Monday, December 31, 2007

On Sparrow Hill-Maureen Lang

On Sparrow Hill
Maureen Lang
Tyndale, Feb 2008, $12.99
ISBN: 97814143467

England’s National Trust constantly makes job offers that would pay much more and provide greater prestige, but Rebecca Seabrooke prefers to remain manager of Hollinworth Hall. Part of it might be her lingering crush on the owner Quentin Hollinworth, but much is because she needs to prove to herself she can run the best historical site in the country without dependence on her father. Her efforts are paying off as the manor has received a prestigious nomination from the Featherby Education Award although she hopes that proves enough to keep his mother from having him shut the place.

An email arrives from West World Genealogy (WWG) in which they claim an American family wants to contact their English Hollinworth cousins as they possess an original 1852 diary belonging to Cosima Escott Hamilton, an ancestor of Quentin. Intrigued they visit the vault to find letters from that period written by Beryl “Berrie” Hamilton to Cosima. Meanwhile Dana Walker responds to Rebecca’s email via WWG; she claims she possesses Cosima’s journal brought to America by the Englishwoman’s youngest son Kip whom Dana says she is his descendent. As Rebecca and Quentin work on understanding his ancestors and hers who have serviced Hamiltons for twelve generations, they admit their love for one another, but his mother objects; besides Rebecca believes Lady Caroline is more suited for her employer.

Once again as Maureen Lang did with the deep family drama that focuses on Fragile X Syndrome and its impact on people (see THE OAK LEAVES), the author provides a powerful tale of two families during the Victorian and contemporary eras. In both periods the key characters seem genuine as comparisons of the aristocracy and their servicing class then and now between the times make for a fascinating drama. Whether it is Berrie opening up a school for the mentally retarded or Quentin’s mom grieving the coming extinction of the aristocracy due to McDonalds and the Internet, readers will appreciate the well written poignant ON SPARROW HILL.

Harriet Klausner

To Catch A Highlander-Karen Hawkins

To Catch A Highlander
Karen Hawkins
Pocket, Feb 2008, $7.50
ISBN: 9781416525059

Sophia MacFarlane understands the roguish Lord Dougal MacLean owns what was her former home until her wastrel father “Red” lost it gambling to earn money for a new roof rather than sell his late wife’s diamonds. Sophia obstinately is determined to get it back, but she has no concrete plan. She vaguely figures she must use her feminine wiles to con the upstart out of her home that in her mind he temporarily albeit legally possesses.

However Dougal is not going to allow some pretty lass to outsmart him; instead he raises the stakes of her challenge. Sophia knows she is down to her last gambit, her virginity in a winner take all card game; her plan is to risk a bluff if needed; his strategy is to call her bluff. The first kiss stuns the two players; the second leaves both in shock; because they begin to realize a house is not home without love.

TO CATCH A HIGHLANDER is an incredibly humorous historical romance as Sophia and Dougal try to out-con, out-lie and out-cheat one another. The story line is fast-paced as the stakes keep getting raised by the two players as nothing is sacred in their misadventures except their growing love for one another. After reading this wonderful battle of the sexes' tale, fans will revise how they look at games of chance as sometimes a win-win is possible.

Harriet Klausner

Pleasure Exchange-Cathryn Fox

Pleasure Exchange
Cathryn Fox
Avon, Feb 2008, $13.95
ISBN: 9780060898571

The extension of his research grant is on the line for scientist Sam York who is studying a female libido booster. However, he runs into problems when reporter Cat Nichols writes an article on his work. Feminists are outraged and protest his efforts.

Cat feels bad with what her article may have done to Sam, who was so cooperative with her. She has known him for a long time and dreams of making love with good neighbor Sam, but he seems uninterested. To make up for what she did to him, Cat volunteers to be his guinea pig and test his concoction. Sam accepts her offer as he dreams of making love with good neighbor Cat, but she seems uninterested.

As with the previous two “Pleasure Games” contemporary heated romances, (see PLEASURE PROLONGED and PLEASURE CONTROL) the story line feels like a modern day hotter version of the Grant-Rogers film Monkey Business. The change in the relationship between Sam and Cat make for a fun tale as they go from platonic close friends with secret desires to burning up the sheets. As Sam wonders if his female libido boosting experiment led to their sexual encounters or it could be something much more complex to recreate: love, Cathryn Fox provides a torrid romantic climax to her lighthearted pleasurable trilogy.

Harriet Klausner

Lured by Lust-Tania Picard

Lured by Lust
Tania Picard
Black Lace, Mar 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780352341761

Clara Fox knows she needs to set up the art gallery, but is distracted by the bouquet of flowers sent by her former lover Paul who wants a second chance. Clara misses the sex, but does not miss him as he was way too controlling out of bed. Besides being unhappy to hear from appalling Paul, she is peeved at her boss gallery owner Mr. Xavier, who remained in his office while she hung up the heavy paintings.

Her emails are the usual except for one titled Ms. X sent by a Mr. X. He seems to know her libido’s desires and needs, and her current state of ennui. She replies and soon they exchange sexually explicit emails. Clara is curious who he is and how this “Peeping Tom” knows her so intimately unless he is Paul. Bold, brassy, and brazen, she enters his sexual realm of kinkiness doing sexcapades like nothing she ever did before. Whereas Paul continues his assault on a second him on top chance, he seems pale next to her trysts with the mysterious Mr. X and his companions as Clara is not bored anymore.

The sex is in your face and about everywhere else in this ultra heated contemporary erotic romance that starts off with a heated email that burns a few thousand pixels and never takes a moment for the libido to catch his or her breath. Mr. X must be in the Guinness Book of Records for sustained up-man-ship yet defies the laws of male anatomy by having blood in both of he heads at the same time. Part of the fun is following Clara’s efforts to uncover who Mr. X is, but LURED BY LUST is just what the title says as explicit sex is the name of the game.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Guarded Heart-Jennifer Blake

Guarded Heart
Jennifer Blake
Mira, Feb 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780778324546

In 1844 New Orleans, Madame Ariadne Faucher pulls no punches when she informs renowned sword master Gavin Blackford she needs his expertise to kill someone. She further explains she wants him to tutor her in dueling. He is taken aback, but perhaps it is the wine he drank, the mystery of why and who she plans to kill, or her intriguing tall figure, but to his own shock he agrees to teach her.

As the teacher and student practice, an attraction ignites into passion. Ariadne learns more than just sword play as Gavin displays a high ethical code; Gavin learns she is much more than just a Lady as she is intelligent and athletic, but he still does not know who she plans to defeat. He tries to disuade her from her course though he believes his best student can beat most men, but love seems to be a weaker emotion than revenge.

The fourth Master of Arms historical romance (see ROGUE’S SALUTE, DAWN ENCOUNTER, and CHALLENGE TO HONOR) is a terrific addition to the exciting saga. The story line is fast-paced as the instructor and his prize pupil duel in two types of sword play. Fans will want to know whether the principled sword master persuades his prize pupil that love and family are more rewarding than vengeance or whether Madame will let her heart be consumed by hatred. This is a great work by master writer.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Everybody Loves Evie-Beth Ciotta

Everybody Loves Evie
Beth Ciotta
Harlequin HQN, Feb 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780373772988

After the role of a lifetime as a Chameleon undercover agent in Vegas (see ALL ABOUT EVIE), the boss Milo Beckett hires fortyish character actress Evie Parish because he sees she has the “gift” needed to expose charlatans and grifts. Her bank president brother Christopher calls Evie to tell her the family needs her as their sexagenarian mom is acting strange with dance lessons and cashing in her war bonds worth six grand; especially since she don’t need the money; he thinks she has a boyfriend who is hitting on her for cash in a “sweetheart scam”.

Milo says he is working on a senatorial scenario in nearby Hammond so they can kill two birds with one stone as he will join her in the mommy caper. Arch Reese who enjoyed being Evie’s husband in Vegas and the after play follows Milo and Evie to Indiana as he feels protective of the newcomer and besides wants more action with her. In the Hoosier State, the triangle becomes involved with her estrange parents, the dance instructor and the senator and his wife as stings seem everywhere

The newest Evie underground caper is a lighthearted romp starring a spirited heroine and an eccentric support cast that seem to come out of Eerie, Indiana. Evie is terrific holding the zany plot together from the demands of the extended family, the senatorial scam, and her own sweetheart issues as she ponders Milo, Arch or both. Fans who appreciate a fun amusing frolic will appreciate Evie proving you can’t go home without scamming the locals.

Harriet Klausner

Beginner's Greek-James Collins

Beginner's Greek
James Collins
Little Brown, Jan 2008, $23.99
ISBN: 9780316021555

Holly and Peter meet on a flight from New York to Los Angeles and are immediately attracted to one another. At some inner level, they each know they met their life mate. Holly writes her phone number on a page from The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann and gives it him.

That night he goes to get the page, but somehow he lost it; he franticly searches but fails to find the key to his happiness. As he goes through the phases of grief, a sad Holly concludes her Peter did not feel the same way as she does.

A few years later she marries Peter’s best friend Jonathan while he and Charlotte agree to wed in a marriage of convenient losers as she also loves someone else. At the wedding ceremony of Peter and Charlotte; lightning strikes Jonathan, which leads to a comedy of relationship errors as the newlyweds, Holly and others try to get their just rewards.

This is an amusing chick lit romance in which one thing leads to another as if James Collins knocked down the first domino which than took several subplot paths knocking down other dominos. Peter and Holly are terrific as they try to move on from that fateful plane trip, but neither fully can because they know who the other is deep inside their heart. Readers will wonder whether they will get together and what about Charlotte in this fun Greek romantic “tragedy”.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Ravening-Dawn Thompson

The Ravening
Dawn Thompson
Love Spell; Feb 2008; $6.99
ISBN: 9780505527271

After years away, Brotherhood warrior Milosh returns to the Hyde-White family manor in Cumberland, England to complete his long term quest of killing the lord of the evil vampires Sebastian. He is stunned with what he sees as the house is a ruin obviously destroyed by fire and his friends like Joss are gone. However, most shocking is the Gypsy living amidst the wreckage.

He demands Paloma explain why she hides in this cold dump. She tells him she took refuge in this forbidden place that no one visits anymore here praying and waiting in hope that someone would come to teach her the Blood Moon technique so she can control her blood lust thirst. Paloma further explains a shapeshifting vampire bit her. Milosh is further stunned as he realizes he wants Paloma, but must not allow her to become a pawn in his war with Sebastian who he assumes bit her. She makes it even more difficult to resist her when she offers her love, body and soul to him.

Decades since the events of early Victorian THE BROTHERHOOD and even more years since Regency THE BLOOD MOON, the final tale in the Chronicles of the Blood Moon Victorian vampire saga is a superb final confrontation between good and evil. The key to this excellent vampire romantic suspense is how Dawn Thompson keeps the feeling that the bad guy is going to win as the hero is distracted by love. THE RAVENING is vampire historical romantic suspense at its best.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hard to Handle-Lori Foster

Hard to Handle
Lori Foster
Berkley, Feb 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425219720

Like all fighters in the SBC, Harley Handleman dreams of being the extreme fighting champion. However, though his record makes him one of the top contenders, he has had bad luck when it comes to fighting for the title. His latest setback is a dislocated elbow (see SIMON SAYS) that leaves him in need of rehab instead of a championship bout.

When Harley needs time away like to train or heal, he leases a cabin from life coach Anastasia Bradley. Although they have known each other for several years neither thought much beyond politeness until now. They are no longer two ships passing in the night since Anastasia has taken time off to heal mentally from a nasty client. As they fall in love though both try to avoid that feeling, all bets are off when someone tries to kill her. Harley knows she is his life mate as her safety comes before his upcoming title shot.

The third SBC romance (see CAUSING HAVOC and SIMON SAYS) is an entertaining contemporary tale due the changing relationship between the two likable lead characters. Harley and Anastasia now have the time to realize their attraction for one another. One late scene involving the couple arguing seems unnecessary and unresolved, but no one will care except nitpicking reviewers; as fans of Lori Foster will wonder if Harley will win the only prize greater than the SBC belt, the woman he loves.

Harriet Klausner

Enchanting The Lady-Kathryne Kennedy

Enchanting The Lady
Kathryne Kennedy
Love Spell, Jan 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780505527509

In 1882 London, duchess-of-honor Felicity Seymour is worried that she legally will lose her inheritance as she lacks the magical gifts of her parents; Prince Albert’s rule states that no magic equates to no duchy. Lion shapeshifter Sir Terence Blackwell enjoys finding ancient relics, but also is a close friend of the Prince, who asked him to participate in the test of Felicity. She ignominiously fails, but Terence feels something was not right as he experiences a trace of relic-magic in use, which makes no sense.

Terence decides to court Felicity somewhat because he is attracted other; somewhat because he feels sorry for her as she is now a pariah like he is as a shapeshifter; and somewhat because what he believes destroyed her test is too similar to what killed his brother. He needs to know whether Felicity is the user or the victim of dark magic. However, Terence never expected to fall in love with her.

ENCHANTING THE LADY is a fantastic late Victorian romantic fantasy that casts a magic spell on the audience from the moment the heroine expects to fail her test and never let’s go until the final magical revelation. The story line is fast-paced with an underlying paranormal mystery that enhances the prime romantic plot; the fantasy elements provide a unique look at 1882 England as Kathryne Kennedy provides her readers with a wonderful thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Time Transit-Kay Austin

Time Transit
Kay Austin
Dorchester Shomi, Jan 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780505527158

In the twenty-second century TIME ROGUE Maude Kincaid is one of the best at insuring temporal rifts do not occur. On her last mission she met and was attracted to twenty-first century inhabitant Dr. Gil Gillespie, but knew nothing can come of her feelings. Instead his memories of her are deleted.

However, for whatever reason, perhaps love is too strong to erase, but Gil somehow remembers her. He is brought forward a century to her natural time, but learns she is to die in 2152. Meanwhile in Outskirt 13 of the sub-orbital tram station where it all began thirty or so rotations ago, Maude, having done her duty by eating a bullet in her gut to save CORE, her friends and the time line, is dying with no hope for help, thirteen miles from home. However, Maude never expected that her friends led by a frantic Gil refuse to allow her to die though they make unauthorized leaps through time as they believe they have all the time in the world to save her.

This sequel to the wild TIME ROGUES is a fabulous science fiction romance, in which dedicated heroes understand protecting the time line is more important than saving a friend, a loved one, or one’s self; that is until Gil makes a different plea to test time in order to save Maude. Gil and Maude are terrific protagonists who are ironically the ultimate star-crossed lovers as they have no time at all for one another yet all the time to try i they dare. Although the future world is never developed beyond the physics principals of time management, sub-genre fans will find this action-packed thriller worth the time to read it.

Harriet Klausner

The Accidental Werewolf-Dakota Cassidy

The Accidental Werewolf
Dakota Cassidy
Berkley, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425219300

Bobbie Sue Cosmetics saleswoman Marty Andrews works very hard to be the best. She is rapidly climbing up the ladder of success until she was bitten by a mutt while walking her teacup poodle. Now, she has lost control of her temper ready to literally bite off heads, her hair has darkened, and worse, she spots a tail.

Desperate she seeks the mangy mutt who bit her to learn what she caught since it is not rabies or mad cow disease. Instead Keegan Flaherty comes to her home to apologize for biting her. He insists he is a werewolf and not a mangy mutt who could not resist taking a nip of her; she assumes he is a lunatic albeit she agrees he is not a mangy mutt. He tries to convince her to join his pack, but she continues to believe he is a lunatic, albeit a hunk too. He struggles to persuade her that he can mentor her on life as a full moon howler, but would one trust a lunatic although considering she was almost a hundred percent vegan, she has become a meat lover especially blood raw and is no longer worried about clogged arteries.

This chick lit werewolf romance is a lighthearted romp starring a woman who has to revise her goal now that she has been bitten. The changing relationship between Marty and Keegan is humorously filled with double entendres that are sexually and wolfishly biting. Although the heroine’s asides distract from a fun story line, paranormal romance will enjoy Dakota Cassidy’s entertaining tale with an alpha twist.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sin Club-Rachelle Chase

Sin Club
Rachelle Chase
Kensington Aphrodisia, Dec 2007, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758216519

“Jessie A Sinful Striptease”. Encouraged by Dr. Tommy “Love” Jones on his Wake-Up Bay Area radio show to join his Sin Club by being bold, brave, and brassy, Jessie Anderson heeds his advice. She performs “A Sinful Striptease” in a gazebo for the man she sees in the shadows whom she assumes is her Martin, but instead Nick Ralston comes to full alert when he sees her act.

“Sharice A Sinful Phone Call”. After Dr. Love coaxes her to take a chance, Sharice calls Shawn whom she is satiating over in her wet dreams. However, it is Jamal who answers her call, but stammering fails to correct her as to who he is. He is turned on just from her “Sinful Phone Call”, but fears once they meet he will need cold showers.

“”Alyssa A Sinful Proposition”. Heeding Dr. Love’s tenet to go out and get it, Alyssa James decides writing about sex in San Francisco in her blog is not the same as doing sex. At her friend’s business The Perfect Date Alyssa meets Tony Brooks, owner of several upscale bars, who cannot get past her breasts.

These are three heated erotic romances starring needy females on the prowl thanks to Dr. Love. Each meets the right male in weird situations. Fans will appreciate this fine anthology and demand more visits to the doctor of love.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tumbling Through Time- Gwyn Cready

Tumbling Through Time
Gwyn Cready
Pocket, Feb 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9781416541158

While at the Pittsburgh International Airport on a business trip with Tom Fraser awaiting a flight, “look before you leap” business executive Persephone “Caution” Pyle tries on a pair of shoes at Nine West. The next thing Seph as she is called knows is that she is not in Pennsylvania or even the twenty-first century. Somehow she has leaped without looking to a ship Neuf Ouest on the Adriatic during a hurricane; the year is 1706.

The vessel is captained by Philip Drummond, a privateer who could be the twin of Tom, who she is attracted to. However, more confusing is that Philip happens to be the male lead of a romance novel she has considered writing. Drummond offers to take her to Venice if she assists him in locating documents that could impact the English navy and she writes his destiny with a positive conclusion as he does not want to be left hanging. As she falls in love with her host, Seph returns to her present so that she can aid Philip by obtaining the help of Tom, who she also loves.

TUMBLING THROUGH TIME is a fabulous whimsical time traveling romance starring a wonderful protagonist. Seph the cautious one is terrific as she inadvertently leaps from office life where romances are disdained into a buccaneer adventure where a romance is encouraged. Fans who appreciate a clever different type of tale in which a modern day white collar woman wannabe writer lands on an early eighteenth century buccaneer vessel will appreciate this fast-paced charmer as she controls his destiny.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 21, 2007

Risky Business-Merline Lovelace

Risky Business
Merline Lovelace
Harlequin Next, Jan 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373881499

In Florida, twice divorced Sue Ellen Carson decides who should receive Department of Labor grants. When she rejects the survival training for at risk kids program run by Air Force Special Tactics Chief Master Sergeant Joe Goodwin, he arranges with her boss for her to get out of the air conditioned office and spend three weeks in the airy wilderness to learn first hand what his program is all about.

Sue Ellen is outraged by Goodwin’s tactic, but has no choice if she wants to remain employed. However, her initial anger turns slowly to respect and ultimately to love as she watches Joe work with hardened street kids giving those written off as forgettable delinquents self esteem and a sense of accomplishment and her his heart.

This is a fabulous romance between a somewhat down on men office jock and a tough soldier. The kids bring angst to the strong plot as polite American society represented by Sue Ellen prefers to warehouse them out of the way, which means leave them in the slums to fail; Joe cares about them just like he cared about his young enlisted. No one honors the soldier as much as Merline Lovelace does in her always superb novels that her fans know is not RISKY BUSINESS to read.

Harriet Klausner

Exotica- Eden Bradley

Eden Bradley
Delta, Jan 2008, $13.00
ISBN: 978-0553385106

“Seven Days of Kama Sutra”. Caroline Winter manages the luxurious women’s retreat Exotica. There females are pampered in anyway imaginable as what she wants is what she gets. Caroline invites her long time friend Lilli DeForrest to come for a week of pleasure. Lilli is unsure of going to such a place, but takes up Caroline’s offer anyway. What she never expected is to meet Rajan and fall into instant lust; he brings her ecstasy as she has never felt before. Besides sharing a fierce attraction, they are perfect sex partners, but when the week ends what then?

“Nine Days of Arabian Nights”. Caroline may be the manager of Exotica, but has never tasted the merchandise as no male has interested her. That is until Kian provides her an offer of pleasure she cannot refuse. He takes her to heavenly bliss in her boudoir where she lets him take charge of her mind, her soul, and her body. In every Eden, slithers a snake, but two legged serpents can fall in love.

These are two heated contemporary romances that erotica fans will relish. Each tale contains likable lead protagonists (even with the males hiding secrets) who find sex and love mix nicely at least at EXOTICA.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Light of the Moon- Luanne Rice

Light of the Moon
Luanne Rice
Bantam, Feb 2008, $25.00
ISBN 9780553805116

Anthropologist Susannah Connolly made a promise to her late mother that she would travel from her Connecticut home to South France to visit the Romany holy statue of Sarah; her mom swore the statue enabled her to conceive her only offspring. Although feeling guilty for not being there when her mother died as she was too busy working, Susannah puts off going to Carmargue for several years until her adviser Professor Helen Oakes coaxes her to carry out her commitment.

Meanwhile her former lover and colleague Ian Stewart follows Susannah to France where he tries to convince her to marry him, but she has big doubts. In trouble in a marsh French horse rancher Grey Dempsey saves Susannah’s life. They are immediately attracted to one another, but he has doubts about a relationship with the American as his wife dumped him five years ago.

This is an interesting contemporary romance in which the American is actually trying to connect with her maternal roots. The story line is at its best when Susannah encounters the Romany as that brings a special freshness to the story. Although Ian is an unnecessary boorish distracter, fans of Luanne Rice will enjoy her fine tale of a woman seeking her heritage, but also finding love.

Harriet Klausner

Where the Heart Leads-Stephanie Laurens

Where the Heart Leads
Stephanie Laurens
Morrow, Feb 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780061243394

Lady Penelope Ashford may come from the affluent influential Cynster brood, but she is no quiet debutante. Instead she works extremely hard trying to bring a better life to young street urchins of the London slums with her Foundling House charity. When four of her orphaned children disappear, Penelope believes they were abducted for a nefarious reason and wants them rescued. She knows who is best suited to investigate so in her take charge manner Penelope commands deduction agent Barnaby Adair to locate and save her children.

Barnaby is fascinated by the pushy but caring Penelope. However, he becomes a bit disturbed when she insists on accompanying him as he makes his inquiries as he feels it is not safe for her while she insists she will keep him safe by having his back. With help from his pal Inspector Basil Stokes of Scotland Yard, the duo seeks a burglary school for the young in East End slums even as the two sleuths begin to fall in love.

The latest Cynster tale is an excellent historical romantic mystery starring the usual feisty female and in this case a refreshing sleuth. The fast-paced story line focuses on the lead couple especially their joint investigation into the missing orphans. Filled with twists and red herrings, fans of the series (obviously) and those who enjoy the sub-genre will appreciate this tale of the heart from “the Casebook of Barnaby Adair”.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Bride-Carolyn Davidson

The Bride
Carolyn Davidson
Harlequin HQN, Feb 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9780373772209

In 1894 New Mexico territory, his dying father demanded Rafael McKenzie make a death bed vow to soon marry a virtuous woman. He agreed though part of his reasoning was to honor his dad, but he also knows the stipulation if he is to fully inherit the family’s Diamond Ranch.

Four years earlier Charles Montgomery informed his fourteen years old daughter Isabella, living in the Convent of the Sisters of Charity, that sometime in the next few years she will marry dark soul Juan Garcia. Now Charles tells his offspring the contract with Juan will be fulfilled immediately. Rafael believes the pristine Isabel is the ideal woman as stipulated by his father on the death bed. He decides he will marry her so he abducts her taking her to his ranch where he hopes to convince her they should wed. On the trek to his spread, both feels an attraction, but each is wary to act upon it. When they reach The Diamond Ranch, Rafael introduces his intended bride to a distant relative staying there, the lovely vivacious Lucia.

Lucia steals the show from the lead couple as her actions ignite the story line as Isabella turns jealous and Rafael confused. Although the romance between Isabella and Rafael is enjoyable to follow, it seems too formal when compared to Lucia’s kick off her heels. Fans will enjoy this entertaining historical romance as Lucia heats the sheets.

Harriet Klausner

As High as the Heavens-Kathleen Morgan

As High as the Heavens
Kathleen Morgan
Revell, Jan 2008, $13.99
ISBN: 9780800758165

In 1568 illegitimate James Stewart claims the Scottish throne when he imprisons his half-sister Mary Queen of Scots in Lochleven Castle. Mary’s loyal supporters are outraged by this affront and plot to rescue the woman they feel is the rightful English queen.

One of Mary’s most ardent defenders Lady Heather Gordon concocts a daring but dangerous scheme to liberate her Queen. To enter Lochleven, which is strongly guarded by usurper loyalists, she must persuade Duncan Mackenzie, who has lived his life in the wilds of the Highlands to masquerade as foppish Colin Stewart who has access to Castle. Pretending to be a tutor, she struggles to convince the rugged Duncan to abet her cause; instead he wants nothing to do with the plot except that enables him to spend time with Heather who tries to teach him to be a fop.

AS HIGH AS THE HEAVENS is an engaging sixteenth century Scottish romance in which the male lead provides a fresh face. Heather is a heroic loyal person, but it is the outdoors craggy Duncan who makes the tale as she tries to polish the diamond in the rough by turning him into an aristocratic fop. Fans of the sub-genre will appreciate the tale of love between the tutor and the student with the royal intrigue in the backdrop.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Passion so Pure-Julie Lessman

A Passion so Pure
Julie Lessman
Revell, Jan. 2008, $13.99
ISBN: 9780800732110

In 1916 Boston, godless Collin McGuire and deeply religious Charity O’Connor apparently are a love match to the chagrin of her sister Faith, who also is attracted to the wild Irishman. Faith knows she has no prayer of competing with her much prettier sibling so she hides her jealousy, envy, and desire behind the rationalization that their father specifically forbids this rogue from courting either of his daughters and besides the rowdy Collin does not believe in the Lord.

Collin initially finds Charity as the more attractive sister although he acknowledges Faith is pretty; he secretly dates Charity knowing her father would prevent them if he openly tried to see her. However as the Great War enflames Europe and America struggles to remain neutral, he begins to notice the inner beauty of Faith and soon gets distracted by Charity’s older sister as he knows he must make up his mind because either way their father will say no.

The first “Daughters of Boston” tale is an entertaining historical romance that brings to life Boston during WWI just prior to America’s entry into the Great War to end all wars. The story line is loaded with real events from 1916 such as Wilson breaking off diplomatic relationships with Germany that bring the era in Massachusetts alive, but also somewhat slows down the pace as if Julie Lessman could not decide between a pure historical or a romantic historical. Still the prime four characters are fully developed and their feelings seem genuine so that fans of early twentieth century romances with plenty of interwoven historical information will feel transported to New England as the United States slowly prepares to go over there.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tappin’ on Thirty-Candice Dow

Tappin’ on Thirty
Candice Dow
Kensington Dafina, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758219377

In DC Train Worker’s Union lawyer Taylor Jabowski looks back to her freshman year in college when she dumped her once in a lifetime love Scooter Evans so that she could play the field. By Christmas she knew she made a mistake, but Scooter, who cried when she said she wanted more than a long distance relationship at separate colleges, moved on and he and his family rejected her. Now at the high school reunion she hopes to have a second chance with Scooter. Although he tells her he has a new love Akua, a fellow medical student, they make love.

Not long after that, divorced New Yorker Devin Patterson meets Taylor at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Black Party. They hit if off leaving her confused and he wary as he has not forgotten the lesson of six years ago when he married Jennifer; though good came out of that mistake, his beloved daughter Nicole. As Taylor and Devin fall in love leaving her bewildered as to how she can desire two men, Scooter feels the same way as he loves two women. However, soon there will be a reckoning as Devin and Scooter are close friends having roomed at Princeton together.

Readers need to make a slight adjustment to the rotating first person accounts as Taylor, Scooter, and Devin take turns as to how they feel. Thus the audience receives an entertaining deep African-American contemporary relationship drama that enables a close look into the hearts of the Black professional class through the prime trio and to a lesser degree Akua. Candice Dow provides a Lovin’ Spoonful “Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?” relationship drama.

Harriet Klausner

Not Quite a Mom-Kirsten Sawyer

Not Quite a Mom
Kirsten Sawyer
Kensington, Feb 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758216649

After seeing each other for over seven years the itch struck wealthy Beverly Hills resident Daniel McCafferty so he proposes to his euphoric thirty-two years old girlfriend Elizabeth Castle; the tabloid TV fact checker naturally accepts his proposal as her life goal is to marry Daniel. Once back in her roommate-less Los Angeles apartment Elizabeth immediately calls her best friend since her UCLA undergraduate days Courtney Cambridge with the news.

However, her call with Courtney is interrupted by Buck Platner, who took Lizzie to the prom and now is a lawyer from her hometown of Victory, California where 70% of the residents are rednecks and the rest hicks. Buck informs her that her best friend Charla Dearbourne Tatham and her husband died when the pickup they drove exploded. She has been left custody of their “pop-baby” fifteen years old Tiffany. Daniel dumps Elizabeth while Buck escorts Tiffany to her guardian. He has never forgotten his date with Lizzie, who he fell in love with and has hoped for a decade for a second date, but knows the teen must come first.

Though there is a serious undertone re Tiffany, NOT QUITE A MOM is an amusing contemporary romance with don’t call me Lizzie’s asides on life, men, sudden motherhood and best friends discerning yet entertaining. Buck is a great male lead as he fell in love as a football meathead teen and at second sight realizes he still is in love. Both try to do what is right for Tiffany who just lost her parents. As with NOT QUITE A BRIDE, Kirsten Sawyer provides an amusing chick lit tale.

Harriet Klausner

Not Quite a Mom-Kirsten Sawyer

Not Quite a Mom
Kirsten Sawyer
Kensington, Feb 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758216649

After seeing each other for over seven years the itch struck wealthy Beverly Hills resident Daniel McCafferty so he proposes to his euphoric thirty-two years old girlfriend Elizabeth Castle; the tabloid TV fact checker naturally accepts his proposal as her life goal is to marry Daniel. Once back in her roommate-less Los Angeles apartment Elizabeth immediately calls her best friend since her UCLA undergraduate days Courtney Cambridge with the news.

However, her call with Courtney is interrupted by Buck Platner, who took Lizzie to the prom and now is a lawyer from her hometown of Victory, California where 70% of the residents are rednecks and the rest hicks. Buck informs her that her best friend Charla Dearbourne Tatham and her husband died when the pickup they drove exploded. She has been left custody of their “pop-baby” fifteen years old Tiffany. Daniel dumps Elizabeth while Buck escorts Tiffany to her guardian. He has never forgotten his date with Lizzie, who he fell in love with and has hoped for a decade for a second date, but knows the teen must come first.

Though there is a serious undertone re Tiffany, NOT QUITE A MOM is an amusing contemporary romance with don’t call me Lizzie’s asides on life, men, sudden motherhood and best friends discerning yet entertaining. Buck is a great male lead as he fell in love as a football meathead teen and at second sight realizes he still is in love. Both try to do what is right for Tiffany who just lost her parents. As with NOT QUITE A BRIDE, Kirsten Sawyer provides an amusing chick lit tale.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Solar Heat-Susan Kearney

Solar Heat
Susan Kearney
Tor, Feb 2008, $7.99
ISBN 9780765358448

Intersolar Mining asteroid minor Derrek Archer rescues Azsla from her apparent drifting emergency pod where she is asleep in suspended animation. Even before she awakens he is attracted to her, which makes him wary as that just does not happen in real life especially in deep space. When she revives, Azsla is shocked how much she wants the minor, but knows her undercover espionage mission comes before her desires.

As Derrek and Azsla begin to fall in love, each remains cautious with their feelings especially since each supports opposing enemies. However when a pandemic threat means many innocent lives dying; this couple must overcome their suspicions of one another to unite in love in order to prevent a catastrophe.

SOLAR HEAT is an exciting science fiction romance starring two interesting lead protagonists who are obvious enemies until love changes their relationship. Azsla is the more fascinating of the pair, as she is an outer space Mata Hari who comes from a slave planet while he is a roguish loner although he has hundreds of employees. Readers, more so romance fans than sci fi purists, will enjoy watching the struggles of this couple to team up in spite of their love for one another to stop the calamity from happening.

Harriet Klausner

Between the Sheets-Robin Wells

Between the Sheets
Robin Wells
Forever, Feb 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446618410

No one believes Emma Jamison when she swears that she is just the butler at the Mulendoff estate and not the person who slept with the married president-elect Robert Ferguson when he died from a heart attack. Instead as she tries to reclaim her wrecked reputation she loses her business and her house. Emma takes a job in Chartreuse, Louisiana at the assisted living facility where her beloved grandmother lives even though the townsfolk like all of American assume she is the happy hooker.

Max Duval meets Emma and is attracted to her, but believes she is guilty in spite of her insistence she is innocent. However Max plans to avoid the happy hooker as he is running for public office and she can only destroy his chances of winning especially since his opponent believes in negative campaigning. However, his avoidance strategy goes astray when her grandmother and his grandfather apparently become lovers; that forces him to spend time with irresistible Emma as he considers becoming the second politician he believes she slept with.

BETWEEN THE SHEETS is a fascinating contemporary romance starring a likable lead character whose reputation is ruined yet she keeps her head up high. Although insisting that she was not the he hooker, Emma is in many ways is like Monica Wolinsky who has kept her head high and has achieved plenty of earned success since her fifteen minutes of notoriety fame. The grandparents and Max add strength to a refreshing interesting character study starring a maligned yet argent heroine who holds her head up in spite of media and public ridicule (you go Monica – you earned it).

Harriet Klausner

Solar Heat-Susan Kearney

Solar Heat
Susan Kearney
Tor, Feb 2008, $7.99
ISBN 9780765358448

Intersolar Mining asteroid minor Derrek Archer rescues Azsla from her apparent drifting emergency pod where she is asleep in suspended animation. Even before she awakens he is attracted to her, which makes him wary as that just does not happen in real life especially in deep space. When she revives, Azsla is shocked how much she wants the minor, but knows her undercover espionage mission comes before her desires.

As Derrek and Azsla begin to fall in love, each remains cautious with their feelings especially since each supports opposing enemies. However when a pandemic threat means many innocent lives dying; this couple must overcome their suspicions of one another to unite in love in order to prevent a catastrophe.

SOLAR HEAT is an exciting science fiction romance starring two interesting lead protagonists who are obvious enemies until love changes their relationship. Azsla is the more fascinating of the pair, as she is an outer space Mata Hari who comes from a slave planet while he is a roguish loner although he has hundreds of employees. Readers, more so romance fans than sci fi purists, will enjoy watching the struggles of this couple to team up in spite of their love for one another to stop the calamity from happening.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 14, 2007

Untamed-Hope Tarr

Hope Tarr
Medallion, Feb 2008
ISBN: 9781933836171

As an impoverished child, Patrick “Rourke” O’Rourke successfully picked pockets until he was caught in 1875 by his latest intended target, Prime Minister Gladstone. At Rourke’s trial the PM arranged for the lad to be given over to him for custody. He sent Rourke to Roxbury House, a Quaker orphanage in which Gladstone serves on the Board of Directors.

Katherine’s father was a drunken gambler, but she did not know how bad his vices were until she turned eleven years old. He used her pony Princess as a stake; so that she lost her precious last gift her late mother gave her before dying. Over the next decade and a half Katherine raised and spoiled her younger sister Bea selling herself as a model for pictures to bring in food money for them. No one cares for Kate until in 1890 she meets Rourke.

The third “The Men of Roxbury House” tale (see ENSLAVED and VANQUISHED) is a terrific historical romance that returns the stars of the previous novels in support roles. However the story line belongs to the lead couple who share in common two feelings: love and a belief they are undeserving of love. Readers will appreciate UNTAMED a fine entry in a strong Victorian series.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mozart's Ghost- Julia Cameron

Mozart's Ghost
Julia Cameron
Dunne, Feb 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780312369118

New York City substitute teacher Anna Chester is lonely and considering leaving the Big Apple to return to her home in the Midwest. However, she does enjoy her work as a medium although skeptics are everywhere.

Pianist Edward Appleton lives in the apartment below her having just moved in; he is practicing for an upcoming competition. His keyboards disturb Anna as she tries to make contact with spirits from beyond. Making matters worse is the ghost of Mozart has moved in with her as a sometime roommate; the legendary composer enjoys hearing Edward play the piano and since he likes his frosty acerbic hostess, he encourages her to go out with the pianist. She does and as the upstairs downstairs neighbors begin to see one another, she hides her special gift from him out of fear he will end their relationship.

This engaging paranormal romance stars two lonely living beings and the matchmaking ghost of Mozart, who visits Anna whenever Edward plays the piano. Readers will appreciate the spirited composer but he plays second violin to Anna and Edward as the pair struggles with the fear of rejection and returning to loneliness as they have found each other. Julia Cameron provides a wonderful whimsical Manhattan romantic c romp with a fifth of Mozart.

Harriet Klausner

The Bleeding Dusk- Colleen Gleason

The Bleeding Dusk
Colleen Gleason
Signet, Feb 2008, $7.99
ISBN 9780451223265

One year has past since the events in RISES THE NIGHT. Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy still mourns her loss, but feels it is past time to move on although she will always cherish her late husband, Lord Rockley. Her plan is to return to her duties as a venator and as the leader of Rome’s vampire populace.

Victoria learns that the demon Akvan plans to cross the plains via the Door of the Alchemists in order to steal the confidential secrets they hide; Akvan believes he will find what he needs there and become too powerful to stop. Meanwhile Victoria’s venator peer Maximilian Pesaro wants to help her, but he belongs to Lilith. To defeat Akvan, Victoria needs help from Sebastian Vioget and his vampiric grandfather Beauregard, but none of the trio trusts any of the others and Maximilian, whom she feels she needs to trust, remains a wild card as he must do Lilith’s bidding.

The vampiric triangle of Victoria, Sebastian and Max is complex and filled with depth as desire and distrust attract and detract each of them. Victoria struggles with her feelings especially can she depend on either male when she confronts Akvan. Fans of Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles will want to sink their teeth into this complex entertaining chapter of the saga.

Harriet Klausner

The Night Before the Wedding-Debra Mullins

The Night Before the Wedding
Debra Mullins
Avon, Feb 2008
ISBN: 9780060799311

In spite of her money, wealthy heiress Catherine Depford knows her husband choices are somewhat limited in her first season in London due to her parentage. Her father is a merchant and her mother is crazy a victim of the ancient cost of a broken vow that demands each generation a MacBraeden chief marry a Farlan or else; her mom chose the doom of love. Still she figures with all that money behind her Catherine should have some choices amidst the poorer segment of the aristocracy.

With famine threatening his people and that of his neighbor, Scottish Laird Gabriel MacBraeden, not wanting to risk further blight nor the wrath of those who believe in the broken vow, comes to England to marry Catherine. However her father, who blames his wife’s insanity on the MacBraeden clan, refuses to allow Gabriel to court his daughter. Gabriel ignores her father and abducts the woman he intends to make his bride. Neither he nor Catherine expected a love match would forge between them; yet both also expect the marriage to fail.

This is an entertaining historical romance with a hint of the paranormal that serves as a catalyst for the two lead characters to meet. Gabriel is a strong leader who knows the end does not justify the means but his people’s welfare comes first so kidnaps the one woman who can silence the whispers. Catherine is his equal as she refuses to go meekly into the night until she comprehends his people need her. However, it is Catherine’s father who steals the show as he fears his daughter will go the way of her mother and lose her mind; he does everything he can to keep her safe and his guilt when he fails is palpable Debra Mullins is at her best with the powerful THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Deal Me In-Cynthia Thomason

Deal Me In
Cynthia Thomason
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2008
ISBN: 9780373714643

While checking out horses in Prairie Bend, Texas former pro-football player Brady Carrick bets his rancher father Marshall and a friend horse trainer Trevor Dobbs that he can teach any novice to win at poker. His dad selects Cliff’s Diner waitress Molly Davis as Brady’s student. To win he has to make her competitive at an upcoming poker tournament in which she must reach the final table.

Widow and mother Molly hides her connection to her instructor from him. She holds him partially culpable for the death of her husband. Molly agreed to be his pupil because she desperately needs money for her and her son Sam to start anew. Neither she nor Brady expected a full house would lead to love.

Using poker as a matchmaking device, Cynthia Thomason provides an interesting contemporary romance between two likable individuals who call each other’s bluff as both are wary to gamble with their respective heart. The support cast is solid at the tables and the stables although preadolescent Sam is too precocious even if he chooses an Xbox over a college trust fund. Still fans will enjoy this fun Texas Hold Em romance.

Harriet Klausner

How to Trap a Parent-Joan Kilby

How to Trap a Parent
Joan Kilby
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373714667

After being away from Australia for thirteen years in pursuit of a Hollywood career, Jane Linden returns home accompanied by her daughter Mary Kate to attend her Aunt Esther's funeral. Cole Roberts, who last saw his child three years ago when he came to the States to see her, still regrets ending his relationship so that he would not tie down his beloved as she soars as an actress.

He wants a second chance with Jane and feels he finally has her on his turf away from California. As he spends time with Mary Kate and tries to make time with Jane, she does not trust him with her heart; he shattered it twice before when he dumped her and when he married someone else.

The key to this second chance at love is the plausible interaction between the three prime characters as Mary Kate plays a major role well beyond the usual simplistic matchmaking; in fact her relationship with her dad leaves Jane envious as she wants the same with her daughter. Readers of family dramas will enjoy visiting Australia as Cole tries to persuade the two women he loves to expand the family to include him.

Harriet Klausner

The Missing Mom-Ann Evans

The Missing Mom
Ann Evans
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373714681

In Florida, Maggie Tillman still regrets giving up her newborn daughter for adoption eight years ago when her boyfriend Will Stewart dumped her. Maggie assumes Will never knew she was pregnant because he left before she found out. To her chagrin she learns she must work with Will on an aquarium design project, but has no choice in the matter if she does not want to hear her father’s tripe that she is a loser who never finishes anything.

Will is delighted that he will work with Maggie as he knows he made a monster mistake when he ended their relationship. However, although he welcomes a second chance he fears how Maggie will react to his secret; he adopted and has raised their daughter Amy, whom she gave up for adoption. Worse he fears how Amy will react because she must come first.

This is an intriguing contemporary family drama as the audience will want the lead couple to reconcile as Maggie and Will have a second chance at love, but neither want to hurt little angelic Amy. Although Will explains how he adopted Amy, this still seems a stretch, but no one will mind as love heats up Southern Florida.

Harriet Klausner

Old Friends-Constance O’Day-Flannery

Old Friends
Constance O’Day-Flannery
Tor, Dec 2007, $6.99
ISBN 9780765354051

Although she feels good for her close friend who just announced her engagement, forty three year old Claire Hutchinson feels depressed. Her clock ticking away and still she has not found a forever love and is not sure she wants too. In front of her buddies the Yellow Brick Road Gang, Claire hides her growing belief she will always be alone, but also ponders if that isn’t bad because she remains independent and, in spite of close caring friends, hides her darkest secrets.

At a video store, Claire meets Michael. Although she is taken aback that he knows a lot about her, she is also attracted to him. However, a death in her family propels Claire to her estranged relatives, which in turn forces her to look back at the incident that caused the painful split. However, she also learns why Michael seems to know her so well, which adds the twin pains of betrayal and being used to her already emotional mess even as he tries to persuade her otherwise of his intentions.

The third Yellow Brick Road Gang is an entertaining paranormal romance although it lacks the sharp suspense spins of the previous tales (TWICE IN A LIFETIME and BEST LAID PLANS). Claire is an interesting lead character as she has mixed feelings about falling in love; on the one hand she wants what her friends have just obtained, but on the other hand fears the cost to her independence may prove too great. Michael is the mystery as to just who he is. Fans of the miniseries will enjoy the latest member’s Metaphysical Misadventures.
Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Train to Yesterday- Nell DuVall

Train to Yesterday
Nell DuVall
Five Star, Feb 2008, $25.95
ISBN 9781594146633

Railroad heiress Penny Barton works as the marketing director of Ohio-based HyperTrans. Penny arranges a special promo of the firm’s product safe high-speed rail. A set is made to look like it is 1855 and Penny rides a mid nineteenth century steam engine train through a tunnel. She meets Fletcher Dawe, whom she assumes is a reenactment actor.

Penny and Fletcher are attracted to one another but he assumes she is a lying saboteur as no one knows Penny. She in turn cannot find him until she sees the photo circa 1855. She further learns how her family earned their fortune, that Fletcher was a merchant who invested in high-speed rail; and the tragic death of canal lockmaster Dan Hudson. When Penny faints, she awakens in 1855 to a world in which the transportation industry violently competes between those who support the railroads and those who back the flatboats sailing the Ohio canals.

This an interesting time travel romance with a vivid look at 1855 through the eyes of the twenty-first century heroine at how her family made their money. Although Penny adapts too easily and the romance between her and Fletcher takes a back seat to historical panorama of pre Civil War Ohio, sub-genre fans will enjoy buy a ticket to rid the TRAIN TO YESTERDAY.

Harriet Klausner

A Version of the Truth-Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack

A Version of the Truth
Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
Delacorte, Dec 26 2007, $24.00
ISBN: 9780385340199

The world is over for thirty years old Cassie Shaw as her husband dies. His no longer living is not the high school drop out’s problem as he was an idiot. Instead he left her with a debt that she cannot pay off and probably never could pay off as she has no skills, no education, no résumé, and her only positive is dyslexia.

Needing work, she lies on a job application to obtain a position as a junior office assistant at a nearby university. Her boss is Professor William Conner, an expert on animal behavior, a topic that Cassie is conformable with. He encourages her to learn and she is motivated to do so as she always loved nature. However, as Cassie and William begin to act on their mutual attraction especially on site visits in Topanga Canyon, her mendacity to cover up her previous fibs grows until she knows he will soon see through her web of deceit.

This sequel to LITERACY AND LONGING IN L.A. provides a nod to politicians as it is the cover-up that gets you and pays strong homage to Thoreau with the musing on nature. The story line is fun to follow as Cassie just gets in deeper with each new lie hiding the previous ones. Trying to keep track of what she said needs a database. Fans will enjoy following Cassie’s truism as she provides loosely speaking A VERSION OF THE TRUTH embellished with fabrication; obviously training for applying for a coaching job or head of a federal regulatory agency.

Harriet Klausner

Just Like Candy-Kimberly Kaye Terry

Just Like Candy
Kimberly Kaye Terry
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jan 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758222497

Youth center board member Davis Strong knows he must ignore his desires for Candy, but has found it impossible to pay no attention to her. Youth center director Candice Cain knows she must ignore her desires for Strong, but has found it impossible to take no notice of him.

Davis dreams of making love with the woman who infatuates his every thought. Candy dreams of making love with the man who infatuates her every thought. Both wants their hot wet respective fantasies hard rock real, but neither seems able of turning hard core wet dreams into reality. Yet each considers but who will make the first move remains to be seen; for each knows one taste will never be enough.

This relationship drama stars two likeable hesitant protagonists who each fear rejection and even more that the reality will not be as good as the fantasy; that is until the Jacuzzi, which readers will never look at the same way. Fans will need asbestos gloves as this is a scorcher even when the audience just reads the thoughts of Davis and Candy. JUST LIKE CANDY is an equatorial heater as the audience will appreciate the sexual antics of this pair as Nash is right that “candy is dandy”.

Harriet Klausner

One Wicked Night-Noelle Mack

One Wicked Night
Noelle Mack
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jan 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758217738

Before Lord Edward Delamar met Lady Fiona (see the Juicy THREE), he was the toast of London; at least the female side as he was an extraordinary lover. Victorian women cherished him because he cherished them making each one feel she was special. His passionate skills made him the legend of the boudoir.

Edward thinks back fondly to his heated trysts with the married Xaviera, wife of the Spanish ambassador to England. He especially wonders about the latter when portraits of a naked Xaviera are suddenly for sale. The cuckolded husband assumes Edward commissioned the paintings and plans revenge for the ridicule he suffers. Edward wonders who would defile a woman.

The prequel to Mack's Juicy THREE is an exciting Victorian erotica that belies the concept that this was an age of prim and proper decorum. Sex is the name of the game when Lord Edward is at a gala, but his encounters vary from ménage a trois to light bondage to blowjobs and much more; he knows how to passionately and compassionately treat a woman. Fans will enjoy spending ONE WICKED NIGHT with the great lover, but make sure your significant other is handy (pun intended).

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 10, 2007

Daughter of York-Anna Easter Smith

Daughter of York
Anna Easter Smith
Touchstone, Feb 2008, $16.95
ISBN: 9780743277310

In 1461 fifteen year old Margaret mourns the death of her father who died in combat when the House of Lancaster’s forces ambushed his House of York. Also dead is her older brother Edmund. Her oldest brother Edward is now the claimant to the throne instead of the insane king Henry and his French wife Queen Margaret. Not long afterward, word reaches Margaret that Edward won a major victory claiming God on his side.

Margaret tells her two younger brothers (George and Richard) the good news. Edward introduces Margaret to former Lancaster supporter, Anthony Woodville. She is attracted to him, but hides her feelings as he is married. Not long afterward Edward is crowned King when Henry, Margaret and their son flee to Scotland. Over the next two decades Margaret does her royal duty sacrificing much of her happiness as does Richard training to one day be a king but remaining steadfast to his older brother whereas George envies his regal sibling

This is a sweeping saga that brings alive the latter half of the fifteenth century through an ensemble support cast including the major historical figures of the era that were on the European stage. Meg is a strong loyal person with ethics, but it is the historical tidbits that are fascinating and make the two plus decades come to life. Although at times the story line slows down in order to account for the major events between 1461 and 1480, historical fans will appreciate the deep look at England through mostly the eyes of THE DAUGHTER OF YORK.

Harriet Klausner

Satisfy Me Again-Renee Luke, Sydney Molare and Fiona Zedde

Satisfy Me Again
Renee Luke, Sydney Molare and Fiona Zedde
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jan 2008, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758221919

"Kiss and Tell" by Renee Luke. Football star Malik first saw therapist Callie when he watched her TV show and immediately wanted more from her. They exchanged correspondence and after a year they meet. They quickly fall into a heated romance that drew into a deep love.

"Matinee" by Sydney Molare. Mina is hiding from the mob when she decides to stop running. She buys an old skin flick theater only to find it haunted by ghosts who know how to turn up the sexual heat.

"Going Wild" by Fiona Zedde. Prim and proper attorney Derrick meets sexually party animal Nuria. Although he is seeing someone just like himself in straitlaced Trish, he finds he wants to explore every inch of passionate Nuria instead.

These are three entertaining erotic romances in which the cast goes sexually wild. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the trio of tales even if Malik and Callie behave as real as the ghosts of “Matinee”.

Harriet Klausner

The Black Sheep and the Hidden Beauty-Donna Kauffman

The Black Sheep and the Hidden Beauty
Donna Kauffman
Kensington Brava, Jan 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758217271

Although he is regarded as a computer expert that enabled him to come along way from the streets Raphael Santiago knows the Bronx still flows in his blood. When he sees Elena Caulfield, the new manager at Dalton Downs, he feels a deep attraction to this cowgirl, but keeps his distance as he figures she is way above his class.

However, his desire grows stronger while his coolness façade ebbs yet he also feels protective of Elena as he believes she is hiding a secret from everyone. As he finally asks her to teach him to ride a horse and works on learning her secret because he feels she is in trouble, Raphael dreams of giving her special riding lessons.

The Men of Trinity Inc. contemporary romance (see THE BLACK SHEEP AND THE PRINCESS) is an engaging tale as the urban wannabe cowboy (at least since he met her) and the real cowgirl fall in love. The relationship between the lead couple makes for a fun story line as he believes she is hiding something dangerous from him while Elena’s affection for horses rings loud and true as she uses them as a shield from Raphael. Fans will enjoy the love between the city streets dude and the horse lady.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Tao of Sex-Jade Lee

The Tao of Sex
Jade Lee
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373793785

Following the deaths of her parents, Tracy Williams managed the apartment building she and her younger brother Joey inherited from them. She modernized it, but now with her sibling about to start college, she wants to sell the building to pay for his tuition and hers too. However, she also knows the sale means the end of her fantasy drooling about apartment 4C, Hong Kong expatriate Mr. Nathan Gao in the states attending the University of Illinois MBA program.

However, Tracy is stunned to learn from a flyer and several beautiful females that Mr. Gao is an experienced Dragon master teaching Tantric Sex Classes in apartment 4C. Fearing his arrest for prostitution will drive down the price of the building, she wants him to either stop teaching the secrets of sexual immortality or leave. Nathan explains he needs the money to stay in school and offers private lessons, but realizes as he falls in love, she is a goddess whom he must give up so that she can go to Hong Kong for a lifetime of training.

Known for her Tigress Asian romantic historical fantasies, Jade Lee uses contemporary Illinois and Hong Kong, and an otherworldly realm to provide the audience with a terrific extremely Blazing paranormal romance. Through Nathan’s teaching of Tracy, readers obtain an insightful look at Eastern philosophy in which sex is a major form of power. THE TAO OF SEX is fabulous as the teacher and the student learn the lessons of yin and yang love.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Taming Rafe-Susan May Warren

Taming Rafe
Susan May Warren
Tyndale, Jan 2008, $12.99
ISBN: 9781414310183

Eight seconds is all it took to destroy the life of Rafe Noble, world champion bull rider. He was riding Pee Wee when he was tossed by the inappropriately named bull. Instead of tumbling to the ground he got caught on the horns. His best friend Manuel Rodriguez saved Rafe’s life, but lost his own leaving behind a wife and young son.

Feeling guilt and unable to ride, Rafe is in New York to raise money for the Breckenridge Foundation whose president Katherine Breckenridge needs money to fund Mercy Doctors in Mexico. A bit drunk Rafe crashes into the hotel hosting the gala destroying the event and himself. He runs back to his family ranch in Montana to heal and escape the media, but it is Katherine’s accusation that rips his gut. She decides to visit him on his family ranch to get him to help her raise money for her cause. As they fall in love, secrets involving her late bull riding daddy, her deceased sophisticated fundraising mom, and her mysterious missing Aunt surface.

The sequel to RECLAIMING NICK is a warm inspirational Noble Legacy contemporary romance. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing and the “romance” between an older couple adds depth to the strong story line, but it is little Carlos, in spite of a tiny appearance, who haunts the heroine and the reader. The return of the other two Noble siblings makes life on the ranch seem right for the audience. Although a late suspense involving embezzlement provide unnecessary suspense, readers will appreciate Susan May Warren’s fine tale while considering ask not what God can do for you; ask what you can do for God.

Harriet Klausner

Distant Heart-Tracey Bateman

Distant Heart
Tracey Bateman
Avon, Jan 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780061246340

In 1850 former prostitute Toni Rodden and the three runaway indentured servants the Caldwell siblings (Fannie, and young teens Katie and Kip) flee Hawkins, Kansas to forge into a family of sorts as part of a wagon train traveling to Oregon. However although Toni feels good for Fannie as the latter marries wagon master Blake Tanner, she feels loneliness also. Toni knows no man will ever want her beyond a night or two because of her background until the Cheyenne war chief offers three horses for her.

Wagon train scout Sam Two-Feathers vows to himself that he will protect Toni with his life before allowing her to be sold again. He knows the war chief will be back offering more to purchase Toni and fears some of the train will want to do so as she is a fallen woman and not worth the price of angering the Cheyenne. However, although Sam knows he loves Toni, he believes as a half Sioux, they cannot be together as white society will ostracize her; Toni likewise feels the same except she fails to meet his much higher standard.

The second Westward Hearts tale (see DEFIANT HEART) is a terrific western romance starring fully developed characters who bring to life the dangerous decade before the Civil War while heading westward. The story line is inspirational yet filled with so much historical insight fans will feel they are traveling on the wagon train as Tracey Bateman provides a vivid exhilarating mid nineteenth century Americana tale.

Harriet Klausner

My Guilty Pleasure-Jamie Denton

My Guilty Pleasure
Jamie Denton
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373793747

As a member of a Boston Brahmin family, Joey Winfield knows that means behaving in public with a certain degree of decorum way above the middle class. Thus when the attorney needs to kick off her shoes and be bad to the bone, she needs to go where no one will recognize her.

Her choice for escapism fun is a roadhouse dive where she expects to meet no one from her family’s social circle. To her shock her new boss of less than three days Sebastian Stanhope is at the joint. The former Miami lawyer and his upper crust subordinate are attracted to one another even before she sips a Martini and dares the dissolute. They agree to share intimacy until he shows up at work which will end their guilty pleasure. The hours fly by, but once they work together on a case in which their opinions differ, Joey knows she has fallen in love with her boss, but hides it from Sebastian as he does likewise.

Although the rationale for the pair to condone the sex before he becomes her superior seems weak, fans will appreciate the latest Martini Dares romance (see MY FRONT PAGE SCANDAL by Carrie Alexander and MY SECRET LIFE by Lori Wilde). Joey and Sebastian are likable characters who are in love, but see no way of informing their beloved without causing professional harm. Series fans will enjoy this entertaining Bostonian drama in the bedroom and the office.

Harriet Klausner

One Wild Wedding Night-Leslie Kelley

One Wild Wedding Night
Leslie Kelley
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373793730

When former Marine Nick Santori and injured dancer Izzie Natale tie the knot (see OVEREXPOSED) in frozen Chicago in January, her five horny bridesmaids share in the fun.

"Getaway". Having met before, bookkeeper Bridget and FBI undercover agent Dean go under the covers together.

"Runaway". Stripper Leah falls asleep in a stranger’s limo by accident, but provides the performance of her life when she dances a tango with realtor Slone.

"Three Way”. Lawyer Mia ran away from kindhearted Brandon as she feared the intensity of her feelings, but he has arranged for her to indulge in her secret erotic fantasy that once she told mentioned to him.

"Her Way”. Rockettes' Vanessa sees NFL star Stan, who betrayed her so when he says a seductive hi, she pretends to be Laila Ali and punches him in the jaw.

"All the Way”. Married Gloria, the mother of three small children, meets the seductive European.

The title says all as ONE WILD WEDDING NIGHT contains five entertaining contemporary romantic novellas. Married readers will recall their special night and singles will reconsider their wedding dreams as the five horny females take Chicago.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Privateer-Dawn MacTavish

The Privateer
Dawn MacTavish
Leisure, Jan 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843959819

In 1812 following the shocking suicide death of her father an Earl, Lady Lark Eddington has no time to mourn as she is immediately incarcerated even before his corpse is cold in Marshalsea Debtor's Prison as she cannot pay back his debt. Lark has no way out until Earl Basil "King" Kingston, makes remittance. She assumes she will pay him back with her body as he must have paid for a mistress as no one else blinked when she was taken away; instead he stuns her further when he tells her he hired her as his mother's companion as he will marry soon and needs her out of the main house and living with her companion in the dower house.

King finds Lark fascinating and intelligent besides being beautiful. However, he has no time to look into why he is so attracted to her, as the Admiralty has recalled him to duty as a privateer. On his first mission of his second tour, King almost dies. His near death experience makes him open is eyes (at least his good one) to the fact that he loves Lark and plans to marry her. However he knows she is brilliant so concealing his involvement with smugglers and family secrets will prove tricky.

This engaging Regency romance is fast-paced due to the title character who goes from one adventure to another. In fact, Lark thinks he has a secret lover as he hides stuff from her and acts in a clandestine manner. Their relationship makes for a fine historical as she tries to uncover the truth while he tries to keep his escapes hidden from her. Fans will rejoice with this pairs’ action-packed romance.

Harriet Klausner

Mango Summer-Phoebe Conn

Mango Summer
Phoebe Conn
Leisure, Jan 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843960099

In 1816 England Lord Michael Mallory has spent the past year either drunk until he would drop unconscious or mourning the deaths of wife and stillborn son if he remained awake. His best friend, worried about Michael’s mental state, abducts him when he is in his normal state of drunkenness and unable to fight back; he dumps Michael on a deserted island with one exception, Delphine Antoine, a trained temptress awaits the laird as she has been hired to pleasure Michael.

Michael is outraged by the gall of his friend and not having alcohol available to dull his ache. However, soon between the serenity of his locale and Delphine’s gentle soothing, he begins to move past his grief. As Michael and Delphine begin to fall in love, he wants her with him forever, but she knows that she can only be his mistress; a relationship she cannot deal with because she loves her Michael.

Readers who ignore realism will fully appreciate this fun well written regency romance. The story line is driven by the lead characters especially the metamorphosis of Michael from a man who wants to die to someone who has everything to live for. Sub-genre fans will enjoy spending MANGO SUMMER with Michael and Delphine.

Harriet Klausner

Swing-Opal Carew

Opal Carew
St. Martin's, Jan 2008
ISBN: 978031236780

She had to grow up fast as the oldest of three sisters because their mother abandoned them and her two younger sisters needed adult supervision and guidance. Melissa Woods has done that and much more but in the process turned into an all work no fun person as responsibility became her mantra.

Her wealthy friend Shane Mason invites Melissa to accompany him for a weekend at the swinging Sweet Surrender resort in St. Haven in the British West Indies that he is considering buying. However, she has mixed feelings about going because the customers of Sweet Surrender are couples, but looks forward to being pampered for a change. Shane and Melissa pretend to be married. Meanwhile Suzanne the current owner asks her friend private investigator Ty Adams to look into who this unknown mysterious buyer is. Because he knows his friend loathes having to sell, Ty automatically hates the unknown buyer, who he quickly thinks is Melissa as she is a fish out of water amongst the uninhibited guests. However, as he comes to her “rescue”, they fall in love while Shane and Suzanne are attracted to one another too.

The reason SWING is so much fun to read is Melissa as the audience watches her slowly mature and grows in personal seductive confidence amidst the erotic setting. The story line is fast-paced with wonderful humor enhancing Melissa's journey to orgasms as she is having the time of her life with Ty, but also does not want to hurt Shane or dump him as she still cares for him and has some fears of rejection. Opal Carew provides a fabulous heater although the climax is atypical of the romance genre, but apropos for sensual Melissa’s SWEET SUYRRENDER to her erotic side.

Harriet Klausner

Shadow Music-Julie Garwood

Shadow Music
Julie Garwood
Ballantine, Jan 2008, $26.00, 339 pp.
ISBN: 9780345500731

In England she is the Lady Gabriella, daughter of a powerful baron; but in Scotland the beautiful and innocent is known as the Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel like her mother before her. Many men want her including King John’s favorites Baron Percy and Baron Coswold. Although King John gets pleasure in pitting the two men against each other he decides that Gabrielle goes to Laird Alan Monroe in an attempt to appease his countrymen.

Gabrielle and her guards are on their way to the Abbey in Scotland to meet her betrothed when she sees a group of men dressed up as monks ready to kill a man who they are using as bait to capture his brother Laird Colm MacHugh. She shoots an arrow in the man who is getting ready to kill the prisoner. She saves his life and brings him to the Abbey to heal. She visits him during the night to make sure he is okay but a woman’s lies destroy her reputation and causes her to be banished. Lord Colm MacHugh is persuaded by Gabrielle’s kinsman to marry her in order for Colm to pay off his debt to him. Once she is in his home, she turns his life upside down but enemies from England and Scotland have differing plans to destroy the relationship that is beginning to blossom between the laird and the princess.

Julie Garwood goes back to her historical roots and writes a romance that is filled with pageantry, blood feuds, duplicitous lords and eventually a war between two powerful clans. The growing love between the hero and the heroine is beautiful to behold and is very believable. Ms. Garwood’s trademark underlying humor is present throughout the storyline and readers will chuckle at the way Gabrielle winds Colm around her little finger. This is one of the best historical romances of the year.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Skinny Dipping-Connie Brockway

Skinny Dipping
Connie Brockway
Onyx, Jan 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451412447

The Olsen family has spent many retreats at the summer home Chez Ducky at Fowl Lake, Minnesota. However with the recent death of the family matriarch, most of the Olsen brood feels the place is not the same and wants to sell it; some are ambiguous about selling a home that has been part of their tradition, but only slacker Mimi wants to keep the place.

While her relatives debate what to do, Mimi decides to spend a Northern Minnesota Fall and winter there; her first non summer trek to Chez Ducky. She hopes to find a miracle to keep her relatives from selling, but instead finds a wild zany bunch next door that needs some mothering especially injured MIT Professor Prescott Tierney except she is miss irresponsibility. However, as she tends to a canine crowd (Blondie, Wiley and Bill) and Prescott, his extremely responsible dad, Joe has also come to finally connect with his adult son. Joe and Mimi meet when she goes SKINNY DIPPING and loses her clothing; even mud cannot hide what he sees.

SKINNY DIPPING is an amusing whimsical yet affecting character driven contemporary romance that will have Connie Brockway's fans laughing and crying. The opposites attract story line is enhanced by the dysfunctional relationship between the adult male Tierney’s, the arrival of Mimi’s pregnant half-sister, and the dogs especially Kill Bill who bites the hands that feed him. This is an entertaining tale of connecting or at least trying to connect as love can be found in the zaniest of locations.

Harriet Klausner

Good Husband Material-Kara Lennox

Good Husband Material
Kara Lennox
Harlequin American, Jan 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373751990

In Camden, Texas Natalie Briggs returns home for the high school reunion in which she never expected her former husband, Houston big shot lawyer Josh to attend. Twenty years ago they divorced one another and moved on with their lives. Now they share a dance for old time’s sake, which leads to a kiss and to a night of lovemaking before each return to their respective lives.

However, the last time they spent several years together, but they never had children not for a lack of trying. This time fate gives them quite an ironic spin when Natalie becomes pregnant. Her adopted daughter is euphoric his two teenage sons undecided, but Natalie and Josh decide they will raise the baby jointly. However, spending time together they begin to fall in love for the second time.

GOOD HUSBAND MATERIAL is an engaging second chance at love contemporary romance. The lead couple is an interesting pairing as they work on difficult schedules that do not jive almost as hard as falling in love again. Although their children seem too perfect even when they have doubts, contemporary fans will enjoy Kara Lennox’s fine Texas romance.

Harriet Klausner

Family by Design-Roxanne Delaney

Family by Design
Roxanne Delaney
Harlequin American, Jan 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373751983

Thirty miles out of Wichita in Katyville, Kansas recently divorced Becca Tyler struggles to make it raising her three youngsters, five years and under, by herself. Her spouse the stockbroker has no interest in the hick town, his wife or even his offspring. However even her dumpy rental is yanked from her as someone else bought the property with the stipulation he moves in immediately.

When her car has a flat, Nick Morelli, who left town a decade ago after she broke his heart, gives her a lift to her friend’s house. Becca reflects back on the irony that she had the golden spoon, but he is the success story with his construction firm and she is broke with no prospects. He provides her a job and proves to be much more of a father to her kids than their absentee dad. They fall in love, but he has doubts about trusting her having been battered by her once before and besides he has hidden from her the fact that he owns the home she and her brood still live in; she feels no one wants to be saddled with someone else’s children and knows how cruel she was when she heeded her father’s advice ten years ago.

This is a fun second chance at love tale due to the zany support characters, her children and best friend, and his family. Their good intelligent design of matchmaking seems to keep the lead couple from each other’s arms rather than bring them together. Readers will enjoy love on the Great Plains.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snowbound-Lindsay McKenna, Cara Summers and Laura Marie Altom

Lindsay McKenna, Cara Summers and Laura Marie Altom
Harlequin, Jan 2008,
ISBN: 9780373837229

“A Healing Spirit” by Lindsay McKenna. Her helicopter was shot down while Marine pilot Tahcha Grant was flying a mission in Afghanistan; she was the only survivor. Suffering from survivor guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder, she returns home to the reservation where her nonagenarian granny sends her to the medicine man in training, Storm Black Horse, her teenage boyfriend.

“Aunt Delia’s Legacy” by Cara Summers. After being away from home for almost a decade, Dr. Carly Waring returns for the reading of Aunt Delia’s will. To her shock, Delia has left her everything as long as she shares it with math teacher Ren Maxwell, who Carly almost eloped with just before leaving town on her medical education odyssey.

“Caught by Surprise” by Laura Marie Altom. Recently divorced Tabby Summerwell was once the “It Girl” who could do anything. Now she feels as if the highlight film of her life occurred in high school. She came home to ski and heal mentally, but she broke her leg, which symbolizes what a failure she is. However, her spirits rise stratospherically when her high school boyfriend Brodie Kimball seems to want a second chance to rekindle as adults what they had as the teen It couple.

These three second chance at love tales are warm, well written, and as with Tabby will lift the spirits of the audience especially those suffering the wintry blues following the holiday season.

Harriet Klausner

The Stolen Princess-Anne Gracie

The Stolen Princess
Anne Gracie
Berkley, Jan 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425218983

In 1816 after the poisoned milk killed her son’s puppy, widow Princess Callie, knowing her offspring was the intended victim, flees with her seven years old child, Zindaria Crown Prince Nicky to England planning to hide in the home of her retired governess. She and the child make it to the English shore with little hope of going much further. The second son an Earl, war veteran formerly of the Fourteenth Light Dragoon Gabriel Renfrew, happens to be riding at breakneck speed when he spots the woman and her offspring.

Gabriel provides shelter to Callie and her son although he knows she is hiding much from him. When an assassin tries to kill them, Gabriel protects them. He offers her marriage as he can truly keep mother and child safe. As she considers his proposal, she fears for her heart as she has fallen in love; for that matter so has Gabriel, no longer a daredevil as he has someone to live for, but a throne stands in their way.

The first Devil Riders’ historical romance is an action-packed Regency thriller starring two strong protagonists and contains just enough suspense to hook the readers into wondering what comes next. Callie’s prime objective is to keep Nicky safe while Gabe no longer cares suffering from posttraumatic syndrome caused by his war experience. Their forbidden love makes for a charming tale as Gabe turns from a 24/7 devil rider into a 24/7 loving protecting husband-father. Fans already know that Anne Gracie writes “Perfect” early nineteenth century romances.

Harriet Klausner

Morning Light-Catherine Anderson

Morning Light
Catherine Anderson
Signet, Jan 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451222770

Clairvoyance runs through the maternal genes of her family so in spite of growing up as an accepted norm, Loni MacEwen detests her gift believing it is a curse. Her feelings were recently accentuated when she helped the police on a case that ended badly. Thus she flees to Crystal Falls, Oregon to get away although she knows she cannot completely run from her second sight.

In the rustic small town Loni is stunned when she sees the face of rancher Clint Harrigan for the first time person; he has been the star of her visions forever as he is her soulmate. However, she also envisions his son needing him as Trevor has lost his mom due to a rafting incident that has left him lost in the wilderness; Clint assumes she is a lunatic as he has no children. He revises his opinion when the media runs the story. As the pair travels together to find the child he never knew he sired Clint begins to fall in love with his psychic guide.

The sequel to SUN KISSED starring Clint’s younger sister is a delightful contemporary paranormal romantic suspense that brings to life the Oregon wilderness. The story line is fast-paced as Loni insists the time is running out for Trevor forcing the duo to frantically hurry. Readers will feel they have second sight as they will get inside the heroine’s head as she panics over being too late again. Although the feelings of love between the lead couple arrives way to fast, the key to MORNING LIGHT is that both heroes keep their passion somewhat in check as saving the lad remains the prime focus of an exciting thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Highland Wolf-Hannah Howell

Highland Wolf
Hannah Howell
Zebra, Jan 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780821780008

By 1477 Scotland disgraced former Laird James Drummond knows if he is caught he will be executed for killing his wife Mary three years ago. However, he also realizes as he hides that he will soon need to get inside his former home Dunncraig to find proof that his late spouse’s relative and current Laird Donnell MacKay killed or arranged the killing of his late spouse. James also wants to hold his child Margaret whom he desperately misses, but claimed as his by the devious new Laird.

He manages to get inside Dunncraig masquerading as a master carver. However, as he uses his disguise to get around the keep, James meets Donnell’s cousin Annora MacKay, who takes care of the laird’s young daughter. They are attracted to one another and she unmasks him; but instead of exposing James, she helps him. When James goes berserk when someone tries to rape his beloved Annora, they are forced to flee. However, they are caught by his enemy leaving them no time left for love as he is to be executed while she has already been flogged.

Few authors if any can match the passion that Hannah Howell consistently brings to her Highland historical romances. Although somewhat like her myriad of previous well written fifteenth century Scottish tales, fans will relish Ms. Howell’s terrific HIGHLAND WOLF as the probability of this couple surviving seems almost zero.

Harriet Klausner