Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Because of Jane -Lenora Worth

Because of Jane
Lenora Worth
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 12, 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716845

Former NFL quarterback Lenny Paxton mentally loses it at a press conference. Instead of seeking help and apologizing for his breakdown, he leaves. Lenny retreats from the public spotlight by returning to the farm of his grandparents where he grew up as a child raised by them.

A magazine hires psychologist Jane Harper to write an article on Lenny. She arrives at the farm uninvited. There she hopes to write an article on the retired football player, but also wants to help him regroup after his mental sacking and hold on to an endorsement deal he is not interested in doing anymore. However, his attraction to Jane keeps him from punting her off the farm; while she feels the same way about throwing a pass at him, even if it is a Hail Mary.

This is a warm contemporary romance starring a fascinating former football hero turned goat and a caring professional. After meeting the sacked QB her agenda changes as she tries to help him move on but also falls in love with him. Readers will enjoy Lenny’s rehabilitation brought about Because of Jane.

Harriet Klausner

Her Great Expectations-Joan Kilby

Her Great Expectations
Joan Kilby
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 12, 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716814

Widower Jack Thatcher has failed to move passed the death of his wife who died in a plane crash. This is ironic as he owned an air-charter at the time she passed on. Since his spouse died, Jack has given up on life as he no longer owns that air-charter and simply avoids entanglements with people.

Jack’s broken world is shook to the core when he meets Dr. Sienna Maxwell. She reciprocates his immediate attraction although she has doubts too. However, what sells her on the depressed Jack is how super he relates with her son. Sienna tries to encourage Jack to join the living especially with her and her child. Initially he remains recalcitrant, but soon figures out that he can’t have Sienna and remain a misanthrope.

Although the theme of love helping someone move on with the grieving process has been used a lot in literature, Joan Kilby keeps her insightful story line fresh due to the unique protagonists. Sienna is a wonderful caring person who also has doubts about a relationship as her prime need is raising her son yet has great expectations so she takes a chance on Jack. He, on the other hand, prefers being a hermit because love does not just hurt; it cripples the soul when it expires. Readers will appreciate this deep contemporary second chance at love tale.

Harriet Klausner

A Little Texas-Liz Talley

A Little Texas
Liz Talley
Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 12, 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716807

Kate Newman is stunned when she learns her partner spent business funds on personal items. This leaves the business in trouble as they owe taxes to the IRS. Desperate she tries to extort money from her affluent father, Justus Mitchell who has never recognized her existence.

Mitchell shocks his daughter when he agrees to give her the money but on the stipulation she spends two weeks with him. She accepts his terms. Mitchell asks his former assistant Rick Mendez, to escort his daughter to him. Kate and Rick are attracted to each other immediately, but he seeks redemption for nasty things he did by opening up rehab center for gang members. Thus he refuses to acknowledge he desires kissable Kate.

The key to A Little Texas is the lead couple, as each has realistic issues and needs that at the minimum seem to defer a relationship but more liker deter any connection between them. Liz Talley provides a well-written interesting tale of two people falling in love at the wrong time, but the inconvenient truth for both is that there probably will not ever be a better time.

Harriet Klausner

Call Me Irresistible-Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Call Me Irresistible
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Morrow, Jan 18 2011, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061351525

Since leaving the professional links former PGA star Ted Beaudine has become mayor of Wynette, Texas. He and the daughter of a former president Lucy Jorik are engaged. However, Lucy’s BFF Meg Koranda, in town for the wedding, realizes her buddy has humongous doubts. So with a little persuasion on Meg’s part, Lucy breaks it off as she feels she deserves a passionate lover and not a guy always stoically putting.

Meg’s parents have cut off her financial backing before her arrival in Texas. With Lucy running away, Meg is stranded in Wynette with no way to pay her bills. The townsfolk who worship Teddy loathe her as a Hollywood snob who interfered with the happiness of the popular local guy. They take it out on Meg who tries to make it while also helping a raging Ted find his heart.

This amusing romance stars two antagonists who were secondary characters in previous tales (see Fancy Pants and Glitter Baby). Although readers will need to accept the implausible nasty reaction by townsfolk who hold Meg culpable for Lucy leaving; as she is the runaway bride’s best friend and her arrival led to doubts. She also remains stranded in Wynette as a handy target to revenge the hole in one in Ted’s psyche. Fans will enjoy her learning that good intentions pave the road to hell in Wynette as she takes a beating but keeps on ticking until Ted and his supporters realize she should be his bride.

Harriet Klausner

Chasing the Sun-Warner

Chasing the Sun
Kaki Warner
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425238615

In 1870 Jack Wilkins failed to persuade his beloved Maria Elena Ramirez to marry him; she rejected him after she suffered crippling injuries to her hip. She also had previous doubts before she got hurt and was unsure of her feelings towards him but was aware he would not settle down on a ranch. Heartbroken he leaves his family New Mexico Territory ranch.

Three years later, Jack returns home as Sister Maria Elena Ramirez plans to take her vows to become a nun. He wants her to marry him. Singer Daisy Etheridge arrives at the Wilkins’ ranch with her 2-year-old daughter Kate whose bounder of a father went west of San Francisco. She insists Jack is Kate’s father. Jack accepts the child as his although he can not recall sleeping with Daisy or for that matter know who she is. Still Jack does the honorable thing as he believes a child needs a father and proposes to Daisy. She rejects his offer as she knows he loves Maria. At the same time the Wilkins’ ownership of the ranch is in jeopardy.

This is a complicated wonderful climax to the delightful Blood Rose trilogy (See Pieces of Sky and Open Country) summed up perfectly by older brother Brady when he informs his siblings: “We got lucky”. Western romance fans will enjoy reading how each of the warring Wilkins brothers got lucky as these are super tales.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Insatiable-Morgan Hawke

Morgan Hawke
Kensington Aphrodisia, Dec 1 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758215475

American artist Elaine rides the Orient Express to Prague. On the train, she meets gorgeous Aramis, who upon first sight proclaims he must make love with her. She cannot resist his proclamation.

However, as they make love on board the train, he confesses to her that he is a vampire. She does not blink with his declaration of being an Undead, but more than blinks with the pleasures of lovemaking he provides to her. She travels with her lover to the Carpathian castle where Rafael is the lord and master. He welcomes both of them to his abode. They forge a ménage a trois as they convert the American to their way of loving and living.

Insatiable is an entertaining erotic paranormal starring three underdeveloped (except in the males’ lower heads) protagonists. The story line is a series of sexual vignettes; filled with humor as sub-genre readers will enjoy the ride.

Harriet Klausner

In Deep-Chloe Harris

In Deep
Chloe Harris
Kensington Aphrodisia, Dec 1 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758238542

In 1745 betrayed Jaidyn Donelly is abducted and dumped in the Caribbean with no money. She has no hope of reaching her Georgetown home except if she barters her only asset; her body. Captain Connor O'Driscoll agrees to provide passage on his ship in return for her sleeping with him.

However, except for the obvious bulge of his lower head, he conceals the toys he plans to use with his guest. As they travel at sea together, the teacher and the student begin a sex education that includes BDSM ventures. Soon each is In Deep love, but must deal with personal secrets if they are to become a permanent match.

The sibling sequel to scintillating Secrets of Sin is a superb eighteenth century erotic romance starring fabulous protagonists. The story line grips the audience from the opening sequence and never unties the bonds until the final altercation. Filled with BDSM scenes that enhance the relationship between the mentor and mentee, sub-genre fans will enjoy the Caribbean-Atlantic sea cruise as Jaidyn and Connor know they are In Deep with their need for each other.

Harriet Klausner

Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right-Kieran Kramer

Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right
Kieran Kramer
St. Martin’s Nov 30 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312374020

A proud contented card carrying member of “The Spinsters’ Club,” Lady Poppy Smith-Barnes avoids potential suitors with a made-up fiancé as she waits for the return of her sweetheart Prince Sergei from Russia. Her model for her fake intended is her cook’s tales of the adventures of the “Impossible Bachelor” the Duke of Drummond.

Her sham works perfectly until the worst that could happen occurs when Nicholas Staunton arrives to see his fiancée. An undercover espionage agent, Nicholas uses his engagement to elude hunting mamas and conceal his work for the Crown. However he underestimated Poppy who has his back (and heart) as they search for a painting and an enemy spy.

The second delightful Prinny Impossible Bachelors Regency romance (see When Harry Met Molly) is a charming investigative thriller starring two likable lead characters. The heroine is refreshing as she learns the best laid plans of mice and Poppy often go astray, but she charges on her light feet leading her beloved into battle. Nicholas is more typical of the sub-genre as an agent who uses his image as a rake to conceal his dangerous royal work. Together they come across as Nick and Nora (Charles not the Playlist that is) of early nineteenth century England.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Bachelor Ranger-Rebecca Winters

The Bachelor Ranger
Rebecca Winters
Harlequin American, Jan 11 2011, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373753437

Fourteen months ago in Yosemite, the kiss hooks the soul of Park Ranger Cal Hollis though he knew she should not have locked lips with teen Alex Harcourt when she threw herself at him and he could not stop what he was dong because she mesmerized him. She also remembers the kiss as the greatest moment of her life.

She is back in Yosemite to start a new program that brings Native Americans to the park. Alex fears Cal will interfere with the project. A widower, he is struck by how much he still wants her and how mature she has become since the kiss. She knows she is in love, but refuses to allow the ranger to break her heart again when he rejected her advances last year. Meanwhile as they work together to make her project a reality, he works on capturing an odious brutal poacher and persuading his beloved he has moved on passed his past.

Rebecca Winters provides a great contemporary romance that stars two strong lead characters and a powerful support cast inside of a vivid setting. The key to this terrific tale is the interweaving of the past of Cal and Alex into the warm story line. With memories of the kiss lingering in their respective souls, this is a super first chance at love.

Harriet Klausner

Ramona and the Renegade-Marie Ferarella

Ramona and the Renegade
Marie Ferarella
Harlequin American, Jan 11 2011, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373753420

In Forever, Texas, Deputy Joe Lone Wolf helps veterinarian Ramona Santiago when her car breaks down. He knows his childhood friend Mona is in Forever temporarily to attend the wedding of his boss who happens to also be her older brother Rick (see The Sheriff’s Christmas Surprise). However, Joe also knows that he has loved Mona seemingly forever, but believes she deserves better than him.

Mona is stunned by her attraction to her rescuer as she has known Joe forever, but never felt this way before. Her emotional meter is already stratospheric with her relationship with Rick radically changed and their estranged mom returning into the lives of the siblings. Now love has both she and Joe reeling for cover.

This is a warm contemporary romance starring two flawed protagonists and a strong support cast especially Rick. Joe is confused with what to do next while Mona fears a broken heart she will not be able to mend. Although both contain too much baggage for a relatively short story line fans will root for another Santiago to find a permanent love.

Harriet Klausner

Improper Seduction-Mary Wine

Improper Seduction
Mary Wine
Kensington Brava, Jan 4 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758242051

In 1543 Lord Newbury promised his daughter Bridget to Lord Curan Ramsden. Before he could wed his intended, Curan went off to war under the banner of King Henry VIII.

After three years of loyal service to his monarch at the front of the war, Curan finally comes home for his reward; marriage to Bridget. Thus he is stunned to learn Newbury has taken his daughter to London to marry some other aristocrat; ironically King Henry’s Chancellor, who remained safely at home. Outraged by the affront that he knows has more than Henry’s blessing. Curan vows to have his betrothed whether they are married or not; though his preference is for her to be his wife. He intercepts her as she heads to London and takes her to his home where she loves his kisses but fears the wrath of King Henry if she fails to wed his Chancellor.

This is an engaging Tudor romance starring two wonderful leads who belong together but due to royal intrigue they are star-crossed lovers. No one dares to mess with the King yet Curan knows his heart demands he must. Mary Wine provides an intoxicating sixteenth century historical as love literally may mean a loss of one’s head.

Harriet Klausner

A Taste of Desire-Beverly Kendall

A Taste of Desire
Beverly Kendall
Zebra, Jan 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420108705

In 1876 Lady Amelia Bertram’s frantic father frets over her shenanigans that he always ends up cleaning up for her. After each incident including several elopements, he vows never again, but ends up cleaning up her mess. Worried what trouble his headstrong daughter will dive head first into while he is across the great pond conducting business, Bertram needs someone to control his devilish offspring though he never succeeded at that endeavor.

Ata a gala, Amelia loudly derides the reputed sexual skills of Lord Thomas Armstrong. At the same time, Bertram asks a favor of Armstrong to watch over his daughter while he is in America. Armstrong reluctantly agrees to serve as surrogate guardian because he owes his mentor a lot; beside he wants to tame the shrew. In front of his family, her servants, his mistress, her former “fiancé” and a cast of quadrillion, the gender war begins in earnest.

Although none of the support cast seems more than a stereotype and the lead couple not much more fleshed out, fans will enjoy this riotous Victorian romance. The witty battle of the sexes is amusing as each of the combatants vow to teach their adversary a lesson in humility; neither was prepared for the taming of their heart.

Harriet Klausner

A Little Bit Sinful-Adrienne Basso

A Little Bit Sinful
Adrienne Basso
Zebra, Jan 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420111903

Viscount Sebastian Dodd has waited for seemingly forever to enact vengeance for the death of his mother years ago. He remained patient though each ensuing season of the Ton added to his thirst to finally achieve his vendetta. Now the opportunity is here and he seizes the moment. He will seduce innocent Bianca Collins.

However, his problem is not with the lovely Bianca, but with her obstinate older sister Eleanor. Whereas the men compete for Bianca, Sebastian prefers Eleanor as he enjoys their witty battles. She begins to fall in love with him, but assumes he loves Bianca so she steps aside. He knows his plan will only work with Bianca, but he cannot ignore Eleanor. Then they kiss. Revising his cold scheme of revenge, Sebastian finds the nurturing warmth of love so much more enlightening until his beloved learns of their past connection and why she assumes he courted the Collins’ sisters.

Although the twin R themes of revenge and redemption have been used many times before, the cast keeps Adrienne Basso’s historical romance a fresh, fun frolic. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as a little bit of love overpowers years of anger. The secondary characters enhance the house party in which Sebastian learns vengeance is served cold while love serves internal warmth.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 26, 2010

Indulgent-Cathryn Fox

Cathryn Fox
Heat, Jan 4 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232090

The only survivor of her coven murdered by Darklanders over five centuries ago, Lily the spiritual shifting witch resides in gated Serene, New Hampshire; home to the paranormal. Fearing for her life, she has concealed her otherworldly skills since the massacre of her sisters.

The Paranormal Task Force assigns Agents Jaret and Toby to destroy the abomination Serene. The cousins accept their mission without a qualm as they believe the residents of that atrocity are evil. However, the empath duo is stunned when they encounter Lily; as they want her but how can they desire a monster. To her chagrin Lily is attracted to the two operatives who she believes will lead the Darklanders to her so they can finish the genocide. Adding to the confusion of the PTF undercover agents is how welcoming the gentle people of Serene are to them.

The latest Interesting Eternal Pleasure paranormal erotica (see Impulsive and Instinctive) is a fast-paced tale as the cousins learn while in and out of bed with Lily how nice the people they are to massacre are. The use of telepathic voyeurism is a refreshing nuance while the erotic triangle is fully developed. Although the climax comes across as coitus interruptus with its abruptness, sub-genre fans will enjoy Cathryn Fox’s fine paranormal erotic thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Seduction of Miranda Prosper-Marissa Day

The Seduction of Miranda Prosper
Marissa Day
Heat, Jan 4 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425238653

In London, Miranda Prosper is a spinster with no prospects. Thus when Corwin asks her to dance with him at a London ball, she is taken aback as no male of importance besides her family would be caught with her. Corwin and his BFF Darius are wizards concerned for prim and proper Prosper’s safety as recently catalysts like her have vanished without a trace.

Corwin and Darius are attracted to their “student” who they must train to use her Catalyst power to save their people. She relishes her new role as she has two hunks wanting her though her desire for both does confuse her. As the triangle forges into a strong resolute bond, the weak cortex is not her; but instead Darius who distrusts everyone except Corwin.

This is an entertaining Regency erotic fantasy in which the ménage a trois heat the sheets while also having to save their species, which, if they fail, will become extinct. The world of Marissa Day is nicely developed so that the reader will feel we are in an early nineteenth century London thriving with paranormal activity. However, the key remains the triangle whose strongest angle proves to be Miranda Prosper as she goes from seduced trainee to seductress having two sorcerers dying to please her (and each other).

Harriet Klausner

Ravished by a Viking-Delilah Devlin

Ravished by a Viking
Delilah Devlin
Heat, Jan 4 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425239612

The alien Consortium captures Eirik the younger brother Viking Wolfskin Clan Chieftain Dagr. Irate with the abduction of his blood, the warrior goes after the enemy with a determination that the Consortium has not seen before; Dagr will risk his life in order to free his sibling and other prisoners. He and his crew board the ship led by Captain Honora, an honorable intelligent sailor who is used to ordering men about even in her boudoir.

Quickly realizing her crew has no chance against the berserker pirates even though her side has the superior weapons, Honora surrenders the fight. Dagr demands much more from the female captain as he plans to show her the man is on top. As they battle for gender superiority, they team up in search of his sibling.

With a nod to Sandra Hill’s SEAL-Viking time travel romances (although Delilah Devlin employs visitors from space instead of time), Ravished by a Viking is an ultra heated erotic science fiction romance. The lead couple (and a third mate) turns this story into a fun tale as each wants to tie the other in knots while neither loses sight of the fight to rescue Eirik.

Harriet Klausner

Irresistible Fortune-Wendy Etherington

Irresistible Fortune
Wendy Etherington
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 1 2011, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795918

The research team seeks the Civil War vessel The Carolina, which sunk off Palmer’s Island, South Carolina in September 1863. Rumors abound that the pirate Captain Cullen had a fortune on board. Historian Brenna McGary is irate that treasure hunter Gavin Fortune is part of the discovery recovery team as she strongly believes history should not be sold. She believes this modern day privateer will try to do so unless she prevents him.

To her chagrin, Brenna is attracted to the modern day buccaneer, who makes it clear that he wants to become Her Private Treasure. As she increasingly finds the rogue to be her Irresistible Fortune, she fears the notorious salvager will dump her as unwanted junk while running off with the treasure including her heart.

This is a fun treasure hunt in which Gavin makes the tale fun with his daring deeds on land and at sea; as he exasperates the heroine who in turn loves and loathes her attraction to the rogue. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted frolic as Wendy Etherington provides a blazing contemporary with an underlying message of who owns history “garbage dumps”.

Harriet Klausner

Caught off Guard-Kira Sinclair

Caught off Guard
Kira Sinclair
Harlequin Blaze, Jan 1 2011, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795925

Heiress Annemarie Prescott could sense the man looking at her across a crowded room. She looks back at bodyguard Blake Mitchell who has no paparazzi camera to continue to photo her misdeeds or even dollar signs; instead he has lust in his eyes as each attends the wedding of his younger sister who is her best friend Karyn nee Mitchell (see Whispers in the Dark; not read by me) at the Prescott Hotel in Darby, Mississippi while her CEO mom awaits the runaway prodigal child’s return to the fold.

Her mom hired him to persuade her to come home. Meanwhile as Blake and Annemarie emit enough heat to melt the polar icecaps, someone tries to kill her; only his intervention keeps her from harm. Soon they fall in love, but his occupation requires a Bogart persona and her distrust of so called loving relationships which only denotes hurt threaten to keep them apart even as that stalker gets increasingly brazen.

This is an entertaining regional heater as the lead couple struggles to come together with each bringing tons of baggage to their shaky relationship. The story line is character driven though the stalker adds suspense to the exciting mix as fans will be Caught off Guard with the twisting strong climax to an enjoyable contemporary romance.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wedding of the Season: Abandoned at the Altar- Laura Lee Guhrke

Wedding of the Season: Abandoned at the Altar
Laura Lee Guhrke
Avon, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061963155

In 1895, the wedding between childhood sweethearts Lady Beatrix and Lord William is called off when he has a chance to join an archeological dig in Egypt. He asks his fiancée to come with him, but she says no. He leaves without her; humiliating her, his family and angering her family.

Six years later Will is back in England riding a horse when he sees a woman driving a roadster. The horse bolts and kicks Will in the knee. Trix has no sympathy for her former fiancé, who insists he came home to attend her wedding to prim and proper Aidan Carr. He actually came home to borrow money for the dig as they are close to finding Tut’s tomb. Trix goes to see Will to ask why he is home. They argue as he says she lied to him about her interest in archeology while she accuses him of abandonment. Will’s best friend Paul suggests he ask Marlowe the publisher. Will goes to Pixy Cove to Visit Marlowe though he knows Trix and Aidan will be there too on a holiday. At Pixy Cove, Trix enters her favorite area Phoebe’s Cave when Will arrives. He insists she does not love Aidan. He decides to prove she loves him by kissing her as Julie, Paul and Aidan arrive.

The lead couple is a fun pairing of opposites with a history. The support cast is strong especially Trix’s fiancée and her best friend. Although the story line unfairly makes the cautious Trix the guilty party in their break up and a late twist back at the dig seems off kilter though it forces issues, readers will want to attend the Wedding of the Season as wedding planner Laura Lee Guhrke provides an entertaining late Victorian romance.

Harriet Klausner

Finding Destiny-Jean Johnson

Finding Destiny
Jean Johnson
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425238622

“Sundara”. When his abusive owner dies, dyara Chanson frees Eduour the Mandarite slave as the village lacks males since most have been deployed in battle.

“Guildara”. Arbran Knight Diplomat Sir Zeilas meets his former enemies the Guildarans led by Marta Grenspun.

“Aurul”. Guildaran Gabria Springreaver is the new envoy to Aurul where a strange prophecy abounds.

“Jenodan Isles”. Aurulean Royal Captain Ellet and Mita the pirate meet when he stalks her under royal command in the Jenodan Isles.

These super interrelated fantasies enhance the Sons of Destiny mythos.

Harriet Klausner

Skin Heat-Ava Gray

Skin Heat
Ava Gray
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425239209

Zeke Noble had been a farmer when he was kidnapped, taken to a secret lab, and his hosts experimented on him. He finally escaped but not before they ripped part or all of his soul as he is now different. He realizes how much so with what he can hear while standing on his desolate farm where he prays that his animals survived his “abandonment” as he cares about them. A part of his natural link to them has been enhanced by those SOBs who ran their tests on him.

Zeke feels more like an animal than a human, but must conceal his nature if he is to survive and avoid another kidnapping. He obtains a position as an assistant veterinarian to Geneva Harper, whose old world affluent Southern family detests her employment as they demand she be a debutant working in the firm. Both are attracted to one another, but neither makes a first step as each has reasons to avoid a relationship. However, when a serial killer begins murdering women who look like his Neva, he acts to protect his mate.

The latest Skin paranormal romantic suspense (see Skin Game and Skin Tight) grips the audience from the sad description that Zeke provides as he looks over his farm and never slows down as the introverted hero refuses to allow any harm to come to his woman. Fast-paced throughout, fans await the confrontation as the killer comes closer and closer to Neva; forcing Zeke’s lab enhancements that act like animal instincts to surface as he can no longer deny his feelings. This is a terrific whodunit thriller with a wild twist as there are no shades of Gray when it comes to how good this author is.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Falling in Love with English Boys-Melissa Jensen

Falling in Love with English Boys
Melissa Jensen
Speak (Penguin), Dec 23 2010, $8.99
ISBN: 9780142418512

They are the same age and gender with similar problems though they live two centuries apart. Each struggles with fathers who do not exist except in name only as they are very busy and moms with no understanding of their teen desires.

Though there are differences, the similarities between them continue when both are in London as stated in “Cat’s Cat-astrophic Cat-aclysmic Cat-atonic blog. Cat and Katherine soon find love. Cat relishes the chocolate and the dudes with charming accents, but especially Will who she thinks is Mister Right but acts like Prince Wrong; while Katherine falls in love with Baker though she thinks a lot more of Everard.

Targeting middle school children, Falling in Love with English Boys is clever fascinating tale that enables readers to compare lifestyles of a modern era female teen with a Regency era teen through Cat’s observations based on Katherine’s dairy. Both lead females are fully developed characters while the males in their lives are less rounded as their mission is to enhance reader understanding of the two felines. Fans will enjoy Melissa Jensen entertaining tale of two girls who prove London Swings now and then.

Harriet Klausner

Ruthless Game-Christine Feehan

Ruthless Game
Christine Feehan
Jove, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780515149210

Pregnant Rose Patterson escapes from the confinement of Dr. Whitney’s illegal lab where she and Kane Cannon were used in genetic experiments which culminated with her carrying. Kane also managed to break out of the incarceration. Whereas she hides, he joins Mack McKinley’s GhostWalker Team Three.

In, Mexico, McKinley’s squad works a hostage rescue mission. Kane realizes that his Rose is inside. During the heat of the skirmish, Kane and Rose find each other, but are not near his teammates. Although she is eight months pregnant and distrusts everyone, she knows with her unborn baby’s soul she can rely on Kane to take her to safety although Whitney pursues them for the child he covets.

This is a fresh entry in the GhostWalker saga due to the relationship between the lead couple. They were matched together by evil Whitney in his lab and the fetus she carries is the results of his malevolence; yet both risk their lives to keep the unborn safe especially from the abusive researcher. Series fans will appreciate this strong thriller as the romance takes a back seat to the action.

Harriet Klausner

How to Marry a Duke-Vicky Dreiling

How to Marry a Duke
Vicky Dreiling
Forever, Jan 3 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446565370

In 1816, the Duke of Shelbourne knows it is past time to get married and raise an heir, but so many women have wanted this most eligible bachelor he has delayed his decision until the clock has run out on him. However, Tristan Gatewick has problems with a horde of females wanting him; he does not want to spend his life with the inane boneheads that seem to be all the Ton offers.

After mangling her fan at a gala, Tristan hires matchmaker Tessa Mansfield to find him a suitable wife with a brain. Tessa arranges a contest between twenty-four eligible ladies desiring to become the next Duchess of Shelbourne. The games begin with fierce competition in every venue imaginable. However, as the debs are sent packing until two remain, Tristan kisses Tessa whose former suitor has returned. Someone aware of Tessa’s dark secret blackmails her and other threats more dangerous to her surface; which only strengthens Tristan’s resolve to declare that the matchmaker has won the contest.

Although having a last woman standing contest is not a new concept (see A Peculiar Proposition by Diane Henderson). Vicky Dreiling provides a charming romance as she runs the ducal games in accordance with acceptable Regency aristocratic behavior. The cast is solid as they bring humor, shenanigans, and deportment, but the tale belongs to the duke and his matchmaker as he knows who he wants as his duchess. Sub-genre fans will welcome Ms. Dreiling with pressure of matching the enjoyment of this engaging historical with “how to tame” a rakish Hawk.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Against the Wind-Kat Martin

Against the Wind
Kat Martin
Mira, Jan 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778329190

In Wind Canyon, Wyoming, sexagenarian Olivia Jones rents a cottage to Widow Sarah Allen and her six year old daughter Holly. Sarah left Santa Monica following the death of her husband Andrew whose shady business partners like Marty Kazak want something they believe she has inherited from her spouse.

The owner of the house and the ranch it is on Jackson Raines is irate with his housekeeper for leasing to that woman though he knows he is being unfair to Olivia. He wants Sarah to leave, but she persuades him to let her stay. Jackson vows to keep his distance from the girl who humiliated him in high school.

However, just what he feared would happen occur as Jackson knows he remains attracted to Sarah. She reciprocates, but knows she hurt him so tries to keep her distance and conceal her desire; besides she has a dark secret hovering over her. However, when Sarah is in trouble with Andrew’s nasty associates, Jackson protects her at a risk to his heart.

The Raines of Wind Canyon Wyoming ranch romance is an engaging second chance at love tale as she regrets what she did to him in high school and he rues her return as his humiliation by her still remains raw even after sixteen plus years. The suspense comes late, but adds to a strong tale as the heroine’s Southern California past comes to Wyoming.

Harriet Klausner

Promise Canyon-Robyn Carr

Promise Canyon
Robyn Carr
Mira, Jan 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778329213

Clay Tahoma comes to Virgin City, California as the veterinary assistant and “horse whisperer” at the Jensen Veterinary Clinic. His friend veterinarian Nate Jensen offered him the job so the former Navaho Nation resident left Los Angeles for Humboldt County. When Clay and Hopi Lilly Yazhi meet, they are attracted to one another. However, when she was a teen, Lilly liked a boy from her tribe, but he broke her heart. She vowed then never again and has adhered to her pledge, but now has doubts thanks to Clay. He has issues too having been divorced from Isabel just prior to asking for this job.

Because they work closely together on helping a horse she rescued, she cannot avoid him. As they begin to fall in love, Clay’s former wife arrives in town. Will Lilly move passed her teen hurt or will she use the ex spouse as an excuse to avoid risking hurting her heart again.

The latest Virgin River rural romance is a wonderful tale whose prime plot focuses on second chances starring two fascinating lead protagonists whose matchmaker is a horse. As always a myriad of supporting segues on other town characters enhance the feeling that a reader is in Virgin River; however that experience also will bewilder newcomers who will feel somewhat disconnected unless they read some of the previous warm tales of love (see Moonlight Road and Angel’s Peak).

Harriet Klausner

Must Love Kilts-Allie Mackay

Must Love Kilts
Allie Mackay
Signet, Jan 4 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451231949

In 1250 in the Northwest Highlands, Laird Magnus MacBride is outraged when his betrothed was killed by marauding Norsemen. He vows vengeance on all Vikings as the blood rushes to his head and turns him into a berserker. His dreams of making love to a lovely woman are the only respite from his rage.

In present day New Hope, Pennsylvania, twentyish Margo Menlove loves all things Scottish; so much so the Bucks County residents consider her the ultimate authority. Although her enthusiasm is catching she also hides from everyone her dreams about a certain thirteenth century Scotsman who appears in a book.

Upon winning a trip, she travels to Scotland. Margo picks up an odd looking stone only to find herself naked in combat staring at Magnus. He is shocked as the Vikings he was just fighting vanished and his dream woman is standing nude before him. She is as stunned with seeing the star of her book and wet fantasies staring at her in shock, awe and desire. Already in love even before they met, they become an entry fighting against those who promulgate hate.

This is a lighthearted time travel romance in which the lead couple is in love before they ever met. The story line is brisk and fun, but lacks intensity, which is ironic as he is a raging berserker and she is extremely passionate regarding Scottish. Still fans will enjoy the M to the fourth power romance between the medieval highlander and the twenty-first century fanatic.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mistress by Midnight-Maggie Robinson

Mistress by Midnight
Maggie Robinson
Kensington Brava, Jan 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758251015

Desmond Ryland, the Marquess of Conover, wants nothing to do with an arranged marriage as he loves his childhood friend and neighbor Laurette Vincent. They exchange vows to each other in secrecy and make love. Laurette becomes pregnant giving birth to a daughter she conceals from Con.

Con completes his obligation by marrying the arranged bride and siring the heir. He deserts his wife and son going overseas for the next decade. When he learns his spouse died, he comes home to see his Laurette. Although they still love one another, Laurette has doubts especially since he abandoned his heir. Desperate to win over his beloved, Con blackmails her into becoming his mistress using the one pawn he could control her with; an interim step until he can marry her.

Mistress by Midnight is an enjoyable Regency romance starring two fascinating lead characters. Whereas Laurette sacrificed her place in society to raise their love child; Con completed his obligation to society and fled instead of staying to raise his heir. Fans will admire the heroine while hissing at the lead male for abandoning his offspring. Although the story line slows down somewhat in the middle, readers will enjoy wondering whether Con can achieve his quest as he has a lot of baggage to overcome.

Harriet Klausner

Sins of a Highland Devil-Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Sins of a Highland Devil
Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Grand Central, Jan 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446561785

In 1396 King Robert Stewart of Scotland orders the lairds of clans MacDonald, Cameron and Mackintosh to end their bloody feud in the Glen of Many Legends with final combat. The clan of the last male survivor will own the Glen; those from the losing two clans will leave.

Sister to Laird Alasdair MacDonald, Catriona has struggled to ignore her attraction to Laird James Cameron. He feels like her as he knows he loves Catriona but cannot do anything about his feelings as their clans constantly feud. James meets with Alasdair and Laird Kendrew Mackintosh to discuss how to avoid a bloodbath and not lose the Glen to the monarch. However, none of the lairds are aware that their sisters have plotted a different gender outcome in the battle for who will be the last man standing in the Glen of Many Legends.

This is a great opening Highlander medieval romance with a strong lead couple and powerful support characters that will soon star in their own tales. The three pairs of aristocratic siblings are all fully developed with each loving their clan while also possessing a star-crossed love for a leader of one of the other clans. Sub-genre fans will be hooked into a one sitting read of Sins of a Highland Devil while anxiously awaiting the middle tale of what looks like will be one of the best medieval trilogies in years.

Harriet Klausner

This Glittering World-T. Greenwood

This Glittering World
T. Greenwood
Kensington, Jan 1 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758250919

Although engaged to optimistic strong willed Sara, adjunct history professor Ben Bailey has doubts that he wants to marry the sometimes termagant. When she is nice, which is most of the time, he knows he wants her; but when she is over the top he wants her out of his life. He muses while also tending bar over whether to marry or not to marry.

Ben finds a severely battered young Native American male nearly dead on his lawn in Flagstaff, Arizona. Not one to become passionate about anything, Ben feels an urge to know what happened to the lad. When Ricky Begay dies, Ben obsesses over the truth of what happened to him, especially when what seems an obvious murder appears to be ignored. His inquiry leads Ben to Ricky’s sister Shadi. As they team up on the investigation into her sibling’s homicide, he falls in love with Shadi, but Sara is carrying his child.

Ben’s doubts about what he wants in life make for an engaging contemporary, but require a key acceptance by readers of the lead male’s obsession with the beating death of Ricky leading him to a third choice. His revised musing is to marry pregnant Sara or to marry grieving Shadi. Readers will want to know whether Ben chooses responsibility (Sara) or adventure (Shadi) as he perceives his dueling relationships; he assumes both will want to wed him.

Harriet Klausner

Then He Kissed Me-Christie Ridgeway

Then He Kissed Me
Christie Ridgeway
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425239179

Stephania "Stevie" Baci wants nothing to do with her family vineyard turned into a wedding events place. However, though she tries to avoid serving as a hostess at Tanti Baci Winery Wedding Chapel, Stevie has no choice but to run the marriage of her former fiancé Emerson Platt and his intended bride Princess Roxanne of Ardenia.

Roxanne’s brother Prince Jacques "Jack" Parini agrees to assist Stevie with the event and to help her avoid humiliation of watching her former fiancé walk down the aisle by pretending to be her fiancé. She accepts his kind offer although she considers rejecting it as she will now have to spend time with an alpha hunk she secretly covets. As they fall in love, Stevie doubts she is ready to walk down the aisle.

The latest Three Kisses Napa Valley romance (see Crush on You) is a delightful contemporary starring a protective champion (with strong reasons to watch over his sister and Stevie) and an “I’m Not In Love heroine. Although the support cast can prove overwhelming at times (then again it is a wedding), fans will enjoy the adventures in love between the Mystery Man who insists he is as much a Georgia farmer as as he is a European royal and the winery’s Tomboy.

Harriet Klausner

Beautiful Disaster-Laura Spinella

Beautiful Disaster
Laura Spinella
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $15.00
ISBN 9780425238608

Married Mia Montgomery Wells persuades a customer to invest in her eco-friendly office set-up when she receives a call. Her former boyfriend Peyton Flynn McDermott lies in a coma in a Silver Spring, Maryland hospital following an accident. She apologizes to her potential investor before rushing off to the hospital in a panic.

Thirteen years ago when Mia attended the University of Georgia as a design major, she and Peyton met and fell in love. However, he dumped her when he concluded his beloved deserved someone better than a troubled soul like he was. While her spouse is upset with her bed vigil, Mia stays by Peyton’s side while musing back to when they were a couple. He was a biking riding drifter who she feared might be a serial killer. Now she believes she has a second chance to at least learn why he left and how he feels though at the cost of her marriage regardless of what Peyton does after he recovers; which she expects though his doctors are much more cautious.

This is an interesting second chance at love tale with the twist that Mia apparently nukes her marriage and her business on a wing and a prayer that Peyton will tell her why he left and admits to her he loves her. She has no doubt he will recover even when he suffers setbacks that shake her soul; as Mia believes fate would not have used the emergency to bring them together. Although Mia’s flushing her marriage and business are difficult to accept as reasonable actions; that is why Beautiful Disaster works as love makes people obsess into doing strange things seemingly out of character.

Harriet Klausner

Keys to the Castle-Donna Ball

Keys to the Castle
Donna Ball
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425239308

Forty-six year old Sara Graves is excellent at selling things people do not want. Sara grieves the loss of her husband of three weeks, Daniel Orsay, but leaves her sister’s North Carolina home for Paris to handle her late spouse’s estate.

Daniel’s best friend lawyer Ash Lindeman flies home to London from Hong King; but though exhausted, he goes on to Rondelais, France to meet Daniel’s widow. Ash’s ex-wife Michele wants his help to insure she gets Rondelais Chateau as Daniel’s only living relative. Ash informs her he will take care of his client Sara’s interest.

Ash owns a portion of the estate and Sara the rest. He suggests they sell or lease to a hotelier. Michele arrives with five years old girl Alyssa who she insists is Daniel’s child. Irate Ash tells her to leave before he has arrested for taking her out of school without his permission as Alyssa’s guardian. He tells Sara, a woman insisted Daniel was Alyssa’s father, but Daniel denied it and committed suicide. Later Sara is awakened by a crying abandoned Alyssa. Irate at Michele and Ash she cares for the child. Sara rips Ash’s head off and decides to put the castle in trust for Alyssa. As they argue, the two adults fall in love, but he believes he is not worthy of her.

The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as her late beloved was his best friend. Alyssa is a solid support character as is much of the rest of the cast who play minor roles. The ethics displayed by Ash and a lawyer from his firm is refreshing. Although the final resolution of the lead couple’s conflict seems too easy for such as complicated relationship drama, readers will appreciate Donna Ball’s character driven contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

How Sweet It Is-Sophie Gunn

How Sweet It Is
Sophie Gunn
Forever, Jan 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446561990

In Galton, New York Ethan Pond the father of his fourteen year old daughter Paige informs Lizzie Carpenter he is coming to see his offspring for the holidays. The “ratbastard” abandoned her when she was a pregnant high school senior. Lizzie tells her friends/enemies (Jill, Nina and Georgia) at the Enemy Club that “pondscum” is coming to see his daughter. She also wishes she could hire a handyman to fix up her house.

Dante “Tay” Giovanni happens to be in town to fund a college student Candy as he holds himself culpable for the car accident that killed her mom. Tay overhears Lizzie’s wish and begins repairing the house as guilt prevents him sleeping anyway during his sleepless nights. However she begins to join him and Dune the cat on their nocturnal fixer upper and soon afterward love heals two hearts.

This is an entertaining Enemies Club contemporary romance starring two interesting lead characters. Whereas Lizzie is somewhat typical of the sub-genre, a working single mom with doubts about having a man in her life, Tay brings the freshness with his deep guilt over the accident to include surviving. The support cast including an elderly neighbor enhances a terrific opening act as Sophie Gunn provides an engaging tale in which love helps heal emotional wounds.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Believe In Me-Laura Moore

Believe In Me
Laura Moore
Ballantine, Jan 18 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345482778

Jordan Radcliffe is pregnant with her third child when she finds out her husband Richard is cheating. Stunned by the betrayal, nonetheless Jordan agrees to go to a marriage counselor. After several months of visits with counselor Abby Walsh, a doubting Jordan begins to believe they may be able to save their marriage; until she hears a tape of Richard having sex with the same woman she caught him with in the first place.

Knowing her marriage is over, Jordan returns to her family home Rosewood, a horse farm with a mansion in Virginia. There she meets architect Owen Gage, who designed Nonie Harrison’s home. Jordan hopes to be hired to design the interior. Nonie makes it look like Owen stole her concept and supporting ideas, which he then gave to his firm’s interior designer to use. Once Jordan and Owen realize Nonie double crossed both of them, they begin dating. While Jordan feels she is falling in love, Owen remains frivolous never serious about anything involving their relationship. When he completes his latest design, Own plans to leave.

Mindful of Barbara Delinsky, but with her own stamp, readers will believe that Laura Moore writes wonderful contemporary romances with a strong family background (see Remember Me for Jordan’s sister Margot’s tale). Jordan is a resolute individual who knows her three kids come first while Owen has commitment issues. Although the older two kids adapt too easily to the change in their environment, the support cast enhances the second Rosewood romance as love comes once again to the horse farm, but may not be enough ro keep Owen with Jordan since he has commitment issues.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Ranger-Monica McCarty

The Ranger
Monica McCarty
Ballantine, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345518262

In 1307 in Scotland, Robert the Bruce assigns Arthur “Ranger” Campbell a special top secret mission. He wants Ranger to go undercover pretending to be in support of the British while spying on their enemy. Ranger knows if he is caught he will be executed.

During an attack, Ranger saves the life of Anna MacDougall. They are attracted to one another, but he knows he must not lose sight of his task. Instead he joins her English loyalist father’s call to arms. As he keeps saving her life, her father directs her to spy on the Scotsman. Arthur, who hates her father, and Anna, who dislikes her father, fall in love, but open hostility has ignited between both sides making their desires unattainable.

The third Highland Guard medieval Scottish romance (see The Hawk and The Chief) is an engaging historical due to the star-crossed lead couple whose love may prove not enough to overcome the hostilities that engulf them and others. Both are moles as he spies for the Bruce and she spies for her father. Marvelous Monica McCarty magically moves her fans to the early fourteenth century with a thrilling Highland Guard tale.

Harriet Klausner

Nightingale-Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren
Summerside, Nov 1 2010, $12.99
ISBN: 9781609360252

Just prior to both of them going overseas as part of the war effort, Esther Lange and her fiancé Linus Hahn had a one night stand in the back of a borrowed car. Esther works for the Red Cross while Linus is a solider. When Esther became pregnant with their child, the Red Cross sent her home. Linus learns he sired a daughter so he sends the pair to live with his prim and proper parents.

While mother and daughter live in the attic for the past two years, Esther works as a nurse. Severely wounded, Linus has medic Peter Hess send a letter to Esther; who knows now Linus is dead. Esther and Peter begin exchanging correspondence. However, when she learns of Peter’s secret and deception, she wants nothing more to do with him although she fell in love with her pen pal.

This WW II drama is a fabulous historical romance with a wonderful spin re Peter; I recommend readers avoid the back cover as that gives away part of the early charm. Wisconsin during WW II provides a wonderful prime backdrop. Character driven by Esther, Peter and their respective memories (as well as those of the Hahn parents) of Linus, Susan May Warren provides a powerful war of the hearts.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Scent of Jasmine-Jude Deveraux

The Scent of Jasmine
Jude Deveraux
Pocket, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780743479028

In 1799, Virginia artist Catherine Edilean Harcourt has a lot of potential suitors, but she has no interest in marrying any of them. She visits her ailing godfather T.C. Connor in Charleston who because of a broken leg that keeps him from getting around asks adventurous Catherine to deliver a packhorse for him. Dressed for a ball she will attend after her good deed, Catherine goes to give the steed to escaped convict Alexander McDowell, who just broke out of prison.

However, the drop off fails to go according to plan as hunters chase stalk Alex who takes Cay with him while fleeing south to the Everglades. There she pretends to be a young male nature artist while Alex sets out to prove he never murdered his wife. Trying to rescue their assumed kidnapped as a hostage sister, Cay’s three raging brothers follow their trail.

The latest Edilean historical romance (see Lavender Morning and Days of Gold) is a wonderful late eighteenth century tale starring two warm lead protagonists. The Everglades is a terrific setting as the artist thrives while the convict worries about his “prisoner” who has turned his heart into her hostage. Readers will relish the return to Edilean; in which ironically that setting hardly appears.

Harriet Klausner

The Silent Order-Melanie Dobson

The Silent Order
Melanie Dobson
Summerside, Nov 1 2010, $12.99
ISBN: 9781609360191

In 1928 in Sugarcreek, Ohio, Amish Katie Lehman hides her son Henry from her own past and from the English detectives who are looking for him. Kate will do anything to keep Henry safe.

At the same time Rollin Wells struggles with learning who is dirty on the police force abetting the Cleveland-based Cardanos mob. Rollin knows his only chance to find out who that person he must go undercover amidst the Amish. His hosts are unhappy with his presence, but agree not to interfere with his investigation as long as follows their rules. However, though intentions are honorable, his feelings for Kate place her and her son at risk while he also tries to learn what she hides.

The key to this exciting Prohibition Era police procedural is that the romantic subplot does not intrude on the suspense, but instead enhances the undercover cop’s efforts to end the bootlegging murderous activity of the Cleveland mob starting with their mole. Fast-paced and loaded with action and a slight nod to Ford’s movie Witness, readers will be hooked as the world of cops and robbers crash and clash with that of the Amish.

Harriet Klausner

The Duke’s Night of Sin-Kathryn Caskie

The Duke’s Night of Sin
Kathryn Caskie
Avon, Nov 30 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061491030

In 1816 London at aptly titled Blackwood Hall while England is dark even in daylight due to the ash on the air from a volcano eruption, Lady Siusan Sinclair enters the unlighted library while struggling with today’s date; the anniversary of her fiancé’s death. A stranger follows her in, takes her in his arms and holds her in a warm hug before they kiss. Both are stunned by the feelings each feels for the other though faceless in the dark.

Although she never held a paying job before, Siusan obtains a teacher position in Bath. She likes most of her students, but especially has a place in her heart for Gemma. On the other hand she detests Gemma’s guardian, the Duke of Exeter, who seems constantly at war with her. However, both know the loathing is a mask for the love they feel for feel for one another; as they felt it when they first met in the London library.

The latest Seven Deadly Sins Regency romance (see The Most Wicked of Sins; envy and To Sin With A Stranger; avarice) is an enjoyable historical. Siusan, cut off from income by her angry father, diligently works to overcome “sloth”; while Exeter enjoys teasing the “sinner”. While their gender war feel somewhat similar to that of her brother Sterling’s romantic combat in To Sin With A Stranger, fans will enjoy the third sinner’s tale.

Harriet Klausner

Taken By Desire-Lavinia Kent

Taken By Desire
Lavinia Kent
Avon, Nov 30 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061986048

Anna Steele dreams of one thing that she wants for herself; not to be controlled by a man. Her other dream stars Struthers, but that one she prefers not to admit to except as a pestilence. Her independence dream comes true when she inherits a ton on money that enables her to move out of her father’s home.

Anna cannot help but intervene when her half-sister married Maddie is in a scandalous position in which her husband icy Lord Milson will shoot first and then ask no questions. Prim and proper, Anna pushes a hunk against a wall and kisses him. Just back from India, Alexander Struthers is shocked by the brazen beauty who has compromised them. Affluent he does not want a wife he is now engaged to the pushy woman. Each is attracted to the other, but neither is used to revealing their feelings especially their fears so they do what they always did; hide them. Meanwhile Anna’s family places her in a nasty situation while Alex has nightmares over the cost of how he became rich.

This is an engaging historical romance starring two intriguing self-control freaks who find love a nuisance that belongs in a “madhouse” but not in their lives. Anna’s unfeeling two-dimensional family members, who are hostile towards her for her attempts to counter the harm they did to others, detract from an otherwise strong tale as they appear underdeveloped and ruled by avarice and selfishness. The lead pair is a fresh couple due to their independent natures causing their desire for detachment foiled by kisses (and other sexual gyrations), they make for a fun tale.

Harriet Klausner

A Most Scandalous Engagement-Gayle Callen

A Most Scandalous Engagement
Gayle Callen
Avon, Nov 30 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783449

In 1846 the bets were flying as to who posed nude for the painting hanging in the gentlemen’s club. Lord Peter Derby is confident he will win the wager as he believes childhood friend Lady Elizabeth Cabot is the luscious model. However, he is taken aback and sidetracked from his pursuit when she asks him to pretend to be her fiancé. He agrees, but wonders if she might be the model.

Still he always liked Elizabeth and helped her out of situations when they were kids, but he also knows he is way below her station in life. Elizabeth wants Peter to teach her how to love a man. He agrees to help her again, but realizes he wants to be her man.

The latest scandalous sensational Victorian romance (see In Pursuit of a Scandalous Lady) is a charming historical as Peter is confident he will win the bet, but instead wins a greater prize. The story line is fast-paced as Peter and Elizabeth fall in love with one another, but she has major doubts about him and the notorious wager. Providing delightful background is the feeding frenzy over who the model is as Gayle Callen entertains her fans with a scandalous winner.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stars of Fire-Mary Ellen Dennis

Stars of Fire
Mary Ellen Dennis
Five Star, Jan 5 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594149252

In 1820 Pennsylvania, a woman dies giving birth. Immediately after, someone poisons her midwife Matilda Tuttle. The baby James Coleman is given to the Higley family to raise and use on their farm. In 1832, Cole gets into a fight with the four older Higley brothers in which he cuts the finger of the oldest before fleeing. In 1849 Cole meets ten years old (or younger) Jane Elizabeth McAllister over times tables and a splinter; he is charmed by the young girl who tells him she has visions and forecasts one day he will be her husband before he leaves. In 1857 James Buchanan became president while Cole became a highly regarded boxer fighting in places like California. In 1860 Jenny lives with Ambrose Higley as her husband since she was sold to him to pay off her late uncle’s debts. James plans to rescue her.

He arrives in Sonora only to learn Jenny allegedly died in a fire that killed her spouse Brose. Garbed as a male, she becomes a Pony Express rider delivering a letter to President Buchanan. Cole, upset that his Jenny is dead, knows he can never feel complete until he knows who his father was, but has little hope of solving that mystery. Then he sees his Jenny again who shocks him with where she has been. He should have known her in his heart, but now wants to keep her safe offering to marry her.

This is an engaging epic historical starring two people who seem destined not to be together though they love each other. The story line moves quickly through the decades while rotating what is happening to each of the star-crossed lovers as each has odious caricaturist villains to contend with. With an interesting late twist, fans will enjoy this nineteenth century romance wondering if the lead couple will ever pair off.

Harriet Klausner

Prelude to a Scandal-Delilah Marvelle

Prelude to a Scandal
Delilah Marvelle
Harlequin HQN, Jan 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775378

In 1829 in London, renowned naturalist the Earl of Marwood is arrested for violating the Buggery law on indecency due to his writing on South African mammal homosexuality. While her dad lingers in Marshalsea Debtors Prison unable to pay the exorbitant fine, his desperate daughter Lady Justine Fedora Palmer, who grew up in Africa, is concerned with freeing her dad from jail. Already a pariah amongst the Ton as she fails to fit, she turns to the notorious Lord of Pleasure dubbed “The Rake Extraordinaire” by the ladies of the Ton, duke Edwin Morton, with the offer of her body in exchange for his help.

He counters her consideration with a marriage proposal as he feels a female partner will make him whole and he prays end his sex addiction. Not fully understanding his craving, Justine decides to earn his respect while filling his obsessive appetite. Her fear is one woman will never be enough for her rake.

This is a fascinating late Regency romance that looks deep at several issues through a strong cast. Besides the sexual addiction problem of the Duke of Bradford, which his mistress cleverly manipulates for her gain, fans will relish the presence of Henri a gay servant and Justine’s dad whose writings cause trouble for himself, his wife and their daughter. Although the antics of the duke’s brother feel intrusive, readers who relish a profound issues-based historical romance will appreciate Delilah Marvelle’s powerfully character driven thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 15, 2010

Merrywinds-Jackie Griffey

Jackie Griffey
Five Star, Jan 5 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594149207

In Grenfels Corners, England, teenage best friends Gwenneth Hume and Patience O'Connor look forward to the future. Having no marital prospects, Gwenneth expects to be a spinster aunt to her brother’s children while also continuing her work as a cook and server at her father’s inn. Patience has studied to be a midwife so she has an occupation when she leaves the Sisters’ orphanage; like her buddy she has no male prospects either.

They learn that a French shipping company is offering free transportation to the New World on the ship Merrywinds for single women. They discuss it and agree to take a chance. On the Atlantic voyage, people become ill including the cook. Whereas Patience treats the ailing; Gwenneth takes over the cooking. Each enjoys the trip as they go gaga over the sights they see and fall in love with a hunk and the New World.

Merrywinds is a warm entertaining historical that stars two courageous young women on a sea voyage to new lives. Each has “marketable” skills that prove needed on the oceanic trip, but also diminishes many issues they may have faced as single females without male protection; no one dares harms the cook or the medic. Enjoyable in a Hallmark cozy way, fans will root for the darling daring duo as they take their chances in the New World.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pleasure Bound-Opal Carew

Pleasure Bound
Opal Carew
St, Martin’s Griffin, Dec 7 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312580155

From the first moment they first met, Zeke wants Marie; she desires him too. Her neighbor and Zeke’s friend Ty feels the same way about Marie and though bewildered by her feelings she desires him also. Marie finds herself confused but elated with the two men in her life.

Zeke and Ty have been best friends sharing everything even women since high school. However, Marie has caused a schism between the buddies. However, their estrangement goes deeper as neither of the males wants to admit their desire for other. As Zeke and Ty begin to explore their desires, each wonders how Marie will react to a MM relationship in addition a ménage a trois.

The key to the erotic contemporary is that the ménage a trois participants seem genuine especially with their sexual and other relational needs. Readers will enjoy the heated tale as the trio searches their personal boundaries and how far they are willing to allow the other two to explore. Opal Carew provides plenty of pleasure to her fans with this strong torrid relationship drama as three bounded by desire proves more than just company.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 12, 2010

Compromised Hearts-Hannah Howell

Compromised Hearts
Hannah Howell
Zebra, Nov 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420104677

In 1870 in the “Godforsaken” Colorado Territory, Emily Brockinger reflects back on leaving the upper crust Boston home of her sister in order to not to care for her three spoiled nieces and dodge her brother-in-law to live with her brother in Lockbridge. Now she, three year old Thornton Sears and a mule headed mule are the only survivors of an Indian massacre.

Leaving the military hitching post to avoid Sweet Abigail’s clutches and the new officer in charge’s stupidity, one fourth Indian Cloud Ryder watches the woman with the bonnet walking slowly across the harsh land out in the open. He assumes she is a fool and that the child was hers. Cloud joins them and learns she buried the twenty dead before heading west. He offers to escort them to Lockbridge in exchange for her sleeping with him. Shocked by his unkind audacity and abashed that she is attractive to this rogue, she accepts his terms as she fears he will leave her and Thornton, who calls her Mama, behind. As the trio treks to her destination, they begin to fall in love, as his skepticism of women clinging changes with her roll up your sleeves attitude.

This is a reprint of an entertaining western romance starring two wonderful adults and a confused child; although a late suspense in Lockbridge seems unnecessary as the plot is at its best when the trio is traveling the dangerous land. Hannah Howell especially captures the difficulty of trekking with a three years old child made worse as he just lost his family. Americana romance readers will enjoy the exciting Compromised Hearts.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Impulsive-HelenKay Dimon

HelenKay Dimon
Kensington Brava, Nov 1 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758229090

In Oahu, Hawaii, deputy prosecuting attorney Eric Kimura attends the wedding of his former girlfriend Deana Armstrong to DEA agent Josh Windsor although it is killing him inside even as he rationalizes his successful prosecution of her cousin for killing his parents hurt his chances. Still the Japanese-American politician is running for public office and should know better; but cannot resist a tryst in the hall’s bathroom with the caterer providing the food at the wedding. Eric wants more of her, but she is a dozen years younger than his thirty seven and her personal history would impede his election chances if she became known.

Katie used to be an out of control party animal who is trying to change. She feels remorse over the bathroom sex but it felt different this time. However, Katie knows she must behave if she is to help her single mom sister with her catering business and raising her young niece. However, surveillance conducted on Eric leaks the encounter to the media. Eric blames Katie for setting him up while she just wanted to make a few bucks and accuses him of being shallow.

This direct sequel to Holding Out for a Hero is an engaging Hawaii romance starring two people who with good recent reasons distrust relationships. Although doing it in a public bathroom is inanely stupid even for a politician and a woman used to stepping into it, fans will enjoy this character driven contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Vow of Deception-Angela Johnson

Vow of Deception
Angela Johnson
Zebra, Nov 1 2010, $5.99
ISBN: 9781420108583

In 1276 England, Lady Rosalyn Ayleston understands the meaning of the death of her abusive husband, Lord Bertram; as instead of being under his nastiness she will now be subject to King Edward’s mercurial temperament. The monarch will select her mate though her choice is a left alone widow raising her son Jason and working her estates Ayleston Castle. Before a new husband is chosen, she decides on a vow of chastity to thwart the King.

King Edward sends loyal knight Sir Rand Montague to escort his childhood friend Rose to court. Rand, who has vowed not to marry, changes his mind when he finds out cruel Lord Golan will wed Rose. He proposes to Rose who accepts with the stipulation their nuptial remains a marriage of convenience though they once shared an incredible night of passion. As they fall in love, war against the Welsh heats up and Golan plots to destroy the pair for the humiliation he received when they wed.

The second medieval Vows romance (see Vow of Seduction) is an entertaining historical as King Edward I proves to be a failure at matchmaking. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the monarch sends his trusted knight to retrieve the widow. Although Golon is a weak bullying adversary even compared to his partner, fans will enjoy this suspense laden journey to love.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Holiday Triplets- Jacqueline Diamond

The Holiday Triplets
Jacqueline Diamond
Harlequin American, Dec 7 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373753390

In California at the Safe Harbor Medical Clinic, administrator Dr. Mark Rayburn and pediatrician Dr. Samantha Forrest seem to argue about everything from the moment they first met. One thing they do not argue about, for that matter even acknowledges exists, is their attraction to one another.

Samantha is depressed when Mark informs her there will no longer be any space for the free clinic. Meanwhile, nineteen year old maternity patient Candy feels overwhelmed and knows her boyfriend Jon will not be around just like her father abandoned her, as he calls the newborn ugly because there is a port-wine stain on the face. Candy gives up her parental rights for her newborn triplets to Samantha, who without a second thought blink accepts the kids. A stunned Mark, who felt the clinic was his family, knows Sam is overwhelmed. He joins her as they struggle with what is best for the babies and for each other.

This is a charming Christmas medical romance that sub-genre fans will enjoy due to a strong lead couple and an ensemble support cast. Although there are too many subplots, readers will appreciate the dedicated doctors Mark and Sam learning what matters in their personal lives.

Harriet Klausner

Her Christmas Hero-Linda Warren

Her Christmas Hero
Linda Warren
Harlequin American, Dec 7 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373753376

Driving from Austin to Taylor, Texas on a back road shortcut proves a mistake when a torrential rain led to flooding and Britt Davis’ car swept away in a raging river. Quentin Ross dives in to rescue Britt. Later she learns her hero is her former husband Phil’s attorney. Quinn insures his client gains temporary custody of his nine month old son Dillon, but has doubts about taking a boy from his mom at Christmas.

Quinn is irate to learn the truth that his former classmate conned him. He believes the child is better off with Britt. Not one to sit idly by, Quinn vows to dive into the mess so that mother and child are reunited even if it means the law board bars him from practicing.

Although there are serious undercurrents involving the capability of parenting and the infant tug of war following a divorce, Linda Warren uses humor brought to the wonderful tale by the support cast to lessen the intensity of the legal war. Although Phil’s shortcomings are too easy to write him off as a father, this terrific contemporary is character driven by the hero and the damsel in distress. Fans will relish spending Christmas in Texas as Dillon is a “hostage” in the divorce wars.

Harriet Klausner

Salting Roses-Lorelle Marinello

Salting Roses
Lorelle Marinello
Avon, Nov 30 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061443749

In Shady Grove, Alabama, a desperate woman abandons her baby on her brother’s porch. Grace Lynn Calloway is raised by her maternal uncle. She loves her small-town and is noted for being the best pitcher in the area. Gracie Lynn is also known for her descriptive language rarely heard from a Southern belle.

When Gracie Lynn is twenty-five years old, private investigator Sam Fontana arrives in Shady Grove. He informs her that she is the lost heir of an affluent Connecticut family; someone kidnapped her when she was an infant. She would prefer to ignore the money and her Connecticut roots as she knows her heart belongs in Alabama, but is a realist as she knows her life as she likes it is over. Soon the paparazzi and her avaricious relatives invade Shady Grove while the only thing she likes about her new status is Sam.

Grace and Sam are an engaging couple as she is fried chicken and he is pizza; yet the tomboy and the P.I. fall in love. Although the support cast is 200-proof stereotyping, fans will enjoy Sweet Home Alabama as the character driven story line is fun to read due to the lead duet.

Harriet Klausner

Sexual Hunger-Melissa MacNeal

Sexual Hunger
Melissa MacNeal
Kensington Aphrodisia, $14.00, Oct 26 2010
ISBN: 9780758234506

In 1899 in London, the Darington twins are the darlings of high society. All the women swoon at the handsome siblings. However, Jason and Jude only want one woman commoner Maria Paladino. She adores both Darington brothers.

The brothers work as a team enjoying sexual encounters with Maria. However, as they love her, she loves them. Yet she must choose as both Jason and Jude wants Maria to be the mother of the heir and the spare. Maria’s brother Rubio, who swears he has second sight, warns her that whoever she rejects by selecting the other will be devastated. However, after deciding to marry Jason, he vanishes with Maria using her other identity in hot sexual pursuit of him on land and at sea while Jude is in hot sexual pursuit of her.

This is an intriguing Victorian erotic romance with a terrific underlying theme of twins competing for the affection of the same woman. The story line is fast-paced in and out of the boudoir with plenty of suspense although the reason for the disappearance takes away from a strong historical relationship drama. Readers will appreciate Melissa MacNeal’s marvelous mayhem, but also would have preferred the motive for the vanishing to have been personal caused by the triangle.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 8, 2010

I’ll be Yours for Christmas-Samantha Hunter

I’ll be Yours for Christmas
Samantha Hunter
Harlequin Blaze, Dec 1 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795888

In Ithaca, New York Abby Harper and Reece Winston were neighbors as children. However, after not seeing each other in years, Abby and Reece meet as he has come home to recuperate from a serious accident at the track. The Formula One racing car driver recognizes her and realizes she is prettier as an adult than he expected. The winery manager knows the muscular hunk was the skinny boy next door.

Abby has several sexual fantasies that she wants to perform. Reece is not just a willing partner; he is a panting willing partner as his pole matches the length of the stripper pole she uses. The pair has sex everywhere as he fulfills her wet dreams and she reciprocates.

This is an exhilarating heated contemporary holiday romance made stronger by Abby’s managing the family winery and Reece recovering from his injuries. He offers naughty and she accepts; not expecting nice from him too. Readers will enjoy this fun Yuletide tale as Abby agrees to his for Christmas, but Reece soon knows he wants her for all seasons.

Harriet Klausner

Homecoming Day-Holly Jacobs

Homecoming Day
Holly Jacobs:
Harlequin SuperRomance, Dec 7 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716777

In Erie, Pennsylvania, shortly before their marriage, police officer Jay Martin dies from meningitis; only his mother’s refusal to unplug the machine keeps him alive. His fiancée art teacher Laura Watson is left alone to grieve her loss while also dealing with her pregnancy as Jay’s mother raging in anger over her wanting to pull the plug orders her our of their lives.

Laura meets Police Lieutenant Seth Keller when they work together to help one of her students JT Thomas stay out of trouble. Seth coaches Laura when she gives birth to her son. He believes he loves her and her baby, but knows she has issues similar to his. He has not moved on passed the deaths of his wife and their baby due to problems with her pregnancy.

This second chance at love is a heart-wrenching tale as Laura and Seth struggle to move beyond their respective losses of loved ones, compounded by not all of them deceased. Besides losing her fiancé she also lost his parents; while he lost his family including an estrangement with his parents and much of the Keller brood. Readers will relish this entertaining return to Erie.

Harriet Klausner

The Baby Agenda-Janice Kay Johnson

The Baby Agenda
Janice Kay Johnson
Harlequin SuperRomance, Dec 7 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716746

In Redmond, Washington, when her boyfriend real estate attorney Bruce Girard dumps her by e-mail to return to his previous girlfriend, architect Moira Cullen finds herself the solo act at a professional conference that has pairings that Noah would have been proud to host. Feeling sorry for herself, she steps out of character when she meets and has a one night stand with builder Will Becker. However, Moira becomes pregnant, but she hesitates informing Will that he will become a father soon because he is in Africa constructing hospitals.

Besides not wanting to disturb him while he works overseas on something extremely important, Moira also does want Will to feel obligated. Finally after hemming and hawing, Moira decides he should know and informs Will he is going to be a daddy. Excited Will makes it clear he will be in his offspring’s life and returns from Africa as such but also to persuade Moira they belong together as a happy family.

This is a fabulous contemporary romance due to the lead couple’s reaction to her pregnancy. Moira who has doubts about holding on to a man does not want to destroy Will’s dream mission in life while Will wants to be a father to their child. Readers will enjoy this warm tale as an unborn plays matchmaker between the parents.

Harriet Klausner

A Message for Julia-Angel Smits

A Message for Julia
Angel Smits
Harlequin SuperRomance, Dec 7 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716791

The miscarriage shook Julia and Linc Holmes deeply. Neither the teacher nor the mine inspector could find solace with the other as they grieved their loss. A few months following the tragedy, Julia moves out as neither is able to talk with the other especially about their mind numbing despair.

Divorce seems imminent as the once happy but now separated couple seems to have no grounds for reconciliation. However, everything changes when Linc and six other workers are trapped inside a mine after a cave in. Julia fears the worse for her beloved spouse while Linc ponders over what went wrong between them as he still loves his wife.

With what recently occurred in Chile, A Message for Julia seems even more profound as Angel Smits provides a taut contemporary. Julia is terrific as her anguish over the loss of their baby leads to her leaving, and her torment and guilt over the potential loss of her husband are deeply emotional for her and for the reader. However, it is Linc’s reactions and thoughts while trapped and hoping for a rescue that makes the tale as he reflects on his marriage, the loss of their baby, and A Message for Julia whether he is rescued or not. This is a powerful passionate portrayal.

Harriet Klausner

If Wishes Were Horses-Robert Barclay

If Wishes Were Horses
Robert Barclay
Morrow, Jan 25 2011, $21.99
ISBN: 9780061966880

In Boca Raton Wyatt Blaine asks his wife Krista to buy ice cream for his thirty fifth birthday party celebrated at the ranch of his septuagenarian widow father Ramsey. Soon afterward his brother Morgan informs Wyatt his wife and their son Danny died in a car crash caused by the other driver Jason Powers drunk driving who died leaving behind a widow Gabrielle and a seven years old son Trevor.

Five years later, Gabby and Trevor attend the St. Andrews Episcopal Church, which Wyatt goes to also. To honor Krista, he informs Reverend James Jacobson that he plans to bring back her successful horse therapy New Beginnings Program. James is extremely happy about the program and Wyatt is showing some signs of moving on, but is worried about his reaction when he learns Gabby has signed up troubled Trevor who has failed to move on since his beloved dad died. He blames Krista for his father’s death in spite of his mom’s efforts to get him to accept the truth. James introduces Gabby to Wyatt, who is irate with the joke. Gabby pleads with him that Trevor needs help that she cannot afford and James reminded him Krista never said no. Wyatt angrily agrees. Gabby realizes that her son and Wyatt are similar. Trevor blames Krista and Wyatt blames Gabby. At the ranch, it is obvious to everyone especially Ramsey that the adults are attracted to one another and her son troubled though happy with the horses, but the deadly car crash keeps them divided.

The lead couple is a dynamic pairing of star-crossed lovers who share the same tragedy while the support cast is strong enhancing the understanding of the lead couple. Although the psychological horse therapy aspects are not developed very deeply, readers will enjoy the Robert Barclay’s engaging tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Because of You-Rochelle Alers

Because of You
Rochelle Alers
Arabesque (Kimani), Nov 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780373831937

Attorney Jordan Wainwright left his family’s lucrative real estate firm and tyrannical grandfather to practice law in Harlem with partner Kyle Chatham. Jordan is a diligent caring defender for the disenfranchised.

Thirty-five years old Westchester litigator Aziza Fleming and Jordan meet at a New Year’s Eve Party thrown by her brother, a football star. They are attracted to each other, but she distrusts men so deeply, it is imprinted in her bone marrow having been harassed by her ex boss and cheated on amongst other indiscretions by her former husband. As they fall in love; he works as hard at earning her trust as he does for his clients, but has one game-breaking secret that he vowed to conceal years ago yet he owes her the truth; Jordan knows he will break someone’s trust in him.

Expanding on the terrific Best Men saga (see Men of fate for Jordan’s intro) with the opening act of the Wainwright Legacy, Rochelle Alers provides a strong contemporary romance with ties to Harlem’s past. The lead couple is a dedicated pair who enjoys helping others; gaining the admiration of the audience. With a fabulous twist re his secret that will rock fans of the Alers’ universe, Because of You is a great tale enhanced by stars from the Best Men and Signature Brides series.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Boyfriend of the Month Club-Maria Geraci

The Boyfriend of the Month Club
Maria Geraci
Berkley, Dec 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425236505

In Daytona Beach, after the date from hell, thirtyish Grace O’Bryan vows to make a change when it comes to stepping out. She comes up with a novel idea by converting the book club she belongs to into The Boyfriend of the Month Club. Like they did with books, she and her friends will evaluate the males they date; sharing their thoughts before shelving their latest.

Grace begins dating a couple of hunks who her club mates rate as desirable and most eligible bachelors. Brandon Farrell knows their first date stunk, but still wants a second date and is willing to save her pare nt’s financially strapped gift shop. Then there is the dentist who swore he could make her smile whiter and chipped tooth cuter. Finally her former boyfriend Joe, just Joe, who still wants Grace, but he failed to score very well when measured against the Mr. Darcy meter.

This is an amusing chick lit contemporary romance starring a likable lead female and a strong support cast especially her Cuban-Irish family, the club members, and her dates. Although the humor overwhelms the story line as the laughs keep coming while the plot decelerates, readers will want to join the antics of the members of The Boyfriend of the Month Club who measure dates against Mr. Darcy.

Harriet Klausner

Mine Until Morning-Jasmine Haynes

Mine Until Morning
Jasmine Haynes
Heat, Dec 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425237021

"The Only Way Out". Although the debt is overwhelming as her late husband Kern’s medical bills are stratospheric, Dani Dawson knows she did the right thing even as she was horrified by his slow cancerous death. To pay the vultures, she works at Courtesans as an escort. Her bother-in-law Mac plans to be her only escort and with Madam Isabel’s cooperation he can achieve his objective of taking care of Dani and being the only man sharing her bed.

"The Wrong Kind of Man”. Cleo Carpenter thinks her bad luck run with picking losers changes when she meets Walker Randall. As they seem perfect together, she learns he is a paid male courtesan leaving her to believe she picked another wrong hunk though this time her heart was engaged fully.

"No Second Chances”. Courtesan Madam Isabel knows she only loved once in her life, Royce. He has felt the same way about her. When they meet, the heat is on as each knows they remain in love, but she believes her job will end their second chance relationship.

The return to Courtesans (see Hers for the Evening) is a fun time for erotic romance readers as the novellas contain strong characters with a deep theme of whether a beloved will stay with their forever after once learning about the sexual nature of their cherished one’s vocation. These are three hot yet profound tales of sex, love, and acceptance (or not).

Harriet Klausner

Sex on the Slope-Susan Lyons

Sex on the Slope
Susan Lyons
Heat, Dec 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425237014

“Fire and Ice”. In Whistler, British Columbia, the fire alarm in the Alpine Hideaway wakes up wedding planner Andi Radcliffe. She and others leave the cozy warm hotel to freeze outside. There she meets widow firefighter Jared Stone. They begin a tryst and fall in love, but she has doubts about being his second course.

“Slippery Slope”. TV star to the groom Brianna George is a guest of the groom who works for her. When Brianna meets Australian ski instructor Zack Michaels, she forgets about her job. As they enjoy their secret rendezvous, she fears for her career if their relationship sees daylight; she also fears what will happen to her heart if it does not.

“In Hot Pursuit of a Bad Boy”. The groom’s sister Maddie Daniels has always been attracted to her brother’s best friend Logan Carver, but she was too young. Now an adult, Maddie plans to seduce the once infamous bad boy.

From Sex on the Beach in Belize to Sex on the Slope of British Columbia, Susan Lyons makes wedding parties heat the sheets. Her three erotic romances set in a Winter Olympics environ are so hot the snow must have melted. From lust to love, the three couples make for a torrid trip for the armchair traveler.

Harriet Klausner

Explosive-Beth Kery

Beth Kery
Heat, Dec 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425236710

On vacation at Haven Lake Dr. Sophie Gable is taken aback to see Thomas Nicasio on her dock as he is a suit who works in the same Chicago high rise as she does; though she is attracted to him and believes he is to her. Sophie also knows tragedy has hammered at Thomas’ soul with the deaths of his brother and nephew, and the FBI investigating his adoptive father.

Although still reeling with the recent traumas slamming his family, Thomas cannot resist the lure of Sophie who he has wanted from the first moment he saw her at her office when he visited her colleague Dr. Lancaster. She willingly submits to his dominance. However, as they fall in love she fears he will end their relationship once he regains his equilibrium while he fears staying with her will endanger his beloved from those who want him dead,

The heat is on from the moment Sophie and Thomas stare at each other as lust changes to love while danger stalks them. Filled with tons of action and sex and plenty of spins and twists, fans of erotic romantic suspense will enjoy this Explosive thriller as she may be his sub and he her dom, but each knows who is “killing” who daily.

Harriet Klausner

No Place to Run-Maya Banks

No Place to Run
Maya Banks
Berkley, Dec 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425238196

Pregnant Sophie Lundgren knows the risk she takes to herself and her unborn, but feels she must. She searches for the father of her baby Sam Kelly to warn him he is in trouble though she expects a cold welcome as she ran away from him five months ago.

Sophie is wounded in her quest to find him. Sam is stunned not just because his beloved Sophie is hurt though he is concerned after pulling her out of the nearby Kentucky Lake; it is the pregnancy, which he knows is his child. Hoping he learned from his previous mistake of losing his beloved Sophie, but still unsure why she suddenly vanished several months ago, Sam vows to keep her and their unborn safe. He has no intention of letting the love of his life go again whether Sophie wants him or not.

The second KGI (Kelly Group International) romantic suspense (see The Darkest Hour) is a great thriller that grips the audience from the opening moment of Sophie’s return and never slows down until the final climax. Fans will appreciate this strong entry summarized by pregnant Sophie who understands first hand the naturing vs. nurturing debate as she prays her two categorical negatives multiplies into a positive as Sam believes they will.

Harriet Klausner

In Too Deep-Jayne Ann Krentz

In Too Deep
Jayne Ann Krentz
Putnam, Jan 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399157625

She worked for Lucas Protection Services under a false name; just one more false alias like she has had all of her life. She ran from her family and their nutty conspiracy theories as they worked hard to stay off the grid. She discovers there is an illegal arm’s selling segment within the company she works for and they are going to pin the rap on her. She runs, but they catch her; she barely escapes being killed because the operation is illegal and Isabelle Valdez does not know who to trust in the firm; so she trusts no one.

Heeding her grandma’s advice, she heads for Scargill Cove, California. Many of the residents are psychic like Isabelle who obtains a job with a powerful psycgic Fallon Jones who runs a detective agency. His clientele is usually from the Arcane Society devoted to Psy research and the police. Fallon and his new assistant find cache of psychic weapons hidden in a bomb shelter. They dismantle one that seems set to explode and have the arcane experts disable the rest. The pair follows clues that lead back to Lucas Protection dealing in psychic weapons that in the wrong hands could prove especially dangerous. They know they must break up the ring of sellers, buyers and suppliers; however the stakeholders in this lethal enterprise will kill any intruder without remorse. As Fallon and Isabelle fall in love, a new emotion for each, they do not lose sight of the mission.

Once again, Jayne Ann Krentz delivers a fantastic romantic suspense with a terrific angle involving psychic warfare. The fast-paced story line contains the trademark Ms. Krentz quirky characters, dry witty humor and loads of action. The lead characters are each powerful psychics who readers will believe used their Psy powers on us to finish the talein one exciting sitting.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Man For All Seasons-Heather MacAllister

A Man For All Seasons
Heather MacAllister
Harlequin Blaze, Dec 1 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795871

During Christmas, Tyler Burton plans to spend some loving time with his girlfriend. However, he has to get his roommate out of the house before he can achieve his goal as Marlie Waters seems rooted to the floor and has been since she ended her engagement.

Tyler buys Marlie a “Twelve Days of Christmas” charity auction package. She will have twelve dates with twelve different men. However, Tyler soon realizes he made the blunder of his life as he loves Marlie.

This engaging holiday romance starts with Marlie’s list of ten with number nine being Ty breaks her heart again; that sets the tone of a fun contemporary as the roommates are a wonderful pairing of He’s Just Not That Into You (the Alex-Gigi arc from the movie). Although the story line starts too slow with too much time focused on Marlie’s redundant moaning and groaning re her break-up, once the Twelve Days of Christmas begins, A Man For All Seasons turns into a more exciting romance as Tyler wants the revised Marlie list to exclusively be with him.

Harriet Klausner

Private Parts-Tori Carrington

Private Parts
Tori Carrington
Harlequin Blaze, Dec 1 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795840

Lawyer Kendall Banks’ prime rule is to never mix business with pleasure. Greek businessman Troy Metaxas follows the same maxim.

When Kendall and. Troy meet sparks fly that could ignite a large city. However, their first encounter is in a corporate boardroom where they are on opposite teams. Each keeps thinking don’t mix business with pleasure, but neither can prevent jumping into the sack together. Still they are discrete while enjoying sexual encounters. However, both keep an emotional detachment out of fear of what will happen. That is until all hell in the boardroom threatens their pleasure in the bedroom.

The latest Private Scandals contemporary romance (see Private session and Private Affairs) is a heated entertaining tale that for the first third or so most of the blaze is in the boudoir as the plot focuses on what this couple is doing with the Christmas stuffer sock. After sheets of heat, the inferno spins into the boardroom when he learns who she is; that is before he learns in earnest who she is. Starting with the opening observation of Troy’s brother Ari’s vivid description of the opponent sticking and breaking it off (without Vaseline – my addition) to the numerous intermittent hot climaxes and to the final climax, this gender war focuses mostly on Private Parts going public just before Christmas.

Harriet Klausner

Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman-Lorraine Heath

Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman
Lorraine Heath
Avon, Nov 30 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061922954

A ducal brother, Major Stephen Lyons returns home from the Crimean War. Before he left England, he had a bad reputation, so his relatives assume he will be back causing havoc. However, Stephen has issues from his time at war as he cannot remember anything especially when he achieved his goal of redemption.

Combat nurse Mercy Dawson visits Stephen’s family at Ainsley holding a baby that she claims is the Duke’s nephew. To her shock Stephen is alive as she thought he died at war. Stephen does not remember the beautiful Mercy let alone having sex with her. She knows him as he was there for her when she suffered through an extremely painful situation. That is when she fell in love with the kind Stephen. Stephen insists they marry, but though she acquiesces, Mercy fears how he will react if he remembers what happened in the Crimea.

The timing of this strong Victorian romance could not be better as American troops return from war zones with health issues including mental and the suicide rate is very high; to the credit of the Army they are making concerted efforts to help the soldier. The story line is driven by the emotional changing relationship between the nurse and her former patient as each has healing to go through before they might gel with their baby into a loving family. The second London's Greatest Lovers historical romance (see Passions of a Wicked Earl) is a super mid nineteenth century drama as the aftermath emotional scarring of war is best healed by the love of family and friends; no one especially those fighting for their country should be left behind mentally.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Pirate's Possession-Michelle Beattie

A Pirate's Possession
Michelle Beattie
Berkley, Dec 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425238202

In 1660 Claire Gentry is desperate to escape a marriage with an abusive monster. Thus she masquerades as a man to enter a poker game in Nevis in the Caribbean that includes a treasure map that leads to her father’s loot. Also at the table is Nate Carter AKA Sam Steele the notorious pirate.

Over eight years ago Nate broke Claire’s heart while he believes she betrayed their love. She does not have to see him to know he is here because she will go to her grave recognizing his voice. To her chagrin though she plays well and proves she belonged in the game, Nate wins. Determined Claire follows him hoping to steal the map from him. He knows she follows him so he plots revenge for her duplicity years ago. Instead, the pair places their personal gender war on hold as they are on the run from adversaries who want the map at any cost. To survive the horde in deadly pursuit, they need to trust and depend on one another, but each expects the other to stab them in the back at the first opportunity.

Michelle Beattie’s third Caribbean seventeenth century pirate romance is an exhilarating action packed high-seas romantic adventure. Similar in tone and characterization to What the Pirate Desires and Romancing the Pirate, nevertheless the fast-paced tale grips the reader from the opening card game when Nate and Claire, vowed enemies for life, know the other is in the room. Fans will enjoy the high sea and on land escapades of the lead pair who to survive need each other as love and hate has no degrees of separation with this dueling duo.

Harriet Klausner