Category Archives: year 1986

texas storm deana james pino

Historical Romance Review: Texas Storm by Deana James

historical romance review
Texas Storm by Deana James
Rating: three-half-stars
Published: 1986
Illustrator: Pino
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Book Series: Texas/Angel Series #3
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 475
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Texas Storm by Deana James

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Deana JamesTexas Storm is yet another solid romance by the popular Zebra author. This western is chronologically book #3 of the Texas/Angel & Gillard-Macpherson family saga but was the first book published.

The Plot

It’s the mid-1830’s and Scottish immigrant Reiver MacPherson has been granted lands by the new Texas government. The dilapidated property he acquired belonged to an old Spanish family, but the place is now abandoned. Or at least Reiver thinks it is because, to his surprise, he finds an emaciated young wisp of a girl, Mercedes-Maria, whose family once owned the lands but fled to Mexico, leaving her behind.

So begins Deana James’ Texas Storm.

Mercedes is a bit of a wild child, and Reiver initially has no patience for her. She insists the land is hers; he claims it is his.

The two butt heads, although they eventually agree to work together. Slowly, a romance unfolds as the pair get to know one another—sexual attraction forms. With James’ trademark earthy sensuality describing the passages, their passion results in vivid lovemaking sessions.

Mercedes & Reiver get married more out of convenience than love. However, their love grows as they experience adventure after adventure.

They tame wild horses across the Llano Estacado (The Staked Plains) & amass a substantial sum of money, turning Reiver into a respected patron.

Later in the book, Mercedes is kidnapped by Comanches and must use her wits to survive, while Reiver rounds up people to save her. She meets and takes in an orphaned “half-breed” Comanche boy who’s an outcast from his tribe. This young boy will appear in another Deana James book, Texas Tempest, as the hero, MacPherson.

With her smarts and Reiver’s will, Mercedes is eventually rescued.

Life out West will always be filled with hardship, but together, Reiver and Mercedes-Maria can overcome the obstacle that comes their way.

Final Analysis of Texas Storm

Texas Storm will make a fine addition to your collection if you’re a lover of hardcore westerns.

Deana James is to westerns was Roberta Gellis is to medievals. I was immersed in the history and feel of the times. Reiver didn’t lack brave or heroic qualities as a leading man, but this was Mercedes-Maria’s story.

s usual with James, she writes unforgettable, multi-faceted heroines, each woman different and strong in her way.

Unfortunately, I lost this book around the halfway point, so the story’s rhythm was disturbed as I read it. So for me, Texas Storm wasn’t an “Oh my gosh, I love this book” read, but a satisfactory western romance about two hard-driven people and the dangers the early American frontier people faced.

All in all, though, it’s much better than many other Zebra romances I’ve read over the years.

3.75 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3.5
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
3.5
Cover
4
Overall: 3.8


Synopsis

ENTICING FILLY
Looking at the deserted spread he’d been awarded by General Sam Houston, Reiver MacPherson knew he was going to spend his days in backbreaking labor But when he spied a shapely blonde runaway hiding out on his property, he was sure that the breathless lusty nights would make it all worthwhile. A man could forget his troubles wrapped in the beauty’s long sleek limbs and covered by her spill of shining golden hair Even if she was feisty and fought against his strength, Reiver had been with enough women to know that after one deep kiss she’d come warm and willing to his side!

HOT-BLOODED STALLION
When Mercedes saw the russet-haired cowboy take over her ranch, she planned to keep out of sight ’til nightfall and plant her knife in the intruder’s heart by dawn! But before she knew what was happening, the proud lovely felt a hard lean body behind her and curving sensuous lips tracing a molten path along her neck. She fought him like a she-cat, telling herself over and over he was just a lowdown dirty landgrabber Then as his hands claimed and tamed her silken flesh, she knew his love would forever be as fierce and savage as a TEXAS STORM 

Texas Storm by Deana James
dont ask me now emma darcy

Category Romance Review: Don’t Ask Me Now by Emma Darcy

category romance
Don't Ask Me Now by Emma Darcy
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1986
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #984
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Don’t Ask Me Now by Emma Darcy

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Emma DarcyDon’t Ask Me Now is an unusual Harlequin Presents. Prior to this book, I had seen a similar love-triangle plot done in the Temptation line, which was more sexually explicit. To see this kind of story in an HP was a bit surprising.

The Unusual Plot

What’s the big deal? Well, this romance features two heroes! And the heroine sleeps with both–although it’s not as tawdry as it sounds.

Many years ago, the heroine, Cathy, had a torrid love affair with Hero #1 Anthony Pryor-Jones of the Pryor-Joneses, part of Australia’s creme-de-la-creme. His family disapproved of her as they were a wealthy clan, while Cathy was a nobody.

Hero #1 was obsessed with her, and they had fantastic sex. But the class divide was too much. Finally, Cathy broke free from the toxic relationship and relocated to Sydney.

Years have passed, and Cathy’s made a new life for herself. She’s got a great friend and business partner, Tom. Tom, Hero #2, has always wanted Cathy. Unfortunately, he’s been friend-zoned for some time.

Just when he thinks he’s breaking through her icy reserve, they bump into Anthony at a ball.

Cathy sees him, and her feelings come rushing back. Anthony wants her again, too.

Tom isn’t going to stand by and let it happen. He demands Cathy see him as he really is: a man, a desirable one, who genuinely cares for her.

Moreover, Tom’s not willing to play second fiddle to her ardent feelings for Anthony. Even if Tom knew Cathy loved him, he’s unwilling to be next-best in bed. Tom is rightfully jealous of the passionate relationship she shared with Anthony.

Don’t ask me now, Tom,” Cathy says to him, as she can’t decide what her heart wants. But she must.

Who Gets the Girl in This Love Triangle?

I’m happy to say that it’s the nice guy who wins out in the end. Hero #1 turns out to be no hero at all.

Tom and Cathy get invited to a weekend party at the Pryor-Jones estate. As Anthony sees that Tom and Cathy are drawing closer and Cathy won’t give in to him, he tries to make Cathy jealous. How? By having sex with a young girl in a car in the driveway (what a stud!). Then when he sees Cathy fleeing his family’s party, he cruelly and abruptly abandons the crying, confused girl.

Cathy easily realizes it’s Tom she wants, needs, and–most importantly–desires.

The pair share a memorable scene where they make love and break the bed. This occurs at the party at Pryor-Jones estate, so everyone will see the results of Tom and Cathy’s wildly erotic night.

Final Analysis of Don’t Ask Me Now

Don’t Ask Me Now is a wonderfully unique Harlequin Presents. It was written to keep you guessing who’s the right man in this love triangle, then made you root for that right man to get the girl. I don’t even want to imagine how this kind of plot would be addressed in a modern HP/ Mills and Boon. If it has, I don’t want to know!

Emma Darcy executed this plot with perfection. Although I’ve enjoyed many of her books, like Fantasy, this one is special. It’s one of my most beloved Harlequin Presents; if not a top 10 pick, then top 20 for sure.

5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
5
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.8

Synopsis

Only one man was offering the forever kind of love

Four years ago, Cathy Lawrence’s hopes of marrying Anthony Pryor-Jones had been humiliatingly crushed. The country girl from Armidale had been deemed no match for Anthony, whose family sat atop the social register in New South Wales–_ perhaps all Australia.

Since then she’d built a comfortable life for herself in Sydney, and had a steady relationship with Thomas Crawford–her business partner.

But when she bumped into Anthony at the charity ball, one brief look into those green eyes threw her emotions into churning conflict. He wanted her again. And Cathy wasn’t sure she had the willpower to resist the only man she thought she had ever loved. 

DON’T ASK ME NOW by EMMA DARCY
my hearts undoing

Category Romance Review: My Heart’s Undoing by Phyllis Halldorson

category romance
My Heart's Undoing by Phyllis Halldorson
Rating: three-half-stars
Published: 1986
Illustrator: Robert A. Maguire
Imprint or Line: Silhouette Special Edition #290
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: My Heart’s Undoing by Phyllis Halldorson

SPOILER ALERT ⚠️

The Book

What a frustrating read was My Heart’s Undoing by Phyllis Halldorson. This one was definitely filled with lots of anguish.

Two People In Love…Not Necessarily With Each Other

Colleen had been in love with Erik for years. However, as she stood in her more beautiful cousin’s shadow, Erik had no interest in her. They had briefly dated in the past, but Erik dumped her when he met her much more sophisticated (read: slutty) cousin, Brett. Erik and Brett become the town’s hottest couple, and soon they’re engaged to be married.

Despite the disinterest, Colleen hangs on like an attached puppy, Erik’s friend, to the end. When Brett calls off their wedding at the last minute for a promising modeling career across the country, Colleen is there to help Erik pick up the pieces.

He gets drunk, and they fall into bed together. Naturally, Colleen is a virgin and–naturally—gets pregnant.

Despite the complications this will make in the family, Erik proposes, and the two settle into a marriage filled with lots of love: Colleen’s love for Erik and Erik’s love for Colleen’s cousin.

Things take a turn for the worse. And then they for from worse to worst when Brett returns, her tails tucked between her legs as her career didn’t flourish the way she’d planned.

Will Erik take Brett back and forget his commitments to his ball and chain–er, his wife, Colleen?

Final Analysis of My Heart’s Undoing

I wanted to throttle both the hero and the heroine at times: the hero for being so stupidly infatuated with such a worthless woman, ignoring a very remarkable woman right before him, and the heroine for being such a prideless hanger-on.

Still, My Heart’s Undoing had its angsty moments, which made for a diverting read, particularly towards the end, when things come to a crazy head.

3 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3
Characters
3
Writing
3.5
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
3
Cover
4.5
Overall: 3.3

Synopsis

Colleen had been in love with Erik Johansen for as long as she could remember. And now, in just forty-eight hours, her green-eyed Viking was getting married to another woman, a beautiful model–her own cousin.

But when her cousin left him stranded at the altar, Colleen was there to pick up the pieces. She knew Erik had always thought of her as a little sister, but this night he needed her. And she had never stopped needing him. In one night of unforgettable passion, their lives were inextricably joined. But suddenly Colleen had a decision to make. Could Erik learn to return her love, or was she tied forever to a man she would never really possess?

My Heart’s Undoing by Phyllis Halldorson
highland tryst

Historical Romance Review: Highland Tryst by Jean Canavan

Highland Tryst, Pocket Books, 1986, Elaine Gignilliat cover art

Tapestry Romance #85

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

1 star

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The Book

Let me spoil this turkey and save anyone who’s even contemplating reading this mess of a book their valuable time. As far as I know, we only live one life, and there’s no reason to spend a moment of it in undeserved agony.

(Highland Tryst is also about 30 years out of print, so I don’t feel too bad about hurting anyone’s career.)

The Plot

Kathlyn and Alex are from warring Scottish clans. When Highland Tryst begins, they are already lovers, frequently meeting for very intimate encounters. They’ve seen each other naked, inside and out. They know what the other looks like, sounds like, smells like…

So to be totally clear: they’ve HAD SEX WITH EACH OTHER MANY TIMES.

Their families discover the affair. The secret lovers are cruelly separated. Kathlyn flees from her family into the wilderness and comes into danger.

Duncan, an ugly, deformed stranger, rescues her. His looks repel Kathlyn at first. He cares for her and shows her his gentle nature. Duncan is so kind that eventually, they fall in love.

And HAVE SEX.

So now, Kathlyn is torn between two men. On the one hand, there is her handsome former lover. On the other is the kind–yet ugly–stranger who saved her.

Guess what? There’s a twist…

Duncan is actually Alex! He was in disguise the whole time. With a bit of mud here, some padding there, a change of facial expressions, and viola! He created a new secret identity that only he and the plastic surgeons of the 21st century could master.

All is well and Kathlyn and Alex have their HEA.

Final Analysis of Highland Tryst

Highland Tryst by Jean Canavan. What can I say about it? It was dumb… Just dumb.

And boring, to boot!

Rating Report Card
Plot
0.5
Characters
0.5
Writing
1
Chemistry
0.5
Fun Factor
0.5
Cover
4
Overall: 1.2
heart so wild

Historical Romance Review: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey

historical romance review
A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1986
Illustrator: Robert McGinnis
Book Series: Stratton Family #1
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

I just realized I had Johanna Lindsey‘s western romance A Heart So Wild on my Kindle. Since I hadn’t read it in 25 years, I figured why not give it a re-read?

And you know what? I loved this book more the second time around than the first.

The Plot

Why did I enjoy A Heart So Wild that much?

  • Heroine & hero “meet” when the heroine, Courtney, is getting sexually assaulted by an outlaw. What does the hero do? He sees a man messing with a woman and right away shoots the bad guy dead.
  • Enigmatic hero with a mysterious and tragic past.
  • The heroine needs a gunslinger to guide her through hostile Indian territory to find her missing father.
  • The hero, Chandos, fights, beats, and kills men who try to kidnap or try to rape the heroine.
  • A snakebite where the heroine sucks the blood out of the hero’s wound for an hour (!), and then he gets sick, revealing more in his fever dreams than he would if he was fine.
  • Quick love scenes that express passion, aren’t too purple in prose, and don’t go on for endless pages.

This western trek romance takes us through the deserts and wilderness as Courtney and Chandos travel to find her long-lost father. A Heart So Wild is more of a character-driven than a plot-driven romance, which is fine by me.

I’m so glad I gave this one a reread, as it made me remember why for such a long time, Johanna Lindsey was my favorite author: she’s easy to read. Sometimes reading is a chore, and it shouldn’t be if it’s a hobby I supposedly love.

The Characters

Courtney is a pleasant enough type. She grows on you as the story develops. And Chandos is just… Well, he’s the kind of hero that made Lindsey sell tens of millions of books.

He’s a hard nut to crack, but once Chandos falls, he falls hard and forever. Still, he retains that stubborn arrogance that was a trademark of the heroes in the first half of Lindey’s career.

“You’re my woman, cateyes. You’ve been my woman since I first laid eyes on you.”

That didn’t satisfy her. “Say it!”

He grinned and jerked her down onto his lap, where she sat stiffly, waiting, until at last he said, “I love you. Is that what you want to hear? I love you so much I’ve got no direction without you.”

“Oh, Chandos.” She melted against him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I love—”

“Uh-uh.” He stopped her. “You better think real carefully before you say anything, cateyes, because if you give me your love, I’m not going to let you take it back. I can’t keep worrying about whether or not I can make you happy. I’ll try my best but there isn’t going to be any changing your mind later. Do you understand what I’m saying? If you’re going to be my woman, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever let you go.”

Final Analysis of A Heart So Wild

Chandos is a wonderful Lindsey hero. Courtney is a likable, strong-willed heroine. Together they make for a sizzling combination.

Johanna Lindsey would revisit Courtney and Chandos in All I Need Is You, which tells the tale of their bounty-hunter daughter. That book was okay.

A Heart So Wild is one of Lindsey’s best, of which there are many!

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
4
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.6

Synopsis:

Courtney Harte is certain her missing father is a alive, lost somewhere deep in Indian territory. But she needs a guide to lead her safely through this dangerous, unfamiliar country, someone as wild and unpredictable as the land itself. And that man is the gunslinger they call Chandos.

Courtney fears this enigmatic loner whose dark secrets torture his soul, yet whose eyes, bluer than the frontier sky, enflame the innocent, determined lady with wanton desires. But on the treacherous path they have chosen they have no one to trust but each other–as shared perils to their lives and hearts unleash turbulent, unbridled, passions that only love can tame.

A HEART SO WILD by JOHANNA LINDSEY
CATEGORIES: , , , , , , , ,

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