Mark Remington is sent by his adopted family to check on his brother’s widow, Lauren McKenzie. She’s not getting out, not engaging, and they’re worried about her! Mark really doesn’t want to go; he’s not seen her in seven years, for what he thinks are quite valid reasons, given what happened on the eve of Lauren and Nate’s wedding…
Mark is pretty sure he’s no good for Lauren, but he knows that there’s no one he wants in his life more; Lauren is struggling with the memory of her dead husband who she couldn’t quite love enough, because she’s been carrying the torch for Mark all this time. Mark spent years as a race-car driver, avoiding his family…avoiding Lauren, and the confrontation that must now happen. But there’s a wrinkle–Lauren is pregnant with her deceased husband’s child, and before his death, he had really messed up their finances. So Mark steps in to the rescue. Once Lauren and Mark come to grips with the past, they are free to love each other, and the baby.
You know, in rereading that, it looks flat and one-dimensional, not at all a summary of a top-shelf story. But I really don’t want to spoil all the fun! There are some subplots here, like why Mark doesn’t think he’d be good for Lauren, that really make him come to life as a character; he was a foster kid, and only while he was away did he deal with his own past, and the tale of how he did that just makes him shine for the wonderful man he is.
Lauren is a good woman who’s pretty overwhelmed with everything that happened to her–her husband killed by a drunk driver, she’s pregnant, and their finances are a shambles. She’s definitely in need of rescuing, and some TLC. She gets that, when Mark insists that she move to his ranch, where she can rest, relax, and get ready for the baby to arrive.
Yes, there’s conflict–Lauren at-first resists his offers of help, because they remind her of her failure as a wife to his brother Nate. She loved Nate–but she’s always loved Mark more, and regrets not being able to be fully happy with the man she married. Mark, for his part, resists when Lauren starts to show that love to him. After their first intimate evening, he flees the ranch for three days, with no explanation, which eventually provokes their finally talking out all that had happened.
…and the hot parts–wowie. Silhouette Desire is known for explicit descriptions, and In His Loving Arms is written by an experienced author in that line. The scenes are incredibly hot, but tender and loving; their first, while she is still pregnant, is handled extremely well; our author is clearly aware of the potential (ahem!) obstacles to sex with a very-pregnant woman, and the matter is dealt with wonderfully, and beautifully. There is nothing raunchy or icky about the lovemaking in this story–it’s a wonderful, joyous thing…as it should be.
The twists and turns of this plot are but gentle curves, just enough to keep you wondering. The characters are rich, wonderful people dealing with a tough situation together, and the joyous end totally justifies the means. With In His Loving Arms, Cindy Gerard gives us a sure-fire winner, and I highly recommend it.