Read enough romance and you can't help but see where some of the stereotypes come from, and that not all of 'em are negative.  Take readers, for instance.  There're an awful lot of women who love romance novels who are a) smart; b) felt kind of awkward in school; c) enjoyed time spent in the library with fave books more than going out on dates with boys who probably weren't as dependable or entertaining. 


Maybe that's why there's a popular scenario that fulfills our heroine-placeholder needs - especially when we nestle into any of the above cozy categories - and overrunneths our cups 'o big, strappin'-hero fantasy.  That set-up would be the much revered, and not hardly done nearly enough these days, School-Marm-Meets-Rough-n-Ready-Cowboy love match.

The school marm is pretty easy to identify with, 'cause she's bookish, caring, a bit of an outsider and values intelligence over exterior appearance, at least in herself.  Her fantasy pay-off - and ours - comes when she's swept off her feet by the plain-speaking-yet-gorgeous-and-virile cattleman.  For his part, cowstud sees in her the passion she has for education, children and the future, and can be depended upon to nurture it into something sensual and loving through his patient, yet considerable willingness to usher her into the mysteries of relationships and, even better, sex.

Well, gosh: He's been home on the range, not in the monastery.

Yes'm, the little-lady-n-cow-poke pairing is hawt, and Linda Lael Miller heats up our upcoming chilly holiday nights with a heart-warming-and-sweetly-sexy example in her treat for the season of de-lights, "A Creed Country Christmas."

The Creed in question is the widower Lincoln, at the general store checking on whether anyone's answered his ad for a governess, housekeeper or, if all else fails, mail-order bride.  While there's no news, he does find Juliana Mitchell, the pretty little teacher from the Indian school, with 4 students in tow and no place to shelter them; the school's been closed and her wealthy brother won't send her a penny of her inheritance since she refused to marry his business partner.

Lincoln offers Juliana and the children a home at his ranch until she can make other arrangements, but soon the two are as attracted to one another as Creed's little daughter, Gracie, is enamored of the idea that Juliana could be her new mama, as well as teach her all the learnin' Lincoln hasn't time to get to.

Educated back East as an attorney, Lincoln knows a thing or two about what might happen if the Bureau of Indian Affairs finds out Juliana's got four Native American kids with her who should be herded off to government reservations.  So he devises a plan that will save the day for Juliana and the children: marriage to him.  Yet what could bring Lincoln and Juliana a lifetime of happiness may bring both only a mess of pain, unless Lincoln can bury his past and build a future he stubbornly never allowed himself to dream possible.

What do you love about the school-marm-n-cowboy scenario?  What are your fave Linda Lael Miller reads?

Check in at Romantic Reads at noon EST today, Nov. 2, to score a free Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of the hot, new romance that'll be discussed for 2 weeks in's new SNEAK PEEK program!  The book's author will take part! 

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎11-01-2009 07:01 PM

I have a stack of her books in my TBR pile. I need a week on a desert island to catch up on my reading!

by Cheyenne_Catina on ‎11-01-2009 09:10 PM

linda lael miller;s books are great...the whole idea of westerns appeal to me i guess, that stereo type is true; at least for me!

the mckettricks are awesome

by amyskf on ‎11-01-2009 09:12 PM

I love the school marm heroine, 'cuz I think I could pull it off if I were whisked back in long as I could hold my shrewish sarcastic tongue.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-01-2009 10:47 PM

Amy, I could do it as long as I didn't have to teach math.  But doesn't the school marm usually get to be outspoken cause she's usually a little older and shown a little more respect in some ways?


Hi, cheyenne_catina! I thought of you when I was reading this!  Oh, those McKettricks are great, too, and LLMs family series are just wonderful.  And see?  I'm on with the stereotype! It's a good one.


Becke, so much whining...

by 1lovealways on ‎11-02-2009 02:58 AM

Hi Michelle!

As far as the school marm theme goes, three come to mind for me.  They are Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard, Love Forevermore by Madeline Baker and The Outlaw Hearts by Rebecca Brandewyne.  In Linda and Rebecca's books the heroes were cowboys.  In fact, in The Outlaw Hearts the hero and his brothers were robbers.  They hold up the train that the heroine is on.  The hero flusters the heroine so bad, but at the same time there's something that draws him to her.  Of course, they fall in love, but the things that lead up to this is what makes the story so exciting.  Wonderful book and one of my keepers!

Wolf Mackenzie in Linda Howard's book is a strong, strapping rancher with a teenage son whom Mary the school teacher takes an interst in.  Though Mary was prim and proper to an extent, she was a modern woman who never seemed to take no for an answer.  She had him eating out her hand in no time and his son loved her.  I love all the Mackenzie books still. 

Love Forevermore has a young lady who is a teacher in the Old West.  This is a story of forbidden love between her and an Indian brave.  She was your prim and proper teacher, but something about him (he was so sexy) seemed to call to her and they fell in love. She flaunted all convention that was proper at the time to be with him.  Beautiful story!

I have Linda's Creed Brothers and her Christmas book on My Wish List.  I've read her paranormals, Forever and the Night, For All Eternity and Time Without End.  These were all about vampires and was a continuous story from book to book.  I love them all, but unfortunately she never wrote any more that I'm aware of.   I wish she had.  There are several books she wrote for Category Romance in the Silhouette Special Edition line, but I read so many categories back then,  I can't remember the titles.  :smileyhappy:

by Author Eva_Gale on ‎11-02-2009 07:19 AM

I have heard so many raves about this book! I'm going ot have to pick it up, ASAP. I love the school marm-coyboy because it's classic. 

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎11-02-2009 09:49 AM

Linda hasn't written I book I don't love, she is the queen of western romance historical or contemporary.

I think the appeal for me in the Schoolmarm and cowboy romance is that I love that underneath those homespun dresses the cowboy reveals the courtesan beneath. 


I also love Catherine Anderson's re-released Comanche series and in Comanche Heart we have a schoolmarm/cowboy-Indian romance that's knock your socks off.


Great article once again Michelle.



by Moderator becke_davis on ‎11-02-2009 10:42 AM

When people ask if I like Westerns, my first instinct is always to say "no." But then when I really start thinking about all the Western romances I've read and loved, I guess I'm a fan after all!

by Author VanessaKelly on ‎11-02-2009 08:46 PM

I love school marm/cowboy stories.  Part of the appeal for me - other than the hotness of opposites attracting - is that the school teacher has the mental toughness to take whatever said cowboy throws at her.  Teaching is a tough, tough job.  Taming a cowboy - that's all fun!  It's a bit of a chesnut, but the brain meets brawn story has so many of the classic romance elements that I just love.  Add in the wide open skies and the sweeping, high stakes plot - it has to be great.


I love governess stories, too.  I'd like to see more of them.

by amyskf on ‎11-02-2009 11:25 PM

Michelle, re: the math, you could tell everyone it's "the new math." 1love, wow I have got to get The Outlaw Hearts, sounds great and I loved LLM's vampire books, I think they were my first vampire romances (real romance).


dhaupt, couldn't have said it better -- "the cowboy reveals the courtesan beneath"


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