Title: Amazing Grace
Author: Eve Gabby
Page Count: 212
Publish Date: February 1, 1998
His lady-killer smile challenged her to come and get him. . . .
Max Ridell never started a fight he didn’t finish, but when Grace O’Malley arrested him for defending himself against the town bully, he knew his visit to Hell, Texas, was sure to be interesting!
Intrigued by the blue-eyed stranger with the bad-boy looks, Grace couldn’t resist checking him out . . . and keeping him under surveillance. Could this rogue of a Texas Ranger lasso a lady whose angel’s kiss would charm the devil himself?
As hot as a brushfire on a Texas summer night, Eve Gaddy’s wild and witty story thrusts an undercover lawman into the arms of a tenderhearted sheriff–and the showdown is not to be missed! He’d never planned on falling for a take-charge woman whose sexy grin tempted him to share his dreams, but could he make her believe her lips were a sweet taste of heaven?
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The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
Western romances are quickly becoming a favorite genre of mine. It’s funny because up until recently, I didn’t read many romance books. However, throw a cowboy in one and I’m all for it. Now, these books are regularly making an appearance on my TBR and often making it to my priority read pile.
With a good mix of action, suspense, and romance Amazing Grace is one of those books that I found hard to set down. The story follows Sheriff Grace O’Malley and undercover Texas Ranger Max Ridel as he ventures into Hell, Texas in the guise of an EPA officer. Max’s true work involves investigating illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico, which may involve the Sheriff’s office or someone else local. Max and Grace’s initial encounter doesn’t go quite how most would expect in this kind of book, with her arresting him, and a local man, for fighting in public. Certainly not the normal way for couples to fall in love, but hey that was half of the appeal of the story. The fact that it wasn’t love at first sight and everything is perfect right away. Though he is released shortly after Grace warns him that EPA officers are not overly welcome in Hell, so he’ll have his work cut out for him with the locals. Plus there’s the fact that he doesn’t look like your typical EPA officer either, which makes not only Grace but everyone else a bit suspicious about him.
Grace is a great female heroine. She is not drop-dead gorgeous as most heroines tend to be, and that adds an extra appeal to the book for me. Nice to see an average woman end up as a lead character for once. Though she is tough as a sheriff Grace also has a soft side for animals, taking in strays and rejects at her home. This is something that the bad guys use to rile her up further in the story and it adds some realism to the situation. Grace is also protective of her friend Connie, whose involvement in the story turns out important near the end.
Max on the other hand was a bit less enjoyable of a character. He just seemed to fit the mold of a male hero far too well falling into several stereotypes. He struggled with everything it seemed, hiding his true identity, and his feelings for Grace, and I found some of the exchanges between him and Grace to be awkward. Overall he was a decent enough character and became a bit more bearable as the story went on.
However, one thing I did have a little bit of a problem with was that Grace was still a virgin at the age of thirty-one. Not that such a thing is completely impossible but I didn’t see it as something that the book needed. The second issue was how Max got mad at her for not telling him she was a virgin. That really irked me. They were in the middle of a lust-filled moment and she had tried to say something but couldn’t find her voice. Then he had the gall to get mad at her. Newsflash Max, we all start out virgins so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Let’s face it, so many romance novels go with the theme of a virgin girl hooking up with a man who has a ton of sexual experience under his belt. It’s all a bit overdone.
As things progressed in the story I found myself waiting to see what would happen next. Max eventually reveals his true identity to Grace, they manage to solve the case together. However, it doesn’t go perfectly to plan and Max must save Grace from danger. Then there is the awkward end where Max is torn between going back to his normal job and leaving Grace behind or staying and possibly giving up his job. Through a bit of a guilt trip, Grace wins the day and the couple is finally together.
With plenty of action from beginning to end Amazing Grace was a great afternoon read that kept me turning the pages until the very end. While there were odd spots along the way that I felt unnecessary or unpleasant towards the story it was an enjoyable book and I would recommend it to others.
Have you read Amazing Grace? What did you think of it?