Loveswept, $3.50, ISBN 0-553-44033-0
Contemporary Romance, 1990
This month, the TBR Challenge theme is “Getaway” – hmm, did Wendy the Super Librarian predict COVID-19 last year? – so I’m going to review Peggy Webb’s Until Morning Comes. You see, the hero Dr Colter Gray is in the Arizona desert because he is having a getaway from big city life, to get in touch with his Apache roots. This is one of those few moments when I am reading something perfectly in line with the theme, so show me some applause, people. Hey, I said applause, not boos.
To get a better idea of what this story is about, let’s take a look at the back cover synopsis.
In moonlight he looked every inch the noble savage as he lifted her onto his stallion and wooed her with ancient Apache love rituals.
1990, people. It was a different time back then. I took a peek at the back cover synopsis of the reissued edition, which came out in 2012, and that line has been changed to this more politically correct, although admittedly less dramatic not-at-all-implying-horseback-sex, version.
In the desert, he woos Jo Beth with Native American rituals of such passion and beauty she can almost forget her family responsibility.
Before I go on, here is a gentle reminder: I am reviewing the original Loveswept edition that came out in 1990. For all I know, the author could have rewritten the story for that 2012 reissue, so I hope you folks will keep in mind that maybe the edition currently available would be more in line with the sensibilities of today. I won’t know, as I hadn’t read that one – plus, Amazon doesn’t want me to buy it anyway and geographically restricts me from doing so.
So yes, in this story, Dr Colter Gray is now Colter Gray Wolf, just like how Bruce Wayne becomes Batman when he’s clenching his pecs and getting ready to work those love muscles. While he is doing his meditative “Look at me, white women, and rejoice!” stuff, he is approached by a dotty old man with a gun. The old man has decided that he’s the Lone Badger and he wants Colter to be his Toronto. Okay, I laugh at that, sue me. Realizing that this man is likely be suffering from dementia, he plays along… until he ends up all tied and trussed up in a privy.
The old man’s daughter and our heroine, Jo Beth, discovers Colter and is all apologetic, although, disturbingly enough, no one seems to think that maybe it’s a good idea to keep guns away from her father. Anyway, who cares about old men with dementia when Jo Beth immediately hears the wolf cry to the blue corn moon and yearns to discover the colors of Colter’s wind.
That was probably what he was doing, Jo Beth thought. Speaking magic. The Apache doctor had a silver tongue. He had spoken magic to her, and she was ready to give love another whirl.
Yes, she thinks that he is “exotic”.
Colter, as a noble Apache created to make white women pant with joy, doesn’t just experience lust or love. He says things that make Jo Beth see magic, such as this gem when he is describing going third base with her oh, a few days after they’ve first met.
“I cover you with my blanket and make you mine.”
How can I resist such a lovely, exotic, Apache turn of words?
“Do you know that your laughter reminds me of children at play?”
Wait, is that meant to be pillow talk? Because that’s… rather creepy.
“Jo Beth, you are earth, I am sky. You will open, and I will fill you with my rain.”
Hold up, hold up, this guy is just laying it thick to pick up white women that have a fetish for the noble savage thing they read in romance novels, right? He doesn’t actually speak like this in real life, right? Right?
Okay, I am kind of old school in that I can see what the author is trying to sell here – a fantasy of the Noble, Gentle, Big-Pronged Injun that will cart away skinny white women into the desert so that they will make love under a blanket while coyotes howl Disney anthems in the background – and I can appreciate her dedication in selling the fantasy super aggressively. Somewhere out there, there will be readers that will love what the author is selling.
Me, though, I find the whole story too over the top cheesy and corny. It’s like that album by Fabio – After Dark – that I had the misfortune to come across while randomly surfing YouTube: everything feels too calculated. Worse, there isn’t anything else here to distract me from pages after pages of Jo Beth and Colter mutually admiring, on her part, his “exotic” physical beauty and, on his part, her perpetual openness to accept both his rainfall and his Apache culture. Despite all the gushing about how amazing his exotic noble injun nature is, our hero comes off more like a stripper in a native American get-up doing his thing on a stage, and the whole romance feels more like a set-up designed to get me to shove dollar bills into that hero’s thong.
Like I’ve said, sure, if that would make someone’s day, hey, this fantasy is for them. If you’ll excuse me though, I’ll have to go stretch a bit after all that cringing I did while reading this story.