Harlequin Spice, Jul 2008, $13.95
In 1858 bone weary Texas Ranger Sam "Wild Card" MacGregor sees the two burned out wagons and thinks how ugly people are to one another. Tired he sees two bodies bloated by the sun and expects to find women and children, as wagons usually mean dependents. Accompanied by Kell the dog, they find more corpses and one lively female survivor. Isabella Montoya explains to Sam they are dead because of her though she was not with them when they died.
He offers to take her home, bit she explains she is engaged in an arranged marriage to Tejala a nasty villain she refuses to wed. Sam insists on taking her back to her family's ranch, but she explains Tejala's odious henchmen stalk the spread. When they come close to her ranch, he realizes she was telling the truth as Tejala’s thugs abound obviously seeking her out and would kill him to get her. Meanwhile wealthy Bella decides to seduce Sam into marrying her; she figures it helps that she is attracted to him and more important he is an honorable person who also can protect her. Sam wants the woman who almost accidentally killed him when they met, but tries to be honorable as he knows she is an innocent siren.
As with CAINE’S RECKONING, Sarah McCarty provides an entertaining Hell’s Eight erotic Texas Ranger pre-Civil War romance. The story line is fast-paced mostly due to the powerful relationship between Sam and Bella, whose exchanges makes the tale. Although Tejala is a stereotypical avarice serial killing villain, fans will appreciate the lone ranger with his horse and dog falling in love with a spitfire heiress.