Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oh Baby!-Judy Baer

Oh Baby!
Judy Baer
Steeple Hill, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780373786190

In the Twin Cities, doula birthing coach Molly Cassidy is in high demand by pregnant women and their mates. Most will say it is because of her caring personality that makes her a popular health provider.

Obstetrician Dr. Clay Reynolds has just moved to town three months ago from California and already has a strong practice at the Bradshaw medical Center. However, when he hears all the females and many of the men swear by Molly, he is outraged. He does not believe a non-medically trained person should be offering assistance to women. Clay admits to himself he is attracted to Molly, who shares his feelings. However, their dispute over the role of a doula coaching pregnant women threatens to end their relationship before it begins.

This is an engaging contemporary romance that focuses on two people adamantly disagreeing over the merits of a doula birth coach. The story line is fun to follow, but perhaps a bit too long as the prime debate loses some of its argumentative freshness to redundancy. Still with two fully developed caring people falling in love while arguing health care advice provided by a non-professional makes for an interesting look at what is acceptable health care at a time when costs are skyrocketing and American’s infant mortality rate is worse than that of Cuba.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hot Property-Carly Phillips

Hot Property
Carly Phillips
Harlequin HQN, Jul 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 978037377336

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Amy Stone is the activities director at a retirement community run by her mom. She loves the elderly clients, but feels the time has come to be with people her age. Her New York based Uncle Spencer Atkins offers her a position with his public relations firm, Hot Zone PR and Athletes Only, which she accepts.

Amy’s first client is New York Renegades’ star center fielder John Roper, who had a horrendous World Series somewhat caused by playing with a badly injured shoulder; they first meet at her cousin’s wedding. His high maintenance family demands he pamper them; while he wants his new PR administrator to take care of him personally.

The latest trip to the Hot Zone (see HOT ITEM, HOT STUFF and HOT NUMBER) is a fun look at a celebrity’s life style. As always in a Carly Philips’ HOT PROPERTY, the lead couple makes the tale. In this case, he has no time for romance, feels a need to pull a Floyd Patterson (after the Liston first fight) and wants to elude his out of control family. However, his new PR operative will not allow him to hide in the shadows or behind a mask. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted hot romance between them.

Harriet Klausner

Unmasked-Nicolas Cornick

Nicolas Cornick
Harlequin HQN, Jul 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780373773039

In 1805 the Home Secretary loudly orders Major Nick Falconer to investigate the murder of his odious cousin and to go to Yorkshire to destroy the infamous Glory Girls gang. Nick prefers to do neither, but immediately races off for Yorkshire before his superior rips more skin off his back.

In Yorkshire, Nick meets Widow Mari Osborne; whereas he swears they met in London on the same night his cousin died, she insists they never met before. A bit taken aback as he knows she has no twin or doppelganger, Nick concludes she is lying although he cannot fathom why. He decides to make her his priority as he is attracted to her, but he remains unaware that the two other cases his superior has made Nick’s will soon tie together through the woman he loves.

Robin "Hood-ettes" inside a regency romance make for a merry tale filled with suspense and murder. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that the government operative and the widow meet and never slows down as he investigates her secrets while she tries to nudge him onto false trails filled with red herrings. That passion called love makes for strange bedfellows as Nicolas Cornick provides an enjoyable historical cat and mouse tale.

Harriet Klausner

Hot Property-Carly Phillips

Hot Property
Carly Phillips
Harlequin HQN, Jul 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 978037377336

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Amy Stone is the activities director at a retirement community run by her mom. She loves the elderly clients, but feels the time has come to be with people her age. Her New York based Uncle Spencer Atkins offers her a position with his public relations firm, Hot Zone PR and Athletes Only, which she accepts.

Amy’s first client is New York Renegades’ star center fielder John Roper, who had a horrendous World Series somewhat caused by playing with a badly injured shoulder; they first meet at her cousin’s wedding. His high maintenance family demands he pamper them; while he wants his new PR administrator to take care of him personally.

The latest trip to the Hot Zone (see HOT ITEM, HOT STUFF and HOT NUMBER) is a fun look at a celebrity’s life style. As always in a Carly Philips’ HOT PROPERTY, the lead couple makes the tale. In this case, he has no time for romance, feels a need to pull a Floyd Patterson (after the Liston first fight) and wants to elude his out of control family. However, his new PR operative will not allow him to hide in the shadows or behind a mask. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted hot romance between them.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trio-P.F. Kozak, Devyn Quinn, Jane Ledger

P.F. Kozak, Devyn Quinn, Jane Ledger
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jun 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 0758225318

“Hot Pepper” by P.F. Kozak. Pepper Kaufmann has just come home after a decade away. Back in high school, Butch Lorenzo was her soulmate while Ted Duncan was her best friend. This time she plans to taste both men.

“No Strings Attached” by Devyn Quinn. Exotic dancer Lara Green says yes to a chance to earn a million dollars if she spends a week at a mountain cabin as the sex toy of wealthy Nick Conway and his best friend Jared.

“Bring It On” by Jane Ledger. In an accident in which no one was hurt, Nancy Roman ran into her high school friend police officer Steve Karan and his partner Jack Ginnis. She decides to go for the men in (make that out) of uniform insisting she looks forward to doing both men with their birthday suits.

Not for everyone as the title is apropos with three entertaining ménage a trois tales. The triangles are set up reasonably well so that the erotic story lines do more than just heat the sheets. Fans who prefer something hot yet different will enjoy these women as it takes two men to satisfy them

Harriet Klausner

Damned, Delicious and Dangerous- Delilah Devlin, Lisa Renee Jones, Megan Kerans

Damned, Delicious and Dangerous
Delilah Devlin, Lisa Renee Jones, Megan Kerans
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jun 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 0758225504

“The Demon Lord’s Cloak” by Delilah Devlin. Voletta is the sacrifice left naked and tied for the fallen angel Damien to devour. However, instead of the usual fear he sees in the women dumped on him, she welcomes his touch.

“Night Sins” by Lisa Renee Jones. In Las Vegas, Ethan the vampire and Kayla the watcher know a relationship between them is taboo by both their species; however, neither can resist the lure of the other.

“The Devil’s Paradise” by Megan Kerans. Dash gave away his soul centuries ago leaving himself condemned for eternity until he meets wedding planner Justice who plans a gala at The Last Resort Hotel, but nothing is like she expected when she meets the soulless one.

These are three lighthearted paranormal exotic romances starring likable female humans who go after DAMNED, DELICIOUS AND DANGEROUS hunks with no fears in their hearts.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nights in Black Leather-Noelle Mack

Nights in Black Leather
Noelle Mack
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jun 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758221896

Lara Stone lives up to her surname as she leaves no stone unturned or untouched for that matter in her quest to clmb the corporate ladder. Thus when an opportunity arises, the ambitious at all cost Lara avidly agrees to be the corporate headquarters’ mole in their London office; she sees an opportunity to shortcut the climb to the top.

Lara leaves Chicago for England to spy on hedge fund magnate Adam Bowlin. However, she is stunned by the hunk she assumed was a playboy. Instead of clubbing he prefers nights in his chateau spent with the beautiful American as they explore together virtually and reality BDSM and more including her most secret desires. However, in daylight she fears how her beloved will react when he learns why she came to England.

This is an engaging erotic romance although too much emphasis is on the BDSM scenes and not on the lead couple outside of their sexual encounters. The story line hops from one BDSM scenario including virtual reality to another. Fans who prefer their hardcore to dominate the tale will relish the erotic moody blues of NIGHTS IN BLACK LEATHER.

Harriet Klausner

Highland Fire-Hannah Howell

Highland Fire
Hannah Howell
Zebra, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780821774298

In 1400 off the Northwest coast of Scotland, Moira Robertson recklessly risks her life to rescue her kidnapped cousin. She cannot help noticing the older man on board George Fraser, who stares at her when she thinks she does not notice and wonders about his secrets just like he does likewise about her. A sudden storm sweeps Moira and George overboard. They manage to make it to shore where she realizes his bulging stomach is gone and so is his gray. Elderly George is a hunk her age not thrice her age.

Tavig MacAlpin explains to Moira why he was disguised. He tells her he has been accused and convicted by Sir Ivor of a crime he did not commit; his sentence is the gallows. He seeks proof of his innocence, but the ransom to capture him allows for his death. As they help each other on their quests, they fall in love, but neither can look at the future as the present is filled with danger.

This is an engaging Scottish historical romance with a wee bit of the paranormal (she is a healer and he can see the future). The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down until the final confrontation. Although Moira can be a pain in the butt with her continual rejections of the hero’s declarations of love based on the Scottish superstitions that she might be evil (except when she heals someone with her touch), fans will enjoy Hannah Howell’s latest fun Highlander historical.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Walk on the Wild Side-Christine Warren

Walk on the Wild Side
Christine Warren
St. Martin’s, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0312947917

In Tennessee while driving home with her mom Misty, their truck crashes. Misty is unconscious, but Kitty Jane Sugarman manages to get both of them clear of the vehicle. However, they need help desperately, but on the back roads no one is in sight. Somehow while in severe pain, Kitty Jane for the first time in her life shifts her body; she now knows her father is an Other, a lion shapeshifter.

The Felix of the Red Rock Leos, Martin Lowe is dying from cancer. He wants to meet his daughter before he dies. He sends his trusted aide Marcus “Max” Stuart to arrange for his meeting Kitty. Max goes to Vegas to meet Kitty at the airport. He is stunned to find an innocent twenty-four years old instead of the hardened easterner that he expected. However, many in the Pride want Max and Kitty out of the way so the can replace Martin and inherit his wealth; none expected the strong loving bond between the number two Leo and the daughter of the Felix.

The latest Others’ supernatural romance is a strong tale starring a solid cast who make believers that shapeshifters exist. Kitty and Max are a wonderful coupling as they fight, fuss, and purr in love. However, the star is Kitty who had no inkling of her paternal DNA until the accident, but whose steel magnolia personality comes in handy as she deals with her dad’s pride, a totally new side of the family; with at least one or more wanting her either frightened back to backwoods Tennessee or dead. Fans will enjoy the war between love and avarice as Christine Warren provides another terrific paranormal romantic suspense thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We All Fall Down-Simon Wood

We All Fall Down
Simon Wood
Leisure, Jul 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843960532

Design engineering contractor Hayden Duke is pleased to have been hired by Marin Design Engineering for a short term project. He hopes that his work will impress the firm’s bosses so they would hire him for a full time position. Before he was selected, another contractor walked into the ocean and drowned. The witnesses who called 911 heard the man mumble he did a horrible thing and must pay the price.

The person who hired Hayden is his friend Shane Fallon who is glad to have his pal on board. A couple of days after Hayden starts working Shane sends him an email with an attachment that he cannot open. Hayden calls Shane, who warns him to delete it. Hayden goes to Shane’s house only to find a hallucinating man who is locked inside his apartment seeking electronic bugs. He kills himself and the autopsy reveals a bruise on his hand like the man who committed suicide in the ocean. Shane’s sister Rebecca and Hayden believe there is more to his apparent suicide and it is linked in some manner to the project. When the project is completed, everyone associated with it except Hayden and Rebecca die in an arson fire. Trying to stay alive and elude police and fire officials’ suspicions, the pair seek the truth, which may prove deadly for them.

WE ALL FALL DOWN is an exciting enthralling thriller that focuses on two characters, Hayden and Rebecca, who obstinately and perhaps foolishly are determined to learn what is going on. They refuse to quit their amateur sleuthing although each step especially false leads they take opens up additional cans of worms and exponentially increases the danger to them. Simon Wood provides a dynamite suspense story as the audience is beguiled into anticipating what next.

Harriet Klausner

One With the Darkness-Susan Squires

One With the Darkness
Susan Squires
St. Martin's, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0312941048

Eighteen hundred years have past since Contessa Donnatella di Poliziano followed her species’ strict rule outlawing the creation of a new vampire. Over the eighteen centuries, she has been lonely, angry and acerbic because back then she had the chance to save the life of the only man she loved, Jergan, but timidly let him die instead of converting him to what she was and is.

In 1821, her Renaissance friends Michelangelo and Leonardo left Donnatella a note that they knew of a time machine that would enable her to back to that first century and mend her broken heart. However, upon her return to the age of Caligula when she was and once again is Livia Quintus Lucellus, she forgets her quest. Instead she is part of a group wanting the Emperor removed from power. However, fate intervenes when she buys Jergan the slave, but will the second time around end any different than the first tragic time.

This is a superb time travel vampire romance starring a courageous heroine who goes after the love of her life in an attempt to rectify what she believes was an error on her part. The underlying second chance at love theme enhances a strong plot in which Caligula’s Rome is a key element. Susan Squires knows her vampires as she provides a strong tale of forbidden love in Ancient Rome.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tall Tales and Wedding Veils-Jane Graves

Tall Tales and Wedding Veils
Jane Graves
Forever, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0446617873

In Las Vegas, Heather Montgomery and Tony McCaffrey marry after too much champagne. However when they return to their hometown, the prim and proper accountant realizes they are incompatible as she is a workaholic and he is a player. She informs her spouse she will annul their marriage; he offers no resistance.

When she learns it will take a month, he suggests they live together for the thirty days; then they file saying they made a mistake; this way she will not suffer local humiliation for her drunken I do. She agrees, but soon their attraction has both seeking compromise. He teaches her to relax and have fun and she shows him how to make his sports bar dream a reality.

This is a fresh throwback contemporary romance between two likable characters. The story line is fast paced from the onset as Tony looks forward to returning to being the playboy of the western world, but his conscience demands he protect from scandal and ridicule the vulnerable Heather. Readers will enjoy their antics of living together for one month as he never cleans his toothbrush while she sterilizes everything. The life planner and the chaotic free faller make for an engaging Texas romance.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pearl’s Redemption-C.H. Admirand

Pearl’s Redemption
C.H. Admirand
Five Star, Jun 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 97815941467005

In Emerson, Colorado, Pearl Lloyd 's life and that of her daughter Amy dramatically improved when her odious abusive spouse died. She inherited the Ranch that her ogre husband had turned into a brothel, but managed to keep him from selling her or her Amy to men.

However, the infamous Committee for the betterment of Emerson place an ad in a Denver paper offering Pearl’s ranch for sale without her approval. Bostonian Davidson Myth buys the spread sight unseen because he is fleeing Massachusetts and the belief that he killed his brother. After the tall female points a gun at him and the sheriff puts him in jail, he and the woman compare notes. They agree to team up for now until they can resolve their differences. As they fall in love, she remains wary of men while he tries to show her that not all males are a beast like her late husband was. Meanwhile someone is willing to kill and has murdered to gain land cheaply; eliminating Pearl and David is acceptable.

The third C.H. Admirand’s Irish Western romance (see THE RANCHER’S HEART) is an entertaining historical that stars two likable heroes conflicted over ownership of the ranch due to that outrageous committee committing fraud. The story line is fast-paced but the audience will feel they are in the Rockies; a trademark of a Ms. Admirand tale. Fans will relish this fine entry as a somewhat beleaguered depressed and bone weary heroine is quite a pearl of a woman desspite of all she has been through. She has hope for a better future for her and Amy.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Falling for the Deputy-Amy Frazier

Falling for the Deputy
Amy Frazier
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373782406

Western Carolina Sun reporter Chloe Atherton arrives in Applegate, North Carolina to do a story on the local sheriff's office. Deputy Sheriff Mack Whittaker is assigned escort duty, an assignment he detests especially since his mom keeps calling him with the same question did the reporter come yet.

A Gulf War veteran, Mack wants his past to remain buried especially his need for atonement from his military days so he plans to keep the journalist focused on the department and not him. However, once they meet, neither can ignore the attraction between them so his strategy goes awry. Still, the consummate professional, Chloe keeps digging looking for the right angle to her story, which she believes is Mack’s secret; whatever that is. Although she feels a bit guilty for her investigating as she has a whopper of a secret of her own.

Chloe and Mack are a strong Carolina blue pairing as each has reasons to avoid a relationship, but shares one overarching motive to come together: love. The support cast adds eccentricity especially the sheriff’s office and his interfering mom. Readers will enjoy this often amusing, but always serious contemporary as two people with a past fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

A Soldier Comes Home-Cindi Myers

A Soldier Comes Home
Cindi Myers
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373714988

In Colorado Springs, Captain Ray Hughes returns from a deployment in the war zone to no wife and little left behind in their house. Worse his spouse dumped their young child Thomas James on his parents in Omaha. Ray vows to bring his son home and be the best single dad in the world; he also swears no more female entanglements.

Widow Chrissie Evans still grieves the death of her husband in combat. She vowed no men especially military ever again. However, she finds herself attracted to her neighbor, a single dad raising a child by himself while on leave from the war.

A SOLDIER COMES HOME is an engaging look at the problems our military confront with constant deployments especially when a single parent has a child to raise. The story line is character driven as Chrissie fears a relationship with a soldier since her Special Forces spouse died in action and Ray distrusts women who cannot adapt to being a soldier’s wife as he refuses to let another female hurt him and especially harm Thomas. Although the climax feels too rushed and simple, fans will appreciate the deep look at a single soldier’s relationships with his son, his parents, and the neighbor next door that he loves.

Harriet Klausner

To Protect the Child-Anna DeStefano

To Protect the Child
Anna DeStefano
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 2008, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373714971

In Atlanta neurosurgeon Robert Livingston performs emergency surgery at Atlanta Memorial on a Jane Doe rushed to the hospital. However, he is a bit surprised that the FBI and Atlanta police maintain a vigil waiting for her to awaken. Even more stunning to the physician is his attraction to an unconscious woman he never met before the OR; especially since his own marriage collapsed mostly due to him after their child died.

When Jane awakens she informs him she is Alexa Vega though her memory is fuzzy. Over a short time she regains much of what she lost and informs the caring doctor that she has been working undercover collecting information against a deranged dangerous Russian mobster. However, she also knows she left behind a child Evie who needs her help, as the girl’s only friend is her stuffed animal Felix, and her psychopath mobster of a father is apt to harm perhaps kill his daughter.

This is a deep police procedural romance starring two dedicated professionals in different fields falling in love; yet the story line is owned by “Bambi” as Lexie knows Evie is in deep trouble because she failed to save the child, but plans to make a second go at it. Readers will be hooked from the opening sequence until the final confrontation as Anna DeStefano provides an exciting tale powered by a child in need.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 19, 2008

Letters to a Secret Lover-Toni Blake

Letters to a Secret Lover
Toni Blake
Avon, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061429880

Relationship advice columnist Lindsey Brooks feels she is on top of the world with a hunk of a fiancé Garrett, a great job, and excellent shopping choices in Chicago. However when Garrett dumps her, a hurt and embarrassed Lindsey decides to retreat. She heads to Moose Falls, Montana with a plan to purchase the canoe livery once owned by her late great-aunt Millie. Thus she and her family can go rural when they need an urban retreat whenever they want.

The owner grumpy Rob Colter refuses to sell. He is attracted to the city slicker, but wants her to leave him to his snippy existence. She thinks he is perfect for her sexually as she is attracted to the grouch. As they fall in love, she finds his passionate love letters and discovers the tattoo on his chest; she concludes he met and lost his soulmate and second helpings is not her style.

Though many readers will guess the twist to this fine romance, the eccentric small-town residents enhance a fun contemporary as the advice columnist and the grump fall in love. The amusing story line embellishes the differences between the lead pair yet shows how compatible they are in and out of bed. Fans will appreciate Toni Blake’s fine romance as Lindsey knows she found love, but her beloved had found his soulmate before her based on reading the LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER from Rob to Gina; the truth will set them free.

Harriet Klausner

Not Another Bad Date-Rachel Gibson

Not Another Bad Date
Rachel Gibson
Avon, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061178047

Science fiction and fantasy author Adele Harris leaves Boise to go home to Cedar Creek, Texas to help her pregnant older sister Sherrilyn who is in the hospital while her husband William moved in with his college age assistant Stormy. Adele is caring for her thirteen years old niece Kendra. She thinks of Zach Zemaitis who broke her heart fourteen years ago.

A former professional football player and U of Texas legend, the widower Zach is trying to raise his ten year old daughter in Tiffany in his late wife’s hometown. This forces him to pretend he cared about Devon who was a malicious person and the cause of his break up with his beloved Adele. Zach is stunned to see Adele, who he never stopped loving, but knows she will never forgive him for the big hurt. Meanwhile in the afterlife Devon Hamilton-Zemaitis must pay for her bad karma on earth as dying by crashing into a garbage truck is fitting but not enough; her job is to bring Adele and Zach together, the way it should have been.

This is a whimsical second chance at love romance in which the paranormal is kept to a minimal, but brings karma and humor to the mix. Readers will relish Zach’s efforts to regain what he lost years ago while Adele wants to avoid him like the plague. Devon brings humor to the mix starting with her former late schoolteacher lecturing her, a trip to Wal-Mart and the need for her as pompous mother to back off from interfering in her mission. Rachel Gibson provides a warm Texas contemporary with a conniving matchmaker from beyond.

Harriet Klausner

The Daddy Plan-Karen Rose Smith

The Daddy Plan
Karen Rose Smith
Silhouette Special Edition
ISBN: 9780373249084

Corrie Edwards wants to have a baby although she has a slight problem to overcome; she has no spouse, boyfriend or significant other to speak of. She asks her boss, veterinarian Dr. Sam Barclay to be the child’s sperm donor. He is shocked by her request, but reluctantly agrees.

As Sam and Corrie work out the logistics, each finds an attraction to the other that neither felt before her request. Still he is concerned she will change her mind as he recently ended a relationship when the woman had an abortion without informing him of her intent. As he falls in love, Sam has some doubts while Corrie begins to question her decision for having a child.

On the surface the second Dads in Progress (see THE DADDY DILEMMA) plot is a typical overused theme, but superb author Karen Rose Smith keeps her story line fresh by not overwhelming the tale with excess baggage. Instead she allows the best friends to struggle with their changing relationship as the unborn nukes their previous easy going pairing. Fans will enjoy the well written entertaining THE DADDY PLAN as Sam and Corrie wonder what they truly want from the other now that love has entered the equation.

Harriet Klausner

Slow Hands-Leslie Kelly

Slow Hands
Leslie Kelly
Harlequin Blaze, Jun 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373794065

The Turner half-sisters banker Madeline and socialite Tabitha Turner adore their too often married father and want the best for him; they hope his latest much younger spouse, number four, proves as such. However, Tabby learns their new stepmother detestable Deborah plans to bid on a gigolo at a charity bachelor auction.

Tabby insists her sibling Maddy outbid the shrew. Maddy reluctantly agrees for daddy’s sake as she does not want him hurt. She wins international businessman Jake Wallace. However, as their attraction grows, he is confused by her references to global economy as if she assumes he is an expert when he is a local paramedic; the auction brochure was wrong.

The fun with this humorous contemporary romance is the miscommunication between Maddy and Jake; as her premise is he is an international womanizing businessman while he assumes she knows he is a paramedic. Their banter sounds at times out of an Abbot and Costello routine only bawdier. Leslie Kelly keeps her ensemble under control while the laughs never stop as Maddy and Jake fall in love, but may not make it together due to her pre-perceptions.

Harriet Klausner

Nobody Does It Better-Jennifer LaBrecque

Nobody Does It Better
Jennifer LaBrecque
Harlequin Blaze, Jun 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373794058

After ending her no-go relationship with her boyfriend who called her a compulsive “neurotic mess”, American schoolteacher Holly Smith vows to find her biological mother who deserted the family when she was a toddler; she needs to know why. This is the first flight for Atlanta’s Holly Smith as she heads to Venice, Italy.

Sitting next to Holly on the plane is English tour guide Gage Carswell, who actually is an undercover t British Secret Service agent working the Gorgon case in hopes of capturing this uranium black-market dealer. Holly fits the profile of the type of female Gorgon obsesses over because of her aqua eyes. As Gage and Holly begin to fall in love, he fears for her life if Gorgon captures his woman.

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER is an amusing espionage romance as the British Secret service believes Holly is a brilliant undercover agent who uses her neurosis to conceal her mission. Since she is the worst choice as a spy and Gage wonders if eh is falling in love with the enemy, fans will laugh out loud at their antics. 007 is tuned upside down as Jennifer LaBrecque provides a jocular The Spy Who Loves Me contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Red-Hot and Royal-Susanna Carr

Red-Hot and Royal
Susanna Carr
Signet, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780451223999

Following the forced wedding of compatriot Prince Hugo to Princess Agnes, three other princes, Zain of Mataar, Santos of Isla de la Perla, and Rafael of Tiazza heed the warning of watching their steps in public. The threesome agrees that even though Agnes meets the bridal princess job description perfectly, they do not want to follow Hugo into an arranged boring marriage.

Zain is turning thirty shortly; his people believe deeply in the “Prince Curse” that the female who kisses him at midnight on his birthday is his bride; failure to comply means forfeiting his claim to the throne. To avoid ambitious females, Zain hides in an Illinois cornfield. Lauren is on a quest to achieve her life goals including kissing a prince; she does at the wrong time, but rejects Zain’s offer of marriage though accepts his offer of bed time.

Santos is exiled to a class in Los Angeles hosted by an image consultant so that he can perform some of the duchy’s diplomatic functions. Kaylee sees her project as converting a surfer-boy into a royal adult; Santos sees the project as converting his instructor from a born again workaholic into a frolicking beach bunny.

Rafael visits his brother Luca, who loves unacceptable Cathy the American commoner. He asks his friend Shayla to pretend to be a gold-digger chasing Luca so their family will accept Cathy as the lesser of two evils. However, Rafael turns jealous when Shayla performs in his mind too perfectly and Cathy dumps Rafael for concealing her from his family.

These four contemporary romances are amusing chick lit tales as the European royals are Americanized. Susanna Carr juggles are ensemble cast with dexterity so that none are the same and all are full blooded; albeit the guys in blue and the gals in red. Although there are a couple of key moments that are brushed aside but seem too significant to ignore, sub-genre fans will appreciate these middle class women who fit the anti-princess job description and their royal hunks falling in taboo love.

Harriet Klausner

Mindhealer-Lilith Saintcrow

Lilith Saintcrow
ImaJinn, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9781933417363

The Circle Lightfall is stunned by the brutal assaults as they are clueless who is behind these horrific attacks that leave the victims body and soul broken. The Watcher/Tracker patrol the perimeter and more expanding their protective role from individual witches to the city, but have failed to prevent the vicious muggings.

The Circle Lightfall chooses Mindhealer Caro Robbins to investigate though they are concerned as she refuses to have a Watcher at her side; she has suffered survivor guilt ever since a Watcher sacrificed himself to save her life. When the Dark minion attacks her, Merrick the patrol Watcher rescues Caro. He realizes she is his Witch, which means he is to personally protect his beloved, but the Mindhealer rejects his protection. Frustrated as Caro enters dangerous scenarios, Merrick proves as obstinate as she is; going where she goes even though she objects. Love is a dangerous thing when two stubborn people insist on keeping the other safe while facing deadly encounters.

The latest Dark and Light war is a fascinating tale with the added twist of a Watcher who finally finds his redemption only to have his one decline. The story line is action-packed from the onset and never slows down, a trademark of Lilith Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine tales as well as this terrific saga. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as each needs to keep the other safe for differing motives; her because of watching a Watcher die for her and him because it is part of his “DNA”. Fans will enjoy MINDHEALER, a delightful “Watcher” romantic fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

Real Vampires Get Lucky-Gerry Bartlett

Real Vampires Get Lucky
Gerry Bartlett
Berkley, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425221549

By the dumpster in the alley near her shop, Glory St. Clair hears someone gurgling their last breath. She and Valdez the canine protector rush outside to find a young female human dying from the loss of blood caused by a vampire mugging. Unable to resist though only recently being converted from pure blood type B human to vampire universal blood user vampire, Glory does her first turning.

However, Lucky turns out to be more than just lucky to be alive (loose definition). She is a flamboyant loan shark collector for the mob and has some strong family ties. While Glory tries to get Lucky to hide her exhibitionist tendencies and to stop breaking bones, vampire hunters converge on the instructor and her recalcitrant student while Lucky goes after Glory’s pals who owe her boss money. Worse Lucky converted her former rock star boyfriend into a vampire to avenge his leaving her. Real vampires get unlucky when the real world intrudes as someone wants Glory dead.

In her third Real Vampire appearance, Glory learns that being an undead does not have as direct path to hell as good intentions. Nothing goes right from the moment she saves Lucky’s life. Fans will appreciate this amusing lighthearted entry as the heroine wonders will she live long enough to survive her first conversion.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 16, 2008

Release Me-Farrah Rochon

Release Me
Farrah Rochon
Leisure, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 0843960582

The car accident ended NBA basketball player Toby Holmes’ career, but he did not mope over what could have been; instead since his forced sports retirement he became an entertainment manager concentrating on music talent. He becomes euphoric when Marshall Kellerman of Over the Edge Productions offers his client Aria Jordon a fabulous deal that will make her famous. To help, Toby hires a management company to help promote his star.

His childhood friend Sienna Culpepper is put in charge of the publicity. She assumes Aria and Toby are seeing each other and becomes jealous because she is attracted to him like always. Meanwhile Aria also wants Toby, but turns to his long time rival hoping to generate jealousy. On the other hand Toby heeding his older brother’s warning is careful with his relationship with Aria and begins to fall in love with Sienna. Chaos becomes the norm for this foursome.

RELEASE ME is an enjoyable contemporary romance starring likable lead characters who forge a triangle of sorts that converts into a rectangle. Although resolution could have occurred faster, fans will relish this fine tale as Toby falls in love with Sienna, who has loved him since they were children, but assumes he will never reciprocate and besides he has Aria. Farrah Rochon entertains with an entertainment romance.

Harriet Klausner

Release Me-Farrah Rochon

Release Me
Farrah Rochon
Leisure, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 0843960582

The car accident ended NBA basketball player Toby Holmes’ career, but he did not mope over what could have been; instead since his forced sports retirement he became an entertainment manager concentrating on music talent. He becomes euphoric when Marshall Kellerman of Over the Edge Productions offers his client Aria Jordon a fabulous deal that will make her famous. To help, Toby hires a management company to help promote his star.

His childhood friend Sienna Culpepper is put in charge of the publicity. She assumes Aria and Toby are seeing each other and becomes jealous because she is attracted to him like always. Meanwhile Aria also wants Toby, but turns to his long time rival hoping to generate jealousy. On the other hand Toby heeding his older brother’s warning is careful with his relationship with Aria and begins to fall in love with Sienna. Chaos becomes the norm for this foursome.

RELEASE ME is an enjoyable contemporary romance starring likable lead characters who forge a triangle of sorts that converts into a rectangle. Although resolution could have occurred faster, fans will relish this fine tale as Toby falls in love with Sienna, who has loved him since they were children, but assumes he will never reciprocate and besides he has Aria. Farrah Rochon entertains with an entertainment romance.

Harriet Klausner

Wanted: The Half-Breed-Bobbi Smith

Wanted: The Half-Breed
Bobbi Smith
Leisure, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 0843958502

Years ago in Two Guns, Texas, half Comanche Wind Walker Stevenson and Veronica “Roni” Reynolds loved each other, but they were too young especially to overcome the objections of her parents and his stepmother who loathed the half-breed illegitimate son of her spouse. Roni eventually left town to follow in her dad’s footsteps, but ultimately she returns as the latest generation Dr. Reynolds.

When Roni and Walker see each other for the first time in years, they both confess their love for the other. However, soon afterward, the half-Comanche is arrested and convicted of killing a rancher. As he is sent to prison he swears to his beloved he is innocent. Ronnie wants to believe him, but the evidence leaves her with doubts. When Walker escapes, Ronnie joins him to uncover the identity of the real killer.

This entertaining nineteenth century western romantic amateur sleuth stars two strong ethical people who loved one another when they were young and as adults still do; though many townsfolk loathe their relationship as an abomination. The investigation serves more as a vehicle to bring Roni and Wind Walker together yet also refreshes the overused basic theme of a taboo romance while cleverly designed with a neat twist. Bobbi Smith entertains sub-genre fans with the forbidden love between a hybrid and a purebred in which a homicide brings them together but may end up separating them forever.

Harriet Klausner

Cry of the Wolf-Elaine Barbieri

sCry of the Wolf
Elaine Barbieri
Leisure, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 0843960132

Embracing her Kiowa heritage, Letty Wolf needs to protect her three estranged daughters. She has found two of them (see NIGHT OF THE WOLF and SING OF THE WOLF), but has one to go Justine Fitzsimmons.

Out of work and money in Oklahoma Justine obtains work as a cook although she cannot boil water. Her boss hires Ryder Knowles to teach Justine how to cook. Ryder acts nasty and contemptible towards his student even as he seeks a missing heiress. However, he also sees inside to the vulnerable women hiding behind a veneer. When danger threatens Justine, he is there to protect her even while they fall in love. Also rallying around the unskilled cook is her mom, sisters and their family.

This is a terrific ending to a contemporary paranormal romance in which the third sister, like her siblings before her, is the star. Stranded in dingy nowhere, Justine meets two strangers who demand she go with them. One wants her dead while the other wants her safely with her mom and sisters. Elaine Barbieri provides her fans with a fabulous finish to an engaging trilogy.

Harriet Klausner

Weddings Can Be Murder-Christie Craig

Weddings Can Be Murder
Christie Craig
Love Spell, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0505527316

With two weeks to go before they exchange I do, Katie and Joe have doubts. Katie is not sure she wants to walk down the aisle while Joe wonders why he felt attracted and connected to a woman he met in a bar.

While the pair separately wonders about marriage to each other, private investigator Carl Hades after battling a man wearing a pink thong is meeting with wedding planner Tabitha Jones of Tabitha Weddings on a case he is working as her brides are suddenly dying which is murdering her business. However, Tabitha is murdered. Meanwhile, Katie wants Carl and her best friend Leslie desires Joe. Besides which a serial bride killer aims to make Katie the next victim as WEDDINGS CAN BE MURDER.

Romantic suspense fans will appreciate this fine fast-paced tale in which two couples struggle with their pairings while Carl works a homicide case in which his client is no longer around to pay him. The story line focuses more on the romantic quadrangular relationships with lighthearted sexual bantering. The murder mystery subplot is entertaining although the wedding killer is a bit over the aisle; but clearly this tale is predominately about the zaniness of marrying the wrong person when Mr. Right is locked with you in a closet.

Harriet Klausner

Phantom-Lyndsay Randall

Lyndsay Randall
Love Spell, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0505527650

Every midnight Dax knows the assault will occur. The demonic soul stealer Phantom attacks Dax's body and mind in an attempt to gain control. So far Dax has thwarted the beatings, but he also knows he is tiring of the daily war for his soul; he can only kill so many of Phantom’s horde of evil riders as every night more arrive. Dax realizes he must never show his love of anyone for they will become the target to force him to acquiesce.

Healer Robyn has loved Dax forever though he avoids her. She believes he feels the same way about her though they have not seen each other until recently in ages. Dax is frightened because he knows the demon will read his love for Robyn and go after her soul in order to claim his soul. Dax vows never even if he must enter hell; Robyn vows to be at his side when he attacks the Phantom.

From the opening frightening sequence to the climax, PHANTOM has a deep feel of doom as if it is just a matter time before the evil one and his minions abduct Dax’s soul and most likely that of the pure good Robyn. The lead couple is a superb pairing as he wants her as far away from the malevolence that hunts him as possible and she needs to be at his side battling evil for his soul that her heart claims is hers. With nasty villains and fully developed good guys, Lyndsay Randall’s gripping horror romance belongs to the constant sense that evil has eternity to win.

Harriet Klausner

A Curious Affair-Melanie Jackson

A Curious Affair
Melanie Jackson
Love Spell, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0505527383

Three years have passed since her spouse died, but Jillian Marsh has not moved on; she still grieves her loss and questions whether life is worth living. However, last Halloween, lightning hit Jillian. The only after effect is she can communicate with cats like a Dr. Doolittle.

Finally, on a rainy March night in the Sierras (that is an oxymoron for that season and locale) Jillian considers suicide as she never got the chance to apologize to her husband for doing him wrong and she suffers from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder); the third Seconal and fourth Drambuie add to her melancholy. However before she takes her life, Atherton the cat, whom she never met, arrives to inform her that a murder just occurred. Jillian informs new sheriff Tyler Murphy. As he tries to keep her out of his inquiry, she refuses to stay on the sidelines. Meanwhile the townsfolk refuse to assist the sheriff on his investigation; so Jillian turns to the feline population as they are determined to see the killer pay and expect the woman who can understand them to take care of justice for them.

This whimsical whodunit second chance at love is stolen by the feline crowd especially Atherton, who fits TS Eliot’s quote (at the beginning of the tale of the tail): “When a Cat adopts you there is nothing to be done about it except to put up with it until the wind changes.” Although a bit padded with too much cat litter at times, fans will enjoy this lighthearted frolic in which cats serves as witnesses to the crime and as matchmakers.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Destination: Marriage-Jill Marie Landis, Jo Leigh and Jackie Braun

Destination: Marriage
Jill Marie Landis, Jo Leigh and Jackie Braun
Harlequin, Jun 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373837250

“Trouble in Paradise” by Jill Marie Landis Carrie is to marry Kurt in Hawaii, but nothing goes right making her wonder if an article she just read on omens is warning her she is making a mistake.

"Biting the Apple" by Jo Leigh. After winning a wedding party in New York, Trish asks her boyfriend Mark to come with her as her pretend groom so she enjoy the Big Apple and perhaps obtain a reporter’s job there; but Manhattan makes her wonder about her future with Mark and her choice of locale and employment.

"A Venetian Affair” by Jackie Braun. Dayle and Max are partners in an import-export firm. While on business in Venice, the engaged Dayle sees a deeper side to the womanizing Max and wonders about partnering in their personal lives too.

These are three wonderful contemporary romances starring likable couples discovering what they really desire and love in life.

Harriet Klausner

Hot Date-Ann Garvey

Hot Date
Ann Garvey
Kensington Brava, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758215932

Following her divorce, Grace Lamb returns to her hometown of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania in a rundown VW bus that should have had its last rites years ago. She seeks to renew her juices by opening a gardening business, but her first event in town is to crash into a local police car driven by Nick Griffin the hunk, her older brother's best friend.

Whereas she quickly buries herself with enthusiasm in the restoration of an antique store and being a kind of big sister to a young girl, Nick is a bit surprised that he is attracted to the beautiful woman he always thought of as a pain in the butt little sister; the girl who was always in trouble and needing his rescuing. He does that like old times, but Grace is irate as she does not want a babysitter but a loving partner as she proves in bed that she is his equal and does need his saving her, only being there for her. Making matters worse he alienates the local mob.

This is an engaging look at a small Pennsylvania town through the dual lenses of a romance and of the townsfolk living in Wrightsville. The relationship between big brother’s friend and the little sister changes because of Nick seeing her as a sexy adult and not his pal’s younger sibling; the amazing Grace always desired and was half in love with Nick in time for years. Amusing HOT DATE is a fun contemporary romance.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Superb and Sexy-Jill Shalvis

Superb and Sexy
Jill Shalvis
Kensington Brava, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758221841

Sky High Air concierge receptionist Maddie hides her attraction to brooding pilot owner Brody West partly because of her entangled past and somewhat due to his outrageously flirting with every female except her; he keeps his distance. However, when her twin sister Leena arrives frightened with the need to activate their disappearance plan as Maddie had previously done alone, Brody becomes gravely concerned and intercedes as he wants to help the sisters.

Maddie and Brody pose as a married couple. He shocks her as he knows her intimately when she thought he barely knew she breathed. For Leena’s sake Maddie goes back to her past that she fled with Brody at her side. As they fall in love she considers running again while he must persuade her to stay.

The third Sky High Air Sexy with a capital S tale (see SMART AND SEXY and STRONG AND SEXY) is an engaging refreshing entry as Jill Shalvis moves the plot from the air and the airport to the water and ground. The story line is driven by the lead couple who battle and love each other as she chooses flight and he chooses fight. Although the suspense never soars until very late, fans will enjoy this engaging contemporary romance as love takes to the air, earth and sea.

Harriet Klausner

When He Was Bad-Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden

When He Was Bad
Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden
Kensington Brava, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758227264

"Miss Congeniality" by Shelly Laurenston:. In Seattle, Van Holtz heir as the future alpha to his pack ignores the fact that Professor Irene Conridge seems to not want him as he desires her. She actually hides her attraction as she struggles against nasty enemies who want her chemical warfare secrets. Only Van Holtz can keep her safe, but she wonders at what cost.

"Wicked Ways" by Cynthia Eden: Miranda Shaw's Internet date affirms that this is a dangerous form of meeting someone when he tries to bite her neck not to give her a hickey but to drink her blood. Her next door neighbor Cain Lawson, who has fantasized about her, hears her scream and comes to her rescue. They team up in the boudoir and on the prowl to prevent a serial killing vampire from further murders.

These are two entertaining paranormal romantic suspense novellas that sub-genre fans will appreciate as the heroes’ wet dream of the respective lead females while the women seem to ignore them until that first heated kiss.
Harriet Klausner

His Dark and Dangerous Ways-Edith Layton

His Dark and Dangerous Ways
Edith Layton
Avon, Jun 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780061253638

Undercover agent Lord Simon Atwood spent a year in a dank French prison. Now free and home, Simon wants to put the past to rest although he knows he will be haunted by his stay in France forever.

His friend, agent Viscount Delancy asks Simon to undergo one last mission; he agrees for Delancy’s sake to find out what is going on between Delancy's brother and Lady Harwood. He knows the best person to assist him is the dance teacher employed by Lady Harwood, Jane Chatham. As he seductively tries to gets her to team up with him to uncover the truth. Jane does not trust him although she is attracted to her melancholy partner while he finds her vigor for life intoxicating. As they fall in love, Simon realizes something is not right in Lady Harwood's parlor, but the evidence points to the last person Simon believes would act dishonorably; his error in judgment may cost his beloved and him their lives.

HIS DARK AND DANGEROUS WAY is a superb historical romantic intrigue as the heroine distrusts any man but especially the suddenly interested Simon who she realizes is a very complex angst individual who knows first hand the horrors of war. The story line is character driven by the lead pair as they work together on his investigation. Fans will appreciate this fine ninetieth century romantic mystery as Edith Layton entertains her myriad of fans.
Harriet Klausner

Under Your Spell-Lois Greiman

Under Your Spell
Lois Greiman
Avon, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061191367

Like all the students at Lavender House, Elegance “Ella” St. James possesses special talents; as that is a prerequisite to get into the exclusive school. However, unlike her peers, she has no interest in spellbinding a man into marrying her. Instead she wants to act “normal” but first she is interested in uncovering the person who murdered her friend.

However her efforts at undercover sleuthing fail because wherever she goes regardless of the time, Thomas “Sir Drake” Donovan is always there. Thomas knows she is in over her head and worried about her even as he knows she is dangerous to his heart. Ella wants desperately to trust Thomas, but fears he may not be what her heart hopes he is; so she tells him nothing and continues to dig bringing her to the attention of someone who has killed before.

Readers will be under Lois Greiman’s spell as her first Witches of Mayfair historical paranormal romance is an enchanting tale. Ella is a terrific, some might say foolish, heroine who knows what she wants and does not want until the interfering Thomas enters her life. He is heroic as he knows from their first encounter she is the one although she seems to reject him. Combining a delightful romance with a solid murder mystery, a bewitching paranormal element, and plenty of action, UNDER YOUR SPELL is a terrific one sitting read.

Harriet Klausner

At the Bride Hunt Ball-Olivia Parker

At the Bride Hunt Ball
Olivia Parker
Avon, Jun 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780061355448

The Duke of Wolverset Gabriel Devine believes marriage means shackles; he vows to never become incarcerated. However, he also knows the family needs the heir and the spare. His game plan is to find a wife for his brother Tristan. To achieve this, Wolverset invites twenty contenders that he pares down to seven eligible ladies and their escorts to his country estate to compete for the privilege of becoming his sister-in-law.

Although her mother forced her to join the contest, Madelyn Haywood rejects both siblings as heartless cads. However her outspoken manner and ability to rip his skin catches Gabriel’s attention; her clumsiness unlike the other six adds to her allure. Finally her tone when she says not interested in marriage makes him reconsider his wants. As the pair falls into a passionate scandal, Gabriel thinks a life sentence with Madelyn is perfect.

This amusing Regency romance hooks the audience from the moment that Madelyn and her friend Charlotte arrive as “forced” by their respective families to be unwilling contestants for the not so Devine prize. Fans will relish this humorous wink at the Ton as Gabriel finds he enjoys the banter with Madelyn. Olivia Parker provides an entertaining tale and hopefully more groom and bride hunts will follow.

Harriet Klausner

Your Scandalous Ways-Loretta Chase

Your Scandalous Ways
Loretta Chase
Avon, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061231247

In 1820 Venice Francesca Bonnard enjoys the fruits with no entanglements of being a scandalous fallen woman. Because of her attitude, men constantly seek her company. Although she knows polite society holds her in contempt, she gives their men her body but never her heart and soul.

Undercover espionage agent James Cordier is on his last assignment in Venice. He is to steal letters that are reported to be in Francesca’s home left their by her former spouse. To get into her home he must seduce the scandalous woman. However, as he gets to know her, he falls in love and changes his mission to keep her safe from an unknown adversary who will kill to obtain her letters.

This exciting espionage Regency romantic suspense stars two interesting lead characters. James as an apropos name as he is an early nineteenth century debonair Bond type while Francesca is a courageous woman who holds her head up high while knowing her contemporaries scorn her except in her boudoir. Fans will appreciate their pairing as James realizes he loves Francesca’s scandalous ways as long as he is the recipient.

Harriet Klausner

Tribute-Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts
Putnam, Jul 2008, $26.95
ISBN: 9780399154911

She was a child star, but when her television show was cancelled Cilla McGowan’s Hollywood career was terminated too although as a teen she scored parts in slasher flicks, made CD’s, and performed in public. She realized this was not what she wanted to do with her life although her mother, a failed wannabe actress, kept pushing her in that direction. Finally Cilla persuades her mom to sell her, in exchange for money to put on a show in Las Vegas, her late grandmother’s farm which she always wanted.

Cilla’s renowned grandma Hollywood legend Janet Hardy had her hideaway in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Janet died there under suspicious circumstances. Cilla is determined to restore the place to its former glory. She finds Janet’s letters that she was having an affair and the married man wanted to end it. Someone in town wants Cilla to leave and that person tries to intimidate her into fleeing back to the other coast. Cilla refuses to be driven off, but her adversary keeps raising the stakes until her life is in jeopardy.

As always Nora Roberts writes a fascinating tale that her audience will read in one wonderful sitting. Cilla is an obstinate strong person who gained strength with her determination to withstand her mother’s pressure and her own fight with stage fright; so is prepared for the most part to deal with the stalker’s dangerous intent. This is a strong TRIBUTE to a great storyteller.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 12, 2008

Highland Knight-Cindy Miles

Highland Knight
Cindy Mills
Signet, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451224392

Charleston, South Carolina writer Amelia Landry suffers for the first time in her successful career from writer's block. Desperate as her manuscript is due to her editor shortly, Amelia's personal assistant Zulia Tinkerly rents a remote Scottish house to help motivate her. Thinking inspiration by the historical tower like facility, Amelia loves the place.

However, Amelia is stunned to find Laird Ethan Munro and his brothers living in some form of in between realm. Every day at twilight, they enter the mortal realm in solid bodies for one hour. She introduces her hosts to all sorts of modern gizmos like TV, computers and iPods. However, Ethan becomes her inspiration for her next novel as she is falling in love with him. She hopes to uncover the truth about how he and his siblings were cursed, how to end it, and hopefully stay with her Ethan forever.

The extra fun in this wonderful paranormal romance is the reactions of the fourteenth century Highlanders to modern gizmos. Amelia and Ethan is a charming couple while the support cast enhances the well written story line. Readers will enjoy the antics between the twenty-first century Southern belle and the early fourteenth century HIGHLAND KNIGHT.

Harriet Klausner

Nightkeepers-Jessica Anderson

Jessica Anderson
Signet, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451224378

Almost a quarter of a century ago Nightkeeper King Scarred-Jaguar and his warrior priests fought a suicide mission to seal the barrier from the demon Banol Kax. Most of the brave people died, but they accomplished the objective. A few children and their Winikin servants survived the terror.

Twenty four years later the Striking Jaguar, son of the courageous late king, who died in the last war with Banal Kax, knows the time for the deadly solace is approaching. He begins to get his force prepared for the upcoming war.

Meanwhile Miami narcotics detective Leah Daniels is tied to a Mayan altar as the priests prepare her for sacrifice. Strike knows who she is, what she means to him and is determined to keep her safe from the upcoming war to re-seal the barrier. However, Leah ends up at his side, both ready to die to keep Banol Kax interred on the other side.

This terrific romantic fantasy builds the Andersonian world around the Mayan doomsday prophecy that on December 21, 2012 global cataclysm will occur. The story line is fast-paced action but centers on Striking Jaguar who must choose between love and the sacrifice. The fascination in this excellent thriller is that the warrior priests including the hero are unsure what to do to save the world; they fear being active might cause the beginning of the end and being passive likewise. Jessica Anderson provides a strong story that sub-genre fans will cherish.

Harriet Klausner

Through the Veil-Shiloh Walker

Through the Veil
Shiloh Walker
Berkley, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425222478

As long as she can remember, Lee Ross has dreamed every night of being in battle along side warrior Kalen Brenner. However, when she awakens she is in her earthly bed, but sees the bruises on her body as if she was in combat. She knows she is different, but is unaware that she was sent from her home THROUGH THE VEIL to Earth to keep her safe from the Warlords.

In Ishtan, Kalen knows his people can never be free of the brutal Anquar Warlords without Lee's help. Her on and off presence jeopardizes his quest as he needs her full time in Ishtan. When she finally comes back THROUGH THE VEIL while awake, Lee fears she has gone insane even as she recognizes Kalen from her nocturnal fantasies. He must convince her that her mind is sound and her people need her while Warlord Char wants her abducted.

This is a fabulous action packed romantic fantasy that hooks the audience from the moment Lee’s dream lover shows up in the flesh and never slows down as the bewildered heroine struggles with believing the truth of her heritage. Fans will believe that the world on the other side of the veil exists, which is key to this fine tale of a realm trying to survive and an innocent woman being the destined one as savior and lover if she can adapt to her new environs and survive betrayal.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Deceiver-Pamela Palmer

Dark Deceiver
Pamela Palmer
Silhouette Nocturne, Jun 2008, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373617890

Half Esri, Kaderil the Dark begins a quest to steal the magical stones needed to fully open the portal between his plane and the earth. Besides the theft of the stones, he must also kill the few humans who are immune to the Esri enchantment. Once he obtains the stones, completes the massacre, and opens the door, his full blooded Esri allies will invade and bind humanity in slavery.

However, on the earth side of the portal, Kaderil meets Autumn McGinn. She stirs his human half, which has been dormant for much of his life. He finds himself falling in love with this kind soul even as he knows she is the key to the Esri victory. Will he betray his heart or the Esri; even the confused Kaderil is unsure.

The sequel to the DARK GATE, DARK DECEIVER is a superb romantic fantasy mostly due to the suddenly conflicting nature of Kade. His human side never developed until he meets Autumn who is like spring to him. Readers will enjoy this passionate spellbinding thriller as love brings Kaderil the dark into the light, but will he choose to remain there with his Autumn or will he instead open the portal for the Esri to slaughter his beloved’s species.

Harriet Klausner

Wild Hunt-Lori Devoti

Wild Hunt
Lori Devoti
Silhouette Nocturne, Jun 2008, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373617883

Hellhound Venge Leidolf knows the right time to start the wild hunt is now. He or his brethren cannot stop its call. Geysa the Valkyrie knows her gift of allure makes her different from her warrior sisters. She and Venge have in common a need to avenge a wrong.

When Venge and Geysa meet, they, in spite of being natural enemies, are attracted to one another. They know their species’ instinct is to kill the other, but they desire one another. Each puts aside the thirst to kill to team up in search of the horn that proclaims the ErlKing's wild hunt to prevent it from calling the death, mayhem and destruction that automatically comes when it sounds.

The latest WILD HUNT saga (see UNBOUND and GUARDIAN’S KEEP) is a superb romantic fantasy in which star-crossed lovers either must kill the other as it’s in their DNA imprint or let love lead them elsewhere. Venge and Geysa know they have quests to fulfill and that desire, attraction and that cursed L word are not convenient at this time and between their respective heritages at any time. Fans will relish this entry while newcomers will quickly become devotees of this excellent fantasist.

Harriet Klausner

Seven Nights of Sin-Lacey Alexander

Seven Nights of Sin
Lacey Alexander
Berkley Heat, Apr 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780451223142

Only three years passed since she moved from Centerville, Ohio to Los Angeles. Brenna Cayton has mixed feelings when her boss Carl Jenkins informs her he is grooming her to be the next Artist and Repertoire Representative at Blue Night Records. He explains that if the current holder of the position bad boy Damon Andros can clean up his act he will stay with the company and Brenna will get a different promotion; if not he is fired and she his replacement.

With some doubts, Benna goes to Vegas to spend seven days under Damon’s tutelage. While her professional life is on the fast track of success, Brenna sings to herself “You don’t need a man”, but if she could have one it would be Damon. As they spend seven days together, Damon introduces Benna to SEVEN NIGHTS OF SIN, his style. She falls in love with her mentor, but fears once he learns the truth that his job was at risk and she stayed silent, he will dump her; but if she informs him, he will drop her anyway as Damon goes through women like potato chips.

This heated week in Sin City is driven by the needs, desires, and libidos of the lead couple who evolve over the course of their seven nights together. Whereas Benna proves his equal in the bedroom and an enthusiastic student on the job and at night, Damon realizes he has found his partner and wants to sing a lifetime duet with her. When he learns the truth, he obviously leaves feeling "fu*ked by her and love. Fans will relish their erotic SEVEN NIGHTS OF SIN contemporary romance as work and play make for a stronger relationship.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Art of Desire-Cherie Feather

The Art of Desire
Cherie Feather
Berkley, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425221600

Santa Fe Women’s Art Museum Director Mandy Cooper looks forward to satiating her addiction for “dirty sex with a dirty boy”. The prime and proper Mandy knows that since she met artist and notorious celeb Jared Cabrillo that he is on her mind and body all the time. The only exception to her Cabrillo icon that consumes her brain is her obsession with the relationship between late nineteenth-century artist Catherine Burke and Native American outlaw Atacar; her lover’s ancestors.

Whereas Mandy fears Jared will leave her for his next encounter; Jared hides the truth from her that he loves her out of his fear of the emotion. Mandy knows that her favorite painting by Catherine is her portrait of Atacar, the man the artist loved; she wishes Jared would do one of her with the same level of passion. However it is an 1895 journal kept by Mandy that wakes Jared up to embrace his deepest feelings, his love for Mandy before it is too late.

This heated contemporary romance uses a journal to tell a forbidden late nineteenth century love that becomes a matchmaker for the director and the artist. The two pairings are filled with warmth, passion and heat. All four key players seem genuine yet the two eras distinctive form one another. Cherie Feather provides an engaging hot tale of loves in 1895 and 2008.

Harriet Klausner

With Every Breath-Lynn Kurland

With Every Breath
Lynn Kurland
Jove, May 27 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780515144703

In 2005, American Sunshine Phillips is exhilarated to be staying in sexy Scotland in the cool late March rain; she loves her stay and reconsiders returning to Seattle as that would mean leaving the Highlands she cherishes. As she lives in the witches’ cottage on the MacLeod estate, she wonders how to extend her stay beyond the summer.

In 1375 concerned Robert Cameron rushes into the Macleod witches’ cottage to demand one of the occupants help his dying brother Breac. He reaches across time grabbing Sunny to assist his sibling critically wounded due to Robert’s open fight with the backstabbing Fergussons. As he and Sunny fall in love, treachery sends the pair fleeing through the time portal, but they alight separately with her grieving her loss and he not remembering his fourteenth century life or his love. When they meet again, Sunny despairs because her Cameron fails to know her.

This is an entertaining time travel romance starring two stubborn likable protagonists who if they fail to open up will lose a chance for a loving relationship between them. The story line is fast-paced with the paradoxes of time adding to the fun of the tale. Sunny is terrific as she struggles to persuade Robert that the impossible is possible when love makes it happen.

Harriet Klausner

The Cat-Jean Johnson

The Cat
Jean Johnson
Berkley, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425221495

Amara was to be the queen of the shapeshifters, but instead was forced to flee her kingdom in order to save the life of her twin sister Arora. The mages want Arora for her unique special magic. The siblings barely make it to Nightfall Island after surviving a nasty swim from their wrecked ship.

There on Nightfall Island reside eight brothers, four sets of twins, with four of them having found their soulmates. Trevan the shapeshifter has waited too long for his to arrive. Now that she has, his Amara distrusts Trevan, his siblings and their women as mages want to kill her and kidnap her sister to use as their tool.

Once again Jean Johnson does, as she has done with the four previous Sons of Destiny tales, creates a stand alone tale that focuses one of the brothers and his beloved, but it behooves the audience to read the previous books first (see THE SWORD), etc. because there is also an overarching theme developing. The key to this fine entry that starts the second half of the saga is the audience sees deep inside the hearts of Trevan THE CAT and the ex Queen Amara so what matters to each of them is fully understood; especially her distrust of magic using males. Fans will appreciate this visit to the Johnsonian Universe.

Harriet Klausner

Running Wild-Sarah McCarty

Running Wild
Sarah McCarty
Berkley, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425221501

“Donovan” needs to persuade his cousin Wyatt to come home as his father the pack's alpha is dying. At a bar, he meets his soul mate Lisa who was pounding the crap out of male crap for harming her younger sister Robin.

“Kelon” arrives to help his brother Donovan to convince Wyatt it is time to come home. When Kelon meets Robin he knows she is his soulmate, but some sh*thead took her virginity and hurt her emotionally so she is reluctant to be with any man.

“Wyatt” returns to his pack with his two cousins, their mates and a third sister Heather, who is his soul mate. However, like Donovan and Kelon, he must choose between the woman he loves and his pack as humans are taboo.

The three interrelated novellas provide werewolf romance fans with a strong heated collection. The story line is fast-paced whether each of the pairs are coupling or in dangerous scenarios. Fans will be RUNNING WILD with Sarah McCarty and her pack who make this fantasy romantic compilation a fun read.

Harriet Klausner

Lover Enshrined-JR Ward

Lover Enshrined
JR Ward
Signet, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451222725

Brotherhood member Phury knows he has no choice but to be the Primale to the chosen females, but he detests his destiny as he has met his soul First Mate, Cormia the first of the chosen. At the same time he hides from women to search his passionate heart and anguished soul, his beloved Cormia hides from Phury whom she loves but feels unworthy of the Primale.

At the same time these mates hide form one another, the Omega grows stronger and plots the final phase in the destruction of the Black Dagger Brotherhood vampires. Twenty years have past since they first began this diabolically insidious ploy of placing one of them inside The Brotherhood; an individual who has shown loyalty and courage to the Brotherhood. Revelations are coming and rookies are coming of age as confrontations from within and from without seem inevitable.

Though it seems impossible this great series has what may be its strongest tale to date and one of the top five fantasies of the year. Several subplots ignite together in an incredible climax that not only makes LOVERS ENSHRINED complete, but sets the tone for the next entry. More a fantasy than a romantic fantasy with the love subplot being only one of a few storylines, JR Ward provides her audience. This is a one sitting stunner.

Harriet Klausner

The Iron Hunt-Marjorie M. Liu

The Iron Hunt
Marjorie M. Liu
Ace, Jun 24 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441016068

Long ago demons walked the earth killing anything foolishly that got in their way. The humans exploded on the planet leading to war over which species would dominate the orb; mankind won and established a prison of sorts to keep the demons away forever. Over time the Great War has been forgotten lost in the myths until one last demon hunter Maxine Kiss remains. The veil has weakened and been breached with those demons who have come home by using a human as a zombie-host.

Maxine wears tattoos of demons as armor in daylight; at night they leave her to become separate alive entities; they are her family until she births the next generation female who will inherit them while Maxine dies just like her mother did. One day, Maxine feels something different has made it through the veil. Not a zombie demon, but Ahsen wears the shape of Maxine the child. Stunned the last protector learns she is an Avatar capable of destroying the world as Maxine knows it.

Readers who love urban fantasies like those of Charlaine Harris or Kim Harrison will relish Marjorie M. Liu’s excellent adventure. The protagonist is an interesting character who has always been lonely as her companions ironically are demons. She courageously accepts her fate to protect humanity but never be part of humanity and to always be alone until her death when her yet to be conceived daughter replaces her. However she finds herself for the first time fascinated with a male, but she also knows that theirs is relationship doomed to heartache. This is the superb start of a dynamic looking saga.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wild & Hexy-Vicki Lewis Thompson

Wild & Hexy
Vicki Lewis Thompson
Onyx, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451412584

Although they prefer not to go to the backwoods of Indiana, witch Dorcas Lowell and her wizard husband Ambrose know they have no choice as the wizard council sent them to Big Knob. Their assignment is to force George the dragon to finally accept his responsibility as a guardian of the woods. George prefers play to work even though his poker playing stinks as he consistently loses to cheating card shark raccoons.

They cannot leave until George moves on so to ease the boredom and to not cheat their target out of his money by playing poker with the moron, Dorcas and Ambrose open up a matchmaking firm. They decide who their clients will be and choose reticent Internet café owner Jeremy Dunstan and Chicago reporter Annie Winston as a perfect pairing even if she is here for a short time to attend her sister's wedding. Jeremy has always loved Annie while she has just gotten a divorce. They also agree to find DeeDee the lake monster a loving albeit water loving mate and teach those dishonest raccoons a lesson on integrity. With all that to pass time they must remain focused on George, their only priority.

This time the geek who knew his soulmate when he was fourteen was too shy then and now to act on his love; thus he needs hex help in this charming romantic fantasy as Vicky Lewis Thompson returns to OVER-HEXED nig Nob, the capital of eerie happenings. The lighthearted story line is fun to follow as Dorcas works her loving magic with amusing side consequences. Fans will enjoy her efforts as a WILD & HEXY matchmaker with Ambrose trying to keep her from going too far.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sword of the Highlands-Veronica Wolff

Sword of the Highlands
Veronica Wolff
Berkley, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425222485

Her boss Walter, principal curator at the MOMA, asks his sister art curator Magda Deacon to come to the Metropolitan to see an oil painting he wants added to the exhibit Finding Arcadia: Pastoral Paintings of the seventieth Century she put together. She is stunned when she sees the painting and wonders if her brother is right about too many carbs as she is attracted to the portrait of Lord James Graham, the first Marquis of Montrose. She cannot stop herself from touching his face. Shockingly that caress sends Magda back through time into James’ bed.

A noted womanizer James is excited with finding a beautiful female occupying his bed. However, her behavior is brazen as she is not bashful with intelligent opinions on all sorts of topics including independence, freedom and leadership. She also beats the guys at golf and rides a horse like a man. However in his bed she is his woman. As they fall in love James is irate at the demands of his monarch to support a foolish war. However he becomes preoccupied with saving his beloved when his enemy Lord Campbell abducts her.

Although somewhat similar in tone to Virginia Wolff’s previous time travel romance (see MASTER OF THE HIGHLANDS), this is an engaging tale as a twenty-first century Manhattan female takes over seventeenth century Highlands Scotland. The story line is fast-paced, but it is owned by the computer age woman who knows what she wants in and out of bed and the laird mesmerized by this intelligent sexy anachronism. Their romance makes for a fun read.

Harriet Klausner

The Trouble with Moonlight-Donna MacMeans

The Trouble with Moonlight
Donna MacMeans
Berkley, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425221983

In 1877 British spy John Locke trying to obtain a list that will help his side in the combat when he is stunned to see a ruby necklace float by itself in the air past him. Curious he follows the necklace to Lusinda Havershaw. He learns Lusinda has a skill that would be useful in his espionage efforts; she can literally vanish in the moonlight. He gives her a choice between prison and working for him.

Lusinda is shocked having never been caught before. She earns a living for her family by repossessing stolen goods by entering homes naked so that no one sees her and takes back the item to the original owner. John assigns her to help him expose a Russian spy, a potentially lethal mission if caught, but what frightens the reluctant spy is her attraction to her blackmailer; he on the other hand pretends he can concentrate on the case rather than her when she owns his brain.

This is a fun Victorian romance with a touch of fantasy starring a fascinating heroine and a bewitched roguish espionage agent. Their pairing makes for an entertaining lighthearted read as John Locke philosophizes that THE TROUBLE WITH MIDNIGHT is being diverted from your dangerous mission by falling in love. This is a terrific historical

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Texas Lullaby-Tina Leonard

Texas Lullaby
Tina Leonard
Harlequin American, Jun 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373752171

Former soldier Gabriel Morgan has come home not because he wants to see his estranged father Josiah, but instead to receive the easy cash dear old dad promised him if he lived on the family ranch for one year. His three brothers were also offered the same deal; Dane and Pete might arrive in a few months while Jack ignored the offer. Pop, who lives in a stone castle he'd bought in Pzenas, also asks him to watch out for Widow Laura Adams and her two small children, Penny and nine month old Perrin.

Gabriel immediately realizes the Widow is beautiful, but it is little Penny’s cute smile that gives him heartburn as he wants to give her a fatherly hug. Soon he is thinking of marrying Laura and raising her kids as his and adding more kids that are theirs. However, Laura is wary of love, marriage, and males in general except for kindhearted Pop, who Gabriel thinks is a mean SOB.

The first of the Morgan brothers to take up the challenge of their father makes for an interesting contemporary romance. The fun in the tale is actually with how the two little kids, especially Penny can wrap the tough combat vet with one sad flicker of her lips; he cannot handle her crying. Although the story line bogs down at times with Laura’s wariness, which takes away from the deeper bigger family drama, fans will enjoy kick butt Gabriel getting his butt kicked by a mom and her kids.

Harriet Klausner

Reluctant Partners-Kara Lennox

Reluctant Partners
Kara Lennox
Harlequin American, Jun 2008, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373752201

Allie Bateman misses her late employer Johnny, but hopes to keep his memory alive by running the Dragonfly, the charter fishing boat that he gave her in his will. However, there is one fly in the ointment; Johnny’s nephew attorney Cooper Remington believes the will is a fake as his Uncle Johnny would have bequeathed the vessel to him as family even if his late relative was a bit estrangde from the rest of them; to himself Cooper admits his family is pure prim and proper while Uncle Johnny seemed not to care one iota about scandalous lifestyles. If the will is genuine than this sea beauty must have been his uncle’s woman.

The pair argues until both agree to not waste needed funds in court, but instead set up a reluctant partnership. As they become better acquainted at sea and on land they fall in love, but he has some doubts about her trustworthiness as he still believes the will is a fraud.

This entertaining at sea romance stars two likable lead characters who distrust one another as much as they are attracted to one another. Fans who enjoy seeing opposites fall in love will want to go on the Dragonfly for a sea cruise.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Love’s Magic-Traci E. Hall

Love’s Magic
Traci E. Hall
Medallion, Jun 2008, $7.95
ISBN: 9781933836270

In 1192, Celestia Montehue wonders if she is adopted; her sisters are red hair amazons while she is a small blond. She also has two color eyes; one blue and the other green. There is no trace physically that she descends from the notorious Queen Boadicea, but Celestia shares in common the ability heal.

Sir Nicholas Le Blanc is a knight pledged to Baron Peregrine. While on a crusade, he and his men are assigned to protect an ancient artifact. However, they are attacked leaving all dead except Nicholas; his enemies take him prisoner and torture him. He escapes but feels guilt because he killed a woman to get away.

Celesta who vowed to never marry and Nicholas who is too mentally disturbed to marry are forced to wed in an arranged ceremony. They travel to his dilapidated keep where his mom committed suicide and still haunts the place. As she falls in love with her agonized spouse, someone murders a maid. Celestia vows to heal her husband, help his mom move on and uncover the identity of the killer if she lives long enough.

This engaging medieval paranormal amateur sleuth romance is an enjoyable tale as two broken winged lead characters find healing through LOVE’S MAGIC. Nicholas is an interesting hero, but except for his mom’s haunting very typical of twelfth century lea males. Celestia brings the magic to the fine plot as a unique individual; the oldest sister who's towered over by her younger protective siblings, she feels so different from them. Her courage makes for a wonderful story as she tries to help her mother-in-law the ghost, solve a murder, and heal her spouse all in one novel.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 5, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Trouble-Deanne Gist

Deep in the Heart of Trouble
Deanne Gist
Bethany House, Jun 2008, $13.99
ISBN: 9780764202261

In 1898 in Corsicana, Texas thirty-four years old Essie Spreckelmeyer is contented with living life her way as a single woman who runs Sullivan Oil and spends as much time as she can in the Corsicana Velocipede Club. The male townsfolk has adapted to the spinster running the key business that employs most of them.

Tony Bryant arrives in town looking for work at Sullivan Oil not knowing Sully has given his daughter control. She gives him a job, but they do not see eye to eye. However, as they fall in love, Tony fears he will leave heartbroken once his beloved Miss Essie learns who he is. She will not tolerate him as the son of her business rival; his full name is Tony Bryant Morgan. He may be estranged from his father and Morgan Oil is run by Tony’s half brother, Darius, but his Miss Essie will not forgive his omission. Essie has a secret too that could leave her heartbroken if her beloved Tony fails to accept her past.

This engaging late nineteenth century Texas romance uses oil as the matchmaker and match-breaker as the lead couple each has the liquid gold flowing in their veins. Tony and Essie are a wonderful pairing as they fight, fuss, and fall in love. Readers will enjoy Deanne Gist’s second trouble in Texas tale (see COURTING TEXAS) as the heart of the matter is not oil but love.

Harriet Klausner

From a Distance-Tamara Alexander

From a Distance
Tamara Alexander
Bethany House, Jun 2008, $13.99
ISBN: 9780764203893

In 1875 photographer Elizabeth Westbrook arrives in Timber Ridge, Colorado Territory to take pictures of the legendary beauties, Maroon Bells. She also plans to photograph the nearby recently discovered cliff dwellings. Elizabeth has another reason to come to the Rockies; she prays that the clean mountain air and the hot springs will help cure her from a mysterious illness.

Daniel Ranslett is also in town still trying to move past the Civil War and the guilt he feels as a Confederacy sniper although a decade has passed and he rationalizes he was doing his job However, Elizabeth’s life is threatened when a picture she took becomes key evidence in a murder case. Daniel vows to keep her safe even as they argue constantly; he also knows what is ailing her and how to fix her health issue while they fall in love.

Readers will believe that Tamara Alexander employs a time machine as the audience will feel they have been transported to 1875 Colorado Territory. Provide yourself plenty of time for a one sitter as interruptions will feel annoying. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as both have issues to deal with to include falling in love and keeping her safe though their interests differ.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Destined to Meet-Devon Vaughn Archer

Destined to Meet
Devon Vaughn Archer
Kimani, Jun 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373860715

Three years ago Joseph Hudson died in an accident; he left behind a grieving widow Courtney, whose social life has been dormant ever since. Her cousin Pilar persuades her to meet her at the hottest club in Lake Barri, Colorado, The Train Stop. However, Pilar failed to show or answer her cellphone leaving Courtney to fend for herself.

Born and raised in Anchorage Police Detective Lloyd Vance moved to Lake Barri. The person he is to meet at The Train Stop failed to show up; however, when he sees Courtney he no longer cares. They talk as each is attracted, but their first encounter is interrupted when he is called on duty as her cousin is a hit-and-run victim. As they fall in love, he refuses to discuss with her either the case or his relationship with Pilar before he met Courtney.

This is a fascinating contemporary romance in which the lead male’s reluctance to discuss his relationship with this beloved’s cousin puts their future in jeopardy. The story line is driven by Courtney and Lloyd who each has ghost they bring into their relationship; she feels guilt re Joseph and he never recovered from his dad walking out on his mom and him. Although one subplot “heals” long festering wounds too easily, fans will appreciate the romance between the Alaskan and the Lower Forty-eight widow.

Harriet Klausner

Season of Strangers- Kat Martin

Season of Strangers
Kat Martin
Mira, Jun 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778325543

Realtor Julie Ferris and her sister Laura are enjoying their day relaxing in a private cove on Malibu Beach owned by friend and client Owen Mallory when both discuss hearing and not hearing an odd buzzing sound that seems everywhere and nowhere. They fail to complete their chart as each has an urge to take a nap.

Not long afterward, the siblings feel plagued by that lost day that neither can fully recall. Since their day at the beach Julie, who rarely had a headache, suffers from crippling migraines and remembers only falling asleep; while Laura suffers from nightmares of an alien abduction.

Meanwhile at the real estate office, realtor Patrick Donovan recovers from a cocaine heart attack that changes him from a drug using philander into a considerate person who wants Julie as his lover. Julie is stunned by the makeover and her attraction to the newly improved Patrick, but rationalizes that the near fatal heart attack warned Patrick that he can no longer abuse his body. However, she soon realizes that extraterrestrial Val Zarkazian has taken possession of Patrick’s body; he has fallen in love with the earthling, but must leave and when he does Patrick’s body will die just like the man’s soul has already did.

SEASONS OF STRANGERS is a well written but odd paranormal romance as readers will need to adapt to a male lead body snatcher. The fast-paced story line hooks the audience from that eerie opening scene on Malibu Beach and never slows down as Julie begins to ponder the impossible by connecting the dots. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Kat Martin’s third “Earth Girls Are Easy” when they fall in love with non-traditional males (see SCENT OF ROSES and THE SUMMIT).

Harriet Klausner

Blood Noir-Laurell K. Hamilton

Blood Noir
Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley, Jun 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9780425222195

Jean-Claude’s pomme de sange Lycan Jason visits his master’s human servant vampire executioner and living vampire who feeds off of sex, Anita Blake to ask his friend to accompany him as his pretend lover when he visits his dying estranged father. Anita agrees when Jason informs her that his father refuses to speak to him not due to his lycanthropic condition, but because the older man believes his son is homosexual.

Jason and Anita arrive to find out that Keith Summerland, who looks like Jason’s twin, is getting married this weekend. Pretending affection in public Jason kisses Anita in front of a reporter causing a scandal in which other Masters consider grabbing the seemingly weakened Jean-Claude’s territory. To prevent this Jean-Claude will have to display anger in public and punish his errant servants.

Meanwhile first vampire Marmee Noir, the Mother of All Darkness and asleep for a millennium, is attracted to Anita’s powers. She strikes at Anita and Marmee Noir makes her have sex with two shapeshifters including a were-tiger. Anita feels another metaphysical tiger in her body. Jason and Anita still worry about an enraged vampire because Keith married the wife of the Master of the City; and the Master Vamp wants the interloper dead. The authorities fear for the lives of Jason and Anita while she also has to deal with Marmee Noir without the help of Jean-Claude

BLOOD NOIR is very different in tone than the previous books in the Anita Blake saga as the heroine for the most part costars with one man rather than her usual male queue. This allows the audience to see another side of the vampire slayer as she shows she can relate to a man with being in love with him; an extraordinary concept. Although well written, too many key unanswered questions involving Marmee Noir exist, which subtracts from an otherwise strong tale as Anita proves to herself she can enjoy without love sans guilt. Blake fans will appreciate how far the star goes for a friend.

Harriet Klausner

All Souls’ Night-Jennifer Armintrout

All Souls’ Night
Jennifer Armintrout
Mira, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780778325376

Though they can use the time to heal emotionally and physically from the battle with the Oracle, undead vampire hunters Carrie Ames and Nathan Grant know they have none as they must prepare for what they pray is the final combat. The lovers must stop the father of Carrie’s dead first sire, Jacob Kendrick or the Soul Eater as he is known will become an invincible evil god ravaging the earth.

However, the two heroes know that Jacob is already way too powerful for both of them even with their combined strengths. They anticipate not winning unless a miracle occurs and even then they do not expect to survive. Still they must try. Carrie knows there is only one way for her side to become victorious but that method would still require a Hail Mary. If she goes that route, she will not know the outcome as Carrie understands fully her choices.

The final Blood Ties romantic horror thriller (see THE TURNING, POSSESSION and ASHES TO ASHES) is an excellent finish to a strong saga. Carrie tells the tale for the most part so that readers comprehend her angst and fears as she ponders whether “to be or not to be” is the seemingly only possible solution to the question of how to stop Jacob. Fans of this terrific miniseries will appreciate Jennifer Armintrout’s answer.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Overnight Male-Elizabeth Bevarly

Overnight Male
Elizabeth Bevarly
Harlequin HQN, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780373772148

OPUS spy Lila Moreau has waited for a long time to have a mission that combines business and personal. She is going undercover at a college in order to uncover the identity of student hackers led by former OPUS agent Adrian Padgett; he goes by the name Sorcerer and plans to release a virus that will cripple international information systems.

Lila will also introduce her new partner Joel Faraday to the world of espionage. Joel proves to be an asset on the case as well as off as the pair is attracted to one another from the first handcuffing moment. However, both recognize shutting down the hacker party and taking Sorcerer into custody comes before their desires for one another.

This delightful espionage romantic suspense thriller is action-packed from the first encounter between the lead pair and never slows down as they work the case. Their bantering makes the tale fun to follow as he “corrects” her and she threatens to kick his butt from DC to Abu Dhabi and elsewhere. The efforts to catch the Sorcerer continues Elizabeth Bevarly’s fun saga (see YOU’VE GOT MALE) as this time it is Lila’s efforts to prevent a disaster from happening.

Harriet Klausner

Moonstruck-Susan Grant

Susan Grant
Harlequin HQN, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780373772599

Coalition Admiral Britasha “Brit” Bandar 'Brit is upset with the changes that impact her. The courageous warrior knows she must adapt as the Coalition has merged with Earthling and Drakken to forge a Triad; she grew up believing the Drakken were the enemy who must die and now they are allies and on board.

Brit Commands the Unity with her second in command a Drakken, Finnar “Scourge of the Borderlands” Rorkken. He is a former leader of the Drakken Horde and is proud to be on board the key example of peace the Unity although he is concerned about his superior officer as they have battled one another for years. Still Finnar also knows the assignment will include better working conditions for his crew. However, neither expected an attraction hotter than a star while they battle their unwanted feelings they also confront terrorists threatening the fragile peace.

Expanding the Grant universe, MOONSTRUCK is a suburb military science fiction romance starring Beloved Enemies. The Jasper saga (see YOUR PLANET OR MINE, MY FAVORITE EARTHLING, and HOW TO LOSE AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL IN 10 DAYS) goes into the Borderlands of outer space with this terrific entry as the lead couple have a lifetime of combat leading to total distrust; however failure to communicate will prove disastrous as many from the three sides want the Triad to fail. Fans will be “Star” struck by Susan Grant’s extraterrestrial talent as this may be her best sci fi tale to date.

Harriet Klausner

The Darkest Kiss-Gena Showalter

The Darkest Kiss
Gena Showalter
Harlequin HQN, Jun 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780373772322

In the Budapest stronghold where the Lords of the Underworld warriors reside Lucien regrets he opened Pandora’s Box allowing the demons to escape. The Gods punished him millennia ago by placing the demon Death inside him. The warriors search for the box to keep it safe; praying they will be able to return the demons inside it.

He and his friends host a party when Anya Goddess of Anarchy crashes it. Anya has been invisibly stalking Lucien while eluding Cronus the Lord Titan who demands she hand over her treasure; heeding her father’s advice, she refuses. Now she obsesses over Lucien. He recognizes her odor as that of the person stalking him. He wants her, but knows his facial scars makes him too ugly for a pretty woman like Anya is. Anya kisses Lucien and tells him she wants his penis. Lucien rejects her again, which hurts her.

Cronus arrives as Anya flees. He orders Lucien to kill Anya or his pals will suffer. Warrior Reyes tells Lucien that Anya is cursed by Themis, but not sure how or why. Lucien traces Anya and tells her Cronus ordered him to kill her. Lucien says he will obey. He catches her and they kiss leaving both confused and fleeing each other. Later Anya tells Lucien that Cronus wants the box to place the Greek Gods and demons inside it. Though he wants her, he tells her to leave as no woman will ever desire him; but she wants him although she knows Themis’ curse means any man who takes her owns her forever.

Although a stand alone, some threads continue from the previous Lords of the Underworlds tale (see THE DARKEST NIGHT) so it behooves the audience to read that entry first. This excellent romantic fantasy enables readers to believe the fantasy species and the hunters are genuine and the paranormal earth real. Filled with plenty of action, the pairing of the lead couple makes the tale; still the other Lords of the Underworlds warriors have distinct personalities and with a “traitor” enhance the plot.

Harriet Klausner

Fearless-Diana Palmer

Diana Palmer
Harlequin HQN, Jun 2008
ISBN: 9780373773008

In San Antonio anyone looking at pint sized Gloryanne Barnes would not connect her to being a tough district attorney, but she is. Besides being small, Glory is handicapped by a bad hip, broken twice as a child by her volatile mother Beverly who got off the child abuse hook due to her affair with wealthy Myron Pendleton; his lawyers persuaded the jury that Gloryanne’s father harmed her and he went to jail in spite of his daughter’s crying testimony otherwise.

When drug czar Fuentes is sent to jail by her testimony, he arranges for a hit to silence the only witness. His assassin almost succeeds, but the bullet misses her ear by a fraction. To keep her safe, Glory is exiled to work undercover at a small organic farm as a canner. Manager Rodrigo Ramirez wonders why she is working here when she cannot get around; she also ponders about her employer who seems to be out of place on the farm. Attracted to one another although neither will admit it, as danger mounts, they need to trust one another; something neither is used to doing.

FEARLESS is a fascinating romantic suspense starring a likable heroine and a reticent hunk willing to risk his life keeping her safe. The story line starts a bit slow as Diana Palmer introduces Glory’s inglorious past to the audience, but once it accelerates the story lien never brakes until the final denouement that the heroine is no longer on the market. Fans will enjoy this solid Texas thriller.

Harriet Klausner