All I Desire by Rosemary Rogers
(Avon, $6.99, R), ISBN 0-380-80025-X
**
With a Rosemary Rogers book, you know what you're getting:

A young, fabulously beautiful heroine who's led a sheltered life (convent-raised is particularly good) who's longing for adventure and who at first adamantly denies she is attracted
to ...

The hero, who's one of those ruggedly handsome types who at rest look like a jungle cat poised to spring and who has women throwing themselves at him with mind-spinning frequency. The kind who prefers "an uncomplicated woman who needed no emotional ties or reassurance, nothing but the pleasure of a few hours of satisfying sex."

You know they're going to be throwing sparks off each other, hissing and clawing, and going at it like minks then more hissing and clawing.

You know the heroine's going to have to endure all kinds of agony and privations and that Other Women aren't going to let true love take its course without causing all kinds of trouble.

Then, after bitter quarrels, misunderstanding, separations, and enough complications for several books, they'll finally be clutched in each other's arms forever, vowing eternal love, and all the threads of the far-flung plot will be neatly tied and explained.

If that's the kind of romance you desire, you may find All I Desire satisfying. If, however, you would rather not read yet another clone of Sweet, Savage Love, all your desires will urge you to avoid this book.

Angela Lindsay (also known as Angelique and Angie) has been raised in a remote area of France. Her mother Mignon had left her husband in barbaric and desolate New Mexico and returned to her native France with her infant daughter. Angie has chafed at the restrictions of her life and longs for warm places and unlimited horizons. She knows that her mother believes New Mexico is wild and dangerous, but it's now after the end of the American Civil War, and certainly things are much safer now.

Jake Braden is a friend of John Lindsay, Angie's father. Among his varied personas, he's a cavalry officer and scout. Rita, John's younger and illegitimate daughter, has her eyes on Jake even though he says she's too young to know her mind. Rita knows that John is leaving his ranch to his legitimate daughter and that she will be left with nothing.

John sends to France for Angie, but before she can arrive, he dies. In New Orleans, Angie and Mignon learn that Angie must live on the ranch for a year in order to claim her inheritance. Mignon tries to discourage Angie from traveling to New Mexico and encourages her to try to break the terms of the will. Mignon believes it must be that wild blood from her father that leads Angie to want to do something so dangerous. Angie is resolute; she was never able to know her father, and this is the way she can make up for that.

The two beautiful and unaccompanied women will need a guide. The governor recommends Jake Braden, who conveniently happens to be visiting New Orleans just then, as the most dependable.

Angie and Mignon first see Jake at a society ball where a mulatto Spanish gypsy dancer (no, I'm not making that up) entertains and obviously has eyes for Jake. Jake is scorned by the Creoles as a half-breed libertine although there are only rumors about a Cherokee mother. Angie later sees Jake and the dancer in a moonlit veranda. Determined to find a guide, Angie visits Jake at his hotel in disguise and is mistaken for another of his lovers. They share a passionate kiss. How she despises him!

Jake is undertaking an assignment for his colonel and has his own reasons for traveling to New Mexico. Eventually Jake is hired to escort the two women. There is heart-stopping passion and danger on the way, and at the end a sister Angie never knew she had who declares that Jake is her fiancÚ. And more danger and passion and misunderstandings, of course.

This is classic Rosemary Rogers. Passion, danger, desperadoes, betrayal, revenge, lust. You don't read Rosemary Rogers for sympathetic characters and a plausible plot. Rosemary Rogers' fans will probably eat up this book. For the rest of us, it's just about as sweet and just about as savage as it ever was, and it's not much different.

--Lesley Dunlap


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