwind, workaholic Manhattan life. When her ornery grandfather, Tex, dies, she's shocked to find that she has inherited not only his ranch but also his illegitimate eight-year-old daughter, whom she is now required to raise in Wyoming. As if it isn't difficult enough moving a burgeoning communications empire to a town called Whispering Wind, Megan discovers Tex's closest advisor was charismatic Jake Landers, the man who broke her heart years before. Megan's rigidity and snobbishness grate at times; it's difficult to like a heroine capable of having a snit over packaged coffee the morning after her beloved granddad's funeral, but Woods warmly renders Megan's bumpy transition into both romantic and maternal love, eventually winning over the reader. Jake, on the other hand is lovable right from the start, a classic good-hearted bad-boy type with a nice mixture of charm and common sense. (Oct.)