Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spring Break-Kayla Perrin

Spring Break
Kayla Perrin
St. Martin’s Griffin, Mar 2 2010, $14.99
ISBN 9780312547288

On Artula, following a break up with her boyfriend Ryan Sinclair, college student Ashley Hamilton vanishes. Her disappearance occurs just after she meets New York editor Jason Shear who had come to the Caribbean island to investigate human trafficking; his sister had disappeared without a trace while on spring break here in 1987. Jason finds out that nineteen women have disappeared in the last seven years.

Ashley’s best friend Chantelle Higgins searches for her after the local authorities ignore her plea for help. On the other hand Jason agrees to assist her in her investigation into what happened to Ashley. At the same time Ashley’s frantic family arrive on the island; someone murders an informant willing to talk to Chantelle.

This is a superb romantic suspense that looks deeply into human sexual trafficking through the constant questioning by the courageous Chantelle who refuses to stop asking the why. The story line is fast-paced throughout as the frantic desperation of the heroine and the family of the abductee turns into a frenzy of extreme anxiety due to hopelessness as what increasingly looks like a lost cause. Although several late twists detract from an otherwise strong thriller, fans will enjoy this cautionary tale of being smart and safe while on Spring Break.

Harriet Klausner

A Different Light-Mariah Stewart

A Different Light
Mariah Stewart
Pocket, Jan 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439155103

In Woodside Heights, New Jersey, although she tries to put on a good pretense for her daughter Callie’s sake, Athena Moran has not been able to move on past the death of her police officer husband John; killed in the line of duty. Nothing seems to turn her on anymore although she hides her grief and lethargy for the sake of their child and their friends who see the grieving widow as a reminder of what could happen to them.

Since she is the daughter of a former councilman and the wife of a slain cop, Mayor Dante Rossi offers Athena work in his office. She accepts. However, Athena is stunned when Dante asks her to run as his replacement. Although she wins, Dante still runs the city. Reporter Quentin Forbes is attracted to Athen, but detest that she is just Dante’s puppet. He attacks her in the paper, which hurts her as she cannot understand his vendetta. Everything changes when Her Mayor meets Ms. Evelyn, who mentors Athena on redevelopment and living with gusto, which angers her puppeteer and his cronies.

Although this is a reprint of a Clinton Era political romance, A Different Light remains relevant with its simplistic instead of Mr. Smith goes to Washington, Ms. Moran remains in New Jersey. Initially blind to the corruption that surrounds her, Athen matures in political savvy without losing her idealism as she sees the town in A Different Light. Fans will enjoy this fun tale even if there are no instant blogger twitting on everything.

Harriet Klausner

Warrior Ascended-Addison Fox

Warrior Ascended
Addison Fox
Signet, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451229380

Enyo the Goddess of War plans to steal five Egyptian Summoning Stones that will enable her to rule the world. Themis the Goddess of Justice to abate the mass destruction that Enyo has set in motion creates immortal warriors to fight for her cause of balancing the scales.

One of Themis’ fighters Leo warrior Brody Talbot is assigned to protect museum curator Ava Harrison. She is grieving her father’s murder, but excited over running his exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan where the ancient summoning stones her dad found are going to be displayed. Her only concern besides her father’s death is the hunk of an archeologist Brody working with her. As they fall in love, she has horrific visions that she believes are stone induced.

The first Sons of the Zodiac saga is a superb urban fantasy romance starring an eons old warrior and a mousy curator. The story line is action-packed as the Goddesses battle through minion over possession of the stones. Fans will enjoy the Fifth Age of Man as the Leo Warrior Ascended with the mortal he protects to fight the forces of Enyo.

Harriet Klausner

Bride of the Wolf-Susan Krinard

Bride of the Wolf
Susan Krinard
Harlequin HQN, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774777

In 1881 in Pecos County, Texas, Holden Renshaw finds his boss, owner of the Dog Creek Ranch, dead in what looks like a riding mishap. Holden has doubts about it being an accident as Jedediah McCarrick was a superb rider. He finds the bags that Jedediah hid as if the man knew he was going to be killed. Inside the bags are his three wills with the unsigned last one giving the ranch to a mail order bride Rachel Lyndon coming from Ohio. The first dated will gives the spread to Jedediah’s nephew Sean while the last signed will bequests all to Holden.

Rachel arrives and insists she is Jedediah’s wife; Holden knows that is a lie, but says nothing. Holden and Rachel are attracted to one another, but distrust each other. However, she proves to be really good with his baby recently dumped on him by a dying prostitute. Each has secrets as she was kicked out of her home by her grandma and rejected by her lover, but a miscarriage left her barren. He is wanted as the dangerous Heath Renier and can change into the wolf without blinking. Neither expected how far Sean will go to manipulate everyone to do what he wants.

This is an exciting werewolf historical romance starring two likable but fragile (mentally that is) individuals who feel love arrived at an inappropriate moment. Ironically, Sean, in spite of being over the top of the Guadalupe Mountains, is the most fascinating character in the fast-paced story line. Although a late Ranger twist seems wrong even considering paranormal justice, fans will enjoy this fine tale while wondering what will happen when everyone learns Jedediah is dead.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What Mother Never Told Me-Donna Hill

What Mother Never Told Me
Donna Hill
Kimani, Mar 1 2010, $14.95
ISBN: 9780373831432

Wanting to become a professional singer, Cora leaves her hometown Rudell, Mississippi for Chicago. There she obtains work for an affluent Caucasian family. However, their son rapes her so Cora fled for Rudell unaware she is pregnant.

In Rudell, she marries her childhood sweetheart David, but hell breaks out when their offspring is white. That girl Emma learned to pass as white to gain acceptance. In New York, she marries a Caucasian soldier, Michael who soon afterward is deployed overseas. Emma gives birth to a baby with black features. She sends her daughter Parris to Mississippi to be raised by her mom while fleeing for Europe. However, as an adult, her dying grandma informs Parris that her mom lives so she travels with her Nick to France in search of her biological mother.

Though the saga of an African-American passing as white has been done many times, What Mother Never Told Me is a fascinating tale that focuses mostly on the third generation’s search once she knows her “white” mom is alive. The cast is three dimensional as the three generations seem genuine especially their motives even if a reader disagrees with choices. Well written, the character driven story line grips the audience as Emma seeks her mom and she hopes her dad too.

Harriet Klausner

The Irish Duke-Virginia Henley

The Irish Duke
Virginia Henley
Signet, Mar 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451229205

As the Dowager matriarch of her family, in 1894, octogenarian widow Lady Louisa Jane Russell holds court as she always has while looking back over the decades of her life. In 1819 Lady Louisa loves her position in society, which allows her to enjoy life to the fullest. Irish nobleman James Hamilton went so far as to propose, but she ridiculed him for being Irish with a speech impediment; of course he was nine years old at the time and she was his age.

In spite of her putting him down, they become friends though he never has given up marrying his Lu. Other men want her too, but though she adores them, she prefers her independent gaiety more so. However, over a decade later, a family scandal leaves Lu with the choices of marrying her kindhearted Irish admirer, someone else, or face scornful disgraced exile.

Few if any writer can interweave historical information to enhance a story line as deftly as Virginia Henley can and does with the enjoyable The Irish Duke. The story line is driven by the heroine who tells her great-granddaughters about her life with her late beloved Irish Duke who to his death insisted B is pronounced as a V. Fans will relish Ms. Henley’s fine nineteenth century historical romance as the exhilarating plot with its strong lead protagonists brings the era to life.

Harriet Klausner

In Bed With The Duke-Christina Dodd

In Bed With The Duke
Christina Dodd
Signet, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451229335

In 1849 in Moricadia Michael Durant seeks revenge so as the missing heir to the Duke of Nevitt, he chooses a different way than the aristocracy would expect to enact his goal of justice. He becomes the grim Reaper riding at night while going after those who caused injustice.

Lady's companion Emma Chegwidden is unfairly fired from her position. She is in deep trouble until the Reaper rescues her. However, though he knows he must walk away from her, Michael cannot as he wants her. However, Michael especially gets involved with Emma when the malevolent Prince Sandre chooses her as his regardless of how she might feel.

This is an action-packed Victorian Era romance that takes place on the continent. The story line is fast-paced throughout as the Reaper brings havoc to the Moricadian aristocracy. Christina Dodd is at her best with this return to the Governess bride saga (See My Fair Temptress, My Favorite Bride and Lost in Your Arms) as no reader will ever think of roast pig the same way.

Harriet Klausner

Revenge Wears Rubies-Renee Bernard

Revenge Wears Rubies
Renee Bernard
Berkley, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233375

In 1857 he survived imprisonment in Bengal, India. Now two tears later, Galen Hawke is in England still suffering nightmares only to find the fiancée of the late John, one of the other seven English prisoners, enjoying her first season rather than grieving his death. He vows to teach Miss Haley Moreland, engaged to Herbert Trumble, a lesson she will never forget.

Haley is ignorant that her childhood friend John felt they were engaged; as he never asked and she never had to respond. Her biggest issue is to keep her family from poverty, which means marrying wealth. However, upon meeting Galen, she is attracted to him while he wants to seduce and ergo destroy her. As he begins to reassess what he thought he knew about Haley, she ponders whether to marry for love or money that is if Galen even considers marrying her.

This terrific Victorian romance grips the audience with the opening nightmare as an enthralled audience watches how the vendetta of a Jaded Gentleman plays out. Fast-paced throughout as her sly father observes, fans will appreciate Galen’s thirst for vengeance turn to admiration and love, but might prove too late. With “Sapphires” to follow, sub-genre readers will enjoy the first of the Jaded Gentleman tales.

Harriet Klausner

Don't Kill The Messenger-Eileen Rendahl

Don't Kill The Messenger
Eileen Rendahl
Berkley, Mar 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232569

When Melina Markowitz was three years old she died. However, that was not the end of her life as she returned as a Messenger who made deliveries between the paranormal. She tries to stay away from her clients as her motto is to just pass on whatever.

However, in Sacramento her don’t get involved mantra is devastated when her package given to her by a vampiric physician is stolen from her. Trying to retrieve it to finish her delivery, Melina heads to the Taoist temple where she was to hand over the envelope. There her don’t get involved policy is bloodied when seemingly out of control Chinese vampires kill rival gangbangers while not caring if innocent civilians die. Police Officer Ted Goodnight struggles with the deadly chaos and how Melina somehow is constantly caught in the center.

This is an amusing urban fantasy in which the sardonic cynic wonders why her and to her chagrin her support cast responds with why not. Fans will enjoy this fun tale as the cop is attracted to the messenger who likes him, but fears any mortal involvement as breaking cover. Don’t Kill the Messenger is a fun lighthearted formic even with blood flowing freely on the California streets.

Harriet Klausner

Catch Of A Lifetime-Judi Fennell

Catch Of A Lifetime
Judi Fennell
Sourcebooks, Feb 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402224287

Mermaid Angel Tritone wants to be an advisor to her brother Rod the High Councilman on the Mer Council. However, he rejects her dreams of joining the ruling Council as he insists her safety is paramount. Upset, she goes on a swim by herself to get her thoughts straight.

Breaking the truce between their species Hammerhead Harry the nasty shark attacks her, but Angel escapes by climbing onto Logan Hardington's fishing boat. She claims to be a “maritime biology” student, but the single father is flummoxed by her arrival as the beautiful young lady is stark naked. He agrees to employ her as a babysitter since his son Michael likes her and he would do anything to make his child feel wanted by him as he only recently learned of his existence. Michael vows to keep Angel’s secret that she is a mermaid from even his dad yet also believes she is the mermaid he wished for his birthday. As they fall in love in between arguments with his offspring matchmaking them, the duo rescues Michael from horrible Harry, but also must battle an evil sea monster with oceanic-forming world domination plans.

The third Tritone sibling Mer urban-oceanic romantic fantasy (see Wild Blue Under and In Over Her Head) is a terrific tale of the tail as the female sister takes the lead with her mission to save the world. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down for even ebb tide; as the unity of a father, a son and a mermaid who helps being the two males together while saving the earth makes for a fun Catch of a Lifetime.

Harriet Klausner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Leisure Seeker-Michael Zadoorian

The Leisure Seeker
Michael Zadoorian
Harper, Feb 9 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061671791

John and Ella Robina have few regrets, but know there time together is counting down. She suffers from cancer and he from Alzheimer’s. Over the objection of their respective doctors and their adult children Cindy and Kevin, they decide to go on a final fling together.

They leave Madison Heights, just outside Detroit, to head west on Route 66. Their destination is Disneyland. On the trek they stop at inane attractions, eat cheeseburgers, and meet friendly and not so nice Americans. As a show of defiance, Ella tosses her wig away. When his mind is lucid they look at slides of their life together. When his mind is fogged, he drives while Ella has a mission for them in Anaheim.

Although the readers will anticipate the climax, this is a deep look at the near end of life for a loving couple. Ella knows it is a matter of time before she leaves John alone, but what she wants to hear one last time from her soul mate is he calling her name. Using humor and an eccentric support cast met while traveling in their RV westward to avoid overly melodramatic inanity; fans will appreciate this elderly couple on their final leisure fling together.

Harriet Klausner

Secrets Of A Scandalous Bride-Sophia Nash

Secrets Of A Scandalous Bride
Sophia Nash
Avon, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061493300

In 1814 to hide from the person she believes destroyed her father and consequently her, Elizabeth Ashburton pretends to be a widow. However, escaping from her unwanted suitor only leads her to General Leland Pymm wanting her.

Escaping from the Ton’s current favorite male, Elizabeth dives into a carriage. However, her latest flight leaves her with scandalous illegitimate Rowland Manning; whom she feels safe with unlike the General or the alleged killer of her dad. Rowland hides her from the blackmailer who threatens to ruin her; the lord who wants to marry her; and himself who wants to bed her. However, as they fall in love, he revises his options to include her forever if he can save his business and keep her safe.

The key to the freshness of the latest Widows Club Regency romance (see A Dangerous Beauty, Kiss, and Love with the Perfect Scoundrel) is that the heroine has never wedded so she shams her marital status as a widow for protection amidst the Ton. That ploy works to a degree, but not as much as Elizabeth would like as she remains in trouble while wondering if she jumped into the fire (of love) with the most "unchivalrous blackguard" in England. Although the plot is somewhat as expected, fans will enjoy the scandalous secret of this widow.

Harriet Klausner

Her Last Chance-Michele Albert

Her Last Chance
Michele Albert
Pocket, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416531401

Claudia Cruz was forced to resign from the Dallas Police Department when the brass failed to back her against an excessive force claim after she killed a rapist. Considered Tough Enough to be one of their operatives, Avalon art recovery agency hires her.

FBI agent Vincent DeLuca works art theft cases. He and Claudia clash when they become involved on the same case in Philadelphia where an ancient Greek Corinthian helmet was stolen in spite of tight security at Champions and Stone’s. However, as sparks fly between them, she soon believes the felon for some reason is targeting Vincent though he rejects her premise. Soon afterward, he will regret his dismissal as the prey becomes the predators.

This is a terrific art theft romantic whodunit starring two beloved enemies who enter into instant verbal combat from the onset and never take a breather break except for kissing. With a throwback feel to the 1930s Hepburn-Tracy wars inside of a modern investigative thriller, fans will fully enjoy the latest Avalon tale as Vincent wonders if he is Touch Enough to not just compete with kick-butt Claudia, but to loosen his tie around her.

Harriet Klausner

Montana Legacy-R.C. Ryan

Montana Legacy
R.C. Ryan
Forever, Mar 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446548618

Coot McCord spent his life seeking gold lost on the family ranch. His endeavor destroyed the family, but in death his three grandsons, first cousins, return to the spread to pay their respects to the old Coot. His will simply states that the trio will earn a share if they remain on the ranch to search for the missing gold.

Jesse McCord remained on the ranch though his beloved Amy Parrish broke his heart when she left without a word. Besides his two cousins (Wyatt and Zane) who left years ago, Amy is also back in town caring for her sick father. To his chagrin he still loves her, but needs to know why she left and how she truly feels. He may not have time to learn what he wants to know as someone has plans for the ranch and eliminating a cousin or a girlfriend is no problem.

The opening act of the McCord cousins’ trilogy is an enjoyable contemporary ranch romance with suspense coming in the second half of the story line; once the reader meets the key cast. This second chance at love is character driven with solid secondary protagonists and a wonderful lead pair although fans will think Jesse is using his wrong head with how fast he forgives his beloved Amy. Still that aside, the audience will appreciate this Big Sky Country opening act with Wyatt’s Destiny and Zane’s Glory to soon further enjoy R.C. Ryan’s Montana tour.

Harriet Klausner

Fall Into Me-Pauline Trent

Fall Into Me
Pauline Trent
Zebra, Mar 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780821781425

In Lambert Falls, South Carolina Sheriff Bobby Granger is euphoric to learn a favorite author Howard Michaels is coming to town to write a book on the law enforcement official’s ancestor. When Michaela Howard arrives to conduct research on her next novel, Bobby is stunned not so much that he is a she, but how attracted he is to the big city author.

The widower knows not to get involved as he has his nieces to care for even with one getting married soon and the other attending community college; besides he has a lifestyle of being by himself except for the kids since his wife Abby died almost two decades ago. Finally he fears risking his heart because he expects Michaela to leave once she finishes her work here. Yet Granger cannot stop himself from wanting her though he doubts he has anything to offer her.

This is an entertaining second chance at love romance starring a nurturing widower and a nice successful writer. The support cast wants the best for Bobby, especially the nieces he raised, even as he blunders his way to love. Although a final airport spin should lead to firings and reprimands, and the overall plot is thin, fans will enjoy the return to Lambert Falls (see Falling in Love).

Harriet Klausner

Serpent Moon-C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp

Serpent Moon
C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
Tor, Mar 2 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780765364258

The Sazi still struggle with understanding alpha werewolf Eric Thompson’s howling skill that somehow interferes with airwaves; his problem is though he can do it, he is unable to control his howling talent. Recently converted by a horrific assault into a Sazi, Holly Sanchez moved from Denver to the Outback where she has become a healer.

However, she has learned that a Sazi relatives support group plans to use an elixir on the werewolves that will return them to Homo sapiens. At the same time the scheme to resurrect Marduc the snake goddess is nearing fruition. Holly and Eric team up to prevent two probable tragedies from occurring.

This is a great entry in the Tales of the Sazi mythos as Marduc arrives on the scene seemingly invincible. The story line is fast-paced and filled with non stop action as previously secondary character Holly proves she with the Canadian wolf can hold an exhilarating story line together in Australia. With no time to catch a breath once the lead couple meets in the Outback, readers will fully relish the latest Sazi romantic urban fantasy as nothing less than love and saving the world at the same time is at stake.

Harriet Klausner

The Vampire And The Virgin-Kerrelyn Sparks

The Vampire And The Virgin
Kerrelyn Sparks
Avon, Mar 9 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061667862

Vampire Robby MacKay heads to the Greek isle of Patmos to recover from his captivity by the Malcontents before seeking vengeance on those who held him prisoner. At the same time, FBI psychologist Olivia Satiris travels to Patmos to spend time with her grandmother and avoid a stalker.

Olivia and Robby meet with her stunned that her psychic skill of sensing emotions fails with him and he shocked to fall in love at first sight. However, her stalker has followed Olivia to Greece, which makes her wonder if Robby is her predator. As he vows to keep his true love safe, Robby knows he must reveal what he conceals from her though once he does he assumes she will flee from him out of fear of love at first bite.

The eighth sparkling Love at Stake urban fantasy romance is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action, but belongs to the PTSD embittered Robby. He refreshes the story line from the onset with his need to avenge his torture by the Russians and with his falling in love with the virgin shrink. Fans will enjoy the latest entry (see Forbidden Nights With a Vampire and Secret Life Of A Vampire) though readers will wonder why Dr. Satiris as a shrink and a Fed so easily assumes the worst re Robby.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Summer Hideaway-Susan Wiggs

The Summer Hideaway
Susan Wiggs
Mira, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778327998

Medvac helicopter pilot Ross Bellamy comes home after two years deployed in Afghanistan. His beloved grandfather, George, has terminal cancer, and refuses to receive any more medical treatment. Instead George has gone to Willow Lake in the Catskills to reconcile with his brother Charles before he dies; George’s three sons had no idea he even had a brother.

George hires private-duty nurse Claire Turner, whose specialty is palliative care for the terminally ill, to accompany him. His family thinks Claire is using George and has the local cops thinking she kidnapped him. However, Ross observing very carefully knows otherwise as she is a caring professional. What he does not understand is why the beautiful Claire has buried herself with the Bellamy brothers and their kin in Avalon, New York; not that he is complaining as he is attracted to her. She reciprocates, but romance is not in the cards of someone in hiding having seen a murder but is ineligible for the witness protection program as the homicide was not a federal offense.

Although Claire’s teenage past as a homicide witness is over the Catskills, fans will relish the return to Willow Lake starring a feisty dying Bellamy, his family especially his grandson, and a brave heroine fearing who may find her in rural New York. The character driven story line grips the audience when the Auburn cop pulls over Claire and George because his daughter-law from California hysterically convinces the police he is a kidnap victim. Fans will enjoy The Summer Hideaway as love grows with the Bellamy brood.

Harriet Klausner

Out of Body-Stella Cameron

Out of Body
Stella Cameron
Mira, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN 9780778327622

Marley Millet is a psychic just like generations of her family before her. Lately she has suffered from a horrific nightmare; the underworld Embran torturing young women. Marley knows the Embran loathes her for what her ancestors did to the loathsome beast.

In New Orleans fearing for women, Marley visits NOPD Detective Archer who treats her like she is a crazy lady though much of her rumbling proves true. Meanwhile the Ushers inside her head mock her failure. Only reporter Gray Fisher, a retired cop, who talked with several of the surviving torture victims, believes her. As Gray and Marley team up to prevent the Embran from harming anyone else, they fall in love, which stimulates his previously unknown psychic skills.

This is a terrific paranormal romantic suspense starring a wonderful heroine, her distracting dog Willow and a former cop who finds her amusing and attractive as the colorful sparks they make confuse him and surprise her. The cast is fully developed to include the predator from beyond. Fans will enjoy this exciting fast-paced thriller as the crazy lady, Willow and her beloved reporter battle a nasty underworld serial killer.

Harriet Klausner

Moonlight Road-Robyn Carr

Moonlight Road
Robyn Carr
Mira, Mar 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778327684

Although never a mom, attorney Erin Foley feels the empty nest syndrome as the younger siblings she raised have moved on. Taking a time out to reassess her life, she plans on a summer vacation in Virgin River.

After fourteen years with the Navy, Dr. Aiden Riordan has left the military. He comes to Virgin River to visit family with plans to stay around until his sister-in-law Shelby gives birth.

When the two visitors meet, sparks fly and not just from heads clashing into inanimate objects. Still she prefers some alone time and he never moved past his horrific former marriage to Annalee. When his ex wife demands reentry into his life and much more, Aiden goes back into his solitary confinement.

The latest return to Virgin River is a pleasant tale filled with humor and poignancy as neither the lawyer nor the doctor are ready for love, but love is ready for them. The support cast as always is solid with everyone except Annalee rooting for Erin and Aiden to find happiness with one another. Although Annalee and her antics are over the top of Mount Tamalpais, fans will enjoy the latest visit to Virgin River.

Harriet Klausner

An Impossible Attraction-Brenda Joyce

An Impossible Attraction
Brenda Joyce
Harlequin HQN, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774609

Alexandra Bolton became a seamstress to bring in needed money for her family. However, in 1845 her wastrel widower father informs her he needs funds to pay debts so she will marry either wealthy middle aged Squire Denney or some other affluent member of the Ton. She reluctantly agrees to sacrifice her desires because of a death bed pledge she made to her mom to care for her two younger sisters.

Bolton and his three daughters attend a ball at the home of Sir Rex de Warenne and Lady Blanche. Alexandra realizes her arrival is a blunder as her friends treat her like hired help since she has been doing their sewing. When her father becomes too drunk, she tries to take him home. On the way out, Alexandra meets thirtyish wealthy Stephen, the Duke of Clarewood. They are attracted to one another until he has her. Her father tosses her to the street as a fallen woman and her Stephen rejects her believing she was trying to trap him.

This is a superb early Victorian romance starring a courageous woman and the man she loves who is in denial. The story line of a good woman “falling” to the street in rejection is not new (see Cheryl Holt’s Spinster Curse saga), but incredibly refreshed by Brenda Joyce with her strong casting and not just the lead couple. Fans will admire Alexandra's moral fortitude while knowing she will survive her ordeal but wonder if she will be with Stephen or a new beau Owen. Brenda Joyce is at her best, which says something about this novel, as her historicals are always excellent.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 25, 2010

Once Bitten, Twice Dead-Bianca D’Arc

Once Bitten, Twice Dead
Bianca D’Arc
Kensington Brava, Mar 2010, $14.00
ISBN 9780758247292

Police officer Sarah Petit investigates a routine call in an abandoned building that she assumes is being used by the homeless or teens drinking. Instead zombies assault her. She survives the assault, but is stunned by these B movie attackers.

She goes to a nearby hospital for treatment. Green Beret Captain Xavier Beauvoir visits Officer Petit at the hospital where he explains to her the zombie disease was accidentally created by the military and that Sarah is one of few people with natural immunity. He further elucidates that her immunity may prevent further mass calamity from occurring though the enemy continues to create more of these monsters.

This is a fun zombie romance in which the love subplot is shockingly between two humans. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of zombie action. Although the prime villain comes across as a Hollywood B level stereotype, readers will enjoy the cop and the soldier battle the paranormal, the brass (his and hers) and love in Bianca D’Arc’s exciting supernatural military romance.

Harriet Klausner

Taming the Moon-Sherrill Quinn

Taming the Moon
Sherrill Quinn
Kensington Brava, Mar 2010, $14.00
ISBN 9780758231918

Holding six years old Zoe as hostage to force her mom to perform a deadly deed, New York werewolf pack alpha Eddy ordered omega Olivia Felan to kill Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Rory Sullivan or else have her daughter returned in a body bag. Olivia is attracted to the cop and instead of killing him, accidentally turned him into a furry shapeshifter like she is (see Seducing the Moon) though he is unaware she was the one who changed him.

However, crazy Eddy still holds Zoe so she warns Olivia to complete the mission before his patience runs out. She heads to the Southwest United States where she confesses everything except one biting mission to Sully; he persuades her to team up with him to rescue Zoe and kill Eddy; as well as for some wolfish sex. Once that mission is done, Sully plans to find the werewolf who converted him and kill the beast.

This is an entertaining werewolf romantic suspense starring a beleaguered omega who can turn lioness when it comes to her cub. The story line is fast-paced, but a bit thin especially for newcomers as the previous Sherrill Quinn Moon howlers (see Daring the Moon and Seducing the Moon) provide the depth as to how Olivia and Sully got to the point they have reached. Fans will enjoy this fun tale of an omega turning alpha to rescue her daughter.

Harriet Klausner

To Sin with a Scoundrel-Cara Elliott

To Sin with a Scoundrel
Cara Elliott
Forever, Feb 23 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446541299

Single mom Lady Ciara Sheffield loves two things: her eight-year-old son, Peregrine and chemistry. The inquest into her husband's sudden death determined Sheffield died of natural causes. However, her in-laws insist he was poisoned by her and the rags initially call her a witch but soon accuse her of scientific homicide. Sheffield’s sister and his nephew Arthur Battersham demand a new inquest as they spread the word Ciara used her brilliant chemist’s mind as the “Wicked Witch of Pont Street” to kill her spouse.

Since the Battersham duet is big shots, they have a great chance of a second inquiry. Ciara knows why the Battersham want her declared unfit to raise her son so they can have access to his fortune as his guardian and consequently pay off Arthur’s humongous gambling debts. Her close friends, the Circle of Scientific Sibyls, also known as the Circle of Sin decide Ciara needs a fiancé with connections to shut everyone up with one aristocratic stare. They choose Lucas “Mad Bad Had-ley” Bingham, who cares about no one except his beloved Uncle Henry Phelps, confined to a wheelchair. Henry has found a manuscript allegedly written by Hippocrates and asks Lucas to visit Ciara to translate it. They cut a deal with her working on the manuscript and he escorting her. As they fall in love, accidents begin to occur too frequently to be accidents.

The Circle of Sin historical romance is a fun tale starring a beleaguered heroine, a rakish antihero, the Scientific Sybils, the wealthy child, the uncle and razor thin villains. The story line is fast-paced though it remains somewhat by the subgenre book in spite of the overall strong cast. Still fans will appreciate Lady Ciara as she challenges her in-laws, the Ton, and love with the incorrigible Mad Bad Had-ley at her side.

Harriet Klausner

The Dead Travel Fast-Deanna Raybourn

The Dead Travel Fast
Deanna Raybourn
Mira, Mar 2010, $13.95
ISBN 9780778327653

In 1858, writer Theodora Lestrange hates her life in Scotland as everyone she knows wonders why she remains a spinster though she enjoys writing spirited books under the pseudonym T. Lestrange. Needing to escape the misery, she heads to Transylvania to attend her best friend Cosmina’s wedding in Hermannstdat, Transylvania.

Theodora is put up in a dilapidated castle that the locals whisper about in fearful ominous tones. She finds herself feeling different about the castle; perhaps because she is attracted to the owner Count Andrei Dragulescu. However, though he reciprocates her deep feelings, he has a secret that if she learns he will have to leave her dead.

This is a terrific gothic romance starring a wonderful courageous heroine who while in seeming danger reflects back to her last comment in Edinburgh: “What could possibly happen to me in Transylvania?”, obviously everything. The story line is fast-paced as Theodora and readers unravel the truth behind the local legend of the vampire and of her enigmatic host. Although Andrei never seems quite worthy of Theodora, fans will root for the brave woman as she learns that The Dead Travel Fast when the heart is involved.

Harriet Klausner

Jordan-Susan Kearney

Susan Kearney
Forever, Feb 23 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446543330

The Tribes destroy any planet in the galaxy who defies their edicts. Their current plan is to devastate the earth for rebelling as no one defies the Tribes.

Vesta Corporation CEO Vivianne Blackstone works on a spaceship to protect earth from the venomous Tribes. When she realizes her chief engineer, Jordan McArthur, submitted a phony résumé, she confronts him with the evidence. Instead of denying what she shows him, Jordan sends the spaceship Draco into space with him, Vivianne, some workers and a dog on board. Jordan has a vendetta that goes back centuries when Trendonis of the Tribes destroyed his world. Once known as Merlin, he uses his Staff as the fuel source to propel the Draco, but he and his crew must obtain the three Keys of Space, Wind, and Soil to power up his Staff in order to link it with the Holy Grail or watch earth face annihilation. He is falling in love with Vivianne, but Jordan conceals his feelings because if he succeeds in saving the earth and beyond by destroying the Tribe, he dies too.

The third Pendragon Legacy (see Lucan and Rion) is an excellent finish to a strong romantic science fiction trilogy with a terrific Arthurian magical link. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of two strong personalities who are in conflict as she wants to save her planet while he wants to save a universe. Fans will enjoy this exciting thriller in which the courageous heroes know that if they succeed in defeating the Tribe, he expects to die but harder on his soul, he fears she will too; a risk she willingly takes.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Midwife Crisis-Lisa Cooke

A Midwife Crisis
Lisa Cooke
Leisure, Jan 26 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843963625

In 1898 Wayne County, Virginia, midwife Katie Napier has a major crisis to face. Her family has decided she must be married so they have selected three viable candidates who they feel will make a proper husband. Katie feels like she suffers from battle fatigue disorder syndrome when she realizes three men claim to be her fiancé.

Dr. John Keffer left the big city and tragedy to start anew in Appalachia. Katie asks John how to gently tell the three males no and more important prevent her matchmaking family from sending three new recruits. However John has a different remedy to solving Katie’s problems than she expects: marry him instead.

This is an entertaining Americana romance starring a wonderful cast of eccentric characters. The lead couple is a nice pairing, but it is her family who steal the show as Katie and the audience knows from the onset when the brood sets its mind on something it gets done. With humor, Lisa Cooke bakes a fun lighthearted historical romp as the doctor makes a house call to help the midwife with her crisis.

Harriet Klausner

Pride Mates-Jennifer Ashley

Pride Mates
Jennifer Ashley
Leisure, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843960051

In Shifterstown in the Austin area, human attorney Kim Fraser is defending shifter Brian Smith from the charge of murdering his human girlfriend. Brian is the first shifter she ever met though their existence has been known for two decades. Like mots humans, she assumed shifters were beasts who needed collars to keep them from going berserk. In spite of her fears of shifters being violent bogey-beasts, she believes her client is innocent; so she comes to Shifterstown to obtain the help of the go to shifters the Morrisey brood; father Dylan and brothers Liam and Sean.

Liam informs Kim that Brian never came to him so why should he help him. Kim explains she got the short straw as the junior lawyer, but believes Brian is innocent because the collar prevents violent crime. She also says the prosecution, cops, and judge have not played fair and her client has given up, but she has not. Although he has doubts about getting involved because of his attraction to the brave lawyer who came alone, Liam is forced to intervene when a shifter without a collar threatens Kim’s life.

The key to the first Shifters Unbound romantic urban fantasy is the belief that the world of Jennifer Ashley exists; especially the racism with parallels to America as humans even those who never met a shifter believe they are deadly animals needing control. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the feisty lawyer challenges the powerful shifter and never slows down as love and the law clash in what is a terrific tale of people’s rights and dignities.

Harriet Klausner

A Tale Of Two Demon Slayers-Angie Fox

A Tale Of Two Demon Slayers
Angie Fox
Love Spell, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528278

She may have been The Accidental Demon Slayer, but in spite of her lack of experience, Lizzie Brown proved that a preschool teacher can kick butt. However, she also knows she needs training if she is to continue to battle demons. Thankfully, her biker grandma and the coven agree to teach Lizzie all she needs to know about demons and other supernatural species in Greece where Lizzie’s griffin lover Dimitri lives.

Dimitri owes Lizzie for breaking the curse that would have killed his sisters (see the Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers). Whereas his grateful siblings welcome the American, his former fiancé Amara, hates her. However, her biggest problems are her dog has bonded with a dragon (try bringing that through Customs) and someone stole a piece of her magic, which means they might be able to manipulate her at a time when evil is spreading and except for Grandma and the gang Lizzie has lost confidence.

The latest dizzy Lizzie’s urban fantasy thriller combines humor with supernatural suspense in an enjoyable tale. The story line is faster than grandma can ride her Harley and never decelerates even for a kiss. Sub-genre fan will enjoy Lizzie's Greek vacation as she confronts the most dangerous enemy of all, another Lizzie.

Harriet Klausner

The Selkie Bride-Melanie Jackson

The Selkie Bride
Melanie Jackson
Love Spell, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528346

In 1923 recently widowed Megan Colbin believes that in death her late abusive husband did one good deed for her unlike what he did to her in life; he left her a cottage near allegedly cursed Findloss, Scotland. A storm buried the coastal village under tons of sand only fifty years later, Findloss resurfaced with all its buildings intact, but not a soul or human remains anywhere.

Lachlan arrives from seemingly the sea and introduces himself to Megan. He explains he is a Selkie warrior who is on a mission to prevent a nasty peer from causing havoc on land and at sea; and he is also seeking the human female whose heart has called him. As the widow and the Selkie investigate, they learn Megan's husband and his family were implicated in a wizard’s evil that needs to be destroyed before more innocent people under the sea and on the coast die.

The Selkie Bride is a fascinating historical romantic fantasy with a delightful lead couple who holds the plot together. However, it is the evil villain who steals the show in this exciting early twentieth century paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Corner of the Universe-Rebbie Macintyre

A Corner of the Universe
Rebbie Macintyre
Five Star, Feb 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594148590

One week before her ailing mom died, Zoe and Cal married. She moves into his home where his grandma Hattie also lives. Soon afterward she miscarries. Three years later, now forty-one, Zoe is pregnant while Cal is never home as he works hard for the Mechen Medical Foundation trying to establish six clinics in Uganda.

They are going on a second honeymoon in two days when the twenty-one years old son he never met Seth Pruitt arrives. The couple delays their trip. Seth moves in though he plans to attend diving school in California soon. He treats the troubled eighteen year old neighbor Neva Reckart with scorn as she tries desperately to win his heart. Meanwhile Cal is increasingly distant as he is on the road with his beautiful assistant Melissa Delany while Seth turns increasingly belligerent towards Zoe and nasty towards adulating Neva.

This is an intriguing coming of age story, but it is not the tragic mentally incompetent Neva or the bullying Seth, but instead Zoe who realizes she has choices. The story line digs deeply into the four prime characters with the focus mostly on Zoe. Although at times the story line slows down due to the intense characterizations, fans will enjoy this well written extended family drama.

Harriet Klausner

Pride/Prejudice-Ann Herendeen

Ann Herendeen
Harper, Jan 26 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780061863134

Following their lust at first sight meeting at a family gala, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy remain attracted to one another though he is expected to marry Caroline Bingley. The pair particularly enjoys their heated debates on a variety of subjects sexual and otherwise.

Elizabeth finds she looks forward to making love with older Charlotte Lucas. Fitzwilliam relishes his trysts with his future brother-in-law doubled compliant landless Charles, Caroline’s brother. He especially enjoys pinning Charles under him when he takes him. Although Charles also enjoys his romps with Fitzwilliam, he fears exposure as he wants Elziabeth’s older sister Jane though he assumes he will marry his male lover’s sister Georgiana.

This is an enjoyable erotic over the top of Big Ben retelling of Pride/Prejudice that probably has Jane Austen turning over in her grave. Although the extended relationships are out of control and needing a baseball scorecard to keep track of who’s doing who and when, fans who want something radically different in their Austen diet will want to read the other loves of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

Harriet Klausner

Taming The Highland Bride-Lynsay Sands

Taming The Highland Bride
Lynsay Sands
Avon, Jan 26 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061344787

Since her mother died six years, Merewen “Merry” Stewart has been the chatelaine for her family. However, her biggest mission is dealing with her always angry intoxicated father and brothers. Watching them, she pledges to herself she will not marry a drunk.

Her betrothed Alex d'Aumesberry sends for her. However, when she arrives she finds him as incapacitated with drink as her family. Merry is unaware that the blacksmith got his lord intoxicated in order to pull a bad tooth. When she sees him wake up every day with a hangover, Merry rejects marriage to Alex as she refuses to leave one set of drunks for another. However, he is kind to her and others and she realizes she never sees him imbibe. Merry soon believes someone with close access to Alex is trying to kill him; she investigates.

This is an entertaining Highlander amateur sleuth romance starring a strong women and the beleaguered man she is supposed to wed. The fast-paced story line is owned by courageous Merry who refuses to go from the frying pan into the fire, but soon realizes something’s afoot. Fans will relish this enjoyable historical romantic whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

Charming The Devil-Lois Greiman

Charming The Devil
Lois Greiman
Avon, Jan 26 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061849336

In 1813 whenever the women of Lavender House meet, the rest of the Ton assumes nasty gossip is flying between them. The aristocracy is ignorant about this group of ladies, who are a select few belonging to the Lavender House white witch coven keeping evil from harming England.

Although not nearly as bold as her coven sisterhood members are, Faye feels the time for her to join the war against evil is now. She is assigned to go undercover amidst the gaiety of the Ton in London to determine who killed Lord Brendier. The prime suspect is Rogan so when Faye ends up in his arms, she ignores how lovely that feels as she insists to herself she is doing her femme fatale job. Having been burned by a woman before, Rogan normally stays far away from the Ton’s beauties, but he cannot ignore Faye’s bewitching attraction especially when he perceives the danger she is in from an unknown enemy.

Readers will appreciate the latest Lavender House investigative historical romantic fantasy (see Seduced by Your Spell and Under Your Spell) due to a strong atmosphere of enchantment that feels real enhanced by the lead couple. Whereas Rogan is brave and bold, Faye is timid and shy. Together they make a powerful duet who, with some terrific whodunit plot twists, spellbinds the audience.

Harriet Klausner

In the Warrior’s Bed-Mary Wine

In the Warrior’s Bed
Mary Wine
Kensington Brava, Feb 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758234650

In 1063 Scotland, Laird Erik McQuade is an angry mean-spirited person. He refuses to provide a dowry for his only daughter Bronwyn McQuade and treats everyone even her with disdain and scorn. He especially loathes the McJames clan.

When Bronwyn and Cullen McJames meet while both are riding, she is unaware he is her father’s enemy. She thinks nothing of it except that he is attractive and seems nice especially compared with her family. However her odious troublemaking brothers run off to dad to tell him about the encounter that the male McQuade brood turns into a tryst. Erik demands retribution going to the Court of Scotland in ire with a claim that Cullen took his daughter. Angry but not wanting an incident and besides he likes Bronwyn, Cullen does the last thing Erik expects from his feuding foe; he abducts the man’s daughter. Hoping to find the happiness his brother found (see In Bed With A Stranger) and end the feuding, he plans to marry her. When Erik dies, her brothers decide to proceed with the clan vengeance of their late dad; not out of loyalty or honor but with a desire to kill the heir, Bronwyn.

The second McJames medieval Scottish romance is a terrific tale due to the strong heroine who makes a strange bedfellow alliance with a caring peace-seeking laird. The story line is fast-paced throughout while the support cast especially the siblings of the lead couple is fully developed. Fans will want a taste of this delightful wine as the palette will cherish this enjoyable historical.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ladies Prefer Rogues-Janet Chapman, Sandra Hill, Veronica Wolff, & Trish Jensen

Ladies Prefer Rogues
Janet Chapman, Sandra Hill, Veronica Wolff, & Trish Jensen
Berkley, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233818

“Man from the Moon” by Janet Chapman. In Maine four men abduct Isobel the veterinarian because their leader Daniel has a tree limb rooted into his body. She is to care for him although she is not a human doctor. They conceal they search for an extinct animal to save mankind in their time, 2243.

“Tomorrow is Another Day” by Sandra Hill. Navy Seals Cage LeBlanc and Sly Simms register their buddy Larry Wilson on the Extreme Dating web site. He is unaware why women keep showing up to date him until his buddies explain what they did to him. He travels to New Orleans to meet owner Margo Baptiste. When an elevator crashes with her inside, she ends up in 1870 where she meets siblings Lette and Laurent Duvall. Margo quickly becomes a matchmaker though she is attracted to Laurent who looks like Larry.

“The Drowning Sea” by Veronica Wolff. In 1662, Iain sees his beloved love, Cassie die from a stab wound as her father prepares to hang him. He escapes becoming a cabin boy for a privateer. Two decades later he is notorious pirate Black John MacNab still waiting to avenge his loss.

“Sixteen Decades” by Trish Jensen. In Little Fork, Nevada, Sheriff Ty Coltraine is with Rooster Ranch madam Fannie Mae investigating a missing person’s case. He hears a plea for help and finds Margaret "Maggie" Prescott who insists she was a teacher in 1850 who inherited a ranch from her father only to learn it was a brothel; someone knocked her out and locked her in a shed. She thinks his ancestor is the guilty party.

This is a strong time travel romance anthology starring wonderful lead characters, especially the displaced stars. The Chapman and Jensen contributions are super great while and the Hill and Wolff entries are well written very enjoyable fun.

Harriet Klausner

Too Wicked to Kiss-Erica Ridley

Too Wicked to Kiss
Erica Ridley
Zebra, Mar 2010, $4.99
ISBN 9781420109931

In 1813 Evangeline Pemberton runs away from her abusive stepfather taking sanctuary at the home of family friend Lady Stanton. Her host’s disgraced daughter Susan knows she will never marry any man not engulfed in scandal so decides alleged murderer Gavin Lioncroft will be her husband even though she believes he killed his parents. She orders guest Evangeline to help her catch the dark owner of grim gargoyle Blackberry Manor.

Evangeline attends a party at Blackberry Manor, which she finds frightening with ravens flying overhead to greet guests. She is bit surprised by her attraction to Gavin, who is as shocked by his feelings towards her. Even more stunning to Evangeline is that when they touch her psychic skill shuts down. When a murder occurs, she vows to prove her beloved is innocent by apply her paranormal ability to solving who committed the homicide.

This is an entertaining Regency Gothic romance starring a terrific heroine who holds the story line together, a brooding lead male with a mysterious past, a scandalous cousin, and a manor house with gargoyles on the roof and ravens flying around them. Overly dramatic yet so vividly fun to follow as the suspense filled story line is fast-paced from the moment Evangeline (Longfellow would be pleased) meets Gavin. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this dark romantic historical and look forward to a sequel.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wind Warrior-Constance O’Banyon

Wind Warrior
Constance O’Banyon
Leisure, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843963014

In 1859 in the Montana Wilderness, Blackfoot warriors led by Dull Knife capture thirteen year old Marianna Bryant. Dull Knife’s brother recently renamed Wind Warrior after being called He-Who-Waits is attracted to the captive called Rain Song especially her courage and her adaptation to the tribal lifestyle. He knows she is his future mate, but is careful as his people know he is ordained to one day become their leader.

Envious with ire Dull Knife hates his sibling who he feels has not earned the adulation of the Council and the rest of the tribe; nor proven he can lead as prophesized because he believes Wind Warrior is too compassionately weak to kill their enemies. When Dull Knife claims Rain Song as his squaw, the sibling rivalry ignites to the point they endanger the tribe.

This is an exciting Indian romance starring a brave heroine and the two brothers who compete over everything including her. The story line is fast-paced yet provides a deep look at life in a Montana Blackfoot village. Fans will enjoy this engaging historical romantic triangle as Constance O’Banyon brings alive her villagers during the Civil War.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Slow Heat-Jill Shalvis

Slow Heat
Jill Shalvis
Berkley, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233665

The Santa Barbara Heat baseball expansion team feels great about signing the best defensive catcher in the Major League’s Wade O'Riley. Clearly he is a California mellow except when it comes to the women and baseball. However a conservative sponsor expects clean family values so public relations specialist Samantha McNead is hired to pull the rabbit out of the hat with cleaning up the recent media image bashing of Wade. With their fights about his responsibilities to the club owners, fans, and sponsors; she fears the rabbit will prove dead as he continually insists he never slept with Tia who accuses him of making her pregnant.

As they fall in love, she does not trust him as she assumes he wants to make her the latest notch on his bat. While Sam is great with his dad and Wade with her nephew, they fight and fuss with one another, as the catcher who gives signals to the pitcher and infielders fails to read correctly what signs Sam is sending him even when they play truth or dare.

This is an entertaining baseball romance starring a wonderful couple who keep hitting into a Double Play every time they swing the bat. Although the plot is thin, Wade makes the tale as a modern day superstar who struggles between his great play on the field and being a role model outside the park; similar to Barkley’s commercials that parents are the heroic role models not athletes. Although the theme of a PR grunt and her clean the image athlete falling in love has been used before (see Back In Black by Lori Foster), fans will enjoy Slow Heat.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Screen Play-Chris Coppernoll

Screen Play
Chris Coppernoll
David C. Cook, Jan 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9781434764829

Thirty something Harper Gray has wanted to make it in theater for years, but her break never occurred. Financially broke and depressed, she becomes excited when she is offered the understudy role to TV superstar Helen Payne in the Broadway revival of Arthur Mouldain’s classic play Apartment 19.

At the same time as her career seems to survive, Harper decides to try on-line dating as she has not had a man in her life almost as long as she has not had a part. However, she finds no one in the New York metropolitan area or for that matter the East Coast of any interest. The best prospect is a zillion miles away, but that means choosing between a chance for love and a chance to perform on stage.

This is a warm inspirational romance starring a wonderful lead character, her best friend Avril, other players involved in the play, and Luke. With a first name mindful of author Harper Lee, which may be coincidence but I’d rather believe otherwise; the story line is driven by the heroine who must make monumental life altering decisions one way or another between love and fame. Fans will enjoy Chris Coppernoll’s fine tale of free will to choose while also look forward apparently to Averill in sandy eggo.

Harriet Klausner

A Kiss For Cade-Lori Copeland

A Kiss For Cade
Lori Copeland
Harvest House, Jan 2010, $12.99
ISBN: 9780736927635

In 1885 in Winterborn, Kansas John and Addy die from a disease leaving behind four small children. Addy’s bounty hunter brother Cade Kolby comes home to pay his respects to his sister and deal with his orphaned nieces and nephews. Fifteen years he has stayed away, but the youngsters do not frighten him much compared with seeing Widow Zoe Bradshaw whom he loved and left anyway.

Zoe is caring for his kin as if they are hers. When Cade arrives, she makes it clear he is not wanted by her or his family. However, the townsfolk argue the kids come first and they need parents. They want the couple married. However as each of the two adults struggle with their past, a gunslinger arrives with one objective kill Cade anyway he can, which means a beautiful fiery redhead and children are expendable.

A Kiss for Cade is a terrific inspirational historical romance starring a community that believes it takes a town with caring parents to raise children. Zoe is a strong woman who can handle anything including raising four orphans, moving on from the senseless murder of her kind spouse and burying her best friend since childhood; anything except the return of Cade. He has a chance for redemption with her and the kids if he takes it. Reminiscent of the Glen Ford movie The Fastest Gun in the West, fans will enjoy this fun matchmaking Americana as a forgiving town encourages second chances.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Country House Courtship-Linore Rose Burkard

The Country House Courtship
Linore Rose Burkard
Harvest House, Jan 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780736927994

In 1818 Beatrice Forsythe plans to follow in the footsteps of her sister Ariana, who happily married wealthy Phillip Mornay (see House on Grosvenor Square and Before the Season Ends). She plans to wed a paragon just like her brother-in-law.

Curate Peter O'Brien is nominated as the vicar in Glendover, but before he can assume the position, Phillip must approve him. When she was younger, Beatrice agreed to marry Peter one day, but since Ariana’s lofty rise, he is no longer acceptable to her. Instead she wants the Mornay family to sponsor her a season in London although she believes Tristan Barton, who is staying at the manor House, with his looks and money is the perfect spouse for her. That is until Ariana becomes ill and Beatrice learns family secrets.

The Country House Courtship is an entreating leisurely plotted Regency romance starring a young woman who wants what her older sister has; not understanding the cost. The strong cast makes for a fine historical relationship drama as each comes to the Country House with personal often conflicting agendas.

Harriet Klausner

A One-Of-A-Kind Family-Holly Jacobs

A One-Of-A-Kind Family
Holly Jacobs
Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 9 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716159

Life-skills coach Anna Chapel is excited that the Sunrise Foundation has a home in Whedon, Pennsylvania. The not for profit group’s motto is “Helping Exceptional People Lead Exceptional Lives”.

Her newest client is developmentally-disabled Colm Franklin. His caretaker twin brother Liam assumes that Sunrise Foundation will provide his sibling with an adult sitter as he has some business to attend to. Anna believes Colm can do so much more, but Liam fears his brother will only be hurt by her encouragement; all he wants for his sibling is for Colm to have “normalcy” since their parents died two years ago. As Anna pledges to enable Colm to become all he can be starting with pouring his own drink into a glass as he has always been coddled, she also falls in love with his skeptical computer programmer brother.

This is a terrific timely contemporary romance that looks deeply at the needs of special adults although Liam’s working out of his home is too convenient as caretakers don’t always have that option. Colm and his two new friends, Gilly and Josh, make the tale as they teach Anna, Liam, octogenarian Mrs. Albright and the reader that they may take longer but are capable of not "shmoosing" the eggs when they pack bags at Mr. Keller’s grocery store.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 11, 2010

Her Sexy Valentine-Stephanie Bond

Her Sexy Valentine
Stephanie Bond
Harlequin Blaze, Feb 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795260

Director of Finance at Mystic Touch Greeting Cards Carol Snow enjoys her relationship thrills to come from a novel and not a real person ever since her former fiancé burned her on Valentine’s Day. As such she appreciates her time as a member of the Red Tote Book Club for romance readers. However, Carol is stunned when the other participants decide on each of them to select their favorite romance novel to guide them in seducing the man of their dreams; Carol problem is she has no man of her dreams outside of a novel as she distrusts males so she plans to fake her tryst.

The nearest male she can think of is her occasional day dreaming about her too oozing charm peer Luke Chancellor. When he shocks her by asking her out on a date, Carol wants to flee back to book reading. However, she bumps her head and soon lives over and over past and future Valentine’s Day to include mind boggling sex with Luke. Soon even repeating the greatest sexual trysts of her life is not enough as Carol wants Luke to love her like she does him.

The sequel to Seduction by the Book is an erotic Jane Austen Book Club inside the movie Groundhog Day. Carol is a superb lead character while Luke is a wonderful male who wants his peer as he has for two unfulfilled years. Fans will enjoy this fun whimsical romantic fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

Manhunting-Betina Krahn, Joanne Rock and Lori Borrill:

Betina Krahn, Joanne Rock and Lori Borrill:
Harlequin Blaze, Feb 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795239

“The Chase” by Betina Krahn. Samantha Drexel and her two friends attend the greeting card trade show. She is working on a special line of musical cards with rocker Nick Stack as the star. She always cherished his music and now Sam is looking forward to meeting her idol, but Nick fails to show up at the first shoot. When Nick arrives, he knows he needs to cheer up Sam in a special way.

“The Takedown” by Joanne Rock. Luke Owens knows he wants Tori Halsey, but avoids her as she is the younger sister of a friend. However the freelance photographer plans a special shoot to prove to her muse she is no longer the little sister.

“The Satisfaction” by Lori Borrill. Kitty Colburn knows her gift store is in financial trouble, but her monetary woes do not prevent her from wanting Chef Josh Beeker. She decides to persuade the restaurateur to taste her delicious delight.

These are three fun lighthearted contemporary romances starring women going after their respective man although the novella format never allows any of the characters to be fully developed (except for body parts), as expected from this talented trio.

Harriet Klausner

Dare to Surrender-Lilli Feisty

Dare to Surrender
Lilli Feisty
Forever, Feb 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446541930

Joy Montgomery is desperate as her position at the Cartwright Gallery in San Francisco is in trouble. Her only hope to save her job is to find and persuade erotica artist Ash Hunter to host an exclusive exhibit at the gallery.

She locates him at the San Francisco Art Museum where he prowls like a predator seeking prey. Joy asks him, but he refuses. Shocking herself, she steals an explicit sculpture from him. Feeling guilty she tries to inform him what she did, but instead he ignores her efforts to tell the truth to him. Instead he makes her his submissive muse. She loves his spanking and more. He agrees to allow her to display his work until he learns of her theft. Knowing he feels betrayed, she must convince him love is the bond that ties them together.

This is an entertaining erotic BDSM romance. He is a brooding dominant while she is a desperate submissive as they fall in love on smack to they butt at a time. Although the story line is somewhat emaciated (except for his third leg) with the conflict caused by her out of character theft, fans will enjoy the muse and the artist daring to surrender to love.

Harriet Klausner

Ecstasy Unveiled-Larissa Ione

Ecstasy Unveiled
Larissa Ione
Forever, Feb 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446556828

A Seminus half breed demon Lore is a sexual fiend and assassin. He loathes what he has done, but his contract to Deth expires after his next kill and his beloved sister will live. Nothing stops this killing machine, but this time he is stunned when the target Kynan, whom he brought back from the dead at a cost of two sunsets of agony and lost reputation amidst the Assassins Guild for his master, has the protection of an angel.

Idess the earthbound angel has one last task to earn her wings and soar to heaven to be reunited with her brother. She must protect Kynan at all costs.

When the demon and the angel confront one another, both are stunned as neither has felt an attraction to someone else ever before. They want one another, but she has a vow of chastity besides her personal security mission; he has his duty. Both know the stakes of failure especially him. Yet each question whether an angel and demon teaming up in love to fight his master can survive the encounter let alone win; as Lore and Idess know one or both will most likely fail at their assignment.

The latest Demonica romantic fantasy (see Passion Unleashed, Passion Unbound and Desire Unchained) is a strong tale that has the audience believing that demons and angels walk the earth, have family issues (just ask the hero), and binding contracts. The story line is fast-paced, but the key is the dilemma confronting the lead couple as seemingly someone they love and cherish will be hurt for eternity. This is a great entry in a super paranormal series in which angels and demons soar with passion, ecstasy and desire as they fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

Nothing Denied-Jess Michaels

Nothing Denied
Jess Michaels
Avon, Feb 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061657726

Six seasons without getting married for most members of the aristocracy denotes being on the shelf for a young woman. However optimistic Beatrice Albright decides to take the bull by the horn between the male legs before her seventh season begins and ultimately ends with her being a spinster.

Realizing her desperation Beatrice selects widower Marquis Gareth Berenger, who is a notorious “pariah” amidst the Ton as the gossips believe Highcroft murdered his late wife. Beatrice proposes a marriage of convenience that Gareth tentatively agrees to if she passes his well-matched sexual test as he has atypical desires. . He suggests a trial affair, so he can be sure that Beatrice can accept his special sexual needs. As he trains her in his passionate world of domination and submissiveness, she proves a willing passionate student. When love enters the trial, both knows they passed the test, but someone wants to end their bliss doing whatever it takes as this perpetrator did once before.

The latest Albright sister erotic Regency romance (see Everything Forbidden and Something Reckless) is a terrific tale due to a strong lead couple who both may be desperate but each has values that the refuse to cede. Beatrice is intrepid and earns Gareth’s admiration for her courage and eventually his love. Likewise Beatrice has doubts about her brooding chosen one, but though he dominates her submissiveness, he is kind and caring and risks his life for his beloved. Though the villain is a bit over the top of Big Ben, readers will appreciate this exhilarating BDSM historical romance.

Harriet Klausner

All Night with a Rogue-Alexandra Hawkins

All Night with a Rogue
Alexandra Hawkins
St. Martin’s, Feb 2 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312580193

In 1820 London, the Ton calls Alexius Lothar Braverton Lord Sin partly because of his behavior and partly because he is the Marquess of Sinclair. His six Lords of Vice friends simply call him Sin.

Sin’s half sister Belle is upset as she tells him that ruthless heartless Lady Juliana Ivers is trying to steal her suitor Lord Kyd. Belle asks Sin to seduce the upstart and then dump her. Sin likes the ploy so is indifferent to whether Belle is being honest with him. He makes her his next target. Juliana knows she and her older sisters desperately need a good match as the family is financially in trouble since their father died several years ago. Sin begins his seduction unaware that Juliana has wanted him since she saw him in action while she was hiding in a tree. Scandal explodes leaving the Ivers in trouble and Alexius seemingly living up to his reputation.

This Lords of Vice regency romance is an enjoyable tale due to a somewhat amoral cast surrounding the heroine starting with the lead male living up to his nickname and his sister and her mother causing havoc for the prime pair. In spite of a myriad of villains (and villainesses) intruding on the prime plot, the story line is fast-paced from the moment Belle begs her brother to ruin her rival and never takes a breather as he relishes the concept. Sin keeps this engaging plot brisk and fresh with his less than desirable scruples making him a cad in love with a woman who seems to prefer musical composition to accepting the love of a Lord of Vice.

Harriet Klausner

Countess of Scandal-Laurel McKee

Countess of Scandal
Laurel McKee
Forever, Feb 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446544788

In 1790 in County Kildare, Ireland, teenagers Lady Eliza Blacknall and William Denton are falling in love. However, besides the gap of social status, he joins the English army while she remains passionate in support of an independent Ireland. They go their separate ways with Will becoming a major and she the Countess Mount Clare.

In 1797, Major William Denton is sent to County Kildare to spy for the English military which is planning to put down an Irish revolt. He especially is to observe the activities of the widow Countess Eliza Mount Clare, who’s believed to be an active supporter of a free Ireland. He detests the order, but is a good soldier so he goes to carry it out, but when he is injured her family takes him in to help him heal. As he recuperates, Will knows he still loves Eliza and is grateful to her family; he also believes he must atone for what he has done willingly to his people before he can express to his beloved how he feels about her.

Using the real rebellion of 1798 as a backdrop, Laurel McKee provides a deep historical romance. The star-crossed lovers come across as genuine as she has a passion for her cause and he struggles between doing his duty as a dedicated soldier spying on family, friends, and especially his Eliza. In spite of a strong lead couple and a deep support cast especially her family, the tumultuous setting owns the tale as fans will want more romances in this time and place perhaps starring Eliza’s sisters starting with Anna who gets the last word in: finding true love is rarer than marrying a prince.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Rose of Sebastopol-Katharine McMahon

The Rose of Sebastopol
Katharine McMahon
Berkley, Feb 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232224

During the Crimean War, surgeon Henry Thewell and nurse Rosa Longwood are serving in the combat zone. His fiancé and her cousin Mariella Lingwood remains in England worried about both of them especially with the letters from them in Turkey.

When Henry becomes severely ill, he is rushed back to Italy for proper medical treatment. Upon learning of her fiancé’s illness, Mariella rushes to be with him. However, she is greeted with the name of Rosa on his lips while he is delirious. Hearing that Rosa is missing; out of character for a prim and proper Victorian lady; Mariella heads to the front to find Rosa to learn the truth re the relationship between her cousin and her fiancé.

Putting aside the abrupt forced climax, The Rose of Sebastopol is a terrific unusual Victorian romance with a strong look at conditions on the front during the mid nineteenth century Crimean War with Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade coming to mind. The jump back and forth in time needs some adjustment but worth the effort as the cast brings to life the era from the perspective of the war. Rosa appears to be a Florence Nightingale clone of sorts while Mariella is changed by what she observes first in Constantinople and later at the front as she realizes that Love is a Battlefield (Benatar).

Harriet Klausner

To Tame A Dangerous Lord-Nicole Jordan

To Tame A Dangerous Lord
Nicole Jordan
Ballantine, Jan 26 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345510112

In 1817 Madeline Ellis needs gainful employment quickly, but her immediate problem is that dreadful Lord Ackerby who is everywhere she is. Former British Intelligence operative, Rayne Kenyon observes her and her stalker; the Earl uses his espionage skills to figure out what is going on and intercedes warning Ackerby to stay away from Madeline.

With a connection to her father and wanting her, he offers to assist her in finding a suitable position, but quickly realizes she is perfect for a job he needs filling. Rayne suggests a marriage of convenience, which Madeline rejects as she dreams of a marriage of passion and love. He rejects her counteroffer having tasted the betrayal of love once before. However, desperate and realizing he is her one; she changes her mind hoping to win his heart.

The latest Courtship Wars (see To Bed a Beauty, To Pleasure A Lady, To Romance a Charming Rogue and To Seduce a Bride) is an enjoyable entry enhanced by the return of Rayne who has a second chance at love if he accepts his feelings. Madeline proves resolute as she decides To Tame a Dangerous Lord through her heart although both must overcome distrust, dangerous innuendoes and misunderstandings if they are to make it.

Harriet Klausner

Sinful Surrender-Beverley Kendall

Sinful Surrender
Beverley Kendall
Zebra, Jan 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9781420108699

When Millicent "Missy" Armstrong' was ten years old she decided she would one day marry James Rutherford, best friend of her brother Thomas. She remained patient until her first London season in 1852 when she jumped him claiming a kiss. Although aroused by the no longer little sister, James pushes her aside and rejects her.

The kiss still haunts James as Missy begins her fourth campaign to make him surrender to her love. However, though he knows he wants her, James has several reasons to say no starting with Thomas who would never accept a rake like him as part of the family and the example set by his parents whose love turned to cheating. Thomas wants Missy married so he decides to let her see her romanticized hero as the wandering rake he is. Her sibling prefers she marry Lord Granville while Lady Victoria Spencer has set her sights on James. However, neither the Ton nor the selected respective suitors, the brother, nor the chosen one know how determined Missy is, but they will before her fourth season is done.

Sinful Surrender is a super Victorian romance starring a resolute obsessed heroine and the man of her dreams. Ironically James thinks he is in love with Missy, but because of his parents’ example and his belief she can do better fostered by his friend, he rejects her and his heart. Although, his consistent refusal should have sent Missy in retreat, fans will root for the single-minded heroine as she knows who she wants and will accept nothing less than his Sinful Surrender to their love. Beverly Kendall provides an enjoyable historical.

Harriet Klausner

How To Seduce A Sinner-Adrienne Basso

How To Seduce A Sinner
Adrienne Basso
Zebra, Jan 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420104332

In 1818 London, Dorothea Ellingham establishes a test to determine who she will marry. The chosen one will be selected by her based on a kiss-meter as she expects passion to ignite between them.

His ducal father directs Viscount Carter Grayson to be wed by the end of the current season or else. Carter observes Dorothea kissing three different men and decides she will do to satisfy his father. He throws his lips into the ring and both are stunned by the force of fervor in their shared kiss. However an ardent kiss does not necessarily lead to a strong relationship as Carter and Dorothea soon learn.

This is an engaging fast-paced Regency romance from the opening first kiss to the last kisses. Starring two wonderful lead characters, who quickly learn there is much more to a relationship than a kiss, the story line focuses on the educating of Dorothea and Carter, but also is enhanced by strong related secondary subplots involving family members. Fans will enjoy the test as who is the sinner and who is the seducer when both feel the passion of being seduced.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 8, 2010

Remember Me-Laura Moore

Remember Me
Laura Moore
Ballantine, Jan 26 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345482761

On the Rosewood Virginia horse farm, the eighteen year old daughter of the owner Margot Radcliffe decides to make love with the man of her dreams, employee Travis Maher. Although he wants her he rejects Princess Margot. She leaves for New York humiliated and becomes a successful supermodel.

Eight years later, irate family patriarch RJ accuses his horse trainer Travis of cheating with his wife Nicole, which Maher denies, but is fired anyway. Soon afterward RJ and Nicole die in a plane crash. The three offspring are stunned as married Jordan, teen Jade, and Margot must decide what to do. Margot realizes the only hope to save the nearly bankrupt Rosewood is with the man who rejected her when she threw herself at him.

Believe Me (Jordon’s upcoming tale) that the first Rosewood Trilogy is a terrific horse farm romance starring two strong lead characters supported by a solid cast to include steeds. Readers will empathize with Margot who still loves Travis; but root for him as he wanted her back then, never moved passed desiring her, and still needs her, but to this day feels he did the right thing for both of them when he rejected her. Fans will enjoy this fine tale as Laura Moore proves Virginia is for lovers.

Harriet Klausner

The Bliss Factor-Penny McCall

The Bliss Factor
Penny McCall
Berkley, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233078

In Holly Grove at the Michigan Renaissance festival someone apparently attacked armorer Conn leaving him suffering from amnesia. Accountant Rae Blissfield’s festival parents volunteer her to provide Conn a place to heal, which he accepts.

Conn and Rae are attracted to one another, but he is unsure whether he should proceed unaware of whom he might have a relationship with already and she is prim and proper, the opposite of her festive parents. As he begins to regain his memory, they fall in love. However, he realizes he is undercover working to shut down a counterfeit ring operating inside the festival that will also be closed once he exposes the felons working with impunity from within. That is if he and his “partner” can continue to elude the “Three Stooges” sent to shut him down permanently.

This is an entertaining romantic frolic starring two likable lead characters, her charming parents (and the other festival players), and the slapstick thugs. The story line is fast-paced and filled with humor as well as romance (especially the heroine’s fantasies re her new roommate. Fans will enjoy this zany amusing romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Back In Black-Lori Foster

Back In Black
Lori Foster
Berkley, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425232989

At Roger’s Rodeo bar where SBC fighters hang out, Gillian Noode observes the sport’s league president Drew Black and fighter Brett Bullman tell no to two groupies. Gillian has been hired by the SBC financial backers Loren and Fran Ferrari to help Drew to clean up his act especially the public use of profanity. Drew tries to pick up Gillian who informs him who she is. He calls Fran who tell him to cooperate or else, but he also learns that Gillian needs this job. He offers his new handler a deal as he plans to have Gillian in his bed.

The Women Against Violent Sports arrives at the bar to protest and give out leaflets. Brett meets the WAVS president Audrey Porter. At the same time Drew says he will clean up his act outside, but wants Gillian in his bed. He kisses her to seal the deal. Gillian is impressed with Drew when he gives a talk to at risk boys warning them about fighting unregulated and informing them if they want a shot at the SBC they should start working out and no drugs. Audrey introduces Brett to her best friend Millie. After Millie leaves, Brett asks Audrey why she hates SBC; she swears she will one day tell him. As the two pairs of couples fall in love, each woman has issues to overcome with what the respective man in their life does for a living.

The lead couple is a terrific combination as she is finesse and he is in your face while the secondary couple is also set up nicely as he is a fighter and her cause is to shut down brutal sports. Although the villain is to over the top of the sport’s arena, fans will enjoy Lori Foster’s latest Supreme Battle Challenge romance.

Harriet Klausner

Laced With Desire-Jaci Burton, Jasmine Haynes, Joey W. Hill and Denise Rossetti

Laced With Desire
Jaci Burton, Jasmine Haynes, Joey W. Hill and Denise Rossetti
Heat, Feb 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232293

"No Strings Attached" by Jaci Burton. In Hawaii Ella plans to have a vacation fling with Clay constructed on her belief that what happens on the islands stay on the island until it is time for them to leave.

"La Petite Mort" by Jasmine Haynes. Fortyish Sophia is dying so she wants to go out with a bang provided by her boss Ford.

"Honor Bound" by Joey W. Hill. Military deployments and a serious war related injury cannot keep Peter and Dana apart.

"Rhio's Dancer" by Denise Rossetti. Queen Sikara’s Guardsman Rhio feels hypnotized by the Ambassador’s slave-Dancer though he tries to stay alert to any attacks on her Highness except for one problem he wants to go under the covers with the Dancer.

These are four heated erotic romances starring likable mature characters whose personal issues enhance the heat.

Harriet Klausner

Release-Beth Kery

Beth Kery
Heat, Feb 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232712

Three years ago, her beloved Max asks Genny if she would like to try a ménage a trois to include his business partner, Sean. Having been attracted to Sean even more than she was to her husband, she agrees. It was heaven. A few days later, Max is dead; the police and the couple’s family and friends believe Genny killed her spouse.

Genny has stayed as far away from Sean because she fears exploring her feelings for him and his dominant desires. However, someone is violently stalking her and has burned down her home, broken into her office, and scoured her storage bin. She needs help so turns to security expert Sean though that also means dealing with her feelings for him.

With a super spin to the whodunit, fans will relish this strong investigative woman in peril erotic thriller. Genny is terrific as the vulnerable lead protagonist as her fears are from the stalker who wants to checkmate her for some unknown reason and from her heart (and libido) tied up in velvet knots by Sean. The blending of danger and sex is deftly done as Beth Kery’s latest Release is a strong sexual suspense story.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The P.I. Contes-tC.J. Carmichael

The P.I. Contest
C.J. Carmichael
Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716173

NYPD cop Kate Cooper realizes her fiancé police officer Connor Lowery is cheating on her. She not only kicks him to the curb, she quits the police department because she realizes she no longer trusts him or his two buddies, Max Beranger and Dan Bogart, especially her patrol partner Max. Instead Kate accepts an offer from her friend Lindsay Fox to work at the Fox and Fisher Detective Agency.

The other partner Nathan Fisher's friend, commercial pilot Jay Savage wants to spend time with his fourteen year old nephew Eric whose mom just died. He needs to stay home to be with troubled Eric who only has his uncle to help him; so Jay wants the same position that Kate has been offered and Nathan offers to help him. As Kate and Jay compete for the same job by working a case, they begin to fall in love.

The sequel to Perfect Partners, The P.I. Contest is a wonderful exciting private investigative romance as the competitors fall in love while working on the same assignment and seeking the same position. Fans will enjoy this engaging tale as another cop leaves the Twentieth Precinct to join Fox and Fisher where she finds true love if she is willing to take a second chance with her heart while Jay is in love but Eric must come first.

Harriet Klausner

Quarterback Daddy-Linda Barrett

Quarterback Daddy
Linda Barrett
Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 9 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716197

Attorney Alexis Brown has no time to mourn the death of her sister Sherri who was killed by her former boyfriend.. Sheri was nine months pregnant when the murder-suicide occurred but the baby was saved. Alexis has big debts due to college loans, mortgage and her sister’s funeral, but also must take care of her infant niece Michelle. Alexis needs financial help so she decides to ask the baby’s father New England Patriots starting quarterback Dan Delito for childcare funding.

A widower Dan does not deny his relationship with Sherri, but as a celebrity distrusts lawyers and aunts so demands DNA testing. When the results prove he is the father, he informs Alexis he will raise his child Michelle. This breaks Alexis’ heart as she loves her niece, but legally with no grounds to stand on, Alexis leaves. However, Dan and Michelle miss Alexis, as she has sacked both their hearts; but will he beg her to come home?

This interesting New England romance stars two adults with issues as each has problems with their past; her with her parents and him with the death of he wife several years ago. The lead couple makes the contemporary tale work as the lawyer and the football star fall in love with each other and with Michelle, but unless they overcome their fears of trusting their respective hearts; their relationship is at fourth down and seconds to go with no more timeouts.

Harriet Klausner

Cowboy Comes Home-Carrie Alexander

Cowboy Comes Home
Carrie Alexander
Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 9 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716142

In Treetop, Wyoming, Meg Lennox takes over running the family ranch with the death of her father. Her former lover who once took a fall for her when she ran away, Rio Carefoot arrives in answer to an ad she put in the Treetop Weekly offering a job at Wild River. Although Meg has doubts, she knows she owes him so hires the veteran.

Rio proves to be a super employee. However, their attraction to one another remains as strong as it was years ago. Meg wants a second chance, but needs to forgive herself for the errors she made while Rio also wants a second chance but distrusts the woman who still owns his heart.

This is a warm second chance at love ranch romance starring two likable endearing protagonists. Each needs to move on if they are to have a future together; but to do so he must forgive her transgression so that she can forgive herself. Fans of simple sweet stories will enjoy the rancher and her hand as the Cowboy and the Cowgirl come home to each other.

Harriet Klausner

Steamed-Katie MacAlister

Katie MacAlister
Signet, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451229311

Computer research technician Jack Fletcher is experimenting with a nanoelectromechanical system in his lab. His sister Hallie, who sold him at a charity auction, accidentally moves the switches while spilling liquid helium on the connections, causing an explosion that burns the circuits and more. The boom also sends the siblings to another world; that of his favorite story Airship Pirates; a Victorian realm using steam power as the primary source of energy. .

Aerocorps Captain Octavia Pye is on her maiden voyage on HIMA (His Imperial Majesty’s Airship) Tesla. However, she is shock to find two stowaways on her ship. Jack and Hallie tell her their story, but she thinks they are either insane or spies for the Black Hand Rebels or one of the European enemies as the Empire is on the brink of revolt. She also thinks the hunk is cute while he knows she is the woman he always wanted.

Steamed is an entertaining wacky steampunk romantic fantasy filled with humor as the computer guru with fantasies of being Indiana Jones lands in the adventure of a lifetime with the woman of his dreams. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Hallie sends them into this other realm and never slows down as Jack thrives to become a one-eyed patched first mate to the captain who has a few secrets of her own.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Plain Jayne-Hillary Manton Lodge

Plain Jayne
Hillary Manton Lodge
Harvest House, Jan 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780736926980

Her editor at the Portland Oregonian demands Jayne Tate take vacation time so she can regain her Mojo which was lost since her dad died and a promotion went to someone else. Reluctantly she agrees so she heads to Oregon's Amish country seeking a feature and some respite.

Jayne is taken aback by the throwback lifestyle though she conceals her shock behind a veneer of appreciative objectivity. However, Jayne is unable to remain cool when she meets former Amish carpenter Levi Burkholder. As they fall in love, she moves in temporarily with his estranged parents for a taste of genuine Amish living and quickly respects his family because they are hard working caring plain folks, but flees in panic when her Levi says he loves her.

This is an engaging inspirational romance of a woman who gave God the cold shoulder for allowing her setbacks until she meets the Burkholder clan. Fans will enjoy this terrific Plain & Simple character driven saga as Plain Jayne learns to deal with her fears not run away from them. She deserves being the title protagonist as she makes the story line fun to read.

Harriet Klausner

Blood Magic-Eileen Wilks

Blood Magic
Eileen Wilks
Berkley, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233054

FBI Agent Lily Yu and Lupi Prince Rule Turner plan their mixed marriage over the objections of each of their respective families. Her side objects to a werewolf for an in law; while his side opposes a human as an in-law. Neither side will budge a fraction on the upcoming nuptials.

In San Diego at a baby shower for FBI Agent Cynna Weaver and Lupine Sorcerer Cullen Seabourne (see Blood Lines and Night Season for their mating) at the Nokolai Clan home, an assassin almost murders Cullen. As Lily investigates, she is shocked when her shapeshifting grandmother vanishes without a trace. Even more stunning to the Fed is all clues in the murder attempt lead to grandmother as an ancient blood enemy plans to kill her and anyone related to her.

The key to the latest Yu-Turner urban fantasy is the emphasis is on her enigmatic grandmother, especially the elderly shapeshifter’s past. Though newcomers will need a scorecard, Lily fans obtain a terrific whodunit that includes the return of the C couple, but the fun is learning why the avenger is doing it because of the deep look at the Yu family roots.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Between the Sheets-PJ Mellor

Between the Sheets
PJ Mellor
Kensington Aphrodisia, Feb 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758238184

“Redd Hot”. Whatever realtor Andrea wants she takes; so seeing the desire in her latest client Connor she decides to mix business with pleasure and take him all night.

“Just Right”. Ashley is depressed as her love life is nonexistent until her friend Daryl takes her on a sexual adventure.

“Stroke Of Midnight”. Diver Beth is investigating a sunken ship when she runs into a hunk under the sea who persuades her that dry land will prove a lot more exciting and satisfying.

These are three entertaining heated eroticas with diverse fully developed women and men who are one dimensional – penis only.

Harriet Klausner

Secrets of Sin-Chloe Harris

Secrets of Sin
Chloe Harris
Kensington Aphrodisia, Feb 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758238535

In 1745 Sea Captain, Reinier Barhydt sails the Caribbean without seemingly a care when he decides to divorce the wife he left behind in Bougainvillea four year ago. Thus he returns home, but is shocked with what he sees. First the plantation is thriving; second his wife Emiline du Ronde-Barhyd is also thriving with beauty, charm and intelligence; third she demands a divorce; and fourth the biggest stunner to the sailor is he uncertain he wants the divorce.

Instead of signing and filing papers, Reinier offers his spouse a deal. She gives him three full days in which she must obey his command in return he will sign the divorce document and sail away forever. She readily agrees as she feels she can handle anything on his body for seventy-two hours in order to be free. Neither expected what happened over those three days of sex to the nth degree, but in this Eden a friend of his arrives devastating the Captain’s revised plans re his wife.

This is a super heated erotic historical romance starring two delightful lead characters whose exploits in and out of the boudoir make for an entertaining tale as each starts off competing to trump the other, but passion overwhelms both of them. As they fall from lust to in love with lust, each considers modifying their schemes as three days seems inadequate. Readers will relish this strong mid eighteenth century Caribbean erotica and look forward to the sequel.

Harriet Klausner

Archangel’s Kiss-Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Kiss
Nalini Singh
Berkley, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233368

Elena Deveraux wakes up to see an odd alien city with angels in the sky. Archangel of New York Raphael fell in love with the human hunter and changed her into an immortal. After being in a coma for a year, she has been awake for three days. They argue over their relationship as he insists he is he master and she says they are equals. He says she must fly or die in the next two months as they have been invited to a ball by the oldest archangel Lijuan that they cannot afford to miss gong. Lijuan considers the hunter as Raphael’s pet and the other living members of the Cadre of ten want to test her power too after what she did to one of them in New York and her being the first made human in millennia.

Raphael and Elena while flying over Refuge see a body near where Raphael’s land touches that of Elijah. Loyal vampire Noel was battered and left to die with a warning to Elena as a Hunter Gild weapon was buried inside the severely injured man’s chest. The trail is cold. Raphael wants to kill the violator who harmed Noel but needs proof as he knows the games to test him and his soulmate have begun and the danger increases with deaths and torture.

Although the terrific Archangel’s Kiss is a direct sequel to Angels’ Blood readers will have some problems during the first few chapters catching up with the back-story unless you read the previous tale recently. However, that will pass quickly as the exciting story line grips the audience while taking place entirely on the Archangel plane. The mystery is deftly handled as is the relationship between the archangel and the hunter he made while the strong support cast contains distinct different personalities. Fans will relish this engaging romantic fantasy as everything converges at Lijuan’s ball.

Harriet Klausner

Accidentally Demonic-Dakota Cassidy

Accidentally Demonic
Dakota Cassidy
Berkley, Feb 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425232286

Public relations specialist Casey Schwartz wakes up behind bars, but cannot recall getting arrested. She calls her big sister Wanda (see the Accidental Werewolf) to bail her out. Casey not only fails to remember beating up a cop, which led to her arrest, the normally mild mannered woman cannot understand her sudden short fuse and incredible strength.

Vampire Clayton Gunnersson arrives knowing why Casey has radically changed. In a bar someone accidentally dropped demon blood on her and she is changing into the genetic clone of Clay’s demonic mate Hildegard. Casey is attracted to Clay, which if her “twin” finds out will make turning into a demon seem gentle and sweet.

This is a laugh out loud romantic fantasy as fans of the Accidental saga (See Accidental Human and Accidentally Dead) will understand the mantra may the Schwartz be with us. The story line is a breezy lighthearted frolic as a werewolf or vampire bite pale compared to being demonized. Zany throughout, fans of madcap paranormal tales will enjoy the meek will inherit the earth; if they live long enough.

Harriet Klausner