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The Bridegroom: A Stone Creek Novel    by Linda Lael Miller order for
by Linda Lael Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2009 (2009)
Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Miller returns to Stone Creek Arizona and the lives and loves of the Yarbro brothers, this time focussing on the youngest, Gideon. As the story opens, his train is on a stopover in Phoenix before its final leg to Stone Creek. While he's happy at the prospect of reuniting with his brothers, Wyatt and Rowdy, Gideon's presence in town is also part pretence - there are some shady shenanigans down at the new copper mine and he's going in undercover to see what's happening.

Phoenix also holds other memories for Gideon - those of Lydia Fairmont. Ten years ago, she was an eight-year-old orphan who'd lost her father during a blizzard. Gideon's brothers had taken her in until they were able to track down her relatives - two maiden aunts living in Phoenix. On the day she left, Gideon promised that if she ever needed him, or found herself in trouble, he'd come running. But she never contacted him and Gideon figures that Lydia is probably married by now with children of her own - and that she's forgotten all about his promise to protect her. When Gideon discovers that Lydia is being forced into a marriage to a greedy banker, he's determined to honour his decade old promise.

Miller relies on various clichéd plot points to kick off her story, including Gideon's rather heavy-handed ploy to save Lydia from a disastrous marriage. Once all the important characters are settled in Stone Creek, however, the story moves right along as both Gideon and Lydia begin to realise that theirs won't long remain a marriage of convenience. Throw in Lydia's jilted fiancé looking for revenge, and assassins bent on stopping Gideon's investigation, and there's plenty to keep readers turning the pages of another lively and authentic western romance.

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