What really sets McCarty's stories apart from simple erotica is the complexity of her characters and conflicts. The third installment of her Hell's Eight series is historically accurate -- from the racist attitudes of the time to the speech patterns of the heroine -- and definitely spicy, but it's a great love story too.
What's supposed to be a brief affair flares unexpectedly into something much more, but things get complicated when Sally becomes pregnant. None of the locals will accept their relationship because Tucker is half-Indian, and pacifist Sally is afraid that there's no place for her where Tucker lives -- at Hell's Eight, with his brothers-at-arms. (SPICE, Oct., 336 pp., $13.95)