Jake Bannister needs a piece of land with a waterhole for his cattle. Tom Maguire needs a husband for his daughter, Sally. If Jake will marry Sally he can have the water and the land as a wedding present.

But Sally Maguire is a hellion with a caustic tongue and though Jake is sure the skinny girl he remembers is nothing but trouble, he agrees to Tom's proposal.

Sally, who has been at teacher's college in St. Louis, is stunned to find Jake waiting to escort her to her father's ranch in Honey Creek, Oregon. When Jake realizes that the beautiful woman who steps off the train is Sally, he begins to think Tom's idea isn't a bad one.

Sparks and a scale of emotions fly between them. Wooing the tough Sally isn't easy for Jake, but he tries because she stirs his heart more than he dreamed. The whole town is taking bets on Jake's success.

Sally's one desire, however, is to teach and she will let nothing get in the way. Pride wars with passion as Sally must learn to trust in Jake and to follow her heart. Fear of commitment and of losing her identity motivate Sally to reject Jake, but the path of true love is never straight. This is the message Ms. Banning sends her readers. With a cast of wonderful characters, humor and sentiment we can identify and rejoice with this wonderful heroine. SWEET (Mar., 299 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Evelyn Feiner