Loving Glory
by Geri Borcz, historical (2000)
Zebra (Splendor), $4.99, ISBN 0-8217-6469-1

What a surprise. Ms Borcz's medieval romance Devil's Knight is pretty bad, but her first published Western historical romance packs a punch that leaves me breathless. It's not perfect, but it works, and that's what that matters.

Gloriana Carpenter was once shot in a crossfire between her father and infamous gunman John Lavont. Guilt-ridden, Johnny has then sent her money to finance her recuperation. Five years later, Glory is back at her father's ranch, seeking to run her father's ranch. She meets her father's partner, "Johnny Love", who turns out to be... guess.

A lot of complication ensues as Johnny's past start to catch up with them. A famous Tombstone outlaw makes an appearance as Johnny's buddy/rival, Glory and Johnny use a lot of ammo, and everyone has Dark Secrets.

Okay, the plot isn't exactly a strong point, relying too much on coincidences at times to move things along. But I have a wonderful time reading Loving Glory, because the characters just click so well. Johnny loves Glory, and the author manages to convince me of that absolutely. And Glory is surprisingly competent and intelligent (I'm ashamed to admit that I half expect her to a hare-brained ninny after the silly plot and all); she is more than a match for Johnny when it comes to shooting down the baddies or springing Johnny out of prison.

And the chemistry... oh my. Even the minor Big Misunderstanding doesn't detract me from my fun. I adore Johnny who, shady past and all, still retains enough humanity to make his happy ending all the more sigh-worthy, especially when Glory is so right for him. Loving Glory is definitely a fun trip doing the Wild West, where bullets fly and everyone's a hero.

Ms Brocz should rein in her plotting, but in Loving Glory, she has characterization done just right. Loving Glory is a major, major, almost miraculous improvement from Devil's Knight.

Rating: 87

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