The Cleanest Love in the West – “Her Montana Man” by Cheryl St. John
If “Her Montana Man” was made into a movie, it might actually get away with being G-Rated. Alright, maybe it’d be PG-13 for several sexy looks between the main characters, a few pieces of pseudo-profanity (does “Hell” even count anymore?) and a few glossed-over sex scenes. But, if you’re looking for a good, clean, romance novel that’s aiming to be about more than smut and heaving bosoms, this might be a good option for you.
Which is all well and good – if disappointing. With a title like “Her Montana Man,” I was hoping for some good old-fashioned chap-wearing, rope-tossing Western-style adventure.
Regardless, it’s a book with a real actual plot – and an intriguing one. (I’m as surprised as you.) It’s 1885 in Silver Bend, Montana. Handsome devil Jonas Black runs the town hotel. He’s got his eye on a beautiful, but lonely woman, named Eliza Jane Sutherland. Eliza Jane is in the middle of a whole lot of family drama. Her family runs a successful business, but her sister is dying. Once the sister dies, not only will Eliza Jane’s jerkface brother-in-law demand Eliza marry him so he can take over the whole business, but he’s also a leering creep who turns Eliza’s stomach and is an uncaring father to his son, Tyler.
This book really seems to be about social taboos. (Spoilers ahead!) It turns out that long ago, Eliza Jane was in love with another man, who got her pregnant and then vanished. Eliza’s sister and the jerkface brother-in-law took on the baby as their own so Eliza wouldn’t be called a loose woman and the whole town wouldn’t be scandalized. Now, Jerkface is threatening to reveal her to the whole town unless she marries him. Where else can a woman turn, if not to the handsome hero-type? Yep, Jonas winds up in the middle of everything when Eliza Jane decides to move herself and Tyler into his hotel. There’s multiple kidnappings, some steamy (though clean) love scenes, and several likable characters. It’s a fun and easy read that’d be perfect for a beach or on an airplane. Ms. St. John can weave a story, alright.
FYI – If you’re wondering, this book is part of the “Harlequin Historical Series,” along with such titles as “The Lawman’s Bride” and “The Preacher’s Daughter.” Oh, the things I’m learning.
SuchABookNerd Smut Index: This one gets a 2. It’s just not a dirty book. Which is fine.