“I don’t know anything about love. Lord knows, I’ve never had occasion to see it between a man and a woman. But you’ve stolen my heart. I’ve found the man who can finally SEE me.” – Delta Dandridge
Just when I was about to give up on heroines completely, Miss Delta Dandridge barged in my neat little world and decided to show me how a really strong woman gets things done. The result? I wasn’t disappointed!
Cooper Thorne knows he’s made himself pretty clear: he doesn’t want to get married, doesn’t want to father chidlren, he hates anything even close to settling down with a good little wife. One would think that with him being the leader of the Bachelors Club in Battle Creek, people would get the point already. But when pretty Delta Dandridge comes into town, claiming he sent for her hand in marriage, the loner cowboy will have his hands full trying to keep her at a distance – and tracking down whoever thought tricking him and the poor lady was funny. Problem is, Delta has reasons of her own for sticking to Battle Creek longer than expected. And with an old enemy of Cooper’s out for blood, it’ll take the rough rancher some real guts to man up and either accept what’s been given to him in the form of the fiesty blonde or ignore it and lose it in order to keep his pride as a bachelor…
I think this book was the first western romance in which I actually adored the heroine – and truth be told, didn’t give a damn about the romance. I mean, if Cooper didn’t want it to happen, why should I?!
Allow me to elaborate. It’s not that I don’t like my love and steam taking place in a Texas small town. On the contrary, I never seem to stop starving for such things. But the fact remains that Cooper made me wish he never truly realized what kind of treasure the good Lord had sent him, and that Delta would become a strong, independent woman, finding happiness on her own – with that stupid rancher watching from the sidelines and knowing he woke up too late to smell the roses. Why? Because no woman should ever be treated the way he treated her!
How can I accept a guy who keeps pushing and pulling a woman around? Who keeps leading her on, stealing her first everythings, only to decide every single time that nooo, this isn’t what he wants, and she shouldn’t get the wrong idea, and she should never forget that he never intends to get married. By the middle of the book, Cooper’s bitch mode had gotten old… If you don’t want the poor girl, stop trying to impose your presence on her, stop trying to destroy her attempts at making a life for herself – especially when she doesn’t bother you with said attempts! – stop trying to undermine her ideas and actions, stop trying to keep other males from getting close. Just stop trying altogether, because God knows you have no right and no claim on her, mister! And it was YOUR decision to be so, in case you forgot!!!
(and no, your childhood issues give you no right to act like this to a woman who is just trying to find a place for her to belong, jerk!)
As for Delta, she was a breath of fresh air. Finally a heroine that decides “the hell with all men, I’ll be my own woman” and works hard – yet with respect to those around her – to achieve her goals. She was determined, she was hard-working, she was as honest as she could be and made sure to treat almost everyone with love and in equal manners. She never backed down from a challenge, and she didn’t flaunt her body around to snatch another husband. Plus, she had dignity and pride, and she was always on the giving end, never the receiving, without complaining. All that poor woman wanted, was a home, and people to accept and love her.
The love story, thus, left me disappointed, despite my extreme love for Delta. It was always about Cooper being hot and cold, and poor Delta trying to keep her heart from breaking. What’s worse, after a point she started forgiving him things because she was in love with him. No! NO! Why does every female become soft when cupid’s arrows strike her heart?! And let’s not forget the fact that all that sexual tension ended up reaching its climax way to abruptly. Where’s my foreplay? Where’s my anxious and looong first lovemaking time?! I felt cheated!
However, the rest of the story was ok. The pace, the suspense, the constant danger that Tolbert Early brought with the mere mention of his name… Not to mention the antics of the rest of the Battle Creek citizens, with their quirks and often funny little scenes. I definitely can’t wait to get back there – and with Rand, my favorite of the brothers, being the next main hero, it’s bound to be quite a ride…
“I make you these four promises. You’ll never have to walk alone. You’ll never be invisible to me. You’ll always be my forever woman. And finally, I’ll help you blaze the trail only you were meant to travel.” – Cooper Thorne