I think I’ve just overdosed. I’ve hit my limit. And it was Granite Man who did it. What limit? My tolerance quota for over-the-top, arrogant, know-it-all, harder than hard, tougher than tough, mean-spirited, hurtful alpha heroes. By the middle of this book, I knew exactly what was coming, exactly how our hero would behave, and exactly how bad he was gonna feel once he discovered what a jerk he’d been.
Mariah MacKenzie’s a real nice woman. She’s felt the outcast all her life, because when her widowed mother remarried, it was to a man who already had children. He made Mariah feel unwanted, as though she could dry up and blow away, and never be missed. She’s still incredibly insecure, and wants nothing more than to be received into her brother’s family and be treated as though someone cares about her. Her only source of love growing up had been her adored brother, Luke. But the adults kept Luke and Mariah apart for years, and now she can hardly wait to see him again.
Cash McQueen is a geologist and gold hunter. He lives part-time on his brother-in-law Luke’s ranch while he hunts for a lost gold mine. Mad Jack’s mine is up in those Rockies somewhere, and he’s determined to find it. Cash’s ex-wife was a tramp. Try to muffle your shout of surprise when you learn that, now, Cash thinks all women are tramps. It turns out his “innocent” wife became pregnant by another man, and since Cash is absolutely certain he is sterile, if another woman he loves shows up pregnant, well, see, I told you all women were two-faced tramps.
Cash and Mariah meet and it’s instant mutual animal attraction. The only problem is, Mariah falls in love with Cash, while Cash, of course, only falls in lust. They go off alone together to search for the mine, but all they end up with are some really hot love scenes. It’s the intense, obsessive attraction that Cash feels for Mariah, and those love scenes, that brought this book up to a C-.
The minute I read that Cash considered himself sterile, I knew that you-know-who was going to get pregnant. She does, he yells, he turns into one Jerk Extraordinaire, then she does a TSTL thing, and then the story comes to an abrupt end. I don’t like my heroes snide, sarcastic, vituperative, but many Lowell heroes are. Sometimes I can take ’em, and sometimes, I can’t. Cash’s character wasn’t fleshed out enough to make me care about him and overlook his flaws, so this was a definite case of can’t.