Texas Hold Him
Texas Hold Him by Lisa Cooke is a pleasant, but average wallpaper-y romance set in the post-Civil War South.
Lottie Mason has 6 weeks to come up with $15,000 to pay off a blackmailer and keep her ailing father out of jail. But the Mason family isn’t doing well after the Civil War, and none of the Mason’s wealthy friends are willing to loan them the money. Desperate and out of options, Lottie decides to try winning the money at a poker tournament in St. Louis. Her plan is to get renowned cardsharp Dyer Straights to teach her the tricks of the trade, and win the $25,000 jackpot.
Obediah “Dyer” Straights has no interest in teaching a prim-and-proper lady how to play poker. In fact, his only interests include playing cards, bedding loose women, and seeking vengeance for a wrong committed four years ago. Unfortunately for him, Lottie won’t take no for an answer. She even gets a job as a saloon girl on a riverboat to St. Louis. So Dyer makes her a deal: he’ll teach her how to play poker, and if she wins the tournament she can repay him by spending a night in his bed. To his astonishment, Lottie agrees.
Once I got past the eye-rolling induced by the hero’s name, I found Texas Hold Him to be a pleasant, but unmemorable read. The characters were likeable, but somewhat two-dimensional; the plot was interesting enough, but predictable and unexciting. Moreover, the modern language and wallpaper-y scene descriptions left me without a true sense of historical setting.
Overall Texas Hold Him was a moderately enjoyable way to spend a few hours, but felt lacking in the qualities that would make it recommendable. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either; it’s just…average.