Let’s face it, shall we? There are many types of romance heroes to admire, but none one so consistently can count on to live rough, love hard and talk dirty as the western cowboy or ranch hand. They do nasty, tedious, back-breaking labor. They go long stretches without women while thinking about not much else but women and what they’ll do to those women when they finally – and it really must be said this way – get those women under them.
The persona of this guy in romance – especially erotic romance – allows for all the great dynamics of alpha-heading-toward-HEA behavior: lust; begrudging tenderness; jealousy; selflessness; irrational anger; emotional befuddlement; solo shower scenes.
So when an erotic-romance anthology comes along written by an author proven to be on the short list of best in her field, you’ve just gotta know about it, especially when it’s Jaci Burton’s dare-you-not-to-drop-everything-to-read-it fine and hot “Bound, Branded, & Brazen.” In it, the McMasters sisters reunite on the family ranch expecting to take care of some old business – and end up getting a whole lot of new love and life to look forward to.
-- Bound: Great sex may not be a good enough reason to keep a commitment-phobic girl home on the range, but it’s a great starting point for her ranch-foreman ex to lure her to take another look-see. So when Valerie returns from her big-city doctoring job to help her sisters, Mason reminds her what drew them together from the first should definitely be enjoyed for however long Valerie’ll hang around. But he’s counting on that intimacy opening her heart to how finally identifying and fulfilling her own needs may open her eyes to finding happiness she’s not scored by taking care of everyone else’s.
-- Branded: Brea’s found hiding behind her smart-girl job, and spending most of her free time buried in the pages of romance novels, good ways to avoid her perceived shortcomings, especially in the relationships and sexual intimacy areas. Yet time spent back home has her attention turning to Gage, the unassuming, self-proclaimed drifter who so masterfully, yet gently, tames wild horses. Gage works his magic on women, too, and soon has Brea in a lather, ready to act out her most secret, precious, fantasies. Brea understands Gage is the love ‘em/leave ‘em type, and works to enjoy, not go wild for him. Yet looks like this time around, Gage might be the one getting roped in.
-- Brazen: Model-gorgeous and ranch-hand-rough-talking Jolene McMasters has turned the family cattle business into a success through hard work and business know-how. Yet the bursting-with-confidence dynamo’s tied up in knots over ranch hand Walker Morgan, who seems to be playing hard to get, regardless of how she can tell he’s hot for her. He says it’s “bad business” to get involved intimately with the boss. But when Walker’s “yes” actions speak louder than his continued verbal rejections, Jolene starts wondering whether there’s something more to his story – and starts to worry he may simply see her as nothing more than “just one of the guys.”
Spy the name Jaci Burton on the spine of a novel, and you’re guaranteed not just a sexy, get-the-body-humming read, but also one that melds the sensual with the all-important building of intimacy and relational dynamics between partners. Oh, and Burton always fronts the reader some really fine writing.
So forget about silly male dancers in chaps, or any other dime-store cowboy imitations. Get you some grade-A, prime, down-home-and-dirty, Jaci Burton-style real men of the range. --
Buy the book.
What do you like about the "sisters/girlfriends find love" anthologies? Are they ever anything like the relationships you share w/your sisters/friends? Do you prefer this type of anthology to ones in which heroes play the larger roles?
***TOMORROW: Resident nice girls Gannon Carr and PJ Ausdenmore of TheRomanceDish.com reveal some shockingly naughty inside stuff in their RBTB cyber-pals’ column while singing the praises of Mary Wine’s sophomore hit, “In the Warrior’s Bed!”
FRIDAY: Amy Kennedy on the woo-woo and wooing within Lois Greiman’s “Charming the Devil.” March 1: Kaki Warner GuestBlogs with the tale of how western romance has changed the way we “listen” to dialogue.