Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Baker's Dozen of Reviews: Day Twelve--Jean Brashear's Texas Heroes

 I love family series, I love cowboys, and I love Jean Brashear’s writing. How could I not fall in love with the Gallaghers? I first encountered Boone Gallagher in the original book, A Family Secret (1999), when I was glomming Brashear’s backlist. Boone can act like a jerk, but he has his reasons to be moody, angry, and difficult—a bad relationship with a father who never recovered from his wife’s death, memories of his years as a Navy SEAL, his father’s leaving the home Boone loves to a stranger, and the guilt Boone feels over the death of his wife in an accident. The reader is never in doubt that the appealing Maddie Rose Collins, city girl though she be, is going to melt Boone’s reserve and win his heart. I found in this Texas tale the same kind of character-driven story with rich emotional contexts that had set me glomming Brashear’s books in the first place. Of course, I was eager to read the story of Boone’s brother Mitch.

Mitch’s story, Lonesome No More (2000), is literally a cabin romance. Mitch is a loner and has been since he left Morning Star, Texas, at sixteen. His only friend, Cy Blackburn, left him his wilderness cabin. When Cy’s granddaughter, Perrie Matheson, shows up, ill and vulnerable, with her five-year-old son, Mitch reluctantly shares the cabin with them until Perrie is well enough to leave. Suspicious of Perrie, who, Mitch believed, abandoned the grandfather who loved her, even solitary Mitch is not immune to the charms of young Davey. Soon Davey is not the only one capturing Mitch’s heart, and Mitch and Perrie discover that love can give them the strength to reveal their secrets and deal with their pasts. The second book tugs at the heart with an emotional power even stronger than the first.

The third book in the Gallaghers of Morning Star trilogy, Texas Royalty (2000), is the story of Lacey DeMille, a child of privilege and power, whose teenage love affair with Devlin Marlowe, a bad boy her father hates, ends in heartbreak for both young lovers.  Nineteen years later, private investigator Devlin is back in Houston, on a mission for his friends and clients, the Gallaghers of Morning Star, with information that is about to explode everything Lacey DeMille thinks she knows about herself.

Lacey may find the life of a blue-blooded DeMille stultifying at times and struggle to avoid her mother’s attempts to see Lacey married to a man like the plastic surgeon she is dating, a man whose bloodlines are pure and whose social status is unassailable. She may know her parents are less than pleased with Lacey’s work with the Child Advocacy Center, but her certainty of her place as a DeMille and her parents’ love for her is the cornerstone of her identity. 

Reunion stories are my favorites, and this is one with a twist that wraps up the loose ends in the Gallagher family story is a satisfying manner with a triple HEA bow. The three book were originally Silhouette Special Editions. In 2011, Brashear revised the trilogy and made them available in digital format as Texas Secrets, Texas Lonely, and Texas Bad Boy.

In 2012, Brashear added two more ebooks to her Texas Heroes collection. Texas Refuge combines a touch of paranormal with a generous helping of thriller mixed well with romance in the story of Quinn Marshall, a former Houston homicide detective looking for peace and a way to deal with the guilt over his failure to save his sister on the Texas ranch he now calls home. He has no desire to get involved in another case involving a woman and child in jeopardy, but the beauty and vulnerability of Lorie Chandler, best friend and co-star of his brother Josh, exert a strong pull. Before Quinn knows it, Lorie and her son Grant are finding a safe place to hide in Texas on Quinn’s ranch. Lorie finds on Quinn’s ranch and in his arms not just a refuge but a life for herself and her son far different and more fulfilling than her role as a soap opera star.

Josh Marshall gets the lead role in Texas Star. The Sexiest Man Alive is suddenly finding the Hollywood scene empty and unsatisfying, and a visit to his brother’s ranch sounds like just what he needs. On the way, he encounters Elena Navarro, a woman on the run from an abusive husband after seven years of terror. It would be difficult to imagine a more unlikely pair than the rising Hollywood and the terrified runaway, but the love that flares between them promises a reality better than any dream. First, however, the evil that threatens all they want must be conquered.

Texas Roots (February 2013) introduces another Gallagher series. The Gallaghers of Sweetgrass Springs, Texas, are cousins to the Gallaghers of Morning Star. When chef Scarlett Ross, a descendant of Sweetwater Springs founder Josiah Gallagher, leaves her suddenly messy and dangerous life in New York behind, she finds a history, a family, and a place she never knew where her roots run deep. She also finds a hero in hunky rancher Ian McLaren if only she can ler her heart trust him. Based on Texas Roots and the legend of Sweetgrass Springs, I think the new Gallagher series is going to offer the same heart-twisting complications and sigh-worthy romances as the first.

I recommend you sample Jean Brashear’s Texas heroes. I’m betting you’ll fall for them too. I know of no better way to start than to buy today a box set of five novels entitled Love Me Some Cowboy, available at most book outlets right now. In addition to Texas Secrets by Jean Brashear, the first of her sexy, sigh-worthy Texas Heroes, the anthology includes Nothing But Trouble by Lisa Mondello, Crazy About a Cowboy by Barbara McMahon, Once Upon a Cowboy by Day Leclaire, and Love, Texas by Ginger Chambers.  It’s a steal at $.99, and if your heroes have always been cowboys—or even if your heroes have only sometimes been cowboys, you are sure to lose your heart a time or five.

Buy Love Me Some Cowboy at these sites:

I grew up watching Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys, and Dale Evans, Queen of the West, and Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy, and Lash LaRue, King of the Bullwhip, ride across the big screen during Saturday matinees. I was only a little older when I started reading my dad’s Zane Gray books. Who were your first cowboy heroes?


quantum said...

Following an earlier rec I read Brashear's 'Goddess of fried ocre'. Loved it giving 5-stars. Hadn't realized she wrote westerns .... what a treat I have in store!
Janga, thanks so much for the recommendation!

I also remember those Saturday matinées. The Lone Ranger and Tonto were my favorites ... "Hi-yo, Silver, away!"

When we obtained our first Television I was glued to Cheyenne Bodie every week.

Oh those memories! LOL

J Brashear said...

Oh, Cheyenne, quantum! And Rowdy Yates and, of course Matt Dillon.

So thrilled that you loved The Goddess of Fried Okra - just spoke with a book club in Dallas about Pea and the gang, and loved living in that world again.

Janga, thank you SO much for this lovely tribute! I'm deeply honored by your praise for my Texas guys! A very lovely way to start my day, reading this!

P S The next in the Gallaghers of Sweetgrass Springs series, Texas Wild, is coming soon--I'm almost finished!

Janga said...

Q, The Goddess of Fried Okra is one of my all-time favorites, but there are many other Jean Brashear books that are great reads.

I remember The Lone Ranger and Tonto too, along with Hopalong Cassidy. I also remember watching Have Gun, Will Travel and Gunsmoke with my parents and my siblings in those days when we had one TV and four channels. And Clint Eastwood will always be Rowdy Yates to me. LOL

Janga said...

Hi, Jean! Thanks for stopping by. Oh, I shall joyfully anticipate Texas Wild.

Kathleen O said...

My first cowboy hero as far back as I can remember was the Cowboys of The Big Valley, of course Heath was my fav aka Lee Majors and then there was Rowdy Yates of Rawhide aka Clint Eastwood, and who can forget Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza...sigh.

J Brashear said...

Oh, Janga--thank you! On both accounts! made good progress on Mackey today, so...yay! (Except I"m equal parts sad and excited at this point--hate to let them go, but so ready to be done! Mostly sad, though...)