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Nicole Jordan: The Backlist

Terri emailed me recently about author Nicole Jordan’s backlist, which has recently been released digitally. Terri is a longtime fan of Jordan’s books, and she wrote up a very comprehensive guide to the older novels, which I really wanted to share with you. So thank you, Terri, and apologies in advance to your book budgets, y’all.

Here are some recommendations/thoughts on Nicole Jordan’s backlist, many of which were just reissued as ebooks for the bargain price of $2.99 each (the only book below that is not $2.99 is The Warrior
A quick caveat about these books: Nicole Jordan’s backlist tends to be very old school. Alpha hero with a tortured past – check! Feisty heroine – check! Purple prose – check! 

Here are some of my favorites from Nicole Jordan (pre-Notorious series): 

Book CoverThe Warrior - [AMZ | Kobo | BN] I’m almost ashamed to admit how much I like this medieval romance. It is inexplicably enjoyable. The plot revolves around Ariane, a young woman whose father has been branded a traitor. She tries to defend her keep against Ranulf, the knight who was once her betrothed. She fails, and hi-jinks ensue when she tries to get Ranulf to reinstate their betrothal (at one point, she gets her half-brother to steal fresh meat from the kitchen so she can stain the bed clothes with blood so that the church will force the marriage). 

She's clinging to his leg, and he has a big ol' sword. WTF?Ranulf is the typical Jordan hero. He’s domineering and is distrustful of women because of past betrayals. He believes that Ariane, like others of her sex and rank, is without honor, but she slowly but surely manages to get through his defenses. Ariane is feisty (and falls into TSTL territory once in a while), but she’s also smart, savvy, and very loyal to her family. 

The original cover is exactly what you would expect, complete with long hair waving in the breeze, unnatural poses (why is she clinging to his leg like that?), heaving bosoms, and a big sword.

Book CoverWildstar [ AMZ | BN] - Jessica Sommers needs to find a hired gun willing to help her protect her family’s silver mine, and in a fit of desperation, she hires Garrett Devlin, whom she takes to be a poor gambler. Devlin, of course, isn’t poor. He’s obscenely rich, but he’s trying to track down some people who have been robbing his business. Working for Jess gives him the opportunity to do some covert snooping.  

This Western is interesting because of the role reversal with the hero and heroine. While Devlin has been betrayed by a woman before, he doesn’t seem preoccupied with the idea that all women are scheming gold diggers. Jessica, the heroine, hates the wealthy, and she is the one who has the bigger emotional journey. When she discovers Devlin’s fortune (after he has agreed to partner with her father in order to help the mine get back on its feet), she feels betrayed. However, Jordan shows us how Jessica became the way she is. Although she seems irrational, it is also understandable why she distrusts all people with money. 

Two words: Ghost. Horse.The original cover isn’t the worst I’ve seen, but it does feature a ghost horse in the background, a huge gun (not a euphemism), sex on the prairie, and weird lighting on the hero and the heroine (this bothers me more than I can say).

Book CoverThe Heart Breaker [AMZ | BN]- This tropetastic book manages to be a Western with a Marriage of Convenience plot and a Perfect Dead Spouse thrown in for good measure. In it, rancher and aspiring politician (I know, just go with it) Sloan McCord needs to find a wife to help him take care of his young daughter. At the suggestion of his sister-in-law, he marries her friend, Heather, and in doing so, must pay off Heather’s father’s debts. 

While there is definitely external strife (usually in the form of random snowstorms and cliched villains), most of conflict is internal. Sloan is not the prosperous rancher Heather was led to believe, and paying off her father’s debts puts his already rocky financial state in more jeopardy. It also doesn’t help that Sloan is unwillingly attracted to Heather because he feels like he’s being untrue to the memory of his first wife, Doe, who was brutally murdered. Because of his guilt over Doe’s death and his second marriage, he is Angsty McAngsterson, and he acts like a total ass to Heather for a great deal of the book.  

Heather, for her part, is a bit of a doormat and can be a little too perfect. She’s a good cook! Children love her! She can birth babies and run a successful political campaign! However, when Sloan does something pretty unforgivable in the last third of the book (it is a bit of a doozy), she doesn’t cave and forgive him immediately. 

Mullet, clinch, and awesomesauce. Her hair is HUGE, too.So why am I recommending this book? There are a few reasons:

– I appreciated that (unlike many of Jordan’s other heroes) Sloan’s angst wasn’t because some woman did him wrong. He really seemed to love his first wife and is genuinely conflicted about his fascination to Heather, who is Doe’s antithesis.

– The prose is. So. Very. Purple. Seriously, there’s a love scene that involves the term “stiffened teats.” It is hilarious.

As a side note, you should check out the book’s original cover. It combines so many romance cover clichés, including the mullet and the unnatural/uncomfortable clinch pose.

Book CoverTender Feud [AMZ | BN] – This Scottish historical was a Harlequin Historical, so the sex isn’t nearly as graphic as the first three books I recommended. In this book, Katrine Campell goes to the Highlands and gets kidnapped for her trouble. Her abductor is Raith MacLean, and he is the laird of a clan that considers the Campbells the enemy. He holds Katrine hostage and is upset to discover that she is not biddable or meek. They clash constantly, but beneath this enmity is a mutual attraction. 

This book is a lot lighter in tone than The Warrior or The Heart Breaker, and the characters are surprisingly likable. Katrine is a strong heroine without falling into TSTL territory, and she and Raith seem equally matched. 

Sadly, the new Covers are photograph-like and while featuring big hair and a lot of screaming pink, they are not as wtf-tastic as the old covers. Moonwitch [AMZ | BN] – This is another Harlequin Historical, and it features another surprisingly interesting heroine. Selena is forced to marry Kyle because they are found in a compromising position. Neither wants marriage, and numerous misunderstandings and secrets complicate the situation.

The most interesting facet of this story is that Kyle has fathered a child with Danielle, who is another man’s wife, and he wants to do right by his son. The awkward situation between Kyle, Selena, and Danielle is surprisingly well handled, and I appreciated that Jordan doesn’t make Danielle the typical “other woman.”

Thank you, Terri! Honestly, the fact that older romances are being re-introduced into the marketplace, and that there are readers who love and remember them well is SO AWESOME.

Have you read any of these? Which did you love? Which backlist title have you enjoyed rediscovering lately?


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Kathleen says:

    Whoa, and yay! A medieval, a couple of westerns, and a Highlander—all by the same author? No ‘author branding’ of specificity like today’s agents/pubs demand? Love it!

  2. 2
    snarkhunter says:

    I tried to read a Nicole Jordan that my late grandmother had given me. She gave me that one and a Connie Mason (::gag::), saying that they were “really sexy.” (::double gag;: at hearing that from your grandmother). I skimmed the beginning of it, only to find that the “hero” rapes the heroine to consummate their loveless marriage of convenience. And I was done.

    I have no idea if that’s typical of Jordan, but it put me off of her for good.

  3. 3
    snarkhunter says:

    After skimming her backlist, I think it must’ve been Ecstasy.

  4. 4
    Tiblet says:

    Good heavens on the size of that gun…what’s he carrying-a S&W 500? Just wow! Don’r believe I have ever read anything by Jordan, but apparently it’s time to give it a try…

  5. 5

    Never read her but with those covers it’s definitely worth giving her a try.

  6. 6
    Kathleen O says:

    I have not read many of Nicole’s backlist books, but you can bet I will be finding a few of these.. The Tender Fued caught my eye right off…

    I am looking forward to Lori Foster’s Buchanan Brothers series that is coming out.. Love reading about hunky man, be it in historical or contemporay stories..

  7. 7
    Lisa J says:

    I would try a couple of the Westerns, but they aren’t available in ePub.

    Donna Fletcher is slowly releasing her backlist and the prices are very reasonable.  Her Irish books are already out and now I am waiting for the Westerns.

  8. 8
    darlynne says:

    Her abductor is Raith MacLean, and he is the laird of a clan that considers the Campbells the enemy.

    Today, hundreds of years later, if you ask—hell, you don’t even have to ask—any Scotsman will tell you, “Never trust a Campbell.” The memory of the massacre at Glen Coe in 1692 isn’t going away any time soon.

  9. 9
    Maggie says:

    What a coinky-dink.  I just recently, and randomly, read a Nicole Jordan based on an Amazon suggestion.  I miss Lisa Valdez.  I realize she’s rather controversial (you either love her or hate her) but I loved Passon and Patience and with no arrival of Primrose imminent, I did a “Lisa Valdez” search on amazon and after it listed all the Valdez books, Nicole Jordan’s were next on the list.  So, I thought I’d try The Seduction…and really didn’t like it.  The dialogue is sooooooooooo cheesy, and the overuse of the endearment “sweeting” annoyed the bejesus out of me.  I sort of felt like this was a failed “Lord of Scoundrels” attempt. 

    No, thanks.  I would rather re-read Lord of Scoundrels.

  10. 10
    Annabelle says:

    This tropetastic book manages to be a Western with a Marriage of Convenience plot and a Perfect Dead Spouse thrown in for good measure.

    …lead me to it!

    It’s great that digital is allowing so many backlists to be released. Perhaps some of the more rapetastic era should stay decently buried but by all means bring on the Old Skool.

  11. 11
    Susan says:

    I always get a good laugh here, and these sound hysterical.

    I LOVE—for a number of reasons—that so many older and/or OOP books are being released digitally.  And not just limited the romance genre.  More and more stuff is becoming accessible every day.  It’s nice to discover “new” books I may have missed the first time, or revisit books I enjoyed previously.  (Of course, sometimes I fall in love with a book all over again, and other times I wonder what the heck I was thinking!  But that’s OK, too.)  I also like that it’s a chance for authors to make some change off these older titles.

    I haven’t re-read it yet, but I just picked up In the Thrill of the Night, the first in Candice Hern’s Merry Widows trilogy.

  12. 12
    DS says:

    I know I’ve read one book by Nicole Jordan because I tore into it on Amazon. If I could remember the name I would check to see review was still up.  It was the book where the rancher’s daughter causes some inoffensive mixed race (Indian/white of course) cowhand fired or at least doesn’t explain that it was all her fault that they were in a semi-compromising position. 

    Later she had to marry him for some reason that I cannot remember.  I do remember though that every time they would get down to inserting tab A into slot B that something would interrupt the act.  For a while he was refusing to consummate the marriage because he wanted to punish her.  By the time they got around to doing it the result was *ahem* anticlimax..

  13. 13
    Susan/DC says:

    Don’t remember the title of the one and only Nicole Jordan I read, but it involved:
    1) The hero’s sister was injured (paralyzed?) due to something the heroine’s brother did.
    2) So the heroine has to become the hero’s mistress to make up for her brother’s actions.
    3) Then, after she decides that now that she’s a fallen woman she might as well become a courtesan, she asks the hero to teach her how to please a man.
    4) Which somehow involves him using various techniques to bring her to climax.

    This book was such a hot purple mess that I couldn’t find my willing suspension of disbelief anywhere.  While I don’t remember it all that well except for how annoyed I was (especially at the idea that it’s the client’s job to pleasure the courtesan—if I’d only known, I might have chosen a different career path), I think there actually was a fairly sweet romance between the hero’s sister and the heroine’s brother.  Don’t remember if the sister ever recovered fully or not.  However, since even my favorite authors have written books I didn’t like all that much, I’d be willing to try Jordan again.

  14. 14
    brandy says:

    I’ve been reading through some of these Jordan backlist titles recently, and thought I’d come out of lurkdom to mention that some of them (one of them being the Moonwitch mentioned) have characters in common.  It drives me batty to read out of order and find a married background character from one book as the lead single character in another book. 

    So, if you are inclined to read these books, I’d recommend this order:
    Desire and Deception
    Velvet Embrace

    I am very pleased at the release of backlist titles at this low price point…  I am a voracious reader with a relatively new Nook, and this enables my bad habit quite nicely!  :D

  15. 15
    Tiger Lily says:

    @SusanDC- The book you are describing is called The Seduction.

  16. 16
    raza says:

    I like this post soo much.Thats amazing work by editor.

  17. 17
    chrocs says:

    Nicole Jordan causes in me the effect that Lady Gaga does: It’s not what I usually like and wasn’t very willing to try it but I can’t help liking it.

    darlynne: I went to Glen Coe a few years ago based on a recommendation by a Donald. The place is truly eerie.

  18. 18
    darlynne says:

    @chrocs: Yes, and also one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I drove up and down the valley many times, just to marvel at the light, the hills, all of it.

  19. 19
    Susan/DC says:

    @Tiger Lily—Thank you (I think).

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