Hiding behind thick-lensed spectacles she doesn't need, Marian tries to deflect Chad, afraid that if she shows an interest in him her mean-spirited twin will lure him away. Slapstick catfights and anachronistic language "it wasn't just the jealousy issues" give the novel a farcical slant; on the plus side, there is plenty of western kitsch: a train robbery, an attempted kidnapping and an old-fashioned barbecue. Concluding with an improbable surprise ending that is most unsatisfying and rather bitter for a historical romance, this is a clunky if occasionally entertaining effort that nonetheless will sell as Lindsey is wont to do—that is, a lot.
View Full Version of PW. More By and About This Author. Buy this book. If what she wanted was a man, she'd even sleep with him, even if only once, just to get him thoroughly devoted to her.
A Man to Call My Own - All About Romance
She'd done it before, and made sure that Marian knew about it, if it happened to be a man Marian had shown some interest in. So until Amanda was married and had moved somewhere far away from her, she couldn't begin to think of getting married herself. So she'd made a fool of herself, again, and now she was miserable with embarrassment because of it. And it wasn't even intentional this time. Bumping into Chad that afternoon had been no more than an accident. But finding herself about to apologize for it had set off alarm bells in her head.
She didn't want him to think she was just clumsy. That wasn't a bad enough trait to prompt extreme dislike. Another unwarranted accusation was, though. But she could have at least been a little more inventive. Charging him with being mean to children was beyond ridiculous. It just showed how utterly flustered she'd been, finding herself in such close proximity to him that she couldn't even think straight.
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She would have thought she couldn't get more embarrassed. But lo and behold, he faces a little danger during that aborted stage robbery, and she loses all common sense. She wasn't even sure what was worse, experiencing fear for him or behaving like an idiot because of it. Definite doldrums. Then to find herself eating dinner with him that night of all nights, when high color was rising up her cheeks every few minutes, when she couldn't stop thinking about her silly behavior.
But there was no help for it, at least not that night. The town was small, there was only the one eating establishment in the single hotel, and only one table left empty in it, and the dining room was closing— the cook already gone home—so she couldn't make some excuse, then come back to eat later, and neither could he. At least they weren't served a round of the usual long-winded complaints from Amanda with the meal.
She'd slept through the entire robbery that day, so hadn't had to experience any worry over it, had only been told about it afterward, when they were halfway to the next town, and was actually in a somewhat good mood because of it. And Amanda in a good mood meant flirtation with every man within her sights.
Marian found the food tasteless, could barely swallow it. She had so many mixed feelings stirred up that her head began to ache. It was one thing to know what could happen and quite another to sit there and watch Amanda gain Chad's rapt attention. Even poor Will Candles got utterly flustered by Amanda's smiles. It made Marian sick to her stomach.
Chapter Analysis of A Man to Call My Own
The headache was a good excuse to leave, and she took it. So what if she went to sleep hungry. She'd be lucky if she could sleep at all. No one but Ella Mae really heard her make the excuse or noticed her leaving, she did such a good job of making herself ignorable. She found her way to the room she'd be sharing with her sister and their maid, even though the light had burned out in the hall. She was too miserable to light the lamp in the room, either.
She just released her hair from the tight bun, tossed her spectacles on the nearest table, dropped her dress to the floor, and crawled under the covers on the bed to nurse her misery. Such an abundance of diverse feelings actually had one benefit, they exhausted her more than she realized, and, thankfully, she fell right to sleep. She hadn't expected to.
And she had no idea for how long, she just knew she had been deeply asleep and was startled abruptly awake by the surprised voice that shouted "What the But it wasn't Amanda standing there next to the bed. Marian recognized that deep voice and was surprised enough herself to screech, "Get the hell out of my room! That was a bad habit she was developing. Chad had yanked down the covers before he'd realized someone was already in the bed, and the room was still dark.
Like her, he hadn't lit the lamp just to get into bed. That meant she could get out of there without letting him get a good look at her and hope she didn't trip on the way out. It was a good plan, which she implemented immediately.
But she didn't count on him flicking one of the matches that were kept next to the oil lamp at about the same time that she started moving. She hoped he was glancing toward the lamp to light it, and not at her. She didn't pause to find out, dashing quickly off the bed and out the door, and ran smack into Will Candles on his way in. She knocked him over, mumbled a quick, "Sorry, so sorry," but didn't stop.
Could her cheeks get any hotter? Probably not. Nor did they cool off once she was safely behind the right door a few more steps down the hall. The only thing she could be grateful for at that point was that the room was still empty, so she didn't have to explain to her sister or maid what she was doing running around the hotel in her underwear. A good-looking young fella like you wouldn't bother with the quiet one—" "Now hold on, that's not what was going on. She mistook the room for hers. That's why she went tearing out of it in such an all-fired hurry when I showed up.
Did you actually get a good look at her? But that was a mighty fine figure in that skimpy cam-i-sole and ruffle-assed bloomers," Will said with a chuckle. Never figured so much long hair could be bound up in such a tiny bun though.
I didn't imagine that, did I? That was some really long golden hair that went flying past me. He'd seen her profile as she shot out of the bed, at least a partial view, what with her long hair covering a good portion of it.
If you’re a man and don’t know me – please don’t call me your darling
And he could have sworn, for a second there, that his ears had deceived him in leading him to believe it was Marians voice he was hearing, when it was actually Amanda dashing out of the room. He'd turned to watch her exit as well, and his confusion had continued. From behind, with those long blond curls bouncing around her hips as she ran, and only wearing the ruffled bloomers that fit snugly down to her knees and the thin white camisole that clung like a second skin from her breasts to waist, that female body was just too shapely to belong to the spinster.
It had to be Amanda's. Once she was out of sight, he'd finished lighting the lamp and spotted the spectacles on the table, as well as the puddle of a brown dress on the floor, the same one Marian had worn that day. Confusion was back. It had been the spinster, but she sure as hell hadn't looked like a spinster just then. The profile had so closely resembled her sister's, he'd been positive for a moment that it was the sister. Yet to look at the two of them in the bright light of day there was absolutely no resemblance between them—well, maybe there was.
Maybe he just hadn't noticed it before because it was hard to notice anything about Marian other than those spectacles that made her eyes look deformed. He held those spectacles up in front of his face, brought them closer to his eyes, winced and dropped them back on the table. He saw nothing but a solid blur when he looked through them.
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He felt a moment's pity for the girl. She had to be nearly blind to need such thick spectacles. The pity was incredibly brief, though. She was still a mean-tempered, ornery, insulting female that any man in his right mind would stay the hell away from. He'd been managing that just fine for the most part and would continue to keep his distance—after he returned her spectacles to her in the morning.
He was actually looking forward to that, just to clear away the last of his confusion, to get a good look at her without the spectacles detracting from the rest of her features. When he found Marian the next morning, she was just coming out of her room, and damned if she wasn't already wearing another pair of spectacles. Try as he might, he simply couldn't see beyond the oversize eyes and tightly compressed lips. The nose was the same, if stuck up in the air, the cheeks just as sharply defined, the forehead might be the same, the brows weren't, and the chin he wasn't sure of.
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Nor did she give him much chance for an extended observation. Red-cheeked over what had happened last night, she snatched the folded dress and spectacles from him, grudgingly mumbled her thanks, and hurried on past him for a quick breakfast before they departed. He'd been tempted, really tempted, to snatch away the spectacles riding so high on her nose.
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He didn't quite have the temerity. Well, he did, he just didn't want to have to deal with the immediate tongue-lashing he'd no doubt get for it, or the harangue and insults that were sure to follow nonstop until he could dump her in Red's lap and be done with her. And besides, Amanda had finally paid him some attention last night over dinner. He'd been beginning to wonder if she wasn't the least bit interested in him.
She gave no typical clues to indicate that she might be, ignored him for the most part. Quite a unique experience for him. But after last night, it was definitely worth considering, getting to know her better—after he got her home.