Friday, August 27, 2010

Falcon’s Captive-Vonna Harper

Falcon’s Captive
Vonna Harper
Kensington Aphrodisia, Aug 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758229472

Jola the falcon shapeshifter loathes the Ekewoko warriors who killed her mate. When she turns human, Nakos the Ekewoko captures her naked. She is humiliated as she thirsted for vengeance but instead became the enemy’s prisoner.

Ekewoko is stunned by his desire for his captive while he keeps her tied in bondage. Jola begins to fall in love with her guard while he begins to surrender to her beauty. However, it is Jola who pleads to his dominating her into his submissive. As their game of bondage turns into more than desire, neither is prepared for an ugly plot that leaves both their lives in danger.

This is a terrific BDSM romantic fantasy as the dominant Nakos uses his ropes to bond Jola as his submissive; yet ironically he begins to feel as if he is her captive. Fast-paced, the key that makes this erotic tale works is the otherworldly elements like shapeshifting come across genuine, which enhances the heated gender war between the Ekewoko warrior and the falcon shapeshifter.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Viking Takes A Knight-Sandra Hill

The Viking Takes A Knight
Sandra Hill
Avon, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061673504

In 970 Northumbria Princess Ingrith Sigrundottir proudly runs a local orphanage Rainstead. However, when brutal Saxon Commander Leo Loncaster visits her orphanage demanding she turn over King Edgar’s illegitimate son Henry she disobeys the beast. Instead she flees with her children including Henry to Lord John Graves’s home Hawk’s Lair where she demands sanctuary for her, Ubbi her elderly guard, and thirty youngsters.

John is attracted to Ingrith, but knows she is off limits to him as the daughter of the king. Ingrith is attracted to her host but cannot get him away from his studies of honey. When Loncaster angrily burns down the orphanage, John sets off to get the king to intercede while directing the princess to remain safe inside his walls. Ingrith rejects his orders and instead follows him to her father’s court. In love, they argue before he leaves the court to return to his honeybees while Thorvold announces his daughter will marry soon. John decides he will be her husband, but must persuade his beloved he is her man for eternity.

This is a fun lighthearted Dark Ages romp in which Sandra Hill uses humor to make the case that the tenth century was an enlightened period with researchers along side berserkers as warriors. The story line is fast-paced while Ms. Hill provides fascinating ways to use honey that the experimenters amongst readers will want to test with their significant other. The lead couple is a terrific pairing as each is fully developed so the audience will understand the motives and flaws of both as the almost aptly titled The Viking Takes a Knight as her honey.

Harriet Klausner

Sin Undone-Larissa Ione

Sin Undone
Larissa Ione
Grand Central, Aug 24 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446556811

Assassin’s Guild. Chief Seminus demon Sin unintentionally released a virus that is killing werewolves. The epidemic threatens to go pandemic and wipe out the species. Stunned, Sin wants to save the surviving werewolf population from extinction while others have a different deadly agenda for the shapeshifters.

Sin knows her life is in jeopardy as many including herself believe she deserves punishment for the plague she wrought. Her guild also has opportunistic ambitious assassins who plan to kill her so they can take over running the Guild. Connal “Con” Dearghul is directed to bring Sin in, dead or alive, but they are bound by blood. Con knows he must choose between bringing her head in on a platter that would make him a hero who obeyed orders; or assisting her, which would leave him as a hunted outlaw.

The fifth Demonica romantic fantasy (see Pleasure Unbound and Desire Unchained) is a terrific sinful saga as the wicked assassin is finally undone by love. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as Con must choose between his lady and his duty. This volatile mix makes for a great time for sub-genre readers especially fans of Larissa Ione.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Lord Scandal-Emma Wildes

My Lord Scandal
Emma Wildes
Signet, Sep 7 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451231062

Unable to say no to his grandmother, Lord Alexander St. James searches for a missing family heirloom. To accomplish the mission he sneaks into Lady Amelia Patton’s bedroom as her family stole the heirloom from his.

Amelia’s father ordered her to go to London to find a husband. She is taken aback not so much by a man in her room, but by a member of the family, her family loathes. Alexander is as shocked not to see he was caught, but how much he wants Amelia though she is a member of the family his family loathes. As they fall in love with the feud hanging over their happiness, each receives threatening letters exposing the scandalous original source of the spat.

This first “Notorious Bachelors” historical romance is an enjoyable tale as a family feud threatens to keep the beloved enemies apart. Although not a new premise, sub-genre fans will enjoy the exciting story line from the moment Alexander and Amelia meet in her room; their respective reactions are priceless as both are more stunned by the attraction than by his sneaking into her room. With late suspense re the spat, My Lord Scandal is an entertaining nineteenth century romance.

Harriet Klausner

Wicked Surrender-Jade Lee

Wicked Surrender
Jade Lee
Berkley, Sep 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425236369

Daughter of an actress, Scheherazade “Scher” Martin manages the small Tavern Playhouse theater troupe. Her position and that of her mom means she will never fulfill her dream of a loving respectable marriage as no member of the Ton will ever wed her. Her best offer comes from Viscount Brandon Cates to be his mistress with he providing a terrific compensation if she agrees.

Scher considers his offer, but his too young cousin Kit proposes marriage. Scher knows if she says yes to Kit she fulfills her dream; if she says yes to Brandon she accepts love. To seal the deal Brandon kisses her leaving both stunned with their reaction. However, he possesses a dark past in which he believes his Scher is his only chance for redemption yet Brandon also believes he is not worthy of such a great Lady.

The powerful fully developed cast, especially the lead triangle, makes for a deep exhilarating Regency romance. Scher and her two suitors have dreams, but also possess flaws that rip at their souls and hence their aspirations. Jade Lee provides a deep character driven historical as readers wonder whether Scheherazade will choose love or her dream.

Harriet Klausner

Warrior Avenged-Addison Fox

Warrior Avenged
Addison Fox
Signet, Sep 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451231079

Nemesis started her life as a cursed nymph, but recently became a Goddess. However, in spite of her change in position, the neo deity seeks revenge against the God who cursed her unfairly:, Zeus and his pantheon on Mount Olympus. Part of her effort was a Faustian deal with a dark sorcerer, but that has backfired on her since she finally met her first target Kane, Scorpio of the Zodiac warriors.

Her deal, made three centuries ago, is to kill Kane by poisoning his soul. For three hundred years he annually fights the war of survival and every time he has vanquished the toxin even knowing he will repeat the process again and again for eternity or his death. However, this year Kane Montague, an MI6 sniper-assassin, is divided ever since he met a woman Ilsa the secret agent who has him focused on her and not his mission or his survivability.

The latest superb Zodiac Warriors urban romantic fantasy (see Warrior Ascended) is a terrific tale of love, betrayal, and (readers will hope) redemption and not more perfidy as Aquarius and Scorpio do not mix smoothly. Fox world is fully developed with the back-story of what happened millennia go intertwined within the exciting storyline. The support cast especially his concerned brothers in arms enhance understanding of the lead couple as the second saga in the Fifth Age of Man is another winner.

Harriet Klausner

Immortal Sea-Virginia Kantra

Immortal Sea
Virginia Kantra
Berkley, Sep 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425237472

Three years has passed since her husband died, but only recently has Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez feel she can move on with her life. Nearing forty, she and her two children Zack and Emily move to World’s End Island, Maine where she hopes to help her troubled son.

Sixteen years ago, Elizabeth and Morgan met in Copenhagen and shared a one night stand that resulted in the birth of Zack. Unaware he sired an offspring until he meets Liz again accompanied by her kids; Morgan wants to take his son with him to Sanctuary, home of the finfolk. However, to his chagrin he is attracted to Liz in spite of her being a human; a species he loathes. Worse he even likes her seven years old purebred daughter. Liz reciprocates his feelings until she realizes that Morgan is not human and has horrific plans to take away her Zack who she now knows is a half-breed. Like a lioness defending her cub, Liz challenges her son’s sire to allow the teen to choose where he prefers to reside.

The fourth Selkie-human "Children of the Sea" romance (see Sea Lord, Sea Witch and Sea Fever) is a fantastic romantic fantasy. The romantic story line is similar to the previous entries as the plot enables the reader to look deep into the hearts of the lead couple and believe in the existence of Selkie and half-breed Selkie. However, Virginia Kantra refreshes her saga through the beleaguered Zack who always felt different but now knows why; as his feelings are not teen angst or grief. Fans will appreciate this strong entry as Elizabeth bets her heart on the two males in her life.

Harriet Klausner

Atlantis Betrayed-Alyssa Day

Atlantis Betrayed
Alyssa Day
Berkley, Sep 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425238103

Christophe, a Warrior of Poseidon, is sworn to protect humanity, but he loathes his duty as he detests the perfidious humans. Still he does his mission well in spite of his personal animosities. His current assignment is to break into the Tower of London to steal Siren, a Jewel of Poseidon, implanted in the sword of William the Conqueror.

Christophe quickly discovers he is not the only one breaching the Tower’s security. The infamous Scarlet Ninja breaks and enter to steal the Siren too. Not one to allow a male to trump her plan, Scarlet Ninja AKA (in daylight) Lady Fiona Campbell the fairy tale illustrator plans to complete her latest Robinette Hood theft. However, as the pair competes for the gem, a lethal third person breaches the museum taking the sword before the stunned pair can react.

Starting with irreverent Christophe’s debate with a vampire while sitting on Big Ben over whether Ripper was a vamp too, the latest Atlantis saga is a great entry (see Atlantis Redeemed and Atlantis Unmasked) as a strong romance is enhanced by non-stop action and plenty of jocularity. The cast is powerful and not just the Warriors of Poseidon and their soulmates as London and Atlantis have never swung wilder. Alyssa Day scores big time with this terrific amusing yet action-packed tale.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reckless-Anne Stuart

Anne Stuart
Mira, Sep 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778328490

By 1804 a chip off the paternal block, Adrian Alistair Rohan has become an elite member of the Heavenly Host. He enjoys debauchery as he has for ages until recently. Unsure why he feels out of sorts, Adrian increasingly suffers from ennui.

Innocent six-foot tall Charlotte Spenser wants Viscount Rohan as hers, but knows how futile her chances of getting him are as he would not look at a virgin. Still after her maid Meggie tutors her on “bleedin’ arses”, accompanying her widow cousin Lina, she attends a party as a “watcher” at the Heavenly Host. Unable to explain why even honestly to himself, Adrian notices and feels compelled to stay near Charlotte, keeping her out of trouble. However, he could not keep her out of trouble with him as the temptation of having her in a myriad of ways proves too great for his vaunted control. The next three days he teaches her all types of sexual pleasures. However, he wants more, but fears his feelings while she always loved him. Meanwhile someone stalks the couple with ill intentions.

The Wicked House of Rohan (see Ruthless) continues the depraved escapades although the plot has moved forward four decades to follow the next brood of debauchers. The story line is fast-paced as Adrian instructs Charlotte on sensual pleasure, but feels imprisoned by his need for more of her. With a second wonderful warm romance enhancing this fine Regency, fans will enjoy this excellent character driven historical romance.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Burning Up-Susan Andersen

Burning Up
Susan Andersen
Harlequin HQN, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774982

Macy O’James was the outsider known as the Sugarville, Washington tramp who nobody was caught dead with due to guilt by association. Upon graduating from Sugarville High School, Macy immediately fled town. She became a steamy video star in Los Angeles though she never stripped.

When her cousin is hurt in a car accident, Macy returns home to care of Janna as she recovers from her injuries. When she and the town’s Fire Chief Gabriel Donovan meet, the attraction is ultra hot though he pretends to ignore her when his friend Deputy Sheriff Johnny Angelini pulls her over. His reasoning is to chill his desire is he has reinvented himself into a properly behaved adult since his wild childhood. However, neither he nor Macy can cool the ardor.

Living up to its title, this is a heated contemporary romance starring two people with bad reputations falling in love. Though bad girls returning home with a reputation is not new, Susan Anderson provides a fast-paced tale; from the moment Angelini pulls the steamy video tramp star over, fans will enjoy Burning Up with Macy and Gabe as the heat is on in Washington State.

Harriet Klausner

Into The Wild-Beth Ciotta

Into The Wild
Beth Ciotta
Harlequin HQN, Sep 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774678

In Maple Grove, Indiana photographer River Kane has no time to mope over her fiancé jilting her at the altar for being conventional. Her father’s journal arrives from South America with a strange cover note in which he enigmatically says he sacrificed his life for the accompanying gold amulet.

She quickly heads to South America to find her father. An obsessed cleanliness neurotic with a phobia of germs, River remains resolute in finding her father though he will not expect her as he assumes she is a sissy. Her trek leads her to Cajamarca, Peru where the brother of her friend Kylie (see Out of Eden), TV commentator Spenser McGraw, who hosts the show Into the Wild, learns his latest venture was cancelled. He seems to prefer thwarting her efforts, which enhance her doubts about him as she needs stealth and prudence while he needs PR. She tries to keep him from accidentally deploying an alleged Inca curse that targets those who go after ancient treasure; her fear being he will trigger locals and treasure hunters.

Modernizing Romancing the Stone, this sequel to Out of Eden is a fun romantic adventure thriller starring two apparent opposites who fall in love while traveling Into the Wild. Fast-paced though a bit over the top of the Andes, fans will want to join the trek of River and Spenser as they fall in love while trying to find her missing father.

Harriet Klausner

Sins Of The Soul-Eve Silver

Sins Of The Soul
Eve Silver
Harlequin HQN, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774838

Underworld enforcer and soul reaper Alastor Krayl seeks the Butcher; the assassin who he believes was involved in the death of his brother Lokan. When he finds the Butcher, Alastor is stunned as the killer is dead. Apparently a shocked Naphre Kurata, the Butcher’s apprentice, killed him when he tried to murder her.

Naphre buries her former mentor, but Alastor claims his soul as he needs it to free his sibling’s soul. However, Alastor is taken aback when he learns the soul of his late enemy belongs to someone else. As Alastor and Naphre find themselves falling in love, a definitely forbidden feeling for both of these non-humans, neither know what to do next about their desires, his brother or the third party soul collector.

The latest dark Otherkin soul reaping romantic fantasy is a great entry in what looks like will be a top series (see Sins of the Heart). The story line is extremely complex with a great late spin, but also incredibly entertaining. Fans will be hooked from the onset as Krayl walks the Territory of Sutehl with revenge as his companion only to be stunned by what he sees. The escapades have just begun for him, her and their hearts. Eve Silver strikes gold with this terrific Underworld thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Cruel Enchantment-Anya Bast

Cruel Enchantment
Anya Bast
Berkley, Sep 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425236376

Fae assassin Emmaline Gallagher hated her work so she fled from her homeland of the Summer Queen. She prefers to use her power of extraordinary persuasive glamour to help people. However, with her race in peril of extinction, she comes home as the only Fae who can her people, but to do so she will need help from a person she loves who loathes her.

Three centuries ago, Emmaline the assassin murdered the soulmate of Aeric O’Malley. He has had three hundred years to plans his revenge on the Fae he detests. When the opportunity arises by her coming to him, to his shame and chagrin he fails to kill her. Although he has doubts about her sincerity due to her glamour skills, he believes his attraction to his enemy is from within him. Emmaline explains what occurred back then and why; more important she needs Aeric to create the key that will enable her to open a box containing a magical artifact to save her species.

In her latest superb Dark Magick romantic fantasy (see Wicked Enchantment), Anya Bast through the changing relationship between the strong fully developed lead characters makes a strong case that the line between powerful love and intense hate is microscopic. The story line is action-packed, but owned by Emmaline and Aeric who make the world of the Fae seem real. Cruel Enchantment is an enchanting magical entry in a superior series.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 21, 2010

No One But You-Leigh Greenwood

No One But You
Leigh Greenwood
Leisure, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843963991

In 1867 in Caldwell County, Texas, having learned from years of worthless hands, Widow Sarah Winborne needs to marry to save her ranch for her and her seven year old twin children, Ellen and crippled Jared. She figures she would not need to pay a husband though the concept of a spouse makes her ill after her late husband Roger’s ire towards her because their son was born with a withered leg. Thus accompanied by her kids, she heads to Randolph family spreads because they are considered an honest ethical brood as is their employees.

She meets Benton “Salty” Wheeler who teases her with Southern “soft soap”. They agree to wed in a marriage of convenience. After they exchange vows, they and the children return to her ranch. There Salty diligently works at rebuilding the spread. As Sarah and Salty fall in love, one thing makes her know he is not like Roger. He is kind and patient with both her kids; who he loves as his own especially when kidnappers take Ellen.

With a connection to the Seven Brides Randolph family saga, No One But You is a warm historical ranch romance. The cast is extremely powerful especially the Winborne trio and Salty who is much more father to her wins than their dad was. With late suspense that enhances this exciting Post Civil War Texas romance, fans, especially the Randolph crew, will enjoy Leigh Greenwood’s entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Much Ado About Marriage-Karen Hawkins

Much Ado About Marriage
Karen Hawkins
Pocket, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439187609

In 1567 at Durat Castle, English spy Thomas Wentworth climbs though the second floor window only to be pushed off the ledge into the ground. Apparently as he was entering, feisty Fia MacLean was leaving. She was running away from her overly protective cousin Laird Duncan with plans of meeting Queen Elizabeth in London to show her Highness her plays she has written.

Her shove leaves him in jeopardy of exposure by his enemy in their territory or marriage to Fia to hide his identity under the veneer of avoiding a scandal. They wed and head to London with her taking with her the magical amulet Duncan gave her to keep safe from White Witch Maeve Hurst he stole it from. As Thomas and Fia fall in love, he remains distracted from his original mission by his siren of a spouse.

This is a rewrite of One Lucky Lord (written as Kim Bennett) that enhances the original story line with obvious ties to the MacLean saga (see the Laird Who Loved Me) and much more looser connection to her upcoming Hurst Amulet series. From the opening fall, the lead couple make for a fun amusing historical romance with a touch of fantasy and a lot of espionage suspense. Although a transition tale from the MacLean clan to the Hurst brood, readers will enjoy this entertaining Elizabethan Era romance.

Harriet Klausner

Tastes Of Love & Evil-Barbara Monajem

Tastes Of Love & Evil
Barbara Monajem
Love Spell, Sep 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528629

Males cannot resist the sexual lure of Rose Fairburn the vampire. On the lam, she thirsts for blood and sex. She left Chicago for Louisiana in hopes of meeting her dream man.

She meets Jack Tallis who is unique as the only man who can resist the lure of Rose even after she used her tongue to lick away his blood and close a wound he received. He hides from her that he desires her.

They flee together as underworld assassins want both dead. As each struggles to trust the other, a feeling neither is comfortable with, they meet Juma. She is hiding from her grandmother and has bigger trust issues than Rose and Jack combined. The threesome conceals their darkest secrets while being chased by deadly killers.

Tastes of Love & Evil is an entertaining romantic fantasy starring an intriguing trio on the run who hide their inner most demons from one another. The two adults are a fine fascinating pairing as he is the first male who can keep her at arm’s length. Although Juma as a young girl seems genuine, her constant whining becomes irritating. Readers will enjoy this fine thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Bond With Me-Anne Marsh

Bond With Me
Anne Marsh
Leisure, Aug 24 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528582

Three thousand years ago, the Dominion angel guardians of Heaven’s throne were murdering their brethren rather than protecting them. With proof, Archangel Michael punishes the rebels by removing their wings and souls, and exiling them as half man and half beast goblins with little hope of return unless they are redeemed by their soul mate who must teach these fallen to love. Three millennia later by 2090 none have redeemed their souls.

At the exclusive G2 club in M City, Mischka Baron searches for her cousin Pelinor "Pell" Arden who she fears has bonded with a fallen angel, which she knows means they suck at your soul. Club owner Brends Duranov wants her from the moment he senses her, but to his shock, Mischka rejects him. Right before her refusal, Brends learned from his sire Zer that a rogue Goblin Changed and was killing human and the Fallen. Brends vows to find the serial killer, but soon has a stronger motive when Mischka becomes the target; as he believes she is the one for him.

Bond With Me is a superb romantic urban fantasy with a strong enchanting world and a solid cast. The story line is a fast-paced suspense thriller as the serial killer and Brends target Mischka for totally opposite reasons. Action-packed, the key element that makes Marsh’s land seen genuine is the goblins as these are soulless predatory beasts; of whom, for the most part, are unsympathetic.

Harriet Klausner

Taken by Midnight-Lara Adrian

Taken by Midnight
Lara Adrian
Dell, Sep 28010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780440245278

The Ancient, one of eight otherworlders, came to earth and created vampire sons when they procreated with native women possessing the breedmark. He escaped captivity and held former Alaskan state trooper Jenna Darrow for hours. He did things to her mind and body that will have long term repercussions. As she nears death, he places an implant inside her; which winds within her skull and spinal column. After the Order vampire police rescued her, medical experts in Boston determine the implant is part of her body having altered her DNA.

She proves strong, faster, and can do things humans cannot. Throughout her ordeal, Brock takes care of her especially with relieving her pain. He begins to have feelings that he does not want as she can never be his breadmate so he rationalizes to himself this is only sex. While the Boston order tries to figure out what the implant is, the vampires fight their biggest enemy Dragos who has an army of Gen-Y warriors. The breedmates fight their adversaries as powerfully as their vampire husbands do fending off Dragos’s attacks and trying to figure out where Dragos and his army are.

Lara Adrian is one of the top urban fantasists on the market today with her Midnight Breed series (see Shades of Midnight). The current entry is fast-paced and moves forward the overarching plot yet insures Taken by Midnight contains a complete enjoyable story line and three dimensional characters including besides the lead protagonists the villain. Brock and Jenna have experienced first hand tragedy and trauma, which brings realism as their relationship teeters because of their respective pasts. Ms. Adrian has written another fabulous thriller that goes on this reviewer’s shelf with all the rest of the works written by this very talented author.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Renegade Angel-Kendra Leigh Castle

Renegade Angel
Kendra Leigh Castle
Harlequin Nocturne, Sep 1 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618422

Even Hell does not want Raum the Destroyer of Dignities and Robber of Kings residing there. Thousands of years have passed since the fallen angel was kicked out of heaven and now he has the dubious distinction of being kicked out of Hell, which leaves him heading to Earth.

Raum and a team of former demons actually have a mission to destroy demons on earth and their half-breed offspring. He is in rural Vermont when he modifies his objective to keep safe half-breed fallen angel-human Ember Riddick and to prevent her from opening a portal to hell that will allow the denizen to escape to earth. The daughter of Mammon the fallen angel, Ember turns to her angelic protector Raum for safety, but he soon realizes she is capable of keeping him from harm. Still, her father seeks her out to force her to open the gate while Uriel the angel tries to close due to a potential lethal weakness in it and Lucifer fears she may be the source of redemption for the fallen.

This is an entreating romantic rural fantasy in which Kendra Leigh Castle which makes heaven, hell and earth feel genuine even angels, demons and an assortment of supernatural species seem real. The antihero with his darkened wings is terrific as a rare essence bounced from heaven and hell. Ember is surprisingly more mysterious than her savior as readers wonder what she hides from Raum. Fans will enjoy this Green Mountain fantasy as eternity is a long way from heaven, hell, and earth yet Raum learns where eternal bliss can be found; if he survives the finding.

Harriet Klausner

Healer’s Choice-Jory Strong

Healer’s Choice
Jory Strong
Berkley, Sep 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425236536

Rebekka spends a lot time healing patrons and employees of the shapeshifter brothels a place where she was born and loosely raised. Her unique skill is to save a shapeshifter caught trapped between their two forms. However, by doing this, the victim must choose one shape because the cure includes no more shapeshifting between the beast and the human forms.

Aryck the Jaguar were enforcer learns of Rebekka’s healing skills. To prevent a tragedy of five cubs dying from a man-made plague, he searches for her to bring her back to Were held territory to help the ailing youngsters. It is a place where humans and half-breeds are not allowed. Attracted to each other, Rebekka agrees to help, but both soon realize the plague is the first step in a larger genocide plan.

This is a Strong post-apocalyptic urban fantasy as a race war seems imminent in a world torn apart by de facto violence. As in Ghostland, the story line is action-packed but it is the profound look at the purebreds and mixed breeds that make this a powerful tale. Star-crossed lovers, Rebekka knows she is an expendable pawn in a world gone mad in which long dead ancestors punish their descendents for crossing taboo lines as the healer is doing yet she knows she has no choice.

Harriet Klausner

Assassin's Heart-Monica Burns

Assassin's Heart
Monica Burns
Berkley, Sep 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425236529

One year ago the Praetorian Guard captured Sicari assassin Lysander. They tortured him, but that is not what disturbed him the most about his captivity. He learned to his horror that he is half Praetorian; every time he looks in a mirror he sees the monster he is and hides from his peers. After escaping, feeling less then worthy by not being a purebred Sicari, Lysander ended his promising relationship with healer Phaedra DeLuca.

He has successfully avoided her until now. Lysander and Phaedra travel to Rome together to search for the ancient artifact, the Tyet of Isis. The pair shares a dream about an ancient Rome couple Maximus and Cassiopeia whose lives ended tragically. As they struggle with their attraction and the strange nightmare, a Praetorian, aware of Phaedra’s skills, plans to snatch her.

The second Order of Sicari romantic urban fantasy (see Assassin’s Honor) is an exhilarating second chance at love suspense thriller. The keys to this fine tale are the fully developed lead characters, the Burns world that enhance the growing feelings that the heroes are in deep trouble and the dreams of the Ancient Rome star-crossed lovers. Assassin’s heart is terrific mostly because of Lysander who psychologically feels unworthy of Phaedra as he fights against half his nature and, his love for his companion who desperately wants to heal him though he says no. Monica Burns provides a fabulous fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

Cross Your Heart-Michele Bardsley

Cross Your Heart
Michele Bardsley
Signet, Sep 2010, $7.00
ISBN: 9780451231055

Widow Elizabeth Silverstone Bretton went to look at her family’s abandoned estate when she was assaulted. She died but came back as a vampire. She lives as an undead in the vampire capital of the United States Broken Heart, Oklahoma, which is also her hometown.

Townsfolk search the Silverstone Mansion, but apparently freed an angry century and a half old ghost with a grudge against the Silverstone brood. The fuming spirit attacks Elizabeth who is rescued by homicide detective were-jaguar Tez Jones. He teams up with Elizabeth investigating what happened one hundred and fifty years ago to make a ghost into a homicidal psychopath and more significantly to get into her bed

This is a jocular Broken Heart entry (see Cross Your Heart, Come Hell or High Water and Over My Dead Body) that fans of the series will appreciate as the prim and proper widow meets a nasty ghost and a crude shapeshifter that has her wondering what happened to the male population at the same time she wants the uncouth were-jaguar though she poorly conceals it. Brisk and breezy, fans will enjoy Michele Bardsley fun romantic paranormal small town Noir.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bound To A Warrior-Donna Fletcher

Bound To A Warrior
Donna Fletcher
Avon, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061934711

In 1005 Scotland, the four MacAlpin brothers are trying to raise an army to return the rightful True King to the throne of Scotland. However, men of the usurper capture one of the siblings, Duncan. He is manacled to a tired disheveled woman.

Duncan needs to escape and has no time for a female even one as courageous and beautiful as his fettered mate Mercy. They escape and he admires her spunk and soon they become lovers. As they fall in love, Duncan learns who he was bounded to with chains and now hearts, the illegitimate daughter of the ruler the MacAlpin clan wants to overthrow.

The first MacAlpin Dark Ages Highlander romance is a terrific tale that starts off with a strong opening sequence of having the lead couple chained to one another trying to escape and never slows down from there. Duncan is a courageous warrior willing to risk his life for his cause, but he believes Mercy is even braver as she proves her guts while they struggle to survive. Historical romance readers will relish this delightful action-packed early eleventh century Scottish romance.

Harriet Klausner

The Unclaimed Duchess-Jenna Petersen

The Unclaimed Duchess
Jenna Petersen
Avon, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061934995

In 1796 six year old Anne Danvers meets her betrothed since her birth, Rhys Carlisle when he intercedes with an incident with a bullying boy. Anne knew that he was the love of her life though she was a child. Years later in 1816 Anne and Rhys marry in what the Ton assume is a love match. However, a few weeks Later Rhys vanishes without a word to his spouse.

Rhys believed all his life with pride that he was a Waverly. Now he knows the truth that the man who raised him and whose ducal title is his is not his biological father. Instead, he is just another one of the ton of illegitimate sired by the Duke of Billington. Fuming, he left home to rusticate. However, Anne follows on a mission to learn what changed her loving husband into a mocking beast. As her love brings him back into the light, he conceals his secret shame even as a blackmailer threatens to expose him.

The key to this strong Regency romance is the lead couple as Rhys who was always arrogantly proud of one day becoming a duke learns the truth about his birth while Anne proves her strength by being at his side even when he tells her to leave. They make a great couple as his inability to talk to her about what troubles him disturbs her, but she refuses to quit on the love of her life. Jenna Peterson provides a strong character driven historical.

Harriet Klausner

Wicked Delights Of A Bridal Bed-Tracy Anne Warren

Wicked Delights Of A Bridal Bed
Tracy Anne Warren
Avon, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061673443

Lady Mallory Byron feels she lives the perfect life; contented with all she has though she misses her beau who is fighting on the continent. However, her idyllic world crashes when her beloved Major Michael Hargreaves dies in combat leaving her to grieve her loss.

In 1812 the best friend of her brother Edward, Adam Gresham, loves Mallory and though he fumbled his chances before, he plans to win her heart. He uses their friendship to help her come out of her depression. When she suffers horrific nightmares, he comforts her. Finally Adam proposes and Mallory accepts. Their honeymoon is joyful, but when they come home, the past awaits them.

The latest bad Byron Regency romance (see Seduced by His Touch) is an engaging tale as one of the more endearing of the siblings takes the lead. Mallory is a terrific protagonist while Adam’s doubts lead to a strong entry. Although it helps to have read At the Duke’s Pleasure as Adam and Mallory play second banana but set the table for this historical, fans of the mad bad Byron family will appreciate mourning Mallory’s tale.

Harriet Klausner

You Only Love Once-Caroline Linden

You Only Love Once
Caroline Linden
Avon, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061706486

In 1820, American businessman Nate Avery arrives in London investigating an embezzlement scheme. British spy and assassin Angelique Martand is directed to assist Nate on his inquiry, but also watch him carefully. For their cover, they are to masquerade as a married couple.

Angelique is confused by the assignment as this is beneath her usual type mission. She also is bewildered by her attraction to Nate as he makes her feel like a woman. As they fall in love, Nate and Angelique realize that catching the culprit is not easy and will take care sleuthing to find him and apprehend the embezzler. If they are not extremely careful, unknown adversaries will kill the pretend couple who want to make their relationship real.

You Only Love Once is an exciting late Regency romantic espionage thriller that grips the audience from the moment the lead couple meet. Nate is a solid lead, but Angelique owns the story line as what happened to her as a child and her late mom near Paris during the French Reign of Terror has dominated her life ever since until Nate. Although the plot at times decelerates, historical romantic suspense fans will enjoy Caroline Linden’s entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 16, 2010

Forbidden-Christina Phillips

Christina Phillips
Heat, Sep 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425238080

They became lovers even before they formally met as Carys the Druid high priestess watched Tiberius Valerius Maximus the centurion leader bathe though she knew real lovemaking between them would be forbidden. When the pair meets in person, they relish their lovemaking that she knows is better than her fantasy, but both know nothing can come of it so each enjoys the moment.

When Carys and Tiberius realize they are in love, neither knows how to make it permanent as their relationship is taboo. However, though they part insisting this time is the last time, fate intervenes to constantly bring the Roman charged by the Emperor to destroy her clan and the Celts time after time together. Each wonders if they are meant to be. However they are trapped in the crosshairs of a deadly war that could devastate all of Cambria. Her acrimonious former lover High Druid Aeron dy Ehangwen vows to kill Carys’ barbarian lover, the rest of the Roman invaders and their clan’s perfidious princess sleeping with the enemy even at the cost of the people.

Set in the time of Caesar, Forbidden is a fabulous erotic ancient historical romance as the two adversaries fall in love. She fears the Eagle of Roman will destroy her beloved culture as Rome assimilates them before superseding the local heritage. With a sense of time and place, fans will enjoy the taboo romance between the Druid and the Centurion.

Harriet Klausner

Vampire Trinity-Joey W. Hill

Vampire Trinity
Joey W. Hill
Heat, Sep 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425236703

Obsessed vampire hunter Gideon Green remains stunned that, like his brother Jacob who became a third mark servant giving up his soul (see The Mark of the Vampire Queen), he too has become a servant to the Undead beasts he stalked. However, when his lover was turned during a rape by an evil vampire, he had to be there for his beloved mistress Anwyn Naime, owner of Club Atlantis a hangout for the BDSM. He had no choice as she is going insane with the transformation although he remains extremely uncomfortable with the other part of the triangle they formed (see Vampire Mistress), Daegan Rei, perhaps the most powerful vampire in the world.

To save Anwyn’s mind, the angry hunter and the serene vampire must unite. They must prepare her to go before the Vampire Council who will rule on her sanity. If her two males, who distrust one another, fail to form a trinity with her, she will fail and be put to death. Daegan is not the hesitant one; Gideon as the only submissive in their trinity remains troubled with forging an unholy alliance with those he recently staked.

The sixth Vampire Queen erotic urban fantasy is a terrific entry that at a minimum requires the audience to have recently read book five Vampire Mistress as the predecessor is a direct feed to Vampire Trinity. Those who have will appreciate the continual tale of the triangle that focuses much more on what Daegan is and contains a wonderful twist. Clearly for fans of the Joey W. Hill saga only, Vampire Trinity is an entertaining entry.

Harriet Klausner

Riding The Night-Jaci Burton

Riding The Night
Jaci Burton
Heat, Sep 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425236567

AJ loved Teresa, but left town because he knew he was not good enough for her. A decade later, he is no longer that insecure troubled teenager as he has become a Wild Rider federal agent. He returns to Missouri on vacation, accompanied by his partner Pax.

Teresa never forgot the boy who deserted her. She owns the Greasy Rider bar that AJ and Pax stop at for a drink. She is elated her AJ is back, but also finds she wants Pax too. They reciprocate as AJ never stopped loving her and Pax is falling in love with her. However, a brawl at the bar leaves one dead and Teresa’s brother Joey accused of murder. The two Wild Riders accompanied by Teresa head to South Dakota for the big bike shindig to find the real killer and each other.

The latest Wild Riders erotic romantic suspense (see Riding on Instinct and Riding Temptation) is a delightful entry as the three key players and their interrelationships feel genuine. The story line is fast-paced in and out of the sack (and some other places) as the dynamic trio seeks to identify who the killer is; not one of them believes Joey did it. Fans will enjoy Riding the Night with this ménage a trois while wondering how their triangle will end.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Hellion in Her Bed-Sabrina Jeffries

A Hellion in Her Bed
Sabrina Jeffries
Pocket, Sep 21 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439167540

In 1825, Annabel Lake wants to save her family's brewery that seems heading to bankruptcy. The desperate spinster offers a bet to obtain help from rival Plumtree Brewery.

Current manager Lord Jarret Sharpe hates the beer business that his grandmother blackmailed him into running for a year. He never recovered from the shocking murders of his parents two decades ago so he turned to cards as a safety net; his sibling insists Jarret cannot breathe without cards in his hands. He accepts her wager, but offers different terms. Instead of her lucky heirloom ring for his marketing assistance, he demands she spends a night in his bed. His smirk turns to shock when Annabel accepts his stakes. Even more stunning she beats the card shark at his game. He travels to her brewery to pay off his debt. As the two brewery managers become acquainted, they fall in love, but she distrusts gamblers so he raises the stakes especially after learning her dark secret.

With a charming lead couple supported by a strong cast mostly of family (readers will want a Victorian starring one current tweener) and a fabulous insightful look at the beer business, fans will toast Sabrina Jeffries. The second Hellions of Halstead Hall late Regency romance (see The Truth About Lord Stoneville) is a fantastic historical as the second Sharpe rakehell loses at the tables but wins at hearts.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Spy A Naughty Game-Jo Davis

I Spy A Naughty Game
Jo Davis
Heat, Sep 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451231161

Blaze and Emma were an item until she broke it off as she could not cope with his sexual needs. Blaze is a dom and has a basement filled with the proof of his masterful sexual skills.

To his ecstasy and her disappointment, their agency Secret Homeland Defense Organization (SHADO) assigns the two agents to go undercover to prevent a terrorist attack. Evidence has surfaced that a former operative Robert Dietz is abetting a terrorist group in their scheme to release a biological dirty bomb on the Mid-Atlantic States. Blaze is to pose as a dom and Emma as his spousal sub to capture the traitor and prevent the bomb from falling into enemy operatives.

The heat is on seemingly in every variety as the lead couple plays A Naughty Game with a Dark Obsession of love, but must not take their eyes off the target. If your preference is a straight spy thriller, then you should pass on the SHADO saga. However, fans who relish an erotic espionage caper inside of a BDSM story line will appreciate this tale wondering who will beg for “mercy” first.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chains Of Fire-Christina Dodd

Chains Of Fire
Christina Dodd
Signet, Sep 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451412928

Both are Chosen Ones. They have worked together on missions and had an affair that ended nasty with unfulfilled need. Each has learned now to never mix business and pleasure especially between a Gypsy and a socialite though they have known each for the longest time.

Lawyer and mind-control expert Samuel Faa and healer Isabelle Mason remain angry with one another and especially their selves although each also remains attracted to each other. In Switzerland they bury their feelings in order to unfreeze the Gypsy Travel Agency funds, but also rescue a kidnapped child who was abducted by the Others as an expendable pawn to kill the two Chosen Ones in a man-made avalanche. The ploy works to a point as Samuel and Isabelle are trapped inside the ruins of a castle with a ton of ice burying them and the edifice; and the enemy patiently waits to insure the job is done.

The latest Chosen Ones urban fantasy (see Chains of Ice, Storm of Visions and Storm of Shadows) is a superb romantic suspense thriller. The lead couple is a dynamic pairing as they have a long volatile history (told by Christina Dodd in flashbacks). Even with their past interwoven throughout the tale, Chains of Fire is an exhilarating entry as Samuel and Isabelle are trapped under a ton of rocks and under the even heavier burden of their love.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blood On Silk-Marie Treanor

Blood On Silk
Marie Treanor
Signet, Sep 7 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780451231567

Elizabeth Silk researches the vampire mythos for her dissertation in the Romanian village of Dmitriu. Speaking Romanian with the locals, several mention a nearby castle ruin where they insist Saloman the vampire was staked. She visits the site and accidentally falls into a hidden crypt. Inadvertently Elizabeth opens up a sealed sarcophagus.

The moment the lid falls off, Prince Saloman steps out from the sarcophagus prison that held him captive since he was staked three hundred years ago. Being an ancient vampire, Saloman is extremely powerful. He and his “savior” are bound by her rescuing him and their mutual desire as he craves her innocent blood and she yearns for his touch especially his teeth. However, she must decide if her attraction should tie them through the bond of blood or sacrifice her love to the encroaching vampire hunter horde coming to kill him.

Although nothing new is added to the sub-genre, Blood on Silk is an entertaining vampire romance. Whereas Saloman is a typical; arrogant vampire right out of the casting, the key to the fine story line is Elizabeth who has readers wondering if she will be his eternal love or his Judas. Fans will enjoy Marie Treanor’s entertaining tale

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dark Peril-Christine Feehan

Dark Peril
Christine Feehan
Berkley, Aug 31 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9780425236598

An ancient Carpathian warrior Dominic decides on what he knows is a suicidal mission to destroy the South American vampires. To achieve his objective, he swallows parasites needed to control the urges which will enable him to go undercover and infiltrate the vampiric horde. Dominic keeps his sanity by dreaming of a shapeshifting female Jaguar warrior who keeps him focused though he doubts she exists.

Although she knows this is suicidal to be at war with her evil father Broderick who killed most of their family and clan, shapeshifter Solange Sangria has kept up the fight to rescue other shapeshifting women and her sanity due to her fantasy of a heroic lover. She and Dominic are stunned when they meet because each assumed their dream lover was a fantasy they made up, but now have each other. With both on death quests, they need to find a way to survive yet also achieve their respective objectives as they now have a reason to live.

The latest Dark Carpathian romantic fantasy (see Dark Slayer) contains a wonderful refreshing premise of two individuals on suicide missions who have found solace in their dreams of the other. Although the tale would have been stronger if either or both fail in the flesh and bone to live up to the image each has of their dream lover, fans of the long running saga will enjoy the action-packed aptly titled Dark Peril as her father and the vampiric horde are a formidable foe.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Soul To Keep-Sharie Kohler

My Soul To Keep
Sharie Kohler
Pocket, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439101599

In Paris her father was abusive to everyone especially his family. In that cruel world, Sorcha the half-breed Lycan grew up distrusting everyone. In fact only her father’s top assistant, half-breed Jonah was ever nice to Sorcha. She never forgot the kindness he gave her.

Twelve years later, Widow Sorcha seeks to avenge the murder of her husband that she blames on a demon-witch who cursed the Lycan. The person she wants to murder is under the protection of Jonah who thought his Sorcha was dead and felt guilty all these years for failing her. They have not seen each other in what seems to each as forever, but their attraction that both avoided in the past explodes between them. As they fall in love, Sorcha and Jonah must move beyond their pasts if they want a future preferably together especially when someone wants both dead.

The lead couple is a terrific pairing as they have a past that ended tragically and seemingly no future second chance at love since they are adversaries. The story line focuses deeply into the souls of Jonah and Sorcha so the action is somewhat muted. Still fans of the Moon Chasers urban fantasy woo enjoy this spellbinding tale.

Harriet Klausner

Hellfire-Kate Douglas

Kate Douglas
Zebra, Sep 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420110005

For his role in the escape of the former demon Dax and the human Eddy Marks from a Lemurian prison, Alton the son of the ruling Chancellor, was sentenced to death. He would have preferred to have persuaded his father and the Council of Nine of the long term danger to their world by the increased demon activity, but does not rue his choice even if he dies for it. His action against the demon horde activated his crystal sword HellFire, converting it from a seemingly inanimate though actually dormant to an intelligent speaking species.

Alton also admits he is attracted to the human Ginny Jones, who is passionate about life; unlike females of his species. He sent her to safety to Sedona using hypnosis, but has learned a new portal has allowed demons to invade earth possessing animals. With Ginny at his side and hellfire as his weapon he fights the demons, which is the easier task than persuading the Council of Nine that not just earth is endangered as Lemuria is the obvious next stop once the evil ones defeat the humans.

The latest DemonSlayers romantic fantasy (see DemonFire and the novella Crystal Dreams in Nocturne) is an enjoyable thriller that continues the few rebellious Lemurians risking their lives to save humanity from the invading demon horde. The matching of Alton and Ginny is fabulous as he assumes her being female she will be dainty like those of his race, but instead she kicks demon butt. Though somewhat similar to DemonFire in tone, readers will enjoy HellFire as the war of the worlds continues on battlefield earth.

Harriet Klausner

Rebel-Claire Delacroix

Claire Delacroix
Tor, Aug 31 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780765359513

In 2100 Armand is a fallen angel who knows what he must do to regain his wings that he sacrificed to save mankind. To rejoin the exclusive club, Armand and his fallen angel partner Baruch must assassinate Maximilian Blackstone, who is running for president of the Republic. Nothing goes right and Baruch is severely hurt.

If the credit is right Theodora the wraith will kill. However, though her clients assume she is a hedonist seeking blood stained credit while ignoring the fact they hire her to do their dirty work; she has a secret motive to provide for her loved ones that if revealed would make her vulnerable to nasty sorts; so she hides from everyone while doing the kills others prefer not to do. As the government’s eyes are everywhere, Armand and Theodora team up. They soon begin to understand what is divine and what is human.

The third futuristic angelic post-apocalyptic thriller (see Fallen and Guardian) is a great tale due to the pairing of the fallen angel who gave up everything to save humanity but wants a second chance at heavenly redemption and a hit woman wraith with a hidden altruistic agenda. Both sacrificed a lot for others, but their call for duty brings them together as The Republic is at a crossroad with the pending election as are Armand and Theodora.

Harriet Klausner

The Devil Wears Plaid-Teresa Medeiros

The Devil Wears Plaid
Teresa Medeiros
Pocket, Aug 24 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439157886

Having left gentle Lancaster for the harsh Highlands, Emmaline Marlowe’s choices are simple. She either marries someone she does not want to or her father goes to debtor prison. Thus Emmaline is at the church about to wed the Hepburn clan laird, a man older than her father.

Stunning everyone at the church, Jamie Sinclair rides inside the holy edifice and grabs Emmaline before riding away with her. Jamie is not abducting Emmaline for altruistic reasons. Instead he and the Hepburn clan are enemies; he plans to use the chief’s fiancée as an expendable discard in his scheme to avenge what they did to him. However, he quickly wonders who the captive is as the feisty Emmaline rejects being any man’s throwaway though she must say I do to save her father.

The Devil Wears Plaid is an exciting Highlander historical romance starring the first of the “E” sisters and the rogue who abducted her. Emmaline proves energetic and courageous rather than the weak person her capturer anticipated. Although they fall in love (Stockholm syndrome aside), she knows her mission is to save her father (and the rest of the family) so she leaves. Although the premise has been used before many times; readers will appreciate Teresa Medeiros' skills to make her story line fresh, exuberant, and entertaining.

Harriet Klausner

Ghost Moon-Heather Graham

Ghost Moon
Heather Graham
Mira, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778327967

Key West Police Detective Liam Beckett visits old Cutter Merlin to see if the eccentric is okay. He finds Cutter dead with a spider web on him and a spider in his mouth; his face was that of someone frightened to death as the elderly man gripped the occult tome In Defense of Dark Magick and a reliquary and a little gold casket.

Liam calls Cutter’s granddaughter Kelsey Donovan informing her of Cutter’s death. She returns from California to a place she prefers never to go; her childhood home. There her mother died in an accident and her father yanked her from this place he hated and feared. Kate plans to take care of her late grandfather’s estate and leave soonest as the memories are haunting.

The neighbors believe the Merlin house is actually haunted. There are also rumors of hidden treasure somewhere on the estate. Obviously someone believes in the latter cache as a killing occurs on the Donovan property as well as attempted murder. Detective Liam Beckett and Kelsey team up trying to catch a predator while also struggling with their attraction for each other.

The third ghostly Bone Island romantic fantasy (see Ghost Night and Ghost Shadow) is an exciting suspense thriller. The taut story line grips the audience when the spider comes out of the mouth of Cutter and never slows down as a psychopath haunts the lead couple who wonder whether Cutter died from a self induced heart attack caused by his fear of bumps in the night or a homicidal human haunting his house. That wondering will keep readers up late.

Harriet Klausner

Mesmerizing Stranger-Jennifer Greene

Mesmerizing Stranger
Jennifer Greene
Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Sep 1 2010, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373276967

His uncle suddenly died leaving Harm Connolly the family pharmaceutical company Future, Inc. Harm knows the firm was working on a cure for pancreatic cancer that looks promising, but the test data has vanished. Understanding the significance of the results and of the probable theft, Harm sets up an off-site holiday for the top executives on a cruise in Alaska because he believes one of them is the thief.

Cate Campbell enjoys her work as a traveling chef because it gives her the opportunity to see new places and try new things without any commitment. She is catering the Alaskan retreat. Not ready to settle down with one person or in one place, she avoids domestic entanglements especially with clients. However, Cate and Harm are instantly attracted to one another and eluding her feelings will prove difficult especially when the first murder occurs.

This is a superb romantic suspense starring strong flawed lead protagonists, a deep cast, and a great location. With a nod to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, fans will wonder who the killer is and where the formula is as Mesmerizing Stranger is a fast-paced enjoyable thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1022 Evergreen Place-Debbie Macomber

1022 Evergreen Place
Debbie Macomber
Mira, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778328063

In Cedar Cove, Washington, when firefighter Mack McAfee and Mary Jo Wyse met as neighbors they were attracted to each other. He even used his paramedic skills last Christmas while she gave birth to aptly named Noelle (see A Cedar Cove Christmas). Excited by their feelings, he proposed and she accepted. However, both begin to doubt the wisdom of their rush. Mary Jo distrusts her former husband David Rhodes and fears he will come for their daughter Noelle; not because he wants her but to punish her mother. David vows to keep the mother and daughter he loves safe.

Mary Jo becomes enthralled with a box of WWII love letters she finds underneath the floorboards (see 92 Pacific Boulevard). She wants to know more about the man who wrote them. She turns to Mack to assist her in learning who this romantic was; even as they learn who they are to each other and to baby Noelle.

The return to Cedar Cove will excite fans of the saga as the continuing stories of the cast supports the prime story line of Mack and Mary Jo coming to grips on their feelings for each other; newcomers on the other hand will find it difficult to take the plunge. Well written, the audience will welcome this fine tale as the back-ups in previous entries take center stage.

Harriet Klausner

Love Me If You Dare-Carly Phillips

Love Me If You Dare
Carly Phillips
Harlequin HQN, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774708

NYPD Police Officer Rafe Mancuso saves his former partner Sara Rios from an assault and has become a city hero. However, he soon learns the down size of “celebrity” status when the Bachelor Blog names him an eligible hunk.

As he heals and tries to stay out of the limelight of the almost famous, Rafe retreats to his lakefront cabin. His vanishing turns the Bachelor Bog’s attention on the damsel in distress he rescued, Sara. Like her ex-partner, she needs to avoid the limelight as she is to testify in court against a killer who wants her dead. Sara retreats to Rafe’s cabin where the attraction that ended their partnership ignites while someone exposes her hideaway.

The latest Most Eligible Bachelor Blog contemporary romance (see Kiss Me If You Can) is a delightful police procedural romantic suspense. The lead male knows who he wants and does not disguise his feelings; his target Sara shares his intense love. However, surviving the attacks on her comes before they can dare to fully embrace their love. This is a strong contemporary romance.

Harriet Klausner

Finding Perfect-Susan Mallery

Finding Perfect
Susan Mallery
Harlequin HQN, Aug 312010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774685

Pia O’Brien is taken aback when she learns what she “inherited” from her late best friend Crystal Westland; three embryos from Crystal and her deceased husband Keith who died in Iraq. Stunned Pia knows how much Crystal wanted children but she can’t raise plants so wonders why her. Still she decides to honor her friend by bringing one of the embryos to term.

Retired professional football player Raoul Moreno has settled down in Fool’s Gold, California. He plans to set up a camp for kids. When Raoul meets a still shocked Pia, he offers to help her with her planned pregnancy as he conceals his link to Keith. Neither Pia nor Raoul expected an attraction that soon leads to love.

The third Fool’s Gold “Perfect” contemporary romance (see Almost Perfect and Chasing Perfect) is an entertaining tale mostly due to the lead female protagonist. Pia is terrific as a commitment phobic who has always been popular, but cannot see herself as a mother. While she struggles with Crystal’s legacy, she inconveniently falls in love with former Cowboy quarterback Raoul who takes her heart (and the rest of her body) into the end zone. Readers will enjoy this sweet entry as love comes in many ways.

Harriet Klausner