Thursday, July 31, 2008

Book Of Scandal-Julia London

Book Of Scandal
Julia London
Pocket, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 1416547118

Because of their beloved son’s death, the once loving marriage between Nathan Grey the Earl of Lindsey and his wife died too although they are not divorced. Over the next five years Nathan ignored his spouse Evangeline while womanizing in rustic splendor. Evangeline remained prim and proper while residing in London.

However, Nathan becomes irate and though he will not admit it to himself is jealous to hear rumors that Princess Caroline's infamous book contains scandalous behavior by Evangeline. He comes to London to save the Lindsey reputation; demanding she leave for the countryside with him. Evangeline no longer needs the man she loves who deserted her when she most did; besides she plans to divorce him and marry someone else. He realizes how much he misses his wife, but to persuade her he will not leave her again proves futile. However, they become caught up in a dangerous treachery in which an unknown adversary will gladly kill husband and wife.

Using the historical reference book of aristocratic scandal written by Princess Caroline as a backdrop to a second chance at love Regency romance, Julia London cleverly freshens up a common theme. The story line is driven by the broken relationship between Nathan and Evangeline as each coped with their loss in different ways, but neither was there for the other. With the looming scandal of the Princess’ BOOK O SCANDAL serving as a sort of matchmaker, fans will relish this astute entertaining historical.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

His Wicked Sin-Eve Silver

His Wicked Sin
Eve Silver
Zebra, Aug 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 0821781294

In 1828 Yorkshire, impoverished Elizabeth “Beth” Canham arrives at a remote site awaiting the coach to take her to Burndale Academy where she is the new teacher. Griffin Fairfax offers her a ride although he admits he is not from the academy. She accepts. In front of Beth at the academy he asks a servant if she (not the servant) will come to him; the servant says she refused. Upset he leaves abruptly for his nearby home at Wickham Hall; while Beth ponders her attraction to him. Griffin is upset that Isobel would not come with him. His housekeeper tells him her niece Sarah is missing and assumed murdered by the serial killer who is stalking the area. Griffin thinks back to his late wife Amelia.

Beth senses that someone evil is watching her. It reminds her of her youth when she feared so much. She fears the dark and small closed spaces, but tries to hide it. She sees Griffin and tells him to go play with his daughter, but he refuses as he says she blames him for her mother’s death. Griffin is attracted to Beth not just because she is pretty, but because he feels she knows his soul and still wants him though he believess he is unworthy of her and asks if she heard of the rumors that he killed his wife. Soon she will know all the answers, but may not live long to tell anyone else like the father and daughter she loves.

The serial killer subplot is cleverly designed so that the hero looks guilty and ties everything together while the romance between the lead couple is fun to follow. Historical romantic suspense readers who like a gothic feel to their tales will enjoy Eve Silver’s fine late Regency.

Harriet Klausner

Bound by Flame-Anna Windsor

Bound by Flame
Anna Windsor
Ballantine, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 97803454985440

Fire elemental Sibil Cynda Flynn and half breed demon NYPD cop Nick Lowell are so attracted to one another they fear their sparks will cause an inferno. Meanwhile Nick's brother Creed and earth elemental Sybil Riana married (see BOUND BY SHADOW). However in spite of their bliss, everyone fears the evil Legion is fostering some nastiness.

They prove correct when someone, most likely the Legion, assault fire sibils. This places Cynda in jeopardy. Nick risks his life to keep his beloved “firebird” safe. He goes so far as to prepare to kill his brother Jake an Astaroth demon who is held captive by an unknown adversary pulling his strings by using his personalized talisman.

The second Dark Crescent Sisterhood tale is an action-packed urban romantic fantasy that grips the audience from the opening sequence and never slows down running red lights in Manhattan. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing while the third Lowell brother is manipulated into being the deadly stalker by a diabolical puppeteer. Anna Windsor has bound the sub-genre fans who will relish this exciting tale and look forward to the next thriller in this wonderful series.

Harriet Klausner

Noah-Jacquelyn Frank

Jacquelyn Frank
Zebra, Sep 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780821780695

Demon King, Noah is beloved by his subjects because he cares about them and protects them from their enemies. Although adulated by his people, Noah is also lonely as his closets friends are Imprinted (mated) and the woman he believes is his Destiny only appears in his dreams. He has never met her in person. Kestra shares Noah’s erotic dreams, but she assumes the hunk she desires is a subject of her imagination only. Just as he decides to search for his dream woman in the real world, the dreams end and instead he has a horrific vision of the woman who is to be his mate being killed. With the help of the Enforcer’s child Leah he bends time to prevent his beloved’s death.

Kestra is taken to Noah’s castle where she begins changing into a Druid. She begins to absorb his energy without which she will die. Surprisingly Kestra takes what has happened to her in stride, but a trauma from her past leaves her fearful of love although she has deep feelings for Noah and she believes strongly he loves her. As they work on their muddled relationship, they come under attack from vampires who want their Nightwalker blood to gain their powers. To survive they must join their powers in love, but Kestra remains fearful of loving anyone.

NOAH is a great paranormal romance due as much to the vivid world described by Jacquelyn Frank as well as the seesaw relationship between the lead couple. They make the realm with demons, vampires, and other ilk seem genuine in this well written character-driven saga. Characters from previous novels make appearances as Ms. Frank and her fans welcome them back inside of an engaging romantic fantasy with the emphasis on the romance.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

True Blue-Bernadette Pruitt

True Blue
Bernadette Pruitt
Five Star, Aug 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 1594147019

In Denver, widow graphic designer Hadley Spencer is driving with her infant son Nicky in his child restraining seat in the back when a sharp pain rips her abdomen. Noticing a police station, she pulls in just as detective Drake Matthieson is leaving for his fishing trip vacation. Drake calls for an ambulance; Hadley has an emergency appendectomy with no one around to watch Nicky; so Drake does.

Drake continues to be there for mother and son especially when he learned her spouse died in the line of duty in Dallas. His boss hires Hadley to design new markings for the police cars, which brings her and Drake into further contact. As she is his date at a gala, she recognizes the art work of a cold case artist who vanished that he never solved when he worked on the suburban Mountain Springs PD. As they fall in love, she admits it to herself, but is not sure she can cope with being a cop’s wife a second time; he holds on to his vow of being a good cop, catching trout, and never getting married although he is reconsidering the latter and not just because of the mom as he cherishes the little “big guy” too.

TRUE BLUE is an entertaining contemporary romance in which the relationship between the adults begins with an emergency that leaves the ailing mom with no one to care for her baby due to circumstances of her being new and her aunt and babysitter out of town. This premise raises the issue of single moms in an emergency with no real support system for their kids. Drake is too perfect as he barely mumbles his frustrations of giving up his vacation to become a temporary dad, who needed a bit more spit, vomit, and pee on him. Hadley is a wonderful caring mom who puts Nicky ahead of her needs. Readers will enjoy this fine Colorado romance between the cop and the cop’s widow.

Harriet Klausner

A Highlander Never Surrenders-Paula Quinn

A Highlander Never Surrenders
Paula Quinn
Forever, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0446619132

In 1659 English General Monck captures Scotswoman Claire Stuart. He plans to use her as a negotiating pawn to force her brother Connor, leading an enemy fighting force using guerilla tactics, to end their rebellion by surrendering. While in captivity, Claire keeps in shape and improvs her fighting skills waiting for the opportune moment to escape and join her sibling.

Graham Grant is a superb warrior, but refuses to join the fight. He joins his brother-in-law, a Royal Scottish Earl, Robert Campbell on a trip where he learns of Claire’s captivity. Graham helps Claire escape and accompanies her as she heads to her brother. As they fall in love, neither has any hope of a future together as she supports the rebellion and he pushes for peace.

Using real historical figures and events to anchor time and place, Paula Quinn provides her fans with an engaging seventeenth century romance. Claire is a fabulous lead female who prefers to fight alongside her brother while the capable warrior Graham is sick of death, maiming, and blood chooses peace. Readers will relish their delightful match up as Ms. Quinn provides a strong war and peace historical.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 25, 2008

Always a Knight-Wayne Jordan

Always a Knight
Wayne Jordan
Harlequin Kimani, Aug 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 0373860781

While he misses his beloved family who live in the Barbados and at times feels so lonely he wants to go home, reporter Russell Knight heeds Sonata’s advice about making it in New York and remains dedicated to succeeding as a journalist. The New York Times reporter accepts an invitation to a club owned by his friend Rachel Allen to watch a singer and her band perform; Rachel raves they are excellent and he loves music.

From the stage singer Tori Matthews sees Russell talking to her boss and for the first in her life falls into instant lust. To his shock, Russell upon seeing the singer for the first time falls into instant lust. Both have to have the other. As their lust grows into friendship and love, he demands she give up her career while she refuses to give up on her dream. Unable to reach consensus as neither would budge, they split up proving love is not enough.

The only negative to ALWAYS A KNIGHT is that this is the final book in the Knight Family trilogy (see ONE GENTLE KNIGHT and TO LOVE A KNIGHT). The lead couple is a passionate pairing of likable protagonists whose life goals appears to supersede their love for one another as neither quite understand compromise as his wise sister explains that live is selfless placing the other’s needs ahead of yours. Fans of contemporary romances will enjoy this fine tale of two people in love, but unable to try on let alone walk in their beloved’s shoes.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Italian Stallions-Karin Tabke and Jami Alden

Italian Stallions
Karin Tabke and Jami Alden
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jul 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 0758225598

"In His Bed" by Karin Tabke. In San Francisco, following the death of her father reticent Gianna “Gia” Cipriani feels her shyness is allowing life to pass her by. She decides to change her image and go after hunks rather than pray Prince Charming finally arrives. She chooses Gabe LaMotta as her first subject. However, he is an undercover FBI agent investigating her father’s death and quickly realizes he needs to go under the cover with Gia permanently but first wants her help on what he believes was a mob hit on her dad.

"Will That Be All?” by Jami Alden. Gia’s cousin Theresa returns to San Francisco knowing she will receive scorn and I told you so from her family. She obtains work as a waitress at Gia’s neighborhood Italian restaurant Ciao Bella where hedge fund millionaire Vince Mattera dines frequently. They lust after a breast encounter that soon turns to love, but neither is ready for a relationship beyond a tryst or two; yet neither can resist one more sexual fling after another.

Both tales are well written erotic romances. The title characters are engaging and the angst laden Theresa is well rounded. However, Gia seems out of character when she turns from a good girl into an obtuse reprobate. Still these are two hot novellas.

Harriet Klausner

She-Vonna Harper

Lucinda Betts
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jul 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 0758222157

The most powerful book known to mankind and watched over with diligence for two centuries The Canticles of Al Farasakh has vanished from under his care. Virginal warrior mage Blaze Williams is frantic and despondent because he understands misuse of the tome means evil has entered the planet. He vows to find the ancient book or die trying.

Ivy, guardian of the woods that protect the sacred Heart Of The World gemstone, source of all magic, is frightened as she realizes for the first time under her watch a viable threat has surfaced. Apparently an evil wizard who with a recent theft has become extremely powerful has plans for the stone.

Realizing she cannot do her job alone, Ivy needs magical assistance. She knows who would be perfect as a complement to her power, but he rejected her in high school. Still pride aside, Ivy begs Blaze to help her protect the stone. He agrees because he thinks her adversary stole his book and besides he always was attracted to Blaze as a teen and now as an adult human and unicorn.

This is a romantic fantasy thriller that though well written is outside the scope of the imprint as the sex comes late. Still this is an interesting tale as the two mages must merge their magic and souls to defeat a powerful amoral enemy. Readers will enjoy this fine thriller as Lucinda Betts provides an engaging tale unlike THE SUPPLICANT and MOON SHADOW; sans erotica.

Harriet Klausner

Going Down-Vonna Harper

Going Down
Vonna Harper
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jul 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 0758222181

Reeve Robinson and bondage model Saree McKeon meet on line and agree to meet in person over dinner. They share a pleasant evening until Saree realizes Reeve drugged her and made her his prisoner. She is tied up fearing the worse.

The Clan has assigned operative Reeve to penetrate the Slavers, who capture, sexually abuse and kill women. He believes Saree is the tool to infiltrate and stop these odious beasts. He videotapes their BDSM trysts that have her begging him for her sexual release and places them on the net knowing the enemy will see it and fall for his lure. His biggest problem is he has fallen for his lure.

Few writers if any do S&M romantic suspense as well as Vonna Harper consistently does. Her latest is a fascinating tale of an agent using a woman as an expendable pawn based on for the better good philosophy except for one problem; she ties up his heart. The story line is fast-paced with plenty of darkness as the Slayers emphasizing a real world problem are nasty sexual slave abusers and traders. The lead couple is a strong pairing with each going from desire to lust to love to battling personal issues while the Slayers stalk them. This is a superb erotic romantic suspense thriller based on a major international issue, the sexual slavery of females (and young boys) of all ages.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Delicious-Sherry Thomas

Sherry Thomas
Bantam, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780440244325

In London she was scorned for being a mistress to her employer Bertram "Bertie" Somerset, who recently died; in Paris she is the toast of the city for her DELICIOUS meals. Verity Durant loves being a chef. However, her joy of cooking is suddenly disturbed with the arrival of Bernie’s illegitimate brother Stuart the barrister arrives.

A decade ago she fell in love with Stuart; they had a heated one night affair and he left. She still wants him as she never stopped loving him. However, he is engaged to prim and proper Miss Lizzy Bessler. Stuart realizes the error he once made when he let the love of his life go and feels marrying Lizzy is his just desserts. However, Verity tries to serve him the one repast he cannot resist, her.

This is a wonderful gender war as Stuart and Verity love one another, but use words to hide their deep feelings from their beloved enemy. As the heroine points out from the onset some aristocrats think their romance is a Cinderella tale, but no fairy Godmother came to her rescue as a pariah with passion for cooking and for Stuart. Readers will appreciate this fine tasty delight as Lizzy, the Ton, villains and the lead couple stand in the way of a happily ever after fairy tale ending.

Harriet Klausner

Lord of Shadows-Mary Lennox

Lord of Shadows
Mary Lennox
Five Stars, Aug 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 1594146977

In 1843, Lord Devlin Charmichael is a half-breed; having an English mother and a Zaranbad father, but he feels he belongs to neither world. His brother Ari, the King of Zaranbad, which is on the western border of India, is in London negotiating a treaty with the English Queen. He saves his sibling from a United Band terrorist’s attempts to poison his Highness, but his sibling is spiteful rather than grateful.

Due to her mom’s affair, Lady Caroline Berring is ostracized having been born as a result of scandal. When Dr. Ram Bass arranges for Devlin to dance with Caroline, she becomes suddenly popular. Devlin introduces Caroline to the brother and his blind sister-in-law Queen Janisher. The women become friends while Ram works to uncover the head of the terrorists and Devlin continues to court Caroline although he knows he can never have her; besides which he promised a friend to help him court her. Caroline feels fickle because she is falling in love with Ram and Devlin, but soon reconciles her feelings when she realizes the truth.

This is an engaging historical romantic suspense starring two likable lead protagonists and a solid support cast. Caroline and Janisher steal the show from their protective men with their courage and refusal to hide from danger. Although readers will need to accept a free nineteenth century Christian kingdom bordering on India, fans will enjoy this superb early Victorian thriller as the two females risk their lives to prevent the assassination of their loved ones.

Harriet Klausner

Kiss of Fury-Deborah Cooke

Kiss of Fury
Deborah Cooke
Signet, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451224767

The dragon war continues between the Pyr and Slayers over saving or destroying humanity. Both sides know of the legend that one day a wizard and warrior will change the stalemate; each has a need to find the legend.

Human research scientist Alexandra Madison believes she is about to make a major find only to have her lab destroyed in an arson assault and her partner killed. Pyr dragon Donovan Shea is sent to keep Alexandra safe. To his shock and chagrin, the frail human ignites his firestorm; a desire he thought died when love betrayed him. Meanwhile Alex is attracted to Madison in his human form even as they are under assault from stalking Slayers.

The second Dragonfire paranormal romantic suspense (see KISS OF FIRE) is a terrific thriller that enables the audience to believe in the world this author Cooked up. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action yet fans will believe in the firestorm destined soulmates romantic subplot so critical to the tale. KISS OF FURY is a superb romantic fantasy starring two wonderful lead protagonists and a horde of nasty Slayers assigned to kill both of them.
Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pleasuring the Pirate-Emily Bryan

Pleasuring the Pirate
Emily Bryan
Leisure, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0843961333

In 1720, the pirate Captain Gabriel Drake is pardoned of all his crimes, but his Letter of Marque includes the stipulation that if he comes to London, his clemency is void and without further legal due course will pay the price. At about the same time, Jacquelyn Wren tries to get far away from her mother’s courtesan lifestyle by rusticating as the chatelaine running the household of notorious seafaring Lord Gabriel Drake “the Dragon”.

When Dragon comes home, Jacquelyn greets him by ambushing the pirate. However, Gabriel easily defeats the hooligan who attacked him and using his sword cuts open the covering of her bound breasts. Irate at his chatelaine’s audacity and delighted with her boobs, Gabriel realizes he needs to keep Jacquelyn employed so that she can mentor him on joining high society and marry wealth. One kiss changes their bargain as neither expected the inferno that ignited. Fleeing for London, as she no longer can hide her desire, Gabriel risks incarceration and more to tell his chatelaine he wants to change her position to wife. However, when he is caught and jailed, Jacquelyn risks all to liberate her beloved.

This great Georgian romance is filled with bawdy humor mindful of Fielding’s classic Tom Jones as the banter between the pirate and the courtesan’s daughter is amusing and heated. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the Dragon becomes a landlubber lord in need of loot and never slows down until the final desperate daring deed. Except for the title, Emily Bryan provides a powerful historical as the adventures of the grounded pirate and the non-courtesan chatelaine will pleasure the fans.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 21, 2008

Teaming Up-Abby Gaines

Teaming Up
Abby Gaines
Harlequin NASCAR, Aug 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373217939

Part of the famous Murphy NASCAR family, Kim became a highly regarded research scientist working at Booth Labs. However, her doctor tells her she has kidney problems that she must not ignore.. Feeling healthier than the horse that won the Derby, she plans to do nothing until she finds her list of 10 things to do before she dies in her family’s Charlotte home.

Kim decides to complete the list which includes dating and dumping a jock. She chooses NASCAR Crew chief Wade Abraham to help her complete those items. He is more than willing to accommodate her. As they fall in love, he remains in the dark as does her family as to why she implemented her dying list of ten.

In spite of her family and his job, NASCAR plays a minor support role in this angst laden contemporary romance as Kim facing death decides to complete her list with Wade being her chosen one. The story line is driven totally around the oval by Kim as she engages the audience who pray that a compatible kidney is found in time. Abby Gaines provides a deep tale starring a young brilliant woman living her life to the fullest as begins counting down.

Harriet Klausner

Overheated-Barbara Dunlop

Barbara Dunlop
Harlequin NASCAR, Aug 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373217922

Truck driver Crystal Hayes loves her job as she drives for her family's firm. As she listens to Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crystal muses how much the open road may be gender specific but is the life for her as she definitely has no desire for a man in her life; one was enough.

The Grosso family is one of NASCAR’s royals. However, the black sheep is Professor Larry Grosso, who as an academia is sort of an outside nerd as if he fell out of the family tree. When Crystal delivers her latest truck load to the Grosso NASCAR team, they meet. In spite of his being two decades older than she, the attraction is stratospheric. He wants her although his family fears she is only after his money; whereas she was married once so has doubts about a second time around the track.

Racing takes a back seat as two at best NASCAR peripherals fall in love. The story line focuses on how age does not matter but pasts do as each has ghosts that make them hesitate to forge a loving relationship. Readers will enjoy Barbara Dunlap’s second chance at love starring two OVERHEATED protagonists who fear risking their hearts.

Harriet Klausner

Blaze Of Lightning, Roar Of Thunder-Helen A. Rosburg

Blaze Of Lightning, Roar Of Thunder
Helen A. Rosburg
Medallion, Aug 2008, $7.95
ISBN: 9781932815641

Louisa Rodriguez survived the scalp-hunters massacre of her family and the other Santa Rita villagers though a bullet grazed her head. She buried everyone and struggled to also bury from her conscious mind the horror she witnessed. Louisa insanely wandered naked for a couple of months until horse wrangler Ring Crossman found her. Whether she remembered her name he did not know because she refused to tell him. He calls her Blaze for the lightning looking light colored streak caused by the bullet in her black hair. Unable to forget, she vows vengeance on the scalp-hunter leader.

Known by his Apache people as the Bringer of Thunder, warrior Bane seeks his sire who raped his mother. He plans to kill the evil one so he cannot hurt anyone else. When he and Blaze meet, they are attracted to one another but also share a thirst for vengeance against the same person. Their hate appears stronger then their love.

This gripping and enthralling western romance hooks you from the moment the scalp bounty hunters attack the village and never slows down as readers will feel empathy towards Louisa even if she believes that woman is dead replaced by an avenge seeking Blaze. The story line is fast-paced with a great ending, but character driven mostly by Blaze and to a lesser degree by Bane, Ring and the horse wrangler’s woman Carrie. This may be over three hundred pages, but fans will read in one sitting the avengers, BLAZE OF LIGHTNING, ROAR OF THUNDER.

Harriet Klausner

Wages of Sin-Jenna Maclaine

Wages of Sin
Jenna Maclaine
St. Martin's, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0312946163

In 1815 England, witch Dulcinea “Cin” Macgregor Craven loves her parents. So when they are murdered she is distraught with grief. However, she has no time to mourn her loss as an evil unwanted vampire stalks her; ultimately biting her.

Cin knows she cannot fight off her adversary alone. She has heard myths about The Righteous Vampires; a trio who resolved to do the honorable thing righting wrongs if they can when their species does harm. Cin conjures up a spell that brings them to her. They agree to help her, but quickly realize they are not dealing with just a vampire; her monster is in servitude to a powerful demon. One of her three protectors, Michael, who is attracted to the witch, vows his undead life to keep her safe.

This is the first act of the Cin Craven romantic fantasy saga and if it is any indication of the series, sub-genre fans are in for quite a treat. The story line is filled with action from the moment “Dulcie’ as her beloved mom called her realizes her parents are dead and she is under supernatural attack. Cin is terrific as she tells her story in a first person account that brings to life the undead, the witches, and the undead witches. Jenna Maclaine provides an entertaining opening entry that will thrill readers who wonder what GRAVE SINS is coming next to Cin.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Daughters Grimm-Minda Webber

The Daughters Grimm
Minda Webber
Love Spell, Jul 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0505527715

In spite of her husband being a baron, the Grimm family matriarch is concerned with the prospects of her children as they lack funds. She pushes her oldest daughters to make a good match, which means title and wealth not love. However, every Tom, Dick and prince who comes by, all prefer blonde heiresses as none choose either Greta or Rae. Even the frogs they find dumped in their beds alas remains amphibians.

Their Prussian bully Aunt Vivian invites Rae and Greta to visit her at her barony Snowe Manor in the Black Forest, which they do. Rae meets a widowed Baron and his horde of children and Greta falls in love with an obnoxious Prince not charming. However, with their aunt acting amorally abhorrent, each sister still wonders if they found their fairy tale romance or are they going to end up like the ogress in a nightmarish fable.

The latest fractured fairy tale romance from Minda Webber Here (see THE REINVENTED MISS BLUEBIRD, THE REMARKABLE MISS FRANKENSTEIN and THE RELUCTANT MISS VAN HELSING) is an amusing historical. The story line is lighthearted fun with most of the amusement coming from Aunt Vivian. Fans of Ms. Webber will enjoy her latest jocular jaunt as THE DAUGHTERS GRIMM seek happily ever after.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 18, 2008

In Her Wildest Dreams-Kimberly Dean

In Her Wildest Dreams
Kimberly Dean
Pocket, Aug 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 141655114X

Research scientist Shea Caldwell is afraid to go to sleep as she wakes up in strange places. She fears the sleepwalking problems she had as a child that she thought she outgrew is back. Besides not sleeping properly, Shea believes someone from inside is stealing research from her company and consequently destroying her firm.

Security executive Derek Oneiros is attracted to Shea; in fact he believes he is in love with her, a unique experience for him. However, although she wants Derek, Shea refuses to follow up on her feelings. Besides being embarrassed; she fears his reaction if he learns of her disorder that goes directly to a childhood trauma that recently was re-triggered subconsciously. She is ignorant to the essence of the male she loves; as he is a Dream Wreaker who already knows her fiery nightmarish secrets having visited her nocturnally.

IN HER WILDEST DREAM is a terrific suspense thriller with a touch of heated romance and the paranormal. Readers will be captivated by the beleaguered lead character with a need to know what happened to her as a child that haunts her now. The Dream Wrecker is an interesting individual, but falling in love takes away somewhat from his nightmarish vocation. Still fans will appreciate this fine tale as we want to know what is happening now and then in the life of Shea.
Harriet Klausner

The Falcon And The Sparrow-M.L. Tyndall

The Falcon And The Sparrow
M.L. Tyndall
Barbour, Aug 2008, $10.97
ISBN: 9781602600126

In 1803 the French leave Dominique Dawson' with a Hobson’s choice. She can spy on her beloved homeland England or never see her brother languishing under French incarceration ever again; she knows the threat is real and if she fails to do her mission, her sibling will be dead.

Dominique obtains work as governess to the son of Royal Navy Rear Admiral Chase Randal of the Royal Navy in order to gather information for Napoleon’s agents. She pretends being a mouse, which disgusts her new employer, but he begins to notice her lioness ferocity when it comes to his son. Deeply attracted to father and son, Dominique expects someone she loves will die regardless of what she does.

This is an intriguing historical romance due to the predicament the heroine must face as she believes she will betray someone she loves regardless of what she does or does not. Readers will enjoy following Dominique’s anguish as she rationalizes what she must do and even projects her ethical dilemma onto others as a psychological defense mechanism. Still as always M.L. Tyndall provides her fans with an interesting Regency due to the lead female's lament.

Harriet Klausner

Twice Loved-Lori Copeland

Twice Loved
Lori Copeland
Avon, Aug 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780061364914

In 1865 Texas the three friends, Willow Madison, Copper Wilson and Audrey Pride all taught school until the Civil War entered Thunder Ridge and the surrounding towns; the Northern army destroyed everything in its march to crush the south.

When the war ended, this section of Texas has become home to poverty. A desperate Madison’s ailing Uncle Wallace begs her to marry wealthy Silas Sterling, thirty years her senior, who might have a reason to invest in rebuilding the demolished town. She reluctantly agrees although she feels no attraction to him. Making matters more complex and difficult for Madison is sawmill owner Tucker Gray who she wishes was her suitor, but he holds her culpable for the fire that destroyed his mill.

TWICE LOVED is an entertaining Post Civil War Texas romance starring a courageous heroine willing to sacrifice her desires to help her family, friends, and neighbors in need. When she realizes her heart wants Tucker while her head says Silas, Willow prays to God to guide her as she believes she is giving up her integrity by marrying Silas. The rest of the cast is solid as Silas hopes his fiancée will learn to love him one day; Tucker wants her, but has issues with her; her two teacher friends beg her not to sacrifice herself; finally there is fascinatingly deep yet ironically shallow Uncle Wallace who disguises his real reason for his niece to wed Silas behind his altruism. Americana fans will relish the first Belles of Timber Creek saga with Audrey and Copper to follow.

Harriet Klausner

The Falcon And The Sparrow-M.L. Tyndall

The Falcon And The Sparrow
M.L. Tyndall
Barbour, Aug 2008, $10.97
ISBN: 9781602600126

In 1803 the French leave Dominique Dawson' with a Hobson’s choice. She can spy on her beloved homeland England or never see her brother languishing under French incarceration ever again; she knows the threat is real and if she fails to do her mission, her sibling will be dead.

Dominique obtains work as governess to the son of Royal Navy Rear Admiral Chase Randal of the Royal Navy in order to gather information for Napoleon’s agents. She pretends being a mouse, which disgusts her new employer, but he begins to notice her lioness ferocity when it comes to his son. Deeply attracted to father and son, Dominique expects someone she loves will die regardless of what she does.

This is an intriguing historical romance due to the predicament the heroine must face as she believes she will betray someone she loves regardless of what she does or does not. Readers will enjoy following Dominique’s anguish as she rationalizes what she must do and even projects her ethical dilemma onto others as a psychological defense mechanism. Still as always M.L. Tyndall provides her fans with an interesting Regency due to the lead female's lament.

Harriet Klausner

Twice Loved-Lori Copeland

Twice Loved
Lori Copeland
Avon, Aug 2008, $12.95
ISBN: 9780061364914

In 1865 Texas the three friends, Willow Madison, Copper Wilson and Audrey Pride all taught school until the Civil War entered Thunder Ridge and the surrounding towns; the Northern army destroyed everything in its march to crush the south.

When the war ended, this section of Texas has become home to poverty. A desperate Madison’s ailing Uncle Wallace begs her to marry wealthy Silas Sterling, thirty years her senior, who might have a reason to invest in rebuilding the demolished town. She reluctantly agrees although she feels no attraction to him. Making matters more complex and difficult for Madison is sawmill owner Tucker Gray who she wishes was her suitor, but he holds her culpable for the fire that destroyed his mill.

TWICE LOVED is an entertaining Post Civil War Texas romance starring a courageous heroine willing to sacrifice her desires to help her family, friends, and neighbors in need. When she realizes her heart wants Tucker while her head says Silas, Willow prays to God to guide her as she believes she is giving up her integrity by marrying Silas. The rest of the cast is solid as Silas hopes his fiancée will learn to love him one day; Tucker wants her, but has issues with her; her two teacher friends beg her not to sacrifice herself; finally there is fascinatingly deep yet ironically shallow Uncle Wallace who disguises his real reason for his niece to wed Silas behind his altruism. Americana fans will relish the first Belles of Timber Creek saga with Audrey and Copper to follow.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Untouchable-Linda Winstead Jones

Linda Winstead Jones
Berkley, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425222966

Colymbyana Emperor Jahn sends his twin brother Alix to escort two of the six potential brides he is considering making his empress to the palace. One of the chosen is sex slave Sanura. She has several extraordinary skills as she can see into the heart of a person, bring pleasure to die for to her master and has a blue dye that covers her skin that if conveyed to someone means horrific death to the receiver.

Alix is attracted to Sanura, which does not surprise her as every male is. However, she is shocked that she reciprocates as she feels for her escort who suffers from a multiple personality syndrome. Alix is a kind soul, but his alter-ego is brutal. When he is accused of murder, he accepts the charge because he knows if his other self can get out of control and kill; so he is uncertain whether he did the deed or not. Sanura thinks otherwise and plans to prove the duality man she loves would never kill in cold blood even his harsher side.

With nods towards Rogue of the X-Men and Two-Face of Batman, UNTOUCHABLE is a fabulous romantic investigative fantasy starring two interesting protagonists. The title character is heroic and lonely until now; Alix is the more fascinating individual as he suffers from a duality that is 180 degrees apart. Their love seems forbidden especially since she is a potential bride of his brother the ruler; making her even further UNTOUCHABLE. Linda Winstead Jones provides the sub-genre with a winning combo of mystery and romance inside a fantasy realm.

Harriet Klausner

Sea Fever-Virginia Kantra

Sea Fever
Virginia Kantra
Berkley, Aug 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425222973

Regina Barone is lonely. She is a single mom raising her eight years old son Nick while working as a cook at her mom's lobster shack on the Maine barrier island World’s End where she was born. She has no personal life at all and no hope for one in the future as she personally understands the name of her home.

While the town celebrates a wedding, a depressed Regina sneaks away to get drunk at the beach; she miserably thinks she has no one to share her bottle with. However that proves wrong because Dylan, brother to the groom police chief Caleb Hunter, is also on the beach getting away from the festivities. His ruler the Selkie Prince sent him here to investigate a demon existence. The human and the Selkie are attracted to one another, but neither see a long term relationship brewing between them until danger makes both reassess their priorities.

This direct sequel to SEA WITCH is a fantastic romantic fantasy as Virginia Kantra enables the readers to look deep into the souls of a lonely single human mom and a Selkie. The story line enables the reader as we did in previous Children of the Sea tales to believe in the existence of Selkie and half-breed Selkie. Fans will enjoy this fine thriller as Selkie are a commitment phobic species as Dylan keeps on reminding himself even while he suffers from SEA FEVER caused by his attraction to a surface dweller.

Harriet Klausner

Ace Is Wild-Penny McCall

Ace Is Wild
Penny McCall
Berkley, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425222980

Federal prosecutor Daniel Pierce feels like an idiot though he knows it is a good cause; he is on stage taking part in a charity bachelor auction. To his shock some nut case tries to abduct him from the stage. Psychic Vivi Foster has seen a vision of two hit men coming to assassinate him. She saves his life, but he refuses to listen to her explanation.

Although she knows he is ungrateful, Vivi intercedes again saving his life for the second time. Instead of gratitude he displays annoyance at the psychic though he accepts the fact that someone wants him dead. He assumes the unknown adversary is involved in one of his prosecutions, but not whom. She cannot answer that, but he soon realizes her sticking her nose in his business has left her in trouble too.

ACE IS WILD is an amusing paranormal romantic suspense thriller that grips the audience from the onset when Vivi and Daniel clash and never slows down as their retorts back and forth make for a fun tale. They drive the story line with their bantering, but that also leaves the danger to the lead couple somewhat downplayed. With homage to the 1930s romantic mystery movies with a touch of the psychic to add spice, fans will enjoy Penny McCall’s wacky and very entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Midwife of the Blue Ridge-Christine Blevins

Midwife of the Blue Ridge
Christine Blevins
Berkley, Aug 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425221686

The Scottish assume that Maggie Duncan is cursed because she as an eight years old child was the only survivor of the overflow of the Culloden massacre in her nearby village of Bailebeg. She was taken in by Hannah Cameron, the midwife of the Village of Black Corries; thus no surprise she became a midwife too.

However, by 1760 the twenty-two year old Maggie knows she has no future in Scotland because her fortune to survive years earlier is treated by others as if she has the black eye. She pays her crossing fee to the colonies with four years of indentured service. While on the ship crossing the Atlantic, drunken viscount Julian Cavendish tries to rape her. In the Virginia Colony, Seth Martin needs Maggie's skills to save his wife so he buys her servitude contract. His best friend Tom Roberts is attracted to the Scotswoman and she reciprocates, but Lord Julian plans to finish what he started at sea.

This excellent colonial romance works because Christine Blevins paints a powerfully vivid portrait of the often horrific lot of women on both sides of the Atlantic, but especially in the colonies. Lord Julian feels it is his God given right to rape an unmarried Scottish commoner; he sets somewhat the tone. Contrasting him are the kind hearted frontiersmen Seth and Tom. However, the key to this character driven historical is optimistic magnificent Maggie, whose realism re her plight is tempered by her Pollyanna hopes for the future.

Harriet Klausner

The Conquest-Julia Templeton

The Conquest
Julia Templeton
Berkley Heat, Aug 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425223413

In 1080 at Castle Mackay in the Highlands, Rhiannon waits for her betrothed Malgor de Cion to arrive and take her back to his Castle Almerson on the English border. She does not want to marry this much older stranger as she fears the fate of her mom; her dad locked her away until she died and has since remarried Deirdre, who Rhiannon detests.

Lord Wulf sends his brother-in-law Adelstan Cawdor to escort Malgor’s bride as he was hurt allegedly while hunting. Rhiannon mistakes Adelstan as Malgor and is excited as she is attracted to him. Adelstan is also stunned by that first encounter as he is attracted to her too.

When Adelstan leaves the castle, Rhiannon and Elspeth follow him. He strips and swims in a pond. Both women are stunned as he is quite a hung hunk. Their horse is missing, but Adelstan has it. He rides back with Rhiannon sharing his horse. Rhiannon holds tight and when a chance occurs she kisses Adelstan; he kisses her back as he desires her, but duty prevents him from acting on his feelings. Rhiannon makes it clear she wants Adelstan and tries to seduce him; he flees. She tells him she wants him as her husband taking her maidenhead. He tells her she is desirable, but he will deliver a virgin to her betrothed though he loves her.

The lead couple is a terrific pairing as they are in heat at first sight though both know she belongs to another; their ethical dilemma battling their desire makes for a fine tale. Additionally the return of the lead couple from THE BARGAIN in a short but critical appearance adds to the overall fun. Although why Rhiannon’s dad allowed Adelstan to escort his daughter to her betrothed when he caught her sneaking into his room makes no sense, fans will enjoy this fine Conquest romance.

Harriet Klausner

Into the Flame-Christina Dodd

Into the Flame
Christina Dodd
Signet, Aug 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451224668

At Seattle’s Swedish Hospital, genetic disease expert Dr. Mitchell informed her patient Firebird Wilder that there is no way she is biologically linked to her parents or her three brothers Jasha, Rurik, and Adrik. The blood types are irrefutable proof regardless of what everyone insists. Twenty-three years ago, apparently two babies were born; one a boy and the other Firebird who thought she had given birth to a son, but accepted her husband’s explanation of drug induced confusion. Now they realize a switch occurred, but everyone loves Firebird and she knows they do.

A single mom Firebird concludes that her own son’s questions about his dad means she should find her college lover Doug Black, who sacred her when she saw him shapeshift into a cougar. She fled assuming he was a Varinski like she. Doug also seeks his beloved Firebird, who left him abruptly thee years ago when they attended Brown. When these two soulmates reunite, the millennium war with the devil over who owns the Wilders nee Varinski souls ignites too.

The final exhilarating Darkness Chosen tale (see INTO THE SHADOW, A TOUCH OF DARKNESS and SCENT OF DARKNESS) is a superb paranormal romantic suspense thriller that grips the audience throughout starting with the shocking opening sequence. The cast is strong especially the lead couple and though one twist can be seen early on (purposely by Ms. Dodd); fans will fully relish this terrific conclusion to an overall enjoyable urban romantic fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scandalous by Night-Barbara Pierce

Scandalous by Night
Barbara Pierce
St. Martin's, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0312947976

In 1799 his stepmother Lady Worrington arranged his betrayal abetted by her ten year old niece Maura Keighly that left Viscount Everod near dead with a wound to his throat given to him by his dad who wishes he was dead. His younger brother Rowan sides with his father. Over the next decade he lived for vengeance though his reputation for wickedness as a les sauvages nobles comes with his seemingly zillion different women. Now in 1811; he believes he finally has the opportunity. He will seduce and ruin Maura to get back at those who betrayed him. .

Maura is considering strongly accepting the marriage proposal from Rowan. When she meets Everod she hesitates saying yes to Rowan as she feels both guilt for her part in the duplicity and is also attracted to him even before he begins his seduction. However, Everod finds himself caught in his own trap as he begins to fall in love with the expendable chip. He soon realizes his nefarious scheme worked too well as someone, whom he suspects is in the bosom of the Worrington family, apparently is willing to finish the job of a dozen years ago and kill Maura too.

Readers will enjoy this entertaining Regency romantic suspense as the near death experience turns Everod into a rake, but a taste of strawberry jam and other fruits change him into a hero. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this tasty treat as Maura is pulled by her love for the rogue she knows is trying to destroy her, her duty to the aunt who took her out of poverty, and to her beloved’s brother who has been her best friend. Few writers combine romance and suspense inside a historical as well as Barbara Pierce consistently does.

Harriet Klausner

Faceless-Debra Webb

Debra Webb
St. Martin’s, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0312942249

Fifteen years have passed since the senseless slaughter of his family in Alabama, but in spite of his current position as a Deputy District Attorney, Carson Tanner has not received any closure; the case went cold a long time ago. He still thanks his girlfriend’s father Senator Drake for taking care of him back then when he was a teenager suddenly alone with tragedy and trauma; however putting it behind him remains impossible. That is until apparently now when serial killer John Stokes confesses that he killed the Tanner family.

Carson does not feel like his nightmare is over. When he meets Annette Baxter, they fall into each other’s arms for one wild night. However, he soon learns she is a problem fixer for the affluent, including someone under investigation by Tanner’s office. Soon afterward, leaks suddenly appear re the Tanner family homicides that lend credence to a rumor of a false confession. Carson begins to wonder what role Annette has played while she understands the only survival to the threats to their lives means escorting the ADA into a world of dishonesty

This is a fascinating investigative romantic suspense thriller starring two opposites at least on how each sees justice. Carson was shaped by the deadly traumatic incident and goes out of his way to stay legal as he feels the law is above reproach; Annette has no qualms gleefully going outside the law and is proud to do so. They make the tale as together they might swim out of a small-town cesspool polluted with toxic corruption and murder; separately they will be the next two statistics.

Harriet Klausner

Nauti Dreams-Lora Leigh

Nauti Dreams
Lora Leigh
Berkley Heat, Aug 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425219515

In Iraq five years ago, the kidnappers were starting to abuse their “little American whore” Federal agent Chaya Dane. Navy SEAL Natches Mackay manages to rescue her before they raped her, but she did suffer some physical damage. His team extradited the duo before they could be recaptured. Mentally Chaya thought afterward that the most shook up moment to her psyche was Natches’ kiss.

In the present Chaya works a case in Somerset, Kentucky that brings her and Natches back together. However while she works on preventing a diabolical lethal scheme and learning who is behind it, he fears the Feds are right that his estranged father stole missiles. They team up causing enough heat to warm up everyone from Kentucky to New England.

The latest Nauti SEAL tale returns readers to one of the Mackay military men (see NAUTI BOY); this time the focus is on the womanizing hillbilly and the New Englander who turns him into a one woman man. The story line is fast-paced from the opening rescue sequence to the final hostage scenario. However, the romance especially the well written hot sex supersedes all the other action including the case and the revelations re the MacKay brood. Still series fans will appreciate the trip to Bluegrass Country as the audience will bet on Lore Leigh providing an entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Quarter After Tuesday-Jo Kadlecek

A Quarter After Tuesday
Jo Kadlecek
Navpress, Jul 2007
ISBN: 1600060501

Jonna Lightfoot MacLaughlin left her hometown of Denver (see A MILE FROM SUNDAY for her adventure as the Denver Dispatch journalist) for the Big Easy to work at the New Orleans Banner as the religion reporter. When Jonna stops for her usual coffee and two baguettes, she also receives a Big Chief message from one of God’s messengers stating Big Mama is mad and in town.

Real estate reporter Rufus Ezekiel “RED” Denton suggests Jonna do a story on the Harmony Interfaith Senior Manor; a place where his ninety-four years old Auntie Belle is a resident and his cousin Marva Rae Bills runs the facility. He explains the religious angle is that different faiths got together to establish the senior citizens home to care for their elders; seniors with powerful faith convictions. However, when she arrives, Marva Rae informs her that a septuagenarian resident Ricky Jefferson mysteriously died; the cause unknown. Jonna begins to investigate and soon worries that an unknown person plans for the residents to meet their maker a bit earlier than expected. At about the same time that she seeks a decent gumbo and answers to who wants to harm the seniors, her personal life goes from zero to meeting interested men even if they offer her fried dough instead of chocolate.

The second The Lightfoot Trilogy tale (see A MILE FROM SUNDAY) is an interesting inspirational investigative thriller as Jonna escorts readers on fascinating tours of New Orleans’s various faiths and sites. In fact, the mystery actually does not take full focus until the latter half of A QUARTER AFTER TUESDAY. The lack of the impact of Katrina on religion seems like a lost opportunity in spite of God’s watery message to the heroine. Still fans will appreciate the intrepid reporter’s trek around the Big Easy seeking good news to report while she meets some fascinating men, struggles with the latest heavenly message, and what is going on at HIS Manor.

Harriet Klausner

Trial by Fire-Jo Davis

Trial by Fire
Jo Davis
Signet, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451224774

House-sitting school teacher Kat McKenna is in shock when the home she watches is set on fire. Firefighter Lieutenant Howard “Six Pack” Paxton tries to calm down the distraught woman who literally falls into his arms. Soon afterward, a corpse is found inside.

Arson investigators and police conclude the fire was set to conceal a homicide. They also believe Kat inadvertently might have seen the killer. Howard is concerned that the culprit may come after Kat; so he vows to keep her safe. However when a second fire and murder occurs, he reassesses his position as he new thinks the killer is targeting him in some deranged way; but that frightens the normally fearless firefighter who fears the arsonist-killer may target the woman he loves.

Not just the fires are hot in this exhilarating romantic suspense thriller as the relationship between the lead couple is pure heat. The cast makes the tale work as Howard has relationship issues going back to his childhood; Kat is a courageous person; while the villain, whom readers learn his motive from his musings, is obviously deranged; and the rest of the key players are fully developed. Readers will appreciate Jo Davis’ strong tale due to the powerful characterizations making TRIAL BY FIRE a terrific action-packed tale.

Harriet Klausner

Hot Property-Susan Johnson

Hot Property
Susan Johnson
Berkley, Aug 2008, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425221730

Zoe Chandler believes she has enough to write an exposé on art collectors. To complete the task, she secludes herself at an isolated lake house.

After watching the abuse by our CIA agents in the Balkans especially in Kosovo, former field civilian interpreter Nick Mirovic knows that even after all these years he still suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, albeit the nightmares are less frequent. He avoids the pharmaceutical solution as he felt that messed up his head. Instead he has isolated himself near a remote lake. However, though the hermit tries to distance himself from his beautiful new neighbor, he fails as he wants her. When danger comes stalking their lake as Zoe’s art collector portrayal has placed her in peril, Nick’s protective juices flow as much as one particular male bodily fluid since he met his new neighbor.

This fast-paced exciting romantic suspense is filled with sex, sex, and the lead couple on the lam; with more sex while running for their lives. Nick is the more fascinating character as his experience in the Balkans still eats at his soul in many ways such as trust issues with other people including the woman he is falling in love with and an obsession to help the underdog. The heat is on figuratively and literally as Susan Johnson provides her fans with a HOT PROPERTY.

Harriet Klausner

Some Like It Wicked-Teresa Medeiros

Some Like It Wicked
Teresa Medeiros
Avon, Aug 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061235351

Almost sixteen year old Catriona Kincaid meets Sir Simon Wescott when she was reading Sir Walter Scott in a loft while he is seducing her cousin Alice. Whereas her vile cousin calls her a monster, he thinks nothing of her being there beyond coincidence. Although he calls her a lad and then a little girl, even his rakish actions fail to deter her from worshipping the rogue.

Five years later in 1810, Lord Eddingham informs Catriona and her Uncle Ross that he purchased land in Scotland once owned by the Kincaids; he plans to end the raids led by the outlaw Kincaid. Catriona fears that might be her brother so she decides to go home to the Highlands where her family was once head of a clan until her grandfather chose otherwise. Realistically she knows she needs an escort and is resolute that her “hero” takes her to Scotland. Simon resides in Newgate so she visits him there with an enticing proposition. She will pay off his debts, which will free him from prison if he marries her and takes her home. He agrees and once he is released he honors his new debt by marrying Catriona. The journey north is dangerous as someone apparently wants to prevent her from coming home while her beloved proves to be a real hero risking his life to keep her safe.

This entertaining Regency romance is fun to follow as Catriona’s puppy love turns into an adult love while Simon finds himself falling in love with the courageous woman whose terms he agreed to as he no longer thinks of her as a little girl. Whereas her uncle, her cousin and Eddingham display no positive attributes, fans will still enjoy this fine historical as Catriona and her hero fall in love while waiting anxiously for the sequel to see what happens with the hanging thread.

Harriet Klausner

The Mistress Diaries-Julianne MacLean

The Mistress Diaries
Julianne MacLean
Avon, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061456848

In 1873 widow Lady Cassandra Montrose and Lord Vincent Sinclair share passionate evening of lovemaking. Both consider the tryst a one night stand. However, to her consternation Cassandra, who believed she was barren, becomes pregnant and gives birth to a daughter.

One year has past since they made love. Due to inheritance pressure from his dad, Vincent is engaged to marry Lady Letitia Markham, daughter of a duke, when Cassandra arrives with their three month old child June that she has raised as a single mom. However, Cassandra fears she is dying so pleads with Vincent to raise their love child. He is stunned by instant desire to make love to his unexpected visitor. To care for her and their baby, he persuades her to pretend to be his mistress. However, that is not good enough for him as he wants her to be his wife and their child his legitimate offspring.

Although the underlying theme of a woman giving birth out of wedlock has been used quite frequently in contemporary romances, it is rare to see this “matchmaking” ploy applied to a Victorian. The story line is fast-paced as Cassandra, worried about June’s well being, accepts Vincent’s offer of her being his mistress; neither consider marriage as an option even as their passion turns to love. Although Letitia comes across as a shrew, the lead couple makes for a fine tale as he must choose between inheritance and love; acceptable behavior and scandal; and duty and friendship. here is June for him to consider too. Juliana MacLean turns Vincent’s options of for love or money into a fabulous Victorian romance.

Harriet Klausner

Too Dangerous to Desire-Alexandra Benedict

Too Dangerous to Desire
Alexandra Benedict
Avon, Aug 2008, $5.99
ISBN: 9780061170478

In 1819 as they come home from Italy at the request of his mom, while at sea on the Hercules, pirates led by Black Hawk steal Adam Westmore’s wedding present watch from his wife Teresa. Not long afterward a storm hits the ship. Adam leaves Teresa in the cabin while he investigates the damage. He is knocked overboard while the ship turns into an inferno. His beloved Teresa is dead and he blames his wastrel brother the Duke of Rogues Damien for they were coming home due to his depravities.

In 1825 Adam lives in an isolated home rejecting his family. He sees a woman jump off a cliff and rescues her. Evelyn awakens in fear as she trusts no man as all are selfish and cruel like her father who sold her sister Ella to pay gambling debts and like her brother in law who killed her sister Ella.

Adam explains he lives by the sea to be near his late wife. Evie tells him her sister is dead, but that her dad sold her this time to “Him” as she fearfully in scorn calls her vicious brother-in-law, Prince Vadik. Adam vows to keep her safe from “Him”. As they fall in love, he learns how complex meeting pledges truly are.

The lead couple are interesting protagonists with both carrying baggage as they fall in love. Adding to the fun of this angst-laden Regency romance is the return of the stars of TOO GREAT A TEMPTATION in key support roles as the estranged brothers struggle to reconcile. The irony re Black Hawk is a great twist although the final confrontation seems a bit watered down after all that occurred. Fans will fully appreciate Alexandra Benedict’s exhilarating character driven historical romance.

Harriet Klausner

Before I Wake-Kathryn Smith

Before I Wake
Kathryn Smith
Avon, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061340277

In New York, psychologist Dr. Dawn Riley is the top authority on dreams interpretation at the Sleep Center where she works. She knows that her incredible skill is because of her “Nightmare” DNA as she is a chip off the old male block. Her father is Morpheus, the King of Dreams; her mother met him while she slept and they hit if off, literally. To be with him in his only realm of existence, the land of dreams, her mom buried herself in a coma rather than raise her daughter. Her dad warned her not to visit all of the “Dreaming” places because her Uncle Icelus irresponsibly, in the name of freedom, allowed some of his creations to wander freely; his sector is disturbing and is populated with frightening monsters; thus Dawn always stayed at her father’s castle when visiting his realm.

For the first since Dawn was born, she is attracted to a man Noah Clarke who is a subject in a study she is doing. He feels the same way with his instant attraction to her. However, being half mortal has its negative side as the nasty Karatos stalks Dawn and Noah while they sleep. She is an expendable pawn in his plan to take over the Dream realm.

The key the well written first paranormal Nightmare Chronicles is the Dream Realm seems real as a place where nightmares literally can leave visitors dead. The romantic urban fantasy story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down once Karatos begins his assault on his turf on the lead couple. Fans will enjoy Kathryn Smith’s eerie tale with the consequence of trying not to go into a deep dreaming sleep.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 11, 2008

Before the Scandal-Suzanne Enoch

Before the Scandal
Suzanne Enoch
Avon, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061456749

Lieutenant Colonel Phineas Bromley is as much a legend in the bedroom as he is at battle. However, the war hero known also as a notorious gentleman lover is stunned when he gets home to his estate. The place looks like a battlefield. He concludes someone is methodically ruining his family and he plans to expose the scoundrel.

He dons a mask and hunts the thug disguised as a highwayman. To his shock when he stops on the shelf Lady Alyse Donnelly, she does not act frightened as he would have expected. He is attracted to her courage and could not care less of the scandal that made her unsuited for marriage. However, he does care that Alyse insists on helping him with his charade though that places his beloved in danger from the still unknown adversary.

The second Notorious Gentlemen tale (see AFTER THE KISS) is an excellent Regency romantic suspense starring two fully developed protagonists and a lurking stalker ready to pounce on any weakness; in this case Phin’s Achilles' heel is Alyse. Historical romance readers know you cannot have enough novels from Suzanne Enoch as she consistently provides entertaining exhilarating epics.

Harriet Klausner

Surrender to Me- Sophie Jordan

Surrender to Me
Sophie Jordan
Avon, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061339271

The Ton blames Lady Astrid Derring for her spouse leaving her. With no income, she is forced to attend galas in order to eat the crappy cucumber sandwiches served while men make illicit offers and women gossip. When she hears a rumor that the rat who left her is marrying an heiress in Scotland, Astrid decides to confront the man who destroyed her reputation in order for his betrothed to know the truth.

On the trek to the Highlands, Texan Griffin Shaw, in Scotland to meet his Scottish relatives, rescues Astrid from thugs, but he is hurt in the battle. They stop at a nearby inn to see to Griffin wounds only her spouse is there. Astrid is under the scoundrel’s bed hiding when someone kills him. As one assault after another occurs as they travel to his grandfather’s estate, the American and the widow fall in love, but survival comes first.

This is a fast-paced regency that showcases the tenuous position of many female members of the Ton; as everyone blames Astrid for the desertion. Astrid is a wonderful protagonist who holds her head up high while attending events she does want to go to; her motive for going is the food she cannot afford. Griffin is a more typical character as a Texan with aristocratic blood in his veins taking his Wild West personality amongst the Ton. Regency romance readers will appreciate Sophie Jordan’s fine historical romance.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 7, 2008

When Twilight Burns-Colleen Gleason

When Twilight Burns
Colleen Gleason
Signet, Aug 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451224750

Following a vicious attack by the dangerous vampire Beauregard, Venator leader widow Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy comes home to recuperate. However, before she can determine whether the odious Beuregard tainted her, she learns of the impossible; a vampire attacked a woman in daylight.

Apparently someone has discovered a remedy that enables vampires to walk in sunlight. This frightens Victoria as these are deadly foes at night; to fight them when they go undetected in the sun is an abomination with odious consequences especially with the Prince Regent’s coronation coming shortly. Victoria accompanied by friends and occasionally lovers Sebastian and Max investigate; to their chagrin all clues confirm Victoria as the prime suspect although others exist such as her deceased husband's heir, a royal, an opera singer and her lover.

The latest Gardella Vampire Chronicle continues the level of excellence set by its predecessors (see THE REST FALLS AWAY, THE BLEEDING DUSK and RISES THE NIGHT). The story line remains fresh partly because of its Regency setting, but mostly due to the heroine who not that long ago dreamed of her debut season delayed for the last two years due to the deaths of her grandfather and father as she went from galas to tyro vampire slayer to veteran Venator leader. WHEN TWILIGHT BURNS is fast-paced from the opening vampire assault until the powerful finish, but as always in this excellent vampire wars saga Victoria turns the thriller into a victory for sub-genre fans.

Harriet Klausner

The Accidental Demon Slayer-Angie Fox

The Accidental Demon Slayer
Angie Fox
Love Spell, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780505527691

Adopted as a child, Happy Hands Preschool teacher Lizzie Brown lived the normal American life until the day she turns thirty years old. That is the day an older woman wearing a “Kiss My Asphalt” T-shirt and driving a pink Harley arrived at her Atlanta home. The woman who called her the day before claims she is her biological grandmother and that her coven is on the run. The tattooed stranger Gertie insists they need Lizzie, a genetic demon slaying witch, whose powers are about to erupt like Old Faithful; counting down the final seconds like a space mission as Lizzie becomes the Exalted Demon Slayer of Dalea. Fearing more for her Jack Russell and her floor as Pirate senses trouble, Lizzie assumes she let a nut in her home until she goes to the bathroom. Sitting on her throne is an ugly demon.

To her shock Pirate not only adapts quite well, he becomes an eloquent English speaking terrier. With grandma and her dog at her side, Lizzie flees before all hell breaks loose. Joining the trio on the lam, as she learns to use her sudden bewitching skills is her self-proclaimed protector shapeshifting first class hunk (in human form) griffin Dimitri Kallinikos.

From the moment that Gertie meets Lizzie, the atmosphere in Atlanta changes as she brings with her eccentricity, humor, and an odd mentoring as she claims Lizzie is the next generation in the DNA demon slaying pool. She also brings her coven and a horde of demons with her who all shares an identical focus for varying purposes: Lizzie. This sudden invasion turns Lizzie dizzy as her chick lit perspective provides urban fantasy fans with a frightening yet courageous superhero; fans will know one thing as Lizzie kicks demon butt: she has Grandma’s warped sense of humor. Somewhat on the surface similar to Julie Kenner’s demon slaying soccer mom, Angie Fox provides her bewitching spin with her preschool teacher.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Private Places-Robin Shone, Claudia Dain, Allyson James & Shiloh Walker

Private Places
Robin Shone, Claudia Dain, Allyson James & Shiloh Walker
Berkley. Aug 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425221723

“The Men and Women’s Club” by Robin Schone. In 1887 London, the Men and Women’s Club has been meeting to discuss sexology, but now face a law suit. Member Professor Joseph Manning demands London Museum publicist Miss Ardelle Dennison give back what she took from him two years ago, his virginity.

“A Night at the Theater” by Claudia Dain. In 1782 at the London theater, French exile Zoe Auvray loses her acting position because of the machinations of untalented Miranda Sinclair. Zoe’s best friend scandalous courtesan Sophie Grey says she needs a wealthy patron and suggests the married Duke of Aldeth; Sophie also says she will marry the Earl of Daltry. Bets occur over who will end up with whose penis

“The Decidedly Devilish Duke” by Allyson James. In 1835 Surry, Duke Michael Beaulieu still regrets his actions that drove his beloved Amelia to the late Lockwood and him into a decade exile in the Ottoman Empire. He knows he still loves Amelia; to keep her safe from her odious cousin in law he offers to marry her and vows he will not touch her if she chooses.

“Hunter’s Mercy” by Shiloh Walker. In 1783 Williamsburg, Virginia, Jack Callahan comes home after fighting for American independence. Three years ago, his best friend Richard Harper died in his arms, but made him vow he would take care of the his sister Mercy. Jack is a werewolf like his paternal ancestors, but also a hunter who kills feral werewolves. As Jack and Mercy fall in love, he has no hope because she feels werewolves are an abomination.

The lead couples are developed enough so readers will like their tales while the historical settings come across as solid background and the sex scenes are well written and fit inside the story lines. Although the Shiloh Walker entry is excellent, fans will feel it is out of place as the only paranormal in what is a fine erotic historical romance anthology.

Harriet Klausner

Finding Fiona-Mary Fremont Schoenecker

Finding Fiona
Mary Fremont Schoenecker
Five Star, Jul 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594146947

In 2005 in her hometown of Biddleford Pool, Maine, Maddy Fontaine obtains an eighth grade teaching position. With her widower father remarried, Maddy moves out of the only home she has known to share an apartment with her best friend Clare Chamberlain. She has also found herself attracted to artisan Patrick Donovan, the older brother of her student Rosemary and believes he reciprocates her feelings.

However, though she has problems with accepting her new stepmother Kathleen and has ended a relationship with a local lawyer, Maddy hopes to begin one with Patrick. He makes it obvious he desires her, but keeps a distance as his family is full. His father recently died and his other sibling is unmarried and pregnant and Fiona is missing having left home following a dispute with her dad. When Clare’s Tante Margaret informs Maddy that an accident occurred at Patrick’s workshop during a hurricane, she rushes over there. Falling debris hits her in the head; when she awakens she is in 1905 and quickly helps the town’s ancestors, but vows to return to her time to persuade Patrick they belong together, to accept Kathleen as part of her family, and to especially find Fiona.

Although the time travel and a to a degree the paranormal feel unnecessary as there is plenty of angst and anguish for each of the lead couple to cope with starting with FINDING FIONA, fans will enjoy this fine Maine Shore Chronicles. The story line is predominantly driven by Maddy who finds 2005 a year of major change for her; even more than 1905. Fans will enjoy the romance as her dad sums up love and this fine tale with a quote from Jeremiah “More torturous than all else is the human heart”.

Harriet Klausner

My Wicked Enemy-Caroline Jewel

My Wicked Enemy
Caroline Jewel
Grand Central, Aug 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 0446178233

In Tiburon, California, Alvaro Magellan raised the orphan Carson Phillips. She believed he was altruistic until she learns the truth about her guardian when she witnesses his killing of a man. As if a haze lifted from her brain, she concludes her protector was siphoning her psychic skills for his personal use. Desperate to escape, Carson flees the affluent mansion she has called home taking a talisman with her. Frightened she expects her former hero to send his minion to bring her back for him to overtly steal her power.

On the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown, Carson has little faith of surviving until she meets warrior demon chieftain Nikodemus, who recognizes her as his most detestable enemy’s best weapon. He rejects her claims of innocence; as he assumes she volunteered to assist her mentor with her power enhancing his. However, he scans her mind to find out if she is telling the truth. She offers to help him destroy demon-kind’s worst nightmare if he keeps her safe. As they work together, he wonders if it is her magic that keeps him in a constant state of desire; she believes a higher form of magic called love has her wanting the demon.

Romantic fantasy fans will want to read MY WICKED ENEMY as the transformation of Carson from ignorant abused to powerful witch in love makes the tale fun to read as she and readers know it is her new codependence on Nikodemus that enables her to change. That switch from total submissive to loving equal makes the exciting tale for the paranormal romance fans, but many purebred fantasists would prefer the demon used her too in his need for vengeance. Still with a strong support cast and a superb Northern California setting inside a strong mystical High Noon story line, sub-genre fans will appreciate this fine jewel of a tale.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 4, 2008

Homecoming-Jill Marie Landis

Jill Marie Landis
Steeple Hill, Jul 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780373786244

In 1873 Texas the Bluecoats came and killed her companions; she expected and wished to die with her Comanche, but instead they took her with them. Eyes-in-the-Sky anticipates multiple rapes, but knows she can do little to prevent it. Shockingly the soldiers leave her with Hattie Ellenberg and her adult son Joe. They name her Deborah, but the biggest stunner is seeing her self in a mirror; she was not Comanche, but instead white like her hosts.

Hattie opens herself up to the confused young woman who she treats like her daughter. However, Deborah knows only one life and wants to return to it. Joe, who has suffered anguish and heartbreak starting with the deaths of his father and sister, admires her courage and spunk. Still, unlike his mom who turned to the Lord for solace following the killings, Joe remains bitter and angry blaming God until now; somehow the newcomer he did not want in their home has begun to melt the ice frozen around his heart. As they fall in love, which confuses her further as she is unsure what world is hers; Deborah’s white family from the east comes for their cousin Rebekiah.

Although the basic premise of Eyes-in-the-Sky’s background has been done numerous times before, Jill Marie Landis provides a fresh read due to the heroine’s reactions to herself, the Ellenbergs, her white family, and her former tribesmen. For instance to survive amongst the Comanche she repressed her previous memories; thus she makes the tale work as a strong Reconstruction Era tale in which everyone needs to feel they belong somewhere preferably with those who they share love.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sweet Spot-Susan Mallery

Sweet Spot
Susan Mallery
Harlequin HQN, Aug 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373773145

In Seattle, Nicole Keyes still recuperates from her gall bladder surgery and the reappearance of her estranged fraternal twin sister Claire in her life. Complicating her emotional state is that Claire and her best friend Wyatt are a loving entry with her sis pregnant three months while her other estranged sister Jesse slept with Nicole’s ex husband Drew and may also be carrying a baby.

At the bakery, a Pacific High School teen starts to walk out with a box of donuts without paying. She has her employee Maggie call the cops while the kid just stands still. Pacific High School coach Eric Hawkins arrives instead of the police. Nicole is nasty to the hunk while Raoul the star quarterback apologizes. A widower Hawk returns to the bakery as he is intrigued with the woman who sacked him earlier. As he and Nicole fall in love, a feeling she hates, his teenage daughter Brittany does not want a new mom in her life, but is sure of having Raoul in her life.

The battling Keyes sisters remain somewhat dysfunctional although Nicole and Claire have reconciled while an ashamed Jesse has vanished. This time the war is between the two women in Eric’s life but Nicole knows she cannot win that fight. Once again the relationships beyond just that of the lead pair makes for a tense character driven contemporary tale.

Harriet Klausner

Scandalous Deception-Rosemary Rogers

Scandalous Deception
Rosemary Rogers
Harlequin HQN, Aug 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373772506

In 1820 adviser to Czar Alexander English Lord Edmond Summerville learns his twin brother Stefan, the Duke of Huntley, is in danger as someone wants him dead. Used to the lethal contest of Russian politics, Edmond leaves his mother’s homeland to go to England, the land of his father, to help his sibling. Edmond insists on being bait to draw out the killer by pretending he is the Duke.

Fearing her stepfather’s depraved assaults are getting worse, Brianna Quinn turns to her childhood friend, Stefan for safety; as a Duke he can keep her odious relative away from her. However, she realizes immediately that the duke who greets her is not Stefan, but his brother Edmond. They are attracted to one another so when the Czar needs him she accompanies him back to Russia. As they fall in love, someone threatens his beloved forcing Stefan to choose between his beloved and his beloved Russia.

This terrific historical romance is at its best when the hero is in Russia as the audience obtains a powerful taste of Czarist intrigue a century before the Revolution. The segment in England is well written also especially as the lead couple get reacquainted, but does not possesses the uniqueness of the Russian chapters. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as heroic Stefan risks his life for his brother, the Czar and especially for Brianna. Rosemary Rogers provides an exciting early nineteenth century romantic intrigue thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Just One of the Guys-Kristan Higgins

Just One of the Guys
Kristan Higgins
Harlequin HQN, Aug 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373772995

In Upstate new York as Chastity chokes on a mushroom, her boyfriend of three weeks Jason dumps her; he insists she is not attractive enough for him especially her broad muscular shoulders. He is also embarrassed that she gave him a piggyback ride for a mile and a half while the best he could muster is to throw like a girl. Upset but not hurt, Chastity wants a husband who will relish female muscle as she refuses to give up rowing for any man. Making it harder to find the One is that her family consists of testosterone superheroes, which limits the male dating pool to idiots or fools as they must brave her father, four brothers, and an extended assortment of others.

She has one other wish on her card. She wants to be able to deal with the sight of blood, which makes her faint. She decides to conquer her phobia by confronting it; she signs up to attend an EMT program. Although Trevor whom she has known sine elementary school would be the One if the firefighter could get past seeing her as a kid sister. Ryan does and she becomes engaged, but Chastity dreams of her unrequited love.

JUST ONE OF THE GUYS is an engaging contemporary tale as Chastity falls in one failed relationship after another until she agrees to marry Ryan. Fans will appreciate her efforts to deal with blood and finding a husband even one she does not love. Fans will appreciate Kristan Hannah’s fine story starring a likable heroine who rows when she is upset.

Harriet Klausner

Cutting Loose-Susan Andersen

Cutting Loose
Susan Andersen
Harlequin HQN, Aug 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373773046

In Seattle, when elderly Miss Agnes died, she left the Wolcott Mansion to her three much younger friends, Jane, Poppy and Ava, whom she met eighteen years ago. They became sort of a family meeting every month at the mansion for tea until Miss Agnes passed away.

The trio knows they cannot afford the upkeep so they plan to sell the mansion once the renovation is done. They hire Bren, head of Kavanagh Construction, but he is receiving medical treatment so his brother Dev will lead the project. However Dev seems drunk although jet lag from flying from Greece to the Sates adds to his stupor. Jane objects to his leading the renovation while he finds her uptight. As they work together, their first impressions change to attraction and lust and ultimately love. However he is east coast and she is west coast so a permanent relationship seems out of the question.

This is a lighthearted fun contemporary romance in which first impressions are proved wrong. The lead couple is a terrific pairing as neither initially is very pleased with the other, but working together soon see the complete package and cannot help but fall in love (it is a romance- duh). The support cast, who will star in future tales, add depth to a warm character driven tale.

Harriet Klausner

Everything But A Bride-Holly Jacobs

Everything But A Bride
Holly Jacobs
Avalon, Aug 2008, $23.95
ISBN: 9780803499041

Back when she was young and in love in her native Hungary Nana Vancy said the “curse” when her beloved Bela Salo failed to show up their wedding. She knew words had power and felt guilt and happiness when he arrived to exchange I do; he had been delayed due to an accident. However it was too late to pull back her angry mutterings about big weddings, Bela and his relatives.

In Erie, Pennsylvania, Nana’s grandson Noah Salo is being toasted with a stag party before he marries Juliana. However, at the gala, Juliana ends their engagement. At about the same time that Juliana informs Noah it is over, her younger stepsister Callie breaks up with her boyfriend. Commiserating together, Callie and Noah go to Hungary on what they facetiously dub a “non- honeymoon trip together. As they get to know one another, they begin to fall in love, but she has doubts that she can step in Juliana’s larger shoes and besides she refuses to be a rebound.

Returning to Erie, site of her WLVH Radio Romance saga (see LAUGH LINES, NIGHT CALLS, LOVE HANDLES and PICKUP LINES), Holly Jacobs provides a warm contemporary romance starring two likable characters, a strong support cast, and the “curse”. The relationship between the stars starting at the stag party through the non-honeymoon and the aftermath in Pennsylvania is well written and fun to read while the secondary players strengthen the story line. As always Holly Jacobs entertains her fans with a fine tale that has everything.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Lady of Secret Devotion- Tracie Peterson

A Lady of Secret Devotion
Tracie Peterson
Bethany House, Aug 2008, $13.99
ISBN: 9780764201479

In 1857 Philadelphia, Cassandra Stover is elated when a kind wealthy society lady Mrs. Jameston hires her as her companion as her family needs the money. Cassie moves in to her employer’s home. Whereas Mrs. Jameston treats Cassie as if she is her daughter, her son Sebastian is odious and always seems stalking her ,waiting to get inside her pants; worse in Cassie’s mind is he is abusive towards his mother.

Widower Mark Langford has arrived in town from Boston to investigate the murder of his best friend Richard. He believes Sebastian killed Richard, but has no proof to affirm his belief. Needing to get closer to his prime suspect, Mark pretends to court Cassandra in order to find the evidence and to keep the two women safe because he thinks Sebastian will kill the females. Their fake courtship turns real as they fall in love, but stopping Sebastian from another two homicides remains Mark’s priority.

This third Ladies of Liberty tale (see A LADY OF HIDDEN INTENT and A LADY OF HIGH REGARD) is a fabulous pre-Civil War historical romantic suspense. The story line contains a strong cast especially the lead couple. She has faith in God, country, family (including Mrs. Jameston whom she loves as a grandma) and Mark; he thanks the Lord for a second chance as his beloved late wife died seven years ago from cholera. Although the villain has no redeeming qualities, fans will appreciate this fine mid nineteenth century Americana romance summed up by Mrs. Jameston who will always love her son even though she knows he will always hurt her.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Light-Jayne Castle

Dark Light
Jayne Castle
Jove, Sep 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780515145199

Earth has colonized the world of Harmony but they were not the final sentient species to do so. A mysterious alien race built underground catacombs filled with psi energy that over time manifested among the earthy colonists with each generation growing is psi skill. The mysterious aliens are gone leaving only their infrastructure.

Tabloid reporter Sierra McIntyre is interviewing new Ghost Hunter Guild Chief John Fontana, who can manipulate psi energy so that it doesn’t hurt anyone. Sierra is worried about former and homeless Guild member addicted to ghost juice and believes Fontana should tale care of the problem. She is also concerned that former impoverished hunters have disappeared without a trace and demands John investigate. Less than an hour after they meet, John proposes a marriage of convenience so they can combine their resources to investigate the issues that he feels generate from within the guild and to protect Sierra who is in danger from those shadows behind the disappearances. On their first night as husband and wife, someone using an alien artifact breaks into John’s property with nasty intent. They escape into the catacombs for now, but traps and danger await them on every turn as the conspirators need to kill Mr. and Ms. Fontana to avoid discovery and disclosure.

It is always great to visit Harmony where Jayne Castle escorts readers through great romance and compelling mystery in an alien combo sci-fi fantasy world. The latest thriller is exciting and fast-paced as the alien objects are used by avaricious people to gain more power. The pairing of Sierra and John enhances their inquiry into what is going on inside the Guild as fans of the saga will relish this strong paranormal romantic whodunit.

Harriet Klausner