Nan Ryan can write one mean romance story and I mean that both as a compliment as well as a literal description of many of her books. I have only read four Ryan books to date but believe she majors in dominant, cruel heroes and shy, quiet yet eventually vindictive heroines. Her books, despite this familiar line can be rather diversified in the story line. In Wanting You, I discovered an intriguing and spicy western romance that I didn't want to put down. The hero only simmers at the rude level and the heroine doesn't go too far in imagining her revenge.
The Regents are a wealthy family who own a million acre Texas ranch. They have suffered from the loss of many of the family members and only the matriarch, LaDextra, and her step-grandson, Bret remain. Bret skillfully manages the huge ranching empire and possesses many qualities we desire in a romance hero - he is physically fit, popular, unbelievably handsome, desirable, and alpha extreme. He is good at what he does and loves the life of a rancher. That is - until life at the Regent ranch is disrupted by the return of LaDextra's granddaughter, Anna, who was believed to have been killed by the Apache when she was a small child. LaDextra is overjoyed at the return of her long lost granddaughter and immediately accepts her into the family. Bret however, is not so accepting. He rather suspects that Anna is an imposter looking for a large inheritance and he intends to expose her.
Anna is a likable heroine and although we really don't know if she is an imposter for the majority of the book, we still believe in her. After many horrible, tortured years with the Apache, she had spent her last five years in a convent. A priest at the convent believes she is the lost Regent heir and enables her reintroduction to the family. Anna has little memory before her life with the Apache. Now Anna lives at the Regent ranch, accepted as a family member, and is totally satisfied with her new life. She is happier than she ever thought possible. Until, much to her dismay, she finds herself extremely attracted to Brit. For some reason, he seems too interested in her while all his attentions towards her seem laced with sarcasm and derision. Brit resents Anna's presence mostly because he fears the grief his grandmother will inevitably suffer once Anna's pretence is uncovered.
And of course, in the background of it all, Anna and Brit's attraction to one another only grows stronger. Anna fights it with all her might because she wants nothing to upset her new life and she senses Brit would prefer her gone from Regent ranch. Brit, on the other hand, is becoming almost obsessed with the thought of having Anna. He is thinking that same old stupid hero line (will these heroes ever learn?) that if he can only have her once then he will have her out of his system. Secondary characters occasionally add a touch of humor and the repartee between the leads is quite entertaining at times. However, the overall tone of the book remains serious throughout. Things get quite hot and heavy between Brit and Anna and these sensual scenes rate a high 4.5 out of 5.0 (see More About Me for rating guidelines). Nan Ryan knows well how to write these moments and infuses true emotion in Wanting You - providing sincere romance rather than just sensual scenes.
I highly recommend Wanting You. It is a fun read despite its serious overtones. Anna's acceptance into the family is heartwarming and the entire story is well rounded. This is a romance - that is the main emphasis - and that is the way I like it best. It is currently out of publication but is easily available online through sites such as this. I am still eagerly reading through Ryan's backlist. Of her four books I have read, I have given two five star ratings and two are essentially three star ratings. I think there is a lot of undiscovered great reading yet to come from her backlist.