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The Loner (Bitter Creek) Mass Market Paperback – 26 Mar 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam USA (26 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440234727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440234722
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.6 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 874,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"[Johnston] carefully controls each entanglement to craft a warm and charming homespun tale."--"Publishers Weekly"

[Johnston] carefully controls each entanglement to craft a warm and charming homespun tale. "Publishers Weekly""

From the Inside Flap

The Blackthornes and the Creeds. Two powerful Texas dynasties-and lifelong enemies. Set in the heart of the modern-day West, "New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston brings to passionate life the clash of wills between Blackthorne and Creed . . . as a man and woman discover a love stronger than the forces trying to tear them apart.
Summer Blackthorne swore she'd never forgive Billy Coburn for running out on her and their future together. But that was before she found out she wasn't Jackson Blackthorne's child-Billy was. And now the "Blackthorne Bastard" has come home for a final day of the town that damned him and the woman he had always wanted. Only Summer can satisfy the hunger burning deep within him. Only she can help him hold on to his own unwanted son. It will be a marriage of expedience only. Until doubts and mistrust vanish in the heat of passion...and a man and a woman who never stopped loving each other fight bitter blood and impossible odds for a glorious second chance....

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A fantastic little book. Quite tricky to read due to the disjointed text lay out (possibly a side effect from its recent arts and crafts 'upcycling'.) Was hard to distinguish which novel we were reading as the cover had been removed, but through strenuous searching for the characters names the the identity was discovered. A fantastic Easter present! Very cute. Five stars!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars 51 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3rd In The Bitter Creek Series, But...Missing The Adventure Of The Others 25 Nov. 2005
By L. Shirley - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Joan Johnston's, "The Loner" is the third in the Bitter Creek series. The stories of family feuds between the Blackthornes and Creeds, and Romeo and Juliette type romances over many years. These are the modern day ancestors of the Sisters of the Lone Star series("Frontier Woman", "Comanche Woman", and "Texas Woman"), which is a prequel to Bitter Creek. "The Loner" follows, "The Texan", and "The Cowboy".

If you have read those first two in the series, you shouldn't have too much trouble following the intricacies of the family trees. Also there is some mention of previous characters and their roles touched upon in the story. If you haven't read the other two, I would highly recommend those first, to get a better idea of the complicated history these feudin' folks have with each other. This is the first in the Joan Johnston's books, that I felt would probably not stand on it's own.

"The Loner", is the story of "Bad" Billy Coburn", the illegitimate son of the Blackthorne patriarch(Blackjack), and Summer Blackthorne, heiress to the Bitter Creek fortune, and daughter of Blackjack. Okay now, don't worry, it had already been established that Summer was not really the biological daughter of Blackjack(see what I mean, it can get very complicated). There are other star-crossed love affairs going on as well. The older generation, has a serious and deadly triangle going on, and "Sam", the eldest of the Creed siblings - who you will remember from the first story is in a wheelchair due to one of the Blackthorne kids - has also fallen in love, and almost off the wagon as well! Whew! are you with me so far?

So there are a ton of romantic complications, and there is even a homicide to be solved, although the reader will already know who is at fault, even though the characters will try to solve the case on their own. This story though, was not up to par with the others of Miss Johnston's wonderful works. The others in both the Lone Star and the Bitter Creek series always had some other exciting, page turner, intriguing adventure going on. Miss Johnston had previously seemed to do much research to support the sub-plots. Often even a bit of a history lesson was gained from the read as well. This story had none of that.

Even without the adventure, if you have already been reading the Bitter Creek series, you will want to read this one to catch up with the family story before moving on the the next one, "The Price". "The Loner" wrapped up some of the story lines nicely, and was good but not great as far as romance novels go. I personally prefer a little more of the action and adventure to go along with it.

One of these days, one of the characters will fall for someone who isn't part of the family feud, and that should make for a pretty fresh take. So a bit predictable, but worth the read for fans of the series.

Happy Trails.....Laurie
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Trainwreck 19 Aug. 2009
By IndigoRaiyne - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book I've read by Joan Johnston and it was OK. Whether or not I read another by her remains to be seen.

For me, there was too much going on. Perhaps if I had followed the other books about the Blackthrornes and the Creeds I would have enjoyed it more, but I doubt that. Just because a book is part of a series doesn't mean every character in the series has to be included.

According to the back, this is the story of Billy Coburn and Summer Blackthorne. And it is; to an extent. It is also the story of Eve and Blackjack and Ren and Sam and Emma. There are also lots of babies with other people. It was like a theme.

I hated most of the characters. Eve was a total fruit loop; Blackjack was an ass and I was never rooting for him. I think the author wanted us to. I think the author wanted the reader to want him to find happiness with Ren Creed. However, he achieved this goal by cheating on his wife. She was a nutter but his wife nonetheless. I also hated the way Blackjack treated Billy, his illegitimate son.

It was mentioned at one point that Blackjack and his sons beat Billy so badly he ended up in the hospital. That issue was never dealt with. And then, later in the book, Billy punches the brothers and Summer is all hurt that he could do that to her brothers. On top of the beating, Blackjack went out of his way to make Billy's life hell. Why he was doing this was never fully explained.

I liked Billy. He was a good hero to root for and I wanted him and Summer to be together. I wanted Billy to overcome his obstacles. I would have liked it better had he done it on his own. I wish he had come back a self-made millionaire instead of having to wait around on the Blackthornes to decide his fate.

I even liked Summer and appreciated that she was not painted as a ditz. I do wish she had chosen Billy of Bitter Creek and the love of her "father".

The book also became a mystery towards the end when Eve died in a helicopter crash thus sending Billy and Summer on a quest to free Blackjack from jail. Why Billy would do anything to help this man who made his life hell is beyond me. This also didn't add anything to the story.

Overall for me, there was too much going on. Too many people were having babies with other people either in the past or the present. It was ridiculous. There were too many people and sometimes I felt like I needed a family tree to keep everyone straight. I wish more time had been spent developing the relationship between Billy and Summer because I liked them. For me, The Loner was too much of a soap opera.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun but needs a distribution chart to keep score 30 Mar. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Bitter Creek, the Blackthorne and Creed clans have detested each other for eternity (or at least three series that has begot double-digit novels). Billy Coburn loves his father's daughter Summer, but they do not share a blood relationship. He is the illegitimate son of Jackson Blackthorne while she is the daughter of the lover of Jackson's wife.

Billy has an affair that results in a child. He wants to raise the boy with Summer, but the biological mother sees the infant as a chance to bleed money from the wealthy Blackthornes. Billy proposes to Summer feeling he has a better chance of winning custody if he is a married man. She loves Billy and though angry that he deserted once before, she marries him. They return to his family home since he feels he needs to help his dying mother and his pregnant sister. However, Billy's female relatives loathe Summer though she is kind and sacrificed a comfortable lifestyle to marry her beloved.. The rest of the broods are in the midst of a soap opera too.

The latest tale in the Blackthorne-Creed universe, THE LONER, requires a scorecard to keep track of the players. The tale will remind readers of when Bay City and Another World were running stories at the same time. The characters are fun to watch as hatred flows stronger than love in most cases. Fans of the series will find Joan Johnston's latest entry a triumph. For newcomers develop a distribution chart to follow who does what or wants to do what to whom.

Harriet Klausner
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 5.00 16 Dec. 2014
By LoveMy5Dogs - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Overall Rating: 5.00
Action: 3.0 / Emotion: 5.0 / Romance: 5.0 / Sensuous: 2.5 / Suspense: 4.0 // Laughter: 4 / Giggle: 2 // Tears: 8 / Teary: 3

The Loner: 5.00:
Joan Johnston's third book in The Bitter Creek Series is one of those books that is impossible to put down after reading that first sentence. This over-nighter, un-put-down-able book was so engaging, intriguing, and emotionally moving that it was impossible not to give it the highest rating -- five stars. Basically, this book just "spoke" to me.

Hero: 4.95:
'Bad' Billy Coburn: You have to love a hero that never gave up. Billy overcame an extremely difficult childhood and turned out to be an honorable, compassionate man. It also helped that Billy was an incredibly masculine hero that had that special something that bad boys usually possess that melts a reader's heart. It would have been nice if he would have admitted his love for Summer sooner.

Heroine: 4.00:
Summer Blackthorne: Even though she came across as unlikeable in the previous books of the series (a spoiled little rich girl with a sense of entitlement), Summer won hearts because she was willing to try to live in Billy's world in spite of his mother and sister, who didn't like her. It was easy to identify with Summer because she exposed the same vulnerabilities to readers that all women seem to possess to some degree or another.

Story Line: 5.00:
Johnston did a great job with this story line. She built the romance between Billy and Summer, while in the background finishing up the unrequited story of love between Jackson "Blackjack" Blackthorne and Lauren "Ren" Creed, and including a third mini love story between paraplegic Sam Creed and Emma Coburn. Also, the twist that Eve threw into the mix was quite original and entertaining.

Action: 3.00:
Although the story moved along at a quick pace, it was not filled with a lot of action and adventure scenes to add extra excitement to the book.

Emotion: 5.00:
Johnston is simply gifting at tying the emotions of the reader to her characters. Johnston engaged the readers on such an emotional level that she brought forth laughter, giggles, that tight throat feeling, and tears.

Romance: 5.00:
This book will filled with three love stories in one. A strong sense of romance permeated all three of those stories.

Suspense: 4.00:
Johnston managed to keep the readers guessing all the way through the book. Was Billy ever going to confess his love to Summer? Was Summer ever going to realize she loved Billy? Were Blackjack and Ren going to get their belated happily-ever-after? Would Sam and Emma grab hold of their happiness? Would Billy and Summer solve the murder investigation in time?

Sensuous: 2.50:
Johnston may not include graphically detailed love scenes in her books, but there is just something about the way she writes those scenes that adds a sizzling sensuality to the story that is always a wonderful addition to any romance book.

Secondary Characters: 5.00:
One thing that Johnston does extremely well in her books is to include secondary characters that bring her books to life. In this book, numerous secondary characters were given a point of view voice that greatly enhanced the story. Besides Blackjack, Ren, Sam, and Emma, the other secondary characters that added a vivid flavor to the book included: {1} Evelyn "Eve" DeWitt Blackthorne; and {2} Dora Coburn. Also enjoyed the cameo visit of Callie and her children and Bay and her children when they visited Uncle Sam.

A more in-depth, detailed, spoiler-ridden review of *The Loner* appears at Wolf Bear Does Books.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed reader. 15 Jun. 2006
By Lovelace - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read the CAPTIVE HEART series, then SISTERS OF THE LONE STAR series and now I've been reading the BITTER CREEK series. These series lead from one to the next. I liked all the books up to this one, J. Johnston was doing a great job! She almost did a good job on this one, but one thing spoiled the whole book for me and that could have been left out whith out spoiling the story. She has the main male character, Billy Coburn, having sex with a bar-maid as soon as he left town and she getting pregnant. He pays her to have the baby and then he keeps the baby and brings it back to his home town. What happened to birth control? That made Billy look stupid and uneducated. The story tells that he had had sex since he was in high-school and never got any other woman pregnant, so why now? If the woman was old enough to be a bar-maid why didn't she know enough to use birth control? The baby was an unnecessary addition to what could have been a good book. I had great hopes for Billy, he was a decent person with a lot of problems in the other books, the author did not treat him well.
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