A Promise Of Roses
by Heidi Betts, historical (2000)
Leisure, $4.99, ISBN 0-8439-4738-1

I'm not even going to mention whose face I keep imagining as the hero in this Western hee-haa romance (clue: Michael Biehn). I'm going to say, however, I really believe I will have a great time visiting 1885 Kansas for some wild guns and showdown adventures, judging from its first few chapters. Unfortunately, the plot soon piddles into a standstill somewhere around page 150 and it never recovers its initial momentum.

Hero Lucas McCain is a bounty hunter out to avenge his dead wife and kiddie. How Chris Larabee, I thought, and sit back in some hope to fuel my (un?)healthy preoccupation with The Magnificent Seven. He is roped in to investigate a series of stagecoach robbery, and his suspect is heroine Megan Adams, who owns the stagecoach company.

He drags her along his bounty hunting mission, all the while trying to decide whether to keep her for himself or to surrender her to the authorities. And he wonders. And considers. And changes his mind. And changes it once again. Then he reconsiders. And on and on he goes. Finally, he boinks her and then throws her into jail.

Now that is so un-Chris Larabee. Woke me up from my daze and make me realize that for the last few chapters this book has been going round and round in circles.

The heroine is supposed to be independent and fiery, but please, don't make me snort. She weeps and makes all the necessary concessions to the Ideal of Femininity by losing her willpower the moment the hero paws her. Is it true love to realize how much one loves a man after a night of mindblowing jibba-yibba's? I'm not sure. I think it's more hormonal than anything.

And yes, of course he finds the nasty people who killed his family. Finally, after the dirt has settled, he decides, hey, now it's time to eat the cake too - he walks back to Megan who awaits in lachrymosal joy and open arms, and they ride off into the sunset. Let's hope Megan always find a way to be the number one preoccupation in Lucas' life, because this man can't seem to be able to handle more than one priorities in life.

Predictable, with some out-of-character antics from our hero and heroine, A Promise Of Roses is more of a promise of yet another comfort read in very familiar territory. Oh, look, it's time for guess-what-show to come on TV already! Where's my remote control?

Rating: 58

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