Most of the folks who work in romance publishing love romane – this is rather obvious. Few people are in publish for the pots of money – there aren't any.
But Avon associate publicist Jessie Edwards is a huge romance fan. HUGE. She was telling me about her favorite romance, and I asked her to write about it. Here is Jessie's love letter to Texas Destiny, her favorite romance in the whole world.
Three years ago, on my first day at Avon as an assistant publicist, my boss took me around to all the editors to introduce me. I was nervous and shy, giving quiet “hellos” and generally not saying much. Until I walked into one editor’s office and sitting on her desk were copies of all three Texas books by Lorraine Heath (TEXAS DESTINY, TEXAS GLORY, TEXAS SPLENDOR) and I about lost my you-know-what.
Shyness gone, nervousness gone. I exclaimed and gushed and generally made a fool of myself about how much I loved those books, and everyone laughed (good-naturedly) at me. But I didn’t care because I had just had a major revelation. I was in a place where people just had my absolute favorite books sitting on their desks—AS PART OF THEIR JOBS. And I was going to be surrounded by those books and authors, as well. Mind. Blown.
Sarah did not ask me to write this post about how awesome it is working at Avon (which it is), but about my complete and utter love for the book TEXAS DESTINY (the major reason behind my Day 1 freak out—GLORY and SPLENDOR are lovely, but TEXAS DESTINY holds the most special place in my heart). I’ve waxed fangirl about this book to Sarah, to my colleagues, to Lorraine herself. It’s in my top 5 all-time favorite romances, and if you haven’t read it yet, I’m about to tell you why it should be the next item on your TBR pile.
TEXAS DESTINY starts off a trilogy about the three Leigh brothers as they carve their place in the Wild West after the Civil War. Oldest brother Dallas Leigh has sent his brother Houston east to escort his mail order bride for the three-week trip between Fort Worth and Dallas’s ranch in West Texas because he’s broken his leg and can’t go himself. Horrifically scarred in the War, Houston is the “safe” choice to bring another man’s bride across the country as no woman could ever want him.
But Amelia Carson isn’t just any woman. Carrying her own, internal, scars from the war, she’s eager to make a new life with Dallas in Texas, but the more time she spends with the surly, wounded Houston, the surer she is that he is the man she is meant to be with. When they finally reach Dallas’s ranch, she must convince him that he should step out of the shadows and fight for their love.
There’s so much angst and heartache and tenderness and joy in this book, I’m overwhelmed with emotions every time I read it (which is maybe once or twice a year for the past ten years). Houston, a gentle man whose only desire is to own a small plot of land, breed horses, and be left alone, has always been cast in the shadow of his ambitious older brother, and since getting his wounds in the war, he has become even more withdrawn. He has no idea why a woman as sweet and beautiful as Amelia would love him—what when even the saloon girls, who entertain Dallas for free, charge him double for their services. Surely this woman is better off with his powerful, self-assured brother.
Amelia, for her part, is a deceptively mild-mannered, unobtrusive heroine—nice, pretty in an unchallenging way, always looking for the best in a situation. She could have been boring, easily-dismissed, but in Lorraine’s hands, she is revealed to have an inner core of strength that makes her a fierce competitor in the war for Houston’s heart, in which the opponent is his own self-loathing. She is a salve to Houston’s damaged soul, and the perfect woman to bring him into the light after years of hiding. I admire her as a heroine more than pretty much any heroine in romance novel history.
The publicist in me won’t let me close this post without reminding you that Lorraine has just finished off a new trilogy about three damaged brothers. LORD OF WICKED INTENTIONS, which went on sale 4/30, is my favorite of the three. Youngest brother of the Lost Lords of Pembrook, Rafe Easton, is about as messed up as Houston Leigh. His brothers left him in a workhouse when he was only a child as they fled their home to escape from a murderous uncle. Now an adult and reunited with his brothers, Rafe feels no connection to them, or to the rest of the high society to which he’s supposed to belong. When he attends a private gathering at which Miss Evelyn Chambers is being sold as mistress to the highest bidder by her half-brother, he knows he must have her. Will she be his Amelia, soothing his fraught soul and convincing him that he’s worthy of her love?
So if you’re in the mood for a brilliantly written romance filled with intense emotions both grand and quiet, tortured heroes and strong heroines, I strongly suggest you check out both TEXAS DESTINY (available only in e-book) and LORD OF WICKED INTENTIONS. I love them so much, and I hope you do too.