Last night, I posted a story about Laura Harner, one of those rare authors capable of producing a high-volume of words in a short amount of time. Of course in Harner’s case, it’s not a matter of simply being prolific. Author Becky McGraw caught Harner in the act when word-for-word sections of her novel, My Kind of Trouble, appeared in Harner’s Coming Home Texas. It appears that Harner lifted McGraw’s entire novel, changing character and setting names, pronouns, and occasional phrases to disguise McGraw’s book, a M/F romance, into a M/M romance.
A commenter on my original post about Harner recognized Opal Carew’s Riding Steele in Harner’s Deuce Coop serial. Though the Deuce Coop series was pulled from most major retailers, as of this morning it was still available on All Romance eBooks. EDIT: Since posting, Harner has also removed the books from All Romance eBooks. Let’s do the “compare screenshots” game. For those who aren’t able to view images, don’t worry; I’ll excerpt the appropriate text for you. I’ve got your back.
First, the description for Opal Carew’s Riding Steele:
In the arms of an outlaw, she found the freedom to live out her wildest fantasies. Don’t miss this scorching erotic romance from New York Times bestselling author Opal Carew, now available for the first time as a complete novel!
When Laurie is kidnapped by bikers, she has no idea her life is about to change forever. From the moment she meets Steele–their sinfully sexy leader–she can’t deny her fierce attraction. Even though she’s completely at his mercy, his eyes soften when he looks at her, and the other in his gang know she’s strictly hands off. But the more time she spends with Steele, the more her body insists she wants his powerful hands all over her.
Now she’s about to discover a new life on the open road…and what it means to be a part of a gang that shares everything. At first their wanton lifestyle shocks her senses–but once she’s had a taste of life on the edge, will she ever want to leave?
[underlines = italics]
Now let’s take a gander at Deuce Coop episode 1: Taken, the first in Harner’s MC serial:
For nearly five years, Deuce managed to keep his gang out of serious trouble, but a favor for a friend of a friend puts Deuce in a hell of a spot–take temporary–and unwilling–custody of a young man in a relationship that’s way over his head or leave him in the path of a near-certain death? Despite his decision to leave college-boy’s safety to chance in order to protect his gang from potential kidnapping charges, Cooper ends up cuffed to Deuce’s bed and he discovers fate has a different solution in mind.
When Cooper McElroy is kidnapped by bikers, he has no idea his life is about to change forever. From the moment he meets their sinfully sexy leader Deuce, he realizes the attraction might be more dangerous than the situation the bikers claim to have saved him from. Kept in an isolated location, Cooper discovers this is one gang that doesn’t seem to have issues with territory–it’s all share and share alike. Cooper’s only protection is Deuce’s order declaring him off limits. But the more time Cooper spends with Deuce, the more his body insists it knows what it wants–so who’s going to save him now?
Cooper’s about to discover a new life on the open road…and what it means to be part of a gang that shares almost everything. Will he continue to seek his freedom or beg the gang to take him on the ride of his life?
Gosh, that sounds familiar. Why don’t we check out the first pages? Again, I’ll excerpt text for those who can’t view the images.
Here’s a sample of Carew’s Riding Steele:
And a sample from Harner’s Deuce Coop episode 1: Taken:
Carew’s opening paragraphs:
“Is that the woman Killer’s friend wants us to kidnap?”
Steele glanced in the direction Shock was looking. Steele and his men were sitting in a pub called Big Rigg that had heavy wooden tables and a rustic atmosphere. A woman walked toward one of the high tables at the bar where a suited man and a couple were sitting. He recognized the newcomer from the pictures of Craig’s sister that Killer had shown him.
They didn’t do her justice.
Harner’s opening paragraphs:
“Is that the dude Butcher’s friend wants us to snatch?”
Deuce glanced in the direction Gunny was staring. Deuce and his men sat in an old Route 66 bar, called Big Red’s, decorated in a rustic old west theme complete with heavy wooden tables and a copper bar. A slender young man walked toward the high bar where a suited man sat with a couple–all of their gazes fixed on the young man’s approach. Deuce recognized the newcomer from the pictures of Marcy’s brother that Butcher had shown him.
They didn’t do him justice.
Steele nodded. “That’s the one.”
Her name was Laurie and she was stunning. Long, glossy, dark brown hair that careened loosely over her shoulders, beautiful big eyes, a pert nose, and lips that begged to be kissed. And her body. Damn! Every heart-stopping curve was showcased in her short, snug, black dress. His eyes followed the long, slim line of her torso to the arc of her hips, then down the longest legs he’d ever seen. Slim and shapely, ending in glossing black stilettos studded with rhinestones. How she could walk in those heels–which had to be at least six inches high–he didn’t know, but every man in the bar must be thanking his lucky stars at the sight of her glorious swaying ass. He allowed his gaze to make a leisurely climb upward before stopping at her breasts. Round, firm, and snugly cocooned in the tight black dress.
The hint of cleavage in the deep-V neckline caused his body to tighten. His fingers itched to wrap around those glorious breasts. To feel the softness in his hands. To stroke the nipples with his thumbs.
Fuck, his cock was swelling painfully in his jeans.
Deuce nodded. “That’s the one.”
He was spectacular, in a wanna-fuck-that-twink sort of way. Long, glossy, auburn hair snaked down his back in a thick braid, deep set eyes, a straight nose and lips that begged to be tasted. And his body. Damn!
Staring at his thin leather belt, Deuce’s gaze traced upwards, following the long, slim line of his torso to the broader shoulders. Swimmer, maybe? As he neared the table, the young man’s shoulders hunched forward, and he ducked his head down, as if shy.
His skintight, jewel-encrusted jeans highlighted every slender curve of his ass and legs. His legs looked a mile-long, ending in cowboy boots that would look fucking hot wrapped around Deuce as he pounded…
Fuck! His cock was swelling painfully in his jeans.
It’s almost impressive how much Harner was still able to plagiarize from Carew here, given the fact that the characters are of mostly different physical and clothing descriptions.
But this was someone’s sister. Craig, killer’s friend. And Craig wanted to protect her.
Steele knew what that felt like. Thoughts of Chrissy shattered his mood. Dead at eighteen. Pain slashed through him. No matter how much Steele had tried to protect his younger sister, had tried to steer her from hanging around with the wrong crowd, headstrong Chrissy had ignored his sage advice and done whatever the hell she’d damned well pleased. And died of a drug overdose.
Giving himself a mental head slap, Deuce reminded himself this was someone’s brother. Butcher’s friend Marcy. And Marcy wanted him protected.
Deuce knew what that felt like–he’d once had a sister he’d wanted to keep safe. Thoughts of Susan shattered his mood. Dead before she was old enough to drink–legally. Pain slashed through him. No matter how much Deuce had tried to protect his younger sister, had tried to keep her from hanging out with the wrong crowd, headstrong Susan had done whatever the hell she’d damned well pleased. And died of a drug overdose.
Now he’d been offered a chance to help another brother save his sister from a bad situation. He’d been fucking tempted to do exactly what Craig had drunkenly suggested when they’d partied together with Killer the night before, but Steele drew the line at kidnapping.
Raven leaned closed to Rip. “What are they talking about? Are we going to kidnap someone?” She grinned. “Is that part of Steele’s birthday celebration?”
Now, Marcy was in a similar position, with a brother–Cooper–in over his head…and she wanted to save him from a bad situation. Deuce had been fucking tempted to take Marcy up on her drunken suggestion when they’d partied together with Butcher the night before, but he and the gang drew the line at kidnapping. Now that he’d had an eyeful of the prospective abductee, he was damned glad he’d turned the job down. This one would be trouble to keep safe, regardless of his best intentions.
Ricky leaned close to Scorpion. “What are they talking about? Are we going to kidnap someone?” He grinned. “Is this part of Deuce’s birthday blow out?”
So, obviously, yes, this is another case of Laura Harner blatantly plagiarizing, turning a M/F romance into a M/M romance. But unlike McGraw’s indie, My Kind of Trouble, Carew’s Riding Steele is traditionally published by St. Martin’s Press. While McGraw has indicated that she’s pursuing legal action against Harner, St. Martin’s has more resources at their disposal should they decide to sue Harner as well.
I hope Harner put plenty of her stolen royalties aside for legal fees.
If you’re an author of paranormal, highlander, motor cycle club, firefighter, cowboy, or SEAL romances, I strongly urge you to check what Harner still has listed on retail sites to make sure you’re not being plagiarized as well.