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The Girl Most Likely To    by Susan Donovan order for
Girl Most Likely To
by Susan Donovan
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Kat Cavanaugh’s world comes tumbling down when her boyfriend tells her he doesn't want to see her any more and to get lost. Too shocked and then too proud to tell him that she's pregnant, Kat leaves town. Nobody else seems to care what happens to her either: she's just been kicked out of school, her father threatens to kill her after Kat catches him with another woman, and her mouse of a mother all but ushers her daughter to the outskirts of town, so afraid is she of her husband's reaction should he discover that his sixteen-year-old daughter is pregnant. If not for the kindness of two complete strangers, Kat would never have survived a week on her own.

Twenty years pass and Kat is ready to head home and announce that she had indeed survived, that she is now a very wealthy woman and that she expects an apology from every single person who ever maligned her - most especially Riley Bohland, the boy she'd adored with all her heart and who shattered it into a million bitter pieces. However, as far as Riley's concerned it will be a cold day in hell before he ever apologizes to Kat Cavanaugh - not after she's kept his son from him for the past nineteen years! But despite their mutual anger, it's clear their intense passion still burns bright. Will Kat and Riley be able to mend their emotional rifts and finally begin their long-delayed life together or will a series of old and ugly secrets only tear them further apart?

Susan Donovan always presents engaging and character-rich stories and The Girl Most Likely To is no different, although this time her plot does border on being overly convoluted. Riley and Kat's initial break-up, the catalyst the sets the story rolling, is also rather weak, given Riley's kind and giving nature, even as a teenager. Donovan's quirky secondary characters certainly add zest to the plot, but unfortunately their personal demons and various schemes for revenge (particularly those of Kat's disturbing father Virgil) often detract from Riley and Kat's attempts to sort through their personal baggage and work toward reconciliation. As a whole though, The Girl Most Likely To is another engaging contemporary romance that's sure to leave you smiling.

An additional note: thumbs down on the publisher's choice of cover design - a woman in a stripper's pose undressing behind a set of swinging doors - the inference has nothing at all to do with the storyline!

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