Awakened by His Kiss

A Texas Tale by Judith Lyons
(Silh. Spec. Ed #1637, $4.99, G) ISBN 0-373-24637-4
When I was younger there were movies on TV called Movies of the Week. They were only 90 minutes long (so with commercials they lasted about 75 minutes). The plots were always about some deep subject; but they also wrapped everything up in a nice bow no matter how horrifying the angst. A Texas Tale is a little like that. It has an interesting premise, but the happy ever seems stilted and clichéd.

Crissy Albreit is a daredevil who works with three other girls to raise money for kids who have medical needs. This is her side job. Her day job is waitressing. She is basically barely making it, having just lost her mother to multiple sclerosis. Crissy grew up poor. Her father kicked her mother out when she was just a baby, and her mother struggled to put a roof over their heads as she went from man to man. Crissy hates her father, because he never responded to her mother’s pleas for help. So Crissy is determined that no one else will have to suffer by watching a loved one die when money could buy the medical care to make a difference.

Tate McCade is the foreman on the Big T ranch in Texas. He made a promise to Warner Trevarrow to find his daughter and bring her to the Big T. His will stated that Crissy can inherit and do whatever she wants with it, but she has to live there for six months first. Tate talks Crissy into coming; now he must convince her that her beliefs about her father are all wrong. Dear old Dad’s version of life is a little different. He kicked out his wife in a drunken rage when he discovered she was sleeping around on him. He never expected her to leave and take his daughter. By the time he sobered up, they were gone and he has been searching for them ever since. He never got asked for help, and he has had a private detective searching all these years. In addition, he has been buying birthday presents for Crissy every year and he saved them all for her.

There are other things Tate shares with Crissy to convince her that her mother was a liar and chose to live in misery and poverty their whole life. And that Warner was the good guy. He also helps her decide how to use the ranch to make money for these children, rather than sell it off. The mutual attraction the two feel is also luring Crissy. And of course, the Texas cattle ranch wins over the city girl as a peaceful and beautiful place. She even rides for the first time and loves it, without any soreness at all.

But Tate is an ex-con, one of a handful of men that Warner hired to give a second chance. He feels because of that he is beneath Crissy and they can never have a future together. But of course, in true romance style, they can and do.

My problems with this tale come from several places. The first is that Crissy goes from hating her father to thinking he is a saint in relatively few pages. While the evidence is compelling to help her change her mind, she does so without thinking twice. Her lust for Tate is predictable and because I didn’t buy into her other turnaround, I never really trusted her feelings for him.

Tate, on the other hand, is never really defined. His age is never revealed and at different times he could be 50 or 30. He spent time in prison, but this part of the story is developed late in the story, so when it is revealed, the reasons he has for believing the worst of himself is not something I could easily accept as valid. He is a nice guy but beyond that I never felt attached to him.

The ranch itself is a huge operation and yet just seems to run itself. Tate is the foreman, but he spends a lot of days with Crissy. Her one foray into the ranch activity ends in disaster, yet we are led to believe she can make the changes she wants and all will be well. How she can accomplish this is never described.

There is a brief introduction of the other three girls who work with Crissy and who call themselves the Alpine Angels. It looks like they will each have a story of their own. I hope the other three are a little more down to earth than A Texas Tale.

--Shirley Lyons

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