Hard Candy

Heart of Texas

Her Perfect Man

Lone Star Heat

One Summer Evening

Southern Fires

Sultry

Tempting Janey

 
At the Texan’s Pleasure
by Mary Lynn Baxter
(Silh. Desire #1769, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76769-2
**
If one reads category romances a lot, there are certain storylines that always seem to come along. There is the idea that one person is richer/smarter/more classy than the other. Then there is the “love gone wrong causing a rift, only to be taken up years later” theme. Finally there is the “secret” strategy that threatens to destroy love if it is discovered plotline. At the Texan’s Pleasure incorporates all three and it doesn’t do any of them well.

Molly Stewart and Worth Cavanaugh were lovers one summer five years ago. Molly was the daughter of the housekeeper on the Cavanaugh ranch, thus creating the “he’s better than she is” scenario. To Worth’s credit, he never cared about the discrepancy and they vowed to marry. Something happened and Molly left with no message other than to tell her mother she would be in touch. Worth is devastated but carries on with his life, trying to build his ranch into a horse-breeding powerhouse. He has even been approached about running for the Texas Senate. His parents are behind him, as are some friends, including the daughter of a local rancher, who would love to see herself become his wife.

Molly runs after learning that Worth does not love her (how she learns this is easily guessed but not officially revealed until the end of the story). She also finds herself pregnant. Knowing that Worth doesn’t love her and his parents have money they will use to take her son away, Molly invents a story about a man she fell for, married, had a baby with and then divorced. Her mother never met the man, but is supportive of Molly trying to raise a son by herself. The boy, Trent, is a delight. Molly works to get her nursing license and is happy in a different town, working for a thriving doctor’s practice.

Molly’s mother, Maxine, who is still Worth’s housekeeper, has fallen and hurt her back. Molly comes back to help her, only to discover Maxine will need a recuperation period of several months. Molly decides to use her sick leave and vacation time and stay on the ranch, even agreeing to act as the housekeeper so that her mother will quit worrying that she will lose her job.

Now we have the young couple (who are in their late twenties and early thirties) confronting each other for the first time in five years. Molly must keep the secret of Trent’s father. The two fight their immensely intense lust throughout the story. And they both have their pent-up hate for the other who “broke their heart.”

There are several problems with this story. First, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who Trent’s father is, especially given the lame story Molly tells. Second, for two people who were so hurt by the other, their lust seems way over the top. I felt like they had no emotional control and it was rather sad to watch. The emotional roller coaster they were on was perplexing at times. They hated, argued and insulted each other, or fought off their lust. Many times, all of these things happened in the same scene. Other than one flashback of the lovemaking scene where they forgot to use protection, there was no real sense of why or how they loved so intensely that one summer that could have stayed with them all these years. This lack of background caused the reader to judge and get a sense of their character just based on their actions today. Worth was gruff, mean, and seemed indecisive and rather dull. Molly was clingy, surly, and other than with her mother and son, rather rude to everyone.

At The Texan’s Pleasure was not a pleasure to read.

--Shirley Lyons


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