Review: Tough to Tame by Diana Palmer

Posted on April 14, 2010


[ Warning: May contain spoilers! Read at own risk! ]

Series: Long, Tall Texans

Hero: Bentley Rydel

Heroine: Cappie Drake

New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer welcomes you back to Jacobsville to become reacquainted with Bentley Rydel. He lives hard and loves fiercely—but sometimes it takes the right woman to make a man a hero. This rugged Texan is going to be Tough to Tame!

There comes a time when a reader has to admit that she and an author have learned different tastes.  As a long time follower of Diana Palmer’s stories, I have been loyal and patient following her Long, Tall Texan series of mercenary heroes and damaged heroines. But I think I’ve reached my quota limit. The formulaic characters and plots did not disconnect my interest but the extreme absurdities with the hero in Tough to Tame have finally severed my patience to the nil.

In Tough to Tame, Cappie is an orphan and her only surviving relative is her older invalid brother, Kell, who is paralyzed from the waist down, the result of shrapnel lodged in his back from his dangerous “reporting” days. Life was already hard for the two of them but now her brother has no health insurance and both are in hiding from Cappie’s abusive ex-boyfriend who is currently serving jail time for assaulting her but is due out on parole any day.

Bentley is Cappie’s boss, one of the veterinarians where Cappie started working at as a vet tech. Bentley is an established woman hater until he gets to know the sweet, shy Cappie. Their relationship progresses to 3rd base intimacy  when Bentley does a 360 degree turn around the next day and treats Cappie like a villain. Bentley accuses Cappie of enticing him with sex and plotting to ruin him with blackmail of assault for money. As if Cappie isn’t heartbroken enough by his distrust and ill opinions of her, Bentley then forces her hand by telling her to quit her only financial support. Cappie is forced to quit her job because Bentley refuses to fire her as that would allow her to collect unemployment or sue him for unlawful termination.

Bentley is awful with his mistreatment of Cappie but she annoys me no less with her too-good-to-be-true optimism and friendliness in the face of extreme stress.

Let’s start with the commonalities of this book to its predecessors:

1- The heroine is poor but has a sweet, angelic nature with an abusive past,

2- The hero is rich but distrustful of women  because he’s been  played badly,

3- Hero and heroine are both wary of the opposite sex but they manage to forget their fears in the force of their attraction,

4- The heroine is able to overcome her apprehension with intimacy with the hero,

5- Just as the heroine becomes sweet on the hero lies are told to him and he easily believes what he is told,

6- Hero trash talks heroine and throws her out of his life,

7- Heroine then gets physically hurt or someone she knows is hurt,

8- Heroine is poor on money but rich in friends, and they come to her rescue after she is hurt,

9- Hero finds out the truth immediately after heroine is hurt and runs after her,

10- Heroine easily forgives hero once she finds out how he was hurt in the past and they live happily, innocently ever after.

The final straw(s) in this book for me were:

1- Bentley’s gullibility – a man who is so wise and experienced is easily duped by a stranger with nary a doubt of the stories he’s told.  The heroes of previous books were at least taken in by an acquaintance and not anyone off the street.

2- The two bodyguards assigned to protect Cappie after her psychotic ex-boyfriend was paroled bickers constantly – instead of being funny they were annoying and drag the already awful plot.

3- Bentley’s burnt history with women is nonsensical and the plot to drive them apart is contrived.

4- Palmer’s heroes are always rich or well off. Kell was a mercenary amongst the elite of them who are wealthy yet he is poor — a weak deviation from her previous mercenary men to support their poor living conditions. Why then not make Kell’s former profession truly a reporter? Imo, then Kell wouldn’t have mercenary buddies to help them after he is hurt.

5- This book is 190 pages but was packaged in a thick binding of 370+ pages that contained “bonus book” but the bonus notice was in small print. I accept fault for not looking over the book cover correctly. However, the book is retail at $6.99 which means the bonus story is not really a bonus and there was no indication that this was a duology or whatever they are referred to.

For the last point above, I know I cannot blame the author for the packaging but this was just one more annoyance on top of several.

This turned out to be more a rant than a review. Suffice it to say it’s well past time to separate my friendship with Ms. Palmer.

Grading: D