#97 Crapometer

Title: A Golden Forever
Genre: Historical Romance

His golden body bought his passage to manhood, but it was a price he vowed he would never pay again. Of course, never frequently arrives when one least expects it.

The man variously known as Sky Who Walks, Colton Simon Haversham and Colt Star hated everything Indian and everything English. Being both, he hated himself most of all. The bastard son of an English Earl and an Crow Indian, Colt grew up under the watchful eye of the stepfather who named him "Sky Who Walks" as a reminder of the sky blue eyes that proclaimed he would never really belong to the tribe. After his Mother was stolen by rival warriors, Sky disobeyed his stepfather to try to rescue her and ended up burying her mutilated body when he failed.

He returned to find himself disowned by the stepfather happy to rid himself of the bastard. Alone and without so much as a teepee to shield him from the elements, let alone weapons to hunt with, young Sky soon found himself starving as he faced the approach of winter's icy menace. (cliche alert! circle the wagons!) He was bathing in the river when a widowed squaw caught sight of his developing manly form. (manly form! yikes!) She offered food in exchange for the use of all that golden glory. A choice between the certain death he faced and selling his body was really no choice at all, and soon the widows of the tribe alternated weeks with the lad.

Sky survived by selling his sexual favors for food and shelter until the father who abandoned the squaw he had impregnated showed up one day to fetch the unwilling bastard back to England. Colton Simon Haversham found that the lovely ladies of the ton had much in common with the squaws, for they wanted the same service. This time, he sold his body for social acceptance. The day arrived when one lady wanted ownership and faked her own compromise. He returned to find a printed announcement of his upcoming nuptuals. He refused to wed the lady he had never touched, and was again disowned. He departed his father's house, vowing never to tread English soil again.

(I feel the same way after the London Book Fair myself)

Taking a new name for a new life, Colt Star worked his way to San Francisco on a ship, and discovered that he was good at gambling. Later, those gambling instincts proved profitable at business too and he and his partners fared well at their shipping enterprise and in their gambling parlor. When a soiled dove wanted to trade her silk sheets for a picket fence, Colt decided it was time to move on. The partners bought a gold claim, a house and a lot in Hangtown from a gambler who conveniently appeared at just the right moment.

As it happened, the convenience being served was that of Colt's father who had concocted the scheme to get his son back. Lord Haversham looked over all the fair flowers of the ton to find Lady Viv, an ice princess who clearly awaited the right man to free her fire. (free her fire!! woo hoo!) Viv wanted to carve an independent future for herself, and he saw in her desires a way to arrange a second chance for himself with the son who didn't believe in them. He sent her to Hangtown, knowing that her fiery beauty, independent soul and buried passion would soon enough awaken the desire and then the possessive instincts of his stubborn son. Of course, sending the ice princess to the son armed with a pick wasn't very fair of him, but the Earl was playing to win.

He knew his son's hatred of everything English and his warrior's disdain for cages would prompt him to reject the lady, sending her sailing for home. Colt wouldn't know what he had lost until it was gone, and the young man who left vowing never to return would show up at his door wiser and more tolerant for having learned the value of second chances first hand.

The Earl wasn't surprised when the ice princess reappeared among the ton with tempting glowing embers of passion lurking beneath the ice, but none of the rakes could light that fire. Only one man had ever been able to do that. When Colt arrived, she couldn't trust him but she couldn't resist the only man who stoked her flames. Their passion was his only weapon, and he let her use his to create the kind of public display he had promised himself he would never again allow. Just when passion built a bridge back to the love he had thrown away, a disgruntled Duke abducted the lady, knowing she would draw the savage he wanted most of all.

The braves of the tribe had demanded a high price for the meat that young Sky's growing body required, but years of nightmares had cemented his vow that he would never pay that price again. When the demonic Duke demanded that he choose between watching him rape of Viv,(rape of Viv??) or offering his body in her place, Colt found himself living his nightmares in full view of his lady.

He knew that Viv would never be able to respect him after seeing him take what the Duke was dishing out. He sent her away so that he could end his quest for survival and had his revolver in hand when Viv arrived and taught him that assumptions can be fatal. She showed him that a smart man should not assume he knows what his woman is feeling and then try to protect her from her pain. Colt learned that perhaps women had some justification for harping on the virtues of communication.

She knew the lesson was temporary at best. He'd forget again, as all men did, but she would be there, happily ensconced in their cage for two, spending a golden forever saving him from himself.

You need to get after this synopsis with a hatchet and trim off all the deadwood. First, it’s rife with cliche. Second, you’re so busy telling us about the fire in everyone’s loins that you give us about twice as many words as you need. Save the manly forms and loin fires for the novel. Here we just need to know everyone's hot to trot with Colt.

Other than that, this isn’t bad.


Anonymous said...

I'm no expert, but I believe the term "squaw" is considered pretty offensive.

Anonymous said...

Crapometer #97: Touchy-Feely Alert!

Native Americans received a lot of media attention when they wanted to rename SQUAW Peak (a famous Arizona landmark), as well as the Washington REDSKINS and Atlanta BRAVES ball teams. Enough said?

"Teepee" is out; "tipi" is in.


Bernita said...

The pervert Earl wants to screw his son?
That's not particularly romantic.

Anonymous said...

Is the earl the same person as the duke? Because the titles aren't interchangeable: they imply different ranks. A duke outranks an earl. Or are they two different characters?