Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Highlander's Homecoming-Melissa Mayhue

A Highlander's Homecoming
Melissa Mayhue
Pocket, Jan 26 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439144251

In 1272 Scotland heroic Robert MacQuarrie is dying from battle wounds. However, because of his valiantly risking his life to keep others safe, Faerie propel him into the present day where modern medicine saves his life. His only regret over the next decade living in the twenty-first century was his inability to keep young Isabella MacGahan safe as he had pledged to her dying father Thomas who saved his life; death had prevented him from fulfilling his oath.

The fey asks for a volunteer to return to the thirteenth century so Robbie jumps at the chance hoping he can still achieve his vow. However, he ends up 1292 where he meets a now adult Isabella who has faerie powers that has left her a pariah and with no understanding of what she possesses. When he explains to her who he is, she scoffs at his contention. However, as he tries to keep her safe from a hostile clan dispute, his wounds from two decades earlier leaving him dying. Only Isabella combining her fey power with her love can save his life.

The latest Daughters of the Glen romantic fantasy (see A Highlander’s Destiny and Soul of the Highlander) is an enchanting entry filled with a terrific time paradox twist as the hero can fulfill his pledge except the girl he is to protect is now a beautiful woman by the time he has come back to her. The lead couple makes the tale with their respective emotional problems as he feels he is betraying his friend by falling in love with Thomas’ daughter and she believes she is unworthy of love due to her paranormal proclivity. A Highlander’s Homecoming is another master mage Melissa Mayhue’s marvelous medieval romance.

Harriet Klausner

Nauti Deceptions-Lora Leigh

Nauti Deceptions
Lora Leigh
Berkley, Feb 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232552

Caitlyn Lena Rogue Walker relocated from Boston to Pulaski County, Kentucky when she accepted a teaching position. However, she lost her job four years ago when she defended an innocent student leading to her being drugged with pictures of her in scandalous positions. Her so-called sexual improprieties led to Principal Thompson with vindictive school board siblings Grace and Mackay pushing him into firing her. Rather than flee back to New England she became a kick butt bar owner concealing her virginity. The pictures end up on the Internet.

Sheriff Zeke Mayes is attracted to her, but believes not only is she hiding something with her acerbic exterior, but he is too old for her as he assumes his hard core desires will send her running back to New England faster than the Derby is run. Still he owes her from when she lost her teaching position defending his son four years ago that led to the scandal. However, his biggest hesitation is his fear for her safety which comes from the white supremacist group who killed his mom and spouse; and whom he is investigating.

The return to Somerset (see Nauti Dreams) is a heated romantic suspense thriller starring a tough lead female who when her family’s enemies destroyed the reputation of Caitlyn Walker they failed to comprehend how strong “Rogue” is. Zeke has more issues than Rogue so she has her work cut out to win his soul; she has his heart. Although overwhelmed with action that leaves the plot fast-paced and fun but emaciated, readers who relish plenty of fisticuffs and shooting disputes will enjoy fight nights in Kentucky.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blonde with a Wand-Vicki Lewis Thompson

Blonde with a Wand
Vicki Lewis Thompson
Signet, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451228925

In Chicago Anica Revere is a witch with a conscience. She adheres strictly to rules enforced by the Wizard Council enhanced by her own code of conduct. For instance, before dating anyone, she informs them up front she is a practicing witch though most scoff at her for joking; not realizing she is charmingly serious.

She breaks her rule of pre informing a date of her paranormal skills when she meets cute Jasper Danes. After three weeks of charming dates, they have an argument over his lying to her; leading to her exploding in anger. When he goes to kiss her, she ignites in fury casting a spell. She turns him into a cat; a violation of the use of magic that costs her witchcraft skills. She feels horrible especially when Jasper turns back to a human every midnight for a short spell. Making her feel worse is that he does not hate her for what she did to him; contrary wise he is attracted to the Chick with a Charm. The people who are expected to straighten out the mess are Dorcas and Ambrose (see OVER-HEXED and WILD & HEXY).

This is an amusing lighthearted charmer as Anica with remorse and Jasper with a Cheshire grin make a fine couple even if he has become her familiar rather than her lover. Although thin, the story line is fast-paced from the first spell to a Cha-Cha to Frankie Avalon’s crooning symbolizing case closed as fans will enjoy this paranormal romantic romp.

Harriet Klausner

The Golden Season-Connie Brockway

The Golden Season
Connie Brockway
Onyx, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451412836

In 1816 Lady Lydia Eastlake learns she is broke, but wants a final Golden Season before she is forced to marry an affluent lord. She assumes finding a wealthy match will prove easy as she is beautiful and has the proper pedigree though her age at a shelf life of twenty-four and never been under the control of any male or for that matter even a female but being an orphan might go against her.

War hero Captain Ned Lockton returns to England in search of a wife with money as his family estate is teetering on bankruptcy. When Lydia and Ned meet, they are attracted to one another while also believing the other is rich. Each learns the dire straits of their beloved’s finances and sadly concludes they must pragmatically look elsewhere as love does not pay the bills.

This terrific Regency romance stars two strong lead characters (especially the pursuing female) who are both in financial trouble due to an economic recession and in her case too much spending. Ironically, his fighting against Napoleon left him and his family vulnerable to the economy’s slump. Lydia and Ned make the tale as they want one another, but look to the odious Smyth types for marriage as neither can afford to wed for love.

Harriet Klausner

Legend of the White Wolf-Terry Spear

Legend of the White Wolf
Terry Spear
Sourcebook, Feb 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402219054

While their partners Cameron MacPherson and Vin Summerfield remain in Seattle as the former hunts only criminals and the latter hates flying, David Davis and Owen Nottingham are in Maine hunting black bear. Their guide Kintail Silverman, co-owner with Lila Grayson of Back Country Tours, takes them deep into the wilderness when thirtyish David suddenly suffers a heart attack. Owen knows David and pleads with Kintail to save his friend; he will pay any cost. Kintail agrees and suddenly one of his purebred white wolves leaps at the two private investigators.

Faith O'Mallery is town searching for her former boyfriend Hilson Snowden who stole her father’s research paper. Her father tells her not to read the paper once she recovers it. At a hotel, she enters an occupied room as the desk clerk gave her the wrong key. He says his name is Cameron and he is a private investigator from Seattle seeking his missing two partners. They team up in search of his buddies and her dad’s paper, but neither is prepared to what they find as she learns her dad is not insane with his sociology study and he that his friends live. Soon they will understand the howl of the wolf for its soulmate as their new loupe garous pals are in danger of extinction from Dark Angels.

The fourth werewolf romantic suspense thriller (see To Tempt a Wolf, Heart of the Wolf and Destiny of the Wolf) is a super entry as two dedicated individuals combine their mission only to fall in love at first bite. The pristine descriptions of Maine and elsewhere add to the feeling that a werewolf pack runs free in the tundra. Fans will relish this strong paranormal entry as no one does tales of the wolf better than Terry Spear does.

Harriet Klausner

Succubi Like It Hot-Jill Myles

Succubi Like It Hot
Jill Myles
Pocket, Jan 19 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416572831

New Yorker Jackie Brighton is still learning the rules of being a Succubus as going from B to double D in an instant takes an adjustment. She figures how bad can it be as she has a drop dead figure, a dig gig as an archeologist, and two hot hunks from opposite sides of the spectrum, Noah the angel and Zane the vampire, thirsting to make love with her. Life is perfect as long as she has sex at least every two days.

However, something is not right starting with her leaving the pizza guy unconscious and the shrinking gap between her sexual appetites. Unaware never to make a deal with a demon, she desperately arranges for a powerful demon to remove her curse in exchange she will deliver a message to Delilah, the oldest succubus working America. Jackie and her succubus BF Remy drive to New Orleans with Zane along for the sexual ride. However, he vanishes at a rest stop leaving Jackie sexually in trouble, but the danger awaiting her in New Orleans is someone wants her dead.

Jackie knows first hand that any species of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi over archeological humans is good for her. However, this time her need for sexual release is causing an implosion for her as the time between encounters shrink Causing amusement for her fans. This is one wild zany road show as It Happened one Night after another and another until all hell breaks out in New Orleans. Although the plot is sexually thin, fans will enjoy this humorous lighthearted frolic mindful of Harry Rheems’ “bandaged” character in Deep Throat.

Harriet Klausner

The Dark Storm-Kris Greene

The Dark Storm
Kris Greene
St. Martin’s, Feb 2 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312944223

Her dad directed De Mona Sanchez to seek a Redfeather on the streets of New York City. She is ecstatic to find one though Hunter College student Gabriel Redfeather is a bookworm computer freak rather than a sword carrying warrior. He prefers the paranormal to be in novels or online.

However, kick butt De Mona ignores his pleas that he is not the legend, but just a geek who cherished his grandfather’s tales as tales not as fact. Now this young woman insists he must use an ancient weapon as a descendent of a knight who long ago fought the demons, but Gabriel only knows textbooks. Yet with De Mona’s encouragement and kicks to his butt, he prepares to fight the growing demonic horde that is threatening the city with the return of the Dark Storm.

This opening urban fantasy grips readers from the onset when street tough De Mona meets reticent bookish Gabriel as she needs a hero and he is the one. Fans will appreciate The Dark Storm because of the lead couple. He is her chosen one, but seems unlikely as a warrior as he is a shy college student whose hobby of deciphering of an ancient text on the net places him at the point of the war. This is a fun thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 28, 2009

McKettricks Of Texas: Tate-Linda Lael Miller

McKettricks Of Texas: Tate
Linda Lael Miller
Harlequin HQN, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774364

When Libby Remington was a child, her mom deserted her. She was still young when her father died. Finally she fell in love with Tate McKettrick, but he ended their relationship to marry the woman Cheryl he made pregnant when he got too drunk to know better.

In Blue River, Texas divorced Tate visits Libby at the Perk Up Coffee Shop to beg for a second chance. She wants to say yes, but refuses as she fears he will break her heart again even though he swears he would do anything for her except give up his beloved six years old twins Audrey and Ava. However his former wife uses their kids as emotional blackmail to make Tate do what she wants which leaves a wedge between him and Libby.

The first McKettricks Of Texas tale is an entertaining second chance at love romance although there is a soap opera feel to the plot. The story line grips readers when Tate’s brother Austin is hurt at the rodeo and never let’s go until the finish. Although Cheryl is a drama queen and the twins too precocious, McKettrick fans will enjoy the opening act of a new trilogy.

Harriet Klausner

Down River-Karen Harper

Down River
Karen Harper
Mira, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778327479

The teambuilding event planned by Carlisle, Bonner & Associates at the Duck Lake Lodge near Bear Bones, Alaska could prove divisive as managing partner Graham Bonner will use the off site to choose the next senior partner. One of the three attorneys in the running for a senior slot is Lisa Vaughn, who feels strongly this is not a good way to select. She also has bigger personal issues with the location chosen by top management that overlooks the Wild River where her mom and baby sister drowned twenty-six years ago and the lodge is owned by Mitch Baxter, her former fiancé who dropped her last year when he relocated from Fort Lauderdale.

Lisa falls into the Wild River with its strong rapids. Mitch knows something is wrong and follows her by kayak until he jumps in to complete the rescue. The powerful current had carried the pair several miles from his lodge, but they survive the water. As they struggle with the ordeal of getting back to the lodge, Lisa believes someone deliberately nudged her into the icy water. Though Mitch initially leans towards her accidentally tripping; he soon believes his Lisa is in peril from an unknown adversary who will try anything to kill her, but neither know why.

Down River is an exhilarating romantic suspense thriller as the audience wonders along with the heroine why this location and who wants her dead. Faster than the raging Wild River and yet filled with vivid descriptions of the Talkeetna Mountains, readers will feel transported to the home of Sarah Palin. Karen Harper provides a powerful who is doing it and why that sub-genre fans appreciate.

Harriet Klausner

The Next Best Thing-Kristan Higgins

The Next Best Thing
Kristan Higgins
Harlequin HQN, Feb 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774388

Over five years ago, Lucy Lang joined the extended family club when her spouse Jimmy died. Like her mom, aunts and cousins, she is just another Black Widow mourning their losses at the family bakery. However as she turns thirty Lucy feels her suburban biological clock ticking so she decides to end her sexual only relationship with Jimmy’s brother Ethan Mirabelli to find a new husband who will turn her into a soccer mom, but she must never love him or the family curse will occur.

Loving her from first sight Ethan rejects Lucy’s kicking him to the curb to marry someone else. Unlike her, he is not afraid to defy his parents, owners of Gianni’s Ristorante Italian, as he did when he dropped out of culinary school to go corporate. He knows she fears what her heart is telling her as she does not want to be a widow twice before she reaches forty, but Ethan cannot deal with his beloved with someone else so begins his campaign to make his Lucy pick him “Instead”.

Kristan Higgins provides her audience with a warm contemporary romance filled with pathos and humor as a strong cast make for a wonderful tale. Ethan is a man on a mission, but recognizes his obstinate beloved is very determined to find a spouse; they agree on her being married, but not to whom. The Next Best Thing to eating cannoli with your significant other is reading Ms. Higgins’ engaging story.

Harriet Klausner

Twice As Hot-Gena Showalter

Twice As Hot
Gena Showalter
Harlequin HQN, Jan 26 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774371

Paranormal investigator, Belle Jamison is still learning her new job while planning her marriage to shapeshifter Rome Masters whom she met when she was Playing with Fire. However since the mad scientist spiked her latte she can control, well almost control, the four elements. Of course putting your wedding dress ablaze makes life a wee bit difficult, but Rome is there for her; now that he is not trying to neutralize her.

However, the real calamity and not just minor roach stressors, is when Memory Man erases from Rome’s mind that he even met Belle, let alone fell in love with her. Instead the only woman Rome remembers is his nasty former wife Lexie. Although hurting, Belle, accompanied by her empathic partner Tanner, plans to kick some butts starting at the top of her list with Memory Man.

The latest Tales of an Extraordinary Girl (see Playing with Fire) returns Belle, still hesitant about using her new powers especially as she learns frustration and anger could lead to out of control reactions. She is particularly upset with what has happened to her fiancé and their relationship which is so out of control due to Memory Man and Lexie. She has to keep the collateral damage to an absolute minimum; superhero gigs are not easy. Fans will enjoy Gena Showalter’s latest amusing chick lit superhero romance as Belle’s constantly changing list sums up how she feels.

Harriet Klausner

Triumph In Arms-Jennifer Blake

Triumph In Arms
Jennifer Blake
Mira, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778327486

In New Orleans Christien Lennoir takes one look at Widow Reine Cassard Pingre and feels he took a sword to his gut as he instantly wants her; love at first sight. In 1847 in a card game with her gambling-addicted father, he wins her and the family home River’s Edge.

Christien offers Reine a proposal of marriage. If she accepts, her family can stay in their home. She prefers to say no as one abusive marriage was enough, but she has to care for her five year old daughter Marguerite so she considers the proposition, but also reminds her suitor that rumor is she killed her husband while he slept. Christien remains resolved so Reine takes a chance on him when she watches how gentle the swordsman is with Marguerite who saw her papa murdered. However, all hell breaks loose during their wedding ceremony; leading to Christien having to choose between the Maitres D'Armes Brotherhood and Reine.

This sixth Maitres D'Armes historical romance is a terrific entry with a strong cast, but made fresh by the hero as he displays a wide range of feelings from fierce protectiveness of his beloved to loyalty for his Brotherhood and kindness to Marguerite, etc. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action including a super spin as Christien ironically got what he covets, but before he can win Reine’s love his latest Brotherhood assignment will earn him her contempt. Jennifer Blake provides a Triumph in Arms.

Harriet Klausner

Racing Hearts-Vicki Lewis Thompson, Nancy Warren and Dorien Kelly

Racing Hearts
Vicki Lewis Thompson, Nancy Warren and Dorien Kelly
Harlequin, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373837403

"A Calculated Risk" by Vicki Lewis Thompson. Nomex racing team mechanic Roni Kenway wants crew chief Judd “Iceman” Timmons in a bad way; so much so that she is even is using mascara. Her goal is to make her his Valentine by February Fourteenth though with each lack of reaction by him her hope of showering with him dims.

"An Outside Chance" by Nancy Warren. Behind the scenes fashion dresser nobody Lucy Vanderwal goes from New Jersey to Florida just because her aunt gave her a guidebook Last Chance for Love; Advice for the Over 30 Single Woman. The book encouraged her to take a chance over the net to hook up with Dan the cheater Krankill. Furious the six foot one inch Lucy throws a fist in the air and knocks down jogging NASCAR rookie driver Sawyer Patton, with a solid solar plexus shot. They both know they are attracted to one another, but he is a free wheeler and she believes her biological clock is ticking away.

“This Time Around" by Dorien Kelly. Right before a major race, Chris Donahue returns to town wanting to renew his romance with NASCAR driver Megan Carter. She had moved on so she thought until he came back. Complicating matters is his father is her boss; he does not want his driver and his son seeing one another.

These three NASCAR romantic novellas are fun lighthearted tales starring sold lead characters especially the kick butt women.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Notebooks of Madame B: Ecstasy-Madame B

The Notebooks of Madame B: Ecstasy
Madame B
Tarcher (Penguin), Jan 2010, $12.95
ISBN: 9781585427734

“Hard Hat". She dressed to excite one particular hard hat as walked pastd him daily until her wet dreams re his hard on become wet reality.

"Model Misbehavior". In Milan fashion model Anna and rock star Joey make orgasmic public photos.

"Toy Story”. The two female roommates borrowed from one another, but learn it is more fun to share sex.

"Bossy". The new boss Hugh intimated the staff until he confronted Donna with the choice of firing competent people; instead she ties the dominator into her submissive.

“The Car-Ma Sutra. The couple has followed the tabloid pictures of celebs making it in public; so they decide to star in their own public showing.

"Steaming". Stressed, Helen meets another woman over a taxi duel in which they share the cab and a secret about a special massage parlor that relaxes the entire body through satiating arousal therapy.

"A Working Girl". Kerry knows the hard way that a personnel assistant salary without a rich daddy is not a way to eat in Manhattan, but supplementing the income as an escort is if she passes the sexual interview with Mark.

“Ash”. Nina likes her toys to be skinny so she can dictate their all nighter as these males are weak yet have incredible stamina; that is until she picks up six foot plus Ash who teaches her a lesson in “dick-less” sex.

"All Tomorrow's Parties". Eighteen year old Charlie-girl came to London to dance, but also meets David the artist who seeks a muse to inspire his inner inferno.

"Water Baby". It has been years since the tribe attended college, but now get together for Sheila’s thirtieth birthday where Greg surprised her by teaching her tricks with liquids that only a consummate thirst quencher can.

These are ten more not so subtle sexual encounters of the various kind. Madame B tantalizes the imagination of readers who need their significant other (or a dildo) handy.

Harriet Klausner

Hill Country Hero-Ann DeFee

Hill Country Hero
Ann DeFee
Harlequin American, Feb 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373753000

Collier “CiCi” Hurst knows the biggest mistake of her life was marrying cheating Green Bay Packer star Tank Tankersley who she assumes is illiterate though he has interest in libraries; or at least one librarian. Money is not an issue as Wisconsin is a community property state and he made a bundle. Back home in Houston she asks her daddy for a job at one of his car dealerships, but Texas Bob instead offers her a position as the NFL’s last place Road Runner’s mascot.

Star tight end Jake Culpepper assumes his former convict cousin Dwayne Scruggs wears the mascot outfit as he got him the job. He tackles the mascot out of ire for grand theft auto of his Porsche now in the repair shop only to find the boss’ daughter inside. His penalty for “illegally sacking CiCi is time at Camp Touchdown working with inner-city kids and CiCi. As they fall in love, she has doubts about romancing another football dummy but poses one question to him: can he read?

This is a fun often amusing sports romance starring a woman who stereotypes football players as a group who obviously failed to play with helmets and a receiver who is unsure his hit on the boss’ daughter is a good or bad thing. Fans will enjoy their gender battle while also containing a wonderful story of how much a professional athlete can bring to the community.

Harriet Klausner

Taking On Twins- Cathy McDavid

Taking On Twins
Cathy McDavid
Harlequin American, Feb 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373752980

Former Army Warrant Officer Corrine Sweetwater has not adjusted to life as a civilian after eight years active duty. She runs the kitchen of her family’s Beat Creek Guest Ranch as if she still gives orders for subordinates to obey. She has run off three dishwashers in a short time.

Professional fisherman Greg Pfitser arrives with chaotic Belle the canine and even more out of control five years old twins Annie and Ben. At the Arizona guest ranch, he hopes to bond with the kids he just met and with the mechanical engineer turned food service supervisor. However, where she believes in discipline he prefers mellow so finding a compromise seems as likely as getting the Taliban to lay down their weapons.

This is a fun endearing ranch romance although finding a middle ground between this couple is like Republicans and Democrats working together, which would mean the Revelations’ End of Days has begun. The story line is lighthearted fun, as the ex soldier and the fisherman fall in love encouraged by two wild youngsters and a garbage seeking dog.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Notebooks Of Madame B: Desire-Madame B

The Notebooks Of Madame B: Desire
Madame B
Tarcher (Penguin), Jan 2010, $12.95
ISBN: 9781585427710

"Midas". Mark travels a lot for his work so he and his wife use cyber sex to enjoy pleasurable lovemaking.

"Hire Love". Wealthy Hannah is used to being in control, but her paid escort hired over the Internet Olivier takes charge leading to a freebie on the house.

"Sucker Punch". For a decade starting when she was sixteen, Carrie showed up at all his fights, but never introduced herself until now when he suffered a bad loss; however this time she meets him in person and one thing leads to another.

"Always the Bridesmaid". Bridesmaid Sammy and bride Polly share the hotel room the night before the wedding, but soon share a more fascinating frolic.

"The Mistress's Apprentice". Tina the cleaner takes a job with Charlotte’s special adult house of pleasure and pain, but proves a natural dominatrix as Howie the submissive learns begging her for release.

"The Hitcher". Alice and Paul give a ride to Jim the college age hitchhiker who soon gives the couple the ride of their lives.

"The Diagnosis". At the party Dr. Jay and RN Leila play an adult version of doctors and nurses.

"Window-Shopping". At the designer furniture store where she works, Bethany and Max put on a lively public window display.

"El Ritmo De La Noche”. In Spain, tourists Lara and Helen meet men with the former going off with Paco and the latter coming with her young dancing partner.

"Going, Going, Gone". During the day Abigail is a dominating businesswoman; at night she offers herself as a submissive to the highest bidder.

The second set of ten erotic confessional short shorts (see Seduction) consists of fun heated quickies that run the gamut of the genre while each stimulates the enthralled reader.

Harriet Klausner

Highlander's Forbidden Bride-Donna Fletcher

Highlander's Forbidden Bride
Donna Fletcher
Avon, Jan 2010, $99
ISBN: 9780061712999

Ronan Sinclare escaped captivity by brutal barbarians. He is coming home with two things on his mind: reclaim his inheritance and slowly kill Carissa who murdered his beloved Hope.

With the death of her father the vicious Mordrac the barbarian; Carissa is on the run as she has no protection from her sire’s horde or the Highlanders who blame her for the sins of her father. She reaches the sanctuary Black, a village that welcomes everyone. Persistent Ronan traces her there, but once they meet his vow of vengeance proves difficult to enact; as she is nothing like the she-monster he painted of her from the cold accounts of others. Still he takes her prisoner until he can decide what to do with her; meanwhile she conceals that she once hoped to be his bride.

The latest early sixteenth century Sinclare Brothers Highlander romance (see Return of the Rogue, Under the Highlander’s Spell and The Angel and the Highlander) is an enjoyable tale of love and hate. Carissa hides her inner warmth and her love for her “jailer” inside of an icy exterior, and Ronan is confused by his feelings for a woman he pledged to kill. Although some redundancy occurs with this overall fine capture-captivity Scottish historical romance, fans of the siblings’ series will appreciate the one we have been waiting for since we first met the quartet.

Harriet Klausner

Dead by Midnight-Beverly Barton

Dead by Midnight
Beverly Barton
Zebra, Feb 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420100518

Lorie Hammonds dreamed of making it in Hollywood so she left Dunmore, Alabama to pursue her dream. She left behind her boyfriend, now the town Sheriff Mike Birkett (see Silent Killer for the back story).

She came home after her fantasy failed and her BFF widow Cathy Cantrell needed her (also see Silent Killer). Mike remains angry with her to the point it impacts his job as he ignores death threats aimed at her. The widower tries not to be short with his kids, eleven years old M.J. and nine years old Hannah while not understanding why they reject caring Abby Sherman who reminds him of his late wife Molly. However, Powell Agency detective Maleah Perdue takes the threats to Lorie seriously as a serial killer is methodically murdering the cast who performed in the nude in an adult film that Lorie would prefer to not count on her credits list. She will show her inner strength when the two kids become the target.

The latest Dead By romantic suspense thriller tied to the Powell Detective Agency is a tense direct sequel to the Silent Killer. The story line is fast-paced from the onset as a serial killer methodically murders the cast of a porn film with Lorie listed as an actress. As she and Mike learn via Dead by Midnight that a person cannot run from their deeds as regret and remorse are powerful feelings that never quite leave. Fans will relish this strong sequel with a fascinating unexpected potentially deadly twist that does not require reading the previous novel, although that helps with the past that haunts the present.

Harriet Klausner

Born Of Ice-Sherrilyn Kenyon

Born Of Ice
Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's, Dec 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312942328

Alix Gerran has three weeks to save her mother and sister from execution by the Ritadarion Chief Minister of Justice Merjack. To free them, she must find evidence of treasonous activity by Devyn Kell, the son of the notorious couple Sharara Dagan and C.I. Syn (see Born of Fire). Merjack warns her every agent he has sent to bring Kell in to stand public trial has come home in a body bag.

Alix obtains a position as an engineer on the same ship that Kell is a doctor. Once in service to the League as an assassin until he had an epiphany; now a Runner he smuggles supplies to those in need of basic sustenance in order to survive. . If she fails to find proof, Alix is to plant the evidence needed to legally hang Kell. However, she is not only attracted to him; she admires what he and other crew do for the downtrodden. He is falling in love with the new ship employee, but knows she hides something that he fears will make her his Achilles’ heel.

The third League tale is a fast-paced exhilarating romantic science fiction thriller that showcases the offspring of the heroes of previous tales (see Born of Night). Filled with action and plenty of humor, fans of the saga will enjoy this fine finish as Kell meets his equal in Alix. Readers will enjoy this strong rewriting of the Ichidian Universe even if Merjack a bit over the top of Olympus Mons with his degree of hatred surpassing the hottest sun.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Notebooks Of Madame B: Seduction-Madame B

The Notebooks Of Madame B: Seduction
Madame B
Tarcher, Jan 2010, $12.95
ISBN: 9781585427727

"Jet". She is flying first class for the first time as she goes from Edinburgh to London, but learns what the additional amenities of the Mile High Club means.

"Menage a Trois". The voyeur learns first hand and other body parts what it means to be part of the action rather than a fan of the neighbors’ activity.

"The End of the Pier Show". Kyra’s BF Rick is a gay and now has a boyfriend Sam so she expects their friendship will suffer; instead they share a ménage a trois.

"I Heard Love Is Blind". Jamie assumes his older, richer, and smarter lover sees him for his body when he wants her to desire his soul; like he does for her; so he persuades her to make love “blind” using her other four senses.

"Rumble in the Jungle". They were part of a tour in the Indian jungle, but though the pair were the only ones their age, she loathed David until yoga and getting lost led to her coming twice, but still detesting David.

"The Camera Never Lies" Sara the model relishes her encounter with Kim who makes her lesbian fantasy real.

"Fetish". In Oxford, Claudia taught Polly the sexual pleasure of leather.

"The Captain's Table". Ben persuaded his lover Charmaine that the adult only cruise ship is the perfect place to swap sensual encounters.

"Shopped". She loved the thrill of shoplifting, but the greats rush she ever had was when the security guard caught her and offers her a deal of dropping her stolen panties for the tape.

"Fireman's Pole". At her bachelorette party, Jules enjoys the stripping firefighter in a last fling.

These ten short “true confessions” are fun heated “nooners” that tease the senses of the reader.

Harriet Klausner

Sweet and Dirty-Christina Crooks

Sweet and Dirty
Christina Crooks
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jan 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758238733

"Baring It All". Dog trainer Michelle Gray asks BDSM club owner Ro Kaliph to teach her how to be a dominant as she is so passive even working with the canines. Instead Ro wants her to surrender her heart and body as his submissive.

"Forbidden Heat". Nora Sabine needs a break from work so heads to a B&B with her fiancé of two years Ryan who suggested the place. However, she learns the inn caters to the bondage and breakfast crowd. Attracted to his newest female guest, Twisted Wood owner Sylvester Vincent plans to take Nora to a place where she has never been before even in her wildest fantasies and knows he will surpass his wildest dreams while doing so.

The key to these two erotic BDSM tales is that both contain the psychological needs of the dominant and submissive personalities without making either seem perverted. Each tale is well written, filled with heat and heart, just bring your erotica checklist with you.

Harriet Klausner

Wicked, Sinful Nights-Julia Latham

Wicked, Sinful Nights
Julia Latham
Avon, Jan 12 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783463

In 1487 Oxfordshire, someone murders League of the Blade Bladesman Viscount Drayton. His Blade peers wonder if this unknown adversary learned of the top secret society and its mission to rescue the innocent, accused or abused.

King Henry orders Drayton’s former student Bladesman Sir Robert Hilliard to investigate and bring the female killer to justice; blade-style or be booted out of the organization that has no room for failure. Widow Sara Audley, allegedly killer of her husband, is the only suspect based on Drayton purportedly finding proof she is a black widow. Robert quickly concludes Sara, nursemaid to Drayton’s heir five years old Francis, is innocent of both murders. However, an unknown adversary is using her to distract people from the real killer. With her help he plans to find the culprit, but also must keep the woman he loves and Francis safe.

The latest League of the Blades medieval romance (see Taken and Seduced, and One Night Only) is an exciting late fifteenth century whodunit that subtly uses Sir Robert’s inquiry to somewhat anchor time by the lack of modern forensic tools, but only partially achieves the feel of the era. Still the lead couple is a terrific pairing as the hero goes against the cautionary advice not to trust her as men who do die. Sara, on the other hand, struggles to prove her innocence while also protecting Francis. Fans will enjoy this entertaining historical romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pieces of Sky-Kaki Warner

Pieces of Sky
Kaki Warner
Berkley, Jan 5 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232149

In 1869 in New Mexico Territory, British heiress Jessica Thornton knows she is a long way from her Northumberland home. Pregnant she desperately needs to find her brother George Adrian before her martinet abusive brother-in-law John Crawford finds her.

As the heat is killing her, she meets Brady Wilkins, oldest brother of three. When the coach crashes near his home, Brady offers her a place to stay for now at his ranch RosaRoja. Feeling safe with him and later his siblings (Jack and Hank), she accepts. As she comes to know his kindness and he her passion, they fall in love. However John comes for her to take her home so he can control her wealth; and the son of the previous owner of RosaRoja, insanely raging former convict Sancho Ramirez with a brutal land vendetta and his even crazier half brother Paco, arrives also as they want the family spread returned to them.

The first Blood Rose Post Civil War romance is an entertaining tale refreshed by the intermingling of the Wilkins and Ramirez families; with the additional entanglement of the British invasion. The story line is fast-paced and though somewhat by the Americana standard, Kaki Warner proves the little things matter as her lead couple is a fine pairing of seemingly opposites and the support cast is extremely strong to include Bullshot the loyal dog.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Promise Me Tonigh-Sara Lindsey

Promise Me Tonight
Sara Lindsey
Signet, Feb 2010, $6.99
ISBN 9780451229373

In 1784, the oldest of five sisters six years old Isabella Weston wrote a letter to her dear mama telling her she will marry her older brother Henry's best friend, James Sheffield. Years later, she still knew he was the one for her. With her coming out in 1797, Izzie plans to claim James as hers.

James was raised by an ice cold grandfather after his parents died when he was ten. He learned from the nasty old man that he was unworthy of love. Izzie begins her seduction scheme with a dress that will make him desire her. She follows with a kiss that leaves him senseless. Izzie knows James wants her and believes he loves her, but he rejects the concept that someone could love him. With her six siblings at her side, the magnificent seven mount a campaign to prove to James he belongs first to Izzie and second to all of them.

Although somewhat straightforward of a plot, Georgian romance readers will fully appreciate the first Weston sibling tale due to a strong lead couple and a fully developed support cast; especially her sisters. Obstinate Izzie knows who she wants and plans to make him hers. James is the more fascinating character as he believes strongly no one could ever love him, but General Izzie and her sisters mount a campaign to prove his assertion false. Promise Me Tonight (and forever) is a wonderful opening act with homage to the Bard.

Harriet Klausner

Viking in Love-Sandra Hill

Viking in Love
Sandra Hill
Avon, Feb 2010, $6.99
ISBN 9780061673498

In 965 Northumbria the five Viking princess daughters of King Thorvald of Stoneheim in the Norselands kill the abusing spousal, Oswald the Earl; make that former Earl, of one of them, Vana. The dead miscreant had ties to the odious King Edgar so the fearsome femmes need instant protection. . They travel to a cousin-by-marriage, Caedmon, who resides inside Larkspar, a strongly fortified castle.

Caedmon does need five female bosses having spent nine months with one bossy monarch. He wants them out, but agrees to house and protect them in return for the most hostile of the quintet Breanne warming his body for ten consecutive nights in which he proclaims everything goes and she agrees

Although quite straightforward proving the shortest distance between two points is a historical novel containing no time displaced Vikings or Americans, this historical is an amusing gender war of what looks like the first of five Tenth century romances. The bickering starts even before Caedmon enters the plot as the fearsome fivesome argue over who did what to Oswald the brute and that argumentativeness never takes a respite even when the hero steals a kiss. Although the sisters especially Breanne seems more modern day than from two millennia ago, fans will enjoy this jocular jaunt with its key question being what is the Viking S-Trick?

Harriet Klausner

Here Comes Trouble-Donna Kauffman

Here Comes Trouble
Donna Kauffman
Kensington Brava, Feb 2010, $14.00
ISBN 9780758231338

If anyone told Kirby Farrell that global warming is a hoax she would tell them to visit her bed and breakfast ski lodge in Vermont as the weather outside is tropical for winter in New England. She fears if it does not snow soon she will go out of business.

Brett Hennessey grew up in Las Vegas where he has become a poker superstar. Fleeing some trouble, he bikes across the country finally stopping for R&R at Kirby’s rustic B&B. The innkeeper and the cyclist are immediately attracted to one another forgetting their woes as she thinks she is fortunate with her new guest and he believes Lady Luck has given him a royal flush. That is until his past arrives in Vermont to call him out and he has doubts after a recently failed relationship and her being older than her card playing biker.

A bit over the top of the Green Mountains, Here Comes trouble is a fun contemporary romance. Kirby and Brett are a likable pair as he is a charming rogue and she is a hesitant damsel. Their debates over age, life, and love make for a humorous frolic with late suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Elusive Bride-Stephanie Laurens

The Elusive Bride
Stephanie Laurens
Avon, Jan 26 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061795152

In 1822 Captain MacFarlane escorts the visiting niece of the Governor of Bombay Emily Ensworth as they flee the Black Cobra Cult. Realizing they cannot make it to safety, MacFarlane gives a letter to Emily asking her to deliver it to his superior Colonel Delborugh; he plans to wait for the cult in order for her to deliver letter though he knows he will be dead soon. She makes it and gives the letter to the Colonel and three other officers. She is immediately attracted to one of them Major Gareth Hamilton and wonders if he might be her “one”.

Emily learns the four men resigned their commission and vanished although she knows Gareth is heading home through Aden. Impetuously she tells her beloved Uncle she is returning home via the Pyramids and arranges a speedy voyage to Aden to be there before Gareth to learn if he is her one. In Aden, Gareth sees a cultist try to kill Emily, but he intervenes. He rents a house to keep their combined traveling teams of nine safe. Emily tells Gareth he has a copy or the original of the letter that must be important that he and his comrades had to resign. He mentions the four are racing to England separately to deliver it to the Duke of Wolvestone so that the Black Cobra Roderick Ferrer will be convicted of crimes and his high placed father will not be able to protect him. They travel together with cultists trying to kill them while falling in love, but Gareth feels Emily deserves better while she knows he is her one.

The story line is filled with constant exciting action as the tough yet seemingly inept Cult mount attack after attack. Fast-paced with an expected but terrific final twist and a strong support cast traveling with the courageous lead couple, fans will enjoy this engaging late Regency Era thriller with more to follow.

Harriet Klausner

My Darling Caroline-Adele Ashworth

My Darling Caroline
Adele Ashworth
Avon, Jan 26 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061905872

Brilliant botanist Caroline Grayson desperately wants to attend oxford, but her gender rejects her. She tries to sneakily gain admittance at a school in New York hiding that she is a female, but though accepted her father intercedes.

He has arranged a marriage for her with brooding veteran Brent Ravenscroft. She gets a husband she does not want; he gets his horses and estate back, bought by her father while Brent was fighting Napoleon; and her father rids himself of his fourth daughter. Forced to marry, Caroline hopes to annul the nuptials and flee to America. Brent would relish seeing her leave, but fears he would lose what he received if he can not accept the genius as his wife. Neither anticipated falling in love.

This is a reprint of a RITA award winning Best First Book that entertains the audience the moment the botanist and the veteran reluctantly agree to a marriage of convenience. The concept of not taking care of the affairs, in this case property, of the soldier at war has a modern context as the military tries to accommodate the deployed solider. Caroline also feels somewhat like a modern woman with her desire to attend higher learning in science; unheard of for the Ton. Fans will enjoy Adele Ashworth’s take on the marriage of convenience as the lead couple is the reason she won the RITA.

Harriet Klausner

Forbidden Heat-Opal Carew

Forbidden Heat
Opal Carew
St. Martin’s, Jan 5 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780312580131

When Jake, Trey and Danielle attended college together, the latter was heavily attracted to both her best friends. However, Danielle concealed her feelings because Jake and Trey were seeing others.

They have not seen one another for awhile, but catch up on old times at Harmony’s wedding in Buffalo. Danielle is euphoric to learn that her two buddies are single, available, and most important bisexual. They act on their desire with a ménage a trois, but each has issues with their sexual leanings that must be worked out before they can come to some sort of mutually harmonious arrangement.

This is a torrid erotic relationship drama as the three lead characters must work out who they and what they want form the others besides great sex. The story line is filled with various sexual encounters and each of the threesome is fully developed. Although the issues blocking them coming to terms are too underdeveloped and abrupt premature ejaculated resolution, sub-genre fans will enjoy the Forbidden Heat the trio indulge in as the sex comes (literally) in several ways.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 21, 2009

Guilty Pleasure-Lora Leigh

Guilty Pleasure
Lora Leigh
St. Martin’s Griffin, Jan 5 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312541866

FBI Division Chief Vince Deerfield yells at agent Marty Mathews for failing to prove that Khalid el-Hamid Mustafa, illegitimate son of a terrorist sheik, is a terrorist too. Marty insists Khalid lives a life of decadence as a major player in the DC area sex Club, but his lone transgression is excessive sexual proclivity including with her friends as a third (see Only Pleasure). Vince accuses her of incompetence and mouthing off to his superior, her godfather FBI Director Zachary Jennings as he pulls her off the case. She retorts back the failure was his for assigning her for two years to nothing. Scornfully he tells her she can have a month vacation; her first in three years.

Marty has wanted Khalid, but remained ethical loyal and true to the FBI credo; with the case closed Marty plans to make her move. Khalid has wanted Marty since he first met her through mutual acquaintances. However, his lineage makes him a target, something he will not allow to happen to the woman he thinks he could easily fall in love with; as he knows what happened to a woman he cherished once before. He never counted on Marty who insists on him and Club member Shayne as their third.

The story line is fast-paced from the opening confrontation between Vince and Marty and never slows down as she plans to use her month to make love with her former suspect and a third IAW Club rules. Similar in sexual tone to previous Wicked Pleasures entries, fans of the erotic “Pleasure” Club romances will relish the latest romp as Khalid’s past brings suspense to an enjoyable tale. Newcomers will need time to adapt to the Club rules as Lora Leigh provides a pleasurable DC sex and bullets frolic.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fugitive-Cheryl Brooks

Cheryl Brooks
Sourcebooks, Jan 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402229404

Following the destruction of his planet by the Nedwuts, Zetithian warrior Manxarkodrath Panteris escaped captivity and manages to make it to the jungle of Barada Seven where he hides from the local Baradan populace. His only sentient friend is elderly amphibian Zef the Eltran who lives alone in the nearby lake having been exiled by his people because he rejected the advances of a female.

London art gallery owner Ralph arranges a special vacation for his top selling artsy, galaxy renowned nature painter Drusilla Chevrault on Barada Seven. Manx is stunned by his desire to make love to the Terran. Although he knows he has to remain concealed as the Nedwut bounty hunters might find him, he masturbates just dreaming of her even without fully smelling her. To her shock Drusilla has the greatest orgasm of her life when she masturbates too. As Zef plays matchmaker, Manx and Drusilla meet and fall in love, but two groups are coming for him now that he has surfaced.

The latest Cat-Star Chronicles erotic science fiction romance is a terrific tale that sets the scenario up quite beautifully before the lead pair couples so that fans will believe they are visiting a different planet in the galaxy. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Drusilla arrives as the first Terran tourist on Barada Seven and never slows down until the final climax (albeit there are several climaxes of a sexual encounter also). Fans will enjoy the fifth Zetithian entry (see OUTCAST, SLAVE, WARRIOR, and ROGUE) even with the pair’s sexual activity and the suspense coming fairly late as Cheryl Brooks provides a strong tale in space.

Harriet Klausner

Truly, Madly-Heather Webber

Truly, Madly
Heather Webber
St. Martin’s, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN 9780312946135

The Valentine family for generations has been the best matchmakers ever because of their uncanny psychic ability that the brood claims come directly from Cupid. However, unlike the rest of Valentine, Inc., Lucy Valentine’s extrasensory skills differ ever since an electrical surge assaulted her well being. She cannot match auras of soulmates like her DNA should, but she is quite good at finding lost items.

So the Boston native is stunned when her parents inform her she is now running Valentine, Inc. When a vision of a client leads her to believe he murdered his girlfriend, Lucy hires her upstairs neighbor private investigator Sean Donahue to search for the missing woman. Lucy fantasizes making love with Sean while he wonders if she is a clever coldhearted killer as she knows too much but also fears he is attracted to her. Meanwhile her grandmother plays matchmaker with Lucy as her “client” and ringless BPD Detective Chapman suspects her of homicide while she fears Sean’s reaction to how she knows so much.

Truly, Madly is Truly Scrumptious as fans will relish this delightful urban fantasy with a touch of humor, plenty of suspense and a strong cast. The heroine is great as she struggles how to best use her gift when her extended family have always been matchmakers and the hunk who fears he is half in love with a truly beguiling killer. Readers will relish this lighthearted paranormal whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 18, 2009

Love Finds You In North Pole, Alaska-Loree Lough

Love Finds You In North Pole, Alaska
Loree Lough
Summerside, Oct 2009, $12.99
ISBN: 9781935416197

When it comes to Christmas, former Marine Bryce Stone is more of a “bah humbug” then Scrooge as he hates the holiday. So why someone like him is back in North Pole, Alaska, a town in which “Its Christmas All Year Long” is something he asks himself every minute. The Santa Christmas theme has always hit his gut, but still he manages his Aunt Brice’s gift shop since she retired when all he wants to do his open a furniture shop.

Sam Sinclair drives from the Lower Forty-Eight to North Pole for a job she accepted. However, upon arrival she finds no position waiting for her as someone else was hired. Bryce hires the upbeat elf to run his aunt’s store figuring with her zero experience the shop will sink beneath the tundra. Instead people flock to the gregarious optimistic pixie to include Bryce who finds him self falling in love with her and the magic of Christmas.

Subtly (except perhaps for Aunt Olive), this “Love Finds You” entry is an inspirational romance with the town in many ways as the leading character. Fans will appreciate the antics of the townsfolk and especially Sam who grew up battling seven brothers so a marine is a piece of pumpkin pie for her to humble. Although their romance follows a typical course, the setting makes for a wonderful tale of how the Grinch found his heart.

Harriet Klausner

Love Finds You in Bethlehem, New Hampshire- Lauralee Bliss

Love Finds You in Bethlehem, New Hampshire
Lauralee Bliss
Summerside, Oct 2009, $12.99
ISBN: 9781935416203

In 1890 artist Thomas Haskins placed an ad for a mail order bride though he has doubts about the wisdom of finding a wife this way. Sara McGee of New York City responds. She arrives by train to his resort town of Bethlehem, New Hampshire. However, he wants her to go back home because his first impression is she is dressed shabbily and uneducated. Sara is also hurt by first impressions when his best friend Lawrence Boshen ridicules her and Tom fails to defend her

However, he is an ethical person who decides to have his sister Claire mentor brash Sara on decorum of a lady. She has doubts about belonging here; Sara considers fleeing back to the streets of the city she came from. As she falls in love with him, socialite pianist Annabelle Loving decides Tom is perfect for her and offers him a trip to Italy to study art that he cannot refuse. Sara knows she cannot compete with the educated upper crust wealthy musician so she leaves for home; not realizing Tom wants his mail order bride to be his wife.

This is a nice Pygmalion like spin to the classic mail order bride historical romance. The Gilded Age story line is fast-paced from the moment a hesitant Sara arrives in town like a fish out of water and never slows down as she wins the hearts of everyone starting with his sister. Fans will enjoy this fine entry as Tom learns a good artist can become a great artist when he learns the meaning of love and passion.

Harriet Klausner

How I Met My Countess-Elizabeth Boyle

How I Met My Countess
Elizabeth Boyle
Avon, Jan 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061783494

The current Marquess of Standon cannot stand the harassing of the three widows. He warns them their choices are the street or sharing an abode in Mayfai. The two older ones acquiescingly thank their protector; the youngest Lucy Ellyson Sterling considers the street as scandal does not disturb her.

Seven years ago, Lord Gilbert met Lucy when she and her father trained him on working undercover to gather information. They fell in love and he vowed to marry her once he came back from the war. Neither anticipated the length of the conflict that finally is over. He searches for her as she has vanished, but once they re-meet their passion remains strong. However, her dark secret and his even darker remorse tears them apart.

This is an enjoyable second chance at love Regency romance that begins the moment the hero comes in from the cold. Filled with humor and pathos, fans will enjoy Gilbert’s tale of meeting his countess as a spy student, but winning her hand proves much more difficult than her heart or learning advanced espionage techniques. Readers will appreciate Elizabeth Boyle’s entertaining historical.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eternal Hunter-Cynthia Eden

Eternal Hunter
Cynthia Eden
Kensington Brava, Jan 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758234285

In Louisiana, ADA Erin Jerome conceals that she is an Other from her human compatriots in the District Attorney’s office. What makes it difficult to conceal her nature is someone seems to know what she is. That person stalks her by torturing and then killing anyone who even slightly upsets Erin.

Fearful as she knows broken corpses are not a good way for an ADA to live especially to go out on a date, Erin hires shapeshifting bounty hunter Jude Donovan to stop her killer from giving her anymore courting presents. He recognizes immediately what she is and who she is to him. Jude will keep his soulmate safe even if it means searching the Bayou inch by inch to find her Other “mate”. However, although Erin sensse who Jude is to her, she hides her maternal roots from him fearing he will leave.

The key to this exhilarating bayou romantic fantasy is the variety of Other species are developed enough to feel genuine. That critical element makes the suspense seem real as Erin and readers know how dangerous the serial killing stalker is. Jude is terrific as an Alpha Male when it comes to his mate’s safety and understands the clever psychopath he hunts is an amoral Alpha. Sub-genre fans will appreciate Cynthia Eden’s strong paranormal “triangle”.

Harriet Klausner

Half Past Dead-Zoe Archer

Half Past Dead
Zoe Archer
Kensington Brava, Jan 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758246974

“The Undying Heart” by Zoe Archer. During the Crimean War, Sam Reed has been turned into an uncaring zombie soldier by his commander. His childhood friend Cassandra Fielding is an artifact hunter. When they meet as adults they fall in love, but his commander must be stopped before more dead are brought back to battle the living.

"Simon Says” by Bianca D'Arc. The government experiment to create super soldiers fails as instead the men are turned into zombies. Black Ops Simon Blackwell is assigned the mission to prevent the escaped zombies from spreading their contagious conversion. However, his past catches up with him when his pursuit runs through Doctor Mariana Daniels, whom he abandoned for the project three years ago.

These two romantic fantasies are entertaining zombie romps though they occur in different eras and atmospheres.

Harriet Klausner

Venus Fly Trap-Shannon McKelden

Venus Fly Trap
Shannon McKelden
Forge, Feb 2 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780765323354

Venus “Aphrodite” Cronus may be the Goddess of Love and daughter of Zeus, but she is slaving on earth as a matchmaker. In Bander, Oregon she finds a sigma in a bookstore window that is her target for a love life makeover. Her name is Haydee Miller, whose parents she matched over three decades ago.

Haydee has been going out lately with losers and fears she will fail at the next step on her list; getting married at thirty-three. The list is sacred to her as it gave her comfort when her mom died when she was sixteen. Any deviation has been disastrous. She has six weeks plus to find her mate.

Venus introduces herself and for some unknown reason Haydee hires her and allows her to move into her home. Venus insists she is the Goddess of Love. Two days later Venus says Prince Charming is entering the store. Haydee has a convulsion as anyone but Derek Reed is acceptable. He deserted her to become a world famous photographer. Haydee tells Venus she stinks at matchmaking. They met soon after her mom died and he blew a knee ending his football ambition; they became an entry until he left abruptly. Haydee asks Derek why he is back. He says he missed her. Venus knows her mission is more than matching soulmates with a history; as she also needs to reconcile father and daughter while eluding men who want her and women jealous with Venus Envy.

The cast is extremely well drawn, Aphrodite owns the show as the matchmaker Goddess of Love insists the one man the lead female hates is her true love while she also deals with every male wanting her at a time she wants to go home. The rotation of lead between Venus and Haydee provides a wider perspective to this fun lighthearted urban romantic fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

Sentinels: Wolf Hunt-Doranna Durgin

Sentinels: Wolf Hunt
Doranna Durgin
Silhouette Nocturne, Jan 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618279

Jet the shapeshifter lures werewolf Sentinel Nick Carter into her trap. He senses she is different than his peers, but not sure how. However, she frees him when she realizes her patron lied when he said he would not harm Nick. He realizes what makes her seem different is that she is more a wolf shifting into a human body than a human shifting into a wolf’s body.

The Atrum Core wants to take control of the earth, but to succeed they must destroy their enemies the Sentinel. Jet is their latest weapon. If she fails them, they will destroy her pack. With Nick’s help she hopes to rescue her pack, his soul, and hers if she has one, which he believes she does and that is all that matters.

Jet makes the latest Sentinel a fresh thought provoking tale with her background. The story line is action-packed from the moment the Atrum Core using the threat to her pack to send Jet to kill Nick and never slows down as she is caught between killing her soulmate or the mass murder of her pack. Fans of the saga will relish Doranna Durgin‘s super entry.

Harriet Klausner

Last Of The Ravens-Linda Winstead Jones

Last Of The Ravens
Linda Winstead Jones
Silhouette Nocturne, Jan 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618262

Feeling bone tired, consultant Miranda Lynch decides to take a needed respite from her consulting work. She has not a break since her sister Jessica died in an accident four years ago in which her spirit said to her “I love you”. Miranda decides to hide away in the Tennessee Mountains where no one will ask her for her help on solving a crime, which she hopes means no communication with ghosts, the source of her information.

During her sojourn, Miranda meets mountain man Brennus Korbinian, who is the last of the Korbinian species who can shapeshift into ravens. They are attracted to one another to the shock of each as neither expected to meet their soulmate in this lifetime. However, the Order of the Cahir captures the two of them with threats to kill the monsters if they fail to do their bidding.

This is an exciting fresh romantic fantasy starring two fascinating lead characters and villains who are sinister without turning cartoonish. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as Miranda wonders whether fortune has allowed her to overcome the Lynch Love Curse or not; on the other hand Bren believes his soulmate will enable the Korbinian to survive at least one more generation if they can escape captivity. Linda Winstead Jones provides a strong thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Stranger’s Secrets-Beth Williamson

The Stranger’s Secrets
Beth Williamson
Kensington Brava, Jan 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758234735

In 1875 Sarah Spalding looks forward to seeing her brother Micah for the first time in years as she leaves Virginia for his home in Colorado. Mavis Ledbetter accompanies her on her journey west. Also in their train compartment is Yankee Whitman Kendrick heading to Kansas to marry.

Sarah and Whitman are attracted to one another, but she loathes all Yankees because she lost everything she owned including her ability to walk without a cane due to their invasion. However, when she fires Mavis, Sarah allows Whit to assist her. Soon after letting her companion go, someone murders Mavis with Sarah being the only suspect. She and Whit pretend to be married in a risky effort to root out the real culprit. As they fall in love, his war activity if revealed to her would end their relationship without her taking a look.

This sequel to The Redemption of Micah is a terrific Reconstruction Era romantic suspense starring two great lead characters still struggling with the horrors of the Civil War one decade after the hostilities ended. The story line is driven by the dynamic lead pair who fall in love, but to have a future together must overcome her loathing of everyone Northern and his hiding his war activity from her while also solving the whodunit. Beth Williamson provides a strong Americana thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Faith-Deneane Clark

Deneane Clark
Leisure, Jan 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843963526

Faith Ackerly is happy for her sister Grace who loves her spouse (see Grace). However, she has no interest in finding a husband for herself.

Faith especially wants nothing to do with infamous rake Gareth Lloyd, who has just received his title. However, she admits to herself, he seems serious about performing the responsibilities attached to his new position and not just remain a more affluent wastrel; but ultimately she concludes a leopard cannot change its spots. To her chagrin, she is attracted to the womanizer. To make matters worse, a gossip catches her kissing Gareth at a ball. Compromised, they marry and head to his estate where he plans to persuade his bride that they belong with one another; if each moves past their fears of love.

Although some besides Herman’s Hermits will say “second verse same as the first”, Faith and Gareth make a fine couple who go through a similar amusing gender war like Grace and Trevor did with the fresh twist of their battles occurring after they are forced to marry. The cast is strong led by a spunky female who prefers being a spinster on the shelf rather than finding a husband; let alone forced to marry a wastrel whom she loves. Readers will enjoy Deneane Clark’s lighthearted historical frolic.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lake Magic-Kimberly Fisk

Lake Magic
Kimberly Fisk
Berkley, Jan 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425232026

Jenny Beckinsale and her late fiancé Steven Harmon started together The Blue Sky Air seaplane charter business three years ago but it has failed because she has no interest in anything except grieving her loss. Feeling pity as she compares her self to her siblings “Perfect Paul” and Amazing Anna” “Jinxed Jenny” wants to be left alone to wallow. Navy pilot Jared Worth arrives at the cottage of Jenny’s grandmother where Jenny hides from the world demanding she either get the business running or refund him the money he lent his best friend Steven.

Jared immediately writes off Jenny as a kewpie doll who cannot run a business. She vows to prove to him she is not an airhead. Neither expected a second chance at love, but will she move past the ghost of Steven before it is too late?

Lake Magic is an entertaining contemporary romance starring two individuals who meet because of the death of someone both loved. The story line is driven by the characters whose first impressions are not favorable, but over time change to love, but both loath the feelings of betraying Steven especially Jenny. Readers will enjoy this warm second chance at love drama.

Harriet Klausner

Renegade-Catherine Mann

Catherine Mann
Berkley, Jan 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425229231

Security Investigator Jill Walczak hunts a serial “killer alien”, whose persona is the mythos behind Area 51; four dead inside the secure zone and nearby Nellis. While she conducts an inquiry for the psychopath, USAF loadmaster and flight engineer Sergeant Mason “Smooth” Randolph at the Tonopah test range in Nevada flies a jet that can reach Mach 6 speed but the last cargo drop fails and he struggles for his life before parachuting to safety in the desert. He waits for his rescue, which should take an hour or so only to have a cop threatening to shoot him as she arrests him when his emergency landing took him inside Area 51.

She releases him, but not before they are exposed to an airborne toxin, which brings them to the attention of the killer. His next target is Jill, who cannot get Mason to step away from her investigation.

The third Catherine Mann Black Ops romantic suspense (see Defender and Hotshot) is a terrific tale starring two likable heroes whose ability to complete one another’s sentences is a strong indicator they belong together although both are reluctant to admit it. Although the villain is out of serial killer 101 with an over the top of the Sierra Nevada Mountains personality, fans will enjoy the tale of the courageous cop who smoothly steals Mason’s heart.

Harriet Klausner

Kismet-Monica Burns

Monica Burns
Berkley, Jan 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425232156

Desert tribal leader Sheikh Shaheen left behind his Viscount title in England due to a courtesan that caused an estrangement with his father. He vowed to never return to England and never trust any woman again although a desert prophesy that he scoffs at claims he will be burned by a woman of fire.

Courtesan Allegra Synnford grew up in a Marrakech brothel where she learned how to seduce men to do her bidding especially keep her safe. She is extremely careful in selecting her protectors as wealth is not enough. When Shaheen and Allegra meet in 1893 Marrakech, their attraction scorch the desert, but his loathing and distrust of courtesans keep them apart until an enemy Nassar kidnaps her; forcing him to look deep in his soul as he tries to rescue his beloved.

This is an exciting late Victorian romance starring two people used to staying in charge of themselves and others especially with relationships losing control when they meet. Shaheen and Allegra are terrific lead characters whether they are in Marrakech, the Sahara in French Morocco or England. The support cast including the villain and the nomadic Berber/Amazigh tribes enhance a terrific captivity historical.

Harriet Klausner

The Little Death-P.J. Parrish

The Little Death
P.J. Parrish
Pocket, Feb 16 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416525899

In Devil’s Garden on the Archer Ranch, cowboys find the body of a man in approximately the same place that the corpse of the owner’s son was found twenty-eight years ago. The police identify the dead person as Mark Durand, lover of Reggie Kent of Palm Beach. Reggie is a walker who escorts wealthy women to events that their husbands do not want to attend. The work enables him to enter the upper crust of society without spending any of his money and excludes sex.

Police detective Roy Barbary believes Reggie killed Mark during a lover’s quarrel and in a further fit if rage decapitated the victim. Private investigator Louis Kincaid with his friend former cop Mel Landeta, who is going blind, arrive to help the latter’s pal Reggie clear his name. As they investigate, they discover two more similar homicides spread out over the years with the decapitated bodies found at that same spot. The men have in common being studly handsome in physique and looks and financially needy. Louis believes if the killer(s) is not stopped soonest, a fourth murder will occur, but the answers are concealed inside the close knit elite of Palm Beach society; a place where a dick and an ex cop will never gain entrance.

P.J. Parrish always provides a strong tale starring a special hero who is black working in white Palm Beach without regard to the rage of the affluent locals that a working class African-American dare question any of them; three strikes and he still swings the bat. Filled with plenty of action but clearly character driven, The Little Death is a top notch whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 14, 2009

His Final Seduction-Lori Wilde

His Final Seduction
Lori Wilde
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795222

Avery Bode persuades her best friend Jorgina Gerard to join her on a wild fling with Eros Airlines and Fantasy resort. Although Jorgie has a zillion doubts, she eventually agrees probably because she assumes she has had nothing since she broke up with her last boyfriend Brian who admonished her for being conventional in the sack.

Avery and Jorgie get to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to fly to Venice to attend a seminar on how to "Make Love Like Courtesans." However, when Jorgie crashes into her high school secret crush Quint Mason, Avery switches to Hollywood for "Make Love Like a Movie Star". Quint asks Jorgie to pretend she wants him so the attendees will believe his method works. That is easy for her to sham as it is true. Avery is attracted to Eros cameraman Jake Stewart, who she shares romantic scenes on and off the stage. However both men conceal from the women they love that they are undercover Air Marshals working a sabotage investigation.

This is a “Wilde” tale filled with two heated romances on different continents, plenty of humor and suspense. The fast-paced story line grips readers with the strong relationships and the connecting sabotage investigation. Especially enjoyable is the relationship in Venice of Quint and Jorgie as she loves him but sees him as Peter Pan playing Casanova. Fans will enjoy this exciting romantic suspense with double the pleasure.

Harriet Klausner

Her Surprise Hero-Abby Gaines

Her Surprise Hero
Abby Gaines
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716098

In Atlanta because of a courtroom incident in a closet while assigned as the Acting Georgia Attorney General leads her father to exile attorney Cynthia Merritt to Stonewall Hollow, Georgia so she can gain needed experience sitting on a bench as a state court judge. She assumes overseeing cases in the rustic town will be a snap.

However, the work proves much more complicated than she expected. Worse is Ethan Granger, who works with community service juvenile offenders. He wants her out of his town and what he wants he gets. The townsfolk defend their crackerjack rancher over her, but Cynthia has won over Ethan although he still mistrusts the city slicker as being in town just enough to finish a half of cup of coffee.

The Third Merritt Girl contemporary romance (see Her So-Called Fiancé and Her Secret Rival) is an enjoyable small town regional tale starring an ambitious daughter trying to prove her merit to her dad and a former felon trying to do better with his second chance. The story line is driven by this pair and their respective extended families. Abby Gaines provides her audience with a charming Georgia tale of second chances at life and love.

Harriet Klausner

Perfect Partners?-C.J. Carmichael

Perfect Partners?
C.J. Carmichael
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716111

When his superiors at the NYPD 20th precinct failed to back him in a legitimate use of force due to the victim’s father being influential and powerful, Nathan Fisher quits the police force. He answers an ad from his former partner Lindsay Fox who seeks an investigator for her private investigation firm. She reluctantly agrees to hire him as long as he understands she is in charge. He accepts her terms.

Nathan tries to prove to her he can do the job. Celia Buchard hires them to help prove her mom Audrey did not mean to shoot her spouse Maurice accidentally in the butt; he says he tried to kill her while she cannot remember the incident. As Lindsay and Nathan fall in love, her fear of relationships may end their partnership before it can gel.

This is an exhilarating investigative romance starring two fascinating Perfect Partners? Nathan loved being a cop so when the leadership failed to back him even with his being shot, his disenchantment is palpable. Lindsay has relationship issues as she prefers going alone when she breaks rules, which is why she left NYPD after only a year. Their falling in love may not be enough for this pair to truly partner professionally and personally as C.J. Carmichael provides a deep character driven contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

An Unlikely Setup-Margaret Watson

An Unlikely Setup
Margaret Watson
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716081

In Otter Tail, Wisconsin besides inheriting the home of her godfather David when he died, Maddie Johnson also was bequeathed the property where the Harp and Halo Irish pub is located. Maddie plans to sell everything to pay off her real estate debts and return to Chicago perhaps to obtain a reporter’s job like she had at the Herald.

However, Maddie is taken aback to learn David had planned to sell the bar to Quinn Murphy who left her humiliated fifteen years ago. She realizes how much the bar means to him and reconsiders her first thought of selling the property while he considers devious seduction to have her sell to the lowest bidder; him. As they fall in love, someone else with no scruples has plans for the property.

The lead couple makes for a terrific contemporary romance as she suffers from humongous anxiety over her financial debts caused by the housing downturn and he fears commitment. The story line is driven by the dance of love between the duet with her wanting to sell him the bar for several reasons but needing more than he can afford; and he wanting her to partner in life and with the bar, but unable to emotionally afford the cost of offering his heart. Margaret Watson provides readers with a warm Wisconsin winter.

Harriet Klausner

Skylar's Outlaw-Linda Warren

Skylar's Outlaw
Linda Warren
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716104

The youngest of the three Belle sisters, Skylar wants the family ranch foreman Cooper “Red” Yates fired. She asks her siblings Caitlyn and Madison to back her, but they say no as he is needed to save the spread. They also wonder if her persistence has less to do with his competency or as Sky claims his being an ex convict who she feels unsafe for her and her four year old daughter Kira, who suffers from juvenile rheumatoid artists, to have around; instead they believe she fears her attraction to their foreman.

Obstinate Sky vows to work with Red, who is uncomfortable with his boss lady because of her attitude towards him for a crime ironically he did not commit. However when Kira vanishes at the same her affluent paternal grandparents arrive to take the child away with them as they have the money and her reputation as a wild one to back their claim. Red shows his true value as he leads the search for his boss lady’s daughter although by doing so he violates his probation, which if found out means returning to prison.

The third Belles of Texas contemporary ranch romance (see Caitlyn’s Prize And Madison’s Children) is a delightful tale as the “wild” sister proves to be a domestic lioness protecting her cub. The hero is courageous as he knows he will be caught violating the terms of his probation and returned to jail, but rescuing the little girl he loves as his own is paramount. Linda Warren is three for three with this family driven drama.

Harriet Klausner

Classified Cowboy-Mallory Kane

Classified Cowboy
Mallory Kane
Harlequin Intrigue, Jan 12 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373694471

Two years ago in Comanche Cheek, Mayor’s Assistant Marcie James was about to testify on an apparent illegal land deal. Keeping her safe was Texas Ranger Special Investigations Unit Lieutenant Wyatt Colter mission. However, just before Marcie was to take the stand she vanished without a trace. No one knows if she was murdered or ran. Marcie’s best friend forensic anthropologist Nina Jacobson blames Wyatt for not doing his job although he took a bullet trying to keep Marcie safe. He also holds himself culpable for failing at that assignment.

When human bones are uncovered in the Comanche Creek area, Nina pulls strings to work the case. Wyatt does likewise; as he hopes to gain closure on a cold case that still haunts him. Their collision is off the Richter Scale as rage turns to love while he risks his life to keep her safe as someone has targeted Nina.

This is an exciting romantic police procedural starring two people who initially agree on one thing but one thing leads to another as the lead pair go from holding Wyatt responsible for Marcie’s disappearance turns to love. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the bones are found and never slows down as Nina is stalked and Wyatt vows to keep her safe risking his life to do so. Although a late detracting twist of fate larger than Texas brings solution to the mystery, fans will appreciate this Silver Star of Texas: Comanche Creek fine romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

The Shadow-Aimee Thurlo

The Shadow
Aimee Thurlo
Harlequin Intrigue, Jan 12 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373694488

Jonas Slowman left the Navaho to fight as a Ranger, but has come home after leaving the army to enlist as a member of the secret Brotherhood of Warriors. His current assignment is tougher than any other even while deployed in war. The tribal leaders direct him to do whatever he must to keep Emily Atkins safe.

Knowing she is going blind from macular degeneration and grieving the recent death of her father Powell, Emily continues to build her bed and breakfast in spite of vandals sabotaging her project and funding crisis. To complicate matters he is attracted to her, but knows the timing is bad as he must be at peak performance to accomplish his mission. She is attracted to her guard, but has other problems besides a persistent hooligan destroying her property; trusted Brotherhood member Jonas’ Uncle Dinetsoh has vanished along with bearer bonds Emily needs immediately.

This is a superb romantic suspense anchored by the Navaho Brotherhood (see Navaho Courage and Council of Fire) and the courage of the lead couple. The assault on Emily comes from several fronts as someone is wrecking her project and a developer wants her property at a time she needs funding. However the angst comes from her courageous outlook as she knows she is going blind and that Jonas “attacks” her heart. Readers will root for this brave woman and hope Jonas can protect her from her enemies while offering his soul to her. Aimee Thurlo is in top form with this great intrigue.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Phoenix Charm-Helen Scott Taylor

The Phoenix Charm
Helen Scott Taylor
Love Spell, Jan 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780505528285

Michael O'Connor possesses a powerful fairy glamour that propels women to want him. Cordelia acts anything but a wise woman when she sees him half naked in her divination magical mirror. She vows to ignore him as magic disallows her from revealing to him who she is although she is falling in love with him. Having met, he considers her a pest, but secretly knows he wants her too.

When the Welsh King of the Underworld Gwyn ap Nudd, abducts Michael’s infant nephew Fin, Cordelia joins him to rescue his relative. As they work together, Cordelia fears her attraction is blinding her to reality; yet she wants Michael to help her dig into her essence; however they both recognize the baby comes first.

The second British Isles romantic fantasy (see The Magic Knot) is a fast-paced action thriller from the moment Cordelia sees the half nude hunk in her mirror and wants more and less at the same time. She and Michael make the tale as neither is comfortable with their attraction, but need each other to rescue his nephew. Fans will enjoy the exciting The Phoenix Charm.

Harriet Klausner

Crimson and Steam-Liz Maverick

Crimson and Steam
Liz Maverick
Love Spell, Jan 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505527790

In Crimson City, Vampire Assembly leader Marius Dumonthas understands the significance of unity amidst the paranormals against the humans. In that regard he agrees to marry werewolf Princess Tatiana Asprey in a marriage of state to bring the shapeshifters and the bloodsuckers closer together although ironically his heart belongs to a member of the enemy species, human reporter Jillian Cooper.

Irate that her beloved dumped her for a loveless marriage of convenience, Jill turns her attention to recently converted human-turned-vampire Hayden Wilks. Meanwhile at the nuptials, a vampire arrives dying from a human-made virus. Marius and Jill unite seeking a cure that leads them to 1851 diaries by draper Charlotte Paxton who describes her ill-fated relationship with scientist Edward Vaughan. At the Great Exhibition of London, Edward released the "Blood-Taint" that changed Victorian England and subsequently the world.

The latest Crimson City thriller is a super entry with the key to the story line, Liz Maverick’s magical transitions back and forth between the middle nineteenth century and today as few if any authors could do this as smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. The past subplot also provides readers with more information on what happened to cause the Blood Taint. Marius and Jill seem like star-crossed (star-species) lovers as he must choose responsibility over love. Fans will relish the latest tale as this great urban romantic fantasy saga continues to be one of the best on the market.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coming Undone-Lauren Dane

Coming Undone
Lauren Dane
Heat, Jan 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232705

When she broke her leg, she broke her dream of becoming a ballerina. However, she has no time to mope as she has a daughter to raise. So needing a change of scenery, Elise and her child leave New York for the Left Coast Seattle.

Her next door neighbor tattoo parlor owner Brody Brown gave up his dreams to raise his siblings when their parents died. He rides a motorcycle as he seeks the wild side he gave up out of family responsibility. Brody and Elise are not looking for any involvement beyond casual sex so why each wonders do they want more in their relationship. However, when New York comes to Seattle, Elise keeps Brody out of her trouble that has followed her and her daughter from the Right Coast to Washington State; but he refuses to stay out of it as this is his two females.

This is a heated contemporary romance starring the Brown family patriarch and his new neighbor. Both have baggage, but the most important thing in their fling is not to harm her daughter. Fans will enjoy love between two likable individuals who cannot stop their nurturing need to help and the heat of desire from exploding while their love for one another ignites them. Lauren Dane is two for two with the Brown saga, but fans will have to cope with the wait for the next Brownian romance.

Harriet Klausner

Show Me-Carole Hart

Show Me
Carole Hart
Heat, Jan 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451229038

XTV is an adult only cable station that hires actors to perform in reality shows, host naked news casts or conduct sex interviews. In other words 24/7 of all the sex worth showing and some not worth revealing but showing anyway.

Owner Babylona loves to get into the lives of her employees. Zaza looks forward to sexual encounters on live TV with the rich, famous, and endowed. Emily the talk show hostess interviews the rich and famous, but has her own secret with a rich and famous. Finally vicious news anchor Valerie loves to expose the rich and famous laying bare their secrets and their bodies. At an orgy in Germany, the four females will open up more than just their vaginas.

Show Me takes an acerbic bite out of reality TV using sex as the method of choice. Though will written with a strong lampooning premise, the problem is none of the XTV cast comes across as likable, which in turn makes the satirical spin seem somewhat mean-spirited and lacking Hart. Still erotic fans will enjoy Carole Hart’s entertaining heated version of reality TV.

Harriet Klausner

Wolf Tales 9-Kate Douglas

Wolf Tales 9
Kate Douglas
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jan 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758226952

The Chanku have come from around the country to Montana for a gala as Tia is giving birth to twins. The labor is hard and her lifemate Luc upset. So each decides to tell an exploit before they understood they were shapeshifters; an event that changed them.

They talk through the night and time passes in good company. However, when Tia gives birth to the twins, one is dying. The Chanku come together sending waves of sexual energy to save the life of the newborn.

The latest Wolf Tale thriller is more an extended family drama than the usual erotic romantic suspense although there are plenty of sexual encounters of seemingly every kind. The story line is fast-paced from the onset, but lacks the nasty external villains that assault the Chanka in their several sanctuaries. Instead the issue focuses on saving the baby, which makes for an intriguing crisis with an even more fascinating solution. Readers will appreciate this strong but different entry that also contains a scorecard to assist on who belongs to whom.

Harriet Klausner

To Tempt a Saint-Kate Moore

To Tempt a Saint
Kate Moore
Berkley, Jan 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233061

Able to attract the quality of the Ton as her lover, courtesan Sophie Rhys-Jones has three cherished "living sins" that affirm her skill. She loves all three of her offspring so is stunned when her youngest son Kit is abducted while staying with her middle child Sir Alexander “Xander” Jones. Xander and his older brother Will vow to bring Kit home to their mom even if they must enter London's darkest underbelly.

In London wealthy Cleo Spencer needs a husband so she can get to her money controlled by her odious guardian; her uncle who has plans for her and her money. When she meets Xander, she thinks he would be perfect as her spouse as he desperately needs a wealthy wife and will allow her some liberties with her affluence. They strike a deal. As Xander continues to search the worst urban cesspools, brave Cleo follows his every footstep as she believes in him, which makes him want to work even harder at the rescue of his brother and her even when her uncle accuses them of a fake marriage.

This is a terrific first Sons of Sins historical romance because of its dark look at the underbelly of London as Cleo and Xander collide in the slums of St. Giles; sort of moving Oliver Twist into the Regency Era. The story line is fast-paced and vivid, but owned by the lead couple as they team up to help one another; he with his amateur sleuthing and she with her need to elude her abhorrent uncle. Kate Moore provides a powerful opening act in a three part drama.

Harriet Klausner

Sex on the Beach-Susan Lyon

Sex on the Beach
Susan Lyon
Heat, Jan 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232163

"War of the Sexes". In Belize to host a wedding, planner Sarah McCann shares a night of lovemaking with the groom's best friend Freeman Lafontaine but turns polar frigid when she learns he plans to destroy the nuptials as he believes his BF is making a big mistake.

"Sex With the Proper Stranger”. Part of the wedding party, he brings model Tamiko Sato as his companion in Belize, but she fears she is colder than a polar icecap as she cannot turn on her mate; unaware he is gay. She revises her estimate of her equatorial torrid libido after meeting resort owner, Ric Nunez.

"Sexy Exes.” Parents of the bride, Giovanna and James Moncrieff are still at tropical love and tundra war with one another; as they have been for decades.

These three erotic interrelated romances that tie back to the wedding lives up to its title of Sex on the Beach as the gala lead to hot sex and cold relationships outside of B and B (beach and bed). Although entertaining, the novella format limits character development to not much more than their libido. Still fans will enjoy attending the hottest wedding of the season; just bring your significant other with you.

Harriet Klausner

Chalice of Roses-Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney, Karen Harbaugh and Barbara Samuel

Chalice of Roses
Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney, Karen Harbaugh and Barbara Samuel
Signet, Jan 5 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451229021

"The Raven and the Rose" by Jo Beverly. In the twelfth century the novice with an ancient bloodline and the monk unite to bring forth the Holy Grail to end the seemingly eternal war destroying England.

"The English Rose" by Karen Harbaugh. Although just a debutant enjoying her season, she now must prevent an evil threatening to overwhelm England from succeeding and also keep Napoleon's operatives from stealing the Holy Grail to take back to France.

"White Rose of Scotland” by Mary Jo Putney. Hitler plans to take the Holy Grail back to the Third Reich, but a Scottish intelligence agent and a Canadian Royal Air Force pilot try to thwart the Nazi operatives.

"Eternal Rose" by Barbara Samuel. In England, the American grad-student-teacher dreams of a medieval male who comes to her time to help deliver the Holy Grail to the protector guardian.

This time the romantic fantasy fearsome foursome (see Dragon Lovers and Fairy Magic) uses the Holy Grail to tell four strong tales occurring in different periods and starring terrific heroines and their destined mates who rise as couples to try to keep the religious artifact safe from evil doers.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wolf in Tiger's Stripes-Victoria Gordon

Wolf in Tiger's Stripes
Victoria Gordon
Five Star, Jan 2010, $25.95
ISBN 9781594148446

Environmental journalist Judith Theresa Bryan is excited about her latest assignment in Tasmania except she must work with traitorous Derek Innes, who has stolen stories from her and others. Allegedly Australian stockman Bevan Keene claims to have spotted the extremely rare Tasmanian tiger; a species most people believe is extinct.

Bevan and two of his friends Roberta Jardine and Ted Norton lead an expedition that includes Judith, Derek and others into the remote Tarkien Wilderness. However, his hardest two missions are keeping the environmentalists and the others from killing one another and keeping his wanker from constantly saluting Judith.

Wolf in Tiger’s Stripes is a fun Tasmanian safari romance starring two likable lead characters, an odious twit, enemy combatants re the environment and the legendary tiger. The support cast is strong and not just because kick butt Roberta could make a horde of Tasmanian Devils submit as each has differing personalities. The story line with a terrific final twist is fast-paced from the onset when Judith admits to herself that the macho man turns her on and never slows down as the audience roots for “Tiger Dundee” (no crocodiles in sight) and the reporter to make it and almost as much for Derek to trip over his ego.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 7, 2009

Kayla's Daddy-Laura Bradford

Kayla's Daddy
Laura Bradford
Harlequin American, Jan 12 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373752935

The letter was delivered to single mom Phoebe Jennings, but was addressed to someone else on the other side of Cedarville, Ohio. She decides to deliver the note personally to architect Tate Williams though the postmark makes the letter four decades old.

Accompanied by her baby daughter Kayla, Phoebe is shocked to find Tate is her age as she assumed he would be much older due to the dated postmark. He explains he grew up in her house and the letter is probably addressed to his estranged dad. Phoebe and Tate are attracted to one another while he also finds Kayla precocious and charming. As the adults fall in love, Phoebe vows to reconcile Tate and his father who have been estranged for years.

Kayla’s Daddy is en enjoyable contemporary romance starring two likable lead characters and a strong support cast. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Phoebe and Kayla deliver the forty year old postmarked letter to the “Cookie Monster”. Fans will enjoy Laura Bradford’s entreating Buckeye tale as Phoebe gives Tate more than just her love, she gives him special loving titles.

Harriet Klausner

Baby Makes Six-Shelley Galloway

Baby Makes Six
Shelley Galloway
Harlequin American, Jan 12 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373752959

In Florida Eddie and Shawn Wagner fell in love, get married, and had three darling precocious daughters (five years old Kit, four years old Mary and three years old Elsie). Their idyll life together collapses when Shawn miscarries. They divorce, but both love their little children so he is around a lot to see them.

The pair may no longer be married, but they remain attracted to one another. When they fall into a night of lust neither expected for Shawn to become pregnant again. However, she is not sure how to tell him as he has someone else Jayne and she knows her last pregnancy destroyed their marriage. Everything comes to a head when he is shot in the line of duty.

This is an entertaining second chance at love family drama. The key to the reflective tale is the cause of the break-up as neither move on past mourning the death of their unborn and are unable to help one another with their grief. Time heals all wounds aided by three precocious (perhaps too much) girls, a pregnancy and a bullet. Character driven including Jayne being a great person, fans will appreciate the charming yet intense Baby Makes Six.

Harriet Klausner

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume III-Tori Carrington and Tawny Weber:

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume III
Tori Carrington and Tawny Weber:
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795178

"The Body That Launched a Thousand Ships" by Tori Carrington. Greek-American Elena Anastasios accepts the marriage proposal of Greek magnate Manolis Philippidis, a close friend of her late father. Encouraged by her widowed mom, she and her family live in luxury like royalty rather than in a water-stained Seattle apartment. All seems perfect until she meets Ari Metaxas.

"You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs" by Tawny Weber. Magazine writer Sebastian Lane is cursed with impotency when he investigates the sexual proclivities of the members of a witch's club. He will remain impotent until he puts a woman's needs before his own and his delicate condition will haunt him. The daughter of his boss Jordan Oliver is assumed to be an idle rich female who struggles to get anyone to accept she is intelligent and wants to do something with her life. They meet at her father's cabin where he has that chance the witches demanded of him, but will he accept Jordan’s needs sincerely or revert to form?

These are two heated novellas in which a lead protagonist in each tale confronts morality issues. Although the format limits development of key characters including lovers, fans will enjoy Tori Carrington’s Elena and Tawny Weber’s Sebastian having to choose between what each knows is the morally correct answer vs. the expedient response.

Harriet Klausner

Lessons From A Scarlet Lady-Emma Wildes

Lessons From A Scarlet Lady
Emma Wildes
Signet, Jan 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451228796

The envy of the female members of the Tom due to spousal catch Brianna Northfield wants more out of her marriage to the Duke of Rolthven. She wants passion, but Rolthven is too busy for her and besides he expects prim and proper behavior even in the boudoir. Brianna turns to Lady Rothburg's Advice guidebook for courtesans to seduce her mate.

Her spouse Colton thinks his shy new wife is perfect. However, suddenly she becomes a seductress enchanting him. Soon he makes love to his delightful wife in places he would never imagine having sex. As the vixen wins his body, she hopes to win his heart too, but if anyone learned of the source, the scandal could lead to her rusticating alone.

Adhering to the advice of a courtesan is not new (see Claudia Dain’s The Courtesan's Secret), but Emma Wilkes refreshes the concept by having an innocent wife apply the instructions to her marriage in order to win more than just the body of her spouse; she uses An Indecent Proposal to gain his heart too. Brianna and Colton are wonderful as they seem do it everywhere since he cannot resist the lure of his suddenly seductress spouse. Lighthearted fans will relish this fun Regency romance starring a woman whose sexologist guru is a guide written by a courtesan.

Harriet Klausner