|Two strong characters carry the weight of this Geralyn Dawson tale. My Long Tall Texas Heartthrob would otherwise have an inane (read that silly) plot premise and a less than believable crime mystery. As one might tell, while I enjoyed the main characters, the story they are in does not measure up to pure pleasure, only to mild enjoyment.
Tess Anderson is a Hollywood manager – she manages stars, starlets, and other entertainment types. She likes her life, even though at times she gets lonely. Her mother and father were not good role models or good parents and she has some emotional scars from them. Her sister Chloe is an airhead, or so it appears from her history of moving from cause to cause and thus, man to man. Tess is the one who bails her out and helps her get on the right track time after time. This time, the need is much more immediate. Chloe is in Cedar Dell, Texas – a little town in the hill country – and she is very much unwed, pregnant and abandoned by the father-to-be.
When we meet Chloe, she is living in a run down trailer that is infested with opossums and owned by the grand-mother-to-be. Widow Duncan (all the older women are referred to with this title for some reason) wants Chloe gone. Her son, the father-to-be, has disappeared. He is described at various points as a biker, a slug, a ne’er do well and scum. Of course, Chloe loves him and thinks he is wonderful, just misguided at times. His name is Herbert (but only his mother calls him that), everyone else calls him Snake. He left to drive a Maserati to Florida for some guy, and he has never returned.
The hero is Nicholas Sutherland. Nick is an ex-lawyer, who used to close down corporations when they got into trouble. But following the death of his grandmother and some other horrible event (that isn’t revealed until almost the end) he shucked it all, took his gazillions of dollars and moved to Cedar Dell, “where they made me feel like part of the family.” He has a large house with a carriage house, which he tries to offer to Chloe to rent, but she turns him down. He also owns property that borders a lake where he keeps a yacht, is renovating an old hotel to the glamour days it enjoyed in the 1920’s, and he is generous and lovable and a classic hero.
The story revolves around Tess coming to Chloe’s rescue, only to be the one needing rescuing when Chloe has her baby – which turns out to be twin baby girls. A man with a knife then threatens Chloe in the hospital (he is looking for Snake and money he supposedly didn’t give to the man). This sends Chloe into a tailspin of post-partum depression. She leaves her newborns in Tess’s capable hands and hightails it outta there. Are you with me so far? I haven’t even gotten to the silly part yet!
Tess takes on the challenge and with the help of Nick and lots of residents of Cedar Dell, the babies are well cared for. It is during these times that Nick and Tess fall in love. They are instantly attracted to each other, but spar for a little while before they fall into bed. Once they do, the sheets heat up and the sexual activities sizzle. But they also become friends and have romantic interludes. The fact that Nick is a gazillionaire helps in this and Tess is a sucker for shoes, so that plays into things too.
Tess is generally sensible and responsible and cannot abandon her nieces. While she is angry at Chloe, she is also worried and learns to take care of the babies and grows to love them. She has a great sense of humor. When she decides to use her friendship with TV heartthrob Jake Muldoon to make Nick jealous when he gets a little too chauvinistic for her, she is delightful. Nick is a pure pleasure to watch as he struggles with his feelings and his past and learns to take a risk. He is a “take charge” kind of guy and he has to learn how to interact with an equally strong woman, but he comes through with shining colors.
The whole “Cowboy Mafia” plot line that Snake is a part of bogs the story down and is less than engaging. The hapless police, FBI and the goons that are the crooks are just not well thought out. Snake is supposedly in protective custody, but Nick not only finds him but worms his way in to see him, which leads to the implausible ending and resolution of Chloe’s problem. Her transformation just didn’t ring true for me.
My Long Tall Texas Heartthrob is thus a wonderful romantic tale of two strong and lovable characters, mixed up in a less than enjoyable plot that takes up a good portion of the final chapters of the book.