Hell On Wheels
The hero and heroine of Hell on Wheels are a couple of bounty hunters who join forces to bring in a big bad bail jumper all the while fighting their mutual lust for each other. The characters had a lot of potential, especially the heroine, but too much mental lusting marred their story.
Cody Carlyle is a woman bounty hunter. Banish all thoughts of Stephanie Plum from your mind – Cody is competent as can be. She has a car and a motorcycle both of which she can handle without crashing. She is quite comfortable with a gun and can throw knives as well. We first meet her when a nasty, smelly guy twice her size tries to give her some grief. She just beats him up and cuffs him. When the nasty, smelly guy turns out to have a friend, Cody is in a tight spot, until Josh Pierce shows up.
Cody knows former cop turned bounty hunter Josh, admires him professionally and thinks he’s quite studly – but has no interest in a personal relationship since he has a reputation as quite the man-ho. One thing leads to another, though, and they end up spending the night together. Even though Cody swears there’s no strings attached it still hurts when she sees him with a cooing blonde the next day. It turns out the blonde is not one of Josh’s flings and his night with Cody has branded her into his being. He can’t stop thinking about her. When they get the opportunity to work together on a big case, they decide to join forces, professionally that is. They’ll keep things cool and professional, bring in the skip, pocket a whopping big fee, then go their separate ways.
First off, I liked Cody and Josh a lot, especially Cody. I love to see a competent kick-butt heroine who actually seems like she can kick butt. I’ve read books featuring supposedly kick-butt heroines who are actually more comfortable in Jimmy Choo’s rather than Doc Martens. Cody can take care of herself, doesn’t flinch from breaking a few bones and doesn’t go “ooh, cooties” when she has to handle a gun. Cody had a rough life growing up and I wish the author had fleshed it our more. I liked her a lot.
Josh was more of the standard hot stud who finally realizes he has found The Woman. He too had an intriguing back-story that was thrown away with a few lines. I found myself wanting more about his past as well.
The big problem I had with this book was the near constant mental lusting. Some of my colleagues at AAR don’t like mental lusting at all, but it doesn’t bother me too much. Actually I like it when it’s done well – like Linda Howard – but the mental lusting in the book was near constant – sort of like all the four letter words in the movie The Goodfellas. I had to quit watching that one since I got so tired of the profanity. With this book, I skipped a lot of sentences since Josh was in a state of constant mental lust – and I mean constant. When he quit thinking and actually acted on his feelings, the love scenes were hot and tender too, but right after he had done the deed, he started up again with the mental lust.
Hell On Wheels was about 95 percent enjoyable and 5 percent bothersome. Cody and Jake were the best part of the book and because I liked them so much I could ignore a lot of the mental lusting and far-fetched plot. It was a treat to meet a woman bounty hunter who could actually do her job, and Cody Carlyle is now in my kick-butt heroine hall of fame.