Captive of the Cattle Baron is my twist on an old school romance cliché—the romantic abduction.
It’s not a popular plot today and I’m glad. Times have changed, and our basic understanding of what constitutes unacceptable force—not to say abuse—has matured. I’ve read some very negative comments from readers when stories with that plot device that were published years ago are reissued. Our society no longer thinks it’s romantic for a man to hold a woman against her will. Neither do I, by the way, and I never have.
So why have I written just that kind of story? Think of it as an “answer song,” the response to that old situation. I wanted to tell it better, to turn the awful power dynamics inside out and examine what pushes a decent man into behaving like a cave man. I also wanted to right the wrong implicit in those old stories, in which the woman’s will was broken and she gave in to her captor’s power over her. It’s not love to destroy someone. It’s definitely not love to submit to the Stockholm Syndrome. Yet when men and women are attracted to each other, they do not always behave rationally or logically. Attraction can bloom under the oddest circumstances, and so can true love.
The plot of Captive of the Cattle Baron was prompted by a reaction I once had to an over-the-counter allergy medicine. It knocked me for a loop, just wiped me out, and I couldn’t do anything the entire day. I’ve always been shocked that such a powerful drug was freely available without a prescription. Then one day I thought, “What if a romance heroine took a prescription allergy medication that was even more potent? She’d be helpless.”
Captive of the Cattle Baron starts with just that situation. My heroine, Addie Jelleff, has followed doctor’s orders but is showing signs of suffering from a drug overdose. Is it any wonder that my hero, Baron Selkirk, thinks she has a substance abuse problem? Especially when, in trying to help her, he sees that she’s attempting to get into a hotel suite whose occupant will not open the door unless Baron leaves? Sounds suspicious, right?
Additionally, I am a firm believer in coincidence, because it happens in real life all the time. It’s totally a coincidence that my heroine ends up in my hero’s power. What happens from then on is the result of their individual personalities, fueled by their life situations and their fierce physical attraction.
One thing I’m adamantly opposed to: the idea of a clear winner or loser in this abduction story. My hero and heroine have to fight to a standstill. Their battle of wills can’t be one person crushing the other. That’s not love. Addie Jelleff is one of my feistier heroines and she fights back when Baron Selkirk attempts to control her. What Addie sees as a threat is her powerful desire to give in to her attraction to Baron. As for Baron? He’s a good man, a decent man, but being the boss of a vast, isolated cattle ranch can make a man think he’s the boss of everyone, can’t it?
Captive of the Cattle Baron is available at Amazon.