Synopsis: Tory Wells arrived at Sundance Ranch with only a battered suitcase and a letter from a friend that promised employment. Recovering from knee surgery, Tory desperately needed this job. And Ethan Reever was her only hope.
But Reever wasted no time in telling Tory he wanted nothing to do with some city-bred stranger. In his opinion, a woman like Tory knew nothing about ranch life, and he’d decided long ago that he had no use for pretty, useless women. Especially one who looked at him as innocently as Tory did — no matter how much he desired her . . .
Tory knew one thing for certain. Determined to show him she could make it on her own, she vowed never to ask Reever for anything ever again. Not a job. Not money. And definitely not his love.
My Thoughts: Well, what can I say. I liked this in spite of myself. See, the story was a little bit too Diana Palmer-ish for my tastes; and I gave up Diana (who was one of my faves, btw) for one reason: I felt like I was re-reading the same story over, and over, and over again. The hero is always much older than the heroine, the heroine is almost always a virgin; the hero always calls the heroine “little one”, and the hero always has to explain what le petite morte is.
In Too Hot to Handle Reever, the hero, is 33; Tory, the heroine, is 20 (Palmer check #1); Tory is a virgin (Palmer check #2); Reever calls Tory “little one” (Palmer check #3); and although Reever doesn’t have to explain exactly what an orgasm is, he describes it as the two of them dying together (therefore, morte, therefore Palmer check #4).
Yes, I realize that this is Elizabeth Lowell, but I swear I could have been reading Diana Palmer. I really could have. In spite of this, the writing was good. I found myself submerged into the story and looking forward to what happens when I wasn’t reading it.
I did like Tory for the most part, although it did seem she played the victim a little too much, especially around Reever. She wasn’t strong in that aspect and that bugged me. I liked Reever also. Yes, he’s an ass, but that’s probably what I liked most about him. He wasn’t some lollypop version of a dime-store hero.
Okay, and so what if when she was in the throws of a good orgasm she said the three dreaded words ~~ I Love You. Not really my favorite thing to read, but I can deal with it. And of course Reever turned into and ass again for about 5 days after she said those dreaded words. Which caused the *gasp* big understanding. He thought she wanted to leave him to go back to competitive diving, she thought he could never love her. Sheesh, I hate big misunderstandings. But, it was all cleared up within the last few pages and I got my HEA with a big red bow tied around it.
And really, people should read it just for the bareback scene alone.
***This is a reprint. The story was originally published in Silhouette Desire #319 in November 1986***
Verdict: This was somewhere between Okay and Good. I enjoyed Elizabeth Lowell’s writing, even if the story itself held just about everything in it that I dislike about a novel. But I read it anyway, so that’s something. I’ve got more of Elizabeth’s books in my stacks and look forward to reading them in the future.