Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: He Calls Her “Querida”

This HaBO request is from Liz, who is hoping to identity this historical romance:

I’m looking for a book and hoping the community can help. Here’s what I remember:

It’s a historical novel (set in the U.S., I’m pretty sure) and the bilingual hero speaks Spanish, but the heroine doesn’t. I think she dislikes him at first, there’s something about riding horses maybe. I can’t remember why she’s hanging around there, but I think there’s some kind of culture shock on her part and a feeling that she’s roughing it wherever in the wild west they are.

I know you’re impressed by my specificity thus far, so let me add the two things I actually almost remember.

First, he starts calling her “querida” and she doesn’t know what it means. She asks another lady (I think the hero’s sister?) and the sister’s like “he called you what?!” and gives her Significant Looks that confuse the dopey little heroine, who still thinks she and the hero hate each other or whatever.

Second, he’s really sexually experienced (astounding!) and she isn’t (unique!), and during sexytimes he says something like how he learned woman-pleasing tricks from some exotic babe (classy!), and the heroine suddenly gets really upset (unforeseeable!) and openly laments that he isn’t a virgin, which gently amuses the hero. I remember being surprised by this passing wish for male chastity and thinking omg does this goof even know what genre she’s in? Then on further consideration it seemed weird that her reservations would be so rare. The episode lasts maybe two sentences (so it might not help anyone to identify the book), but I still think about it.

Oh, and he might have a tattoo, or maybe I’m just imagining one due to his Mysterious and Erotic Past.

I read the book in the early to mid 2000s, but it could’ve been published earlier because–as with most great things–I stole it from my mom.

I’m living for Liz’s parenthetical comments.

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  1. 1
    lindleepw says:
    7+

    Omg I’m like 99.9% sure I’ve read this but I can’t remember! Come on, brain! Think!!

  2. 2
    Katy L says:
    5+

    Could it be Treasure of the Sun by Christina Dodd? Some parts sound like it – bilingual hero calling her querida (he’s a culturally Spanish landowner in pre-statehood California), culture shock, heroine thinking they dislike each other, etc. Other parts, I don’t remember, but it’s been years since I read the book – it was (if I recall correctly) published in the 1990’s.

  3. 3
    Gen T. says:
    3+

    Katy L. Not that one. The heroine was a widow and the hero wasn’t that much of a d-bag. Best to my recollection.

  4. 4
    Bronte says:
    4+

    I think this has to be a Diana Palmer. What one I can’t say but she did write a few historical.

  5. 5
    Taylor says:
    15+

    Nothing helpful to add, but this is my favorite HABO ask =)

  6. 6
    Betsydub says:
    6+

    This one is driving me crazy enough to actually try to research it (instead of wildly guessing), because little flashes of brain cells tell me I’ve read this. First I thought it had to be Thea Devine (“Reckless Passion”), but I don’t think any of her Western “H”‘s
    had the self-awareness/emotional intelligence to call the heroine “Querida”. And the heroine (in “RP”) was reckless, not TSTL (but the last time I read it was about ten years ago, so I might have to re-evaluate that here in 2019).
    So I’m moving on to Rosemary Rogers and the children of Ginny & Steve Morgan. I keep flashing on Dons (Fernando? Sebastian? Wasn’t Steve “Don Esteban” when he was with his family-of-origin?). And a Victoria (their daughter?).
    So if I’m headed in the wrong direction for Liz’s HABO, someone feel free to tell me what I’m thinking of. Thanks (& sorry if I just added to the general confusion).

  7. 7
    JenM says:
    8+

    @Betsydub, you aren’t alone. I immediately thought of Rosemary Rogers, specifically Steve and Ginny themselves, but it’s been so long since I read those books (40 years!) that I don’t remember any details and they were such bodice rippers that I’m afraid to even try to reread them. I don’t know that I ever read any of the books featuring their kids but those details certainly sound like something she’d write. Also, I do distinctly remember that Steve always called Ginny “querida” on those rare occasions when he was feeling tender towards her rather than cursing her very name like he did most of the time.

  8. 8
    MEME says:
    6+

    Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins!

  9. 9
    Saphy says:
    4+

    Is this not one of those Beverly Jackson stories about the family that has like three sons?

  10. 10
    Betsydub says:
    6+

    @JenM – thanks for backing up my hunches. I feel a little less obsessed now.
    @MEME- “Destiny’s Embrace” came out in January, 2013, so that wouldn’t be it. And Miss Bev’s heroines are NEVER dopey!
    @Saphy – do you mean Beverly Jenkins (see above) or Brenda Jackson? In a very quick run-thru of Jackson’s titles, I didn’t see any westerns that looked historical (but I could have missed some). But, interestingly, & apropos to Rosemary Rogers’ bestselling era, Jackson named her youngest son “Brandon” after Katherine Woodiwiss’ rape-y “hero” of “The Flame & the Flower”. I bet there’s a lot of “Brandons” named after him… hopefully, they’re all not alphaholes like he was.

  11. 11
    Kam says:
    5+

    My first thought was one of Johanna Lindsey’s. But alas, the one I thought might be it, “Heart of Thunder”, says on the second page that the heroine “often cursed in Spanish because she knew it as well as she knew English.

  12. 12
    MEME says:
    7+

    @Betsydub you’re killing me with the pub. date! I read through Destiny’s Embrace again and thought I nailed it because the city heroine is a fish out of water on a california ranch and the Querida scenes ARE ALL THERE!

    Beverly Jenkins is a national treasure and her heroines aren’t “dopey” per se; BUT they do lack basic sex ed. (even the doctor!) until the VERY experienced heroes teach them- with the requisite “that goes where?” “But will it fit?” cringey dialogue.

  13. 13
    DeeinID says:
    3+

    This reminded me of an old Kat Martin book…It sounded just like it until the tattoo thing.

  14. 14
    NakedSpinster says:
    4+

    I’m also throwing my hat in the ring for Steve and Ginny Morgan series by Rosemary Rogers. Although the crazy sauce factor was high in that series.

  15. 15
    Meredith says:
    3+

    This description brought Sam’s Creed by Sarah McCarty to my mind. Maybe published later than originally thought but it has very similar elements.

  16. 16
    Evelyn M. Hill says:
    9+

    Worth reading even for the parentheticals alone (srsly)

  17. 17
    Jill-Marie says:
    5+

    Imma gonna go for a longshot here and suggest “Touch the Wind” by Janet Dailey (yes, I know).

    The heroine is kidnapped by the hero in Mexico (He’s on horseback with his “outlaw” band — they’re really Robin Hood sorts — so maybe that’s where the idea of it being a historical comes from? And the village hideout he takes her to is very … rustic). He plans to ransom her except he falls in love (as one does) and yes, he calls her “querida.”

    It is full of absolute crazy-sauce, but I do remember it very fondly. I wore my original copy out, LOL. I’m afraid to re-read it now because it would be so danged dated. But a lot of the HABO’s plot line fits.

    It was first published around 1980 I think, but then reissued with different covers a couple more times, including in the 1990s and again in 2008 or ’09.

  18. 18
    Willa says:
    5+

    Totally agree with Jill-Marie – was thinking it was Janet Dailey’s Touch the Wind.

    I remember the hero only speaking Spanish at first and so the heroine thinks he doesn’t understand English. She then spends time speaking to him in derogoratory terms which he doesn’t let on that he understands! Oi!

  19. 19
    Liz says:
    6+

    Requester here! Thank you all for your noble efforts. It can’t be “Destiny’s Embrace” or “Sam’s Creed” because of the publishing dates; it’s almost definitely pre-2006. I was hopeful about the “Treasure of the Sun” suggestion because my mom had plenty of Christina Dodd around, but I don’t remember a treasure-hunting angle. Same with Dailey because I don’t think she was being held for ransom or anything like that. But I’m trying to get copies of both of those so I can be sure!

    Anyone have a specific book title from Rosemary Rogers / Kat Martin that I should check out?

  20. 20
    JenM says:
    5+

    The Rosemary Rogers books featuring Steve and Ginny are Sweet Savage Love (one of the very first “romances” I ever read waaaaaay back in The mid-1970’s!) and its follow ups, Dark Fires, and Lost Love, Last Love. Rosemary was very popular back in the day and I had Sweet Savage Love in my possession through numerous moves right up until the mid 1990’s so it’s very possible that it or one of its sequels was still on your mom’s bookshelf in the early 2000’s. Gotta warn you, the crazy sauce is high in these books. They are the very definition of bodice rippers.

  21. 21
    Emily says:
    4+

    Thinking out loud here…but it couldn’t be any of Elizabeth Lowell’s “Only” series, could it? Tough to tell from the Goodreads descriptions and my memory…
    Like many here, I’m sure I’ve read this…ringing so many bells!

  22. 22
    Liz says:
    4+

    I haven’t found anything that matches in the “Sweet Savage Love” series (though I can’t find ebook copies of a couple of them), nor in Lowell’s “Only” series– but several of these seem so close in tone that I’m thinking we’re probably looking for an 80s- or 90s-era book. I don’t specifically remember an imperiled-looking blonde on the cover or the word “Savage” in the title, but that seems like it was once quite the popular combo.

  23. 23
    qqemokitty says:
    4+

    This might be a long shot but reminded of one of the first romances I ever read. Realllly old skool.

    Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne

    I will never forget this book it is EPIC crazy sauce and I think I was in middle school when I first read it so more than 20 years ago. 😛

    The heroine is a southern Belle, the hero a mixed race adopted Comanche something or other and I’m pretty sure he’s bilingual and she’s not. It’s in Texas so Spanish features prominently.

  24. 24
    CateM says:
    2+

    Pretty sure this is one of Beverly Jackson’s, set in California. I remember the sister/ Querida thing.

  25. 25
    Mayweed99 says:
    2+

    Could it be “While Passion Sleeps” by Shirlee Busbee. I seem to remember Raphael Santana (douche canoe extraordinaire) calling her “English” or “Querida” interchangeably.

  26. 26
    Ashley M. says:
    2+

    I know I have read this book and it’s driving me absolutely bonkers that I cannot remember it. I went onto a deep dive search, and after a while have come up with my best guess: Desperado by Rebecca Brandewyne. I don’t have my copy of the book any longer and it’s not available in e-book and my library doesn’t have a copy so I can’t double check against my own terrible memory. But this is what I do remember, supplemented with the blurb from Goodreads.

    Rigo de Castillo is either Mexican or multi-racial, and he and his buddies on horseback bust into Araminta’s wedding reception and abduct her (she didn’t want to marry the dude so she’s not like, one hundo percent mad, but also still mad because, dude. Kidnapping?). So Rigo brings Araminta to…???Mexico? Somewhere less American, at least. And Rigo definitely has some sort of nickname for Araminta, but I can’t remember if it’s querida or gringa.

    There’s also some type of secondary plot that’s political in nature about the Mexicans/non-Americans I think? And I think I remember there was some local/traditional festival that occurred that maybe kicked off some sexxytimez between our H and h?

    And I possibly remember that the two had briefly met (??by a river??) before the whole wedding/kidnapping thing. And that Rigo had multiple reasons for kidnapping her beyond “yo I want to” and that one of them was politically/business motivated against Araminta’s…father probably?

    If someone could confirm or deny my crazy ramblings and recollections that’d be sweet. I will def be tracking this HaBO, because my god I want a definitive answer (whether or not I’ve got the right book) because I know with every ounce of my being I’ve read this book and I have to know.

  27. 27
    Allie says:
    3+

    The mediator series by Meg Cabot?? The hero is a ghost though.

  28. 28
    JamieLynn says:
    3+

    I know in Midnight Rider by Kat Martin he calls “Querida” but it’s been so long since I read it that I don’t remember if anything else matches. This the book description on her website:

    She was his captive.

    As soon as the tall, handsome Spaniard leaned down from his stallion to offer her a rose, Caralee McConnell knew California held danger. But all too quickly she was forced to deny the heat Ramon de la Guerra had sparked. Determined to please her uncle who had saved her from poverty, she must resign herself to marrying a man he has chosen for her…and ignore what is in her heart.

    He was the one man she was forbidden to have…

    Behind Ramon’s dark eyes throbbed the memory of his lands, stolen by the beautiful Americana’s uncle. He had sworn to reclaim them—riding by night as the ruthless outlaw, El Dragón. In a moment of rage and revenge, he stole Caralee away to his mountain lair…but there, in a passion as sweet as California wine, he would reveal a secret that could cost him his life—and his heart’s freedom—in Midnight Rider.

  29. 29
    Rehana Mohammed says:
    5+

    Could it be the outlaw and the lady? Lorraine Heath

  30. 30
    Liz says:
    3+

    It feels like we are SO close, you guys.

    I couldn’t find anything matching in “Love Cherish, Me” by Shirlee Busbee. Then I finally tracked down a copy of Busbee’s “Desperado”– which does include querida several times!– but it doesn’t seem to quite match up otherwise. I’m working through Kat Martin’s “Midnight Rider” and Lorraine Heath’s “The Outlaw and the Lady” (both have a kajillion uses of querida but I can’t find The Reveal Scene just from searching). In “Outlaw,” the hero’s sister appears to be a significant character, so my fingers are crossed.

    Thank you all for the suggestions! I never realized how many querida books were out there (or how many of them featured kidnapping…? Not going to unpack that right now).

  31. 31
    Betsydub says:
    2+

    @Liz, et al – I’m still here with you. After marinating in the details for a week and combing through the info found in my library system’s (sadly, hole-y) online catalog/database, I am moderately confident that it could very well be Rosemary Rogers’ “Sweet, Savage Love” (note the hedging; that’s what happens when I’ve watched way too much of the impeachment hearings today).
    I definitely remember that Steve Morgan had a long-term, “exotic” (in the world of mid-70s historical romance, that meant “non-Anglo”)
    “other piece” that Ginny was very jealous of
    (uh, because Steve would go back to/sleep with the other woman at least once per book and someone would make sure Ginny always found out). Steve’s paramour might have been the OT (Original Tutor) you remember the dopey heroine referring to (or not…). The name “Margarita” comes to mind. As does Steve’s being tattooed. And there were many horses. But these memories are ancient history for me. What, or rather WHO we really need to ask is the Dowager Queen of Smart Bitches & Trashy Books herself, Rosemary Rogers! Someone out there must have a connection; I know you’re out there, lurking. So please, please, please ask her! Is “SSL” or one of its sequels the HABO solution?

  32. 32
    PamG says:
    3+

    Am I pathetic that I can’t read the endearment “querida” without hearing it in John Astin’s voice?

  33. 33
    Stephanie says:
    1+

    Is the book set in California? Because I read a similar book where the man was from Spain on military business and the girl’s father was a horse breeder (I think).

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