Saturday, July 31, 2010

Autumn’s Promise-Shelley Shepard Gray

Autumn’s Promise
Shelley Shepard Gray
Avon, Aug 3 2010, $12.99
ISBN: 9780061852374

Nineteen years old Lilly Allen remains grief stricken over her recent miscarriage. She also feels guilty that her family relocated from their home in Cleveland so her out-of-wedlock pregnancy can be hidden from her friends. Lilly knows she has moved by her negative reaction to the news that her forty something mom is carrying.

Twenty-four year old Amish widower carpenter Robert Miller grieves the death of his beloved wife Grace who died three years ago. His caring family and friends want him to start courting Amish women, but he is not ready. Instead he is attracted to the Englisher Lilly who he knows from stopping for breakfast at the Sugar Creek inn where she works. As they begin to date to the consternation of their families, they fall in love, but an Amish and an Englisher has little in common.

The third Seasons of Sugarcreek (See Spring’s Renewal and Winter’s Awakening) is a terrific contemporary Amish romance starring two people who have lost loved ones relatively recently and know the barrier between them seemingly is impenetrable. The support cast is super as his Amish friends and family and her family reject their relationship. However, this excellent entry belongs to the lead couple who each strongly believes their love has healed their respective souls but will break their hearts.

Harriet Klausner

Deeply, Desperately-Heather Webber

Deeply, Desperately
Heather Webber
St. Martin’s, Aug 3 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312946142

Although being able to read auras can be a hardship as not all are positive, the Valentine family uses it to enhance their Boston based matchmaking service. Additionally, Lucy Valentine brings to the firm the ability to find missing objects; her focus recently has been on locating lost loves.

However, her latest lost love recovery turns shockingly into a murder case. Even with her psychic ability, Lucy knows she is out of her element so she asks private-investigator Sean Donahue for help. As the pair investigates the homicide, their attraction ignites, but her family’s curse appears too strong to be overcome by a mere wanting.

The second Valentine tale (see Truly, Madly) is an enjoyable lighthearted frolic. The P.I. and the lost love finder make for a strong pairing as each uses different skill sets to find missing people or things. The support cast, mostly her blood relatives, adds amusing zaniness over the top of the Green Monster as the lead duet works the case, the curse, and the coupling. Readers will root for the Deeply, Desperate Lucy to find her groove this time.

Harriet Klausner

Love In The Afternoon-Lisa Kleypas

Love In The Afternoon
Lisa Kleypas
St. Martin’s, Jul 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312605391

In the mid 1850s while in combat in the Crimea, British Captain Christopher Phelan knows the one thing that keeps his morale high is correspondence from Prudence Mercer. Pru tells her friend Beatrix Hathaway about Christopher’s latest letter that fondly tells about Albert, the regiment’s dog. Beatrix tells Pru that she would like to reply, but they agree it should be under the latter’s name. Over time as Beatrix writing as Pru sends and receives letters from the front, she falls in love with her Captain.

After being wounded in battle, Christopher is sent home. He also suffers from battle fatigue having seen so many horrors. He turns to the woman he loves, the author of the letters that saved his life, for solace. However, he quickly realizes that his Pru could not write those letters as she has not one drop of intelligence near what was written to him. He soon realizes Beatrix who he initially ignored is his beloved pen pal, but even love may not be enough to overcome the nightmares that still haunt him day and night.

The newest Hathaway’s historical romance (see Mine Till Midnight and Tempt Me at Twilight) is a great entry with a Cyrano twist to the strong story line. Bea is terrific as she goes from support character in previous entries to lead protagonist while battle fatigue sufferer Christopher has his work cut out once he is home as he fell in love with his pen pal “Pru”. Although the support cast detracts at times from this engaging mid nineteenth century tale, Hathaway fans will relish the animal lover and the vet falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Till Dawn With The Devil-Alexandra Hawkins

Till Dawn With The Devil
Alexandra Hawkins
St. Martin’s, Aug 3 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312381257

In 1821 everyone admires yet also fears the notorious Lords of Vice. Perhaps the most frightening of the friends is Lord Gabriel “Reign” Housely, who’s deriding of others since his wife died after a spat nine years ago, is beyond polite nasty.

When Lady Sophie Northam was a child she suffered an injury that wrecked her eyesight. When she meets Gabriel, she is unable to see him, but can hear his scornful cynical tone. Instead of backing away like most do when Gabriel rips skin, Sophie senses the melancholy he conceals beneath a veneer of derision. Still she also knows her imperfect body makes her an undesirable so she plans to stay away from the aristocrat she is attracted to in order to avoid the hurt she expects she would feel. He refuses to allow her to run as he wants her too. However, their parents’ deadly trysts leave both wondering if love is enough to surmount their interrelated heritage.

The latest Lords of Vice Regency romance (see All Night with a Rogue and After Dark with a Scoundrel) is a wonderful pairing of a seemingly Romeo and Juliet like star-crossed pair with additional personal issues that make each feels less than worthy of the other. The story line is fast-paced but it is the tango between the female who cannot see yet “sees” into the soul of her beloved and the male who feels guilt over his late wife’s death.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 30, 2010

Black Magic Lover-Cynthia Cooke

Black Magic Lover
Cynthia Cooke
Harlequin Nocturne, Sep 1 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618439

The phone call stuns Laura Larame who had believed her mom was dead. She considers someone pulled a sick joke on her, but must know the truth as to whether her mother Delilah, whom she had not heard from in two decades lives in the Louisiana bayou.

Laura Larame returns home where she meets her childhood friend Drew Michel, who saved her life on the night her mom vanished and was assumed drowned. Drew and Laura are attracted to one another and he wants more than them just being friends; while she determinedly remains fixated on her mom. Drew who sees ghosts, fears his beloved is going to be sacrificed by his mother, a voodoo priestess, who plans to use her death to bring her God back using her son’s body as the deity’s container.

This Bayou romantic suspense is an exhilarating tale that grips the reader with a need to know what happened to Laura’s mother. The story line provides an in depth look at voodoo without slowing down the plot. Although the ending seems abrupt, Black magic Lover is a fast-paced horror thriller as Cynthia Cooke shows her Mojo.

Harriet Klausner

Silver Serenade-Nancy J. Cohen

Silver Serenade
Nancy J. Cohen
Wild Rose Press, Jun 17 2010, $15.99
ISBN: 9781601547828

Earth Centrum Security Integrated Network field operative Silver Malloy is assigned to eliminate ruthless Tyrone Bluth, leader of the brutally nasty gang Tyrone's Marauders. S.I.N.’s top assassin, Silver almost completes her mission when Kurashian Jace Vernon interferes by tackling her.

Ace pilot Jace is after Tyrone also, but unlike Silver needs his prey alive if he is to prove his innocence on his home planet where he is wanted for murder. He does not want to work with Silver who wants the beast dead, but has no choice if he is to achieve his objective as his enemy’s enemy is his ally; if he does not team with her they will get in each others’ way. She reluctantly agrees with his assessment.

This is a fun romantic science fiction thriller as the lead couple targets the same person, but disagrees with the output as each has a different outcome in mind. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Jace makes the hit on Silver and never slows down as love between them complicates their already complex relationship. Sub-genre readers will enjoy this outer space tale of a lethal gang lord serving ironically as a matchmaker between two people who disagree on what to do with him as the options are life in a maximum prison or assassination.

Harriet Klausner

The Mists Of Time-Susan Squires

The Mists Of Time
Susan Squires
St. Martin’s, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312943554

San Francisco romance writer Diana Dearborn meets a stranger who gives her an ancient tome. Somehow the old book propels her to Dark Ages Camelot. She returns to the present with no time elapsing, but has brought forward with her severely injured Medraught of Orkney.

Diana feels no desire towards the hunk she brought into his future. Instead she feels an attraction to a stranger who she has noticed in the shadows seemingly stalking her or her guest. His father ordered Gawain to keep Diana safe, but he arrived in San Francisco a few years later than he needed to be there; as he learns her trip in time periled her. To begin correcting the scenario they must return Medraught to the past, but he refuses to go willingly as he loves the modern world.

The Mists of Time is a well written complex time travel Camelot romance that grips the audience from the moment a feral teen Diana is in lock up and never slows down as the readers learn what happened to her. The story line is fast-paced with intriguing paradoxes and a wonderful link between San Francisco and Camelot while the lead pairing and the knight they need to send home seem real though their flaws are reiterated too frequently. Fans will admire Susan Squires as she refreshes the Camelot legend.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Damage Control-Amy Fetzer

Damage Control
Amy Fetzer
Kensington Brava, Aug 1 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758231390

Archeologist Olivia Corrigan investigates an ancient Celtic legend. Her research tracks the routes of twelfth century Viking and Chinese traders that lead to the Arctic Circle polar cap where she believes an ancient ship is under the ice.

However, her efforts turn ugly when people associated with her project begin dying. Apparently, Russian agents want to know the secret of the Celtic legends and are willing to kill to succeed. Dragon One mercenary team assigns her former husband explosives expert Sebastian Fontenot to safeguard the woman he still loves while also trying to rescue from kidnappers a colleague of hers who knows much about legend snatched in his hotel room. As they team up to save the life of the abducted English bookworm scholar from adversaries who cold-bloodedly murdered innocent bystanders in the hotel, Olivia still wonders if she would be safer with the Russians than with her former spouse who she still loves.

The latest Dragon One (see Fight Fire With Fire and Come as You Are) is an action-packed romantic suspense that circles the globe as Olivia hops seemingly everywhere. The second chance romance starts towards the middle of the story line and enhances the dangerous adventures the lead couple and his cohorts confront. That is the key to this entertaining thriller that never stops for a respite.

Harriet Klausner

Falcon Prince-Karen Kelley

Falcon Prince
Karen Kelley
Kensington Brava, Aug 1 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758238382

In Miller Bend, Texas the naked male hunk comes out of the fog to the amazement of Rianna Lancaster. He insists he came for her to bring her home to the planet of New Symtaria. She reacts like any American female would; she sprays him with Mace and dials 911 as she runs away from the intruder.

The residents believe dog groomer Ria is a fruitcake as she behaves so different than a Texan; the sheriff ignores her insistence of a streaker and her adopted parents betray her when they rent her bedroom to the wealthy Prince Kristor. Ria detests his arrogance, but finds she also wants him. He insists she is a royal from his orb and they belong together forever. She insists she is a Texan and they belong together for a tryst.

The second Prince of Symtaria romantic science fiction (see The Jaguar Prince) is a zany tale of an illegal alien and a citizen with questionable legal status fighting, fussing and falling in love. This lighthearted frolic may be over the top of New Symtaria and contains a rushed climax, but fans will relish the star-crossed amusing yet heated tale of love in small-town Texas.

Harrier Klausner

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Child Changes Everything-Stella MacLean

A Child Changes Everything
Stella MacLean
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 10 2010
ISBN: 9780373716555

In Durham, North Carolina nurse Lisa Clarke buries her adopted mother only to learn from the estate lawyer Tank Tweedsdale that her biological mom Carolyn Lewis is alive; she thought the woman who birthed her died in a car accident. Tank hires Lisa’s former boyfriend Mason Stephens to find her mom, which he does.

Lisa heads to Florida where her mom resides in Palmetto Bayside Nursing Home. Her older sister Anne Marie is in jail charged with trafficking. Needing to prove her sister’s innocence, Lisa hires Mason and an attorney to do that. She takes her three year old niece Katie and mom back home with her. Mason is stunned with how good a caretaker Lisa is as she rejected children leading to their breakup. However, his former wife Sara plans to leave for the other coast with their son putting him on the spot of choosing east with his Lisa or west with his offspring Peter.

This is an enjoyable family drama with a second chance at love subplot. Lisa matures as she takes charge of her newly found biological family. Although Mason is a better sleuth than boyfriend material, fans will enjoy this fine contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

This Cowboy's Son-Mary Sullivan

This Cowboy's Son
Mary Sullivan
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 10 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716531

Five years ago Matt Long and Jenny Sterling made love, but he left immediately afterward; fleeing from Big Sky Country. She became pregnant and raises her son Jesse. However, the single mom is engaged to marry Angus Kinsey, who Matt reveres like a father figure.

Returning to Ordinary, Montana and owing Angus, Matt obtains work on his Circle K ranch where his boss is Jenny. She pulls no punches when she immediately informs her former lover that her son is his too. They remain attracted to each other, but she knows he will leave soon and he fears he agrees with her. When Angus ends their engagement, Matt has no excuse as he loves mother and son, but does he have the guts to forge a family with them?

Although men finding out they sired a child years after the kid is born is not new, a secondary romance adds depth to the contemporary romance. The lead male has issues but maturity and a need to do the right thing with his woman and their son supersede all else. Although Angus makes it easier with his transgression, fans will enjoy this entertaining second chance at love.

Harriet Klausner

A Little Consequence-Amy Knupp

A Little Consequence
Amy Knupp
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 10 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716524

Heiress Selena Jarboe is upset with her brother who plans to return to the warbecause she worries for those she loves performing dangerous duty. Unable to cope she runs away to her Texas beach house. There she meets firefighter Evan Drake. They are attracted instantly to one another and have the best night of sex either ever had; so good and long his roommate did a four in the morning run not to disturb the couple.

Selena becomes pregnant and does the right thing by informing Evan although she wants nothing from him. He plans to be there for their child as he never had a father growing up; he also wants to be there for Selena even after he learns she is wealthy and can buy anything she needs. As they fall in love, each must stop running from the demons that haunt them if they are to make it as a cohesive family raising a child together.

The key to the second super Texas Firefighters contemporary romance (see Playing with Fire) is Selena who struggles between her love and admiration for Evan vs. her fear of his dangerous work. Evan is a super counterpart to Selena, but her phobic like trepidations brings freshness to a strong romance.

Harriet Klaunser

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Claimed!-Vicki Lewis Thompson

Vicki Lewis Thompson
Harlequin Blaze, Aug 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795604

Neither wants this, but former lovers Jack Chance and Josie Keller are named best man and maid of honor at a horseback wedding. Besides their past in which he dumped her, the only problem is Josie does not know how to ride. Jack is volunteered to teach her.

On his Wyoming ranch near Shoshone, Jack trains Josie to ride a horse. However, they also ride each other as neither can keep their hands off the other. She knows she still loves him in spite of her expectation he will leave her again. However, he ran from her the last time out of fear of his feelings, but this time he plans to stay the course and prove to his beloved they belong together.

This hot Sons of Chance romance (see Wanted! And Ambushed!) is a fun read due to heated outdoor acrobatics of the lead couple in spite of their doubts. With a touch of humor to lighten the torrid ranch romance, Vicki Lewis Thompson will claim a lot of fans with this strong second chance at love.

Harriet Klausner

Double Play-Joanne Rock

Double Play
Joanne Rock
Harlequin Blaze, Aug 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795642

Shy book reviewer Amber Nichols is spending her vacation at a friend’s beach house on Nantucket. Upon seeing the hunk next door, although clearly out of character for her, she vows to go for a one-night stand with the jock, Boston baseball coach Heath Donovan.

The coach knows he will be held responsible by management for the team’s slump. To take his mind off his fears of being fired, he thinks a one night stand with the beautiful groupie next door is just the thing. However, as one night becomes several nights, each wonders when and how their game will end.

The latest Wrong Bed tale is a heated sports romance that contains two charming pitchers throwing complete games as their lust turns into love. The enjoyable story line is hotter than a summer on the Cape while the lead couple makes for a fine time away from the ball park. Baseball fans will wonder whether Heath and Amber will hit into a Double Play or grand slam walk-off home run.

Harriet Klausner

His Hired Baby-Jacqueline Diamond

His Hired Baby
Jacqueline Diamond
Harlequin American Romance Aug 10 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373753246

Desperately needing money for her and her five years old son to live on, reluctant widow Kate Evans agrees to be a surrogate mom to the Franco couple. The only thing disturbing her about the deal is she detests having to hand over her baby to another couple, but knows she has no choice.

However, to her shock after she becomes pregnant, the adoptive mother leaves her husband filing for a divorce. The adoptive father Tony Franco still wants his child though he will raise the baby as a single dad though he knows nothing about children. He turns to his surrogate mom to mentor him in all things child care. As they fall in love, his distrust of women since his ex wife’s desertion has left him wary.

This is an enjoyable Safe Harbor Medical romance (see The Would-be Mommy) starring two wonderful lead characters whose matchmaker is not born yet. The story line is driven by Kate’s desire to mother her baby and Tony’s fear of commitment. Fans will enjoy this couple who make for a fun contemporary family drama.

Harriet Klausner

The Mommy Proposal-Cathy Gillen Thacker

The Mommy Proposal
Cathy Gillen Thacker
Harlequin American Romance Aug 10 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373753239

In Fort Worth CEO Nate Hutchinson prays his effort to adopt a child proves fruitful. To somewhat affirm his seriousness and to convert his abode, he hires widow interior decorator Brooke Mitchell to change his bachelor pad to a safe home fit for a single dad with a son. She understands being a single parent as she raises her son by herself since his father died.

Brooke is stunned with how well Nate and the two young boys hit it off together. As shocking to Brooke is her growing attraction to the new father and his child. She also believes he needs to relax and let it be as his zealousness threatens the lad. Nate knows he needs Brooke and the two boys to make his life meaningful.

The matchmaking two boys own this entertaining Lone Star Dads Club family drama (see Wanted: One Mommy) as they manipulate their parents. The romance fully takes a back seat to the antics of the children though Nate and Brooke are likable characters. Readers will enjoy The Mommy Proposal.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eternal Kiss Of Darkness-Jeaniene Frost

Eternal Kiss Of Darkness
Jeaniene Frost
Avon, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783166

Ancient Egyptian Master Vampire Mencheres believes his life is coming to an end. Ti protects those he cherishes from an in family civil war to replace him by designating Bones as his co-ruler; especially since he expects a life and death showdown with his enemy Radjedef.

In Chicago, Ghouls seemingly have trapped Mencheres, but mortal private investigator Kira Graceling saves his life; at least she thinks so when she courageously dives into the fight. Stunned by the mortal’s bravery, Mencheres finds himself dazzled by Kira who is attracted to him though fearful of the strange world she discovered when she jumped into his fight. However, as he now has a reason to live, he fears her distraction and attraction will kill both of them.

The second sidebar spin-off from the superb Night Huntress saga (see First Drop of Crimson) is a great urban fantasy as the Master vampire falls in love at an extremely bad time. Filled with action, as Mencheres tries to keep his beloved from becoming a pawn in the death match with his adversary a great risk to his existence, Jeaniene Frost continues to be one of the sub-genre’s top Master mages.

Harriet Klausner

Tea Leaves And Tarot Cards-Jacqueline Seward

Tea Leaves And Tarot Cards
Jacqueline Seward
Five Star, Aug 18 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594149146

In 1816 London, the Ton adores Maeve the half gypsy fortune teller. At a gala all eyes are on Lady Caroline whose brother James the Earl is her guardian since their parents died. James plans to marry off his sister to the wealthy widower the Duke of Rundford though he is old enough to be her grandfather. Maeve and Caroline meet Rundford and his cousin Marquess Adam deViller, but James informs his sister she will no longer be friends with the gypsy.

Adam and Maeve are attracted to one another and each uses these feelings to their advantage enabling Caroline to come with them. When Caroline meets Maeve’s unkempt friend Charles LeBrun, she falls in love. However, he rejects her as she can do much better though he loves her too. As Adam plots to make Maeve his mistress, she hopes to somehow keep Caroline safe from the Duke, the Earl and her best friend while praying her heart is not broken in the process.

This is a delightful lighthearted regency frolic starring a strong ensemble cast though the lead players are Maeve and Adam. Filled with a taste of the era enhanced by a slight mystery, sub-genre fans will relish Tea Leaves And tarot Cards as contemporary psychic Kim Reynolds (star of the author’s The Drowning Pool and The Inferno Collection) would know the future looks bright for Jacqueline Seward in the past.
Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Gift From Home-C. H. Admirand

A Gift From Home
C. H. Admirand
Five Star, Aug 18 2010, $25.95
ISBN 9781594149184

In 1878 the Committee for the Betterment of Emerson, Colorado has reconvened after a short temporary shutdown (see Pearl’s Redemption); the members feel an urgent need to hold Jessi Fahy culpable. The CBE accuse Jessi of arson; setting on fire Peterson’s Stable and causing injury to the owner. They also blame her for behavior unbecoming of a lady by her fighting in public and devastating John Reilly with a one punch knock out.

Over five years ago John Reilly left County Cork, Ireland and then thirteen years old Jessi for America. Jessi and John’s mother team up to send her as a “present” to him. After an oceanic voyage and a trek across two thirds of America, Jessi arrives in Emerson only he fails to recognize the almost nineteen year old beauty. Frustrated with him and bone tired, she throws a right to his jaw that proves what his mom said: his jaw is made of glass; as one punch knocks out big John. Though the CBE demands Jessi leave, she refuses. Instead she hopes that her one punch KO knocked some sense into John that they belong together though outlaws and kindhearted Flynn distract her somewhat from her mission.

The latest Irish Western romance is a fun lighthearted historical starring a feisty female with a terrific right-cross and the man of her dreams with a glass jaw. The support cast, especially the CBE members especially Millie Peabody the town nosy body, enhance the tale of a brave woman seeking what she believes is her destiny.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Highland Duchess-Karen Ranney

A Highland Duchess
Karen Ranney
Avon, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061771842

In 1864, a nervous Lady Emma arrives at Chavensworth to meet with her husband Anthony, the Duke of Herridge. She loathes and fears her cruel spouse and wishes him in hell like he has done to her. However, she is taken aback to learn her husband is dead. Known as the Ice Queen amongst the Ton, Emma wants to be a free widow, but her Uncle Peter Harding demand she marry again even before the acceptable mourning periods ends as he covets the money she would bring to him.

Laird Ian McNair breaks into Emma’s boudoir demanding she return the Tulloch Sgathan that he insists belongs to the Scots, but she has no idea what the thief alludes to with this alleged mirror. When her uncle comes to lecture her, Ian knocks him out and abducts Emma. Ian is stunned by the passion he sees hidden beneath the veneer of the Widower. However though he wants to make her ignite, he knows she is betrothed to his cousin, Bryce. When Bryce suddenly dies, the Ton believed the cold haughty Emma is a black widow spider as many believe she poisoned him. Ian vows to prove her the victim of ruthless males including the real killer of his cousin.

A Highland Duchess is a superb Victorian romantic suspense starring a strong hero and a beleaguered woman. The amateur sleuth whodunit enhances an exciting romance as Ian begins melting the ice protecting his beloved’s heart, but she trusts no man as all males, who should have protected her, since her dad died have been demandingly ruthless.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shadow Fall-Erin Kellison

Shadow Fall
Erin Kellison
Leisure, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528308

While trying to save the life of his best friend, Custo Santovari was murdered by traitorous Spencer, an apparent wraith supporter. The Shadowman brings Custo to heaven where his courage and willingness to die for his buddy makes him an angel. However, Custo’s goal is to get back to America to warn his BFF Adam Thorne; besides he rationalizes he is too much a sinner to be an angel.

In Manhattan Annabella the ballerina magically dances causing a rift between realms. Custo returns to earth, but also making it through is Wolf the shadow hunter. Custo knows his mission is to go to the New York Segue Institute safe house to warn Adam and to keep safe Annabella from a nightmare; but nothing goes right as Adam thinks he must be a wraith and he falls in forbidden love with the :angel” he protects.

This is a fascinating urban romantic fantasy starring an obsessed lead male fleeing heaven on a quest and the woman who enables him to escape from the angels. The story line is fast-paced, as the city comes across grim and foreboding. Readers learn a little more about the wraiths since the events of Shadows Bound (Adam’s romance), but Shadowman remains enigmatic. Sub-genre fans will relish the second wraith war thriller as the shadows continue to darken the earth.

Harriet Klausner

Operation Prince Charming-Phyllis Bourne

Operation Prince Charming
Phyllis Bourne
Love Spell, Aug 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843963908

Her TV career ended with her marriage though she has hopes to resuscitate the former while letting the latter remain dead. Still while waiting for a fresh opportunity, Ali Spencer return to Nashville to help her aunt save the family owned Spencer School of Etiquette.

Wealthy Erica wants to make it into the highest social circles. However, she believes she needs a social makeover of her boyfriend Detective Hunter Coleman if she is to achieve her goal. He is tired of Erica’s inane ranting that he holds her back from climbing the ladder. Thus Hunter enrolls in the Spencer School’s class “Manners Makeover” that has Titans as alumni. When Ali the teacher and Hunter the student meet, she thinks he is fine the way he is. Hunter wants to be the teacher’s pet while Ali knows she must remain professionally aloof from her favorite pupil. As Erica hunts for a better social prospect, Ali and Hunter fall in love.

This is a warm Tennessee waltz starring two likable lead characters who agree that Hunter should follow his basic instincts of his heart. The story line is character driven by the lead couple, but enhanced by support players like her aunt and Erica. Fans who enjoy a low keyed realistic contemporary will want to read Operation Prince Charming.

Harriet Klausner

Last Night's Scandal-Loretta Chase

Last Night's Scandal
Loretta Chase
Avon, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061632679

1831 London, Earl Peregrine Dalmay has just returned from Egypt, but plans to go back as soon as he can make arrangements. While oversea for several years he and Olivia Wingate-Carsington became pen pals. In her writings, she made it clear that her blood lines mean trouble as they are filled with con artists, including her.

His parents ask Peregrine to manage the restoration of Gorewood castle, which is falling apart in Scotland. He says no, but ends up heading to the Scottish family property with Olivia cleverly manipulating her way onto his retinue chasing after a last adventure before respectability bites her. Nothing goes right for Peregrine at the construction sight as apparently ghosts harass him, a murder may have occurred, and Olivia haunts him. However, the Egyptologist and the con artist are not as fazed by family, homicide, spirits and other intruders as they are frightened by love.

This is a terrific jocular historical romance that will hook the audience from the opening act of his parents as drama queens driving him to Scotland for some relief and never takes a breather until the final con occurs. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the amusing story line as Peregrine and Olivia fall in love, but must deal with family and ghosts before they can decide how to deal with each other.

Harriet Klausner

Montana Dawn-Caroline Fyffe

Montana Dawn
Caroline Fyffe
Leisure, Aug 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843964271

In 1883 in the Montana Territory, while on a drive cattleman Luke McCutchen hears a scream while riding. He investigates a wagon where he finds a woman biting on wood. He goes to help her, but her young “son” Cullen hits him with a frying pan. He helps Faith Brown give birth.

Faith has fled Nebraska and her late husband’s family. They accused her of killing her spouse Samuel and demand she marry her evil brother-in-law Ward, who covets her spread near Kearney. A desperate Faith takes a chance on Luke and his men keeping her and her kids safe although she fears she has placed Luke and the others in peril when the odious Ward catches up to her as she expects. While falling in love on the trail, her lies keeps her from fully turning to Luke, who loves the three stragglers he found.

Caroline Fyffe’s second late nineteenth century Great Plains Americana romance (see Where the Wind Blows) is a superb tale that grips the audience the moment that Luke investigates the scream and never slows down for even a paragraph. Like the beleaguered heroine, readers anticipate the high noon showdown in Big Sky Country as heroic Luke and despicable Ward will face off while Faith tries to do the noble thing in spite of her lies. This is an exciting winner even with stereotypical opposites of a noble hero and a vile villain.

Harriet Klausner

Wolf Runner-Constance O'Banyon

Wolf Runner
Constance O'Banyon
Leisure, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843964394

Among the Montana Blackfoot, half-breed Wolf Runner is unafraid of their enemies and is willing to risk his life to keep his people safe; his courage makes all consider him a full blood. His Indian mother sends him by train accompanied by his wolf to New Mexico Territory on a mission for a white family friend Ivy Gatlin who is dying. Ivy wants an escort to take her granddaughter Cheyenne, a half-breed treated with disdain as an abomination by the residents of Santa Fe, to her maternal grandfather.

When Cheyenne meets Wolf Runner; she is stunned by his confidence amongst the whites and later the Indians. She compares herself to her new hero and knows she is lacking as she fears everyone. On the journey north to her grandfather, she falls in love with her guide, but detests his mercilessness even as his cold actions save their lives. He falls in love, but is promised to Blue Dawn; though the words of family friend widower Cullen is to marry the wrong woman is worse than being alone with only memories of the right woman to warm your heart.

This is a wonderful Indian romance starring two likable but different lead protagonists. The story line is character driven by the two half-breeds as they fall in love during their perilous trek, but know their match is taboo. Although the ending seems contrived, readers will enjoy this strong late nineteenth century historical.

Harriet Klausner


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Love Lessons at Midnight-Shirl Henke

Love Lessons at Midnight
Shirl Henke
Leisure, Jul 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843963632

In London, nothing that men want shocks Lady Fantasia, owner of the infamous House of Dreams bordello. Her establishment makes the dreams of her wealthy clientele come true for a hefty payment; anything goes with one exception being no one can have her.

For two years Robert St. John, as the reformist Earl of Barrington, ripped bordellos like the House of Dreams in Parliament. However he visits the establishment to ask Lady Fantasia to have her most gifted courtesan mentoring him in satisfying the needs of a lady, namely his future spouse.

Having been an abused spouse when Lady Fantasia was Amber Wolverton, wife to a sadistic mad Marquess, she is intrigued by her new customer’s request as this is a refreshing change than the usual me-me. Breaking her golden rule, she becomes Gabrielle, Rob’s French instructress. As he proves to be a star pupil in her class of induction of Love Lessons At Midnight, they fall in love, which in turn heals their battered hearts. However, love may not be enough for the patron and the owner yet at the House of Dreams fantasies do come true.

The key to this wonderful Regency romance is the lead couple who both have issues of the heart and soul for bad marriages when he insanely visits her at her brothel. The great adventure of this discerning tale is observing the pair heal through their bonding with love for one another. Readers who relish a character driven relationship drama will enjoy Shirl Henke’s fabulous tale of the healing redemption of love even for seemingly lost souls.

Harriet Klausner

Midnight Crystal-Jayne Castle

Midnight Crystal
Jayne Castle
Jove, Sep 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780515148367

The new head of the Frequency Guild is Adam Winters appointed to clean up the corrupt organization. He is also the direct descendent of Nicholas Winters who found a way to enhance psychic skills. However, his concept was flawed with a curse to those who have the genetic marker. That person becomes a Cerberus, a person with three diverse psychic talents who will eventually go insane and must be killed; unless he can find the Burning Lamp and the female guide who can use dreamlight.

Adam believes he is cursed but when he meets the head of a private investigation agency Marlowe Jones who can manipulate dreamlight she fixes his brain section that was damaged. They team up to go into the underground because fractures in the walls in a certain part of the maze means the whole place blows up killing many unless Marlowe and Adam can fix it.. Before they have a chance to catch their breath, they meet the traitor in the Guild who wants to kill both of them, and probably will succeed.

Connecting the Krentz universe with the clever Dreamlight trilogy (see Fired Up by Jayne Anne Krentz and The Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick), Midnight Crystal is a terrific entry that fans of the author will relish. The story line is fast-paced and action-packed. In some ways similar in tone to the previous entries in this arc yet different as time and place widely varies (hence the three names the author uses to delineate historical, present and future). This is a winning stand alone, but the brilliance of author comes across by reading and comparing the trilogy.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

His For The Taking-Sarah Parr

His For The Taking
Sarah Parr
Zebra, Jul 1 2010, $5.99
ISBN: 9781420104790

In 1794, Marquis Warrick Barry, a privateer, searches for a band of traitors. However, he lacks information so his superiors order him to marry Karly Bane, who has the data he needs to accomplish the mission. Karly resents a forced marriage and makes her feelings abundantly known to her new husband even if he is handsome

Warrick tries to earn his bride’s trust while also seducing her as she is pretty, feisty and besides he believes seduction is the key to get the information she conceals. She is attracted to her new husband, but not only distrusts him with what she knows, she refuses to tell him any of her secrets that would betray people she cherishes. As they fall in love, danger mounts for each of them and her loved ones.

Following up with the next generation Barry (see Renegade), His For the Taking is a pleasant late Georgian romance. Fans will enjoy the gender war as the privateer and the pirate’s daughter battle for seductive supremacy as he believes the end justifies the mean and she believes in loyalty.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Warrior Untamed-Alexis Morgan

Dark Warrior Untamed
Alexis Morgan
Pocket, Jul 27 2010,
ISBN: 9781439175927

Talion Greyhill Danby leaves London for Puget Sound to begin his new position to protect the Kyth’s Grand Dame Kery Thorsen. When he arrives at his new office he is a bit surprised and unwelcoming to find a beautiful woman sitting inside. Assistant to the Grand Dame Piper Ryan is not shocked by his reaction to her though they share the office albeit his is on a temporary basis.

However, the ancient warrior and the administrator are at war with one another. That is until the emails begin to appear on Piper’s computer which concerns both of them. When the bombing terrorist acts occur, Greyhill goes into full protective mode from an unknown adversary. Though attracted to his temporary office roommate, Greyhill adheres to his vow of protecting the Grand Dame.

The third Dark Warrior Talion political urban fantasy (see Dark Warrior Unleashed and Dark Warrior Unbroken) is a terrific tale of two distrusting individuals desiring one another with out of control hormones yet neither seems willing to take the first step. That distrust is a prime key to this strong entry as danger mounts so does their suspicion of one another as neither grasps the diabolical brilliant revenge ruse of an unknown adversary. The world Morgan continues to create feels genuine especially because of the dirty politics at play. Although the romantic subplot takes a necessary support role to the suspenseful mystery, readers will enjoy this taut Talion thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Captured by Moonlight-Nancy Gideon

Captured by Moonlight
Nancy Gideon
Pocket, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439149652

New Orleans Police Detective Charlotte "Cee Cee" Cassie has been seeing unsavory Max Savoie, but she has concealed the identity of the person she is dating from everyone even her partner Alain Babineau. Max’s criminal connections make him a questionable lover for a cop. Still she hates the secrets and decides to reveal who she is seeing to her partner and the other detective at the precinct.

None of her work associates are pleased with her. When an associate of Max is murdered, he and Cee Cee argue as he knows that murderous shapeshifting trackers wants him dead, but refuses to tell her because she will dive in head first if he does. To keep his beloved safe he hides what he knows from her, but he obviously has not learned his lesson when it comes to Cee Cee (see Chased by Moonlight); nothing will keep her out of the line of fire when her loved ones are imperiled.

From the beginning, readers are captured as Max knows his Cee Cee is near from the smell of her Voodoo Love perfume. Fast-paced, fans will relish the third Moonlight romantic police procedural fantasy though similar in tone to Chased by Moonlight except that this time Max expects his beloved to nuke his attempts to keep her safe. Fans will enjoy this exhilarating romantic urban fantasy (see Masked by Moonlight) while rooting for Max and Cee Cee to find a way to be together; that is if they survive.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Three Nights With A Scoundrel-Tessa Dare

Three Nights With A Scoundrel
Tessa Dare
Ballantine, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345518897

In 1817 Julian Bellamy holds himself responsible for the murder of his friend Leo Chatwick, founder of the Stud Club. He obsesses with the need to find Leo’s killer and bring him or her to justice.

Leo’s sister Lily has concealed that she loves Julian as he seems to see her as kid sister. When she visits Leo, she is shocked how much her beloved her deteriorated physically and emotionally since her brother died. Julian has always been attracted to Lily, but he has always remained reserves as he believes she deserves better than him. Lily tries to help Julian move on in his grief by offering him her love.

The latest The Stud Club Regency romance (see One dance with a Duke and Twice Tempted with a Rogue) is a fabulous conclusion to a strong trilogy though the tone is similar to the two predecessors. The lead couple makes the story line so much fun as he feels unworthy while she knows he is her one. Loaded with compassion, fans will relish this fine historical as the heroine dares to go after who she covets with her heart.

Harriet Klausner

Captured by Desire-Kira Morgan

Captured by Desire
Kira Morgan
Forever, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446548182

In 1548 Master Goldsmith Miss Florie Gilder understands society dictates for women; as she is the talent who makes the beautiful pieces people buy, but her foster father gets the credit as the artisan because women are not allowed to create or sell these masterpieces. She becomes upset when the only item she owns that is not for sale, a piece her late mother gave her that her biological father created, is mistakenly sold to Lady Mavis Gilbert, wife of the Selkirk sheriff Gilbert.

Florie steals her family heirloom, but Lady Mavis shouts thief and if apprehended she will be charged with theft. As she flees from the sheriff’s men, Rane MacAllister, who hunts deer to feed the sheriff and the poor, shoots an arrow at her mistaken her gallop for that of an animal. He realizes his error when he gets closer. He takes the injured woman to a rundown church to heal while concealing her from the sheriff. As they fall in love, he knows his mission to the impoverished needs to come first, but he endangers it by hiding a “criminal” as he could lose his position as the sheriff’s hunter or even be hung.

From the opening line of “Thief”, Captured By desire is an entertaining fast-paced sixteenth century historical romance. The lead couple seems star-crossed as he is the sheriff’s hunter while she is the thief the sheriff chases. Historical readers will enjoy this exciting twisting tale as love arrives when you least expect it.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 12, 2010

Maybe This Time-Jennifer Crusie

Maybe This Time
Jennifer Crusie
St. Martin's, Sep 2010, $24.99
ISBN 9780312303785

Thirty-four years old Andie Miller plans to finally sever the ties to her former husband North. However, she is reminded how difficult ending their relationship truly is in spite of their divorce. Somehow he persuaded her to help him rectify the issues confronting his deceased cousin’s two troubled children Carter and Alice though she has no legal or blood links to the kids.

The children reside in a gothic style mausoleum with a live grouch of a housekeeper Mrs. Danvers and a horde of ghosts. Andie tries her best to help the depressed lonely youngsters, but Alice and Carter are difficult to reach. She attempts to persuade late Aunt May, but the spirit insists she is going to get it right the second time around. Finally recently dead Dennis and seemingly eternal haunts Miss J and Peter prefer to stay earth bound. The beleaguered ex wife believes life is harder now with her former in-laws, live and dead, than when it was when she was married to North.

Maybe This Time is an amusing paranormal second chance at love romance in which readers will agree with Andie that the otherworldly asylum and a facility on this side too have let the crazies out. Fast-paced and action-packed with a story line seemingly about to go out of control, but never does. Readers will enjoy Jennifer Crusie’s zany romantic romp as North wonders if he still has a ghost of a chance with the woman he loves.

Harriet Klausner

Hot Finish-Erin McCarthy

Hot Finish
Erin McCarthy
Berkley, Aug 3 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425235942

Being totally broke Suzanne Jefferson is no longer able to perform charity work as she needs to bring in income. She returns to her previous profession of wedding planner though she wishes she did not have to.

Her first client is Bridezilla, but worse is the best man is her former husband Flat Out Sexy Ryder. To her chagrin, she finds out they are not exes as she thought as they remain married. Ryder, on the other hand, is euphoric to learn he and Suzanne remain married. He wants a second chance, but time is running out as the court date to finalize their divorce is set. Though wanting to go Hard and Fast, Ryder tries going slowly in spite of the lack of time, but good intentions of taking his time ends with what they always managed to have great sex together.

The latest Fast Track tale is a fun somewhat hot second chance at love. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of two people in love with her insisting it is only lust. Although the plot is thin especially when compared to previous Fast Track tales, fans will enjoy watching the desperate antics of a married couple at cross purposes.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bedding the Enemy-Mary Wine

Bedding the Enemy
Mary Wine
Kensington Brava, Aug 1 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758234674

In 1604, reluctant Keir McQuade has become laird of his clan. As he wanders aimlessly at Red Stone Castle, Keir knows he has his work cut out to restore the prestige of his clan. He starts by traveling to London to pledge his fealty to King James I; while at court he plans to find a wife.

If he was asked before arriving at the palace whether he believed in love at first sight he would have scorned the question. However, now that he sees Lady-in Waiting Helena Knyett he knows how true that is as he instantly smitten. She feels the same way, but her brother Edmund has other plans for his sister. When Edmund loses Helena as a stake in a gambling game, James directs Keir to marry her; which he readily agrees. However, someone, perhaps her wastrel bother or his chosen suitor for her Raelin McKorey, wants her groom and maybe even her dead.

The latest “Bedding” historical romance (see In the Warrior’s Bed and In Bed With a Stranger) is fabulous tale of love at first sight. Keir and Helena are strong lad characters who knows what they want (and what readers want), which is each other. Fast-paced and loaded with intrigue and suspense, fans of Stuart romances will enjoy Mary Wine’s intoxicating historical.

Harriet Klausner

The Exile of Sara Stevenson-Darci Hannah

The Exile of Sara Stevenson
Darci Hannah
Ballantine, Jul 27 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345520548

In 1814, lighthouse designer Robert Stevenson sends his pregnant nineteen year old daughter Sara to reside at the isolated Cape Wrath Lighthouse in Scotland. Sara waits patiently in exile for her lover Thomas Crichton the sailor to come for her and for the birth of their child. Reticent lighthouse keeper Willy Campbell is upset with her arrival as he prefers solitude.

To pass time, bibliophile Sara corresponds with an Oxford antiquarian. Sara becomes upset when she finds out her parents plan to take her baby away from her. Desperate she sends a pleading letter to her pen pal to rescue her and her baby from her parents. He wants to assist her, but has a major problem to overcome that might prove impossible to surmount.

The Exile of Sara Stevenson is an enjoyable Regency romance with a wonderful twist as the letters between the pen pals have quite a distance to travel. The cast is solid throughout as the audience obtains a taste of life at a remote lighthouse during the early nineteenth century. Although Sara’s problems never fully come across as threatening, readers will enjoy this intriguing look at love crossing impossible to penetrate barriers.

Harriet Klausner

Ghost Night-Heather Graham

Ghost Night
Heather Graham
Mira, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778328155

On Haunt Island near Bimini, writer Vanessa Loren is part of a crew filming a low-budget horror movie. As they complete the final wrap, someone gruesomely murders two actors Georgia Dare and Travis Glenn. Their heads are decapitated and posed in a frightening manner in the sand. The case is unsolved. For the next two years, Vanessa remains frightened and unable to sleep as she suffers nightmares from the grisly scene she saw on the Bahamas’ island beach.

Filmmaker Sean O’Hara hires Vanessa to work on a documentary he is filming in the area where the cold case homicides that haunt her occurred. Hoping to get closure, she agrees. Sean can see ghosts and Vanessa fall in love, but a deranged killer stalks them anxiously waiting for a rerun of what happened two years ago.

The second Bone Island paranormal romantic suspense (see Ghost Shadow) is a delightful thriller due to the ghosts feeling genuine. The lead couple is a wonderful duet whose hope for a Hollywood ending is in trouble from a slasher (everyone knows what happens in a slasher flick). Ghost Night is tense entertainment as a killer looks forward to adding a pair in love to the count of victims.

Harriet Klausner

Shadows At Midnight-Elizabeth Jennings

Shadows At Midnight
Elizabeth Jennings
Berkley, Aug 3 2010, $7.99
ISBN: I9780425235997

Marine Daniel Weston is attracted to Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Claire Day since he first saw her at the American Embassy in Laka, Africa where both are assigned. He does not act on his attraction. A too well planned attack and bombing of the embassy leaves several occupants dead and Claire in a three month coma with situational amnesia as she has no lucid memory of the devastating incident.

A year after the assault that blew away her DIA career, Claire suffers from nightmares with the only glimmer being a brown-haired man trying to protect her. When she sees her dream hero who she believes may have saved her life on TV, she flies to Washington to meet him and see if he can help her regain her memory of the attack. Dan is stunned with euphoria as he thought Claire died in the bombing. Realizing his woman is not quite what she was, he vows to assistt her with her recall and to keep her safe this time, but someone wants to insure her memory stays buried even in a grave.

This is a strong romantic suspense thriller that grips the audience from the onset and only tightens the hold especially when the lead couple reunites. Fast-paced throughout, mesmerized fans will root for Claire and Dan to not just make it but make it alive. As Paradise Lost can become Paradise Regained but more likely dead.

Harriet Klausner

Into the Crossfire-Lisa Marie Rice

Into the Crossfire
Lisa Marie Rice
Avon, Jul 27 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061808265

In San Diego former Navy SEAL Sam Reston of Reston Security is an uncover private sleuth infiltrating the Bucinski gang looking to identify who was smuggling merchandise to the recent tune of $10M from his client. He knows how dangerous the assignment is so he avoids relationships. However, just over two weeks ago his wet dream moved next door and staying away is impossible, but he must for her safety and to keep his mind on the deadly mission.

Unable to resist, in order to get a date with Nicole Pearce, Sam gets Mayor Villarreal to vouch for his character, which His Honor does except warning her about playing poker with the shark. She should say no as she is just starting a new business and worried about her ailing father, but accepts. Neither expected love and his need to keep her safe as they uncover a terrorist plot.

This exciting and enthralling romantic suspense is a fast-paced entertaining thriller that seems any moment as if it will go over the top of the Sierras, but never quite does; a testimony to Lisa Marie Rice’s skills. Sam is terrific from the onset as he counts time from how long he first saw her while Nicole proves his perfect mate making his wet dreams of her arid compared with the real thing. The smuggling and terrorism plots add tension, but the charming relationship between the lead couple as each falls in love at the same time Into the Crossfire makes this a fun tale.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Vigilante's Bride-Yvonne Harris

The Vigilante's Bride
Yvonne Harris
Bethany House, Aug 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780764208041

In late December 1884 at the Aldersgate Home for Girls, director Elvira Beecham informs outraged orphan Emily McCarthy she will marry Montana rancher Bartholomew Axel on Christmas Day; he had advertised for a bride in the Tribune. In Montana, Luke Sullivan learns from a cattle rustler about to be hung that his father was cheated by Bart Axel out of his ranch and mulls over what to do about it though two decades have passed and his enemy is wealthy and influential.

When Luke learns from Bart’s frightened banker Phineas Martin that a delivery by coach to Axel is occurring, he decides to steal back his money. Instead he abducts Bart’s fiancée who is on the coach and admits she has never even seen a picture of her intended. Though not sure whether he rescued her or not fiery Emily is attracted to her kidnapper and him to her. He knows how powerful Bart is, but not how obsessed he is to claim his bride as the abduction is an insult. While he depends on a gun, she believes God will turn what seems ugly into something beautiful especially after the Crow minding their business become involved in a White man’s dispute with the treasure being Emily.

This is an entertaining inspirational Americana romance starring a likable firebrand city slicker and the rancher who kidnaps her. While the villain is too proof odious with no redeeming quality, fans will root for The Vigilante’s Bride as she turns to God for spiritual support, and to herself and her beloved for earthy daring do while trying to get her man who feels like a late nineteenth century Big Sky Job.

Harriet Klausner

Libertine’s Kiss-Judith James

Libertine’s Kiss
Judith James
Harlequin HQN, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775057

They were friends and neighbors as children, but their avaricious fathers insured each had an unhappy life. William de Veres was exiled to school and Elizabeth Walters “sold” to the highest bidder. William joined the military to escape his father’s gluttony while Elizabeth got married to an abuser. Years later he became a hero; he deployed his new fame status into being a rake while she remained a victim.

Years pass with both remaining unhappy. When they meet for the first time as adults, neither appears to recognize the other. Two more years pass before Elizabeth asks King Charles for a favor as she has fled her marriage; William as a friend to the recently restored monarch and as his bard helps her get a royal appointment. They begin to fall in love all over again, but she has issues with her beloved for his work for the King that was part of the destruction of her family.

This is an entertaining restoration romance that occurs just after Charles returns from exile to sit on the throne. The rich historical background enhances the reading experience as at times the romance lingers in the background. Fast-paced with a strong cast and filled with intrigue as betrayal is a way of life at court, historical romance readers will relish this exiting late seventeenth century tale.

Harriet Klausner

Kiss Me If You Can-Carly Phillips

Kiss Me If You Can
Carly Phillips
Harlequin HQN, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774548

In Manhattan Sam “Coop” Cooper always reports the crimes news not stars in the story. That is until he stops for lunch at a dirty dog stand in Midtown while he works a story on apartment burglaries in the Upper West Side. He notices something odd in nearby Vintage Jewelers and knocked out a thief using a hot dog medal lid cover.

Watching the store along with her teenage daughter for her dad who is in Florida, grateful Anna Burnett forces Coop to take a ring as a thank you. TV news catches the aftermath of the heroics and soon the city votes him most eligible male on The Bachelor Blogs. Lexie Davis sees the ring on the news and realizes it matches a necklace that her grandma wears. She meets Coop who thinks she is another bimbo to disturb him, but she wants the ring not him. They soon pair up investigating the history of the matching jewelry starting with a cold case 1950s theft that seems to implicate granny even as they fall in love

This is a terrific romantic comedy starring two likable individuals, the Big Apple and Granny the maybe jewel thief. The story line is fast-paced as Carly Phillips paints a fun tale winking at the enthralled audience with this madcap novel. Fans should set aside time as once you begin this Manhattan maniacal mayhem you will need to finish it in one delightful sitting.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ruthless-Anne Stuart

Anne Stuart
Mira, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN 9780778328483

In 1765 Paris, English Lady Elinor Harrington struggles to prevent her hedonistic out of control mother from wasting what little funds they have left. When her mom runs off to a party hosted by the notorious King of Hell Viscount Francis Rohan, Elinor follows thinking she knows what debauchery she will find there, but is unsure of how to remove her mom from the decadence without causing a scandal.

Rohan knows an innocent Elinor does not belong in his den of iniquities. However, he is also stunned that his lower other head disagrees with his assessment of her. Thus he decides to play with her. However, as he lowers the bar with his S&M games, he finds himself wanting more from his now beloved who is confused by her sexually voracious “protector”.

This erotic Georgian Era romance is not for everyone as Rohan living up to the title is an extremely dark lead male filled with Fire and Ice while Elinor initially comes across as a victim (of her mom and beloved). Sub-genre readers will enjoy this tale of codependency as the sexual predator becomes the prey of his mentee with love as the equalizer.

Harriet Klausner

White Heat-Brenda Novak

White Heat
Brenda Novak
Mira, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN 9780778327950

Several college students from wealthy families formed The Church of the Covenant. Over the years their little sect has grown until there are two hundred members in the flock. Ethan Wycliff is the Holy One leader with twelve Spiritual Guides. The unholy thirteen use their flock for sex and drugs. They are also righteous murderers defending what they believe is their divine right.

The Department 6 private security firm assigns Rachel Jessop and her supervisor Nate Ferrentino to go undercover as a married couple in order to infiltrate and expose this deadly cult. The pair, who shared a one night stand both never forgot, travels to Paradise, Arizona home of the Church of the Covenant with Rachel as a weak person seeking solace and Nate as her skeptical husband.

This is a fascinating romantic suspense thriller with its intimate look at the Cult’s activities especially sexual dominance and torture in the name of the Lord. Nate is euphoric with the assignment because he wanted a second to the nth trysts with the woman who seduced him that one time. On the other hand Rachel is much more complex, but too much so; she remains humiliated by what she did that one time and the Cult brings back better forgotten childhood memories of a strict by the bible rod using father. Readers will enjoy this glimpse into how few charismatic nasties can dictate in every sense over those in need desperate to belong to anyone.

Harriet Klausner

Infamous-Suzanne Brockmann

Suzanne Brockmann
Ballantine, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345521200

In 2010 history professor Alison Carter is the expert on the feud between legendary Marshal Silas Quinn and notorious outlaw James "Kid" Gallagher of the brutal Kelly Gang; the Kid kidnapped and murdered the lawman’s wife, Melody. In 1898 in the Red Rock Saloon in Jubilation, Arizona Quinn and the Kelly Gang faced off. Alison knows she has come a long way from growing up the daughter of an alcoholic as now she is the consultant to the Hollywood film Quinn.

Having served in the Bush senior’s Gulf War, A. J. Gallagher came home suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. For several years he depended on alcohol to numb the ghosts of war. Sober, he wants to exorcize the ghost of his great-grandfather The Kid. However, the Kid refuses to go to hell; instead demanding his descendent clear his name as he insists the legend is false since he and his beloved Melody ran away to Alaska to escape from abusive Quinn. A.J. confronts Alison, but though his evidence is the word of mouth from a spirit, the veteran and the professor are attracted to each other. When deadly felons go after his woman, A.J. vows to keep her safe.

This is a great paranormal romance mindful of Who Shot Liberty Valance and Robert Wuhl’s presentation in Assume the Position on “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Fast-paced, the story line is at its best when the focus is on the Kid challenging A.J. to sell the facts to the so called expert while A.J. wants to sell himself to his beloved expert. When the plot takes a suspense spin, it loses some of the charm and underlying insight that the winners write the history to make them heroes and their adversaries’ villains.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Passionate Pleasures-Bertrice Small

Passionate Pleasures
Bertrice Small
NAL, Aug 3 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451227003

Lucifer Nicholas is CEO of Channel, which is a woman’s only network where females can fulfill their fantasies in private (parts and no family or friends knowing). Tall fortyish Kathryn St. John is the Egret’s Point librarian. Lucifer wants to lure Miss Kathy as he has successfully done with the males of her “Sin Gin” family, but she will be tough to bring to the dark side through passion as she is a typical librarian avoiding scandal.

Lucifer’s fantasy takes an upbeat turn when the new middle-school principal Timothy Blair arrives at the library. He wants Miss Kathy, but she remains reluctant and not just because he is younger than her. She prefers the Channel males that he conjures from literature than hard bodies. Still they go out on dates and soon make love. He knows she is his fantasy while she learns loving a hard body is better than a dream. However, the townsfolk led by her brother object to the scandalous behavior between the principal and the librarian.

Passionate Pleasures is a fun well written romantic fantasy starring a wonderful “triangle” as Tim’s arrival makes Lucifer’s plans for Kathy attainable until love complicates the equation. Readers will passionately gain pleasure from Bertrice Small’s clever tale of a woman learning “Ain’t nothing like the real thing” (Marvin Gay and Tammi Terrell).

Harriet Klausner

Possess Me-R.G. Alexander

Possess Me
R.G. Alexander
Heat, Aug 3 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425235287

“Release Me”. Following the accident and family acting as if she died, writer Allegra leaves Houston intends to move in with her friend Michelle in New Orleans. She is stunned to be attracted to tormented Rousseau, who thinks he reciprocates but fears his desire may be orchestrated by a sexual voodoo spirit Bone Daddy.

“Reclaim Me”. Ben has loved Michelle since they were children, but she denies the attraction. Bone Daddy intercedes as the matchmaker between the runaway artist and Big Ben.

“Redeem Me”. On All Saint’s Day, Bone Daddy can actually walk the streets of New Orleans in a corporal body. When he runs into reticent Bethany, he thinks she is the reincarnation of his eternal love, but how can they be together tomorrow.

These are three interrelated super heated romantic fantasies starring a solid (pun intended) cast.

Harriet Klausner

Private Dancer-Sheri Whitefeather

Private Dancer
Sheri Whitefeather
Heat, Aug 3 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425234570

Beverly Gilbert loves her vocation in spite of knowing that being an exotic dancer who also taught the art led to her divorce two years from her husband Jay Novak. He hated her profession and demanded she end her career as Malibu; instead she quit their marriage. Now his former ménage partners (Amber and Luke) persuade Jay to come to the Dusky Doll because he remains hard (heart and penis) at the thought of Beverly.

Jay asks her what she has been doing and she mentions regression therapy. In the late eighteenth century in the Mediterranean, Camille Renard is to marry spoiled Neylan Empire heir Prince David Abir Ron Veli, but she detests being just part of the harem. She wants to be his harem and plans to lure her future husband with her sexual enticement. As the stripper and the ex begin an affair, she wonders if he was the Prince while he is jealous of her Prince.

This is an entertaining erotic romantic fantasy that uses reincarnation to tie the two eras together. The story line is heated from the moment Jay reappears in Beverly’s life especially beginning with her lap dance that readers will want to emulate with their significant other. Well written with strong characterizations, sub-genre fans will relish Beverly two times while wondering like her if Jay is jealous of himself.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Walker’s Wedding-Lori Copeland

Walker’s Wedding
Lori Copeland
Harvest House, Jul 2010, $12.99
ISBN: 9780736927611

In 1870 Boston, railroad heiress Sarah Livingston is a twenty-fives year old and unmarried. She believes she will remain a spinster as her father rejects all males who court her as he assumes each one is after her fortune.

At the same time that Sarah frets she will never be married, in the Wyoming Territory Walker McKay has given up on having a wife since he was jilted at the altar. Still he sends for a mail order bride.

When Sarah sees an opportunity to take the place of a mail order bride, she leaps into the role. Sarah arrives by train in Wyoming where she finds her fiancé Walker hosting a barbecue. Walker informs the preacher, who had no idea this was a wedding party or did the other guests, to marry him and Sarah. As they fall in love, she fears how he will react to her deception as she feels just like Trudy who dumped Walker.

This is an amusing lighthearted western romance with a powerful message of the importance of trust in relationships between people and with God. The tale contains two likable lead characters and a strong support cast. The story line is fast-paced but it is the relationship between the distrusting groom and the desperate bride who make this Americana so much fun. As with Outlaw's Bride and A Kiss for Cade, Walker's Wedding is an enjoyable nineteenth century romance.

Harriet Klausner