One Hot Texan
One Hot Texan is not without flaws, among them a too naive to be believed heroine and a plot featuring one of those Only In A Romance Novel wills. But as I kept on reading, the charm of the characters began to build and I found myself quite taken with it. All in all, a nice little book to curl up with.
While Cole McCallum was getting ready to start his senior year of high school, his father ended up in jail for writing one too many worthless checks. Cole’s mother had deserted them when he was only seven, so his grandmother took him in. She loved him unconditionally, but Cole, wary of rejection, stayed aloof. He cut quite a swathe through the town and got a reputation as a bad kid. Upon graduation, he took off for Dallas where he became a successful commercial real estate tycoon and ladies man – a Texas Trump, if you will. When Cole’s latest development burned down, he was charged with arson and insurance fraud and even though he was found to be not guilty, tongues wagged and he was left with a ruined reputation, little cash, and large legal bills.
Just when things looked their worst, Cole got a note from his grandmother’s husband Murphy informing him of the death of his grandmother and her will. She had left Cole the ranch, but the will has two conditions. One, he has to get married, and two, he and his wife have to live on the ranch for six months. But are any of Cole’s Dallas socialite sleeping partners willing to live on an isolated ranch in a small town, even with a cash pay-off at the end?
No way – so Cole goes to the local honky-tonk to pick up a willing woman. While there, he runs into Virginia (Ginny) White. Ginny reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s Carrie. She was born out of wedlock and her censorous mother drove away any friends and forbad her to have any fun. Ginny’s mother has recently died so Ginny puts on her first pair of blue jeans, goes to the honky-tonk, drinks her first beers – and gets sick-drunk.
Cole may be a cad, but he is enough of a gentleman to drive Ginny home, and when she wakes up, he puts his proposal to her. He will give her $25,000 if she will marry him and stay on the ranch for six months.
One Hot Texan has lots of good romance elements: A marriage of convenience, a cabin romance, a bad boy wounded hero, and a good girl who comes out of her shell. There’s nothing new, but it is very, very charming. At one point, right after they are married, Ginny tells her co-workers that she has married Cole McCallum. Cole happens to be downtown on business, and when he hears them gossiping that crazy Ginny made up a story about being married, he goes to the bank where she works and kisses her in front of lots of witnesses. Cole may be a cad, but he hates cruel gossip.
Jane Sullivan gives us a good picture of Cole, a man who is as wary and untrusting as can be as the adults in his life have always let him down. Ginny starts out as so utterly naive and innocent, I was rolling my eyes, but she quickly grew out of that. Ginny was starved for human companionship, and she and Cole become friends before they become lovers. Her own hard life has made her perceptive and she sees what Cole’s grandmother saw. He’s not a cad, he’s a lonely man who needs roots, constancy and love.
One Hot Texan ended up being a comfort read for me. I got kind of misty eyed at parts of it, and smiled at the end. Like I said, all in all a nice little book, a very nice little book.