Thursday, May 9, 2013

To Have and To Hold by Charlene Raddon

To Have and To Hold.  Charlene Raddon. Tirgearr Publishing.  January 2013. 448 pp. pbk. 630 KB. ISBN #: B00B5GWFCY.

Tempest Whitney, with two small children, is about to lose her home in the craggiest part of Utah near its canyons.  Her husband’s dead, the mortgage is due and she has no money.  She’s a gritty, tough lady who appears in the beginning of the novel standing at her front door with a shotgun as Buck Maddux, a former friend of her husband, rides his horse up to her home to give her a message from her dead husband, Skeet.  But she’s having no part of him and threatens Buck, believing he was responsible for Skeet’s death, which is how the rumors have spread in this locale.  Buck initially puts up with it but then backs her up against the wall and they are both startled by the heat rising between them.  In true stubbornness, they both refuse to acknowledge that moment and proceed to blister each other with nasty comments!  What a feisty couple, ha!

Now the story gets a bit ugly as we meet a rancher who has bought all Tempest’s debts and is about to not only take over her home but force her to marry him.  In fact, he comes pretty darn close to doing just that until Buck saves her in a swashbuckling, violent scene.  He pretends to marry her instead but they both know it’s just a matter of convenience and something to do with what he believes he owes her for Skeet.  Both have their secrets and aren’t about to tell until they can overcome their alternating kindness-animosity pattern that increases in intensity the more they are sexually attracted to each other.  They’re passionate people whose passion gets fueled by being near each other.

Not limited to a singular plot line, the story gets complex with the arrival of Buck’s brother who indicates the family is furious at him for abandoning them, not for whatever secret Buck is torturing himself about, something to do with a former wife who is now dead.  They don’t really have much time to ponder it all as the creepy schemer Creedy is planning to get rid of Buck and have his way with Tempest, especially when he accidentally discovers there is money to be had that’s a surprise for all.

The story unfolds as Tempest and Buck finally give in to their passion which is now really true love forged by the ups and downs of what other events fill their lives in these pages and some poignant revelations.  Charlene Raddon writes great romance fiction that isn’t empty-headed nonsense.  To Have and To Hold is an old-fashioned Western romance that will thrill lovers of the romance genre!  Very nicely fashioned, Ms. Raddon!

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