Friday, July 31, 2009

Slow Burn-Pamela Britton

Slow Burn
Pamela Britton
Harlequin HQN, Sep 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774005

Dana Johnson was about to marry Stewart until she learned he was taking credit for her work. She quickly ended that relationship. Her friend and co-worker at Steele and Steele Alysa takes her to a NASCAR race; an event she has never attended before.

However, Dana is appalled to learn that Alysa entered her name in a win a date with driver Braden James contest; and she won. Dana says no, but Braden persuades her to go through the dating ritual as his sponsor,, demands they do. She reluctantly agrees though she doubts a rebounder like her will be any fun. To her shock she begins to fall in love with the hunk; not the macho image, but the sensitive former foster child. Shockingly Alysa, who sets them up, is jealous with rage.

SLOW BURN is a tender warm contemporary NASCAR romance in which her stepfather puts perspective when he wishes her the best in life and love, but with a quarterback. Fans will enjoy this engaging tale although the villain has sniffed too many racing car fumes. Still Pamela Britton provides a wonderful ride to the winner’s circle with the help of the pit crew (and not just those at the track).

Harriet Klausner

How To Tempt A Duke-Kasey Michaels

How To Tempt A Duke
Kasey Michaels
Harlequin HQN, Sep 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373773718

In 1814 after fighting for several years on the continent, Captain Rafael Daughtry is coming home to begin his duties as the Duke of Ashurst since his uncle and his cousins mysteriously died while he was fighting Napoleon. Family friend Charlotte Seavers is a bit aghast with Rafe’s younger out of control sixteen years old twin sisters, Nicole the ring leader and Lydia for the stunt they pulled on letters to and from Rafe, but is elated her childhood buddy is finally returning home safe and sound.

Neither Rafe nor Charlie initially recognizes one another as childhood memories overwhelm adult senses. However, he needs her to help him somewhat control and chaperone his siblings. As he falls in love with Charlie, she has always loved him; but conceals her secret as to why she distrusts men even her beloved Rafe.

This is an engaging amusing Regency romance starring two likable lead characters and a terrific support cast starting with the irresistible impish sisters. The breezy brisk story line also contains a serious mystery subplot as well as Charlie’s related secret. Fans will enjoy this witty historical and want a future tale or two (in a few years hence) starring the terrible terror twins.

Harriet Klausner

Royal's Bride-Kat Martin

Royal's Bride
Kat Martin
Mira, Sep 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778326427

In 1854, Royal Dewar comes home after spending several years in foreign countries to pay his respects to his dying father, the duke of Bransford. His dad insists Royal make a death bed promise to marry an heiress to restore the family’s dwindling fortune that was devastated by a con artist. Unable to say no or even ignore the plea Royal acquiesces.

Although he knows no one but himself is aware of his pledge, the honorable new duke proposes to wealthy snooty Jocelyn Caulfield; she accepts. However, he falls in love with her impecunious feisty cousin, Lily Moran, who has a criminal history when they team up to recover the money his father lost. While Jocelyn also falls in love with Christopher Barclay, Lily is abducted by their adversary; Royal vows to rescue his beloved and find a way to marry her.

This is a terrific Victorian romantic suspense starring a strong lead pair and a solid support cast especially the heroine’s arrogant cousin and the villain. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Royal comes home and never slows down. Although the post game show is too perfect, fans will enjoy the tense game. Kat Martin always entertains the audience with her fantastic romances.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Never Love a Lawman-Jo Goodman

Never Love a Lawman
Jo Goodman
Zebra, Sep 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420101757

In 1882 in Reidsville, Colorado, Sheriff Wyatt Cooper takes his job seriously to protect the townsfolk. He insures everyone is safe including newcomer Rachel Bailey, who he knows is a creature of habit as every male in town knows when they watch her walk the street to her establishment early in the morning. However, no one was prepared when Clinton Maddox dies and shockingly leaves the valuable railroad spur to Rachel, which places her in danger as others want the town’s lifeline.

Wyatt and Rachel agree to wed in a marriage of convenience so he can keep her safe. However, the townsfolk are euphoric and want to celebrate the nuptials. The only ones not ecstatic are Wyatt and Rachel. When her past arrives with two goals to destroy Rachel and claim the spur, Wyatt realizes protecting her has become personal.

This is an entertaining Americana romance starring an intriguing heroine and a wolf of a sheriff who sings the refrain from I’m Not in Love. The exciting story line contains a strong cast who bring to life the small town that would die without the spur. Jo Goodman provides an enjoyable western romance.

Harriet Klausner

Seduced by a Stranger-Eve Silver

Seduced by a Stranger
Eve Silver
Zebra, Sep 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780821781302

All her siblings died in childhood leaving Catherine Weston lonely and macabre thinking and dreaming all the time of death. Her only friend is Madeline St. Aubyn, but she is very ill and needs help. Worried about her friend, Catherine travels to Cairncroft Abbey, notoriously known for its evil past.

Catherine is shocked with what she finds at the onerous estate. Anytime Madeline seems comatose, her cousin Gabriel appears. Catherine is attracted to Gabriel, but she is confused by the so called curse that haunts him and his family. Gabriel is stunned with his deep feelings for the visitor, but fears to act on it. When a woman is murdered, Gabriel is the prime suspect; even Catherine wonders if the man she loves is a killer as she has heard.

SEDUCED BY A STRANGER is a terrific frightening Regency gothic that grips the audience from the opening scene of being buried alive near your four interred brothers as the readers wants to know what next to haunt the protagonist. The story line is fast-paced, but contains all the gothic elements as the heroine wonders if her beloved is a killer like everyone else claims. Eve Silver provides a tense historical romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

With Seduction in Mind-Laura Lee Guhrke

With Seduction in Mind
Laura Lee Guhrke
Avon, Sep 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061456831

In 1896 London, Daisy Merrick is fired from her typist job for her unbecoming behavior when the boss tried to fondle her and she refused him. Soon afterward, Social Gazette critic George Lindsay writes a sarcastic mocking review of Sebastian Grant's new play calling it “rubbish”. The duke is irate and goes after Lindsay who called him “a second rate Oscar Wilde” only to learn Lindsay is Daisy Merrick and his publisher demands he work with her on completing a novel that is past deadline. She agrees under the condition her book be considered for release too.

Sebastian tries to hide from Daisy that since he stopped using opiates, he suffers from writer's block. He decides to seduce her, which he hopes will lead to his writing again. However, his plan is to use her as a one-time muse before ending their partnership. However, though they argue like cats and dogs they fall in love, but will he realize she is his permanent muse.

This is an amusing late Victorian romance starring two likeable enemy combatants in a gender war mindful of the 1930s screwball comedies. The story line is a series of back and forth bantering as Daisy becomes the new cocaine for Sebastian. Fans who enjoy a humorous historical romance will want to read the war of the authors.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beauty And The Duke-

Beauty And The Duke
Melody Thomas
Avon, Aug 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061472671

When they were young, Erik and Christine were once lovers, but that ended with both still attracted to each other. She went off to see the world of fossils while he did his ducal duty and married twice.

In 1840 while London is swamped with tourists including a horde of unkempt children, fossils are found on Erik’s Scottish estate. Erik asks Christine to lead an excavation of the dinosaur remains. Fearless Christine travels to Scotland looking forward to the dig and seeing her former lover who has buried two wives. When they meet, both know they still love one another, but at the dig site a female human bone is uncovered that places suspicion on the Duke; already rumored to have done away with two spouses.

This is an excellent second chance at love Victorian romantic suspense with the most fun being logical Christine’s archeological skills as she carefully leads the Scottish dig while also not carefully gives away her heart. The whodunit enhances the fine tale as the pair investigates an apparent homicide. Fans will enjoy the escapades of the female paleontologist and the duke as they fall in love over bones.

Harriet Klausner

The Infamous Rogue-Alexandra Benedict-

The Infamous Rogue
Alexandra Benedict
Avon, Aug 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061689314

In 1825 Sophia Dawson hopes money will bury her past as the daughter of a pirate and as the mistress of Black Hawk, the terror of the sea. She comes to London to see who is selling a title and preferably can be controlled by her.

At about the same Sophia arrives amidst the Ton with wealth to spare in London, Captain James Hawkins also appears in high society. Sophia knows James is the one man who could ruin her before she gets started as they were lovers on the high seas. James remains outraged by her abandoning him; Sophia remains outraged by his refusal to marry her. These two enemies are ready to duel to the scandal except that in between the halfhearted feints, each knows they remain in love.

This is an enjoyable second chance at love Regency romance starring two infamous rogues. Sophia and James battled at sea and now battle on land as each has an agenda, he wants vengeance for her ending their affair while she wants a marriage of respectability. Fans will appreciate this fine historical gender war and look for the prequel e-book novella Mistress Of Paradise (at HarperCollins web site).

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lady Anne and the Ghost’s Revenge-Donna Lea Simmons

Lady Anne and the Ghost’s Revenge
Donna Lea Simmons
Sourcebooks, Aug 2009,$7.99
ISBN: 9781402217920

Although he saved her life (see LADY ANNE AND THE HOWL IN THE DARK), Lord Darkefell could not stop himself form proposing at the same moment. He knows he made a strategic miscalculation, but learns how far when he visits her mom and grandma only to learn Lady Anne Addison is visiting friends in Cornwall. As he rushes to see Lady Anne, her family sends poor relative Mills Lolly Broomhal to chaperone her.

Lady Anne fears her attraction to the handsome Darkefell will cost her independence. However, she is more interested in the goings on at the beach near the home of her host siblings Captain Marcus St. James and his sister Pamela. She sees smugglers in action as well as the legendary Musselman ghost. When Darkefell arrives, she is taken aback by his pursuit but also asks for his help investigating the smuggling activity. He wants her safe so he reluctantly agrees, but murder intercedes and he is the prime suspect.

The key to this apparent middle book is the relationship between Lady Anne and her pursuer. His shouts of love frighten her. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Anne sees the happenings on the nearby beach and never slows down as she and her wannabe paramour work the case of the Ghost’s revenge. Historical romance readers will enjoy the refreshingly unique Lady Anne as she runs head first into dangerous escapades while running away from love.

Harriet Klausner

Since The Surrender-Julie Anne Long

Since The Surrender
Julie Anne Long
Avon, Aug 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061341618

Captain Chase Eversea earned a reputation for heroism during the war, but never forgot the one indiscretion of his life. Five years ago, he met his commander’s much younger wife Rosalind March and had the sexual encounter of his life. However, soon afterward he was transferred to another unit where he displayed courage under fire.

Now back home and out of the military, Chase vows to avoid scandal as he plans to live up to his family reputation, although he knows he will never forget Rosalind. However the best laid plans of men often go astray when a woman begs him to help her. At the Montgomery Museum Rosalind meets with and asks Chase to assist her in finding her missing sister Lucy “The Blond One” Locke, who was arrested for allegedly stealing a valuable bracelet and sent to Newgate; only to vanish. She swears her sibling is innocent just feathery. They investigate following clues that lead to danger and love.

This is an entertaining Eversea historical romance (see THE PERILS OF PLEASURE) is an engage tale due to the hero who wants the facts, just the facts as he and his “sidekick” investigate while each struggles with their attraction. The investigation is cleverly intertwined with the romance in a clever DNA helix way so that fans will relish the search of London to find the missing sister and the misplaced love.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Blue Enchantress-M.L. Tyndale

The Blue Enchantress
M.L. Tyndale
Barbour, Aug 1 2009, $10.97
ISBN: 9781602601574

In 1718 on Saint Kitts Hope Westcott has no hope for her future as she stands in disbelief on a slave auction block about to be sold. She regrets the choices she has made and prays that God gives her a chance to redeem herself.

Captain Nathaniel Mason detests loose women so though he sees despondent Hope for sale, he leans towards leaving her to wallow in her what she wrought. He wants to walk away and go back to his shipbuilding business in Charles Towne, but cannot feel anything but pity for the wench; at least that is the rationale he gives himself when he goes to liberate her. Still he argues with himself that he does not need a fallen dove in his life, but heeds the Lord’s words of casting the first stone.

The latest Charles Town Belles historical romance (see THE RED SIREN for Hope’s sister Faith’s tale) is a super exhilarating inspirational tale starring two individuals who make the story line work. He is a pious person, but in a way arrogant as he looks down on those who take a different path; she has made mistakes but plans to redeem herself. Her rationale for seeking redemption changes as she changes. If you have not read M.L. Tyndale, you are missing out on one of the best authors at combining character-driven, action packed historicals (on sea and on land) with the underlying inspiring message of the Lord is there for everyone who enters his house.

Harriet Klausner

The Night Side-Melanie Jackson

The Night Side
Melanie Jackson
Love Spell, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528049

The recent rout at Solway Moss battle left Balfour clan without a leader as the laird and his sons were all killed. The new laird is twelve years old George, who resides with his cousin, Lady Frances Balfour, who vows to protect him with the intensity of a lioness with her cubs.

Frances keeps hearing the howling of the ghostly canine Bokey. The residents insist the hound appears and howls whenever a Balfour is about to die. Frances fears that someone could be George as several people want to usurp the chieftain position from the lad whose only protection is the daughter of the dead laird. Frances fears she will be forced to wed. Hope arrives when King Henry VIII sends espionage agent Colin Mortlock to learn what is going on with the Balfour Clan at Noltland Castle; between a ghost and spirited female he learns more than he expected about life and love..

THE NIGHT SIDE is a typical Henry VIII romance that brings to life the intrigue and distrust that permeates much of Scotland and cleverly fostered by the English in the early 1540s. The lead couple is a delightful refreshing pairing as the heroine sees the outsider as her and her nephew’s salvation. Melanie Jackson provides an entertaining historical as the spy comes out of the cold when he falls in love.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One + One = Three-Sasha James

One + One = Three
Sasha James
St. Martin’s, Aug 4 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780312560157

She was born Margaret Smith in a small Michigan town; however she took the name Munro Sheridan when she became a fashion model. While performing, she never thought of what comes after though she planned to retire at thirty, which she does to the shock of everyone as the towering exotic beauty still has several great years if she has chosen to stay.

Rockmon “Rock” Phillips has been Munro’s friend from her Margaret elementary school days. They remained close and have shared some heated trysts over the years. Rock met and became friends with Dirk Baptiste when they both lived and played in London. Back in New York Rock and Munro take off where they left off; but this time Dirk has joined them setting up a ménage a trois. However, several accidents at the Strutt lounge she has had built has worried Munro as each new incident is increasingly more dangerous than the previous one; she and her two mates fear someone is sabotaging her new nightclub.

The key to this fascinating Manhattan ménage a trois is the three lead characters and their relationships are put out their with no fan fare for readers to accept and enjoy or not. The story line is driven by the trio to include flashbacks that augment understanding their desires. The mystery at Strutts is a fine subplot that also augments the threesome’s arrangement as the two men who cherish the heroine vow to keep her and her club safe. ONE AND ONE = THREE is not for everyone, but those who enjoy something out of the ordinary in their exotica will appreciate Sasha James' fun tale while wondering who will be standing hard when one and one = ecstasy for two at the climax.

Harriet Klausner

A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing-Deborah MacGillivray

A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing
Deborah MacGillivray
Love Spell, Aug 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780505527813

Trevelyn Sinclair Mershan understands what it feels like to be schizoid. His goal set by his older brother years ago has been to destroy the Montgomerie family whom he holds culpable for the suicide of his father. However, he has a slight problem as his heart tells him to modify his goal and go after Raven Montgomerie.

She haunts him 24/7. He plans to stay the course by ruining Raven. However, obstinate as he is, the Auld Souls intercede as do an odd mechanical gypsy fortuneteller. Trev fels like a traitor as he is deeply in love with the enemy while invading her home Colford Hall.

The third Mershan brother contemporary romance (see INVASION OF FALGANNON ISLE and RIDING THE THUNDER) is an enjoyable tale that runs time-wise parallel to the stories of Trev’s siblings; thus he feels remorse and guilt at the same time love because ironically unlike the readers he is unaware that his older brother, who has planned their revenge for years, has the same predicament. A WOLF IN WOLF'S CLOTHING is a terrific finish to an engaging trilogy; kudos to Deborah MacGillivray who stayed consistent throughout the saga yet also entertaining.

Harriet Klausner

A Marriage of Convenience- Jewel Amethyst

A Marriage of Convenience
Jewel Amethyst
Leisure, Aug 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843962987

Tamara Fontaine has worked diligently on making her marriage perfect. She does everything right without being a bridezilla. Now the time to exchange vows is here, but one problem occurs; the groom fails to show up leaving her with a ton of bills and a mortgage she cannot afford.

Humiliated, but financially strapped and sinking deeper into the abyss, she listens carefully to the offer by Ghanaian scientist Kwabena “Ben “ Opoku who needs a green card to remain in the states. They marry with him paying off her bills and she giving him the avenue to remain in the country. However, as they fall in love, Tamara fears hurt as she learned once again at the altar that men don’t love plus size women; Ben has to prove her hypothesis wrong one experiment at a time.

Ben makes this a refreshing marriage of convenience contemporary romance as his Ghanaian heritage comes to life as much as his legal efforts to remain in the country in spite of his being a scientist and the anti immigration fervor still lingering. The story line is driven by the lead couple and though the audience will know where it will end, traveling the road with this pair is entertaining as like the author’s name each is a gem of a character.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All Roads Lead Me Back To You-Kennedy Foster

All Roads Lead Me Back To You
Kennedy Foster
Pocket, Aug 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9781439102046

In Washington State by the foothills of the Blue Mountains, the blizzard is nasty so Alice Anderson plans to stay inside on her ranch Standfast. That is until she sees a saddled quarter horse wandering aimlessly in the snow. She knows whomever was riding it is in trouble from exposure to the icy weather. Reluctantly after placing the horse in a barn, Alice searches for the missing rider although she fears she will bring home a frozen corpse. She finds him alive so Alice manages to get Domingo Roque on her sled and to the safety of her ranch.

Domingo proves to be an expert vaquero as he helps Alice work her ranch. However, he is also an illegal with the authorities seeking to return him to Mexico. As Alice and Domingo work together respect and friendship grows between the padrona and the vaquero; love soon follows. However Immigration is closing in on him and vile part owner Jerry Graeme makes demands of Alice or else the ICE will bring a colder reception than the blizzard did.

This is a fabulous contemporary romance that uses ranching to bring alive the impact on people of the immigration policy, which in its current manner is like the war on drugs: a failure. Fascinatingly Domingo at first struggles with working for a female, as women are not typically heads of ranches in Mexico or in the states. The story line is fast-paced from the onset as the reader anticipates the ranching couple to fall in love, but like each of them also expects it is just a matter of time before he is deported. Alice’s antagonist is a unique villain while Domingo’s foe will remind the audience of Javert from Les Miserables. ALL ROADS LEAD ME BACK TO YOU is a super modern day romance.

Harriet Klausner

Comanche Moon Rising-Constance O'Banyon

Comanche Moon Rising
Constance O'Banyon
Leisure, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 0843962658

In 1846 Texas, the Blue Norther killed her father and left Shiloh Braden worried to death about her ranch failing and when it does what will happen to her and her younger brother who she is raising. Shiloh also finds the storm left a young female Indian with a fever stranded in her barn. Without a second thought, she takes the child inside to try to heal her; which she does.

Comanche war chief Shadowhawk comes for his younger sister Moon Song stranded by the storm. He knows he owes her for protecting his sibling. When a neighboring rancher proves perfidious and dangerous, Shadowhawk, paying off his debt of honor, abducts Shiloh and her brother over her protestations to keep them safe. As they fall in love, Shadowhawk knows he cannot keep Shiloh at his side as his wife so returns her to her ranch when he deems it safe.

This is a fun Americana tale due to the strong lead characters who know they have no future together although the well written storyline and the cast will remind sub-genre fans of Cassie Edward’s “Savage” romances. Filled with depth, readers will enjoy COMANCHE MOON RISING as a taboo love between the Indian war chief and the white rancher makes for an exciting “C. Edwardian” historical tale.

Harriet Klausner

Comanche Moon Rising-Constance O'Banyon

Comanche Moon Rising
Constance O'Banyon
Leisure, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 0843962658

In 1846 Texas, the Blue Norther killed her father and left Shiloh Braden worried to death about her ranch failing and when it does what will happen to her and her younger brother who she is raising. Shiloh also finds the storm left a young female Indian with a fever stranded in her barn. Without a second thought, she takes the child inside to try to heal her; which she does.

Comanche war chief Shadowhawk comes for his younger sister Moon Song stranded by the storm. He knows he owes her for protecting his sibling. When a neighboring rancher proves perfidious and dangerous, Shadowhawk, paying off his debt of honor, abducts Shiloh and her brother over her protestations to keep them safe. As they fall in love, Shadowhawk knows he cannot keep Shiloh at his side as his wife so returns her to her ranch when he deems it safe.

This is a fun Americana tale due to the strong lead characters who know they have no future together although the well written storyline and the cast will remind sub-genre fans of Cassie Edward’s “Savage” romances. Filled with depth, readers will enjoy COMANCHE MOON RISING as a taboo love between the Indian war chief and the white rancher makes for an exciting “C. Edwardian” historical tale.

Harriet Klausner

Where the Wind Blows-Caroline Fyffe

Where the Wind Blows
Caroline Fyffe
Leisure, Aug 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 0843962844

In 1888 Wyoming recluse Chase Logan informs Jessie Strong that her husband died. He feels for her, but plans to leave. People assume he is her spouse so he remains a little longer until she can adopt a three years old waif Sarah.

He delays his plan to leave again when she is threatened by a thug. He marries her to keep mother and daughter safe though he still plans to leave. As time moves on and Jessie anticipates his leaving, she knows he has her heart and that of Sarah; she figures she will be okay but sad but fears for her child when she loses another parent. However, the ascetic Chase keeps putting off his leaving rationalizing to himself why he stays; deep down he knows he loves his two feisty females.

WHERE THE WINDS BLOW is a wonderful western romance with a Shane like hero who knows he should ride off into sunset but keeps delaying what he thinks is the inevitable. Jessie and Sarah are terrific as they both cherish and shower Chase with love and affection while the mom fears a broken heart for her but is more frightened by the impact on her adopted daughter when he leaves as she expects him to do. Caroline Fyffe provides sub-genre fans with a great tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Hottie Next Door-Shiloh Walker, Elisa Adams and Ruth D. Kerce

The Hottie Next Door
Shiloh Walker, Elisa Adams and Ruth D. Kerce
Ellora’s Cave, Aug 11 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9781439102954

“Good Girls Don't” by Shiloh Walker. Lori catches her fiancé Dirk in their bed with Sara. She kicks to the curb the cheating ex and goes to the Exposé Sex Club for adventure. Her next door neighbor Detective Mike responds to her fantasy because she has been his fantasy for quite awhile.

“Drop Dead Sexy” by Elisa Adams. Joy is writing a magazine article on how women can make their man’s fantasy come true. She asks her neighbor Nathan if she can interview him. He says that’s only words; instead let him demonstrate what he desires from his woman with her.

“Virgin Seeks Bad-Ass Boy” by Ruth D. Kerce. Twenty-four years old librarian Alice has seen Caleb with all types of women and decides she wants a piece of the action. She brazenly informs him she wants him to deflower her. He tries to talk her out of it, but acquiesces when she mentions her second choice twice divorced and much older Ed.

These three well written erotic romantic novellas are entertaining tales because each author insures the lead neighbors are fully developed (and not just in one male organ) before they work the sheets, tables and a few other hard and soft spots.

Harriet Klausner

Neck And Neck-Elizabeth Bevarly

Neck And Neck
Elizabeth Bevarly
Berkley, Aug 4 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425229033

Natalie Beckett has had a string of failed business ventures, but keeps on trying like the motto says. This year she is a party planner who’s working a Kentucky Derby Eve soiree that will either make or break her business.

She needs a star attraction who, by showing up, will bring the infield crowd with him or her. She thinks reclusive billionaire video game creator Russell Mulholland, who is in town, would be perfect. However, in order to persuade Mulholland to come to her gala, she needs to get past the hunk, his bodyguard, Finn Guthrie, who is like an offensive line protecting the quarterback from a persistent women he is attracted to; he and Russell trust no one with their secrets not even a woman he could love.

This is a laugh out loud amusing contemporary romance with a relevant nod to the Derby and an insider look at why almost famous people turn paranoid as stalkers are a cell phone away. The story line is brisk and breezy as Finn sees Natalie initially as a tabloid stalker, then a nuisance and finally something else. Fans will enjoy his metamorphosis as Natalie the nuisance never quits.

Harriet Klausner

Getting Rid Of Rosie-Lynda Simmons

Getting Rid Of Rosie
Lynda Simmons
Berkley, Aug 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425227923

Seven years ago in Toronto, Samantha Marcello loved her fiancé Michael Hughes. However, he ran off and married her best friend Rosie Fisk. Sam turned to her business the Silver Swan pub for solace, which in her mind and heart apparently worked.

Now a widower Michael is back in town and wants Sam back in his life. However, Rosie may be dead, but she also has returned; she will do anything to keep Michael and Sam apart. Both haunt Sam as Rosie makes it clear from the grave that she still does not want her ex BFF with her husband even as Michael pleads for a second chance. However, neither of them haunts Sam as much as Michael’s compassionate power tool using brother Derek does.

Sort of combining the TV show Cheers with the movie Over Her Dead Body, GETTING RID OF ROSIE is an enjoyable lighthearted paranormal romance that brings to life Toronto from a living and dead perspective. Although the story line is thin, the eccentric support cast adds to the zany comedy; however it is a couple of delightful refreshing twists that make for a fun read.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wickedly Ever After-Michelle Marcos

Wickedly Ever After
Michelle Marcos
St. Martin’s, Jul 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780312948511

Lady Athena McAlister caught her chosen fiancé Calvin Breatherton lip locked with very tall bony Lady Posonby. Not being a twit, the twenty-eight year old Athena concludes that men prefer their mistresses over their wives. She ponders how to make the spouse the first choice and concludes a wife must also be the mistress. She persuades her wealthy grandfather to open up a school for young women to teach them the typical agenda of being a lady, but also adds courses on seduction and being a mistress in the boudoir. Athena hires rakes and courtesans as instructors in the “Pleasure Emporium” in Scotland.

Marshall Hawkesworth arrives to learn what his sister is studying as she seems to hint of things she should not know about. Athena hires Marshall as an artist's nude model and as a teacher of sensual kissing. To prove his lips’ worth, he picks Athena as his first apprentice. Their kiss shocks both of them and each wants more. However, a tabloid wants to do an exposé of the school for scandal and its headmistress; Marshall plans to keep the woman he loves and her pupils safe from any scandal.

The third Pleasure Emporium Regency romance (see WHEN A LADY MISBEHAVES and GENTLEMEN BEHAVE BADLY) is a terrific tale that satirizes several standard historical themes. The brisk story line starts a bit slower than usual but once Athena realizes she lacks the seductive weapons to compete with a mistress even one in which she is much prettier and more charming than her towering skinny rival, the plot takes off and never slows down as the heroine never takes a breather. Fans will enjoy the latest use of the infamous brothel.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 17, 2009

Laid Bare-Lauren Dane

Laid Bare
Lauren Dane
Heat (Berkley), Aug 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425229712

A decade ago in Seattle next door neighbors, police officer Todd Keenan and rocker Erin Brown, had a brief but heated tryst that neither has forgotten. Though their S&M scene left both wanting more, it ended as fast as it began.

Todd left the city and the force; he married nice Sheila, but she divorced him after he came out of a coma following an incident as she could not deal with the danger of law enforcement. he has returned home to Seattle. He is shocked with how beautiful yet delicate Erin has become. He wants her again, but swears to himself he will not leave her this time. As he helps her heal from emotional scars, Todd works his way back into her life and boudoir, his best friend Ben joins them in bed too.

LAID BARE lives up to its title as the ménage a trois stars lay open their bodies and their souls so that fans of erotic romance obtain a strong balance between several vivid sex scenes including the men going at it and a deep look at what motivates each. Lauren Dane provides a heated yet entreating second chance at love due to the tender caring in and out of the bed of each of the prime players.

Harriet Klausner

One Week as Lovers-Victoria Dahl

One Week as Lovers
Victoria Dahl
Zebra, Aug 2009, $5.99
ISBN: 9781420104820

Cynthia Merrithorpe feels her heart break when her childhood friend Viscount Lancaster leaves to take charge of his responsibilities. However, Nicholas quickly realizes he will need to marry wealth to save the estate.

In 1846 Nicholas becomes engaged to Imogene Brandiss, which further destroys Cynthia’s last fiber of hope. However, when he catches his intended with her legs spread for another man, he understands his role as an ornament and why she has become so quiet since the betrothal announcement. He flees back to the countryside where he had his best times growing up. There he finds himself surprisingly attracted to Cynthia. As they fall in love over a week together, Nicholas knows duty to his family calls for his marrying Imogene.

This is an enjoyable Victorian romance with no villains as Nicholas, Cynthia and Imogene are trapped by the rules of society. Their interplay makes for a fun historical tale as each struggles with the announced relationship. Fans will enjoy Victoria Dahl’s’ aptly titled with a guilt laden Nicholas relishing the ONE WEEK AS LOVERS interlude until he must do his responsibility that neither he nor the two women in his life want.

Harriet Klausner

How To Tame a Modern Rogue-Diane Holquist

How To Tame a Modern Rogue
Diane Holquist
Forever, Aug 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446197052

Her beloved grandma who raised her following the desertion of her parents suffers from dementia; Grandma believes it is the Regency era in England. Although she is leaving New York for San Francisco, high school teacher Ally Giordano wants to do something fabulous for her beloved Granny Donny.

Ally hires a horse drawn coach to take her grandma to a luxurious estate in the country. The driver Mateo and even the horse Paula persuade Granny Donny that they are in the Regency era. However, the final nail to her belief is Sam Carson, whom she believes is a duke. Matchmaking her granddaughter with a duke, Granny Donny works on her reluctant relative and even more reluctant beau planning the ball of the century.

This is a whimsical contemporary romance that brings the Regency Era into a modern day environs that will remind readers of Frank Capra’s A Pocket Full of Miracles. Sam the rake cannot help but fall in love with the two women who have turned his lifestyle upside down when they made him the heroic prince of Ally’s fairy tale as written by Granny Donny. The key characters are fully developed which turns Diane Holquist’s quirky romance into a charmer.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bengal's Heart-Lora Leigh

Bengal's Heart
Lora Leigh
Berkley, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425229026

During a failed rescue of Bengal Breeds at a German facility, reporter Cassa Hawkins realized her husband Douglas betrayed those attempting to liberate the prisoners. Three died as did Douglas. The only survivor Bengal Breed Cabal St. Laurents blamed Cassa who may be his soulmate, but rejects her as a traitor.

Eleven years sine that tragic failure, Cassa begins to receive evidence of a serial killer avenging those involved in atrocities. Cabal knows the psychopath must be stopped before purebred society goes on a witch hunt against the breeds. However, to succeed he needs Cassa’s assistance; she is the only link to the predator. Avoiding his attraction was easy as long as he stayed away, but teaming with her sends his brain and heart out of control.

Although the overarching saga crawls forward only slightly, Breed readers will not care as the lead couple makes for a great suspenseful urban fantasy. Character driven, she knows who he is to her when they first met in that disastrous failed rescue; he knows in his gut (and heart) too but holds her culpable for the deaths of his “siblings”. Thus when he turns to her, Cabal believes he knows how difficult it will prove to be not to touch her with affection ; he soon realizes how much he underestimated his animal need for his mate. Fans will love BENGAL’S HEART as all the denial in the world is not strong enough when your lifemate draws you to them.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stolen Heat-Elisabeth Naughton

Stolen Heat
Elisabeth Naughton
Love Spell, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505527943

In Egypt, Katherine Meyer supposedly died in a car bombing. However, unbeknownst to those who wanted her dead, she remains alive but in hiding. Six years since her death, Katherine surfaces risking her life to break into an auction house in order to steal an ancient artifact before it falls into the wrong hands; as it contains secrets that some nefarious villains will murder to possess.

She fails to escape totally as her adversaries including her former lover Peter Kauffman not only see her; they know who she is. Although Peter betrayed her in Egypt six years ago, Kat saves his life. They flee into the night to buy time and regroup as they ponder who wants her dead.

This is more a terrific thriller with a romantic subplot supporting the action then and now. The key to STOLEN HEAT is the effortless moving back and forth in time so readers know first hand what happened six years ago and what is happening now. Kat is a fabulous focus as she holds the exhilarating tale together with enemies wanting her dead while the man she loved and still does swears he will keep her safe this time though she knows he betrayed her the last time they were together. As she did with STOLEN FURY, Elisabeth Naughton will have readers spellbound with this action-packed romantic suspense with its emphasis on suspense.

Harriet Klausner

So Into You-Sandra Hill

So Into You
Sandra Hill
Grand Central, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446535779

Angel Sabato asked poker champion adventuress and former nun Grace O'Brien to marry him as he informed her he loved her; shocked that her friend declared his affection, she said no because of a secret that would turn his love to loathing. He married someone else, but that rebound relationship failed rather quickly and he fled for Germany to lick his wounds.

One year later he has returned to the Bayou. Tante Lulu asks him in her sweet ordering manner to help build a house for a family of orphans, victims of Katrina. He agrees, but in exchange begs Tante Lulu to help him marry his beloved Grace. Soon Angel and Grace are trying to keep the orphans together. Meanwhile the object of Angel’s adulation wants to say yes if he asks again, but fears telling her beloved the truth about her past; and he deserves nothing less if she says yes.

The return to Cajun country for the magic of Tante Lulu will elate fans of Sandra Hill as the author provides the usual facetious farcical frolic but also contains two serious subplots: Grace’s past that has her rejecting Angel’s proposal and the orphans’ efforts to stay together although the oldest is a teen. Fans of the series are so into the Cajun romances, “there must be voodoo in the vibes” (Atlanta Rhythm band).

Harriet Klausner

Seduce Me-Robyn DeHart

Seduce Me
Robyn DeHart
Forever, Aug 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446542005

In 1887 the Solomon’s gentlemen society hire artifact hunter Viscount Fielding Grey to find Pandora's Box; he agrees to undergo the mission though he blames the society for the death of his father. The society fears the legendary relic falling into the wrong hands that of Fielding’s nefarious uncle Raven.

His uncle finds the ancient object and believes the key to opening it resides with scholar Esme Worthington; so he kidnaps her to force her to release the curses upon humanity. She peaks inside and soon is wearing the bracelet marked "lust" that turns the reticent spinster into a siren. Fielding rescues her, but also struggles with desire and need. Outraged with the setback from his nephew, Raven comes for them and the box as he continues his plan to destroy the world starting with his nephew and the woman who can free the curses on the Victorian world.

Placing Indiana Jones and Joan Wilder (of Romancing the Stone) in a Victorian Era thriller is what Robyn Dehart does with her latest fun Legend Hunters saga. The fast-paced story line starts off with plenty of actions in a tomb near Alexandria and never slows down as Fielding rescues Esme, but struggles with her “carrying one of the seven deadly sins, lust; she has the same issues. As they struggle with lust and soon love they also must flee yet prevent his uncle from releasing the curses on humanity).

Harriet Klausner

Written on Your Skin-Meredith Duran

Written on Your Skin
Meredith Duran
Pocket, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 141659311X

In 1880 Hong Kong British espionage agent Phin Granvillle is working his case out in the cold before coming home to retire from field work. However, his mission turns ugly when he is poisoned. His mission turns divine when wealthy American Mina Masters nurtures him back to health.

Four years later in England, Mina is being forced to accept a marriage she does not want. Soon afterward her mother vanishes. Mina believes her mom’s abduction is related to her odious ruthless stepdad's gun-running. She pleads with the retired Phin to rescue her mother and uncover the traitor against the throne while secretly hiding from him her hope he asks her to marry him as she still loves him even more than when saved his life.

This super late Victorian romantic suspense is fast-paced from the onset and does not miss a beat as the persistent Yank drags the reluctant retired spy back into the cold. Their escapades in the field together make for an amusing investigative romance as she rips his skin with words while he retorts with verbiage and kisses in a terrific gender war. With ties to BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH, Meredith Duran provides her fans with an exciting action-packed romantic thriller in which the combatants are on the same side (hate to see what they would have said to one another if they were adversaries).

Harriet Klausner

Sleepless in Scotland-Karen Hawkins

Sleepless in Scotland
Karen Hawkins
Pocket, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 1416560254

Catriona Hurst will do anything for her younger twin sister Caitlyn. So when her sibling plans to elope with Alexander MacLean, Triona plans to stop it somehow while her twenty years old younger brother William objects. She jumps inside Alexander’s carriage.

Alexander’s brother Hugh MacLean plans to prevent a marriage he deems unsuitable. He uses his sibling’s carriage. When Triona and Hugh are found together inside Alex’s coach, they are deemed by their family and the rest of the Ton as compromised. Honor demands they marry and they do. Neither know one another so when they go to his home, Triona learns she is an instant mother as he has three daughters who demonstrate their ire towards her. As his offspring plot to drive the intruder away, Triona plots to turn them into a loving family of five and counting.

The fourth MacLean curse historical romance (see TO CATCH A HIGHLANDER, HOW TO ABDUCT A HIGHLAND LORD and TO SCOTLAND, WITH LOVE) is an amusing yet profound tale. The brisk story line starts off with an As You Like It mistaken identities spin and twists from there as the three offspring (Christina, Devon and Aggie) test Triona to the limit and a bit beyond. Thus the lead five and a strong support cast make for a wonderful time though readers will be sleepless in America due to a one sitting enjoyable time.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Bad Day for Sorry-Sophie Littlefield

A Bad Day for Sorry
Sophie Littlefield
Minotaur, Aug 2009, $24.95
ISBN 9780312559205

In Missouri, after several years of abuse from Ollie Hardesty and not believing in divorce, Stella took care of business. The widow opens up a sewing shop and could wear a T-shirt that says “I survived domestic violence the old fashion way by burying my spouse”.

Stella also believes she needs to help battered women like she was as a form of redemption for putting up with Ollie much too long and as an avenging angel dispatching retribution on these bullies. Stella keeps an eye on Roy Dean Shaw, ex mean ass husband of gentle mom Chrissy Shaw. When Roy Dean abducts Chrissy's two years old son Tucker, Stella decides this punk needs a permanent lesson in how to treat a lady. She affirms her feelings about this abusive moron when she learns he is part of the stolen auto parts mob. Chrissy, upset with his taking her infant, has had enough. As Sheriff Goat Jones watches Stella with his dreamy eyes, she hopes it is for her body and not her activity asshe leads Chrissy into hell as they team up to take care of Roy Dean and his car ring associates to rescue the baby from the mob.

This is an enjoyable jocular frolic as middle aged Stella takes on the world with no looking back as to whom she runs over when she does. She makes the tale work although the rest of the key cast members are fully drawn especially Chrissy and Roy Dean. The latter will soon learn what the wrath of a lioness is as she and her sidekick kick butt to rescue the infant. A BAD DAY FOR SORRY is a good day or three for readers.

Harriet Klausner

Save The Last Dance- Roxanne Rustand

Save The Last Dance
Roxanne Rustand
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 2009, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373715831

Attorney Jared Mathers is severely injured in a hit and run accident. The female passenger in his car dies and the police are shocked to find a gun inside the vehicle. While Jared is in critical condition fighting for his life in the hospital, his wife veterinarian Kate believes the incident is related to a legal case.

Kate knows she and Jared have had their differences even having separated for a time, but she prays for his recovery. The police imply he may have been cheating on her, but Kate wants to trust her husband would not and when he regains consciousness will explain all. As Kate remains diligent at his side, she must also cope with his distraught mother who blames her for everything in her son’s life that has gone bad; as if Kate drove the other car.

Kate makes the tale work as she wants to trust the man she cherishes with her heart, but also knows they have major differences that led to the separation. His upset angry mom adds a strong dose of realism with her holding Kate culpable for her son being in the car with another woman and hurt in the accident. The story line cleverly uses the present situation to tell the back story through Kate’s reflections and musing. Roxanne Rustand writes a fabulous family drama as Kate fears there is no more dance between her and her Jared.

Harriet Klausner

The Secret Sin-Darlene Gardner

The Secret Sin
Darlene Gardner
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 2009, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373715800

In Indigo Springs, sixteen year old Annie Sublinski and Ryan Whitmore shared a tryst that left her pregnant. Her father, owner of a river rafting business, arranged for his granddaughter to be adopted.

Thirteen years later, now a magazine writer Annie is managing her father's business while he is away. She is stunned to meet her daughter Lindsey Thompson for the first time. Her father arranged for Lindsey to be placed locally so he can see and make it easier if his daughter wants to meet her. Annie informs Ryan, now a doctor, who Lindsey is. Like her, he wants to know his offspring. As the parents get acquainted with their offspring, they also get to know each other and soon fall in love.

THE SECRET SIN is a fascinating family drama as teen lovers have a second chance together as they each close in on thirty years old, but must also come to grips over their offspring given away for adoption. The relationship between Annie and Ryan then and now is solidly drawn; however neither seems as emotionally deep with meeting Lindsey. Still fans will enjoy this charming second chance at love and much more.

Harriet Klausner

Back To Luke-Kathryn Shay

Back To Luke
Kathryn Shay
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 2009, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373715794

Architect Jayne Logan is in shock when one of her buildings collapses. The obvious cause is a design flaw, which means her career is over.

Needing to hide from the media and seeking solace, Jayne visits her best friend, Jess Harper in Riverdale, New York in spite of knowing his wife Naomi’s jealousy of her will make her object to her request to stay with them. However, she is further stunned when her former lover builder Luke Corelli is living there. Seeing him for the first time since she kicked him to the curb for being the benevolent dictator reminds her what she misses. However, though the attraction and perhaps the love remains strong between them, he refuses to give an inch.

This is a great contemporary romance due to a strong cast especially the lead couple and the Harper duet. In some ways the jealous Naomi steals the show as she fears even after all these years and another man in her rival’s life that her husband’s college lover will take him away from her. Fans will enjoy this super second chance at love enhanced by the secondary pair’s marital woes.

Harriet Klausner

Journeying-Barbara Fleming

Barbara Fleming
Five Star, Aug 31 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594147906

In 1872 in Cincinnati, Ohio, her stepfather Karl Schussman informs Hannah Morris that she will marry Widower Wilhelm Hessler, a church elder with three offspring. Although she loathes leaving her mom behind with this martinet, Hannah boards the train to St. Louis to meet her beloved Lucas Bowman, a bi-racial son of a former slave raised in Paris where he became a physician.

They join a wagon train to California with Lucas pretending to be Hannah’s servant. However, in the Colorado Territory, Lucas saves the life of child bitten by a snake. The lad’s mother is extremely grateful while the father is outraged that a person of color touched his son. Hannah and Lucas are forced to leave the wagon train at night during a driving rain. They are fortunate to meet homesteaders Alma and Adam who help them settle in the farm next door. When the circuit judge arrives, the couple marries and over the next few years seems happy raising their children. However, when an angry Southern racist is murdered; just before dying he accuses Lucas of killing him to the sheriff. Lucas is arrested and stands trial.

Although the last chapter seems unneeded tying all the loose threads of what happens to everyone, the audience will relish this super Reconstruction Era bi-racial romance. The Civil War is over, but the prejudice remains the same as educated physician Lucas has to pretend to be a servant and is in trouble for saving a white boy’s life. Hannah is a strong individual as is Lucas. Readers will relish their efforts to build a life together in an America that may have legally freed the slaves, but economically and socially keep blacks apart and beneath the whites. Barbara Fleming provides a strong historical fiction tale.

Harriet Klausner

Where Eagles Fly-Lisa Norato

Where Eagles Fly
Lisa Norato
Five Star, Aug 31 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594147630

In Wyoming, almost forty year old Shelby McCoy expects to never find her true love but refuses to settle for less. She drives to the dude ranch owned by her sister Caitlin and her husband Michael Ketchum. Her companion is her Pomeranian Jorge when her car breaks down near the ranch. Shelby and Jorge walk towards the Flying Eagle.

However, something odd occurs as she sees a man on a horse and a woman with a teen in a horse drawn carriage. Rose St. Cloud seems kind so Shelby mentions her vehicle broke down, but when she looks around the paved road is gone and her car is nowhere in sight. Rose’s two sons who are with her, silent horse whisperer Ruckert and thirteen year old Wyle, think she is a bit crazy, but Rose shows her the letter from her grandma’s grandma Nana Marie Tinkler saying she is coming as their cook. Shelby soon learns somehow she is in 1886 near Laramie and meets the third son Holden, but finds herself ironically in love with Ruckert who feels the same way though his stuttering interferes with his telling her.

This is a whimsical time travel romance starring a woman who refuses to settle for anything less than love. With a great stunning final twist, the story line is fun to follow as Shelby is a realistic lead character refusing to accept she has gone back in time over a century to find love. Although how she did it is only partially explained, fans will enjoy her falling in love with a terrific horse whisperer who can communicate with wild stallions but stutters amongst humans.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Goddess Of The Hunt-Tessa Dare

Goddess Of The Hunt
Tessa Dare
Ballantine, Jul 28 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780345506863

When eleven year old Lucy Waltham met her brother’s kind friend Sir Toby Albridge she fell in love although he shot at her; actually at a partridge not knowing she followed them. He dubbed her Diana, goddess of the hunt. Everyone assumed it was youthful infatuation and the puppy love would end when she turned into a teen.

In 1817 now nineteen years old, tomboy Lucy knows Toby is the one although he fails to show the same desire. She refuses to believe she is stuck with unrequited love and decides his pursuit of Sophie is wrong. Lucy plans to seduce Toby and decides to practice with another of her brother's friends prime and proper Jeremy Trescott. Three kisses and Jeremy is done but so is Lucy but she does not recognize the signs. Instead she becomes daring Diana on the hunt for Toby while Jeremy tries to keep control of his ardor and prevent Lucy from scandal; he fails at both as they are caught in a compromising way.

This is a super Regency romance with a strong cast especially the excellent lead female. The brisk story hooks the audience early on as Lucy knows with total certainly Toby is her one until she shares a kiss with Jeremy. Fans will relish this amusing historical tale as the Diana the GODDESS OF THE HUNT must change from tomboy to countess with a new goal convince the husband she did not want but had to marry that he is her one.

Harriet Klausner

Hot Pursuit-Suzanne Brockmann

Hot Pursuit
Suzanne Brockmann
Ballantine, Jul 28 2009, $26.00
ISBN: 9780345501578

In only her second week in office, New York Assemblywoman Maria Bonavita receives death threats including one note with a knife at the office stating the next one will be in your face. Maria’s chief if staff Jennilyn LeMay complains to NYPD Detective Callahan who says there is not much they can do and suggests they upgrade private security. The Troubleshooters, Inc. is brought in to protect Maria.

Troubleshooters Alyssa Locke and her husband former Navy SEAL Sam Starrett arrive to keep the new Assembly woman safe. They are accompanied by their son Ash, and SEALS team members Dan Gillman and Izzy Zanella. However, none of the participants including FBI Agent Jules Cassidy quite understand the flexible diabolical serial killer known as the Dentist has decided to manipulate the scenario as he initially goes after Maria’s campaign manager Savannah von Hopf, a friend of Alyssa. This brilliant psychopath adapts when his initial target rushes to San Diego to be with her injured spouse; his new target is Alyssa and he is extremely close by.

Ten books have past in this strong continuing saga since Sam and Alyssa starred in GONE TOO FAR; fans will rejoice catching up with what has happened since. Several subplots flow through the delightful exciting storyline focusing on changing relationships. Well written and fun to read, ironically fans know how close the villain is to his next prey while the heroes are in the dark. This is another winner from Suzanne Brockmann as the dentist will do to the audience what jaws did to ocean swimming.

Harriet Klausner

Cutting Edge-Allison Brennan

Cutting Edge
Allison Brennan
Ballantine, Jul 28 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345502766

When she was eighteen years old, Nora English betrayed her deadly anarchist mom by turning her in to the FBI. She did it to save her younger sister Quin. Twenty years later mom still lingers behind bars psychotically outraged at her two ungrateful daughters especially the older one, who besides her treachery has become a FBI agent; her younger one is almost as evil becoming an arson investigator. To her glee, they are somewhat estranged.

Nora investigates arsons of the biotech industry by an apparent internal terrorist gang. This time they breach security expert Duke Rogan’s computer system protecting a biotech company, but the inferno is different as the charred remains of a corpse are found. The autopsy reveals the starling revelation that the deceased actually bled to death. Norah and Duke realize something new and lethal has entered the equation, but what and who remains elusive as both investigate as a team.

Although having teammates working a dangerous inquiry fall in love is quite common as romantic suspense is hot, Allison Brennan adds a refreshing profound psychological look at the dependency of relationships and of a need to belong. Quin needed Nora back then and Nora needed to be needed by Quin back then. Thus Duke has quite a task to win Nora’s heart. Fans will relish this terrific thriller as Nora realizes she is a prime target not because of her inquiry, but because of her lineage and begins to fear Quin is behind the assaults. CUTTING EDGE is a winner.

Harriet Klausner

Cutting Edge-Allison Brennan

Cutting Edge
Allison Brennan
Ballantine, Jul 28 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345502766

When she was eighteen years old, Nora English betrayed her deadly anarchist mom by turning her in to the FBI. She did it to save her younger sister Quin. Twenty years later mom still lingers behind bars psychotically outraged at her two ungrateful daughters especially the older one, who besides her treachery has become a FBI agent; her younger one is almost as evil becoming an arson investigator. To her glee, they are somewhat estranged.

Nora investigates arsons of the biotech industry by an apparent internal terrorist gang. This time they breach security expert Duke Rogan’s computer system protecting a biotech company, but the inferno is different as the charred remains of a corpse are found. The autopsy reveals the starling revelation that the deceased actually bled to death. Norah and Duke realize something new and lethal has entered the equation, but what and who remains elusive as both investigate as a team.

Although having teammates working a dangerous inquiry fall in love is quite common as romantic suspense is hot, Allison Brennan adds a refreshing profound psychological look at the dependency of relationships and of a need to belong. Quin needed Nora back then and Nora needed to be needed by Quin back then. Thus Duke has quite a task to win Nora’s heart. Fans will relish this terrific thriller as Nora realizes she is a prime target not because of her inquiry, but because of her lineage and begins to fear Quin is behind the assaults. CUTTING EDGE is a winner.

Harriet Klausner

Breaking Loose-Tara Janzen

Breaking Loose
Tara Janzen
Dell, Jul 28 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780440244707

General Grant, head of the Special Defense Forces, has no one ON THE LOOSE for his latest mission. Instead he sends contractor agent Suzi Toussi, a fine art expert (as both are needed on this assignment), to Paraguay to find and retrieve the stolen Memphis Sphinx that allegedly has mystical powers.

Also seeking the ancient Egyptian statue is Dax Killian, who needs the Sphinx to make an exchange with Erich Warner for information she possesses and he desperately wants to makes a Faustian deal. He is taken aback to see Suzi in a dive in dangerous Ciudad del Este. Dax vows to assist her in obtaining the Sphinx, but he will then snatch it from her; but soon finds he is rescuing her from one hot spot after another until their passion ignites.

This is a fast-paced SDF action thriller that will remind readers of Romancing the Stone with a roguish hero and an art guru who proves masterpiece paintings and kicking butt are compatible. The story line is fast-paced and somewhat over the top of Cerro Peró, but no one will care as the game is afoot with Dax struggling between his growing love for Suzi and his need to purloin the relic from her.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 11, 2009

When Alex Was Bad-Jo Davis

When Alex Was Bad
Jo Davis
NAL, Aug 4 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451227027

Fifteen years of marriage has led to Olivia and Alex Quinn drifting. Since she still loves her husband she offers him a deal to save their marriage. He is to have seven trysts; after each he must describe in vivid detail the sex; after his account, she will punish him with her choosing the method. Alex is shocked but fascinated so he agrees.

While Alex explodes in anticipation, Olivia meets Jason Strickland, the nephew of her neighbor Bill. She decides to have fun and games with him while her spouse performs with his women. After Alex performs with another attorney, he comes home to “mistress” Liv who punishes him into submission. Their relationship has changed to her being the boss. However, as she brings Jason into the punishment, some nasty people want a piece of Jason’s ass and not for sexual reasons.

This is a profound BDSM romance that is filled with numerous sexual encounters. The story line is at its best when Jo Davis digs deep into the psyche of the three prime players especially Liv’s control of the two hunks. A suspense subplot involving Jason seems out of place as this super orgasmic tale is at its best WHEN ALEX IS BAD.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mastered By Love-Stephanie Laurens

Mastered By Love
Stephanie Laurens
Avon, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061246371

In 1816 the Duke of Varisey, Royce heads home, knowing he paid a high price for his work for the Crown. Sixteen years ago, his father disowned him for dishonorable behavior as a duke’s heir should never be involved in espionage. He hoped to reconcile, but his father just died before they could; his mother died a few years ago.

At Wolverstone Castle, Royce meets his chatelaine Minerva Chesterone, who was a young orphan his parents brought into the household. They are attracted to one another, but both hide the unwelcome feelings. Minerva swore twice to both his parents on their respective death beds that she would help their son become the duke. She also understands Royce must wed soon and once he does she will leave the castle she has called home for over two decades.

His three sisters and their husbands arrive as do the rest of the family for the late duke’s funeral; the Grand Dames attend too and warn Royce to marry soonest as Prinny is planning something. Royce is irate as he put his life on hold to protect the crown yet ironically the crown wants to take away his heritage. He talks about tenant farms with Minerva and asks her to draw up a list of possible wives while his Bastian Club friends and their wives also arrive. However, the only woman to excite him is the one not on Minerva’s list.

The romance between the lead couple is fun to follow while the Ton’s intervention enhances the tale. The lead male is too similar to the other Bastian Club members, but Stephanie Laurens cleverly defuses that by having the wives state so during their strategic meeting. Although the Last Traitor subplot is minor though built up through several books, fans will enjoy the return of a hero who gave everything to the Crown only to come home to learn that his sacrifice is yesterday’s news.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Storm Watch-Jill Shalvis

Storm Watch
Jill Shalvis
Harlequin Blaze, Aug 2009, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373794911

After being deployed during hurricanes like Katrina and Rita and a nasty flood in the Midwest that took out his best friend Matt, National Guardsman Jason Mauer returns to his home in Santa Rey on the mild central California coast. He plans to rest from the difficult rescue mission and enjoy his rare time home renovating with his brother Dustin their place of business.

Another devastating storm leaves ER nurse Lizzy Mann barely reaching an evacuation area while unable to reach her pregnant sister Cece. She tries to reach Dustin for help, but the cell phone failed though Jason did hear a woman whispering for help. Jason soon realizes it was Lizzy who he knows from high school and thought she was a hot babe back then, but now she is even hotter; he offers to help, but she says no. However, with the horrific weather so bad, Lizzy knows Cece’s needs come first.

This is a tense romantic thriller starring two fascinating heroes. Lizzy’s constant rejections of Jason's offers of help will drive readers dizzy as she makes no sense since he is a professional rescue expert just what she needs at this moment even if she remembers him as Mr. Ass the bane of her high school existence. Still fans will enjoy this taut tale as Mr. Ass and Miss Prissy fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

Unbridled-Tori Carrington

Tori Carrington
Harlequin Blaze, Aug 2009, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373794874

Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the Marines gives Carter Southard a medical suspension (see BRANDED) although he objects as he wants to stay with his brothers and sisters in arms. In Dallas, he is arrested form a crime he swears he did not commit. Attorney Laney Cartwright gets him released; while both acknowledge the attraction between them.

Laney receives a threatening note warning her to drop her current case involving a wealthy man accused of murder during an armed robbery; if not she will regret it. As Carter and Laney begin to see one another and the sex takes both over the top of the Bank of America building, as they enjoy their trysts and being together each wonders how it can end any way but heartbrokenly sad. As the marine and the lawyer relish their time together while also pondering how to mend the anticipated broken heart, the attacks on Laney dangerously accelerates.

UNBRIDLED is Tori Carirngton at their best with an incredibly super story line anchored by two fully developed protagonists. Fast-paced and filled with action and romance, fans will click their seatbelts to enjoy the one sitting ride.

Harriet Klausner

One Of A Kind Dad-Daly Thompson

One Of A Kind Dad
Daly Thompson
Harlequin American, Aug 2009, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373752768

Lilah Jameson accompanied by her young son Jonathan flees before her abusive ex spouse Bruce just released from prison, kills her as she turned him in for his fraudulent practices. In Serenity Valley, Vermont, they meet kindhearted veterinarian Daniel Foster who is a dedicated foster father to four needy boys. He wants to give them what he never found as a kid until in a Vermont Juvie hall he met and forged a family with his “brothers” Ian and Mike; like the Dean Martin song Everybody Needs Somebody so he will be there for frightened deserted kids like Nick.

Daniel recognizes the signs of a troubled past for mom and son, but hires Lilah anyway as housekeeper to his boys. Although attracted to the frightened Lilah, Daniel is cautious as he does not want to frighten his nervous housekeeper as he senses not much would send Lilah over the edge. As he falls in love ands want his housekeeper and her son to be part of his family; she wants the same, but expects a life on the run instead of her new fantasy of being a soccer mom and wife but she will not allow harm to come to the vet or his kids that she now thinks of as their kids.

This is a one of a kind psychological romantic suspense tale with the actual suspense coming late, yet readers will feel the tension throughout as Lilah knows he is coming. The story line is character driven as much by the kids especially her son who believes his dad is dead and Nick as it is the lead couple. All five youngsters seem real with deep differing fears though the older teens are adjusting to life. Daly Thompson provides a winner as the shadowy boogieman (Lilah’s descriptions of her ex-husband) is coming for his wife and child.

Harriet Klausner

The Rodeo Rider-Roxann Delaney

The Rodeo Rider
Roxann Delaney
Harlequin American, Aug 2009, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373752737

She loved to ride horses when she was a child. That is until the accident when she was twelve left her temporarily in a coma. Jules Vandeveer has kept her distance from horses ever since she regained consciousness, preferring the big city to ranch country.

However, the urban based lawyer has no choice but to enter Oklahoma rodeo country as her best friend Beth Anders is getting married and expects her to attend the ceremony. Jules figures she can deal with anything for a month like she did when they first met at the hospital when Beth had poison oak and she had the injuries. She had not counted on rodeo bronco rider Tanner O'Brien and his troubled fourteen years old nephew Shawn who he is raising. Unable to stay out of the uncle and his ward’s issues, Jules becomes involved when she intercedes while they argue in a tavern’s parking lot. Tanner admires her guts when it comes to teens, but wonders why he is attracted to a person who disdains his vocation.

Though none of the three lead characters are developed deep enough to fully understand their fears, fans of contemporary romances will enjoy the well written THE RODEO RIDER. The story line is fun to follow due to the range wars between Jules and Tanner over how to deal with Shawn, bronco and horse riding, and love; as both grasp in their respective gut the desperation of caring and fearing for someone else.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 6, 2009

Highland Obsession-Dawn Halliday

Highland Obsession
Dawn Halliday
Signet, Aug 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451227010

Cam the Earl of Camdonn and Jacobyte Laird Alan MacDonald were buddies tasting the best of London as wild Scottish youths. The wild times together ends in 1715 when Alan marries Sorcha Stewart unaware that she is not a virgin as she was Cam’s lover.

Cam is irate over his former best friend wedded to his favorite lover while Alan is upset that his wife is not pure and worse did it with his former best friend. Outraged and jealous Cam abducts Sorcha on her wedding night. Alan wants his spouse back and in his bed so he prepares for clan war; Cam expects Alan and his horde to invade so prepares for clan war. Their difference over who rules Scotland also heats up. What they share is neither laird cares what Sorcha wants though she knows who she loves.

This deep Scottish romance focuses on a destructive triangle in which Cam obsesses over Sorcha who loves him but not like she does Alan. The story line is fast-paced with the hostile Scottish debate between the conventional laird and the Jacobyte supporter adding intensity to the argument over who Sorcha belongs too. Ironically, neither Cam nor Alan asks her for her opinion as that does not matter to them. Fans will relish this profound historical that digs deep into the lead characters and obviously sets up a sequel for the one who does not walk away with Sorcha.

Harriet Klausner

Shoot to Thrill-Nina Bruhns

Shoot to Thrill
Nina Bruhns
Berkley, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN 9780425229057

Although time has passed, Bellevue Hospital emergency room nurse Lorraine “Rainie” Martin still grieves the tragic loss of her parents murdered during a carjacking. Their sudden deaths haunt everything she does and she knows it, but cannot do much about it as she has not moved on beyond the grief.

Thanks to her BFF Gina Cappozi, Rainie attends a speed-dating gala with the belief she will meet no one. Thus she is unprepared when Kyle “Kick” Jackson using the name Dr. Nathan Daneby of Doctors for Peace and recent National Geographic fame also goes to elude his former CIA Zero Unit suits. Strangers in the night, she expects an incredible evening as he escorts her from the event. Instead she learns he is running from the CIA whom he works for as a field operative and is also detoxing from Oxycontin. However his peers catch up to the pair and they are sent as a team to fight terrorists in Egypt. Rainie must wear her rubber underwear to overcome her fear of travel ever since her parents died and help Kick kick his addiction to Oxycontin.

This over the top of the Pyramids and the Empire State Building, romantic suspense thriller is fast-paced and a lot of fun so the audience will ignore their plausibility meter. Fans will get a Kick out of the hero and the waves of shock that would overwhelm the average person, but an inner city ER nurse sees worse daily. SHOOT TO THRILL is an entertaining blast.

Harriet Klausner

The Silent Hour-Michael Koryta

The Silent Hour
Michael Koryta
Minotaur, Aug 2009, $24.95
ISBN 9780312361570

Convicted killer but freed Parker Harrison sends a series of letters to private investigator Lincoln Perry asking for his help; the sleuth simply ignores them. Exasperated by no response Parker arrives at Perry’s Cleveland, Ohio office to cop a plea in person.

Harrison explains that twelve years ago he worked at a rehabilitation program for violent offenders run by Alexandra and Joshua Cantrell. The couple abruptly vanished without a trace. He wants Perry to find them. Perry is suspicious of the motive since a dozen years in a long time to wait to begin an inquiry. He soon learns that Joshua’s remains were found in A WELCOME GRAVE near Pittsburgh. Not long afterward, Pittsburgh based private investigator Ken Merriman comes to Cleveland to ask Perry to assist him in finding who killed Joshua; a homicide that Alexandria’s mob chieftain brother wants left interred.

This is a super dark yet redemptive investigative thriller that grips the audience from the onset with Harrison’s persistence and never lets go with Perry’s persistence as the focus. The story line is fast-paced throughout with readers wanting to know the truth while so does Perry and Harrison though they fear what he will find as things are never quite like they seem in THE SILENT HOUR after death.

Harriet Klausner

Storm of Visions-Christina Dodd

Storm of Visions
Christina Dodd
Signet, Aug 2009, $7.99
ISBN 9780451227638

Jacqueline Vargha rejects the idea that she is one of the magnificent seven Chosen Ones; instead she insists she has no paranormal skills. However, her her adoptive mother psychic Zusane knows better and forces a reluctant Jacqueline to join with the other six special Chosen.

The team is shocked when their selected mentors die in a bombing. The reluctant untrained Chosen One and Zusane’s bodyguard Caleb, who was once Jacqueline’s lover, accompanied by two unskilled elderly assistants with no extrasensory skills hunt the assassin while dodging their natural enemies the Others and struggling with an attraction neither want but both desire.

STORM OF VISIONS is an action-packed paranormal romantic suspense that sets the stage for what looks like will be a terrific series, but also insures the opening act contains a strong story line. Caleb is an interesting male lead, but Jacqueline is the more fascinating protagonist as she prefers to pretend she has no paranormal abilities just like she prefers to ignore her feelings for the bodyguard. Although the romance is more like a light switch being turned on and off throughout the plot, fans of Christina Dodd will enjoy her suspense laden paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Warrior Unbroken-Alexis Morgan

Dark Warrior Unbroken
Alexis Morgan
Pocket, Jul 28 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416563440

Arson investigator Lena Wilson missed the funeral of her mentor and father figure Maynard Cooper because of the breach between them. The dispute seems inane to her as she stands at his gravesite crying that they never reconciled and vowing to uncover the identity of his killer in spite of the cops insisting they have no leads; she has special skills that enable her to find things the police would never notice.

Talion Warrior Chief Enforcer Sandor Kearn regrets doing his job when he was forced to kill his best friend, Bradan. He not only has doubts he has the stomach for this work; he has the added problem of obsessive persistent Lena who keeps digging. Sandor wants to tell her that he killed her mentor’s murderer already, but cannot reveal that or anything about his people the Kyth. He tracks a Kyth rogue killer in Seattle while she tracks him as Lena believes Sandor killed Maynard.

The second Talion thriller (see DARK WARRIOR UNLEASHED) reads somewhat like the first novel, but the clash between the lead couple brings freshness to the exhilarating story line. Lena knows in her heart Sandor is the one for her but believes in her brain based on what she has learned he is the one she must kill to complete her vow. Sandor, who plays a key role in the previous tale, is caught between a hard place and a rock as he wants to pour out his heart to his obstinate pursuer and give her closure and more; but he understands his imprint is indirectly all over the death of Maynard. Alexis Morgan provides a tense thriller as the vigilante goes after the enforcer.

Harriet Klausner

Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men-Molly Harper

Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men
Molly Harper
Pocket, Aug 25 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416589433

In Half Moon Hollow instead of allowing children's librarian Jane Jameson to die, Gabriel converted her into a vampire and his lover (see NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS). She loves her “sire’ dearly but also knows he is not honest about where he goes when he leaves town or who the mysterious Jeanine is. Gabriel asks Jane for more time, but swears he will explain all to her soon; she agrees to his request. Meanwhile she works at an occult bookstore owned by Mr. Wainwright who accepts her for what she has become unlike her blood family who are ashamed of her fangs.

She's a bridesmaid for her best friend Zeb and his fiancée Jolene the werewolf. Both families are against the marriage and will do anything to sabotage it. Zeb’s mother wants her son to marry Jane and Jolene’s pack demands she wed a were. They show their opposition in violent ways, which leaves Zeb to wonder if he can live safely on the same land as his future in-laws. If that is not enough to occupy Jane, she wonders how a dead man can be alive with a zillion spouses who did not survive the first year after saying I do while worrying about her Grandma Ruthie who is next to the altar with this Black Widower.

NICE GIRLS DON'T DATE DEAD MEN is a humorous down to earth vampire thriller with various subplots that add depth to the story line. Molly Harper’s take on the vampire mythos is not totally new (see MaryJanice Davidson’s Betsy’s shoes and all), but refreshed by a terrific heroine who lost her library job due to the hours the place is opened. The eccentric cast adds depth in terms of jocularity as they drive Jane crazy. The different species effectively turn Half Moon Hollow into a unique locale in the urban (make that small-town) fantasy sub-genre. Readers will enjoy what happened to Jane as she finds herself as the forever bridesmaid in dresses that she would not want to be caught dead in let alone attend a wedding.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Seducing the Moon-Sherrill Quinn

Seducing the Moon
Sherrill Quinn
Kensington Brava, Aug 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758231895s

Two years ago Pelicia Cobb could do nothing as her life fell apart due to former commando Declan O’Connell. She did nothing wrong, but ended up in jail, unemployed and her heart broken.

Pel fled to her home off the coast of Cornwall where she has mentally recovered though her heart remains shattered; she accepts her rep on the mainland is kaput so she manages her grandfather's Bed and Breakfast. Declan knows what he accidentally did to Pel, but though he believes he should stay away he cannot as he plans to claim his mate. He comes to the B and B to beg for a second chance. However, as if he is a trouble magnet, his arrival also has brought a killer with him who shoots at Pel and has murdered several people. Declan who has one more howling shocker to reveal to his soulmate vows to keep Pel safe from whoever wants them dead.

Readers will enjoy this fast-paced paranormal romantic suspense as the hero uses his superior werewolf skills in the cat and mouse battle with the killer while also concealing his shapeshifting from his beloved until he deems the time is right to do so. The story line is action-packed and St. Mary’s the biggest island in the Isles of Scilly is a fabulous location that brings the only freshness to an otherwise well written fine but typical werewolf romance plot.

Harriet Klausner

Tasting Fear-Shannon McKenna

Tasting Fear
Shannon McKenna
Kensington Brava, Aug 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758228635

“Outside the Limit”. The coroner ruled that Lucia died from natural causes; having suffered a heart attack. Her three adult adopted daughters know otherwise. The intruder who broke into Lucia’s home watched her die; that thug could have saved her life with a 911 call. Nancy, Nell and Vivi vow to bring the killer to justice and to recover stolen priceless Renaissance art that the D'Onofrio siblings believe is the motive. Nancy arrives at her adopted mom’s house only to meet a stranger inside. Contractor Liam finds himself needing to keep Nancy safe; while she finds herself feeling safe with him and willing to tell him what she knows though she also believes it could prove costly to her and her sisters.

“Ask for More”. Nell knows who best can assist the sisters; her boss Duncan, who she is attracted to, is an expert on the deadly cyberspace underworld from his former government operative days. She asks for his help in finding clues to the missing masterpiece and he agrees to assist her as he is as attracted to her as she is to him.

“Ready or Not”. Vivi has ferocious government operative Jack who seeks justice at the limits of the law to look after her. Even he is shocked how much the wild Vivi turns him on and keeps him somewhat calm.

Although a bit over the top, these three interwoven romantic suspense thrillers are fast-paced and filled with action as murders occur driving each couple closer to one another. Fans will enjoy this exciting tale of three sisters in the anger stage of grief seeking vengeance and recovery (of the lost masterpiece) but finding love with hunks who want to keep them safe from nasty killers.

Harriet Klausner

The Mercenary: The Savage Seven-Katherine Gabera

The Mercenary: The Savage Seven
Katherine Gabera
Kensington Brava, Aug 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758232106

In South Africa, affluent socialite Olivia Pontouf and diamond-mine manager Ray Lambert are engaged. However, their wedding plans die when she accidentally uncovers evidence he commits business murder and fraud. When he realizes what his fiancée has learned, Ray plots her death.

The Savage Seven mercenaries are hired to protect Olivia. However, by the time second in command Kirk Mann lands in Johannesburg, Ray has kidnapped Olivia. The ex-marine is all action and few words as he leads the counteroffensive to rescue the wealthy heiress. He succeeds, but has a new more lethal problem that neither his marine nor his Savage Seven training helps solve; he is attracted to his client and worse she reciprocates never feeling safer than when she is with Kirk.

This opening act is more a thriller than a romantic suspense though there is a major romance subplot. That feels out of place and would have been better suited to have had overly spoiled Olivia in a role similar to that of Erika Eleniak in Steven Seagal’s movie Under Siege. Still the story line is fast-paced and filled of furious action as Kirk and company kick butt in the terrific South African backdrop. Katherine Gabera provides an overall exciting first magnificent Savage Seven tale.
Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 3, 2009

Trio of Seduction-Cassie Ryan

Trio of Seduction
Cassie Ryan
Kensington Aphrodisia, Aug 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758220677

In Phoenix half-breed Dr. Kiera Matthews meets with diminutive Council member Danen to argue that it past time for the Cunts to go for peace with the Klatch. A quarter of a century ago the clan split into civil war and now the Cunts hide amongst humans with Kiera their only medical practitioner. He calls her a traitor just like her purebred mom; irate she kicks his butt in with moves she learned from her human military father.

The stranger watches her take out the arrogant counselor and his two guards. He applauds her skills even as she never believed in love at first sight, but now accepts lust at first sight. Ryan is the Prince of Klatch and recognizes Kiera as his mate, the Healer who will bring the divided clan back together, which is her life goal dedicated to her late mom. As a being who thrives on sexual energy, he knows she is the one because his dreams have changed from dark hair to a specific blonde. However, though she relishes the heights of passion he brings to her, she has doubts that a Halfbreed can be destiny’s darling for the Klatch and the Cunts.

The third “Seduction” erotic romantic science fiction (see VISIONS OF SEDUCTION and CEREMONY OF SEDUCTION) is a terrific thriller with some paranormal elements enhancing the exciting story line. The lead couple is a delightful pairing in and out of the boudoir as they feed off of each other while also encouraging one another. Readers will be seduced by Cassie Ryan’s enticing sexual healing (Marvin Gaye style) “Seduction” science fiction saga.

Harriet Klausner

Take Me-Shelli Stevens

Take Me
Shelli Stevens
Kensington Aphrodisia, Aug 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758235282

Talia of Zortou has spent years since she turned eighteen as a Rosabelle pleasing males on a world where females are scarce . Not once in all that time did the highest bidder for her services consider her pleasure; instead they took what they wanted as they all felt they paid for their enjoyment not hers.

Undercover operative Ryder arrives on Zortou to thwart an invasion of his planet Bolton. He learns that the handlers of Talia are behind the schemes. Believing she knows their intimate secrets, Ryder abducts her planning to seduce her into telling all. As he gives the woman of pleasure ecstasy for the first time in her life, Ryder finds he enjoys making love with her as much as she does with him though she tries to hide her passion he has enflamed. Talia realizes he is her ticket to freedom while Ryder realizes he wants more form his prisoner besides information, but having been brainwashed for her entire life she finds it difficult to betray her abusive handlers.

Talia is a fascinating lead character as she wants to tell all to her kind liberator, but has problems doing so as she has been trained form almost birth to accept male dominance and abuse; she accepts is her fault when her handlers rough her up for an indiscretion. Ryder is more typical as a hunk of a hero. Although the lack of background about either planet leaves readers anchorless, fans will enjoy the erotic romance between a couple from different walks of life and planets.

Harriet Klausner

Wicked Harvest-Anitra Lynn McLeod

Wicked Harvest
Anitra Lynn McLeod
Kensington Aphrodisia, Aug 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758235336

The Harvester understands that sex is duty and duty is sex. In that environs, Chur a Harvester in training, has prepared for the past year minus one day for his role of taking virgins to ecstasy but never allowing himself the same pleasure. The women with his one dip into their honey pot are deemed ready for marriage, but he must remain alone and aloof.

His loyal paratanist servant Enovese has fallen in love with her master Chur. She believes he cares for her much more than just as a kind boss though he hides his feelings. She has decided to take a chance on love by giving her virginity to the Harvester; if she fails she will have to marry someone else. He has freed his first two females to marry their bondmate, but is stunned with the identity of the third one. Chur tries to hide his desire, but Enovese will not allow him to escape her siren’s call. He knows she is his bondmate, but if he declares her so, as he knows also the consequences, he plans to teach his slave sexual obedience that is if he can keep her from making him come to soon.

This is a fantastic erotic romantic science fiction tale in which Anitra Lynn McLeod creates a fascinating world with an intriguing custom. The lead couple is a delightful pairing as Enovese risks all for her perfect mate while Chur is caught between his need for his bondmate and his responsibility to society as a Harvester. Fans who relish something different will appreciate the tale of the WICKED HARVESTER and his clever paratanist.

Harriet Klausner

Men In Blue-Devyn Quinn, Myla Jackson and Delta Dupree

Men In Blue
Devyn Quinn, Myla Jackson and Delta Dupree
Kensington Aphrodisia, Aug 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758237972

The Hard Way" by Devyn Quinn. Undercover cop Drew Hardage has a plan to take down his crime boss; he will seduce the moll Mara Luce. Plans of mice and undercover police often go astray when a broad is involved as Drew and Mara reach erotic nirvana, but are on the run from the boss.

"Saturday Night Special" by Myla Jackson. Because he is an expert hula dancer, Honolulu police officer Mano Kekehuna goes undercover to find a serial killing siren who strips the life out of male strippers. As he performs in the nude, he hones in on Rachel Grant, who looks like she is coming to watching the show. They leave together with him assuming he has lured the killer into his trap, but reconsiders who has whom as the librarian has each singing more and more is how they like their love.

"Cuffed Heat" by Delta Dupree. Police Officer Raegan Crosby just wants to be accepted as one of the guys so she curses more than a teen locker room and kicks butt harder than her peers as she knows a woman must be tougher than a man to be treated equally. Fellow cop Thaine McDuff wants to treat Raegan equally in his bed and begins his seduction of her. However, as they make love, a killer wants both dead.

Mistitled as these are men are in their birthday suits, these three exciting erotic romances star cops heating the sheets much more than beating the streets.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Better View of Paradise-Randy Sue Coburn

A Better View of Paradise
Randy Sue Coburn
Ballantine, Jul 14 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 9780345490360

Her Hawaiian upbringing has made thirty-six year old landscape architect Stevie Pollack very popular in the mainland as she brings a taste of the islands to her work. However, her latest effort in Chicago is universally scorned as pretentious rather than the natural exotic beauty she normally delivers, Stevie is stunned and hurt as she struggles with the criticisms something she never faced before. While in the Windy City, her cousin Margo informs her that her dad Hank has a sister he never mentioned to her. She returns to New York for solace with her lover, but he adds to her depression when he dumps her.

She debates with herself whether she should return to Hawaii. On the one hand she has not seen her father in ages, but their relationship was at best argumentative; however, she muses over the "swirling wonder" of the island with its calming waters and balmy land which has always soothed her soul. Following her discussions with Margo about the family and the dumping, Stevie knows you can go home if it is the right time; for her it is the right time.

Although overwhelmed with improbable happenings that ease Stevie’s decisions like her learning her dad is dying or her meeting the hunk veterinarian, fans will enjoy this strong whimsical Hawaiian adventure filled with local lore and myths. Stevie is a likeable protagonist who holds the tale together in Chicago, New York, and Hawaii as she ponders the reflections of her life as more than just marmalade as she muses growing up with a cantankerous father and a stiff upper lip Brit mom. Fans will enjoy her return home as she knows it is not the same yet somehow in the bigger scheme, the island retains its mystical hold on her.

Harriet Klausner

Navajo Courage-Aimee Thurlo

Navajo Courage
Aimee Thurlo
Harlequin Intrigue, Aug 2009, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373694211

Albuquerque Police Detective Valerie Jonas knows she needs special help with her current serial killer investigation in which the culprit apparently uses Navajo magic though Valerie is a doubting Thomasina. Tribal Police detective Luca Nakai comes to the big city to assist Valerie with her inquiry as the son of a medicine man, he understands Navajo magic intimately.

Luca once he gets past his initial first sight attraction realizes they are dealing with a deadly skinwalker who has killed two and targeted his next victim. Valerie is even more stunned by her reaction to the tribal cop as she never mixes sex with her work, but considers making an exception as she wants him. They begin to fall in love though they disagree over magic, but each agrees that the culprit whether he is a mage or not needs to be stopped before they examine deeply their feelings.

This is a terrific Native American urban romantic police procedural fantasy. The opposites attract story line has been used a lot, but Aimee Thurlo refreshes the plot with a deep understanding of Navajo magic that fits so well in the Albuquerque setting. Fans of the author will not regret popular Ella Clah taking a much deserved breather as Luca and Valerie fill the void quite nicely.

Harriet Klausner

The Texas Bodyguard's Proposal-Karen Rose Smith

The Texas Bodyguard's Proposal
Karen Rose Smith
Silhouette Special Edition, Aug 2009, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373654697

McCord Jewelers security consultant Rafe Balthazar does not want anything to do with the diva, but Blake McCord asked him as a favor to keep Gabriella McCord safe while she is in the States. Their first meeting at the McCord family mansion is quarrelsome as he dictates two rules and she counters with what he is to do and not do. Gabby insists she will not allow paparazzi, crazed fans, and others to lock her in a cage. She leaves for her aunt’s birthday party while he figures she will prove troublesome, but he protected POTUS so some gold spooned spoiled beauty should prove relatively easier.

Neither is prepared for their strong unwanted attraction. Gabby reels from the very public end of her last relationship so does not want a new one and in spite of what the tabloids say she does not do short term trysts. Rafe grieves the deaths of his wife and child and does not need the aggravation of publicity if he becomes her next boy toy. However, everything changes when her last lover Miko arrives wanting her back. He shakes up Rafe who cannot abide anyone but him with his beloved Gabby, but he must somehow persuade her they belong together permanently.

The second tale in the Foleys and the McCords continuity series (see Crystal Green’s THE TEXAS BILLIONAIRE'S BRIDE) is a wonderful contemporary romance starring two seemingly battling combatants falling in love. Both are fully developed characters enhanced by a strong support cast. Fans will enjoy this fine though straightforward tale of opposites attract as Texas dirt Rafe struggles to overcome his guilt re his late spouse and knowing he will be a paparazzi target as a gold-digger while European sophisticate Gabby fears the tabloids will have a field day with her beloved latest “sex toy”. Karen Rose Smith is a sure shot for providing readers with entertaining contemporaries.

Harriet Klausner