Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Lumby Lines-Gail Fraser

The Lumby Lines
Gail Fraser
NAL, May 1 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 978-0451221391

Forty years ago when their lives were tanking, Mark and Pam Walker knew they needed a respite together. They had planned to visit historical inns, but kept kicking the can until they decided this was no longer acceptable. So each year since, they have visited rundown due to a fire Montis Abbey in Lumby in the Northwest, built in 1893, but the Church and then the affluent allowed it to deteriorate. Now the Walker pair wants to turn the edifice into an inn with them running a restaurant there.

Nothing occurs in town that gets passed the notice of The Lumby Lines owner William Beezer. He opposes the outsiders moving in and forming a business as he fears what makes his town quaint and quirky will soon be inundated by other “fungi”, which will drive the long time families away. The mayor is silent on the issue as the burned down Montis Abbey is not a nice place to do his business in public

The reprint of the first Lumby rustic village family saga is filled with fun subplots over the top of the Rockies. Whimsical, uplifting and warm, The Lumby Lines’ newspaper makes the tale enjoyable with columns like the Sheriff's Complaints and quoting the mayor barking out orders. Although rural conquers urban too easily and with a nod to Mossy Creek, Gail Fraser does so with humor as Beezer steals the show from the outside upstarts with his amusing commentaries.

Harriet Klausner

On Shadow Beach-Barbara Freethy

On Shadow Beach
Barbara Freethy
Pocket, Mar 30 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439101575

Lauren Jamison vowed to never return to her hometown of Angel's Bay, California where her sister Abby was murdered thirteen years ago. However, her dad suffers from Alzheimer’s while her brother David is on the East Coast and mom refuses to take care of her ex husband whom she divorced eleven years ago. Thus, Lauren comes home to find nothing changed except the empty nest; not even the room she shared with her late sister.

Her former boyfriend Shane Murray, who was accused of killing Abby and condemned by the locals as guilty, is also in Angel's Bay. At the same time, Mark Devlin is making a movie about the death of Abigail Jamison. Lauren thinks the cold case requires a villain for a film so if none is forthcoming she will choose the still perfect fall guy; the boy and now the man she loves but let down when she refused to believe Shane’s claim of innocence. Someone must agree as a car runs over the filmmaker.

Although the Angels’ limited roles seem forced into appearing in the plot, fans will appreciate the return to Angel’s Bay (see Suddenly One Summer) as Barbara Freethy provides a strong entry filled with remorse and angst. The characters are fully developed especially so the lead couple who remains restrained by their love as their relationship died along side Abby. Readers will enjoy this fine second chance at love romantic suspense as Lauren learns you can go home, but do you really want to?

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cool Like That-Nikki Carter

Cool Like That
Nikki Carter
Kensington Dafina, Mat 2010, $9.95
ISBN: 9780758234421

Her mom Gwen has some doubts about Gia spending the summer in New York City especially since Ricky is going to attend the same enrichment program although the pair are just best friends. Gwen and her spouse Gia’s stepdad LeRon set rules for the two high school seniors as does Ricky’s mom.

Gia desperately wants her crush Ricky to make a move on her, but so far he has not so she prays the summer with no parents or siblings will encourage him as she wants to be his squeeze and not just his BF. When he does not and another cutie Rashad makes a move, Gia apparently adopts a new crush. Ricky is crushed as he wants her to be his girl.

This is an engaging young adult romance starring a teen drama queen and the two hunks in her life. Once Rashad forms the triangle, the fun begins and never slows down until the finakl beach scene. Readers will enjoy Cool Like That as Gia’s soundtrack in her head includes Chrisette Michele, Beyonce, Ledisi and Mraiah carey, etc, but should also have her singing ancient history’s Did You Ever Have tio Make Up Your Mind? (Lovin’ Spoonful)

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, February 25, 2010

His Best Mistake-Kristi Gold

His Best Mistake
Kristi Gold
Harlequin SuperRomance, Mar 2010, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373716241

In Houston, magazine sportswriter Kevin O'Brien learns he has aplastic anemia, a disease that can prove fatal. He also learns chemo treatments leave half of the patients sterile. Panicking, he decides to do what he believes is the right thing by his girlfriend of eight months Dr. Leah Cordero. He dumps her so she does not have to grieve his death.

One year later, Leah visits Kevin to tell him he sired a daughter Carly with her. However, before getting to the point, she tells him she is going home to Mississippi to practice medicine there and is seeing another man. He is stunned and pleads with Leah to move into his new house at least until she completes her residency and goes back with Carly to Mississippi. Although in love, she remains distrustful and irate that he hid his health issue from her

This is an entertaining family drama starring a likable lead couple and a supporting cast who enhance the understanding of Kevin and Leah. Leah is great as her ire seems genuine; on the other hand Kevin's concealment appears false as he has no reason except perhaps fear to do so. Still fans will enjoy his efforts to win the trust of the mother of his baby as he already has her love.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Too Hot To Handle-Nancy Warren

Too Hot To Handle
Nancy Warren
Harlequin Blaze, Mar 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795307

Manhattan based jewelry designer Lexy Drake is an expert on modernizing antique family jewels. Charles Pendergraff III hires Lexy to create a special wedding ring. She is immediately attracted to her handsome suave client. For the first time in her professional life, Lexy considers breaking her iron rule of never mixing business with pleasure, which she does.

However, late one night, Lexy arrives at her studio to be greeted by her worst nightmare. Charles is stealing another customer’s jewels, the Isabella Emeralds. Instead of lying, he grabs her and flees into the night. Soon afterward her studio turns into an inferno. After it cools down, a corpse is found. Hurt by Charles’ betrayal and somewhat believing her “escort” is an arsonist killer, Charlie tries to convince the woman he loves he is not a murdering jewel thief, but danger stalks them.

Too Hot to handle is a terrific romantic suspense starring two intriguing lead characters. Lexy is a likable individual whose heart has been stomped on by a man who asks her for her trust. Charlie is the more fascinating protagonist as the audience wonders whether he is guilty on all accounts. As always Nancy Warren provides a strong tale that grips the reader the moment Lexy enters her studio late at night.

Harriet Klausner

Shameless-Karen Robards

Karen Robards
Simon and Schuster, Apr 13 2010, $25.00
ISBN 9780743410618

Although the Napoleonic Wars are over with the little dictator dead, in 1817 the British War Office still seeks out French sympathizers. Near the top of their wanted dead list is dangerous half British-half French assassin Neil “Angel of Death” Severin.

When Neil and Lady Elizabeth Banning meet, each is instantly attracted to one another after he rescues her from her latest rejected suitor. However, Beth is unaware that her hero is playing a deadly game with her brother-in-law planning to use her as a pawn in a deadly cat and mouse contest. However, his scheme is devastated when he falls in love and when sex slavers kidnap his beloved Beth to sell at auction in Trelawney Castle. In spite of knowing the risk he takes, Neil attempts a rescue that if he succeeds puts him in jeopardy with the Home Office.

The third Banning Sisters Regency romance (see Scandalous and Irresistible) is a great fast-paced adventure tale from the moment Neil crashes the ball and never slows down. The lead couple is a terrific pairing as she rejects suitors though that hurts her reputation and he has a death warrant issued for his head. With a wonderful twist, Karen Robards provides a fabulous historical tale.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, February 22, 2010

Possessing Morgan-Bonnie Edwards

Possessing Morgan
Bonnie Edwards
Harlequin Blaze, Mar 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795338

Repo woman Morgan Swann has loved Kingston “Mac” McRae since she was a teen. In fact, her hero is why she changed her lifestyle from juvenile delinquent stealing cars to honest member of society. Although she knows her infatuation will never prove fruitful, if by chance it should, she wants his respect as well as his love.

Morgan is assigned to repo his fancy car parked in his driveway. Being stalked, Mac, who runs his investment firm from his home, sees a woman about to steal his vehicle. Mac races outside only to no longer care about the car except for the backseat where he wants to take the lovely thief. After clearing the air, they begin seeing one another as Morgan learns dreams do not hold up to the real thing and Mac finds his heart possessed.

This is an exhilarating romantic suspense although the thriller elements take a backseat (figuratively not literally) to the growing love between the lead couple. Morgan with her history and her current occupation brings the freshness to this fun brisk tale.

Harriet Klausner

If You Were My Man-Francis Ray

If You Were My Man
Francis Ray
St. Martin’s, Mar 2 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312573690

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at Widow Nathalyia Fontaine’s seafood restaurant Fontaine, the owner and police officer hostage negotiator Rafael Dunlap meet. Both feels love at first sight. However, Rafael has commitment issues due to his line of work; while Nathalyia has to deal with her troublesome sister, Theresa, who just arrived and has not dated since her spouse died four years ago. Nathalyia employs her sibling who begins stealing from her.

Although both have doubts, Rafael and Nathalyia begin seeing one another. However, Nathalyia is put on a spot of choosing between a hard place and a rock, so she ends their relationship though that breaks her heart. Her sacrifice fails to keep her beloved Rafael safe as she considers telling him the whole truth.

With a strong supporting subplot involving the heroine’s BFF enhancing the prime theme of a second chance at love tale, fans of Francis Ray’s Invincible Women saga will appreciate If You Were My Man. The story line is a deep entry, made profound by Nathalyia having to make difficult selections. Readers will relish this fine tale.

Harriet Klausner

Renegade Riders-Dawn MacTavish

Renegade Riders
Dawn MacTavish
Leisure, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843963229

In 1875 in Canyon County, Arizona Territory, Trace Ord shoots the horse thief trying to steal his steed Diablo. He assumes the person he shot is a young boy, but when he goes to help him, he finds he shot a beautiful woman. He removes the bullet from her shoulder and gives her a chance to heal though he demands she explain why she was out here alone and took his horse. She refuses to answer beyond saying her name is Mae.

Not long afterward she steals Diablo for the second time. Her escape fails when four men grab her. Trace meets an older man who he calls the Preacher. They team up, but are unable to track Mae any further due to a storm. Instead they head to the Lazy C Ranch where Trace has business as a renegade rider seeking evidence that the owner Jared Comstock was stealing horses from his clients. With Preacher helping, Trace learns Mae is Jared’s wife and Comstock was riding Diablo. However, nothing is quite like it seems as Trace is to learn while trying to rescue Mae and Diablo and obtain the proof of rustling by the lazy C.

This is a terrific tribute to the late Dawn MacTavish. Known for her Regencies and as Dawn Thompson her paranormals, as well as the well written Renegade Riders, shows her audience the depth of her skill with a western romance. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing as each has doubts about the other’s loyalties yet take a dangerous risk for the other. Although Preacher’s insistence on helping is not adequately explained until the very end, fans will fully appreciate the late twists that add excitement to a strong tale in which the lead couple exchanges shoulder scars.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In the Darkest Night-Patti O'Shea

In the Darkest Night
Patti O'Shea
Tor, Mar 30 2010, $6.99
ISBN 9780765361707

In Seattle, novice mage Farran hides from her family the Taireil and more so from the Gineal who want them dead. However, she knows she is fortunate to remain alive after Seth the demon attacked her. Farran needs help so she asks exiled Gineal Kel Andrews to keep her safe.

Kel has issues having barely survived being a tortured hostage. He sees Farran like a sister struggling against a world of maliciousness as he suffers nightmares from his captivity. As they fall in love, danger mounts from paranormal and human enemies, and almost as perilous their personal fears.

The latest Light Warrior romantic urban fantasy (see In the Midnight Shadows and Edge of Dawn) is a terrific action-packed thriller that opens with a powerful setting the background scene with references to Crest gel for instance to counter balance Seth. The story line is fast-paced throughout, but accelerates when the heroine faints at the doorstep of the hero. The sub-genre audience will be enthralled with Patti O’Shea's latest Light Warrior battling In the Darkest Night.

Harriet Klausner

Starlight & Promises-Cat Lindler

Starlight & Promises
Cat Lindler
Medallion, Apr 1 2010, $7.95
ISBN 9781605420936

In 1891 near Tasmania in a previously uncharted part of the Furneaux Islands, English Earl Richard Colchester and James Truett are stunned to see from their ship using a spyglass a Smilodon. They discuss bringing home to England this previously thought extinct for ten millennia saber-toothed tiger.

Instead of a hero’s welcome, pirates kidnap Richard and leave him on an island. Back in Berkshire County, his niece Samantha, praying she is right that her beloved explorer uncle is alive, organizes a rescue mission. She persuades renowned zoologist Professor Christian Badia to help her find her uncle. Famous for his big cats’ research, he agrees, but hides his personal quest from her. As they begin to fall in love, he learns the only way to shut her up is with a kiss, but the professor will betray his beloved; just as he believes she betrays him with his former best friend.

The action-packed late Victorian Era romantic adventure is fast-paced from the moment the saber tooth tiger appears and never slows down until the finish. The cast is strong as the audience observes the explorers and naturalists encourages over five decades after Darwin to search for live animals and fossils like the missing link. Although Sam’s behavior seems too reckless, fans will enjoy this deep historical romantic thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In For a Penny-Rose Lerner

In For a Penny
Rose Lerner
Leisure, Feb 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843963359

In 1819 Lord Nevinstroke learns his father died leaving the family broke and in overwhelming debt. His sister Louise offers to marry a wealthy man even odious Lord Jasper, but Nate chooses to be the sacrifice. He is already attracted to the daughter of an affluent brewer Penelope Brown so he asks her to marry him, but is honest about his need. She accepts as long as he abides by her list and he agrees to her terms.

At his family estate Loweston, Nate and Penny are stunned with what they find as the situation is even bleaker than they thought. The tenants are angry and their neighbor Lord Jasper stalks Louise. Worse his mom treats her daughter-in-law like dirt. Still even with his break up with his friends (Thirkell and Percy) and his mistress Amy, Nev seems happy as does Penny, but the past has a way of interfering with the future.

In For a Penny; in for a zillion pounds stars two delightful lead characters from different walks of life and a strong support cast who enhance the class differences that is the prime theme of the tale. Regency romance readers will relish Rose Lerner’s wonderful historical.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Family Man-Trish Milburn

The Family Man
Trish Milburn
Harlequin American, Mar 2010, $$4.99
ISBN: 9780373753048

In Horizon Beach, Florida detective Sara Greene seeks a fourteen years old runaway David Taylor, which is how she met Adam Canfield, a Beach Bum in her mind who could never be a family man, which is all she needs out of a male since she is raising her almost adopted daughter thirteen year old Tana and her legally adopted child three year old Lilly. That is her belief until he rescues a drowning boy.

Adam ran away as a teen from a troubled home so commiserates with the Taylor teen. However, perhaps it is meeting the three Greene females, but though he wants no responsibility he allows Taylor to stay in his home for now. Soon he and Dara fall in love, but she must determine whether his entry into her relations could hurt her fragile family and he must decide what to do about David and whether he can handle being The Family Man.

This is an entertaining family drama starring a fabulous secondary cast who brings out the best in the lead couple. Although fans will admire Sara, Adam is the more fascinating protagonist as his childhood is slowly presented to Sara and the audience though readers will know in general ideas by his comments for instance a fourteen year old can take care of themselves and once David enters his life. Trish Millburn provides a strong contemporary as the hero has a second chance at life if he risks his heart while the heroine has already done so.

Harriet Klausner

Surprise Dad-Daly Thompson

Surprise Dad
Daly Thompson
Harlequin American, Mar 2010, $$4.99
ISBN: 9780373753017

Boston attorney Earl Ritter calls Mike Foster, owner of a diner in Serenity Falls, Vermont, with news that Evan Howard and his young wife Celine died in a car accident. Furthermore the lawyer states that Evan named Mike guardian of his eight month old son Brian. Mike is stunned that he has a half-brother as Evan Howard was his estranged father. He thought his big issue was to franchise or not, but now Mike has a funeral and an infant to deal with

When Allie Hendricks was sixteen she worked at Mike’s diner. Her goal was to become a doctor, but she is home from medical school. Mike cannot believe how beautiful the former employee has become and how easily she nurtures his sibling. However as they fall in love, she plans to complete her dream, but practice medicine elsewhere.

The solid cast makes for a fine Green Mountain State family drama as the lead couple is a terrific pairing and the secondary characters bring out the love they feel. Readers will enjoy this wonderfully warm Vermont romance summed up succinctly and nicely by Evan in a letter to his oldest son to be delivered only if he dies.

Harriet Klausner

Promise of Pleasure-Cheryl Holt

Promise of Pleasure
Cheryl Holt
Berkley, Apr 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425235089

In 1814 in rural England twenty five year old Mary Barnes is treated with disdain by her half sister eighteen years old spoiled Felicity who abuses her as a poor relation servant. Mary’s widowed stepmother Victoria is as horrific towards her; only widow step-sister Cassandra does not mistreat her. Wastrel Viscount Jordan Winthrop is staying at Barnes Manor as he is expected to propose to Felicity for her money; while Mary has waited a decade for her neighbor Harold Talbot to marry her.

Jordan meets Mary and assumes she is a servant. He flirts with her and tells her she is pretty. She later sees him making love with Lauretta. She flees from him, but he watches her in the woods where she kisses Henry who is upset by her boldness; she also is upset as she felt nothing.

Victoria tells him who Mary he is, which stuns him as he know he treated her shabbily. He kisses Mary and tells her he wants to do it again. Peddler Philippe Dubois sells her the Spinster’s Cure with the understanding she not pay until it proves successful by getting her true love to marry her. She drinks the potion ready for Harold to appear, but Jordan does instead. Desperate after another nasty incident with Felicity, Mary puts potion in his wine. That night he sneaks in her room. Soon they are having a tryst. Felicity, Victoria and Jordan’s mistress Lauretta try to end the relationship between the lovers.

The first Spinster’s Cure is a fun adult version of Cinderella with a strong lead couple and a solid support cast who with several neat twists seem to have stepped out of the fairy tale into the Regency sub-genre. Ironically, the wicked stepmother and stepsister mirror the fairy tale, but neither possesses any redeeming qualities while Philippe is a superb spin on the fairy godmother. Fans will enjoy this fine Regency romance as Jordan must choose between love and money.

Harriet Klausner

The Wild Marquis-Miranda Neville

The Wild Marquis
Miranda Neville
Avon, Mar 9 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061808708

Known throughout the Ton for his rakish behavior the Marquis of Chase relishes chasing women but his ultimate objective is recovering a rare medieval manuscript Burgundy Hours once owned by his family. When he learns the artifact is being sold at auction as part of the Tarleton Collection, he hires rare book expert Juliana Merton as his purchasing agent.

Widower Juliana instructs her client on the care of a book collection and finds the rake has redeeming values he conceals from society. He is especially aware of his reputation as a rogue and how that could prevent him from becoming guardian to his beloved sixteen year old sister. At the same time he sees beneath the veneer of the bookworm widow to a warm caring heart. As they fall in love, Cain notices a pattern of accidents occurring with Juliana at the center. He believes someone wants her dead either because of her book knowledge or related to the death of her spouse whom Juliana believes was murdered.

The first Burgundy Hours Regency romance is a wonderful pairing of two people who the Ton would frown on them marrying but would encourage trysts. The lead couple makes the tale as they quickly learn not to judge a book by its cover. With the interweaving of rare book collection during the Napoleonic Era enhancing the fine story line, readers will enjoy the adventures in love and danger of the Wild Marquis.

Harriet Klausner

The Marriage Ring-Cathy Maxwell

The Marriage Ring
Cathy Maxwell
Avon, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061771927

In 1810, prim and proper Richard Lynsted is outraged to learn an actress is extorting money from his uncle and father. He goes to the theatre where the "Scottish Songbird" performs with plans to confront and tear into the hide of this brazen Grace MacEachin after he proves she is a low life blackmailer.

Grace is outraged with the haughty aristocrat who accuses her of being a felon. She admits to blackmailing his family, but her motive is not money. Instead she believes his family destroyed hers when she was a little girl and disgraced her father with accusations of embezzlement. Now she plans to prove her dad did not take the money. Stunned by her assertion and her beauty, Richard accompanies Grace to Inverness where she believes the evidence can be found even as an unknown adversary wants the falling in love pair dead.

This is a refreshing incredible Regency romantic suspense thriller in which the lead couple investigates what really happened years ago and learn more than they bargained for as family secrets of all sorts surface on both sides. The story line is driven by the amateur sleuths who fall in love, but as they find one family skeleton after another while someone tries to kill them, each changes their initial perception of the other and even more emotionally shocking of their respective families. The Marriage Ring is a great historical.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Deadly Seduction-Cate Noble

Deadly Seduction
Cate Noble
Zebra, Feb 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420101713

The CIA mission in Thailand went badly. Several agents were captured, tortured and experimented on by the enemy. For two years these operatives were prisoners before they were rescued. Max Duncan was one of the CIA agents tested with mind-control brainwashing to turn him into an amoral assassin controlled by the enemy. He survived mentally only due to brief contacts with imprisoned Taz.

Max is home in San Diego, but struggles with thoughts that he knows did not originate with him. “Prisoner” of his mind, CIA sends Langley’s Dodd Treatment Center’s Dr. Erin Houston to help him and Taz. However, each flees separately with Max taking Erin with him. Although she was assigned to help them regain their mental balance, she has her own issues re her father’s recent suicide that makes no sense to her. They team up seeking to find and insure Taz is okay as they flee enemies of both of them including someone at Langley.

The sequel to Dead Right is an exhilarating romantic suspense thriller that is entertaining but leaves several dangling threads; One of them Taz’s tale is probably a future sequel, which makes sense as Deadly Seduction is Max’s adventures. More germane to this story line is her father’s death remains unresolved. Still this is an enjoyable thriller as the relationship between the doctor and her patient nicely over time on the lam evolves into capture-captive and ultimately loving couple. Fans will relish going on the run with Max and Erin.

Harriet Klausner

Audrey And The Maverick-Elaine Levine

Audrey And The Maverick
Elaine Levine
Zebra, Feb 2010, $5.99
ISBN: 9781420105520

In 1868, Virginian financier Julian McCaid returns to his ranch in Defiance, Dakota Territory. He muses how far he has come from his rustic rough roots as he plans on marrying a Southern belle.

However, he has one flaw with his perfect pan for the perfect family: Audrey Sheridan. She has issues caused by the return of Julian. Sheriff Kemp and his henchmen order her to cause havoc and distraction for Julian; or he will kill her family of young orphans. She steals Julian’s money and obtain job as a cook on his spread. As she admires her employer and falls in love with him, she knows she cannot afford to be distracted by her heart as the sheriff is the crooked deadly law in town. At the same time Julian is revising his plan for the perfect family.

This western romance sequel to Rachel and the Hired Gun stars another Virginian who falls in love in the Wild West. The cast makes the tale fun to read as the lead couple has some history, a present and apparently a doubtful future. The villain is terrific as Elaine Levine purposely makes him over the top of the Mount Rushmore as a nasty who uses orphan kids to extort what he wants. Readers will enjoy the escapades of Audrey and the Maverick who repaints his vivid picture of the perfect family.

Harriet Klausner

To Be Seduced-Ann Stephens

To Be Seduced
Ann Stephens
Zebra, Feb 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9781420108675

In 1661 Lord Richard Harcourt fears he will drown in his overwhelming debts. His plan is simple. Richard will abduct and force a biddable heiress to marry him.

Wealthy Bethany Dallison needs to find an escape from her pending marriage of doom to odious Mr. Ilkston. She believes Lord Richard has provided it when he kidnaps her. Knowing she must marry her abductor to save her reputation, she accepts his proposal. As the pastor reads the weddings vows to Bethany and Richard, she explains the rules of their marriage especially her money. Stunned by her brazen remarks but also admiring her courage, Richard thinks he cans educe his wife to do what he desires as she is an innocent and he a veteran rake. The gender was has begun one touch and kiss at a time.

To Be Seduced is an enjoyable jocular seventeenth century romance starring two obstinate strong lead characters who each believes is taming the shrew. Although the political squabble between Parliament and King Charles II crowned that year never comes across as disruptively meaningful (even with Richard caught between the fighting factions), fans will appreciate the war of the Harcourts wondering who will be on top.

Harriet Klausner

Diablo-Georgina Gentry

Georgina Gentry
Zebra, Feb 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420108507

His white mother was raped by his Sioux father. He suffered the same fate when rancher Hurd Kruger and his men tortured and raped him. They failed to break him. Instead they hardened his heart with a need to one day avenge his affront. He became a mercenary gunfighter waiting for the right moment to encounter Hurd.

By 1892 fifteen years since the atrocity he suffered occurred and now Diablo as he is known, is traveling to Wyoming to confront and kill his demon. He learns Kruger plans to marry Sunny Sorrenson; which gives Diablo a powerful weapon to use against Hurd. Diablo assassinates Kruger’s men, steals from his adversary, and abducts Sunny. However, instead of capturing her, she captures his heart as he revises his goal to keeping her safe.

This is an exciting western romance starring a nasty hero who finds redemption when he falls in love with brave caring Sunny. The story line combines a harsh dark backdrop of sexual predators assaulting the innocent with the pureness of the relationship between the lead couple. Interestingly whereas as she brings out his inner decency; he brings out her inner fortitude. Readers will enjoy this saga of vengeance and redemption battling for control of a soul in the wild west.

Harriet Klausner

What A Demon Wants-Kathy Love

What A Demon Wants
Kathy Love
Kensington Brava, Feb 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758231956

In New Orleans, Ellina Kostova's older brother Maksin (see demon Can’t Help It) explains to her he hired a bodyguard to protect her. She asks her sibling why would a demon, actually a half-demon, like her need a bodyguard though she has a résumé filled with violent encounters. He responds with to keep her safe from her unknown stalker.

Wannabe writer half breed vampire werewolf Jude Anthony moves into Ellina’s home to her jubilee as he is a hunk. They are attracted to one another, but her reaction is humiliating as horns and scales appear on her body; he simply ignores his wants as she is a client not a sex partner. As each dances around their desire, the stalker turns dangerous.

This is an entertaining romantic suspense urban fantasy starring two likeable individuals. The story line is fast-paced throughout although the romance supersedes the suspense and urban fantasy elements. Still readers will enjoy Kathy Love’s fine tale and hope for more in the same setting with a deeper profound look into the emotional state of former mortals turned immortals while those whom you loved turned to dust centuries ago.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Touch Of Evil-Colleen Thompson

Touch Of Evil
Colleen Thompson
Love Spell, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843962444

On the rural Texas-Louisiana border Widow Preston County Sheriff Justine Wofford is completing her late husband's term, but has no support. Her deputies believe she is incapable of the job; the state is investigating corruption charges, and the Dogwood Sentinel editorial wants her hanging just like the three band victims of an apparent serial killer as suicide seems a stretch to Justine though statistics say serial suicides occur. To add insult to literally her on the job injury, her former lover Dr. Ross Bollinger treats her for a blow to her head. He has only recently returned to work after a virus caused heart damage that enhanced his already broken heart after his ardent affair with Justine ended a few months ago; not that the sheriff is handling their heated affair and break up any better.

A break in into the home of Ross' niece Laney is investigated by Justine. The sheriff loathes this inquiry because it brings her back into Ross’ circle and besides Laney is a prime suspect in the three suspicious deaths. However, subsequently another homicide of a deputy places Justine on the top of the suspect list.

Touch of Evil is an action-packed police procedural romantic suspense enhanced by a strong ER medical thriller subplot. The cast is solid especially the beleaguered sheriff and the emergency room doctor. However, it is the investigation that owns the novel as evidence points to serial suicides in what looks like a band member’s pact until the deputy dies. Although perhaps there is too much negative activity engulfing Justine that threatens to overwhelm the whodunit, Colleen Thompson provides an entertaining gripping thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Dragon Unmasked-Kathleen Nance

Dragon Unmasked
Kathleen Nance
Love Spell, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528148

New Orleans New Eyes (NONE) editor-publisher Adam Zolton seeks the Mage who destroyed his sister’s mind. Obsessed he would do anything including sacrificing others to find and destroy this Dragon. However, instead of locating his prey, he finds a serial killer murdering mages; his assumption is the Dragon is the culprit.

Adam informs healer Dr. Grace Armatrading that her powerful mage Aunt Faith was murdered and she is next on the list as the killer wanted her relative’s magical library. Grace has an undesirable past with Adam in which he dumped her to pursue his fixation; thus she distrusts him. However, suffering from recent blackouts that remind her of epilepsy, Grace has few other alternatives than to trust the man who hurt her especially since she also tries to prevent a devastating computer virus from taking affect.

The latest NONE romantic urban fantasy (see PHOENIX UNRISEN) is a terrific paranormal investigative thriller in which magic and the information age technology are on the verge of a war. The story line is fast-paced, driven by the lead couple and a psychopathic mage practitioner, and though over the top of sea level and below New Orleans is an entertaining one sitting action-packed tale.

Harriet Klausner

Relentless-Bobbi Smith

Bobbi Smith
Leisure, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843962826

In the late 1860s in Texas, fifteen year old Grant Spencer learns his beloved father Dan the sheriff of Grand Bluff was gunned down by a drunk in the line of duty. When he buried his dad, Grant vowed to pursue outlaws relentlessly. Thus he joins the Texas Ranger as soon as he can.

Ten years later in Canyon Springs, Texas stagecoach driver Charley Martin looks forward to the end of his six day run so he can spend time with his beloved wife Anne and their seventeen year old daughter Justine whom they call Dusty. However, this time he comes home to find his wife dead from a fever. He takes Dusty dressed as a male on his driving trips.

One year later, Grant and his partner Frank Thomas chase after the deadly Les Jackson gang. At a dance he meets Dusty and they are attracted to one another. However, he has a graveyard mission that drives him as capturing outlaws relentlessly is his life so he plans to leave her behind. However, fate intervenes when the ruthless killing Jackson abducts Dusty; Grant relentlessly pursues him vowing to rescue his woman.

This is a terrific western romance starring an obsessed male and a courageous adaptable female. The killing gang seems like they come from an old TV show or a John Wayne movie, but add tension with their lack of caring about life. Fans will root for this couple and for Frank who meets his woman and learns love is Relentless when it comes to the heart.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Decadent Master-Tawny Taylor

Decadent Master
Tawny Taylor
Kensington Aphroisia, Mar 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758246950

After her fiancé ends their engagement because she has vanilla sexual tastes, Wynne Fischer decides to try something radically different to prove to herself she is much more than a one act trick. She visits the infamous S & M bondage club Twilight seeking something special that will excite her libido to an out of control frenzy.

Masters of desires vampires Rolf and Zane introduce the obvious naive human to sensational dominance. However, one look from vampire temporary club manager, Rolf's brother Dierk puts her in heat. To his shock the master dominator wants more thane a night or two with the tyro submissive as he is jealous when others sniff around. He claims she belongs to him even though his king orders him otherwise.

This is an entertaining erotic vampire romance in which the bondage scenes easily supersede the paranormal elements. Although the plot is much thinner than Dierk’s full blooded lower head, fans who enjoy a heated frolic between a Decadent Master of desire dominant and his rookie but quickly turning into a debauched submissive will appreciate Tawny Taylor’s erotica.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Texas Billionaire's Baby-Karen Rose Smith

The Texas Billionaire's Baby
Karen Rose Smith
Silutette Special Edition, Mar 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373655144

Gina Rigoletti and Logan Barnes were sweethearts in high school in Sagebrush, Texas. Their relationship ended fourteen years ago when she left town for college. Now she has come home to join the nearby Lubbock Family Tree Health Center to open up her Baby Grows infant and toddler development service.

CEO Logan Barnes hires the firm to look at his fourteen month old son Daniel who is way behind in development. He has doubts about having the woman who broke his teenage heart in their lives, but needs her expertise. As she works diligently and kindly with Daniel, Logan and Gina know the attraction remains strong. However, he still grieves the death of his wife Amy to cancer and she never moved passed a date rape at school.

This is a wonderful family drama second chance at love tale as only Karen Rose Smith can provide. The story line is driven by the needs of Daniel as Gina and Logan recognize their past and present feelings must take a back seat to the child. Even with that the adults and their issues are fully developed leaving readers to admire Ms. Smith’s skill at a heart-wrenching contemporary; the author is four for four with her superb baby Experts saga.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Provocative in Pearls-Madeline Hunter

Provocative in Pearls
Madeline Hunter
Jove, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780515147629

Two years ago they married, but failed to consummate the act before she vanished. Verity Thompson, daughter of a late inventive and successful iron making firm, was assumed to have died, but legally since no body existed seven years must pass before she is declared dead. Her husband, frustrated Lord Grayson Bridlington, failed to get one pence that he needs to help his tenants.

Now, the Earl with his recently married friend Summerhays (see Ravishing in Red) finds Verity alive and well living on a country estate. He insists they are married while she insists they annul the marriage as she was coerced by her odious guardian her cousin Bertram who extorted her cooperation by threatening a mother and son she loves. As the couple becomes acquainted they begin to fall in love, but the specter of her missing Michael stands in their way.

This is a super Regency romantic mystery starring two likable individuals who come from different walks of life with plenty of issues between them. The story line is fast-paced as Madeline Hunter proivdes another strong historical focusing on an independent woman and the earl with a temper who is unsure whether to strangle her or kiss her. Fans will enjoy this fine tale as well as its predecors knowing two Rarest Bloom ladies to go (and hopefully the fascinating Castleford too).

Harriet Klausner

Friday, February 12, 2010

Some Like It Rough-Kate Pearce, Susan Lyons, and Anne Rainey

Some Like It Rough
Kate Pearce, Susan Lyons, and Anne Rainey
Kensington Aphrodisia, Mar 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758238986

"Some Like it Rough" by Kate Pearce. Luke comes home ready to persuade his two best friends Julia and Paul that a ménage a trois is the best thrill around.

"Private Eyes" by Susan Lyons. Office assistant Haley goes undercover as a stripper on a case, but catches her firm’s investigator Ry, who wants a private Montana showing.

"Cherry on Top" by Anne Rainey. Massage therapist Cherry dreams of being client Dante’s submissive while he fantasizes of dominating her.

These three heated contemporary eroticas contain interesting plots and lead characters in diverse sexual scenarios.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, February 11, 2010

On the Night of the Seventh Moon-Victoria Holt

On the Night of the Seventh Moon
Victoria Holt
St. Martin’s Griffin, Mar 2 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312384319

In 1859 English spinster Helena Trant is on vacation in Germany enjoying everything about the Black Forest as she reminisces about her bookselling father’s vacation there and her mother’s musing about woods. However, while on a picnic Helena gets separated from her companions. Later on the Night of the Seventh Moon, a mist engulfs and frightens her though she keeps reminding herself that Loke the God of Mischief is mythology.

A horseman rescues her though she is not sure from what. His noble horse takes her to his shelter. There Siegfried and Helena begin to fall in love, but she also fears her mysterious rider as she does not understand the nightmare that engulfs her champion and now her.

This is a reprint of a solid gothic romance written by legendary Victoria Holt in the 1970s. The story line is classic gothic with a brooding hero, an innocent damsel in distress and a mysterious castle in the mists of the Black Forest. Although the narrow path of the story line is obvious with no spins occurring outside the sub-genre boundaries, sub-genre fans will enjoy Helena’s student adventure in the euphoria and nightmare of love and life.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Hellion And The Highlander-Lynsay Sands

The Hellion And The Highlander
Lynsay Sands
Avon, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061344794

Averill Montgagne nurses comatose Kade Stewart who saved her brother Will when both were prisoners for three years. When Kade talks to her, she knows he is healing after two weeks of being unconscious. He got them along with his cousin Ian and two others out of the Infidel prison and to England only to be hurt when their boat crashed.

He learns three men have rejected his nurse; her dad has arranged for another oaf to meet her. She has red hair and the devil’s mark on her cheek as well as she stammers when nervous. Will tells Kade the English reject her due to her stammer and hair color. Kade likes Averill, but she lacks the spirit he needs when he challenges his drunkard dad for the laird of Stewart. Her dad hides her hair and mark and makes her drunk so she will not stammer when she meets Lord Seawell who is nasty to Averill. When his mom calls her ugly and he agrees, she punches him in the nose and pukes all over them before leaving.

Kade tells Will he will marry Averill. He tells her she is pretty and they agree to marry. After the wedding, she is nervous over the bedding so he uses fruit to relax her before they make love. They leave for Stewart with Will and his men as their escorts. The place is a disaster as his father and two brothers are drunks. Averill adds drops to their whisky making them puke whenever they drink while someone tries to kill Kade, but had not counted on his ferocious wife.

The story line is exciting and fast-paced as the lead couple is a nice pairing since he enjoys her clever mind. The humor involving to tup or not to tup adds fun to an entertaining historical although the villain once revealed proves to be a weak character.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stolen Promise-Lisa Marie Wilkinson

Stolen Promise
Lisa Marie Wilkinson
Medallion, Mar 2010, $7.95
ISBN 9781605420691

In 1806 England, Jade flees from the Lowara gypsy camp as she rejects a forced commonly bartered marriage to abusive Dimitri. She does not get very far away when she meets half-breed American gypsy Evan Dark. He rejects her pleas to either take her to safety or ignore her; instead Evan takes her back to the Lowara encampment.

However, her family forces the two to marry Roma style as he should not have been with her without a chaperon. Evan proclaims their nuptials as bogus. He returns to the States planning to marry his American fiancée Gloriana Clayton, but brings Jade and her battered (by Dimitri) sister Liberina with him as indentured servants. On his South Carolina plantation Rosefield, Gloriana realizes Evan is falling in love with Jade so she plans to insure he goes through with his marriage to her; doing whatever it takes to get rid of the gypsy.

This is an intriguing historical due to the refreshing concept of a Roma romance crossing the ocean to South Carolina where Evan is local aristocracy in spite of his grandfather’s blood. The story line is driven by the romantic triangle, but that is no contest as Jade is a moral individual trying to do right by her sister while Glory is an avaricious unethical person willing to do anything to further her position in society their respective. Although having Glory with no redeeming quality is a detractor, Lisa Marie Wilkinson provides readers with an entertaining early nineteenth century romance.

Harriet Klausner

Knock Me For A Loop-Heidi Betts

Knock Me For A Loop
Heidi Betts
St. Martin’s, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312946739

Talk show host Grace Fisher goes to the hotel to visit her fiancé hockey star Zack Hoolihan only to find him with a naked woman. Outraged, Grace penalizes him with a life suspension when she publicly ends their relationship.

Already mentally down after losing Grace and playing poorly, Zack injures his knee and his placed on the injured reserve list. He feels like a loser knowing his beloved distrusts and loathes him though he never cheated on her and his professional hockey career is over. However he has renewed hope when his Grace visits him.

The third magic yarn romance (see Loves Me, Loves Me Knot and Tangled Up In Love) continues the misadventures in love between Zack and Grace. Ironically readers know Zack is innocent as we know he has no idea how she got into his room while on the road but mentally (and physically) hurt by his beloved’s distrust of him. Grace’s outrage of his betrayal of her could fuel a major city for years. This tale is well written and entertaining though why Zack tries to win back his love instead of moving on as she cross checked him with a high stick and refused to listen to him. Still fans will appreciate this fine contemporary sports romance wondering whether Grace can believe Zack is faithful to her.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bound By Temptation-Lavinia Kent

Bound By Temptation
Lavinia Kent
Avon, Feb 9 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061734090

In 1819 in Norfolk thirty year old widow Clara, Lady Westington, wakes up fully dressed but tied to a bed. She has been tied naked to a bed so this is a new experivcne as is her not knowing how she got there. Known for her sexual scandals that Clara toasts her beloved late spouse with, Clara realizes she is tied up by Jonathan Masters, the lord of prim and proper.

He caught her stealing so tied her up, but is unsure what to do with her. Neither wants the other yet desires one another. They actually become acquainted and begin to understand the ghosts that drive each other; hers being her late husband and his being what he allowed his runaway sister to do. As they fall in love, Clara and Jonathan consider marriage but each concludes separately that is unfeasible.

The second Masters family Regency romance (see A Talent For Sin) is a straightforward tale that sub-genre fans will fully relish as Lavinia Kent never takes her eye off the ball of focusing on the changing lead couple relationship yet also provides supporting depth. Clara and Jonathan are complex characters with each having personal issues that have led to their recent behavior, which converges with his tying her to his bed. Bound by Temptation is a strong historical that will bind readers into wanting more masterful novels by Ms. Kent.

Harriet Klausner

Most Eagerly Yours-Allison Chase

Most Eagerly Yours
Allison Chase
Signet, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451228949

In 1830 the four orphaned Sutherland sisters became close friends of Princess Victoria. She trusts the siblings with her own safety so she asks them to go undercover to investigate potential threats the Crown. They agree.

Victoria believes her cousin Lord Munster George Fitzclarence is plotting something seditious and nasty. She asks Laurel to pretend to be a widow in order to learn if he is and if yes what he intends to do. At the same time she begins her masquerade ploy, agent Aidan Phillips is working undercover to identify who is behind a financial scandal that includes homicide. Aidan is attracted to the widow, but fears she is Fitzclarence's partner.

The first Sutherland called to duty; Laurel is a superb early Victorian Era heroine. Her cat and mouse dangerous game with Aidan is fun to follow as neither trusts the other while sharing in common a need to uncover Fitzclarence’s seditious acts and a need of love. Fitzclarence was a real historical person which enhances the story line by bringing a genuineness to the entertaining plot. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the opening act of Her Majesty’s Secret Servants as dueling investigations lead to a traitor and love.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Big Girl-Danielle Steel

Big Girl
Danielle Steel
Delacorte, Feb 23 2010, $28.00
ISBN: 9780385343183

Victoria Dawson loves her younger sister Gracie, but always felt inferior to her sibling. Her parents especially her father confirmed that belief making it clear she was a failed test before they got it right. Mom just sits silently in affirmation.

Victoria leaves home accepting a job at an elite Manhattan school, but her verbally abusive dad calls her a loser for taking such a position. She begins to have an obesity issue and firmly believes she is unlovable although she seems to have everything going as a swinging single in New York.

This is a fascinating character study of a woman who seems to have everything, but lacks self esteem after growing up being told she was a worthless loser while her sister was perfect. Victoria is an intriguing individual who rates herself as useless because that is all she heard from her parents. The problem with this family drama is just how verbally abusive her parents are towards the Big Girl as they are so over the top with their nastiness towards their first born vs. their kind nurturing of their second child, they lack credibility and are two dimensional. Still in spite of the cardboard vicious parents, fans will root for Victoria to realize how much she has going; overcoming negative fostering.

Harriet Klausner

Delicious-Shayla Black

Shayla Black
Heat, Mar 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232422

In Lafayette, Louisiana, famous stripper Alyssa Devereux owns a popular strip joint, but is also is opening a restaurant. She has persuaded celebrity chef Luc Traverson to serve the first day meals.

Luc has doubts as he had the sexual time of his life with Alyssa three months ago, but fears a repeat performance as he still wants her. Alyssa shocks him with her business skills and her education. However, even more stunning she tells him he is the only man she slept with in several years and would like a repeat performance. She also wants to know what dark secret he hides form her as she senses he is concealing something personal. He is sterile, but wants children while feeling morally her lifestyle rules her out. When she is threatened by local activists, Luc defends her, but will he admit to himself and then to her he loves her?

The third Wicked Lovers heated romance (see Wicked Ties and Decadent) is a terrific tale of a man who keeps humming to himself I’m Not In Love (10 CC) because the adulation of his affection is a stripper. Alyssa proves to him and readers she is much more than a stereotyped stripper as her business acumen is superb; though that is two edged as it simplifies Luc’s personal moral dilemma yet also makes the heroine wonderfully complex. Fans will enjoy this deep Bayou Wicked Lovers’ saga as Luc loves Alyssa although she is not his the opposite of the image of his paragon mate.

Harriet Klausner

Bound, Branded And Brazen-Jaci Burton

Bound, Branded And Brazen
Jaci Burton
Heat, Mar 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232699

"Bound”. Although her two sisters will be there, Valerie McMasters does not want to go home to her family’s Bar M Ranch where she fears she still wants her former husband Mason, the foreman, but leaves Dallas for the Oklahoma spread to attend Uncle Ronald’s funeral.

“Branded”. When horse trainer Gage teaches Brea McMasters the wild side of riding, she realizes he ties her heart as well as her body in knots of desire, but how to lasso him in seems out of reach.

“Brazen”. Jolene McMasters knows she will need to walk on the wild side to get rancher Walker into her life permanently.

This is an engaging contemporary romantic trilogy that will have readers playing M.A.S.H. as the three McMasters sisters frolic on the ranch hog tying the men they love. Although Brazen fails to match the emotional intensity of the other B tales, fans will enjoy Jaci Burton’s heated ranch romances.

Harriet Klausner

Rachel's Garden-Marta Perry

Rachel's Garden
Marta Perry
Berkley, Mar 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425232361

In Pleasant Valley, Pennsylvania, Widow Rachel Brand has no time to grieve the death of her husband Ezra in an accident. Instead she has a farm to keep and three young children to raise by herself though she knows her Amish neighbors will offer help.

Ezra’s best friend Gideon Zook, who survived the accident, wants to honor his deceased buddy by completing a project he was going to do for his wife. Ezra intended to build a greenhouse for Rachel. However, her family pressures her to sell the farm instead of starting a nursery. However, questionable accidents leaves Gideon and Rachel to wonder if someone covets the land so much as to drive the widow away and to reconsider what happened to Ezra even as they fall in love.

The second Pleasant Valley Amish romance (see Leah’s Choice) is an interesting look at two people who lost their first cherished mates who are falling in love but are in denial about how they feel. The lead couples makes the tale as the ghosts of Ezra and Naomi stand in their way as Gideon is unable to move on; somewhat because he suffers from survivor guilt and somewhat from his disbelief that one can love twice. Fans will enjoy a trip to Lancaster County as Marta Perry provides a charming second chance at love eomance.

Harriet Klausner

Mad, Bad And Blonde-Cathie Linz

Mad, Bad And Blonde
Cathie Linz
Berkley, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233405

In Chicago, her fiancé Alan sends Faith West a text message that he is not coming to marry her as she waits at the altar. Rather than weep, the sharp-shooting librarian decides to go on her honeymoon to Positano, Italy by herself.

There she meets Caine Hunter, who gives the Heimlich to some guy trying to impress Faith by choking on a French fry. Caine and Faith share a heated night, but in the morning she checks into her new paramour. He works for her father’s rival insuring she does not steal a client from them. However, that is only the shallow segue of what he wants. He believes her father caused his dad to commit suicide after accusing him of embezzlement so he plots to destroy West through his daughter.

Mad, Bad and Blonde is an interesting lighthearted contemporary romance that looks at how far family loyalties should go. Fans will want to know whether the Dark Knight or the kick butt librarian is right about their dads while also wondering how Jane Austen would feel attending games at Wrigley Field writing about the Cubs.

Harriet Klausner

No Chance-Christy Reece

No Chance
Christy Reece
Ballantine, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345517784

On Kalamina Island in the South Pacific, Gabe Maddox and Skylar James met, apparently fell in love and married. However, happily ever after ended before it began as her wealthy father Jeremiah managed to split the couple. Their last exchange between them was Gabe’s note of departure.

Eight years later, when his beloved daughter is kidnapped, a desperate Jeremiah hires Last Chance Rescue unaware that Gabe is one of their operatives. Gabe takes charge of the mission in which Skylar was kidnapped trying to learn what happened to her best friend Kendra.

The latest Last Chance Rescue (see Rescue me and Run to Me) is an exiting romantic suspense second chance at love, if they survive, thriller. Gabe hides his anger over feeling she betrayed him and desire behind a stoic do the job and move on mask; while Skylar remains frustrated that he left before she could return to him and worried over Kendra. With a several twists including a great late shocker, fans will root for this couple to rescue their hearts as well as their lives, but No Chance for the former and little chance for the latter.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Naked Edge-Pamela Clare

Naked Edge
Pamela Clare
Berkley, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425219768

Being a half-breed has made journalist Katherine James for the most part feel out of place in both of her cultural heritages. Her white father deserted her and her Native American mother so Katherine never met him and has no desire to do so. The Navaho have been kinder to her so she chose to stay with them. However, she has vowed to never fall in love as her mother was devastated by that emotion.

At Mesa Butte, Park Ranger Gabe Rossiter helps Kat after she is trapped by a landslide. Not long afterward, Gabe joins a raid on a sweat-lodge ceremony where he spots Kat. Like her though his reason differs, he vowed to never fall in love again having been hurt badly the first time. When her grandfather is murdered, Gabe and Kat team up to learn the truth, placing them in danger from a vile killer and each questioning their feelings.

This is an entertaining investigative romance starring two likable protagonists who have the sweat lodge ceremony intrusion between them even as they fall in love. The wilderness scenes are terrific, but the vivid description of the contemporary Navaho lifestyle never seems to gel as the background to the inquiry by Gabe and Katherine. Still fans will enjoy this exciting romantic suspense of two people trying to kick love to the curb while their joint investigation into strange deadly happenings at mesa Butte place both in danger.

Harriet Klausner

Something about You-Julie James

Something about You
Julie James
Berkley, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233382

In Chicago, Assistant United States Attorney Cameron Lynde cannot believe that in the Peninsular Hotel room next door are the Olympic gold medal champs in sexual gymnastics. When she thinks the event is over, she hears a murder take place. FBI agent Jack Pallas knocks on her hotel door to get her story as the case has implications in DC. They have a history together, but he loathes her with a passion; she knows she does not deserve his hatred, but accepts his feelings as legitimate as he does not know the full story.

Back in Chicago, Jack blames Cameron for his exile to Nebraska for three years when he was undercover on an organized crime investigation that she aborted. Assuming he is the target of a cosmic joke, to his chagrin, he wanted her then and still wants her now, but refuses to act on his desire because she betrayed him once before. As they work together, Cameron affirms what she already knew that she loves Jack.

This entertaining police procedural romantic suspense is a fast-paced read due to the argumentative lead couple. Cameron and Jack are terrific as they argue, fuss and fight over how to take down an organized crime mob while falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Master Of Fire-Angela Knight

Master Of Fire
Angela Knight
Berkley, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233351

In South Carolina, Greendale County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Logan MacRoy is excellent at several law enforcement specialties including arson investigator, forensic chemist and bomb expert. However, he conceals from his colleagues his roots as the offspring of King Arthur the vampire and Queen Guinevere the magi. A dormant vampire, Logan has not made the move to become bloodsucker.

Recently chemist Giada Shepherd has become a full majae. Arthur assigned her to keep Logan safe from a serial killer murdering the latent with the caveat not to engage in sexual activity with his offspring as that would trigger the vampiric conversion. Giada’s only ally is the mystical ancient Smoke the cat who assists her, but he cannot keep her and Logan from being attracted to one another.

This is a terrific entry in the Mageverse urban fantasy series (see Master of the Night and Master of the Moon) as the mortal son of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere is under attack while recently promoted majae chemist Giada risks her life and her heart to protect him. Fans will enjoy this pairing as the romance is hot with sexual healing while an insidious killer goes after Logan using magically enhanced bombs with no concern about collateral damage yet also the overarching theme moves forward.

Harriet Klausner

Atlantis Redeemed-Alesia Holliday

Atlantis Redeemed
Alyssa Day
Berkley, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233030

In 202 BC, a raging Poseidon punished Brennan for his cavalier behavior. For the next two millennia plus Poseidon cursed Brennan with feeling no emotion as a just penalty. However, that is only part one; the second half of his chastisement is that once he meets his soulmate, twenty two hundred centuries of no emotion will explode like a supernova but each time they separate he will fail to recognize who she is; that time is now.

In Atlantis Prince Conlon informs Brennan that mortal reporter Tiernan Butler is their contact, as she is investigating evil experiments on shapeshifters by a consortium of humans and vampires. From a photo and then in person he knows she is the one. However, as they work together to unravel the truth at a scientific convention, the curse appears to destroy their chance of everlasting love and also catching the sinister scientists behind the shapeshifter scheme.

The twisted curse refreshes the latest Warriors of Poseidon adventure (see Atlantis Unleashed, Atlantis Unmasked, Atlantis Awakening and Atlantis Rising). The lead couple is a terrific pairing as Tiernan deals with Brennan and his curse while seeking an evil group preparing to destroy Atlantis and much more. Fans will relish the latest oceanic romantic fantasy as Alesia Holliday moves her overarching plot forward with a wonderful entry.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chick With A Charm-Vicki Lewis Thompson

Chick With A Charm
Vicki Lewis Thompson
Signet, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451229366

Her family adores Lily Revere though they know her free spirit ways gets her constantly in trouble. Lily knows she is nothing like her perfect sister, but never cared until now. A witch, she wants attorney Griffin Taylor, but though she sees something in his eyes that she believes is desire; he never makes a move.

She needs an escort to accompany her to her sister Anica’s wedding (see the amusing Blonde With a Wand) and figures it might as well be someone she wants beyond a casual date. She casts a spell to get Griffin to take her because he desires her. Her incantation works, but the more she learns of him, the deeper she falls for him. As she falls in love, Lily owes him the truth though she expects her heart will be broken when he learns how she deceived him.

The second Babes on Brooms urban fantasy is a jocular over the top of Chicago Wild and Hexy tale. The humorous story line is driven by Lily’s needs and desires for an escort with her choice being the man she wants who has ignored her until she gives him a mickey love spell. Fans will enjoy lighthearted Chick with a Charm as the heroine knows that without the love potion her chance of gaining Griffin’s regard is on a par with the Cubs winning the World Series.

Harriet Klausner

Tempt Me If You Can-Janet Chapman

Tempt Me If You Can
Janet Chapman
Pocket, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416595441

Shipping mogul Ben Sinclair receives an anonymous letter that claims he sired a son sixteen years ago. Stunned, Ben drops everything to rush to rural Medicine Gore, Maine to learn the truth whether he left Kelly Sands pregnant before she dumped him abruptly.

Arriving in Maine, Ben learns that Kelly vanished a decade ago and her younger sister Emma has raised her nephew Michael. He conceals his identity while registering as a guest at Emma's sporting camp because he fears he will not be welcomed especially with his explosive past. Michael quickly realizes his beloved aunt and his biological father are attracted to one another even as they argue, fuss, and fight. As the adults fall in love, the past explodes in the present.

The second Sinclair sibling story (see The Man Must Marry for Sam’s tale) is an engaging contemporary romance that focuses on Ben being unaware until now that he has a teenage son. Although the premise of an unknown offspring is not new (see A Corner of the Universe by Rebbie Macintyre, for instance) the cast makes for a fine tale. Fans will relish the romance between the father and the aunt, manipulated by a clever teen as the past and present collide in Maine with the impact being everyone’s future if they survive some late suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Lessons in French-Laura Kinsale

Lessons in French
Laura Kinsale
Sourcebooks Casablanca, Feb 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN 9781402237010

Nine years ago, the love of her left her for the continent. Since the Duc Trevelyn Davis d’Augustin left for France, twenty-seven years old Lady Callista Taillefaire has been jilted three times though she is not sure why. Now he is back and she suggests they become engaged so she can have an even number of marital jilting.

She wants nothing to do with the Duc although she also knows she still wants him. Instead she prefers raising cattle and making Hubert the love of her life as her bull would never break her heart; perhaps a few of the cows but not her. However, when Trevelyn is convicted of forgery and apparently headed away from England, Callie cannot just let him go.

This is an intriguing Regency romance that in many ways is typical of the genre although somewhat refreshed by Trevelyn’s interesting military escapades and a great final twist re why the heroine was jilted trice. More emphasis on Trevelyn and his past with his insalubrious uncouth valet would have added an additional invigorating element as why the aristocrat keeps this brute; yet fans will still enjoy this fine second chance at love.

Harriet Klausner