Thursday, January 31, 2008

Island Heat-Sarah Mayberry

Island Heat
Sarah Mayberry
Harlequin Mediterranean Nights, Mar 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373389698

Alexandra's Dream Caribbean cruise ship hires chef Tory Fournier to provide guest lectures to their patrons. Tory looks forward to this all expense paid ten days in the sun while her New York home is buried under snow; plus she is getting paid to do this. However, her enthusiasm For St. Bart etc. dies when she is on board and learns that her former lover Ben Cooper has been hired to join her as her co-chef instructor.

They start off a bit uncomfortable, but the lectures are top rate. They soon share more than just the podium as they make love. However, when she insists that once the cruise ends they end too, he becomes unhappy as he wants much more from the chef he loves in and out of the kitchen.

The latest Mediterranean (Caribbean) romance is a second chance at love between two likable fully developed chefs. When the story line focuses on their battles in the kitchen and bedroom the story line is smooth sailing. However, the numerous sidebars take the audience away from the relationship between Tory and Ben. Still fans will enjoy cruising with this couple.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Reason to Sin-Maureen McKade

A Reason to Sin
Maureen McKade
Berkley, Mar 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425220597

In 1868 Rebecca Colfax thought her marriage was perfect until her spouse emptied all their assets and vanished. Broke, she vows to hunt him down and confront him as she needs to know why. However she needs to eat so she accepts work as a saloon singer at the Scarlet Garter in Kansas using the stage name of Glory Bowen.

Former espionage agent Slater Forrester works as a faro dealer at the Scarlet Garter. He worries that the newcomer is out of place at the saloon and vows to keep her safe although he plans not to act on his attraction as he is unworthy of her love. Glory realizes he makes her forget she is married, but also sees he has an inner turmoil that is eating at his soul; she hopes to provide him with solace through her love for him.

As she completes the Forrester Brothers trilogy McKade plays on the heartstrings like a virtuoso. Her beautiful, sensual love stories, tough, tender heroes and strong heroines light up the western genre. Her powerful voice resonates with readers in that special way that makes her books keepers.

Harriet Klausner

Shifter-Angela Knight, Lora Leigh, Alyssa Day and Virginia Kantr

Angela Knight, Lora Leigh, Alyssa Day and Virginia Kantra
Berkley, Mar 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425220351

"Mad Dog Love" by Angela Knight. In 2450 Rance was a prisoner before he became Zarifa’s slave and then her lover. Now they must work together outside the boudoir to save the Lorezostellar Empire from her vicious fiancé.

"A Jaguar's Kiss” by Lora Leigh. When Natalie was chosen to teach the Breed children in Buffalo Gap, she thought this was the greatest thing that happened to her until she meets her attractive domineering jaguar-shifting bodyguard Saban.

"Shifter's Lady” by Alyssa Day. Marie of Atlantis visits her brother In Florida only to meet and fall in love with shifter Ethan.

“Sea Crossing," by Virginia Kantra. On a sea voyage to escape her lover Paul Canada, Emma's ship sinks, but Griffith rescues her and takes her to his remote island homeland where he hopes to persuade her to teach the children and much more.

These four shapeshifting romances share in common lighthearted fun entertainment with women in peril and heroic men to their rescue while the settings are radically different. Romantic fantasy fans will appreciate these fine tales.

Harriet Klausner

The Last Warrior-Karen Kay

The Last Warrior
Karen Kay
Berkley, Mar 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425221006

The Lost Clan tribal bands are cursed to live in the ephemeral realm between life and death because their ancestors killed four of Thunderer's children. Two days a year the Chosen One will live on the mortal plane as he is the tribe's only hope for them to escape the curse, but the crosser must perform a heroic sacrificial deed by the time he is thirty or the tribe remains locked in the shadows.

In 1892 Black Lion as the Chosen One joins Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show touring England. Backstage he meets Suzette Joselyn, the daughter of opera singers. They are attracted to one another, but fail to act on their feelings because she is engaged to another. He returns to America heartbroken but with more resolve to save his people as his quest comes before his heart. When her fiancé dumps her a pregnant Suzette crosses the big pond hoping to find her loved one.

Karen Kay completes her Lost Clan saga with a delightful final entry that will elate fans of the series (see RED HAWK'S WOMAN, THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF and THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR). The story line is action-packed as the couple falls in love but each has reasons to ignore what their heart is telling them. Using Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show provides uniqueness to this superb brisk Indian romantic fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 28, 2008

Private Arrangements-Sherry Thomas

Private Arrangements
Sherry Thomas
Bantam, Mar 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9780440244318

During late Victorian England, ten years ago Lord Tremaine, Camden Saybrook and Lady Gigi Rowland met and fell in love at first sight; they married, but instead of happy ever after, the next morning Camden learned of his new bride’s schemes to become his Lady Tremaine. Feeling betrayed and a dupe, he left for America.

He finally returns to England still filled with animosity towards Gigi, who has filed for divorce so that she can remarry trite Lord Frederick. He agrees to free her if she meets one stipulation. She must birth his heir in one year. Although she fears her future spouse will learn of her sexual activity with her present spouse and she knows she still loves Camden who deserted her, Gigi accepts his terms.

PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS is a well written Victorian second chance at love starring two likable protagonists. Gigi is terrific as her Machiavellian maneuvers matched only by her mother showcases the limited options high society allows to a woman even with Victoria on the throne for decades. Camden internalizes the hurt that he was just a pawn who was out flanked by his wife. Their return engagement scores on all levels as both come across as intelligent injured party still deeply in love with one another in this excellent historical.

Harriet Klausner

Man of the Hour-Diana Palmer

Man of the Hour
Diana Palmer
Harlequin HQN, Mar 2008,
ISBN: 9780373773275

“Night of Love”. In Wichita Steven Ryker and Meg Shannon were falling in love when his photo with his former mistress Daphne hit the papers; she fled for ballet class in New York. Now years later, they have run into each other; he believes she chose her career over him while she believes he chose another woman over her. However, as they work through their feelings as both remain in love with one another; they are caught up in a mysterious foreign secret agent plot.

“Secret Agent Man”. Former secret agent operative Lang Patton struggles with his return to civilian life although his only regret is ending his engagement to Kirry Campbell, whom he still loves. He feared his occupation would bring danger to his beloved. Now Kirry needs his help as someone is stalking her. Lang vows to keep her safe even if he is still physically and mentally recovering from the assignment that brought him out of the cold into retirement.

These two tales are reprints of entertaining early 1990s “Man of the Month” second chance at love romantic suspense thrillers with plenty of desire and a touch of espionage.

Harriet Klausner

Mystic Horseman-Kathleen Eagle

Mystic Horseman
Kathleen Eagle
Mira, Mar 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9780778325147

Monica Wilson-Black persuades part-Sioux TV producer Ella Champion that her former spouse’s Wolf Trail Ranch would be the perfect project for the latter’s highly regarded and very popular TV show Who’s Our Neighbor? Monica also knows that convincing Ella was the easy part of this concept of hers; now she must get her ex husband Dillon Black Bear to agree to a makeover of his ranch

Dillon worries about saving his dilapidated South Dakota ranch as his Mystic Warriors Horse Camp summer program for at-risk Native Americans could die without at least safety improvements; he reluctantly agrees to Ella’s offer. However, he never expected his former wife r Monica who hides her cancer from him and their two children, veterinarian student Emily and D.J. to come to South Dakota.

MYSTIC HORSEMAN is an entertaining union of Hollywood and Lakota in South Dakota; although at times the match seems stretched wider than the Northern Great Plains. Still fans of Kathleen Eagle will enjoy the fine story line filled with an interesting spin to the typical second chance at love theme as few writers can bring to life contemporary Lakota life as this author consistently does (see Ride a Painted Pony).

Harriet Klausner

Dark of the Moon-Susan Krinard

Dark of the Moon
Susan Krinard
Harlequin HQN, Mar 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9780373772582

In 1926 New York City, Vampire Enforcer Dorian Black saves intrepid (he insists inane) reporter Gwen Murphy from drowning in the East River. He is shocked by his attraction to the human who thinks he suffers from a mental illness and vows to help him as she always pays her debts.

However, though he wants more than a nip from Gwen’s delicious looking neck, Dorian has greater concerns than his appetite. Having to kill his master vampire, the Enforcer finds a vampiric civil war between the supporters of Christoff and those of Kyril for control of the city’s nightlife. Meanwhile Gwen continues her investigation into the murders of gangsters, whose bodies contain no blood and soon uncovers a vast cell of Manhattan vampires, who learn she could expose them to the newspaper’s daylight.

Although the Roaring Twenties New York does not come to full life, readers will appreciate this delightful vampire historical romance due to the lead couple especially Gwen who only Rosalind Russell could play her. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Mr. Black saves the life of Miss Murphy and never slows down as she keeps digging and he keeps enforcing especially after he meets with the Pax. Fans will appreciate this strong paranormal historical as Susan Krinard cleverly includes a caution against religious extremism in which one way is the only way to God with cleansing being the path.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Raine: The Lords of Satyr- Elizabeth Amber

Raine: The Lords of Satyr
Elizabeth Amber
Kensington Aphrodisia, Mar 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758220400

In 1823, the Elseworld Faery King Feydon makes a dying demand of the three scandalous Satyr siblings known for their endless sexual appetites; he orders them to marry his three illegitimate daughters. With no choice the trio heads respectively to their European destiny.

The middle brother Raine was married once before and though that ended in failure as his spouse could not deal with his satyr needs, he stoically goes to meet his bride, the King’s second daughter, Jordan in Venice. His plan is simple; hide his sexual needs from Jordan for as long as possible so that maybe they will bond before his lower head takes command of his body. However when they meet for the first time both is filled with desire as the attraction is heated. Jordan tries to hide her deep craving to be constantly caressed and loved by a man who loves her as she fears she will drive him away with her sexual needs. As they fall in love, Raine and Jordan continue to conceal what they want although in his case it is a bit harder (pun intended) to hide that seemingly eternal flag pole.

The second Lords of Satyr tale (see NICHOLAS) is a heated historical romantic fantasy that make the audience believe in satyrs (who never need Viagra) and the half-breeds who satisfy their constant craving. The lead couple shares in common: lust, love, and lies of omission as both hide their deepest needs and desires so as to not run the other off. With one erotica to go, sub-genre fans will appreciate the sexual encounters of the Regency world of Elizabeth Amber (surname seems tepid for fiery red hot romances).

Harriet Klausner

Betrayed-Jamie Leigh Hanson

Jamie Leigh Hanson
Tor, Jan 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780765357205

Nine lifetimes, nine attempts, nine deaths, nine rebirths, nine failures; if Kalyss fails this last time to rescue her beloved Dreux from the statue prison that holds him before her brother-in-law Kai murders her again, she will move on to eternal emptiness without him. However, with each reincarnation, she does not remember the past, her spouse or his brother until it has been too late while Dreux has seen each time the horror of his blood killing his love.

This time two enigmatic strangers intrude on her cycle of life and death by gifting her; some might say cursing her; with the knowledge of her past lives. Still as she eludes her constant predator surviving his assault for the first time in their millennium contest, she still has to figure out how to break the curse that has left her dead nine times and Dreux locked away in a prison.

This engaging romantic fantasy uses flashbacks to tell what happened in the past so that the audience obtains a strong tale in which through nine lifetimes hate has proven stronger than love. Readers will believe angels populate the earth; all seeking redemption with some of them being evil. BETRAYED is a superb battle in a war between good and evil fought on a battlefield of undying love.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 25, 2008

Witch Blood-Anya Bast

Witch Blood
Anya Bast
Berkley, Mar 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425220436

Water Witch Isabelle Novak flirts outrageously with Dustkoff Warlock chief Stefan Faucheux until they are alone in his limo. Suddenly she grabs his balls and begins freezing the liquids inside his body as she seeks to kill him as his demon killed her half-sister Angela. Fire Witch coven Chief Thomas Monahan prevents Isabelle from finishing the act. He has Adam Tyrell and Jack McAllister take Stefan to Gribbon prison where magic does not work so that he can be interrogated. Though drawn to Thomas, Isabelle angrily vanishes disobeying her leader’s insistence they talk.

The next day Isabelle explains to Thomas that since she cannot find the demon that killed her sister, she went after the man whose late father brought him here. Coven archivist Micah asks Stefan why the demon has not gone home after so many years here. He explains there are four types of demons in their world with no one wanting this type of demon to come home. Stefan also says that he must kill four witches to rape their power in order to open a portal to the demon realm. Finally he gives Micah access to his demon library in exchange for his swift death.

Isabelle and Thomas kiss and begin stripping when they are interrupted by Mira who says she heard whispered the name Simon Alexander. They keep him under surveillance, but he shows no sign of power. Simon meets an earth witch Melanie and her daughter Katie when the demon arrives, but in spite of being hurt by Isabelle, he escapes. As Thomas and Isabel work together to stop the demonic killing, they fall in love.

The sequel to the bewitching WITCH FIRE is a terrific romantic fantasy in which (pun intended) the key paranormal species Witch, Warlock, or Demon seem genuine; especially fascinating is the types of demons residing on Demon World. Fans will appreciate this strong tale although a late escape feels anti-climatic. Still the romance is strong set in the superbly developed Bast universe where the unreal feels real.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Lady of Hidden Intent-Tracie Peterson

A Lady of Hidden Intent
Tracie Peterson
Bethany House, Mar 2008, $13.99
ISBN: 9780764201462

In 1850 in Bath England, Catherine Newbury has lived a luxurious lifestyle without a care in the world. Her idyllic life ends when she learns the police are coming to arrest her father Nelson for co-owning a slave ship. Knowing he is innocent, Nelson refuses to run. However, he wants his beloved daughter safe while he corrects the mess.

Five years later in Philadelphia, Catherine is a popular dress designer who desperately needs to find a way to prove her father is innocent and get him released from prison; only her belief in God keeps her going. American architect Carter Danby, whom her dad introduced to her on her last party night in England, sees her when he escorts his mother and sister for a fitting, but does not recognize her. Still he desires her and wants to help her as he believes by her demeanor that she is carrying a dark mystery, but though she finds him attractive, she refuses to reveal her secret as she trusts no one except God since her father was incarcerated falsely.

A LADY OF HIDDEN INTENT is an entertaining inspirational Victorian romance. Catherine holds the story line together as she changes from pampered debutante to self sufficient designer while never losing sight of her objective or her faith in God not man. Sub-genre readers will appreciate this fine heartening historical.

Harriet Klausner

Right Here, Right Now-HelenKay Dimon

Right Here, Right Now
HelenKay Dimon
Kensington Brava, Mar 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758222237

Reed Larkin informs his girlfriend Gabby Pearson that he no longer wants to see her. He further explains in the restaurant that “It’s not you, it’s me”. She is shocked as she thought they were making it and his trite general rationale stinks. Gabby shows her appreciation by dumping her drink on his head before leaving; her prime regret was they never slept together.

Reed accomplished the hardest task of his life when he ended his relationship with Gabby, whom he wants with every cell in his body. Making matters worse within moments of receiving a wine shower, his handler informs Reed that he is to seduce Gabby who allegedly has the information they need. He has one day to persuade her to join him on the sheets, but Gabby is beyond outraged with him and he has to agree she has the right to be..

This is a fabulous romantic suspense thriller as operative Reed cannot believe that just after his head tastes her wine, his handler orders him to seduce Gabby. That premise makes for an entertaining battle of the sexes as the clock is ticking and he has to undo the damage he caused when he dumped her. Making things even harder for Reed is that he is halfway in love with Gabby. HelenKay Dimon provides a fun gender war in which the prime suspense element comes appropriately late as RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW is a two person combat tale.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Forbidden Attraction-Marisa Carroll

Forbidden Attraction
Marisa Carroll
Harlequin NASCAR, Feb 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373217854

On the NASCAR circuit Justin Murphy looks like a promising driver with quite a future ahead of him if he can control his risk taking activity. When he is injured by an outraged fan, nurse Sophia Gross tends to him. They are instantly attracted to one another, but their families have a bloody history.

Whereas her pedigree is NASCAR royalty with her father a legend and her brother the current champion, his is a dead dad. He and his family believe her dad caused the accident that killed his father. Still they fall in love in spite the obstacles their feuding families toss at them with their abrasive whispering campaign.

Although the NASCAR romances are relatively knew, the Romeo and Juliet theme of feuding families has been used too frequently. Thus the well written and entertaining FORBIDDEN ATTRACTION has a lot to overcome yet Marisa Carroll does so with a fine tale of love between two wonderful lead players who deserve a chance together if their families would only let them be instead of a whisper campaign worse than that used to destroy McCain in 2000 South Carolina. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this spin around the tack.

Harriet Klausner

In High Gear-Gina Wilkins

In High Gear
Gina Wilkins
Harlequin NASCAR, Feb 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373217847

NASCAR Nextel Cup series champion Kent Grosso and renowned wedding photographer Tanya Wells are in love. Kent plans to propose to her. However, he is stunned when he receives an email threatening to expose him as a cheat in college. Still ashamed, he knows this will devastate his parents who think the world of him. Worse it will upset ethical Tanya and her honest parents.

Tanya thought she knew her beloved, but she is stunned to learn he hid his youthful indiscretion from her. Kent tries to make it up to his Tanya, but the blackmailing e-mailer sends him something much more disturbing; the person claims Kent’s mother got away with running over a member of the rival NASCAR Murphy family years ago.

This engaging NASCAR contemporary romance stars two fine protagonists whose relationship is harmed perhaps permanently when Kent failed to tell his beloved his college mistake. The story line is at his best while he struggles to explain only to have a more powerful incident to nuke his well-being and test his resolve to tell Tanya the whole truth. Although the blackmailer scenario is not resolved leaving fans to wonder why not; IN HIGH GEAR is a fast trip around the oval.

Harriet Klausner

Possession-Mathilde Madden, Madelynne Ellis & Anne Tourney

Mathilde Madden, Madelynne Ellis & Anne Tourney
Black Lace, Feb 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780352341648

“The Silver Chains” by Mathilde Madden. Alfie desperately needs sex, but when he tries to make it with a woman he changes into a wolf. At Wonderland, his pack member Misty introduces him to Caroline. After he changes in front of her, she tells him her sister the witch predicted an unstable werewolf would visit her and gave her notes to give him. He, Misty, and his other pack member Leon head to Brazil to find the legendary Silver Chains that will enable him to have sex as a human. They are captured by an Amazon tribe whose queen binds Alfie to her.

“Broken Angel” by Madelynne Ellis. Both the Youkai demons and the Talon hunters want Blaze Makaresh after he steals an ancient manuscript. The Talon catches him after a Youkai poisons him. Asha the Talon saves his life by sucking out the poison. Soon they make love, but the Youkai still want him, which confuses the Talon as Blaze is just a nobody; shockingly Talon himself demands to meet this Blaze.

“Falling Dancer” by Anne Tourney. Lia the dancer fell from a height that should have left her battered body dead. Instead she walked away without a scratch. Her boyfriend Brendan the musician worries about her and is sent to Kelda the bartender for assistance. Kelda knows that a Fallen One switched places with Lia who is now in the cold void on nothingness. Now with two males wanting her, Brendan and the doctor who was with Lia in ER, Kelda reluctantly plans to exorcise the Fallen One out of Lia’s body using a sexual encounter.

These are three heated paranormal erotic tales in which the sex is not just interwoven into each plot, but enhances these strong fantasies. The lead and secondary cast are solid in each thriller and the storyline entertaining. Fans will want to follow the further adventures of each of the heroes as these are eroticas at their best.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 21, 2008

Awaken My Heart-Diann Mills

Awaken My Heart
Diann Mills
Avon, Feb 2008, $9.95
ISBN: 9780061376016

1803 in the colony of Tejas (Texas), eighteen years old Marianne Phillips learns from her ailing mother that her martinet father Weston plans to marry her to cattle baron Lorenzo Sanchez de la Diaz. She loathes the idea of wedding someone older than her father, but her mom points out the other choice is the Phillips Hacienda foreman, mean spirited Clay Wharton. If she could select she would pick the handsome stranger she met while riding her protective noble horse Diablo.

Weston warns mestizos rebel leader Armando Garcia that he better move his impoverished people out of La Flor Valley as he plans to expand his holdings there regardless of what happens to these peasants. To save their livelihood, the mestizos abduct Marianne, who learns her dream lover is Armando, who objected to the kidnapping. As they fall in love, Armando arranges to free Marianne whose heart is in the right place as she supports the mestizos’ claim and not that of her father. However, caught in the middle, Marianne realizes the conflict is about to explode in blood as her father has brought dangerous allies from his home state of Virginia to sweep the peasants off the land.

AWAKEN MY HEART is a terrific early nineteenth century Texas Colonial romance starring two caring protagonists who in many ways seem like a North American Romeo and Juliet. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action. The key cast are fully developed especially the stars and her avarice father. Although Clay is more a caricature of a villain, Diann Mills provides a delightful historical that brings to vivid life a time and place that rarely if ever has served as the background.

Harriet Klausner

The Bridal Quest-Candace Camp

The Bridal Quest
Candace Camp
Harlequin HQN, Mar 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9780373772575

In 1816 Lady Irene Wyngate is a confirmed bachelorette after watching the destruction of her late odious father, who left behind debts for his heir and nothing for his wife and daughter. At the same time she rejoices in spinsterhood, her brother’s new wife, Maura, a country bumpkin trying to prove she is the equal of Londoners, has made life in his home tedious for Irene.

Almost ten years ago, the earl of Radbourne, Gideon was abducted and forced to grow up as Gideon Cooper in the worst slums, but he still made a fortune the old fashion way by earning it. Although he feels inferior and not good marital material, his persistent grandmother Lady Odelia demands he marry someone suitable. Gideon understands he must, but needs a wife who accepts his unassuming manner. So far the eligible female Ton is driving him crazy. That is until he meets Irene especially since he recognizes her as the spirited female he once encountered during an incident he had with her father.

The key to this delightful Matchmaker Regency romance is the support cast who bring so much to the tale of love between Gideon and Irene. The story line is fast-paced and has a bit of a mystery re the hero’s parentage that enhances the plot. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this fine historical and Candace Camp’s previous entry (see THE MARRIAGE WAGER) while the climax implies Francesca the matchmaker is next on the block

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 18, 2008

What Looks Like Crazy-Charlotte Hughes

What Looks Like Crazy
Charlotte Hughes
Jove, Mar 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780515144239

Clinical psychologist Kate Holly feels her world is imploding as her newest client Kevin Bosley threatens to jump off the roof while she asks affluent psychiatrist Thad Glazaen who sent him to her for help what the problem really is. Thad asks her to describe her underwear. Kate is also counting down the days before her divorce from fire captain Jay Rush becomes legal; she still loves Jay, but his work frightens her as her dad died fighting a fire. Finally her mom and her aunt, the renowned “junque sisters”, plant in cement a naked statue that has angered her neighbors especially Bitsy Stout.

Her wealthy secretary Mona Epps assists Kate with all her woes by insisting that sex is what she needs. However, the only man she wants to share her bed and his is Jay. Kate knows WHAT LOOKS CRAZY is crazy as Jay insists her work is much more dangerous than his.

WHAT LOOKS LIKE CRAZY is an entertaining character study of a psychologist whose life feels out of control.. Kate is a delightful center holding the plot together while an eccentric wild bunch of secondary players pulls her in a zillion different directions. Although somewhat a meet the crazies (including Kate) tale, fans will enjoy this humorous zany opening act due to the antics of that crazy cast.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fire Watcher-Lilith Saintcrow

Fire Watcher
Lilith Saintcrow
ImaJinn, 2006, $14.00
ISBN: 9781933417028

Fire witch Elise Nicholson cannot believe how far her life and those of her two best friends Mari Niege and Theo Morgan have turned since the two Watchers (Hansen and Dante) came to protect them from the Dark. However, though she is happy for her pals having found their soulmates, she is also envious and feels alone even with Mari and Theo including her in most of their activities. Unlike her buddies who took to Guardian duty like fish to water, Elise has doubts and distrusts the Circle Lightfall and their Watchers; in fact she just wants to go back to playing guitar and lighting candles.

Circle Lightfall assigns Watcher Remy the Hunter to locate the powerful magical artifact Trifero, a Talisman of fire and mass destruction. Remy has dreamed for a long time of meeting his beloved Lightbringer, but until now this has not occurred. He soon meets Elise and is euphoric because he knows who she is to him. . He remains unaware that Elise possesses the Trifero, but the Brotherhood realizes she does; they plan to abduct her and force her to use her talisman for their nefarious proposes. Remy risks his life to keep Elise safe, but though she is attracted to him she rejects his belief they belong together.

Of the three bewitching friends, Elise is the most fascinating as she is the only doubting Thomasina in the trio. Her reactions to her two buddies finding happiness in love is well written and real while her distrust of their protectors and her temper that leads to charging the hill regardless of the odds also add to her uniqueness. Finally her refusal to accept Remy, who has his work cut out to keep his stubborn beloved safe and accept they are soulmates make for a wonderful third Watcher tale; enhanced by a new threat the Brotherhood.

Harriet Klausner

Seaview Inn-Sherryl Woods

Seaview Inn
Sherryl Woods
Mira, Mar 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9780778325291

In New York public relations executive Hannah Mathews is frightened that the disease will return as breast cancer recently killed her mother, but also feels good that for now she is in remission. Hannah decides to visit her beloved Grandma Jenny in the Florida Keys where she hopes to persuade the feisty octogenarian to sell her Seaview Inn resort that needs renovation.

However, Grandma Jenny rejects her granddaughter’s assertion to relax and enjoy her golden years. Instead the elderly woman plans to fix up the inn and reopen for business. Not long after she arrived, Hannah's college age daughter, Kelsey shows up at the Seaview Inn. Single Kelsey is pregnant, but plans to put the baby up for adoption. Luke Stevens, the man whom Hannah was in love with at high school, arrives in the Keys needing some R&R after working as a battlefield surgeon in Iraq although he fears that may not prove enough to eliminate the war demons.

SEAVIEW INN is a terrific contemporary romance due to the flawed lead characters who struggle with personal traumas and falling in love at a time when neither feels capable of giving the other all they deserve from them. Grandma Jenny is a delightful support player whose energy is admirable when it comes to her inn but especially as she pushes the ailing duet towards one another. Readers will appreciate this fine tale of love between a pair already overloaded with stress.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Brother Returns-Jeannie Watt

The Brother Returns
Jeannie Watt
Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373714742

In Barlow Ridge, Nevada teacher Claire Flynn is attracted to her sister’s brother-in-law Brett Bishop. However, although she sees how he looks at her as if he wants her, he keeps as far away from her as possible.

Brett knows he messed up bad a decade ago and swears never again. He just wants to see his Kylie, being raised by his brother Will and his new sister-in-law Regan; she is Claire’s sister so though he wants Claire he will not do anything to upset the delicate balance between him and his brother, his brother’s wife, or “their” daughter. Claire thinks otherwise and plans to persuade Brett that a second Flynn needs to have her name changed to Bishop

The sequel to the HORSEMAN’S SECRET, THE BROTHER RETURNS, is a warm rural romance. Brett and Claire are attracted to each other from the moment a “matchmaking” snake brings him to her rescue, but he refuses to act on his feelings as his family must come before him. The story line is fast-paced enhanced by Jesse, an "at risk" student, who Claire adores while everyone else assumes is a bad seed just like his dad. Fans of small town tales will appreciate this entertaining contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

The Dad Next Door-C.J. Carmichael

The Dad Next Door
C.J. Carmichael
Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373714711

Raising his twin daughters Samantha and Tory by himself after his wife Marianne McLaughlin left them, architect Gavin Gray is horrified when Sam dies in an accident. Deciding he owes Marianne that information and hoping seeing her mom will help his surviving daughter, he and Tory travel to her hometown of Squam Lake where the classic On Golden Pond was filmed.

No one in town seems to know where Marianne is. However, Gavin is distracted by the woman next door, interior decorator Allison Bennett, who just ended an engagement six weeks before the wedding. Not only does he want her, she is terrific with the reticent grieving Tory. As the trio bonds into a family, an ailing Marianne shows up begging Gavin to help her with her crisis.

THE DAD NEXT DOOR is a superb family drama due to the emotional reactions of each of the key quartet. Gavin own the show as he loves the woman next door, but his daughter comes before his desires and his feelings are further turmoil by his guilt re his ill former wife and his deceased offspring. C. J. Carmichael provides a powerful cast driven relationship tale.

Harriet Klausner

Texas Bluff-Linda Warren

Texas Bluff
Linda Warren
Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373714704

After being away from his hometown for years, Luke Chisum returns to River Bluff, Texas due to a family crisis. However, the former military helicopter rescue officer knows he is still attracted to the girl he took to the prom years ago Becky Parker but she gives him the evil eye and cold shoulder for he abandoned her.

He wants a second chance with his Sweet Bec, but she refuses to have anything to do with him. Becky knows she still loves the man who broke her heart sixteen years ago and would love to give him a second chance to mend it. However, she has kept one secret from him; he sired her beloved fifteen years old Shane.

This is fascinating second chance at love romance that started years ago with a poker bet and now the game is renewed once Luke returns home (medical discharge from war injuries) with he and Bec bluffing to hide their deepest secrets and feelings from the opponent they love. Luke and Bec are wonderful antagonists while the townsfolk amusingly watch the two combatants in action in the final Texas Hold Em romance.

Harriet Klausner

Distracting the Duchess-Emily Bryan

Distracting the Duchess
Emily Bryan
Leisure, Feb 2008, $6.00
ISBN: 9780843958706

At twenty-five years old, the Duchess of Southwycke Lady Artemisia has been a widow for two years. Because of her Bombay childhood in which a female could be publicly active Artemesia runs a business; but to avoid becoming the Ton pariah, she uses the alterego of Mr. Bennington. Only her brilliant assistant James Shipwash knows otherwise and understands a key part of his job is to hide his employer’s gender.

When her father Angus recognizes that he is losing his mind, he sends a last note to Home Office Secret Service operative Lord Trevelyn Deveridge that says succinctly "Beddington holds the key". Trevelyn begins to search for the elusive Beddington, but no one seems to know who he is and Shipwash is vague and uncooperative. A desperate Trevelyn travels to Southwycke estate to see if Angus’ daughter can help interpret the message. Immediately attracted to one another, she assumes he is the male model she hired to pose naked for her next painting. As they fall in love, someone else seeks the key that Beddington holds, but Artemisia has no idea what her father meant.

This a much more complex historical espionage romantic suspense than that described above as there are several more key subplots that all converge into a fabulous tale. The fast-paced story line hooks the audience the moment that Artemisia mentally strips Trevelyn who almost immediately takes it off and never slows down until the final confrontation with some bad dudes. Fans will appreciate this exciting thriller as the adventures keep on coming.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 14, 2008

No Second Chance-Maggie Toussaint

No Second Chance
Maggie Toussaint
Wild Rose Press, Feb 29 2008
ISBN: 1601541627

In Maryland, Hope Farrier, owner of horse rescue Second Chance Farm, sees the “Suit” and knows that denotes something bad is about to happen to her. The Suit Devlin Temple, acting CEO of Temple Equine Supplements, informs her that his firm will no longer donate supplements to her rundown operation; they will change their charity to the fancier Homes for Ponies. She pleads with him to give her more time so he allows her three weeks more of deliveries.

Devlin is worried about the firm that his dying mom made so successful; as someone somehow is stealing funds. He assumes his rival for the CEO position cousin Ray, who married Devlin’s fiancée Claire, is the culprit, but so far has not proved it. His mom informs her son, Hope and the board of directors that she is giving her stock to Hope and also placed the horse farm owner on the TES board in lieu of her. She asks Devlin to fix Hope’s financial problems. He agrees to all because he would do anything for his dying mom. However, as Devlin and Hope fall in love, someone, most likely Ray, sabotages her operation almost killing the horses.

NO SECOND CHANCE is a fabulous contemporary romance with an intriguing social issue involving the rescue of horses; in fact the book proceeds are being donated to the real Dead End Farm Horse rescuing mission. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down until the final confrontation. Although the clever diabolical villain proves unbelievably insane during the final altercation, readers will appreciate this strong tale as Maggie Toussaint provides a deep character driven drama.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Touch of Magic-Carin Rafferty

Touch of Magic
Carin Rafferty
ImaJinn, 2007, $15.00
ISBN: 9781933417356

Depressed to her bone marrow because of her overwhelming feeling of loneliness compounded by the celebration of Samhain, witch Shana Morland decides to use a prohibited ancient cursed Tarot deck to see if there is a hunk in her near future. Shana assumes the violation is a minor offense as she considers how bad the curse can be without fully understanding the ramifications. Shana will learn rather quickly as the Tarot deck is actually a magical detention cell containing evil witch Moira; anyone who foolishly uses the deck will free her at the cost of their liberty.

However, Moira’s jailers understanding human nature, especially witching human nature, included a caveat that Moira’s rescuer must be in love to switch places. Shana knows she is okay as she has no one. That is until Ryan Alden crashes his Harley right in front of her. She is stunned as she wants the unconscious stranger with feelings like nothing she ever felt before. However, if he is her true love as she suspects, Shan’s price is the curse.

This is an exhilarating one sitting paranormal romantic suspense novel. Readers assume from the moment out cold Ryan lays at Shana’s feet, he is the one who will instigate the switch. The heroic lead couple is a delightful pairing of a seemingly doomed duet as they battle a more powerful foe. Moira disarms them by negatively using the power of love so she can live Shana’s future while her savior occupies her incarceration time. Carin Rafferty imparts a compelling tale in which love is the curse.

Harriet Klausner

The Wayward Debutant-Sarah Elliot

The Wayward Debutant
Sarah Elliot
Harlequin, Feb 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373294848

In 1818 London her sister Beatrice and husband Charles Summerton sponsor Lady Eleanor Sinclair in her first season. Eleanor is the perfect model of behavior, but perhaps it is the pregnancy or having the young heir Mark that distracts her sponsors who remain ignorant that their guest is bored of the strict inane rules of high society.

Finally unable to remain sane, Eleanor sneaks out by herself to the theater as Jane Smith the governess. However, the play starts late worrying her that she might have to miss the last act. During the performance, she hears some silly woman behind her giggling out loud. She turns around to give her an irate stare only to see her handsome companion. He boldly introduces himself as the theater’s owner James Bentley but conceals that he is part of the affluent Stanton brood; she assays she is governess Miss Smith. As they fall in love, she fears he will dump her once she tells him who she is; he dreads the thought that she will love his money not him.

Regency romance readers will enjoy the second Sinclair sister tale (see REFORMING THE RAKE) as Eleanor is the one breaking the rules this time. She and James are fascinating characters as both have reasons to hide their identity from the other. Although that concept has been used a lot in historical romances, Sarah Elliot refreshes it with two likable lead protagonists who break all the rules on their way to love; so badly did she and Beatrice misbehave neither of their husbands want to sponsor the third sibling Helen’s season.

Harriet Klausner

Deep Dish-Mary Kay Andrews

Deep Dish
Mary Kay Andrews
Harper, Feb 26 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780060837365

Thirty years old Chef Gina Foxton is an expert on Southern style cooking, but with a healthy approach. She is highly regarded with her own cooking show Fresh Start on Georgia Public Television. However while filming her latest show, she notices a new crew who provide substitute products like Cheez-Ease. She goes berserk claiming it is “artificial cheese made out of recycled dry-cleaning bags”; her anger is because her reputation is built on healthy recipes. However her show becomes history when the CEO of the prime sponsor Tastee-Town Foods Wiley Bickerstaff III pulled out. Gina is stunned because Wiley has been her biggest supporter, but learns the truth that her producer and boyfriend E. Scott Zaleski was caught sleeping with Wiley’s wife.

Gina knows the Cooking Channel is seeking a new show. They are undecided between Gina’s Fresh Start and Tate Moody’s Vittles. To choose the brass decides a reality show cook-off contest between Gina and Tate will bring in viewers. However, under the TV lights, the two cooking spectrum opposites begin to simmer with an attraction that boils into love.

Although the romance comes in the latter half of the tale, readers will adore this amusing kitchen war. The story line is fast-paced as Tate and Gina compete through food fights and other embarrassing scenarios; the humorous plot stews between healthy and grill it. Readers will agree with Gina’s sister that this pair has chemistry, but there is only room for one in the kitchen even if Tate wants to take Gina on the table.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Torrent Falls-Jan Watson

Torrent Falls
Jan Watson
Tyndale, Feb 2008, $12.99
ISBN: 9781414314730

In 1888 widow Copper Brown Corbett returns to her home in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky accompanied by her almost two years old baby Lilly Gray. Her daddy deeded Copper his rundown farm; she plans to turn it around and make a home for her and her daughter as she seeks solace after the tragedy that sent her home.

Her neighbor John Pelfrey wants to court Copper as he has always loved her; they were once sweethearts but she gave her love to another and believes she will never love again. Copper readapts to the hilly countryside providing midwife services to the nearby women. Her faith in the Lord keeps her strong as she thanks him (and their Mammaw) for sending two young siblings Dimmert and Darcy to help her on the farm. John remains persistent, but as she begins to fall in love, Copper realizes he hides something from her that once she knows the truth will end their relationship.

The third Troublesome Creek Americana tale (see TROUBLESOME CREEK – read and WILLOW SPRINGS – not read) is an interesting look at life in the late nineteenth century in the Eastern Kentucky hill country series. The story line focuses on Copper as she proves she can take care of herself and her daughter while tending to the ill and working the farm. She is a terrific character while John provides a tangled strong love interest. However, the tale is stolen by the two farmhand siblings and their horde of others D siblings plus Ezra (“not Dezra”) as they vividly bring out the locale. Readers will enjoy the latest entry in a strong historical saga.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fire Study-Maria V. Snyder

Fire Study
Maria V. Snyder
Mira, Mar 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9780778325345

After being raised in the Territory of Ixia and having gained the trust of Commander Ambrose and the love of his second in command Valek, Yelena returns to her homeland Sitia to study magic. Belonging to both countries, Yelena wants to become the liaison so that neither place will war against the other. Her studies are once again interrupted when she goes to find Ferde the Soulstealer and Cahill the pretender to the Ixian throne.

It is believed they are hiding in the Avibian Plains where the Sanseed Clan (Yelena’s cosins) live. A splinter group of the clan has turned to the forbidden blood magic and Storyweavers dub them Vermin; whereas they call themselves the Daviian Clan. Their mysterious leader’s goal is to rule Sitia; no outsider has seen him. The Vermin take control of the Sitia government and prepare to conquer Ixia. Yelena and her Ixian lover Valek hope to prevent the carnage, but to succeed she must make a promise that will keep the pair of lovers separated forever.

FIRE STUDY is a magical tale filled with intrigue, double crosses, and duplicity and stars a beleaguered heroine who swims in treacherous waters in order to stop a bloody war from occurring as both countries are dear to her. Valek loves Yelena beyond reason and will do almost anything to help her yet he is also a sexy alpha male who will not allow the woman who owns his heart walk all over him. Yelena loves him too and has started to get close with her family but first she must stop an evil person from destroying her birthplace before getting involved in personal matters.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tex Appeal-Kimberly Raye, Alison Kent& Cara Summers

Tex Appeal
Kimberly Raye, Alison Kent& Cara Summers
Harlequin Blaze, Feb 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373793792

"Real Good Man” by Kimberly Raye. Bored Cheryl Anne Cash becomes a consultant to women teaching them how to how to spice up their sex life. In fact she takes her lessons to heart by dumping her boyfriend Dayne Branson. However, she hires Dayne to make over her house, but plans to show him what he lost.

"Unbroken" by Alison Kent. Psychologist Tess Autrey writing an article on the sex lives of rodeo cowboys and their groupies. When Tess meets the Triple RC ranch owner Wyatt Crowe, she wants to be his permanent groupie.

"I Can Still Feel You ..." by Cara Summers. After Chef Macy Chandler identified a bank robber, the criminal escaped. Texas Ranger Cade Dillon, who already cares about Macy, vows to keep her safe.

These are three lighthearted Valentine Day romps, Texas style starring likable women in heat and the men who execute sex to satisfy their yearnings as Cheryl learns that it is not just any penis; it’s Dayne’s.

Harriet Klausner

Shameless-Tori Carrington

Tori Carrington
Harlequin Blaze, Feb 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373793815

In Fantasy, Michigan Nina Leonard is a man-eater who enjoys sleeping with her flavor of the month, but when the sex turns boring she dumps the hunk. Her BMC business partners and best friends, Patrick Gauge and Kevin Weber worry about Nina as they believe her hurtful behavior towards men is harming her. They decide on an intervention in which a man will sleep with her while she is blindfolded so she can not know who he is; they expect her to have real feelings for a change.

Hesitant Nina assumes that either Patrick or Kevin is her sleeping partner so she goes for it. The sex is the best of her life and she wants more, but neither of her partners admits to the act. They leave it to her to figure out who loves Nina with his soul.

This is an interesting contemporary romance starring three fascinating protagonists especially Nina who thinks sex partners are disposable until that first heated night with either hunk one or hunk two. Now she must decide whether her beloved is behind door one or a dangerous tiger that will destroy her relationships with both men behind door two. Although the intervention solution of using sex to teach a lesson on sex seems outrageous and extremely risky to the business and friendships, fans will enjoy Tori Carrington’s fine portrayal of a man-eater finding love, but not knowing who he is.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Simply Sexual-Kate Pearce

Simply Sexual
Kate Pearce
Kensington Aphrodisia, Feb 2008, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758223548

After spending a decade as a sex slave in a Turkish brothel, Valentin Sokorvsky finally escaped and came home to England. The aristocrat knows he must marry to sire an heir, but doubts any woman can satiate his sexual need, accept his physical scars without a look of horror and scorn, and especially deal with his emotional issues. He is attracted to innocent Sara Harrison, whom he courts and marries.

Sara enjoys fulfilling his sexual needs as she matches him desire for desire and she has no problems with his physical scars as she relishes kissing them. However, she struggles with his emotional issues starting with his distrust of everyone including her. She plans to win his trust by proving her loyalty and faithfulness. He will need her when an unknown foe plots to destroy Val by wrecking his business inertest, devastating his family and especially insure he suspects her of wronging him.

Valentin is a unique lead character as he suffers from PTSD after spending ten years as a boy toy sex slave in Turkey. His struggles to mentally recover his equilibrium now that he is back in London make the tale even stronger as Sara wants to heal her beloved spouse. The threats to his business and loved ones are well done and exciting, but also feel somewhat intrusive to the prime plot that focuses on patience (time) and love healing nightmarish traumas.

Harriet Klausner

Simply Sexual-Kate Pearce

Simply Sexual
Kate Pearce
Kensington Aphrodisia, Feb 2008, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758223548

After spending a decade as a sex slave in a Turkish brothel, Valentin Sokorvsky finally escaped and came home to England. The aristocrat knows he must marry to sire an heir, but doubts any woman can satiate his sexual need, accept his physical scars without a look of horror and scorn, and especially deal with his emotional issues. He is attracted to innocent Sara Harrison, whom he courts and marries.

Sara enjoys fulfilling his sexual needs as she matches him desire for desire and she has no problems with his physical scars as she relishes kissing them. However, she struggles with his emotional issues starting with his distrust of everyone including her. She plans to win his trust by proving her loyalty and faithfulness. He will need her when an unknown foe plots to destroy Val by wrecking his business inertest, devastating his family and especially insure he suspects her of wronging him.

Valentin is a unique lead character as he suffers from PTSD after spending ten years as a boy toy sex slave in Turkey. His struggles to mentally recover his equilibrium now that he is back in London make the tale even stronger as Sara wants to heal her beloved spouse. The threats to his business and loved ones are well done and exciting, but also feel somewhat intrusive to the prime plot that focuses on patience (time) and love healing nightmarish traumas.

Harriet Klausner

Make Me Scream-P.J. Mellor

Make Me Scream
P.J. Mellor
Kensington Aphrodisia, Feb 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758220233

Mystery writer Devon McCloud owns and manages an apartment complex in Florida. Jamie Cartwright comes to Devon’s complex looking to rent one of his apartments. Though there is a mysterious air about her, he assumes his writer’s mind thinks femme fatale even as he accepts her as a tenant.

Devon and Jamie are attracted to one another from the moment they first met discussing her leasing one of his apartments. Although his love life stinks and always has as far back as he dare remember, he wants to start anew with her as he thinks this time they will climax in sexual heaven. She remains reluctant as she is already in hiding from a bad relationship that she fears her abusive ex deems is not over; but also dreams of pinning her landlord to her bed so that she can ride him until she leaves him senseless and he makes her scream in ecstasy.

This is delightful contemporary romance with some late suspense that seems apropos. The lead characters are amiable while their desire much hotter than the Florida summer sun. Fans of heated romances will enjoy P.J. Mellor’s entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Thigh High-Bonnie Edwards

Thigh High
Bonnie Edwards
Kensington Aphrodisia, Feb 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758217745

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Thong”. Frankie is irate when the mutt steals her diamond-laden thong. She follows the canine thief to the houseboat of a late- night deejay. Daniel knows he has female fans but never expected a groupie seeking her purloined underwear would arrive to seduce him at his home.

"Thigh High”. Kat’s best friend dares her to seduce her reticent neighbor Taye that she admits she has the hots for. Not one to dive in halfway, she also decides to employ the sex toys and related paraphernalia that she sells to add spice to a weekend of pleasure.

"Parlor Games”. Separately the two strangers, Matt Crewe and Carrie MacLean, come to the notorious mysterious Perdition House seeking MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS of a carnal pleasure. Matt becomes Carrie’s personal sex slave, a task that he craves doing.

Title aside, these are three heated erotic romances starring interesting couples in each of the entries.

Harriet Klausner

River Nymph-Shirl Henke

River Nymph
Shirl Henke
Leisure, Feb 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843960112

On the Mississippi Delilah Raymond wins the floating bordello The River Nymph from professional Clint Daniels in a game of cards. However, she hopes to turn respectable with no cards or hookers to manage. Instead she wants to convert the River Nymph into a cargo ship.

To accomplish her objective she needs a partner so she considers Clint, who faced the added humiliation of having to strip after losing a side bet with Delilah. He reluctantly accepts her offer. As they travel the river together with her cargo, they begin to fall in love. However, they face trouble from amoral competitors using hitmen and other dangerous criminals; her only hope to achieve her goal lies in trusting him and his relationship with the nearby Sioux, who revere him as venerable Lightning Hand.

Readers will obtain a feel for nineteenth century Life on the Mississippi with this vivid historical romance. The lead couple is a fascinating duet who gambles on cards, cargo, and love. Though the bad guys contain no redeeming quality, the fun story line is fast-paced from the moment Delilah stuns the cardsharp and never slows down as he risks his life to help her dream come true.

Harriet Klausner

Bare Facts-Katherine Garbera

Bare Facts
Katherine Garbera
Kensington Brava, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758222312

Former model Charity Keone is a highly regarded employee of Liberty Investigations, which provides personal protective services. Currently she is guarding the CEO of Williams International, an importing- exporting firm based in Hong Kong and Seattle, Daniel Williams; he has doubts that the beautiful woman can keep him safe from an unknown enemy wanting him dead and more so from his lewd thoughts. However, he changes his mind when she saves his life from an assassin.

Perhaps it is the danger they face or her rejecting Senator Williams’ proposal for her to be his latest trophy wife, but Charity and Daniel make love; both are stunned by the intensity. However, she knows keeping him from harm remains the prime mission as a ruthless killer stalks Daniel.

Even Charity sees the Charlie's Angels connection with her, Justine and Anna as the Angels and Sam directed them from a voice box as “Charlie”. The first part of the story line focuses on Charity’s introspection and desires leading to the sexual trysts with her client. Towards the middle of the novel, suspense kicks in and never slows down as someone wants the CEO with connections to Japanese gangs dead. Readers will enjoy this fine romantic suspense thriller with two more Angels to follow.

Harriet Klausner

Extreme Danger-Shannon McKenna

Extreme Danger
Shannon McKenna
Kensington Brava, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758211873

FBI Cave Agent Nick Ward knows the stake is rescuing an abducted child twelve years old Sveti from the Russian mafia chief Vadim Zhlogo. Clues take him to remote Frakes Island, a millionaire’s recluse. However, to his chagrin and libido, he observes Becca Cattrell skinny dipping on the island. He is unsure how she fits in as she could be a mob hit woman, but he soon finds himself rescuing her.

Nick and Becca flee for their lives while he still seeks clues to the child. One kiss leads to another, and though the sex is the greatest he ever had, Nick assumes she is professional sent to distract him. As they get closer to the child, Nick errs in judgment leaving his target and Becca in jeopardy.

Though the EXTREME DANGER seems over the top, readers will not care as the latest Cave romantic suspense thriller (see EDGE OF MIDNIGHT and BEHIND CLOSED DOORS) grips the audience from the moment the hero sees the woman skinny dipping and concludes she is trouble. The story line is fast-paced from that first encounter and the lead couple is dynamite as the hero keeps arriving in the Nick of time, but it is the deep look at organ harvesting and trafficking as a lucrative cash crop that brings a morality issue to this fine thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 7, 2008

To Pleasure a Lady-Nicole Jordan

To Pleasure a Lady
Nicole Jordan
Ballantine, Feb 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780345494597

In 1817 the oldest Loring sister Arabella feels it is her responsibility to inform their new guardian the Earl of Danvers that neither she nor her younger siblings (Rosalyn and Lillian) need a babysitter as all three are in their twenties. She goes straight to his home to make sure he understands that the siblings are independent and strong enough to take care of themselves. Marcus Pierce is already irate that the late earl turned him into a “procurer” of matrimony for his three daughters. However, expecting the worst he is stunned when he meets Arabella as he believes he has fallen in love at first sight; the only problem is that the target of his affection loathes him.

They argue, fuss and fight until a frustrated Marcus bets Arabella that he can charm her into his bed in two weeks; if he fails she will be left a spinster to run a finishing school or whatever shelf she sees fit to accomplish. She accepts his daring wager. As he educates her in the seduction of love, Arabella feels divided as she has fallen in love with her guardian, which could cost her the independence she values.

The first Courtship Wars is a great often amusing gender battle between two protagonists who want to win their sexual contest at all costs. The story line is fast-paced as Marcus wonders if love is worth the Taming of the Shrew while Arabella considers whether total independence from male domination is worth a broken heart. Fans will receive immense pleasure from this terrific Regency romance.

Harriet Klausner

Breathless-Sharan McClellan

Sharan McClellan
Silhouette Athena Force, Feb 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373389780

U.S. Marine Corp Combatant diver and Athena Academy graduate Jessica Whitaker leads a military exercise with newbies when she realizes someone sabotaged their training. Before seeking safety for herself, Jessica makes sure none of the participants are left behind as she is a marine.

Soon after that the Athena Academy asks Jessica to find a three-year old shipwreck and recover a laptop from it. Assigned to help her is expert marine salvager and computer guru Zach Holiday. Jess and Zach are attracted to one another from the onset and share euphoria when they find their undersea objective. However before they can shout mission accomplished and explore their feelings, Athena’s deadly enemy, Arachne has sent troops to retrieve the laptop from them. The pair depends on one another to avoid a watery grave.

This tense romantic suspense shows why this reviewer feels the Athena Force series is one of the most exciting on the market today. Sharan McClellan leaves her audience BREATHLESS as her lead couple struggle to survive against incredible odds, they come across as real people whose expertise may not be enough. Fans of the saga will appreciate the latest action packed thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square-Rosina Lippi

The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square
Rosina Lippi
Putnam, Feb 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780399154669

Two years after he arrived in Amarillo, Texas where John Dodge bought the failing business WordPlay Books and turned it profitable before recently selling it; as he always does. His sister worries about John’s inability to settle down in one place, but John starts anew in Lamb’s Corner, South Carolina. He bought Scriveners stationary from retiree Robert Lee Cowper with the stipulation that he keeps the two employees on board for two years.

When he arrives at Lambert Square where his store is located, he begins his efforts to fit in as best as an outsider can. He gets on with seemingly everyone, but it is the president of the Merchant’s Group, Julia Darrow who he finds he desires, a feeling alien to him. She runs and owns the every popular Cocoon that sells exclusive linen and other bedroom paraphernalia, which she and her three employees advertise as THE PAJAMA GIRLS OF LAMBERT SQUARE. Whereas he is falling in love, she mistrusts that emotion having run from Chicago knowing that a dog is a woman’s best friend. Now John has someone he wants to settle down with, but Julia rejects his advances though his kisses make her reconsider; as the townsfolk matchmake them wondering who will retreat and surrender.

This is an entertaining warm regional romance starring two likable protagonists fleeing differently from their respective pasts. Whereas John lives up to his surname dodging commitment like a rolling stone; Julia buried her past settling for eccentricity and dog rescuing in one remote place. An eccentric support cast wants both to stay as they have brought life to a dying small South Carolina town. Fans will appreciate Rosina Lippi’s wonderful contemporary that affirms “home is where the heart is”.

Harriet Klausner

Windswept-Ann Macela

Ann Macela
Medallion, Feb 2008, $7.95
ISBN: 9781933836348

His beloved late granddaddy Edgar Jamison before he died told Davis to “Protect the records”. Granddaddy also selected history professor Dr. Barrett Browning to classify the documents that go back to the early nineteenth century and write from them the definitive papers on Windswept Plantation in St. Gregoryville, Louisiana.

Davis hesitates handing over documents that potentially expose their antecedents to scandal, but he heeds his late granddaddy’s words that “She’s the One” while his cousin Lloyd vocally objects feeling skeletons should remain buried. However, Davis, a successful venture capitalist, owns the boxes of papers as his grandfather trusted him to do the right thing; he decides to go with the professor who admits she hopes her work on Windswept leads to tenure. However, attracted to one another from the first meeting in Houston, Barrett and Davis fall in love even while she uncovers a dark truth in 1830 journal amidst the papers that apparently Lloyd wants buried at all cost.

WINDSWEPT is an engaging romantic suspense thriller that highlights 1830 plantation life in the Bayou through several journal entries weaved throughout the narrative. The key to the well written story line is the romance is for the most part kept on the back burner to slowly simmer into love; that enables the deep look by the professor into the Jamison family tree to serve as the prime plot. Although a late suspense seems a bit over the top; fans will enjoy this fine comparative look at the past and present residents of WINDSWEPT.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cabin Fever-Mary Leo

Cabin Fever
Mary Leo
Harlequin Mediterranean Nights, Feb 2008
ISBN: 9780373389681

Boutique store owner Beth Montgomery wanted to say no when her fifteen years old niece Laura suggested she go on a cruise on the Alexandra's Dream. However Beth reluctantly agrees as Laura hopes her aunt by marriage can keep her prim grandmother and proper mother from destroying her teen fun. Beth and her two children ten years old Connor and seven years old Sarah join the cruise.

Two years have passed since Beth buried her beloved husband, but shockingly she and the ship's diving and other water games instructor Dylan Langstaff are immediately attracted to one another. She considers the time is right to move past grief although she has some lingering guilt and doubt even as her family led by her mother-in-law insists she stay true to her marriage vows.

This is an interesting on the Mediterranean cruise romance starring two likable lead characters and a horde of supporting players. When Beth and Dylan begin to spend time together, her family intrudes as the matriarch leads the youngest generation in opposition. Their interference makes for a fun and poignant trip, but also clutters somewhat the story line with insight into their issues. Still CABIN FEVER is an engaging contemporary romance.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 4, 2008

Handyman-Jodi Lynn Copeland,

Jodi Lynn Copeland,
Kensington Aphrodisia, March 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758222121

“Coming In First”. Lissa has had her full of bad boys, who take care of their needs at the expense of hers. She wants a man who is good with his hands so that every inch of her body is aflame with desire for him. She wonders if Thad is as handy in bed as he is outside.

“Not A Second Too Late”. Genevieve looked forward to her last bachelorette fling before getting married until her sister arrived and destroyed the party for her. She decides to find a male stripper who will customize his act for her only. At the bar sits Nash who seduces her with his eyes and then his hands as he proves quite handy in responding to her needs.

“Third Time's A Charm”. Her loving cousin thinks the best thing to help Holly ignore her woes, is a week of passionate sex with a professional hunk. She hires Ben to please Holly in such way that very one of her cells oozes sex.

These are three heated erotic contemporary romances in which the female protagonist are fully developed and quite different in what they need, but the same with what they desire. The men who enter their lives are hunks who happen to be friends; that link each of the stories. Their camaraderie adds depth to them especially their feelings towards the respective lead woman in their life. Fans will appreciate these ultra thermal tales starring strong fully developed characters.

Harriet Klausner

Cosmic Sex-Karen Kelley

Cosmic Sex
Karen Kelley
Kensington Brava, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758217677

Paradise may be perfect, but it is boring unless you sit on the Coalition of Elders who decides what is best for everyone else. Still Kia cannot understand why her cousin Mala left Nerak for earth; more amazing she stayed there with some earthling (see CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SEXY KIND. However, she needs to know that Mala is okay so she travels to earth to check up on her cousin.

Kia is attracted to undercover cop Nick Scericino who knew she is trouble even before she mentioned being from planet Nerak. She also tells him she wants him, which leaves the police officer bewildered but willing. He agrees to help her find Mala, but during their investigation, Kia begins to understand why Mala loves dysfunctional earth as she no longer wants to go home if Nick will have her.

The second close encounters of the first kind tale COSMIC SEX is an amusing science fiction romance starring a beleaguered, bewildered and benign cop and the female ET who turned this confident tough guy over as she proves earth guys are easy. The story line is filled with action, but like the first sexual encounter between two worlds, the novel is owned by Kia whose concepts and values are radically different than the earthling she loves. Although lacking some of the newness of the previous entry, readers will enjoy Karen Kelley fine tale as men are from earth; women are from Nerak.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Unpredictable-Eileen Cook

Eileen Cook
Berkley, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425213964

In Vancouver Sophie Kintock cannot believe that her boyfriend of six years, anal Doug Chase, dumped her for a tall blond bimbo Melanie the melons. She decides she wants him back, but first must rid him of the model. Upset she meets kind hearted Nick McKenna at the laundry room and thinks he is cute if you like your men shorter than you. However, he helps her with her convoluted plan to regain Doug starting with her faking being a psychic since the Melons believe in readings.

Shockingly Sophie proves successful as people flock to her for her forecasting skills except the teacher-munchkin who assisted her at the start. She becomes famous working radio readings. However, Sophie begins to reassess her goal as she finds she loves being with Nick. However he has Cathie; so morosely listening to her conscience she refuses to try to break up his relationship, as she mistakenly attempted to chase Melons from her former boyfriend.

UNPREDICTABLE is an amusing often satirical contemporary romance that lampoons the psychic world. The story line is refreshed by the short hero who must gaze up into the eyes of his beloved. Part of the fun is learning about Cathie (read the novel to learn just how strong a hold Cathie has on Nick). Readers will enjoy this humorously whimsical tale of love so UNPREDICTABLE.

Harriet Klausner

Master of the Highlands-Veronica Wolff

Master of the Highlands
Veronica Wolff
Berkley, Feb 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425218990

American Lily Hamlin is enjoying her time visiting Scotland as she tries to figure out what she wants in life because she always feels restless. Currently she investigates a not kept up garden maze in Lochaoer when she finds an odd stone map. She presses her hand against the map only to feel the earth shake with her last twenty-first century being the irony of dying in an earthquake away from her home town of San Francisco. However, she does not die, instead she find herself back in 1654; as the map proves to be a time portal.

Highlander Chieftain Ewen Cameron is working with his warriors to drive the English and a rival clan off his land when he spots the bewildered Lily. She speaks weird and her clothing is stranger, but he is attracted to her and her to him. However, he has no time for a female even one he desires as his clan and his heir come before his wants.

Although microwave age Lily adapts to the mid seventeenth century with questionable ease even with love as a motivator, time travel romance fans will want to read the exciting MASTER OF THE HIGHLANDS due to the hero struggling with what his clan needs and what he desires. Lily believes she is finally found her niche in life with the young chieftain warrior, but must persuade him they belong together as he willingly sacrifices his love to keep her safe even if that means 2008 San Francisco. Veronica Wolff provides an entertaining romance starring two likable protagonists who want the best for their beloved.

Harriet Klausner

Demon Night-Meljean Brooks

Demon Night
Meljean Brooks
Berkley, Feb 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425219775

Ethan McCabe takes his role as guardian of Cole’s Hard Time Bar and Grill bartender Charlotte “Charlie” Newcomb quite seriously. So when three malevolent vampires attack her, he is outraged even as he saves her. Apparently she is not so much the target but the expendable pawn to get at her still human sister Jane, a research scientist at Legions Laboratories. Ethan believes Jane’s demonic boyfriend is the culprit behind the assault. To keep her safe from the demons who want her for some unsavory reason, Ethan thinks Charlie should become a vampire.

Still although Charlie hesitates, Ethan plans to risk his long life to keep her safe for that is his job. However, deep in his soul, Ethan knows this is much more than just a job; for inside his heart he knows that keeping her safe is an eternal passion of his as he loves Charlie.

Fans of Meljean Brooks’ Guardians series will appreciate the latest entry, DEMON NIGHT. Ethan is terrific in his role as protector of Charlie, whom he loves, but fears telling her as she has emotional issues caused by bad relationships and her safety comes before his heart. Although it pays to read the previous entries in the Brooks realm (see DEMON MOON and DEMON ANGEL) to better understand the complexities, this is an engaging multifaceted romantic fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

The Mark of the Vampire Queen- Joey Hill

The Mark of the Vampire Queen
Joey Hill
Berkley, Feb 2008, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425219324

Since Jacob Green was chosen by his predecessor Thomas to replace him when the older man knew he was dying, he has become THE VAMPIRE QUEEN'S SERVANT. Jacob tries to be at least Thomas’ equal but he struggles with the way his employer and her species treat humans as expendable. He wants much more as he has fallen in love with her; Jacob is willing to give her his heart and soul to keep her safe.

Lyssa knew from the first time she met Jacob he was different than all the mortals who have served her for almost a millennium as he is an alpha man not a submissive male. He makes her feel so much better than anyone ever has before. She even thinks she may love him, but vampires can live forever with superb health while humans rarely make a century and become frail as the decades pass. Lyssa knows what Jacob wants and offers her, but she fears touching his soul will allow him top touch hers and everyone knows that vampires are soulless.

Vampire romance fans will take immense delight with this heated sequel that makes the supernatural seem natural especially in the boudoir. The story line is driven by the Lady and her servant who represent the social order in which bloodsuckers use humans as consumable supplies (food and otherwise). The lead couple’s attraction grows with Jacob offering her his soul and Lyssa fearing to accept it. Fans of erotic romantic fantasy will relish THE MARK OF THE VAMPIRE QUEEN and look forward to Joey Hill’s next entry in what is turning a strong saga.

Harriet Klausner

The Song-Jean Johnson

The Song
Jean Johnson
Berkley, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425219294

The eight brothers, four sets of twins, were exiled to Nightfall Isle where women are banned; For the most part they have been ignored by the powerful Katan Council of Mages since their banishment; however recently the Council has learned that three females have married three of the siblings (see THE MASTER, THE WOLF and THE SWORD) and remained on the Isle with their soulmate. The Council fear that the ancient prophesy is being fulfilled and debates their options before it is too late.

As the Council argues, the fourth-born sibling Evanor lost his magical abilities and became mute during a war to free his sister-in-law from an evil mage. Healer Mariel comes to Nightfall Isle accompanied by her son to help him regain his voice and to live there. She gives him much more than just efforts to heal his vocal cords; she gives him the magic of love.

Although each tale contains a complete saga focusing on one of the brothers, it behooves the audience to start with the first book because Jean Johnson continues her magical writing of increasingly more intricate details involving the Sons of Destiny big picture. The current story is fast-paced and stars two likable protagonists, but in some ways feels more like a middle tale (it is number four of eight) as it sets the table for seemingly big showdowns. Still Evanor’s entry is fun to follow as he finds love the most powerful lyrical voice in the Johnson universe.

Harriet Klausner