Morgan Wade's Woman by Amii Lorin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Morgan Wade’s Woman took me back to the category romances I read back in the day, from the library growing up in the Chicago suburbs. They had a shelf of them, and you could take them, read the books, and bring them back, trading them out for other ones. My sister and I must have read every Harlequin-type book they had. Although I never read this one, it brings back fond memories.
Samantha’s father has just died, and she found out that obtaining the five million dollar inheritance her father left her depends on her getting married before she turns twenty-five. If she doesn’t get married, she gets nothing but a monthly allowance, and a home with her stepmother. Samantha hates the fact that she is going to be forced to get married, but she doesn’t want to be dependent on her step-mother. When she goes to visit her old school friend Barbs in Nevada, she meets Barbs' husband’s friend, Morgan Wade. He’s not like the usual type of guy that she dates. He’s rugged, tough, and dangerous. He makes her feel uncomfortable, and alive in the way none of her previous boyfriends have done. Barb suggests asking him to marry her, and she agrees, although she has serious misgivings about it. She thinks that Morgan has agreed to a passionless marriage of convenience, but Morgan has other ideas all along. Soon, he has seduced her into his bed and her heart. Can she deal with the fiery love and desire she feels for her husband, and the loss of control that being Morgan Wade’s Woman brings her?
Sam was a bit too remote and controlled for me, except for when her temper erupted (I usually like this sort of heroine, but something about Sam didn’t quite appeal to me as much as I would have liked). She was the finishing school, polished, rich girl type, which works for me sometimes, and other times, not so much. Morgan was somewhat hard to get a fix on. He definitely had that hard as granite Western man thing going on that I like. He’s in the old school mode, the tough alpha hero who answers to no one, and takes what he wants. That’s not to say he’s rapey. He isn’t, although he’s probably a little too forceful for some readers, especially those who prefer the modern heroes. When he takes Samantha to his bed, she’s reluctant emotionally, but willing otherwise. So it’s more of a seduction scenario. He definitely has a jealous streak a mile wide, threatening to kill any man who touches Sam. And he doesn’t let Sam walk all over him, although she gives as good as she takes from him. And with their mutual fiery tempers, that can end up making for some blazing rows between this married couple. That’s when they aren’t hardly even talking to each other, and spending long time periods apart. I wanted for Sam and Morgan to communicate more than they did about their feelings. They didn’t quite have a big misunderstanding, just a phenomenal disconnect about the feelings they had for each other. They both can't believe that they are loved by each other, and they do foolish things to prove they don’t care about each other, like trying to cause jealousy when they spend time at their society dos with other people in their social circle. Sometimes, I’m cool with that storyline, but it was a tad tedious as I read this story. Not enough to ruin the book, but enough to keep this one from being a five star book.
Of course, this was written in the early 80s, so the hero and heroine both smoke and drink quite a bit. It may be shocking to modern readers that Sam both drinks and smokes while she’s pregnant. I admit it threw me for a loop, as I thought about how bad that is for a fetus. Back when this was written, they didn’t really know that, so I can’t hold that against Sam.
Sam’s life seemed kind of aimless. She didn’t do anything really. She was the daughter of a rich man, so she was definitely the socialite type. It was clearly a big change to be the wife of a hard-working rancher. She cooked and cleaned a little, smoked, swam, and visited. I think I would go crazy if I had that kind of lifestyle. She did seem to be going crazy at times.
What I liked:
• I liked that Morgan was the tough, Western type (which I said above). He was a very alpha kind of guy, but he wasn’t unlikeable about it. At least, he wasn’t too rough and hard for my tastes, and I never got a cruel vibe from him. Yes, he was on the controlling side, but Sam wasn’t the wimpy kind of heroine, so she could handle a guy like Morgan very well. After they have a really rough sexual encounter, he feels bad about it, and apologizes, although Sam gave as good as she got (she might have gotten bruises, but he had scratches and a bite). I also liked that he adored Sam (although of course, he doesn’t vocalize that until the end). You find out towards the end how much he didn’t need to marry Sam, but he did it because he felt an instant love/lust for her. In a way, his controlling, demanding way with her showed his love (Yes, I know that sounds messed up, and I know in real life that doesn’t equal love, but in this book, it did show Morgan’s feelings of love. He was the kind of guy who took care of what was important to him. So, his taking care of Sam was his way of showing his devotion to her). Sam was likable too, for the most part. I liked her pluck and her kindness, and the way she went home to face the music instead of running away from her husband and her feelings for him.
• Although the love scenes aren’t descriptive, the author manages to convey all the intense passion of their relationship. Nowadays, when books are so much more open door about sex, too often, I find there just isn’t real chemistry between the characters, even with the vivid, color by numbers love scenes. Sex seems too casual and kind of empty as I read a lot of the modern romances. I admit I like a lot of things about the current romances, but this is not one of those things.
• There’s just something about these old school romance books that is so much more intense, making for a more exciting read. I felt this way about this book, although I did wish the characters actually talked about their feelings more.
• It’s kind of funny reading the older books and seeing what fashions were in vogue then. I admit I do change the hair styles and update some of the clothing that seems really lame. There are a couple of scenes in which Morgan is wearing a white denim suit, and I just couldn’t go there. I’m sorry! And it sounds like Sam got her hair cut in a mullet, so I had to fix that in my head too.
I’m glad that one of my friends recommended this book to me. It was definitely worth tracking down and reading. I have a soft spot for jealous/possessive heroes, and Morgan definitely fits the bill. Thanks, Jennyg!
View all my reviews