Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: On the Porch, Going Undercover

Harriett has come up empty in her attempts at Google-Fu, so she’s pleading for the help of the Bitchery:

I have a HaBO request, and I’m hoping you’ll help me find a romance novel
that I checked out from a library while on summer vacation about 15 years
ago and it’s stuck with me ever since:

Like I said, I first read it in the mid-1990s, and the book was either a
Silhouette novel or Harlequin Super-Romance. I think the cover had a
painting of a man and a woman sitting on porch steps, with the woman leaning
back in his arms. Here’s the plot as I remember it:

It opens with the heroine who lives in Appalachia and works as a
nurse/midwife. She used to work in the big city, but moved to the
Appalachian mountains for the quiet and to work with a community in need.
Then one day, a stranger suddenly knocks on her front door and asks her if
she knows where her brother is. She says that the last time she heard from
her brother, he was going on a research trip in South America.

It turns out that the stranger is government agent from the CIA/FBI/[insert
secret agency here]. The government has learned that her brother’s research
(as an anthropologist or archaeologist) has put him in contact with someone
in South America who is a major criminal. The CIA agent is in charge of
tracking down her brother, and he wants the heroine’s help in contacting
her brother so that he’ll help them with their case and also get out of
danger. Also, I think she and her brother are orphans and she’s the only
one who can reach him.

The heroine agrees to go with the agent, and they embark on an exciting trip
down to South America and back through the United States to find her brother
and also avoid getting killed by said criminal. Of course, they fall in love
along the way.

Does this ring a bell for anyone?

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  1. 1
    Carahe says:

    I don’t know, but I desperately want to.  This sounds right up my alley.

  2. 2
    Barb says:

    It sounds so “old skool” Linda Howard—but by that time frame she had moved beyond her Silhouette I M books(her best, IMHO), and this story line doesn’t fit her old books.  Sorry that I can’t help further—except by elimination.
    Here’s hoping the Bitchery will come out of their holiday induced chocolate coma and give us an answer—because I want to know, too!!
    (Or maybe Anne Stuart—but that doesn’t sound familiar, either!!)

  3. 3
    Chicklet says:

    Man, oh Manischewitz, I hope the Bitchery is able to come through this time, because I would read the hell out of this book.

  4. 4
    Kristen says:

    I know I’ve read this one, but when I do a search, I get missing fathers, fiances, sisters, business partners and best friends.  No brothers.  (If you like this type of plot Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell is a good read).  I entered just about everything I read at the time in the Slake.com archive, but no luck there either.

  5. 5
    Askita says:

    I’ve exhausted my googling abilities. And although this isn’t really my cup of tea, I really do hope you find it. When you’re looking for a book for as long as this, it gets annoying. Got any idea what her name might be? Anything at all really, andthing that it might be like, or sound like?

    My passcode was power98. It totally reminded me of He-Man and ‘I have the POWEEEEERRRR!!!’

    *ducks head* I’ll be going now.

  6. 6
    Throwmearope says:

    Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall often has the FBI tapping at the door of a saint like woman living at the back of beyond, but I can’t find one that fits these details.

    Linda Howard’s Midnight Rainbow has an exciting trip through Central America to rescue the heroine, but the heroine is an only child.

    LH’s Heart of Fire has exciting trip through South America and the heroine has a brother.  But again, not a real fit.

    Sorry.

  7. 7

    Here’s hoping the Bitchery will come out of their holiday induced chocolate coma and give us an answer—because I want to know, too!!

  8. 8
    harriett says:

    Thank you all for your guesses so far!  Unfortunately I can’t remember any clues about the author’s name, but your suggestions have sent me on new, more promising searches.

    A couple additional points also have come to mind: One, the hero and heroine definitely could have gone to Central America instead of South America. And I think they had to stay with an indigenous tribe while down there.

  9. 9
    sandra says:

    The initial setup is a wee bit like Robyn Carr’s VIRGIN RIVER – heroine leaves the big city to be a midwife way up in the mountains – but there’s no brother or FBI agent in that, although there are some criminals. Its worth reading on its own merits, and so are the sequels.

  10. 10
    Kathy says:

    It does sound a little like “Heart of fire” by Linda Howard, but not all the details are the same.  Hmmm.  I thought I may have been of help, but probably not.

  11. 11

    I totally read this one, may even own it. I’ve always been auto-buy when it comes to romances with archaeologists/anthropologists/other -ists in them.

    Also, this one came to mind, along with Tara Janzen’s first few ‘Crazy’ books and a select few others, every time I heard “You want to write about Central America??? Why not make your heroine an actress and your hero a sports star while you’re at it, so you’ll have the trifecta of Shit That Doesn’t Sell?”  Snerk.

    Will putter around and see if I can find it.

  12. 12
    Kristen says:

    Okay tried Central America and found a brother.  Is it Sooner or Later by Debbie Macomber?  She’s a Texas postmistress, not a midwife…
    Back cover blurb:
    a letter from the hero: I may be a rough, tough soldier of fortune but I’ve met my match! I’m in Central America on a no-win job and regretting every minute. A woman named Letty Madden hired me to find her missing brother. I’d figured this prim and propert Texas postmistress would run and hide when I named my price: one night. I was wrong. I swear the woman is my punishment for never giving a damn about anyone. She’s stubborn as a mule and soft and sweet… and hell, I’m in big trouble. Getting out alive is the least of my problems. Murphy

  13. 13
    donna says:

    I don’t know why, but the name Linda Travers just keeps going through my brain. She or someone w/a similar name was writing Silhouettes back in the day. And my god, did I read A LOT of Silhouettes back in the day. Any how, I doubt this will be any help, but sometimes you’ve just got to let the little voice have it’s say.

  14. 14

    . She or someone w/a similar name was writing Silhouettes back in the day. And my god, did I read A LOT of Silhouettes back in the day. Any how, I doubt this will be any help, but

  15. 15
    Trish Olsen says:

    B J James wrote a lot of books set in Appalachia in the mid nineties. I think this might be one of them. I could not find the plots of her books listed but the publishing dates are in line with your reading. Hope this helps.

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