Wyoming Cinderella

Cowboy Crescendo
by Cathleen Galitz
(Silh. Desire #1591, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-76591-6
Run, donít walk, from this edition of Dynasties: The Danforths. Cowboy Crescendo (which refers to a modern day rancher reaching the heights in bed) is improbable, overly simplistic, completely unbelievable, and amazingly unrealistic. The only saving grace is a little boy who doesnít talk and even he gets cured without real help.

Tobias Danforth told his rich family that he couldnít handle being just rich and famous. He wanted to do something Ė so he moved from Georgia to Wyoming, bought a ranch and raised horses. He is good with horses, it isnít just a hobby, or so the story goes. He gets sucked into marrying a heartless woman who leaves him with a two-year-old son named Dylan. From the day she left, Dylan hasnít spoken. Toby is determined never to marry again and is following the advice of a less than competent speech therapist when in walks his new nanny to tell him what he should be doing.

Heather Burroughs is not an expert at working with disabled children, nor does she have any experience with children at all. But she wants to, and she grew up in a home that traumatized her, so she must know what to do with Dylan, right? Heather was a child prodigy whose parents forced her into playing the piano at concerts from the time she was a baby. They shipped her off to a fancy school at a young age and gave her over to a sadistic piano teacher, who eventually seduced her, then dumped her when she got tired of playing her music. (Other than the fact that this teacher was cruel to her and left her scarred for other relationships, little detail is revealed about this).

Her family has disowned her and hopes she will fail and come crawling back. She is determined to succeed. Heather takes the job as a nanny to earn money to go back to school to teach children. Now I ask you, what reputable agency would a) hire her based on this experience, and b) send her to a rich client? She walks in when Toby is trying to bribe Dylan to talk with a cookie, which reminds her of her father demanding she play the piano, and she tells Toby off. He hires her anyway because, of course, after her tirade during which she hands Dylan the cookie, Dylan says the word.

Okay, letís give the story the benefit of the doubt this far. However, now Toby feels an attraction and Heather does too. Three days later, they head for Savannah for a family reunion. Toby brings Heather, whom the family immediately embraces and accepts as one of them. Heather, not having known a loving large family, falls in love with them and acknowledges she is in love with Toby. They share a sizzling kiss under the moonlight and now Toby thinks he loves her too. But of course, they canít tell each other. After all, they went into this assuming there was no future.

Ahhhhhhh. The rest of the story is just as preposterous. They avoid each other in one paragraph and canít stand being apart in another. When they do succumb, it is hot sex and still they canít talk about feelings or the future. Toby acts like he is a teenager, going off and pouting often. Heather keeps lying to herself and using her past as an excuse. But we are never really told what was so traumatic, so I could never really relate. Her angst seemed overly melodramatic. I wonít even go into the asinine plot where she thinks she sees some ghost while in Savannah.

Dylan is the cutest thing in the story and he doesnít talk. When the end comes, however, we are led to believe that he was just holding back and could really talk the whole time. He just needed a motherís love and a reason to talk. As a reader, this insulted my intelligence.

As a regular category romance reader, I accept that things happen fast in stories with a short, tight page count. But usually there is some intelligence in the characters and a plotline that is believable. Cowboy Crescendo did not have either of these characteristics. Donít waste your time.

--Shirley Lyons

@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home