by Maggie James, historical (2000)
Signet, $3.99, ISBN 0-451-40799-7
This is a pretty enjoyable stock adventure featuring the usual elements out of the trusty Western-Romance-DIY-Kit one can buy from the Romance Manufacture Mill. A tomboy heroine who binds her boobies to pose as a guy in order to avenge her surrogate daddy, a half-breed silent-type hero, outlawish villains with nasty firepower, and of course, gold rush.
Kitty Parrish is the lass in question. On a quest to discover who killed her stepfather. She is about to join her stepdad in a new life when she is told that he is killed brutally by some evil SOBs for the location of a gold mine. In fact, the SOBs are chasing the wrong fellow. Kitty has the half of a map that tells the location of the gold mine.
The other half is owned by Ryder McCloud, who is the son of the partner of Kitty's stepdad. He now needs money to protect his tribe (or something), so he decides to bamboozle, rob, or seduce Kit out of her half of the map. Instead of a luscious babe, however, he encounters a grimy "boy". Ugh.
Villains want gold. Ryder wants gold. Kitty wants gold. Oops, I mean, she wants justice (but I'm sure the gold wouldn't hurt). Either way there's a lot of adventures to be had by everyone.
Arizona Gold is packed with all the usual things one would expect to find in a standard, nothing-out-of-ordinary Western romance. It's okay for a nice read, but I do have major problems with Ryder. Ryder is just too distant and aloof, and worse, he just wouldn't tell Kitty anything. Nothing, whatsoever, yet at the same time he heavy-handedly expects her to give everything she has over to him. If I have a rolling pin with me, Ryder may just need to see the doctor to get some stitches.
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