Texas Hold Him
Leisure, Apr 2009, $6.99
In 1870 in New Orleans, Dyer Straights is one of the city’s best cardsharps and almost as famous for his skill with the ladies. However, gambling and women are not his passion; he lives for one thing: vengeance.
Southern belle Lottie Mason is in desperate need of money in order to keep her sick father out of prison. She enters a riverboat card tournament expecting to win though she has no idea how to play. She asks Dyer for some lesions. He has no time for a loser even one so beautiful so he asks for payment of her sleeping with him for tutoring lessons. He assumes she will flee back to whatever haven or hovel she has left; but she shocks him by calling his bluff.
TEXAS HOLD HIM is an enjoyable lighthearted historical frolic due mostly to the antics of Lottie and the reactions to her exploits by Dyer; the interaction between them sort of reminded this reviewer of Solo and Leia (Episode IV). Poker is a metaphor for their relationship as the ante is the heart, bluffs are tried, countered, and called, and a royal flush straight cannot trump their strange romance. Lisa Cooke writes a wonderful Post Civil War game of chance in which the stakes are love and broken hearts.