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Book Cover Limecello’s review of Sam’s Creed (Hell’s Eight, Book 2) by Sarah McCarty
Historical erotic romance published by Harlequin Spice on 24 Jun 08

I’ve heard a lot about this series and Sarah McCarty in general, so when I got this book I was happy to move it to the top of my reading list. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I can see why so many people love this series and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series (as well as the previous book, Caine’s Reckoning).

The story in Sam’s Creed is interesting, and relatively unique. Nothing earth shattering – yet the book is engaging and moves at a good pace. It doesn’t seem like that much is happening – yet you realize you’ve read nearly 100 pages without quite knowing it. What I’m saying is that the novel is surprising in a good way. And with lots of heat.

Isabelle Montoya is a likable heroine, even though I wanted to smack her at times. She had a few TSTL moments – and this book really goes to show that men go for looks – and admire things other than sense. Isabelle while courageous, wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. She nearly got herself and Sam, the hero, killed a number of times. In fact, Isabelle was nearly killed by Sam a few times, because she got in the way. (Can you tell that annoyed me?) I liked that she knew her own mind – she wanted Sam and she really went after him. Yet even with all that confidence and pragmatism, Isabelle was still soft, and naive about a few things. This mix really develops her character – and I think the reader feels also warmly towards Isabelle because Sam takes to her so quickly.

Texas Ranger Sam “Wildcard” MacGregor has quite the reputation, but is so kind and gentle with Isabelle. He could (and likely should) have abandoned her a number of times, but instead he makes her his cause. It’s cute, how Sam tried to be noble and stay away from Isabelle. A bit of a romance cliche, but adorable how Sam acted all the same. I also really liked Sam’s integrity and his competence. Sam was definitely an alpha hero, but one with a heart and was a gentle giant with women and children. I thought he was a fantastic character, well rounded, with a lot of depth. And resilient. The man was shot and/or knifed no less than three times in the book and still kept going. A veritable machine – and his injuries were such a minor issue it really contributed to the “myth” and intrigue of the Hell’s Eight.

One thing I’d like to say is… I wish a bit more background had been given to the Hell’s Eight. I mean, I understood/got that they’re a group of bad ass good guys that have formidable reputations (that are well deserved). But otherwise – what/who are they?  It was nice “meeting” one of the other members of Hell’s Eight, Tucker, in the novel – as well as some previous events. I wish that the group – the members, its inception, and development had been included at some point in the novel in some form.

I really liked how the story didn’t end at the conclusion of Sam and Isabelle’s [physical] journey. It was nice that Ms. McCarty took the time to solidify and cement Sam and Isabelle’s relationship. Putting the characters in different settings and having them interact with others was very revealing of the characters. I liked all the secondary stories and felt that they definitely worked in conjunction with the plot, and were not a distraction. Another positive was Sam and Isabelle’s interaction. It was quite witty and amusing – and I liked how they sparked off each other.

I recommend this book to people who are fans of Ms. McCarty’s writing, enjoy Western romances, and especially ones that have a good bit of heat in their books.

LimecelloGrade: B

Read reviews and info on this and other books in the series by following its tag.

Known for making up his own rules of right and wrong. Texas Ranger Sam “Wildcard” MacGregor takes what he wants when he wants it, especially when it comes to women. But seduction is the last thing on his mind the moment he stumbles across an Hispanic beauty racked with grief crouched beside a burned out wagon. And it doesn’t take long before he realizes the woman the townsfolk call “cursed” is hiding secrets too dangerous to face alone.

Isabella may look feminine and unassuming, but she’s hell in a bodice, with gun-slinging skills to match any man’s. But though she knows not to give Sam her heart as readily as she offers him her lush body, Isabella is certain she sees in Sam what he can barely glimpse in himself— a virtuous man dropped deep into a hard country bent on breaking him. A man who, under it all, craves a passionate woman willing to risk everything…

Read an excerpt here or a spicier one here.

Other books in the series:

Book Cover and Book CoverTucker’s Claim (Book 3), comes 1 Jun 09