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Texas Glory by Lorraine Heath

Friday, July 22, 2011

Texas Glory
Texas Trilogy #2

Lorraine Heath
Historical Romance/Western
Published in 1998

H/h - Dallas Leigh/Cordelia McQueen
Setting: Texas, 1881.

Read in July, 2011.
My rating:

                                                            [spoiler alert]

“Dreams were the stepping stones to glory.”

My god! This book made me the ultimate watering pot. WOW! Dallas turned out to be one heck of a sweet pea and Dee, not as odd I thought she was. I have to say, the 1st half of the book was quite slow and a bit frustrating but the 2nd half made it for me, 10 times over. I cried and I laughed and had this silly grin on my face in the end. And, GOD, Houston and Amelia’s daughter Maggie was so so adorable!

Dallas was still dreaming of a son who’d take care of his ‘empire’ when the story starts. He’s still not married but, I saw he’s changed quite a bit in the 5 yrs after Texas Destiny. I found him less ambition prone, not as crazy about having a son as he was in that book. Dallas has already founded a town called ‘Leighton’ which was thriving gradually. Now, his latest trouble is with the McQueens who moved close to his land about 3 yrs ago and causing trouble ever since. McQueen’s two eldest boys are basically criminals and trying to take over his lands and the water that runs through their lands but owned by Dallas. Dallas has tried defending but this night, in the beginning, things went a bit wrong. The McQueens, predictably, came to make trouble while he, Austin and Houston were keeping an eye on the fences. The scuffling that ensues, Austin getting hit by Boyd McQueen’s bullet and Dallas breaking Boyd’s arm. Amelia takes care of Austin while Houston and Dallas think about what to do. Dallas learns from the doctor that the McQueens have a sister, whom no one saw or even heard about. She’s virtually kept prisoner in her house. This gave Dallas a plan and next day, he went to the McQueen to talk about it. Their exchange was less than gentlemanly and the McQueen sort of sold his daughter for more of Dallas’s lands and the water that started it all. Oh, I felt so much for Cordelia or Dee, for having such nasty family. But, I was glad that she wasn’t at all like her father and the two elder brothers.

Dallas doesn’t even see her before marriage, which takes place soon. The situation was really funny because beforehand, he heard from Austin, who’s a good friend to Dee’s youngest brother Cameron, who told Austin that Dee has some kind of facial disfigurements. But, Dallas stays strong, thinking that won’t hamper him from getting a son. Lord, I should’ve been irritated at Dallas but somehow I wasn’t. Maybe I understood why he was so desperate to have a son. And, seeing the way the greedy McQueens were, I had to give it to the man. There are more talks about more land between Boyd, the stinky and Dallas just before the marriage was about to take place. Then, when it was time to ‘unveil’ the bride, I thought the scene was just priceless! That Dee actually had no problem and the fact that Cameron was joking. I had such good laugh when Dallas glared at Austin, who was sputtering. And, boy didn’t Dallas fall on the spot for his bride? Poor guy, he came off more saintly than Amelia IMO, throughout the story.

Dee, all her life, tried to abide by her father and the older brothers. Her own family tragedy, which includes her mother, was very sad. Dee’s father is an autocratic monster, never loved her mother and vice versa. There are reasons to why Dee never really trusted men, the way she saw her father treated her mother which led her to have an affair with a ranch hand. She planned to runaway with Dee and Cameron (he’s probably the result of this affair and nothing like the two eldest McQueen boys). Her plan didn’t work and things went wrong. Dee had to take care of her mother for a long time, before the woman passed away. Dee’s 26 and kinda given up on marriage, as her father won’t let her, stating she’s ‘delicate and fragile’ like her mother! So, when she heard about this marriage to Dallas Leigh, she couldn’t but get apprehensive. Still, she relented, thinking her father wants this marriage. And, she didn’t know what kind of a man Dallas really was, only the exaggerated versions by her brothers, who couldn’t voice a line about him without demeaning Dallas. Dee, inevitably found out, that how wrong she was about him in the later part of the story.

So they marry. Dee’s scared of Dallas. Dallas doesn’t really know how to rectify that feeling. He hates that his wife is so scared of him. But, the fact is, being lonely and homebound; Dee didn’t know any man other than her brothers, even than only Cameron genuinely cared for her. With Dallas’s straightforwardness with his commanding presence, Dee didn’t know how to react. It didn’t help that her brothers kinda portrayed him as nothing less than a monster. But, Dallas was like that because of his past as a soldier in the Civil war, he’d learned to command men from a very young age. This was how the man is made, he meant no harm. But, Dee didn’t know it and Dallas has no idea how to approach about it. She’s always clumsy around him and he’s disgusted with himself for making her so. Houston then asks Dallas to give her sometimes to get used to with the idea of being married. Dallas does that and man, that was one heck of a wait for him. But, he always tried, in his way, to be nice to her. Dee was relieved beyond words because she doesn’t have to do her ‘duty’ anytime soon but she knew, without it, Dallas’s dream of getting a son won’t come true. She dreaded it but she couldn’t but love the guy when she starts REALLY getting to know him as days passed by.

Dallas learns that Dee isn’t a ‘weak, fragile woman’ but smart and intelligent. He likes to see her smile, gives her whatever she asks for. Once, Dee rescues a prairie dog. Even knowing he can’t have it around the ranch, Dallas lets her keep it. Austin, who’s now 21, said some stuff here, I again thought, too perceptive for someone so young. But, what I loved was seeing Dallas annoyed about the whole situation, yet couldn’t deny Dee of her little Precious and calling it ‘the damn prairie dog’ every time the dog came up in any conversation! I couldn’t but adore Dallas more as I read his yearning to make Dee smile, to not see a single trace of fear in her lovely eyes. It was pretty obvious that he was falling in love with her. You can’t but love this man. Their conversations were stilted in those times; Dee even had to make notes of the topics they might discuss in the breakfast table but soon, it changed. Once, in the breakfast table, when Dee asked what Dallas’s favorite color was, he said brown. What he didn’t explain was it’s because Dee’s eyes are brown. I was like, my god he’s gone! I saw many such little scenes I adored. I loved seeing Amelia and Houston too, knowing about their life and their 3 yrs old daughter Maggie. She was SO ADORABLE. There were scenes aplenty in the book that’d melt your heart. Dallas dotes on the girl and Maggie is crazy about her ‘Unca Dalls’ who gives her lemon drops when ‘she got a sad’. She’s a huge reason why I loved this book.

Things were going quite well between Dallas and Dee. Dallas finds out that he likes sharing his ‘empire’ with her, and she’s smart enough to understand. In the process, she comes up with this idea of a hotel. Dallas already had a plan laid out but he indulged her, making Dee think she came up with this idea first. How can I not adore this man? He was nowhere near getting into her bed and he never tried too, except for the wedding night misunderstanding. And, Dee saw a man so very different than what her father and brothers made her believe, she knew if he courted her, the she’d choose him. She wanted to give him what he wanted yet she was hesitant. So, it went on for the 1st half of the book and I got a bit frustrated. The day the foundation of the hotel was laid, is when Dee finally decides she’s help this man achieve his long standing dream of having a son. That night they consummate the marriage. Everything went great but ... *sigh* More misunderstanding. I have to talk about it, the whole was so strangely funny and weird at the same time. Dee thought one time was enough to have a kid; Dallas was trying to tell her it might not be. Dee wants to wait and see. Dallas, who of course, didn’t want things to go like this accedes for ‘once a month’ thing (oh hell!), thinking she doesn’t really want him in her bed. Then, the next month it’s apparent they weren’t successful so Dee shyly informs him that. Dallas is whooping inside *grins*. They reminded me of two kids, really. Anyway, he decides if ‘once a month’ it is, he’ll make the best of it. So he goes to Houston (ermm...) to know how can he make her ‘want’ him more. Oh, it was pretty awkward, Dallas actually asks Amelia first. What? Ermm...? Amelia wasn’t (of course) easy with it so she asks him to talk to Houston. Houston tells Dallas he’d learned kissing watching him. Oh man, this was so funny! But still, Houston gives him a little something which worked just fine in the end. And, that love scene was again, kinda funny, since Dee (who knew very little about the physical aspects of marriage) thought the ‘process’ brings pain for men (you guess why she thought this :p) while pleasure for women, something to balance for the pain women go through in childbirth! It was hilarious yet strangely endearing to me. Dallas was laughing hard as Dee confessed why she didn’t want to make love often. Their relationship improved so much afterwards. They were having fun, making Dallas’s dream come true. I felt so happy knowing the way it all looked. Also, the hotel was running fine. Soon, Dee finds out she’s pregnant. BTW: in the beginning of the story, it’s known that Amelia was pregnant with her 2nd baby.

We get to know about Rawley Cooper before this. About an 8 yrs old, he’s got a drunkard for a father, an useless SOB and no mother. Dee felt for him when she met him but didn’t know what kind of a role fate would play that involves Rawley and herself. So before the Christmas, Dee and Dallas were spending a great time together, dreaming away about their empire when the tragedy struck. Oh, it was too horrible to read. Dee was in the hotel with Dallas, spend a great day making love. She goes out alone to talk to the manager when she heard someone crying in the back ally. When Dallas hears her blood curdling scream, he runs down, finding her amongst the crates that somehow fallen on her. While he took her home, it was clear that she’s losing the baby. It was a son. I couldn’t imagine the pain these two suffered. The scene where Dallas buries his son was so so heartbreaking, I was crying hard. Doctor tells them Dee’s wounded badly so she won’t be having anymore children. Dee asks Dallas to find Rawley out because she was sure it was him who’s cry she heard. Dallas does that and some horrible truth about Rawley comes out. The doctor checks on him and in very little word, tells Dallas later that Rawley was being molested by some perv and its probable that his sick excuse of a father was taking money in exchange. Some of the things were narrated from Rawley’s POV and you can’t but cry for the boy too. No children should ever have to go through such nightmare in their lives.

Rawley worships Dee in his own way so he agrees to stay with them. Dallas does everything in his power to make him safe. He also meets his father and beats the guy, threatening that he never go near Rawley ever again. The Christmas came and  it was obvisously painful for Dee because she had such plans for her baby but now... Amelia, in between has her baby girl. Dee was very strong about the whole situation, even helping Amelia throughout the ordeal. I loved the scenes on the Christmas day; the distribution and the opening of the gifts, Maggie’s enthusiasm, and Austin’s childish pranks but mostly, about Rawley and how they all took him in. I loved the speech Dallas gives to the family and then they sing. It was so very emotional, so touching, considering the loss they just experienced.

The heart wrenching incident of losing their child creates a gap between Dallas and Dee. Dee thought Dallas would be better off without her; though she loves him, it’s better to leave him so that he can marry someone else to make his ‘dream’ come true. She talks to Amelia about it and I was like what?! After everything he’d done for you? Dallas on the other hand, was scared that he’d hurt Dee if he tries to make love and so on, so he kept his distance. Hell, if they only talked, this misunderstanding won’t even take place. And, I was frustrated again, kept thinking why oh why this is happening to two people so not deserving of so much pain. Then, something happens again. Dee was abducted by Rawley’s dad. Dallas goes out to save her. Rawley was there too. Dallas was injured badly but in the end, it was Rawley who saves them. Dee takes care of Dallas, who soon overcomes with infection and fever.

From early on, it was apparent that Austin had a tendre for a girl named Becky. On a later part of the story, when Austin found Rawley distort in a barn (after he starts living with the Leighs), he asks him what happened and Rawley tells him, albeit hesitantly, that the man who’s been ‘hurting’ him was here. At the sometime, Boyd, Duncan and Cameron were there to talk to Dallas. Of course, Boyd did most of the distasteful talking of lands, money and now that Dee’s lost the baby, how Dallas should hold up his side of the bargain. This guy was so damn nasty throughout the book but soon, it was apparent he’s a monster as well. Anyway, Austin listens to Rawley but reassures him he’d take care of it. Soon after Dee and Dallas was rescued, the sheriff comes in, informing them the kidnappers have been murdered. Now there was no way to prove that it was Boyd who paid them to kill Dallas. After this, Dee goes to her father’s house, taking Houston, Austin and other ranch hands with her. She makes it clear to them that things won’t change, that if anything happens to Dallas, she’d make sure McQueens get nothing out of it. I loved this scene, the confident and angry Dee. She tells her father that Dallas was ‘the finest gift’ he’d ever given her. *whoop whoop!*

As Dallas kept fighting with fever, Austin goes out in the town of Leighton. Meanwhile, Houston and Amelia were in the house, helping Dee to take care of Dallas. In the morning, the sheriff comes with the news of Boyd being murdered and that it was Austin’s name he’d written in the sands before he died. The fact that Austin went to town to threaten Boyd and fired one bullet in front of the people there also comes out. Austin is detained but won’t tell them what he was doing that night or if there’s any alibi to his whereabouts. He’s jailed and sentenced to 5 yrs in prison. Dee soon visits him and learned something vital about his whereabouts but Austin assures her it’s alright, that 5 yrs would pass soon. I don’t know, I didn’t like it much. Though I understood the reason why he just took it onto him, Austin was such a good boy. Hmm, anyway as Dallas regains consciousness and leans about it all, he feels helpless. All through the book, reading of the profusion of love these brothers shared together overwhelmed me with emotion.

In the end, Dee talks to Dallas about leaving him. I was again like, what the hell is this?! But, my annoyance went out in the wind when I read the scene before epilogue. It was too beautiful, made it upto me without a doubt. I loved the words they exchanged, so touching. As I said earlier, I was a watering pot by then.

"When I was a boy, I went to war searching for glory. I didn't find it. I came here, thinking I'd find glory if I built a ranching empire or a thriving town." He trailed his thumb over her lips. "Instead I discovered that I didn't even know what glory was, not until you smiled at me for the first time with no fear in your eyes."

 His gaze swept beyond her, to encompass all that surrounded them. "A hundred years from now, everything I've worked so hard to build will be nothing more than dust blowing in the wind, but if I can spend my life loving you, I'll die a wealthy man, a contented man."

 Tears overflowed and spilled onto her cheeks.

 "Stay with me," he said.

 Nodding mutely, she wrapped her arms around his neck. The flowers floated to the ground as he lifted her into his arms and carried her into the house.

 "Your back," she said as he started up the stairs. "You shouldn't be carrying me."

 "My back's fine."


The epilogue was great. They finally have a baby, a girl, while they’ve already adopted Rawley. Ah, the words on Dallas’s dream of talking his daughter (while it was a son before) to his favorite windmill to show her what he’d made were so sweet. It didn’t matter to him anymore that it’s a girl. He and Dee now have a baby, one they created in love. It was all that mattered. Oh, that man stole my heart... 5 stars. *sigh*

PS: Now that I think about it, Dallas was maybe the first hero I’ve read, with a mustache throughout the story. That’s why I had a bit of a trouble imagining him, ermm ... Anyway, his habit of rubbing his mustache when he was thinking deeply was an endearing habit IMO. :)


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