cover image To Kiss a Texan

To Kiss a Texan

Jodi Thomas. Jove Books, $6.5 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-515-12503-0

The second installment in Thomas's Texan Touch trilogy, set in the post- Civil War years, tells the story of love between down-on-his-luck rancher Wes McLain and wild-child Allie, whom he rescues from a cage in a preacher's traveling show. The premise of a white woman raised by Indians is not new to the romance genre, but, in an unexpected turn, Thomas represents the Indian responsible for Allie's raising as neither accepting nor caring. Following a past filled with mistreatment and isolation, Allie slowly overcomes her mistrust of Wes and his family, who, along with Allie's grandmother and an over-the-hill sheriff, provide depth and some much-needed humor to the narrative. The love story is bogged down with uninteresting villainous characters, however, and the end of Wes's quest for a buried treasure is a let down. This uneven road romance would have been stronger had more time been devoted to the McLain family's good-natured interplay and less to the unconvincing bad guys. (May)