Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Why didn’t she chew it off?

Samantha asks:

I read this book about 7 years ago, when I first discovered ~romance novels~
and pretty much devoured any I could find – my mum’s collection, two or
three different libraries… So I have no idea how old this book could be.
Hopefully someone recognises it!

It was definitely a historical. For some reason, the heroine is staying at
the hero’s house in the country, though they weren’t together yet. I think
she may have lost her memory? Though I might be mashing in details with that

She goes out for a walk one morning, and takes a shortcut back to the house
through an overgrown grassy area. But her leg gets caught in one of those
steel jaw traps they use to catch animals. I think they wanted to catch
poachers in this case, though. She pretty much blacks out and the hero
doesn’t find her until nightfall because nobody could see her amongst all
the overgrowth.

She almost dies at this point because of all the blood loss, and I remember
a line where the doctor says she would have lost her foot if she hadn’t
been so short? The trap closed on her leg, rather than around her ankle, or
something like that.

So why didn’t she just chew off her own leg? Sheesh. What a wuss.


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  1. 1
    Wendy says:

    That is WTFery extraordinaire. I would never have imagined that a leg-hold trap would have been used as a plot device in a romance novel.

  2. 2
    Maria says:

    It’s not the book in question, but Sandra Brown Hidden Fires has the heroine rescuing the old hermit (who had his nose and ears cut off by Indians, which is why he was a hermit) from a steel trap, thus endearing herself to the hermit, who helps save her later in the book. I almost thought, my first HABO!, but not so much.

  3. 3
    LisaC says:

    @Wendy In the YA romantic fantasy Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith there’s another leghold trap. I’m sure I’ve seen at least one more but it’s not coming to mind. Common23: well, I don’t know if it’s that common.

  4. 4
    Jessica says:

    It might be Come Love A Stranger by Kathleen Woodiwiss.  I don’t remember the steel trap part, but she did lose her memory and was staying at his southern country house.

  5. 5
    Faellie says:

    Not this book, but the HABO did remind me of the very early Linda Howard in which the heroine trapped her leg between rocks on a beach, and had to be rescued at night by the hero.  The reason this otherwise fairly mundane happening was memorable was that the heroine was being menaced by the incoming tide.  On a Greek island.

    (And for any of the geographically challenged who may be reading this, Greece is in the Meditteranean.  Which is an inland sea.  And which at the eastern end where Greece is does not have tides of more than about 6 inches. Infomercial now over.)

  6. 6
    Anony Miss says:

    Oh, I KNOW I’ve read this one… and I never know HABO’s.

  7. 7

    Looking around shiftily, since Wendy said…

    That is WTFery extraordinaire. I would never have imagined that a leg-hold trap would have been used as a plot device in a romance novel.

    Um, please don’t buy my debut Blaze novel when it comes out next month. There, you’ve been warned. Fans of romances featuring leg-hold traps, on the other hand—flock to the stores! I gots what you need!

    What fascinated me about the HaBO summary was that heroine would have lost her foot in the trap if she’d been shorter? Jesus, how tiny is she?! Not that I wouldn’t still read it, of course. :-)

  8. 8
    SB Sarah says:

    Fans of romances featuring leg-hold traps, on the other hand—flock to the stores! I gots what you need!

    That made me LOL like whoa. HA!

  9. 9
    JaneyD says:

    Leg hold traps should look like George Clooney and come with massage oil.

    He can grab my leg, ankle, whatever’s in reach, any old time.

  10. 10
    Janelba says:

    Sorry I can’t help Samantha.

    As for Cara McKenna, I think your book will be the first in my leg-trap collection. Can’t wait to read it! OH, and I checked out your book list…Is it me or is my computer monitor sweating!

  11. 11

    Wow, I vastly underestimated the appeal of leg-hold trap romance! Clearly, trappers are the new shifters. Must go crank out a dozen more books featuring ankle injuries, before vampires make yet another comeback…

  12. 12
    Allie says:

    This is vaguely ringing a bell for me…when you say “country” do you mean US/pioneer/old west type of country or English countryside type of country?

  13. 13
    Carrie S says:

    Why not capitalize on both crazes?  The Heroine is trapped when her lover, a mysterious vampire riddled with angst, suffers a seizure that causes his fangs to become embedded in her ankle.  Then he passes out, jaws still inexplicably clenched.  She must get him to safety before sunrise!  But he is too heavy to move and is also attached to her ankle!  Her only hope is that her desperate cries reach the ears of her werewolf friend – but will his smouldering attraction to her, and his jealousy of vamp guy, keep him from coming to the recuse?  Duh nuh nuh nuuuuuuuhhhhh….

    attack68:  If 68 traps attack you, remember to duck.  Or dodge.  You know, whatever works.

  14. 14
    Dee Tenorio says:

    OMG! I not only know this one, its one of my first reads & I spent years looking for it—& found it!

    Rebecca by Jo Ann Ferguson!!

    I’m on my iPod, but as soon as I get home I’ll grab the blurb for you.


  15. 15
    Dee Tenorio says:

    Here it is:

    She Thought He Was Dead!

    When Rebecca discovered the wounded soldier in the barn, she rushed to his aid. Though he wore the red coat of a Tory, his suffering appealed to her fourteen year old heart. Their secret vows were merely the fulfillment of a dying man’s last wish, for Nicholas Wythe was soon taken away from the Connecticut farm and left to die in a colonial prison.

    Five years later, as Rebecca stood at the altar for a proper wedding, Nicholas returned. The gleam in his obsidian eyes was unmistakable: Lord Foxbridge had come to claim his bride.

    From the rough woodlands of her home to the stained glass arches of Foxbridge Cloister, Rebecca struggled against the formidable will of her husband. She was a Yankee in the arms of a Loyalist.

    His kisses sent treasonous thoughts surging through her blood even as his every touch lit new fires in her rebel’s heart.

    Rebecca had fallen in love with the enemy.

    And this was one war she was determined to win.

    And just to seal the deal, in case the blurb doesn’t ring any bells, Rebecca was a’wandering, as heroines are like to do, through tick infested tall grass when the man trap caught her. The dog was the only one who knew where she was and no one was listening to him, until the hero—ready to set the place on fire to find her—finally listens to Lassie and drags her up out of the dirt. The doctor is cranky with them for having a man trap on their property—until he learns it was an overlooked remnant of two generations ago.

    I gave a quick search for the doctor line, but I couldn’t find it. (Have been spoiled by search features on ebooks.)

    Hope that’s it!

  16. 16
    Ginger says:

    What a coincidence! I’m also currently rereading The Beleaguered Lord Bourne by Kasey Michaels where the heroine at the prologue gets her gown trapped in an animal trap. She managed to free the trap from its stake on the ground but she couldn’t fully extricate the device from her gown so she dragged the trap, stake and chain to confront the Lord Bourne the owner of the woods where the trap was set.

    When confronted: “How in bloody blue blazes did you get yourself caught in an animal trap, woman? That thing could have taken your leg off. Good God, have you no common sense? Don’t you even know enough to watch where you’re putting your feet when walking in the woods?” Clearly Lord Bourne’s questions and general tone of mingled anger and disgust could lead his listener into supposing the man believed himself to be addressing a hard-of-hearing idiot who should even now be down on her knees giving thanks to the gods on high for her lucky escape.

    “I,” she countered, once recovered from the shock of the man’s uncalled-for attack, “am attached to this heinous instrument of torture and murder because some twisted, demented monster bent on destroying poor defenseless rabbits and furry little squirrels and other such wild and dangerous beasties has seen fit to set inhumane traps in the Home Wood. That’s how I became caught in this contraption. “As to my leg, as you have so crudely seen fit to bring that appendage into this discussion, it and its mate are cognizant of their narrow escape, which is most probably why they agreed to carry me to Bourne Manor in order that I might confront Lord Bourne with the consequences of his thoughtless act.”

  17. 17
    AgTigress says:

    Oh!  I thought the traps under discussion were actual mantraps of some kind, but the Kasey Michaels reference makes clear that it is simply a gin-trap that was meant there.  These were set chiefly to catch rabbits, and were not made illegal in the UK till the late 1950s:  I remember the legislation, but I don’t recall the exact year.  Although they varied in size and power, I doubt whether most of them could have taken a human’s foot or leg off, though they could certainly cause serious injury to people, horses and other livestock.  Horrible things.

  18. 18
    Kathleen says:

    I thought of Crown Duel too!  Crown Duel was/is still one of my favorite books :)

  19. 19
    LisaC says:

    More in the leghold trap subgenre: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper.

  20. 20
    Samantha says:

    Thank you so much for all your help, everyone! And especially to you, Dee. The blurb didn’t ring a bell, but the title did! And I distinctly remember the cover that Google throws up. Huzzah!

  21. 21
    Susan says:

    There’s a leghold trap romance subgenre?  And I thought Highlander slash fan fic was *educational.*

    Oh, I’ve spent my adult life in the American Bible Belt.  Does it show much?

  22. 22
    Rachel says:

    Damn, I have to read this now.  I can’t believe how many animal traps there are in romance!

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