In His Loving Arms

Marriage, Outlaw Style

The Outlaw Jesse James

The Outlaw's Wife

Lone Star Knight by Cindy Gerard
(Silh. Desire #1353, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76353-0
Lone Star Knight is a part of the Texas Cattlemen's Club series by Silhouette, which is written by a bunch of Silhouette authors. I haven't read the other books in the series, but that did not prevent me from enjoying this story.

The story starts with a plane crash and the subsequent injuries of Lady Helena Reichard. Her perfect looks have defined her identity all her life, and now her injuries and scars threaten her self-esteem and self-worth. Although she acts brave and nonchalant about her scars, inside she's scared and confused.

Matt Walker fell in love with Helena at first sight when he saw her at a ball right before the crash. He knows that the plane crash was no accident, and it breaks his heart to watch her struggle with her injuries at the hospital. Protective by nature, he decides to guard her from the unknown villain and the media hungry for a story about Helena's injuries and scars, since nobody else can. The best place for Helena to hide from the villain and the media is his ranch, so he takes her there.

No matter how much he wants her, Matt doesn't think Helena will like living on the ranch with him. His glamorous ex-wife didn't, and he doesn't want to make Helena unhappy on the ranch. So because he doesn't think that a long-term relationship is possible and because she's vulnerable, he decides not to make love to her.

Meanwhile, Helena knows that Matt was attracted to her when they met before the plane crash. But due to Matt's attempt to be noble, she thinks that he no longer finds her attractive. I know that this may sound like she's a vain woman, but I found her reaction realistic. If all your life, people defined you as "beautiful" and "attractive" and suddenly you're not only scarred but might lose the mobility of your left fingers, would you not feel the way Helena does?

Now you're probably moaning, "Oh, puuullleezzz! Another big misunderstanding that'll drag to the very end of the book!"

I'm happy to say that it's not the case. In the middle of the book (for those of you who want specifics, it occurs on page 104), they do talk about this issue, and they resolve it like intelligent adults. Furthermore, Matt gets a brownie point for pushing for this confrontation when Helena tries to put it off. Finally, a man who wants to "talk"!

Despite all my enjoyment, the book is not without some flaws. It felt like the book started too early - the love story does not really start until the second chapter. And the numerous characters from previous books appear. Although they're non-intrusive, it seems like they show up just to let the readers know who's going to be the next hero and to make the previous readers happy by letting them know what happened to the couples from the previous books. And the mystery plot is never really resolved since it is necessary to connect a string of love stories together. Finally, I thought Matt held onto "A glamorous woman doesn't like country" a bit too long.

However, these are minor, and they didn't detract much from my reading experience. I recommend this book to category romance lovers, including those who haven't read the Texas Cattlemen's Club series before.

--Stella Knight

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