I like Goodman’s heroes very much too and find her to be an author very sensitive to how men and women function as a couple.
I agree too that her westerns are not as “dark” as her regency novels. However, the theme of rape in A Touch of Frost felt weird to me. Why was it there at all if she wasn’t going to develop it or show how it impacts the heroine. How was Phoebe able to survive multiple rapes without any repercussions, including in her ability to thrive in a new and exciting sexual relationship? Usually, Goodman develops these themes well, but in this book, it felt tacked on so that she could include her trademark sexual trauma plot without doing the hard work of developing it. It didn’t work for me here in this one.