Monday, March 7, 2011

A Forever Kind of Guy: "Her Gentle Giant, I & II, by Heather Rainier

Eli Wolf provides security at The Dancing Pony Nightclub in Divine, Texas. He'd like to provide security and a whole lot more for the beautiful and voluptuous Rachel Lopez. Rachel is attracted to this cross between a huge Viking and Indian warrior brave, but knows her jealous nature will keep them from being happy together. Can she compete with the women who flock to him like moths to a falme at the club? When her apartment burns down, Eli is determined to make her a permanent houseguest. Can she deny the attraction she feels when he has always made it abundantly clear she is the only woman he wants?

Tragedy strikes, and Eli and Rachel are forced to relive painful memories from their pasts. Eli proves he is willing to do what it takes to protect and avenge her, and Rachel discovers the inner woman who longs to live life with no regrets. Part I: No Regrets; Part II: Remember to Dance.

This is a very erotic romance about two people who bring vastly different heretages to their relationship. Written in two parts, their story details the difficulties Rachel had in even allowing herself to get involved with Eli initially and moves on to the tentative bonds they forged to their wedding and honeymoon. This author doesn't seem to write stories that are fraught with upset and adversarial encounters as is true in so many romance novels. Rather, she has simply chronicled the development of their relationship over a period of months.

Rachel has been taught to be an independent woman by parents who are strong and loving. But in her early experiences living on her own she was hurt deeply by a man who took advantage of her innocence and enjoyed hurting her. After that she pulled away from the dating scene and spent her time going to college and working to build up a financial base for her life. And then one night she went to The Dancing Pony with some co-workers and she caught the eye of Eli Wolf, a man who had been around and who was tired of the here again, gone again kind of relationship. When he saw Rachel on the dance floor, it was very nearly love at first sight. But it took him several months of continually asking her out to get her to even share a meal with him. His quiet patience finally won her over, and they began to build a very tentative relationship.

Eli was a strong, Alpha male who was confident in his abilities, whose position as security at the club was really his second job. He was a specialist at climbing the towers that carried electrical cables all over the countryside, and his body mass made him a force to be dealt with. He was comfortable in his skin, and because he was so large, he wasn't looking for a skinny, tiny woman. When he saw Rachel's lush curves and her tall frame, he was captivated, but he was willing to take as long as needed to get her to feel comfortable with him. From the very beginning he treated her with such respect and care that she began to lose her fear of being hurt, of being taken advantage of, of being used for someone else's pleasure alone. Instead, Eli made it plain that her safety and welfare, her comfort level and pleasure were more important to him than anything else.
This novel is a part of a series about the town of Divine, Texas, and some of the characters continue to be a part of this second novel, individuals who first made their appearance in the first book, Divine Grace, Their continuing story forms the backdrop of this novel and some of those characters are an integral part of Rachel's friendship circle. In fact, Eli and Rachel first showed up in Divine Grace and it was there that Eli's interest was first noticed.

This story is just pure romance. It is very erotic but there are some very fun scenes, lots of authentic friendship and caring from Rachel & Eli's families, good friends who are counselors to them individually and together, and which give the reader a sense of community that forms the context of this story. Eli & Rachel's relationship is hot from the very beginning, yet they are not living apart from those who are important to them. There are some struggles and an accident that puts Rachel's life in critical danger. All through the difficult times their love is sustained by Eli's faith in Rachel, their innate goodness, and his confidence that together they can meet any challenge.

This is also a story about the futility of jeolousy, and as Eli helps Rachel work through her fears and insecurities about herself, she slowly finds strength to deal with her jeolousy. She also comes to realize that Eli is a man who can be trusted and whose all-consuming love for her leaves no room for anyone else. This story is classified as "erotic contemporary cowboy romance" and that is exactly what it is. But it is, at its core, a beautiful love story and how that relationship allowed both Eli and Rachel to become better people than even they dreamed of becoming. That's the kind of love we all hope to have at some time in our lives. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

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