Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Sam's Creed - Sarah McCarty

Known for making up his own rules of right and wrong, Texas Ranger Sam "Wildcard" MacGregor takes what he wants when he wants it, especially when it comes to women. But seduction is the last thing on his mind when he stumbles across a beauty crouching in fear beside a burned-out wagon.
Isabella may look feminine and unassuming, but she's hell in a bodice with gunslinging skills to match any man's. The woman the townsfolk call "cursed" is hiding secrets too dangerous to face alone. Luckily, she sees in Sam what he can barely glimpse in himself—a virtuous man in a hard country bent on breaking him. A man who, under it all, craves a passionate woman willing to risk everything….

Sam MacGregor is out on a mission searching for a Desi's missing sister (Ari, sister of the heroine in book 1) when he stumbles upon a caravan that was attacked by bandits. He thinks all were killed when he finds a woman still alive and hiding. Isabella (Bella) Montoya is on the run to keep her freedom. Cruel, immoral Tejala is determined to have her as his, but Bella wants no part of him so she goes on the run. Sam offers his protection until Tejala can be dealt with. So the two start traveling together. There is attraction between them and Bella, who believes capture by Tejala is inevitable, decides she'd rather give her innocence to Sam by her own choice. Sam doesn't go alone so easily. He wants her, but his conscience argues with him. Eventually he gives in, but Sam believes that once Bella is free of the threat of Tejala she'll no longer want him. It's up to Bella to convince him otherwise.  One of the things I disliked most about the book was that it's a Hell's Eight story, yet I felt like the author did a really poor job integrating that theme. Except for Tucker's involvement in the last chunk of the book, the extent of it is just Sam saying "I'm Hell's Eight" or something to that effect numerous times. From reading book 1 I knew in general what that was, but if I'm remembering right, there's no explanation at all as to what exactly Hell's Eight is in this book. That didn't make sense to me.  And for a group that is supposed to be very tightly bonded, it was weird that the rest were so completely uninvolved. For a book in a series, I want it to feel more like part of the series.

Notable Quote:
..."Do not miss".  She was a bossy little thing.  "I'll do my best."  It would be best if you succeeded."

I liked this book generally, but it would have benefited from a stronger editorial eye for sure. I mean, there's suspense, there's gunslinging, there are macho cowboys in unlikely situations, it's a good ride and all that, but there are also long passages of dialogue that are tedious and repetitive and characters have a tendency to forget what happened on previous pages (Isabella spends a good portion of the book trying to get into Sam's pants, and every damn time she propositions him, he's shocked, shocked, like she hadn't just told him she wanted him on the previous page), etc. Also, and I realize this is a function of the drama, but I was kind of tired of the sex scenes by the end of the book. Like, yeah, yeah, I get it, they're in love, they want to do it all the time, but sometimes it's better to gloss over it and get to the action, you know? I mean, Isabella was being chased by very bad people, so rather than run, you're going to stop and have sex in public? Yeah, that's smart.


  1. One of the love scenes to me was pretty unbelievable. I've never ridden a horse, but I'm pretty sure you can't "do it" on a horse.