So to continue my burst of Elizabeth Lowell romance reading, I jumped from the Only quartet over to the duology she did about the Maxwell brothers, Autumn Lover and Winter Fire. As it happened I read the latter first, but it didn’t make much difference; after all, this flavor of romance does follow a predictable formula, and it wasn’t like I didn’t know that the gunslinger and girl du jour in the first book would get their happily ever after, and most likely show up in Book 2.
But all that aside, I rather liked Book 2 better than Book 1. The premise is interesting to start with: the Maxwell brothers, Hunter and Case, are tracking the Culpepper clan all over the West following the Culpepper attack on their family, an attack that resulted in the deaths of Hunter’s wife and child. This book focuses on Case, and how after the Culpeppers nearly kill him, he’s taken in by the young widow Sarah Kennedy–on whose ranch the Culpeppers of course have Nefarious Designs, Oh Noez!
Okay, yeah, I’m a sucker for Wounded Hero plots, but it also helped that as the heroes of these things go, Case was pretty alright. There is of course the obligatory angst between him and Sarah as they fall in love, but this time around there was no Holy Crap! She’s a Virgin! going on, nor any real Big Understandings. This left the field open for Sarah to be overprotective of her little brother Connor instead, and he was a nice side character; meanwhile, Case’s big angst point was that he’d adored his brother’s kid and so Oh Noez! Everything he loves dies, blah blah, shoot another couple of Culpeppers already, you’ll feel better.
All in all though not too bad a read. Three stars.