Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Only His by Elizabeth Lowell *****

I have read this book 2 or maybe 3 times, and when I found out it was also on audio, I had to have it! I just finished the re-visit, on audio, today.

It's a Western, taking place after the Civil War. Willow Moran, parading as Mrs. Moran, Matt Moran's wife, is actually his sister. Matt sent his family a map to where he was, in the Rockies, and Willow was the only one left at home, after her parents died and her brothers scattered to the 4 winds. She heads to Denver where she meets up with Caleb Black, the man she's hired to lead her to Matt.

Caleb takes the job, thinking Willow is probably just his "fancy lady" aka mistress, because he's looking to kill the man who got his sister pregnant and left her - a man named Reno - AKA Matt Moran. He doesn't tell Willow the truth about why he agrees to lead her into the Rockies wilderness - and he doesn't have much respect for a soft, Southern lady who would lead 5 over-bred horses into such wild territory either. He has just enough respect to keep from touching her, on the off-chance she really is married.

Willow is made of tougher stuff than Caleb realizes - she held her own during and after the war, and made her own way across the country. He puts her through a lot of misery - riding in the rain, on a sidesaddle, for hours through the night to avoid the Bad Guys - but she takes it all without complaint. Her horses are as tough as she is.

This book is #1 in the Only series, with 3 other books - Only You, Only Mine and Only Love. Only Love is the only other one I loved as much - I really disliked the heroines and the stories of the other 2. Lowell writes hard alpha male heroes that a lot of people don't like, but in this story, I always felt he managed to justify his actions, if only from his POV. He was hard on her, but he also thought she was a spoiled whore, not worthy of his respect or tender feelings. Once he learns the truth about her and her mission, and once she shows him how tough she is, she earns his respect, and his love.

Lowell also writes sensual and hot love scenes that are among my favorites - in this one, with its trout-tickling metaphors, the hot pool scene is grrreat.

So I enjoyed the re-visit, and will no doubt put it back on the ipod in a few months and wander the Rockies with Willow and Caleb again. 5 stars

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