Harlequin Historical, $4.99, ISBN 0-373-29150-7
Historical Romance, 2001
Ooh, what an insufferable jerk the hero of this book is! Take that, Redemption “Call Me Rede, Ma’am” Smith! Bang! Bang! Bang! And stay out! You come back here again and I will personally run you down with my steamroller.
Pardon me. I am still trying to figure out how a well-written – if formulaic – story like The Ranger’s Bride can spring such a bastard stinky hero on me. At least put a warning label in the cover next time! Rede Smith is ogling Adelaide “Call Me Addy, Please” Kelly as they and a few other folks are sharing a carriage, when they are attacked by outlaws. Rat Rede gets injured – in Western romances, there is always a nursing-him-scene, it’s the new law – and everyone else gets killed except for Addy. Addy does a Western Speed thing and single-handedly drives the carriage back to town. She nurses Rede back to health. Rede sneaks a kiss and cops a feel, then tells her, “But ahm a cow-boy, mah home is like da wind, ah go where dah wind buh-lows, ma’am” and walks away. Jerk.
He conveniently forgets to mention that he is the brother of the outlaw who led the attack on the carriage. During his recuperation, he knows Addy’s reputation will be in tatters if word gets out that he is in her place, but does he behave? No. He makes noise while Addy is having guests over, and then laughs and sneers when Addy scolds her. It’s her fault she can’t lie well. It’s her fault she is a noble lady and hence can’t get to keep him (I am not joking about this!). It’s her fault that they ends up discovered in a compromising situation, it’s not his fault because dang it, he is an outlaw’s son and hence he has the right to wallow in self pity and behave like a selfish jerk!
And Addie, to the shame of womankind everywhere, abets this moron by making excuses for him. She all but single-handed plays the percussion to Rede’s rendition of Gee, Officer Krupke!. The author then puts in stray kids, neglected kids, and other Pampers Cute Factors to bring out more doormat-sy, er, “feminine, maternal, virtuous” traits from Addy.
Of course, while Rat Rede is away nursing his wounded ego – oh, why is he born an outlaw’s son… sigh – his brother comes up and causes all sorts of trouble. That gives Rat Rede more excuse to sing the blues.
Oh, and Addy isn’t a widow. She’s a divorcée, who hides her divorce from the townsfolk. I appreciate this deception – survival instincts and all – but I do not appreciate the reconciliation that follows with the townsfolk once her cover is blown. It’s unreal. It’s something even Hallmark would be disgusted to touch.
Hey, Rat, your life is so sad? I have just the perfect remedy! Come back here, and let me blow your sorry ass to kingdom come, where you can renegotiate with the Big Guy there about your sorry life. Don’t run, honey, let me and my AK-47 treat you really sweet…