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Tucker's Claim (Hell 3) by Sarah McCarty

Tucker's Claim (Hell 3) (edition 2011)

by Sarah McCarty

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1634107,915 (3.95)4
Title:Tucker's Claim (Hell 3)
Authors:Sarah McCarty
Info:HQN Books (2011), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:E book, Your library, Western

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Tucker's Claim by Sarah McCarty



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Tucker's Claim
3 Stars

Half-Native American, half-white, Tucker McCade has only ever felt a sense of belonging with Hell’s Eight, the men with whom he came of age in a time of destruction. Now an adult, Tucker is a Texas Ranger at home with violence and danger. Unfortunately, his life is anathema for Sally Mae Schermerhorn, the woman he has come to love and desire. As a Quaker and a nurse, Sally Mae knows that Tucker is the last person she should love, but the heart wants what the heart wants if only Sally Mae can reconcile her mind to it.

The story begins after Tucker and Sally Mae have already met and admitted their attraction to themselves if not to each other. Their backstory is provided, but it would have been better had this been shown rather than told as it feels like the reader is coming into a film in the middle.

Sally Mae’s dialogue is replete with “thous” and thys”, which might have been the manner of speech for Quakers at the time but it feels forced in this book, especially considering the erotic nature of the story and Sally Mae’s action in this regard.

That said, Sally Mae and Tucker’s romance is sweet although the conflict with the townsfolk over Tucker’s origins is underdeveloped and Sally Mae’s issues with Tucker’s profession are resolved much too easily.

All in all, not a bad love story if a little incongruous with the setting. ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
Good book, with two storylines. The main one is the romance between Tucker and Sallie Mae, with some inroads into the ongoing mystery of what happened to the Hell's Eight's sister-in-law, Ari. Sallie Mae is a widowed Quaker woman, who has continued her late husband's medical work. The townspeople have no problem using her services, but they also look at her somewhat askance because of her independence. Especially since she has Tucker staying in her barn whenever he's in town. Tucker is a Texas Ranger, which gains him some respect, but he is also half-Indian, which makes him despised and distrusted by most people.

Tucker and Sallie Mae are drawn to each other despite all logic. Sallie Mae is attracted to his hot body, his occasional charm, and the good man she sees underneath the violent surface. However, his violent lifestyle makes it hard to think of anything permanent with him. Tucker fell hard and fast for Sallie Mae, but knows that because of who and what he is, he can't have her. That doesn't stop him from wanting her, and discovering that she wants him too puts them on a collision course with trouble.

I really enjoyed the development of the relationship. It starts out with the decision to indulge in a single night together, but neither is satisfied with that. They easily slip into being together whenever possible. The passion between them is incredible, though I have to admit that some of their activities were not to my taste. Both find themselves wishing for more than just an affair. But Sallie Mae can't reconcile her beliefs and his lifestyle choices, and Tucker just doesn't believe that there is any way for them to be together.

I liked Sallie Mae but she also frustrated me. In a time period when you did not associate with anyone bearing Indian blood, she is completely without prejudice. She believes that everyone is one of God's children. I liked the way that she saw his honor, his kindness and his gentleness. But I also had a problem with the way she was so fixated on the violence. He is a Ranger, so it isn't that he has a whole lot of choice in what he does. He is very protective of those he cares about, and he will do anything to keep them safe. As they got closer, she does begin to soften her stance a little, asking him to try. I also thought she was rather naive about her own safety around the men of the town, until it was almost too late.

I really liked Tucker. He is a man with a pretty deep sense of honor, though most people don't look past his Indian blood to see it. His relationship with his family is close, as they have been there for each other since their families were killed. He has fallen hard for Sallie Mae, but because of who he is he does his best to protect her reputation. I loved seeing how tender and gentle he could be when he wanted to, but also pretty forceful when he was trying to get her to see things his way.

When Sallie Mae ended up pregnant (not really a surprise), I loved that Tucker was immediately ready to take the next step. However, he is also well aware of the danger once it becomes known that she is pregnant with his child. I loved his determination to marry immediately and take her back to his home. It was at this point that Sallie Mae's insecurities became more visible, as she worried about finding her own place in his world.

On their way to Hell's Eight, they run into trouble related to the search for Ari, as their group is attacked. The attackers believe that Sallie Mae is either Desi or Ari and are determined to capture her. There are some intense moments as she tries to protect the others and nearly gets herself killed in the process. She learns something about her own capabilities which in turn opens her eyes more to Tucker's life. Then a crisis at Hell's Eight brings out her strengths, though not without some rather amusing confrontations with other members of the family. I loved the ending and seeing how they were figuring out the best way to make their beliefs work together. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Jun 19, 2016 |
When I picked up Tucker's Claim, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I had loved Caine's Reckoning, the first book in the Hell's Eight series, but the second, Sam's Creed, was in my opinion, a weak installment that left me feeling pretty underwhelmed. In the end, Tucker's Claim definitely put this series back on track for me with a wonderful character-driven narrative that made me fall in love with both its hero and heroine. It was a lovely story of two lonely people with similar traumatic experiences in their backgrounds, but from opposite fringes of society. Neither have ever truly felt like they fit in, but they find love, acceptance and wholeness in each other's arms.

Tucker is a half-breed Indian who was raised in the white world until Mexican soldiers razed the town where he lived, slaughtering everyone in their path. Tucker was one of only eight boys (the eight men who now comprise Hell's Eight) who survived the attack and banded together seeking vengeance. Since then he has started to live a slightly more respectable life as a Texas Ranger who is feared by most for both his large size and fierce reputation, but his mixed blood still makes him a target and leaves him with few options in life. Even before the attacks Tucker's boyhood was one of misery and abuse at the hands of his father. As a half-breed, he never really fit into either the white or Indian world, so except for when he is among Hell's Eight, he has never really known love or acceptance. His longing to be loved for who he is was apparent very early in the story and only deepened as it went on, but he can't seem to believe that any woman, especially one like Sally Mae, could ever care for a “savage.” Not to mention, he fears for what the townspeople might do to both of them if they ever found out about their relationship. I couldn't help but fall a little in love with Tucker right from the start. I loved how he had continued to come back to the little town where Sally Mae lived time after time, just to be near her and protect her, but allowed her the space and time she needed to grieve her husband's murder. When they finally came together, he was an amazingly giving lover, but also scrumptiously possessive. He was absolutely wonderful with animals and kids too. Tucker may have had a hard exterior but inside he had a kind, gentle heart of gold. Given his background, it's pretty astounding that he could be so tender, but Sally Mae always brought out the best in him. By the end of the book, I was positively crazy about Tucker, and he has earned the title of my favorite Hell's Eight hero so far.

Sally Mae was raised by Quakers from the time she was about ten years old, after her parents were killed. Suffering from traumatic amnesia, she can't remember anything prior to the time she started living with the Friends. Their peaceful ways helped to calm her troubled mind and spirit, so that she was able to recover in every way except her memory. She had married Jonah, a man fifteen years her senior, and they moved west, hoping to help people. He was a good man and a talented physician who taught her everything he knew, so that when he died, the townspeople began to look to her when they needed doctoring. Even though Sally and Jonah had a comfortable marriage, she always felt like something was missing. There was an underlying passion within her to which Jonah was not responsive, and she had always wanted a child while he wanted to wait. When Jonah was killed, Sally Mae's world might have fallen apart if Tucker hadn't been there, lending her his strength along with his protection and a helping hand. When Sally finally gave in to her attraction for Tucker she did so with wild abandon, giving him all of herself. Even though marriage between a white woman and a half-breed seemed impossible to outsiders, Sally Mae's Quaker beliefs made Tucker her equal right from the start in spite of their racial differences. I loved how she was always so kind and accepting of others no matter what. She was just a sweet, kind and giving woman toward everyone, but most especially to Tucker. Her beliefs also make her a pacifist, which was the main sticking point between the two of them, since Tucker's life was filled with violence on a regular basis. I respected her choice, because sometimes it takes more courage to choose the path of peace than the path of force. I also thought that Sally had great strength of character in many ways, not the least of which was meeting Tucker half-way so that they could have the future they both dreamed of. I know some readers were off-put by Sally Mae's use of “thee” and “thy” in her speech, but it didn't bother me at all. I thought it rather added to the sweetness of her character, while also being accurate vernacular for a Quaker in that time period. Sally was just a wonderful character who was full of depth and one of those rare heroines who I thoroughly liked and related to throughout the entire story.

As a couple, I thought that Tucker and Sally Mae complimented each other perfectly. I could feel the deep love connection between them from the very first chapter, even though the story for the most part begins with their wild sexual encounters. Normally, this isn't really my cup of tea, but they had known and been yearning for one another for a very long time before giving in to their passion, which made the early love scenes more likable and believable for me. The author also took the time to create a lovely atmosphere of romance and desire in the opening scene. Those first love scenes are darkly erotic, but laced with an undercurrent of deep tenderness and love which made them very beautiful. However, approximately the first half of the book is all about the sex, leaving me wondering when they were going to share their backgrounds, hopes, dreams, and all the little things that add intimacy to a romance. The reader gets to know Tucker and Sally pretty well through their introspections, but it seems that the author decided to wait until the second half to get to the relationship building. From that point on, there aren't any interactions of a sexual nature until the very end. While I was quite relieved to finally have them opening up and getting to know one another, I thought writing it this way left the story with a bit of an unbalanced feel. I did however, love that the conflict is mostly of an internal nature, with Tucker and Sally Mae trying to figure out how to reconcile their differing beliefs on violence, and I think Sarah McCarty did a very good job with that, and with driving home the point that marriage is always a compromise. I felt that both characters grew throughout the story and found their middle ground in believable ways which left me satisfied.

Since Sam's Creed had no input from other Hell's Eight members besides Tucker, it was great to finally see some of the other characters again. Caine and Desi (Caine's Reckoning) are awaiting the birth of their first child back at Hell's Eight. Sam and Bella (Sam's Creed) have settled into running the Montoya ranch, but surprisingly are still not married. I like that Sally and Bella have become good friends and even share a prayer for the safety of their men in spite of the differences in their race and religions. The twins Tracker and Shadow also returned still running down leads on Desi's missing sister, Ari, along with Tucker, and we get to learn just a little more about the pair. It was interesting how Shadow was intuitive enough to recognize that Sally was every bit as lonely and outcast as Tucker. He and Tracker could shape up to be quite fascinating characters if written well. I had speculated from book #1 that Tracker would probably be paired with Ari, and am pleased to know that I was correct in my assessment, as their book, Tracker's Sin, is the next of the series.

Other than the one small issue I mentioned earlier, the only thing that kept Tucker's Claim from being a perfect 5-star read for me was the author's tendency to make silly little continuity errors, things like Sally being in her nightgown and then suddenly fully dressed or a horse changing gender no less than four times, three of which were within a few paragraphs of one another. These might seem like small things, but when there are several of them that are pretty blatant to anyone who's actually paying attention, it can get a little annoying. There were also some parts scattered throughout the story where I thought the narrative could have used a little more clarity. As written, there were passages that I had to reread in order to be certain I was understanding what was happening. Otherwise, Tucker's Claim was a near-perfect read that I thoroughly enjoyed, and it now has me looking forward once again to Tracker's story and the rest of the Hell's Eight series.

Note: This book contains explicit language, violence, and sexual situations, including mild domination/submission, spanking, use of sex toys, and anal sex, which some readers may find offensive. ( )
  mom2lnb | Mar 1, 2012 |
This is Tucker and Sally Mae's story. Sally Mae is a Quaker which let me tell you getting used to the "thee's and thy's" was trying. Tucker of course is Hell's Eight and used to a life of violence. While Sally Mae abhorred violence and the "might makes right" way of thinking, Tucker lived it like it was more common sense and the way of the life with an acceptance of it just being the way it was. He struggles with being half white, half Indian in a time where he wasn't accepted by either and taking up with a white woman could mean death. One part that held humor for me was when Bella & Sally Mae were going to church to pray for their men when Bella called Kells to guard the new puppy Crockett and Sally Mae contemplated Kells eating the puppy for breakfast. In a total different direction of topic this book introduces sex toys whoo-hee!! Considering the time period being set in 1858 that was a fun addition and totally Tucker for some reason...go Tucker lol ;) I was relieved that Sally Mae was able to help Desi deliver her baby boy "Jonah" it got hairy there for a bit but I really felt there was no way Sarah McCarty could kill off Desi, that may have affected me reading the rest of the series right there. Overall this was a good book to the series albeit not my favorite it is worth reading. ( )
  cinful1121 | Sep 3, 2011 |
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To all the ladies of my yahoo group. No one could ask for a better group of ladies with which to laugh and share lifes ups and downs. You are simply the best.
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Music drifted out of the gaily decorated church into the humid night air, wrapping around Sally Mae in a breath of lilting joy.
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Book description
Tucker McCade has known violence his whole life: orphaned in a massacre, abused as a "half-breed" child, trained as a ruthless Texas Ranger, he's learned the hard way that might makes right.

So even he is shocked when he falls for Sallie Mae Reynolds, a Quaker nurse. Unable to resist Tucker's charm, character and chiseled body, she throws herself into their torrid affair, indulging every one of her wildest sexual fantasies. Tucker's occupation, however, is the one thing about him she can't embrace. A staunch pacifist, Sallie Mae can't understand how his strong, caressing hand can clench in fury or pull a trigger to take a life. In this lawless land, Tucker knows you have to fight to survive. But when Sallie Mae becomes pregnant, he's willing to do whatever it takes to have his family - including hanging up his guns.

Every night they spend together exploring new heights of ecstasy binds them ever closer, slowly erasing their differences.until the day Tucker's past comes calling, precipitating an explosive showdown between her faith, his promise and the need for revenge..
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