Respond to Reading, Responding to Reading, Romance, Sob-Inducing Stories, Tule Publishing

Responding to Reading: Tempting the Deputy

Heidi Rice‘s Tempting the Deputy

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Tough, taciturn and wounded in ways that no one else knows about, Marietta rancher and part-time Deputy Sheriff Logan Tate is a man in total control of his life. Until he catches British photographer Charlotte Foster hitchhiking and ‘insists’ she gets a ride into town in his squad car… 

After her run-in with Deputy Hardass, Charlie Foster is ready to ride her thumb right back out of Marietta the very next day. But that night, a trip to Grey’s Saloon fires up her imagination – and her wild side – when she overhears the town’s first responders panicking over how to come up with the money needed to repair Harry’s House in just 90 days. 

Charlie has an ingenious solution to their problem, that might just require her to photograph twelve smokin’ hot guys naked. And, as luck would have it, also involves getting some much needed payback on Deputy Hardass–who isn’t too enthusiastic about participating in the calendar shoot.

But as he spends more time with Charlie, Logan can’t ignore the chemistry sizzling between them. Can a man who lives by the rules fall in love with a woman who breaks all of his?

So I’m not entirely certain why it’s taken Heidi Rice so long to write a cowboy hero.  As heroes go, they’re usually fairly alpha – without fitting into the overbearing Christian Grey mould – fit as f— and are part of a close-knit community; all traits that I’ve seen in previous Rice heroes…but Logan is her first.

And is he a good one?

The short answer is yes.  He’s a great hero.  He’s kind, a little clueless about his own feelings at times (which I find unbelievably adorable) and has a backstory that makes your heart ache.

How about our heroine?  Charlie Foster’s a British photographer, passing through the adorable town of Marietta, who takes on a photography project to raise some money for a local cause.  Of course, it means she has to see certain male members of the community in various states of undress, but she’s not particularly complaining.  They’re all fairly easy on the eyes, and it’s good exposure for her work.

But the thing I really like about her, is her frankness.  She’s straight talking and there’s a scene where they’re out in the “wild”, with her taking photos of him, when she starts telling him what she wants to do with her.  Aside from it being rather hot (which all the sex scenes are – my eReader almost combusted in my hands!), it’s also something innately honest and open.  And there’s nothing quite as alluring as the frank articulation of desire.

The story itself has great heart.  There’s a moment when Logan comes in the door and smells Charlie cooking a dish his mother used to cook him, and that really resonated with me.  The smell and taste of food is something that can resurrect memories both good and bad, and I love how that simple moment was woven into the narrative.  It encapsulated all that Logan had lost, and all that his life could be.

And the ending made me cry.  This isn’t something that’s unique to this book – Rice is to blame for a large number of tears shed over the years – but it’s something that I appreciate nonetheless.  It’s the kind of catharsis that Aristotle refers to in Poetics that makes me very grateful for the romance novel.

Reading, Television

On Crying

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I’m pretty soppy most of the time.

I cry over films, books, television programmes, music, art.  The lot.  If something’s even remotely sentimental, I’m likely to tear up.

Why?

“Tragedy … through pity and fear, … effects relief to … similar emotions.” – Aristotle, Poetics

Aristotle argues that the very form of tragedy allows us to experience pity, fear, jealous etc for ourselves.  We are able to align ourselves with the characters and to experience devastating emotions, without having to deal with real life consequences.

Catharsis can also be purging.  Sometimes we need to cry, need to allow ourselves to fall apart over something removed from our own lives, in order to let tensions go.  In those moments, often I’ll watch something that I know will make me do so.  (The Notebook jumps to mind).

200406-the-notebookBut this isn’t a bad thing.

For me, crying over Happy Endings, or the HEA that just will never be, allows me to feel connected.  When I have been at my lowest, I was completely unable to connect with the emotions of what I was watching, and my ability to cry – however capricious – reminds me of the links between us all.

So yes, I shall continue to soak my fiance’s shoulder whenever someone dies in Sons of Anarchy, or quietly hide tears on the train, when a book I’m reading on the way to work makes me feel.

And I shall embrace it.  Because feeling deeply is part of who I am.