by Katherine Sutcliffe, historical (2000, 1988 reissue)
Jove, $6.99, ISBN 0-515-12453-2
Ms Sutcliffe's books always have a melodramatic quality to them, but they are always entertaining. Okay, most of the time. I couldn't finish Jezebel, I admit, but maybe that was a book written on a bad day. Renegade Love is a reprint of the 1988 Avon edition, and is one of the books featuring the Bastitas family. It's fun, it has sexual tension burns the eyebrows, and it has a sexy, arrogant hero whose jeans are dying to slip off those lean mean hips.
Too bad about the ugly catfight between heroine Rachel Gregory and her stepmother. If only beautiful women could sit in a same room without scratching each other's eyes out. Oh well.
Rachel and her stepmommy Audra are traveling to San Antonio, Texas when her wagon is boarded by an entourage of criminals led by a Texas Ranger. Among these men is (falsely accused, of course) murderer Kid Davis, whose insolent stare makes Rachel's erogenous zones experience naughty sensations. And when the wealthy Bastitas wife indentifies Kid as her long-lost son lost to the Indians, things get sticky.
But nothing beats Rachel being kidnapped by Kid as a hostage in his escape. And who knows what strange things can happen to two isolated people in the Western wilderness when the moon is full. Clothes tend to fall off more easily.
There's no mistake who Kid actually is or that he would end up wealthy and pampered in Bastitas fortune. But the whole romance is fun while it lasted. Kid may be arrogant, he may be mean and lean, but he is the quissential bad Western rogue that is also irresistably charming. And the whole high adventure may not be something new, but it is a fast-paced fun ride all the way.
But really - the female catfight! It seems Rachel just cannot be friends with any single beautiful woman and the feeling is mutual where the other woman is concerned. Audra and Rachel has been catfighting over Rachel's father when the poor man was alive (must have drunk himself to death, poor man), and now they are at it over every attractive man in the vincinity. "Slut!" Rachel would accuse Audra and Audra would then slap her. Again and again they go, like two really bad caricatures of shrewish fishwives. Most undignified, and worse, it makes Rachel as mature as a sixteen-year old bimbo.
The whole mmmeoooowww hissss scratch your eyes out thing gets really nasty and unpalatable to the point that I skim these pages after a while. And poor Audra, who has to end up the loser harlot just to make Rachel look good. So much for sisterhood.
If only the women have gotten along. As it is, RL misses the mark somewhat.
This book at Amazon.com
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