Susan Blackstone has been a widow for five years and although she is learning to enjoy life again, she hasnít really felt alive since her husband died - that all changes when a dark, mysterious and gorgeous stranger shows up at a Blackstone family party. Susan feels the unmistakable tension in the air and sees the dark looks thrown in the strangerís direction even though she is confused about the reasons behind it. To ward off an inevitable confrontation, Susan immediately asks the man to dance and when he takes her in his arms her body has never felt more alive.
When Susan learns that the stranger is her deceased husbandís cousin and the black sheep of the Blackstone family, Cord, it doesnít lessen his appeal in the slightest even after Susanís mother-in-law and brother-in-law make sure that Susan is advised at the inappropriateness of being seen with Cord and fill her in on his sordid past. However, despite the sparks that fly when the two of them are together, Cordís plan for revenge against the Blackstone family soon places Susan and Cord on opposite sides. Susan is torn between loyalty to the family who has been like her own and the man she has lost her heart to.
Susan is a likeable heroine, but she seems a bit weak Ė all the better for a big strong man like Cord to take care of! She canít say no to him even when she suspects that he is only using her to gain control of the Blackstone Corporation. Since Cord doesnít trust her, Susan feels as though she can prove her love to him by being submissive Ė in and out of bed. The good thing is that they really sizzle in the sack, which goes to prove that Linda Howard has always known how to write a hot love scene!
Cord is all Alpha male through and through, which didnít bother me in the least although I can see some readers being annoyed by his controlling personality. His domineering manner was offset by his genuine concern for Susanís well being so I didnít find an issue with it.
Although Tears of the Renegade is a contemporary romance, it has a bit of a historical feel to it with Susanís ladylike manners and the way Cole is likened after a pirate. Tears of the Renegade is one of Linda Howardís older novels and although it is an enjoyable read, it just doesnít have the same flair of her newer releases.