Always To Remember

Never Love a Cowboy

A Rogue in Texas

Texas Destiny

Texas Glory

Texas Splendor

Never Marry A Cowboy
by Lorraine Heath
(Avon, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-380-80331-3
Never Marry A Cowboy in the final installment in author Lorraine Heathís series of three profligate English noblemen sent to the American West to start a new life. Iíve been a big fan of Lorraine Heath since reading her intensely emotional Texas Destiny. Unfortunately, none of the books in her latest series has packed the same emotional wallop of the earlier Texas series.

Kit Montgomery traveled to Texas after the death of Clarisse, the only woman heís ever loved...and his twin brotherís wife. Five years later, he has found respect and some small measure of peace as the Sheriff of Fortune, Texas. That peace is threatened by the request of an old acquaintance, David Robertson.

Davidís sister, Ashton, is suffering from consumption and her doctor predicts she will not survive another winter. David asks Kit to help him fulfill one of Ashtonís become a bride. Kit refuses to even consider Davidís request. There is nothing on earth that could convince him to watch another woman die.

Until he meets Ashton.

Ashton is horrified when she discovers what her brother has done. Certainly, she would like the opportunity to be married, but it isnít simply the ceremony she will regret missing. Itís sharing love and raising a family. All the things sheíll never have the opportunity to experience. To make matters worse, David has asked Kit Montgomery to be the prospective groom. A man Ashton has secretly loved from afar for years.

After spending a small amount of time in Ashtonís company, Kit realizes his would be a small sacrifice if marrying Ashton could provide her some measure of happiness. He is able to convince her to marry him and what starts as sort of a marriage of convenience, soon becomes a true love affair. But has Kitís desire to bring happiness to a dying woman thrown him back into the nightmare of watching another woman he loves painfully pass away?

When I get a book to review, I glance through the entire book: the acknowledgments, the author blurb, etc. before I get down to reading. I would strongly recommend not reading the authorís note at the end of the book before starting, like I did, since it pretty well gives you the answers to Ashtonís fate. It didnít affect my enjoyment of the book, but Iím not the type to peek at the ending. I prefer to be surprised.

I love a book with a fair amount of angst, and I read this one with the Kleenex box in my lap. Youíd think Iíd be in hog heaven. But even with such a poignant story, I closed the cover without that sobbing, smiley thing that happens whenever I read an especially emotional story. I think the reason is the characters.

Ashton is likable in that ethereal, dying heroine sort of way. Except for one scene when she goes off to cry alone, she is stoic in accepting her fate. I would have liked to see more range of emotion in her. I liked her, but I didnít feel as if I knew her.

Kit is a true Heath hero, and she writes some of the best. Heís considerate, protective, loving, perfect. But, throughout this entire series, I havenít been totally comfortable with the English heroes. The rough, untamed men of the West seem a much better match for her heroines.

Even so, Never Marry A Cowboy is the best book Iíve read in quite a while and my favorite in the series.

The thought that popped into my head repeatedly as I was reading, ďthis is so romanticĒ. Since all Iíve been reading lately IS romance, I think some authors have forgotten about that intangible ďsomethingĒ that makes a romance romantic; that ďsomethingĒ that Lorraine Heath does remarkably well.

For those of you who have enjoyed the series so far, you wonít want to miss the final installment. If you've never read Lorraine Heath, give Never Marry A Cowboy a try. I'll bet you'll be hunting down her backlist as soon as you close the cover.

--Karen Lynch

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