cover image Rugged Texas Cowboy

Rugged Texas Cowboy

Lora Leigh. St. Martin’s, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-15087-5

In this pair of erotic novellas, Leigh delivers the trademark mix of sex and violence that powers her novels, but she skimps on characterization and plot. In the first story, Texas cowboy Lucas Jardin wants to punish Maria Angeles for getting his best friend, Jack Riley, shot by drug runners. But instead of kidnapping Maria, he grabs Melina, her innocent twin, who is done with bailing her sister out of trouble. Melina is supposed to be gutsy and strong, but every encounter emphasizes her fragility and powerlessness. She needs constant rescuing, and her defiance just inflames Luc’s lust rather than empowering her. The sex is raunchy with a hint of violence and some references to rape that emphasize Melina’s victimhood (and do nothing for Luc’s appeal). The second novella takes Jack Riley to Ireland, where Angel Manning is scoffing at the family legend of an heirloom that holds druid magic for finding soulmates. When Jack buys the heirloom, Angel follows him to Texas to steal it back. The plot makes no sense but it gets them in the same house for steamy encounters. Both couples are constantly tearing each other’s clothes off or about to, which can be plenty hot, but Leigh doesn’t deliver on either story line. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Dec.)