Saturday, July 30, 2011

Secrets to Seducing a Scot-Michelle Marcos

Secrets to Seducing a Scot
Michelle Marcos
St. Martin’s, Aug 2 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312381783

In 1819, the Prince Regent assigns Earlington Marsh as a diplomat whose mission is to settle the Scottish rebellion from turning into a war. Marsh decides his independent daughter Serena will accompany him so he can keep her safe. Serena prefers London where she writes the witty Rage Page column for the Town crier, but her dad says no.

In Scotland Earlington retains mercenary Malcolm Slayer, whose family was massacred two decades ago which left him growing up without a clan, to protect his feisty offspring when rebels threaten her to get at the mediator. As the barbaric soldier of fortune and the cutting columnist fall in love, he is her only hope to rescue her abducted father from rebels.

This is an entertaining Highland Regency romance starring a strong support cast and a delightful pairing of seemingly opposites who readers will root for a Wickedly Ever After ending. The story line is fast-paced whether the protagonists argue or kiss, and when they mount a rescue attempt or go to the fair. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the tale of Rage Page and the clan-less for hire warrior falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 29, 2011

Foolish Games-Karen Wiesner

Foolish Games
Karen Wiesner
Whiskey Creek, 2011, $17.95
ISBN: 978161160155

One year ago on New Year’s Eve Lydia Samuels died from a brain tumor. She left behind her grieving husband Peter and their two children (thirteen year old James and eleven year old Brenna). The single dad struggles to raise their kids alone while wondering how God could allow such a bad thing to happen to such a good person as his wife.

Kimberly Wolfe works for Peter at the Christian bookstore he owns. She has loved him for years and he considers her family beyond the connection of his sister married to her brother. Lydia tried to hook Kimberly up with good Christian men, but never forgot how her martinet father used the bible to destroy her mother with his God gave man the right philosophy. Besides which none were Peter though she hid her feelings from both of them while envying their relationship. On New Year’s Eve, Peter and Lydia share a kiss. He realizes he is attracted to Kimberly but wonders whether he can risk his heart again. Kimberly wants to a take a chance but distrusts men though she tries to forgive her unrepentant father.

The latest Family Heirlooms Christian drama (see Glass Angels) stars a terrific lead couple and a strong (not all kind) support cast. Kimberly and Peter have different issues to overcome before they can consider becoming a couple. Peter especially is a great protagonist as readers will empathize with him. Sub-genre readers will cherish this fine tale with an inspiring final coda from Kim leaving no one’s eyes dry.

Harriet Klausner

Naomi’s Gift: An Amish Christmas Story-Amy Clipston

Naomi’s Gift: An Amish Christmas Story
Amy Clipston
Zondervan, Sep 12 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780310327356

Widower Caleb Schmucker accompanied by his eight year old daughter Susie leaves Ohio to spend time with his sister Sadie Kauffman and her family in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania on the anniversary of his wife Barbara’s death in a horrid accident. His daughter asks him to stop at a farmer’s market so they can pick up a pie for her Aenti Sadie. Inside the market, Susie vanishes from Caleb’s sight giving him a heart attack until he finds her discussing quilts with Naomi King. He likes how kind the woman is with his daughter whose late mom was into quilting.

His family and friends want the buggy maker to stay. His sibling tries to hook him up with Irene Wagler whose father owns Wagler’s Buggies in Intercourse. However, he is attracted to Naomi whose reputation for chasing after men (Timothy Kauffman in A Place of Peace) and Luke Troyer in A Promise of Hope) makes her unacceptable to his sister. However, it is the way Naomi treats Susie that has him willing to take a second chance on love.

With ties through the secondary characters to the Kauffman Amish Bakery series, Naomi’s Gift is a warm second and third chance at love Amish romance. The secondary characters are critical to the delightful story line with Sadie interfering, Susie “choosing” and Irene uninterested in the daughter. Readers will enjoy this Amish Christmas Story as the way to a widower’s heart is through loving his daughter too.

Harriet Klausner

The Captive Trail-Susan Page Davis

The Captive Trail
Susan Page Davis
Moody, Sep 1 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780802405845

As a little child she was abducted from her family and forced to become a Numinu Comanche or starve. Years later in 1857 North Central Texas, Peca offers the insultingly low six horses to her adopted parents to make Taabe Waipu his squaw. Taabe fears Peca so instead flees hoping to find her white family. Instead she falls when her horse stepped into a hole.

Butterfield Overland Mail Company owner driver Ned Bright sees the body of a Comanche female who is clearly white. With two Sisters on board, he still stops to pick her up and take her to Fort Chadbourne. The two nuns take Taabe to their mission where she heals from dehydration and a broken ankle. As she relearns to speak English, Taabe and Ned fall in love, but he feels he owes her finding out who her family is even as the Comanche attack the Ursuline Mission.

The second Morgan family Americana tale (see Darlene Franklin’s opener, The Lone Star Trail) is a wonderful romantic suspense starring a strong cast that brings to life Antebellum Texas. Character driven, still the story line is loaded with action. However, although Ned is too heroic, the heroine owns the tale as her struggles to readapt are skillfully described as a key element in a warm Texas romance.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stand in Wife-Karina Bliss

Stand in Wife
Karina Bliss
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 2 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373717224

While interviewing on a job out of town, Merry Coltrane breaks her leg. She pleads with her twin sister Vivienne Jansen to pretend to be her like they did as kids so her estranged husband Charlie who walked out on her and their three kids will not know as he sues for visitation rights. Flying in from New York, the theater costume designer arrives in Auckland, New Zealand to temporarily masquerade as Merry when the latter’s mother-in-law Linda dies with the former in the house in Hamilton.

Vivi as Merry helps arrange the funeral while caring for her sister’s children and keeping her brother-in-law at a distance as Merry’s husband seeks a reconciliation. Although overwhelmed Vivi handles all this with aplomb until Charlie’s brother Ross (support role in Here Comes the Groom), the injured Special Forces operative, comes home. Ross finds himself inexplicably attracted to his sister-in-law; while Vivi reciprocates but as Merry has to hide her feelings.

Twins switching is an old theme, but Karina Bliss makes it refreshing with a zany madcap romance. The support cast is a delight as they add madness to the wild comedic New Zealander comedy. Still the bottom line is the romantic subplot as Ross and Vivi fall in love in a wonderful example of chaos theory at work.

Harriet Klausner

The Texan’s Secret-Linda Warren

The Texan’s Secret
Linda Warren
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 2 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373717231

Southern Cross ranch manager Chance Hardin considers joining his two brothers (Cadde and Cisco “Kid”) as partners in an oil company. However, he knows if he does he no longer can hide his secret from them. As Chance debates quitting his ranch job to join his siblings, Shay Dumont breaks into the Calhoun family home to take from a safe her mother Blanche’s wedding rings; her nasty mom was once married to Jack Calhoun whose son owns Southern Cross.

Chance decides to help Shay learn who her father was. As they team up and fall in love encouraged by her feisty eight year old daughter Darcy, Chance wonders if it is time to tell his brothers the secret about their cherished late father he has concealed from them.

The key to this engaging contemporary romance is the parents of the lead couple as they have left both emotionally fractured with doubts about relationships. With a strong support cast and entertaining character driven the story line, the first Hardin Boys tale is an enjoyable opening act.

Harriet Klausner

One Good Reason-Sarah Mayberry

One Good Reason
Sarah Mayberry
Harlequin SuperRomance, Aug 2 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373717248

Almost a year ago after his abusive father died, Jon Adamson arrived in Melbourne from Canada to settle the estate and spend time with his brother Tyler (see The Last Goodbye). However, he remains aloof from his sibling as he “renovates” their dad’s home. Tyler and his wife Ally force Jon to move past his demons though the latter has no plans to remain in the area beyond settling their dad’s estate. However, he is also attracted to his sibling’s office manager Gabby Wade, who was Tyler’s former girlfriend.

Gabby reciprocates Jon’s feelings, but is reluctant to do anything outside the office with another Adamson who unintentionally broke her heart. However, neither can resist the other as they fall in love, but she fears another broken heart when he leaves.

This is a deep family drama with a strong romantic subplot. Jon is a wounded warrior as he wants to flee back to Canada and alcohol, but his family and Gabby will not let him even with her trepidations of having her heart busted up again. This is a terrific Australian romance.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ranger Daddy-Rebecca Winters

Ranger Daddy
Rebecca Winters
Harlequin American, Aug 2 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373753710

When they were teens, Jeff Thompson and Gabrielle Rafferty were in love, but his parents and her foster mom thought they were too young and kept them apart. Gabi married Ryan, but divorced her abusive husband when he demanded she abort their baby, which she did not.

Fourteen years later after warnings from her lawyer and her foster mom, fearing for the life of her seven year old child Ashley from her dad’s rage, Gabi flees Rosemead, California where she teaches school. Accompanied by Ashley she heads to Yosemite where Jeff works as a park ranger. She trusts Jeff with her life and more important to her that of Ashley. Jeff remains attracted to the girl he loved as a teen; he vows to keep mother and daughter safe even as little Ashley trusts he will keep her safe from her dangerous father. Gabi never got over her love for Jeff, but the past and her violent ex linger over their future.

Ranger Daddy is an exciting second chance romantic suspense thriller that grips the audience from the moment the heroine’s lawyer warns her to leave town and never slows down as the reader anticipates two different confrontations. Although Ashley is too precocious, fans will appreciate the latest Yosemite Ranger romance (see The Bachelor Ranger and The Ranger’s Secret) as the lioness protects her cub.

Harriet Klausner

A Mother’s Homecoming-Tanya Michaels

A Mother’s Homecoming
Tanya Michaels
Harlequin American, Aug 2 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373753727

Overwhelmed at seventeen with a marriage and a baby Pamela Jo Wilson felt the pair would be better off without her as she suffers from depression and a dysfunctional relationship with her mom. With sadness and guilt she fled their home in Mimosa, Mississippi.

Now thirteen years later, a recovering alcoholic Pam has left California returning to Mimosa to see Mae Danvers Wilson, her mom; only to learn she died a few months ago. Her former husband Nick Shepard is hostile towards her for deserting him and especially their newborn Faith who he raised as a single dad. She would like time with her daughter, but Nick distrusts her and instinctively protects their offspring as he realizes he still loves Pam but expects at the first sign of problems she will flee and hurt Faith.

This is a super second chance family drama in which Pam makes the tale as a recovering alcoholic who also deals with depression and guilt issues. The support cast obviously Nick and Faith, but also the townsfolk and her California BFF coach Annabel enhance the terrific tale of A Mother’s Homecoming.

Harriet Klausner

Making Waves-Tawna Fenske

Making Waves
Tawna Fenske
Sourcebooks, Aug 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781402257216

After two months short of twenty years of dedicated work at Kranston Shipping Enterprises, Alex Bradshaw is stunned when his boss Tom Portelli fires him. However, the former executive at the largest shipping firm in the world is upset because he and others were left with nothing. He refuses to sit idly by especially when his former employer has arranged an illegal diamond shipment in the Caribbean. Alex and other downsized suits decide to intercept the cargo.

Juli Flynn meets Alex in a bar the night before she is heading to the Virgin Islands’ St. John to spread the ashes of her late uncle. She boards the wrong ship. When she awakens from a nap she finds herself as the only non former suit on the vessel. Alex does not trust the stowaway while Juli insists on joining their high seas adventure, a big secret and an attraction to the “captain”.

This is an amusing zany romance with some suspense. The jocular tale is fun as Juli keeps coming up with one stunner after another; a few she is ignorant about as her late uncle puled a few tricks from the urn. With a quirky support cast, Making Waves is a lighthearted frolic that will remind readers of the madcap Cary Grant-Katherine Hepburn 1930s comedies.

Harriet Klausner

Catriona-Jeanette Baker

Jeanette Baker
Sourcebooks, Aug 1 2011, $9.99
ISBN: 9781402255861

Kate Sutherlands’ adoptive mom Bonnie’s last wish was for her ashes to be spread over their homeland the Shetland Islands. Kate leaves Laguna Beach for Scotland to perform the deathbed request but remains stunned that her late mom had not conceived her as she was unaware until recently she was adopted. Wiccan Celia Ward informs Kate that the reasons for what happened can be found from Pectiwita High Priestess Maura Sutherland on Cait Ness Isle.

Maura has waited for Kate to come home. Meanwhile Kate is attracted to Niall McCormick while she also dreams of a woman who historian Niall MacCormack says is the late Countess of Bothwell Catriona Wells of the court of King James IV. Accused of treason, Catriona tries to save her brother’s life while only Patrick MacKendrick may save hers.

This is an intriguing paranormal romance as Catriona's tragic life haunts Kate who cannot move on until she resolves what happened five centuries ago so her spirit can finally rest. With a strong support cast then and now, fans will relish this engaging thriller as Kate tries to understand her heritage including why Catriona has come to her.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 22, 2011

Guilty Pleasures-Bertrice Small

Guilty Pleasures
Bertrice Small
NAL, Aug 2 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451233394

“Carla and the Pirate King.” In the Channel Carla as Captain Raven battles Lord Hawke the pirate king for the top position.

“Nina and the Movie Star.” Nina meets the aging movie star Bob Talcott outside the Channel, but then meets him inside before he became famous.

“Nanny Maureen and the Celtic Warrior.” Irish Maureen enters the Channel for the first time only to hook up with Toryn the ancient Celtic but not as the present day nanny.

“J.P. and the Regency Rake.” In Regency England, J.P. as Lady Janey trains Lord Reggie in the Channel, but both want more outside the Channel.

“Tiffy and the Sultan. ” Her encounter in the Channel with the Sultan of Cinnabar turns into a quartet, but Tiffy fails to return from the Channel.

These are five fun but somewhat thin erotic escapades in the Channel (see Private Pleasures and Dangerous Pleasures); a place of pleasure where women pick the realm they want as their “fantasy” frolic.

Harriet Klausner

Redeeming the Rogue-Donna MacMeans

Redeeming the Rogue
Donna MacMeans
Berkley, Aug 2 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425242674

In 1881 Lady Arianne Chambers has earned the nickname of Cupid’s Mistress because of her uncanny ability as a matchmaker. Ironically she muses she has found perfect mates for several women except for herself; she has accepted spinsterhood. Government operative Michael Rafferty misunderstands the warm nickname as he assumes she is hot in bed until he meets her and realizes she just another useless English aristocrat.

Michael is unhappy when Arianne is assigned to train him and an actress Miss Eva St. Clair who is pretending to be his wife how to behave as British diplomats in America. He is to be the minster to America since Lord Weston was murdered. Eva is caught as a double agent working for the enemy Toomey so with no time to spare Arianne is drafted as Rafferty’s spouse. However, their attraction is so great they do not have to pretend at being a couple.

The latest Cupid’s Mistress Victorian romance (see THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY, THE TROUBLE WITH MOONLIGHT and THE SEDUCTION OF A DUKE) is a fabulous espionage investigative thriller that brings to life hectic 1881 on both sides of the Atlantic with a president assassinated and the Irish rebelling. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the lead couple meets in a gender battle and never slows as their escapades make for an exciting historical.

Harriet Klausner

The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton-Miranda Neville

The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton
Miranda Neville
Avon, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062023049

In 1820 Yorkshire, the man with the gun informs Miss Celia Seaton to take off her clothes or he will rip them off. He tells her he must leave her but figures she will not wander the moors naked. Tarquin Compton left London but got lost. He sees a cottage and stops for directions.

Celia escapes her attic prison only to find the man she loathes arrogant Tarquin who called her a vegetable ruining her prospects. He lies prone by the door. When he awakens he recalls nothing; not even who he is. Seeing an opportunity to avenge his nastiness, Celia says he is her fiancé Terrance Fish and they need to flee the cottage before the thugs who left him for dead return. As they flee Celia begins to fall in love with the kind intelligent Terrence, but when the memory returns so does conceited Tarquin who is engaged to Countess Julia. She is the first choice of his beloved uncle.

The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton is a delightful Regency romantic romp with a supporting mystery involving the kidnapping and subsequent murder attempts. Although too much happens, sub-genre fans will enjoy the cross country caper as a killer stalks the pair as they fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

Scoundrel’s Surrender-Jenna Petersen

Scoundrel’s Surrender
Jenna Petersen
Avon, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061935008

In 1815 Caleb Talbot and Marah Farnsworth meet and share a wonderful passionate afternoon. She fell in love, but he leaves feeling his ancestry made him unworthy of her. She was heartbroken and rusticated in Baybary for two years while he turned to drink.

Two years later, his brother Justin the earl finds Caleb in a dive drinking excessively. He informs his sibling their father is dying and wants to see Caleb to learn why he ran away from home. At the same time Marah’s friend, Justin’s wife Victoria asks her to come to London with her as she needs her to help her deal with the pain suffered by her husband with his father dying and his brother missing. Reluctantly she agrees. Marah muses that it will also give her time to see her friend Emerson Winstead. When Caleb and Marah meet again, the spark remains strong, but she refuses to take a chance on a man who leaves while he knows he made the mistake of his life when he left.

Though somewhat straightforward and deliberately paced, Regency readers will enjoy the third “Billingham Bastards” Regency romance (see The Unclaimed Duchess and What the Duke Desires). Marah is a wonderful protagonist as she seemingly chooses fear and her definition of dependable over love and out of control. Caleb knows he made the biggest blunder of his life when he fell into self pity, but to rectify his mistake means embracing love and happiness emotions he feels he is unworthy of. Like its predecessors A Scoundrel’s Surrender is an engaging historical.

Harriet Klausner

The Last Viking-Sandra Hill

The Last Viking
Sandra Hill
Avon, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062019059

In 997 Jarl Eric Tryggvason sends his son Geirolf Ericsson on a mission. However, Storr Grimmsson killed his mates and left him to die at sea. He floats holding on to “Ingrid” during a storm. When he awakens he still grips Ingrid’s massive breast until he sees salvation in a ship he dubs Fierce Destiny.

In 1997 Maine, Medieval History Professor Meredith Foster argues with grad student Mike Johnson over placing a big boob naked Goddess as the figurehead of her tenth century replica of a Viking vessel. When she meets gigantic Geirolf who calls her “Dock-whore Merry-death”, she knows he is odd but assumes he is a friend of Mike. Rolf knows something is not right but he likes his Merry-death. As he struggles with common late twentieth century items like shampoo and enjoys Oreos, the Last Viking and Merry-death fall in love, but he believes he must finish his millennium old mission if he can get back in time.

The reprint of a 1998 time travel romance is filled with word play, confusion and misunderstanding as the Viking adapts but remains bewildered with indoor plumbing and malls as large as a village. Although the plot is thin as the jocularity rarely turns serious except when he ponders why he was sent forward in time, fans of the Sandra Hill’s Viking saga will enjoy the romance between the last Viking and Dock-whore Merry-death.

Harriet Klausner

Wicked in Your Arms-Sophie Jordan

Wicked in Your Arms
Sophie Jordan
Avon, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062032997

Next in line to the throne of Maldania, Prince Sevastian Maksimi needs a wealthy well bred aristocrat as his wife to produce the appropriate heir and spare. He travels to England to find the ideal princess.

At a London gala, Sevastian and his cousin Malcolm discuss the list of potential brides. The arrogant prince tells his blood kin to delete Miss Grier Hadley and her sister Cleo from consideration as they are illegitimate offspring of an unsavory father though raised by a caring mom and kind stepfather. Grier overhears his dismissal and “accidently” dumps her drink on him. As they keep meeting in unacceptable places, an attraction grows even as they argue, fuss and kiss; but she remains unacceptable by the standard he promised his grandfather the king while someone stalks Grier.

The amusing bantering between the fighting lead pair over serious and inane topics like birthdates makes for a delightful historical romance. The story line is fast-paced from the opening lemon water dousing to the climax. With a nod to Princess Grace, sub-genre fans will appreciate this jocular tale as love does not seem enough.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Demonic-Sheri Whitefeather

Sheri Whitefeather
Heat, Aug 2 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425241417

Jane Brooks asks her two BFFs Suzanne Quinn and Emily Torres to accompany her to an exclusive club Aeonian that caters to the sex needs of the patrons who dress up as supernatural beings. Although history teacher Emily is shy and doubtful about going there, Suzanne says it will be fun as guest groupie voyeurs. They agree to come with Jane who is writing an article for L.A. Underground magazine about the club’s erotic and exotic tastes.

Marcus, Jake and Damian became BFFs as teens and remained buddies. They frequent the Aeonian. When the three females and three males garbed as demons meet at the club, sparks fly between them as they pair off (Jake with Suzanne, Emily with Damien and Jane with Marcus). As the men escort their respective women into the world of BDSM, one of the males is not pretending to be a demon.

The key to this well written erotic romance is the six lead protagonists have diverse personalities though their libidos are somewhat similar. Sheri Whitefeather moves forward with the three couples nicely yet never slows down the story line as the heat is on once the matching begins.

Harriet Klausner

A Midnight Dance-Lila DiPasqua

A Midnight Dance
Lila DiPasqua
Berkley, Aug 2 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425241981

In 1650 watching from the back stage as her father’s plays are being performed, Sabine Laurent begins falling in love with one of the aristocrats attending the theater; her Dark Prince, nineteen year old Jules de Moutier. Her twin Isabelle is attracted to Jules’s younger brother Luc.

However, a failed coup d’état leaves her father dead and her twin sister Isabelle missing and presumed dead. She and the surviving extended family members to include the troupe face debtor’s prison. The king and subsequently Sabine blame Jules who fled France to become a privateer.

In 1658 Sabine plans to avenge what Jules did to her family by stealing silver from him to keep her loved ones out of prison and to search for her sibling in hopes Isabelle lives. However, her courtesan scheme goes astray when she meets her Dark Prince.

The third "Fiery Tale" (see Awakened by a Kiss and The Princess in His Bed) is an adult version of Cinderella in an adult historical romantic setting. Jules and Sabine are an intriguing pairing as she holds him culpable for what happened to her loved ones. The fate of Isabelle and a Machiavellian aristocrat enhance a strong well written seventeenth century tale.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Changing the Game-Jaci Burton

Changing the Game
Jaci Burton
Heat, Aug 2 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425242407

Ruthless sports agent Elizabeth Darnell lost a major client Mick Riley (see The Perfect Play) that potentially could mean other players would leave her agency too. Determined to keep her stable intact, Elizabeth goes all out to insure no one else dumps her. This includes the man she secretly loved for several years Mick’s younger brother, Gavin. Love means little to her as she and her parents love each other but they remain estranged from her and she refuses to do anything about it.

However, she breaks her rule of never getting personally involved with one of her clients. She and Gavin share a heated night that has both wanting more. However, each wonders if sex in the bedroom will impact their professional relationship especially when neither is fully satiated as Gavin begins to realize he loves his agent.

The latest Play by Play sports romance is a fun contemporary (see The Perfect Play) as the Riley brothers relate to the agent differently. The three prime players are developed but the Changing the Game personal relationship between Elizabeth and Gavin never feels as if it fully evolved outside the boudoir. Still readers will enjoy the heated romance between the agent and her client.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sweet Kiss of Summer-Sophie Gunn

Sweet Kiss of Summer
Sophie Gunn
Forever, Aug 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446562003

Artist Nina Stokes has waited for two years to fulfill the first of two requests from her late brother Walter’s deathbed letter. She looks forward to handing over the key to her sibling’s house in Galton, New York to a new owner, Walter’s soldier buddy as her sibling asked; the second plea is about naming his nephew “Little Walt” will have to wait as she has no boyfriend.

However when Mick Rivers arrives to take occupancy, Nina finds she cannot just leave as the house contains memories. Besides she needs to know what happened to Walter and believes Mick can answer her. Mick cannot make himself toss Nina from the home though he must sell the house as he needs the money. Mick struggles with his memory loss, but fears knowing the truth. His trepidation about recalling his past includes what happened as he begins to fall in love with his housemate yet he may have caused the death of her brother.

The second Galton contemporary romance (see How Sweet It is) is a charming tale that also pays tribute to the veterans while scolding leaders for ignoring the returning former solders’ struggles with traumas and a bad economy. The lead couple is a nice pairing of the optimistic artist and the pessimistic veteran, but both are reluctant to take a chance on love. Readers will enjoy this tale as the homage (no phony political platitudes) to the soldier by artists brings freshness to a got your back romance.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron-Jennifer Ashley

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
Jennifer Ashley
Berkley, Aug 2 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425240496

Renowned rake Lord Cameron Mackenzie loves his son Daniel and his horse Jasmine. His myriad of mistresses feels good about him as he treats them well. The only setback in his womanizing lifestyle was six years ago when he caught Ainsley Douglas in his boudoir and though the kiss was earth shattering she refused to cheat on her much older husband John with him.

He did not push a tryst between them, but now learns she is a widow; so all bets are off. He catches her in snoop mode as he did six years ago and this time he goes all out to seduce her. Ainsley has never forgotten the spark that threatened to engulf her the last time they met. However, she is a on a mission for Queen Victoria to obtain some potentially scandalous letters so she has no time for the sinful Lord Cameron even knowing she will regret it later. She pretends to accept Cam’s seduction so she can accomplish her task, but love enters the equation.

The third Highland Pleasures Mackenzie brothers’ Victorian romance (see Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage) is a wonderful somewhat zany tale as the rake catches the heroine in his bedroom for the second time. The lead couple is a delightful pairing as he has baggage while her love for him is not quite the remedy to end his turmoil, but her caring with her heart for his son and his horse clinches the sure bet of their love leading to much more between them. Fans will enjoy the romance between the sinner and his angel.

Harriet Klausner

Pele's Tears-Sharon K. Garner

Pele's Tears
Sharon K. Garner
Five Star, Aug 10 2011, $25.95
ISBN 9781432825058

Dante Kohoa and Noelani Beecham inherited his grandmother’s flower farm on Kauai. Thus he travels from Lehua, Kauai to Maine praying his childhood friend is ready to come home after years away. She fled Hawaii as she blames herself for the death of Dante’s twin Dominic in a tragic accident.

However, as they return back to the islands, someone targets them apparently because the culprit believes the pair has the Pele's Tears; jewels that both assume were myths told by her godmother and his grandmother. As the pair begins to fall in love as adults, they search for the jewels as her godmother’s journal leaves clues that has both changing their minds about the gems. They hope their quest ends the threats to lives.

Pele's Tears is an engaging Hawaiian second chance at love romantic suspense in which his late brother comes between the lead couple as it has since Dom died. Although the final confrontation leaves readers wondering about the prime villain needing professional help with a no harm no foul (no culpa) attitude, fans will enjoy the hunting and stalking of Pele's Tears.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good Catch-Tracy Ann Lord

Good Catch
Tracy Ann Lord
Camel Press, Aug 1 2011, $14.95
ISBN: 9781603818612

Maddie Chilton made BZB the public relations in place for hard to handle clients. However, the suits at Corporate rewarded her with a limited-time cash out retirement. Her replacement is her assistant who she “created” in her image; a younger and less costly Maddie like clone.

Instead of her exclusive Miami condo, the guillotined queen of South Florida PR is in Maine being chauffeured by Tykee the Demon Boy of Easy Rider Limo from the rural airport to Rangeley where Bub flies her to Wilson Sport Camps at Lake Mooselookmeguntic where she is to go fishing. She is in shellshock with her going away present from the staff at BZB. She begins to meet the staff starting with the owner Wayne Wilson, Flo the cook who openly hates customers, Cal the fishing guide who enjoys skinny dipping and Essencia with her ever changing personalities. At first she thinks they are lunatics but the place, the natives (especially the naked fisherman with baggage) and Madame grow on her though she considers like a fungus.

With a nod to Northern Exposure but at the other side of the continent, Good Catch is an amusing contemporary romance starring a lead protagonist who feels like a fish out of water when she arrives in the middle of nowhere amidst a species that she is unsure can be classified as Homo Sapiens. Using hyperbole especially the exaggerated Maddie Miami filter, the support cast is ultra eccentric. However, this is Maddie’s tale as she finds love and perhaps happiness amongst big flies that bite, big bears that howl, and big people that are lunatics.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cowboys Like Us-Vicki Lewis Thompson:

Cowboys Like Us
Vicki Lewis Thompson:
Harlequin Blaze, Jul 19 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373796342

“Cowboys Like Us”. When he injured his knee, Logan Carswell knew his baseball career with the Cubs was over. The former catcher struggles with what next after the Major Leagues. He arrives in Shoshone, Wyoming to attend his friend’s wedding where he finds himself attracted to bartender, Caro Davis. She reciprocates and they have a tryst, in which both know he will leave soon, but the rolling stone finds he keeps delaying his departure.

Bonus reprint: “Notorious”. Though he has been to Las Vegas before on the rodeo circuit, Saguaro Junction, Arizona rancher Noah Garfield only returns for the wedding of an old rodeo friend. Being in town makes Noah sadly contemplate on the state of his relationships as all his friends have one woman in their lives. He reflects back a decade to Keely Branscom posing as the centerfold for Macho magazine when he sees her entering a strip joint. Noah immediately assumes that Keely is about to peel the flesh again. Keely is a reporter for Attitudes Magazine and does stories on sexual fantasies. Never forgiving Noah for his rejection of her, she decides to let him think the worst of her, not that stripping is a bad occupation in Keely’s mind.

These are two fun lighthearted wedding gala romances with plenty of blazing sex though different in tone as Notorious is humorous while Cowboys Like Us contains less horse play.

Harriet Klausner

Undeniable Pleasures-Tori Carrington:

Undeniable Pleasures
Tori Carrington:
Harlequin Blaze, Jul 19 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373796335

“Undeniable Pleasures”. Jordan Cosby’s ex-boyfriend Rick Packard is a notorious gun-runner. She will testify against him in court, but needs protection from his associates. Lazarus Security partner Jason Savage is assigned to keep her safe in the Colorado Springs’ suburb Denver. They are in heat from the moment he arrives.

Bonus reprint: “You Sexy Thing”. Sex therapists, Doctors Grace Mattias and Dylan Fairbanks meet when he enters the wrong hotel room just as she steps out of the shower. Dylan's eyeballs fall out, but he somehow manages (barely) to leave. They approach their professions differently as their outlooks on life are diametrically opposite. Both feel the sparks between them and Grace seduces Dylan into an evening of heat hotter than the sun until his girlfriend calls.

Both tales are equatorial hot requiring asbestos gloves yet also contain occasional cool down humor. Readers will enjoy the pairs of lead couples as Tori Carrington turns up the heat two times.

Harriet Klausner

Extra Innings-Debbi Rawlins

Extra Innings
Debbi Rawlins
Harlequin Blaze, Jul 19 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373796366

“Playing the Field”. Shortstop Dylan Andrews seems destined to make the major leagues; Elizabeth Smith, who secretly liked him in high school, interviews him as she muses that his dream will fulfill her fantasy.

“Bringing the Heat”. Rob Perry fights to make Texas Talons roster while the daughter of the owner Tori Gallagher fights to make him hers.

“His Lucky Charm”. Eric Lessing is on a hitting streak that he believes is caused by his new good luck charm Tess Meyers.

Bonus reprint: “In His Wildest Dreams”. Because his sister’s BFF needed a last second subject for her thesis, Nick Ryder reluctantly agreed to allow Emma Snow to analyze his XXX wet dreams starring her.

Although the added tale has nothing to do with baseball, Debbi Rawlins provides readers with three engaging sports romances and that Extra Innings’ fun contemporary as she hits a walk off grand slam with this anthology.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 15, 2011

Notorious-Nicola Cornick

Nicola Cornick
Harlequin HQN, Jul 19 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775835

Susanna Burney and James Devlin were in love. However, the day after their wedding vows, she abruptly left him. Over the ensuing years Susanna worked diligently to insure she and her two wards would be financially secure. Likewise, James did the same to insure he would never worry about money ever again.

They see each other for the first time since the breakup and both know they still are attracted to one another. He happens to be engaged to Emma for two years though her affluent parents prefer his cousin Frederick Walters. Likewise his sister Chessie detests that he has become one of Emma’s groveling pets. Susanna prays he keeps his mouth shut over her past and he wonders why she interferes with the pending betrothal between Chessie and Fitzwilliam Alton. However what Dev really wants to know from her is why she left him..

This is an entertaining Regency romance starring an avaricious seeking male and a for hire relationship destroyer. The story line is fast-paced and fun to read though the back story of what happened years ago between the protagonists seems inane and unlikely. Still those historical sub-genre fans that put aside their plausibility meter will enjoy the zany antics of the Ton in this over the top of the London Tower tale.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It’s Always Been You-Victoria Dhal

It’s Always Been You
Victoria Dhal
Zebra, Aug 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420104844

A decade ago Katie Tremont and Aidan York were in love. However, the lovers got into a spat and she left. She traveled by sea far way, but he was told by her parents she died. Aidan was devastated by his loss and how they ended their relationship. He lived to make money and take women.

In 1849 in Kingston-Upon-Hull, a stunned Aidan’s pulse ignites for the first since she left him as he sees Kate in HAMILTON COFFEES. Irate and feeling inane, he attacks her for her duplicity. Kate asks him to leave insisting she is married with Mr. Hamilton to arrive soon, but she also has not forgotten the only man she ever loved. Calming down, Aidan wants a second chance with his Kate as both struggles with severe trust issues; he fears she will leave and she believes if her secret becomes known he will leave her to face the repercussions alone.

This second chance at love Victorian romance is an engaging historical as the lead couple failed with their young love, but hopefully both are wiser and more mature now. However this time tough baggage makes success unlikely. Readers will enjoy Victoria Dahl’s warn mid nineteenth century tale due to the fascinating relationship between Kate and Aidan.

Harriet Klausner

Leah and the Bounty Hunter-Elaine Levine

Leah and the Bounty Hunter
Elaine Levine
Zebra, Aug 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420118667

Three years ago, Jace Gage’s wife had him hung. He survived his demise and since the near death experience, the Civil War veteran has become a ruthless Avenger; a bounty hunter with no mercy.

In 1868 desperate to clean up lawless Defiance, Dakota Territory whose worst thug is Sheriff Bill Kemp, the Cheyenne U.S. Marshal hires Jace. He enters Defiance defiant, as he no longer fears death and is unconcerned with collateral damage. However, the man assumed to have no heart hits a soul searching roadblock when he saves Leah Morgan and her “nice pet” from an assault by one of Kemp’s contemptible deputies. He orders her to stay out of harm’s way but she refuses, which means he must keep safe the woman who stole his heart.

The latest trip to post Civil War Defiance is a wonderful tale of second chances starring a famous aloof Avenger and a tough foolish heroine. The lead characters and their relationship is similar in tone to that of the previous titled protagonists (in Rachel and the Hired Gun, and Audrey and the Maverick), but bring different baggage that keeps the “Town without Pity” (Gene Pitney) fresh.

Harriet Klausner

Confessions of an Improper Bride- Jennifer Haymore

Confessions of an Improper Bride
Jennifer Haymore
Grand Central, Aug 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446573146

In 1822 Serena Donovan fell in love with Jonathan Dane, who ruined her reputation. She left London accompanied by her twin sister Meg. Off of Antigua on the Victory, a rope accidentally pulls Meg into the water where she apparently drowns. Already feeling remorse for the shame she brought to her family, Serena suffers from survivor guilt.

In 1828, Serena’s mother demands she come home to pose as her dead twin sister Meg. Her mother kept in touch with Commander William Langley pretending to be Meg. He has written a proposal of marriage to Meg; her mother says Serena owes the family who is in in dire straits to masquerade as Meg for the rest of her life as Langley’s wife.

Jonathan has become a wastrel feeling guilty over what he did to the late Serena to cause her death at sea six years ago though he fulfilled a deathbed pledge he regretfully made to his father. When he meets Meg, Jonathan knows she is his Serena. He knows he will betray his friend Will, but must persuade his Serena to give him a second chance. To do so would ruin Serena’s life and that of her family.

The Donovan sisters’ Regency romance is an entertaining historical due to the triangle as each of the trio has strengths and weaknesses, but none are evil. A secondary romance between Serena’s sister Phoebe and a Mr. Harper enhances the insight into the 1822 relationship between the older twin and Jonathan as Serena realizes her sibling is doing what she did. With Meg not miraculously coming back from the dead (except in Serena’s portrayal), fans will appreciate this enjoyable early nineteenth century second chance at love tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Harvest of Grace-Cindy Woodsmall

The Harvest of Grace
Cindy Woodsmall
WaterBrook, Aug 9 2011, $13.99
ISBN 9781400073986

While Aaron Blank entered rehab, Sylvia Fischer entered the life of his parents. She had worked diligently raising a herd on her family farm, but was forced to leave due to the reactions of her beau Elam Smoker when he proposed and she asked him to wait; instead he asker her sister Beckie who said yes with her Dad’s blessing.

Three years later whooping cough devastates her family but she and Elam were vaccinated so are okay. He kisses her and she tells him she must leave. In addition to saving her family farm she now also wants to save that of the kind Michael and Dora Blank.

Out of rehab, Aaron comes home intending to sell the farm so that his parents can enjoy their senior years and he can stay doing intense outdoor labor. However, his dad does not trust him as he has hurt them in the past. Instead he chooses to support diligent Sylvia trying to save the farm. Aaron prefers the female hand go home while Sylvia distrusts all men; however, God has a different attitude for their pairing.

The third Ada’s House Amish romance is an enjoyable tale due to the strong fully developed cast who bring complex baggage to relationships. The return of stars from the previous entries (see The Hope of Refuge and The Bridge of Peace) enhance the novel while also affirming the strength of the characters. Readers will enjoy spending time in Amish Country with Cindy Woodsmall as our guide.

Harriet Klausner

The Harvest of Grace-Cindy Woodsmall

The Harvest of Grace
Cindy Woodsmall
WaterBrook, Aug 9 2011, $13.99
ISBN 9781400073986

While Aaron Blank entered rehab, Sylvia Fischer entered the life of his parents. She had worked diligently raising a herd on her family farm, but was forced to leave due to the reactions of her beau Elam Smoker when he proposed and she asked him to wait; instead he asker her sister Beckie who said yes with her Dad’s blessing.

Three years later whooping cough devastates her family but she and Elam were vaccinated so are okay. He kisses her and she tells him she must leave. In addition to saving her family farm she now also wants to save that of the kind Michael and Dora Blank.

Out of rehab, Aaron comes home intending to sell the farm so that his parents can enjoy their senior years and he can stay doing intense outdoor labor. However, his dad does not trust him as he has hurt them in the past. Instead he chooses to support diligent Sylvia trying to save the farm. Aaron prefers the female hand go home while Sylvia distrusts all men; however, God has a different attitude for their pairing.

The third Ada’s House Amish romance is an enjoyable tale due to the strong fully developed cast who bring complex baggage to relationships. The return of stars from the previous entries (see The Hope of Refuge and The Bridge of Peace) enhance the novel while also affirming the strength of the characters. Readers will enjoy spending time in Amish Country with Cindy Woodsmall as our guide.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sinner Who Seduced Me-Stefanie Sloane

The Sinner Who Seduced Me
Stefanie Sloane
Ballantine, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345517418

Five years ago, a scandal forced Lady Clarissa Collins and her mother Isabelle to flee London and her beloved James Marlowe who betrayed her for Paris. In France, the gifted painter studied the art of portrait painting and has become highly regarded though she never forgot her own traitor James.

London may have been scandalous, but1811 Paris proves unsafe. Clarissa is given the choice between abetting a criminal gang and receiving the body part of her mom. Young Corinthian member James never forgot the woman who hurt his soul. Now he has a second chance when he pretends to betray the Crown by going undercover to get inside a French gang. In London Clarissa is drafted when her mentor St. Michelle’s arm is broken to paint a portrait of Iris Bennett, a Canadian debutante who wants a European adventure; James pretends to be Clarissa’s assistant as he has found his muse to his heart and to the gang.

The latest Regency Rogues (see The Angel in My Arms and The Devil In Disguise) romantic suspense is an action-packed second chance at love thriller. A fast exciting read, fans will root for Clarissa and James to save the crown and their respective hearts in Stefanie Sloane’s super story.

Harrier Klausner

Ghost of the Thames-May McGoldrick

Ghost of the Thames
May McGoldrick
May McGoldrick Books, Jun 24 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780984156740

She is downing when the female voice urgently calls out to her. The woman pleads with Sophy to swim ashore, which she does. Sophy realizes she remembers nothing not even her name and asks where she is. The woman says London and leads Sophy to someone she insists will help keep her safe. As horses pulling a coach bear down on Sophy, her rescuer vanishes.

The driver of the coach is horrified when he runs over the woman who appeared out of nowhere. When the passenger Royal naval Captain Edward Seymour goes to look he and the driver find a miracle as she is alive. Although the hospital at Lincoln’s Inn Fields is nearby, Edward knows that is a death factory of learning for medical students. He takes her to Urania Cottage, a refuge for fallen women set up by his friends Dickens and Burdett-Coutts. As she heals, Sophy joins Edward and that rabble reformist writer Dickens on a quest to find his missing niece Amelia.

This timely exciting Victorian suspense works because May McGoldrick uses the expected romantic subplot as a secondary enhancer to somewhat lighten the horrific conditions in Dickensian London that place females and children, even so called protected ones, in peril as items for commodity exchange. The atmosphere is dark and gloomy while Sophy struggles with amnesia and Edward with his missing niece. Dickens adds a nice twist to the perils of Sophy.

Harriet Klausner

Hush-Nancy Bush

Nancy Bush
Zebra, Jul 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420103427

The summer before their senior year at high school, the gang had a drunken camping party. However, the fun gala turned ugly when seventeen year old surfer dude hunk Lucas Moore fell from a cliff to his death. Tillamook County Sheriff’s Detective Fed Clausen interrogated those at the ill fated event.

Years later, Coby Rendell who attended the tragic event comes home to celebrate with her family her stepmother’s birthday. Many of those who were at the campfire will gather together for the first time in years. Coby’s former boyfriend, police detective Danner Lockwood wants a second chance with the woman he regrets got away. She realizes she remains attracted to him. However, a homicide occurs that leads to Coby and Danner investigating who among their friends is a killer

This exhilarating twisting thriller shows hate lasts longer than friendship. The cast of a quadrillion friends can prove overwhelming with some purposely stereotyped as if the old high school crowd never fully moved on past the tragedy a dozen years ago. Although having a civilian work shotgun on an investigation seems inappropriate, fans will enjoy Hush wondering who the killer in plain sight is as the death count doesn’t quite add up.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 9, 2011

With a Little Luck-Caprice Crane

With a Little Luck
Caprice Crane
Bantam, Jul 26 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780553386240

In Los Angeles radio DJ Beryl “Berry” Lambert swears she does not believe in lady luck or for that matter any luck, good or bad. However, her dad is a gambler so she grew up knowing not to tempt fate, which is why she carries her collection of good luck charms or superstitiously dodges pratfalls.

She has had two bad relationships in a row and everyone knows bad luck comes in three. However DJ Ryan “Dr. Love” Riley is attracted to eccentric Berry. As they date, the station puts them together for a morning gender war show that is a success. However, she angrily dumps him and the show when he voices one of her dirty secrets on the air, that of her fear of Shatner beaming her up. However, once calm she realizes what she has done so With a Little Luck, she feels they ”can make this whole damn thing work out” (Paul McCartney and Wings) if he gives them a second chance.

This is a fabulous madcap romance that feels like a throwback to the zany 1930s movies. The lead couple is a terrific pairing of two DJs in love. Her over the top fears are handled deftly. Berry neurotic phobias come across stupid yet readers (and Ryan) will contagiously adore her. Caprice Crane deserves accolades for this charmer.

Harriet Klausner

Five Days in Paris-Danielle Steel

Five Days in Paris
Danielle Steel
Delacorte, Jul 26 2011, $14.00
ISBN 9780345528193

Wilson-Donovan President Peter Haskell is in Paris staying at the Ritz to review the test of Vicotec, a drug that will make the company billions but more important help people with cancer. The proud honest family man loves his wife and three children, but takes pride in his integrity as the head of a large international pharmaceutical firm.

Olivia Thatcher’s husband Anderson is the U.S. Senator from Virginia. Her spouse has plans for the presidency so though she has been his biggest supporter through the years she knows she will be under a microscope so must be even more diligent. Currently Olivia is staying at the Paris Ritz.

At the Montmartre, Peter and Olivia meet. They know almost at first sight they should have been together. However, Anderson has offered Olivia a million a year to remain at his side and he has a loving wife and three sons but also could make billions if he lies about the test results

Five Days in Paris is reprint of a mid 1990s entertaining romance with some suspense as to what the lead couple will do re family and the firm. The thin story line follows the anticipated path without a detour, but fans of Danielle Steel will enjoy the ride.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fall From Pride-Karen Harper

Fall From Pride
Karen Harper
Mira, Jul 26 2011, $14.95
ISBN: 9780778312499

In Home Valley, Ohio, an arsonist is destroying the barns that belong to the Amish. State Fire and Explosion Investigative Unit arson investigator Nate Mackenzie arrives to determine whether these are hate crimes as occurred in Pennsylvania two years ago. If yes the targets are either the Amish church leaders or artist Sarah Kauffmann, who had painted murals on the barns just before they were burned down.

Sarah and Nate team up as she can assist him in understanding the culture of her people though ironically she feels in many ways like an outsider. However, though each tries to ignore their attraction to the other, working the arson case together keeps them in close proximity as they fall in love. Like trying to solve the fires case is almost as difficult as finding a resolution to a permanent relationship.

The opening Amish Home Valley romantic suspense is an entertaining tale starring a strong lead couple and fully developed secondary characters. Nate and Sarah feel like outsiders but connect at first sight; readers will enjoy her jealous of his VERA. Although the story line decelerates at about the half way point before shifting back into first gear, readers will appreciate this delightful arson investigative romance.

Harriet Klausner

To Touch the Knight-Lindsay Townsend

To Touch the Knight
Lindsay Townsend
Zebra, Jul 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420106985

By 1351 the plague continues to devastate much of England, but fails to stop the knights’ tourneys attended by the aristocracy. In this atmosphere, the Widow Edith a serf married to the late silversmith of Warren Hemlet pretends to be a foreign princess attending the games. The other villagers act as her retinue in public. If their masquerade is exposed they will be executed, but this ploy is the only way they can avoid starvation as the plague wrecked their village two years ago.

Knight Sir Ranulf of Frendenwyke hates the festivities he must attend and participate in or else. He loathes celebrating with so much waste while the serfs suffer and his own wife buried. He knows war first hand so finds tournament battle inane. However, he is attracted to the mysterious Lady of Lilies who is unlike any aristocrat he ever met.; Edith shares his feelings but fears telling him the truth out of keeping her villagers safe.

This is a deep dark medieval romance with a profound look at the death and destruction caused by the plague, and the arrogant abuse of some of the nobles towards their serfs. Lindsay Townsend pulls no punches as mid fourteenth century England is a harsh environs. The cast is strong while the romance between the disillusioned idealistic knight and “eastern Princess Smith” make for a wonderful tale.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tell Me More-Janet Mullany

Tell Me More
Janet Mullany
Harlequin Spice, Jul 19 2011, $14.95
ISBN: 9780373605583

In Colorado, her former lover Hugh the economics professor wants to move back in with radio DJ Jo Hutchinson. Although she has a heated jam session with him until her new her new geeky tenant Patrick interrupts, she tells him no as he may apologize for cheating but he still stepped out on her.

Jo also fears she suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder with her attraction to the voice. She loves sharing her sexcapades with her mysterious telephone admirer, but fears acting in person with “Mr. D.” He is her erotic muse. Mr. D. inspires Jo to embark on her inner most secret sexual fantasies. She joins a kinky erotic club. However, she also finds herself attracted to her new geeky tenant Patrick. As Jo considers ripping off Patrick’s clothing, she also considers whether she should arrange to meet her mysterious late night caller.

Jo makes this erotic romance work as she has a lust for sexual encounters as displayed from the start, but also comes across as a kind unassuming individual. The story line is filled with sexual tension and a bit of mystery as to who Mr. D is, though readers ironically will correctly guess his identity. The audience will feel the heat when he turns on Jo using a phone as his sex toy.

Harriet Klausner

Merciless-Diana Palmer

Diana Palmer
Harlequin HQN, Jul 26 2011, $24.95
ISBN: 9780373775798

In Jacobville, Texas his mom Cammy and a mob of spousal stalkers want San Antonio FBI agent Jon Blackhawk married. However, he prefers the life of a single an. His efficient assistant Joceline Perry is effective at keeping the she wolves at bay.

Joceline raises her son Markie as a single mom. Several townsfolk have pressured her to name the dad, but she refuses insisting he is dead. Though attracted to one another, neither prefers any relationship except a professional one; they even reject the gaming connection both have with his his brother and she with her son. That changes when a killer Harold Monroe seeking revenge attacks Jon and targets Joceline and Markie as expendable pawns to get at the fed.

The sequel to Dangerous (Jon’s brother Kilraven’s tale) is a fast-paced romantic suspense. The lead couple is a dynamic pairing as she is sassy intelligent and he is Texas tough while the support cast adds either humor or tension. Although the murder mystery subplot is thin, the online games show fast information technology turns obsolete, as Diana Palmer provides an entertaining police procedural romance.

Harriet Klausner

Only Mine-Susan Mallery

Only Mine
Susan Mallery
Harlequin HQN, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775880

Word reaches Hollywood about Fool’s Gold, California’s shortage of men. A reality show True Love or Fool’s Gold arrives to create a romantic game contest. Mayor Marsha Tilson volunteers child psychologist Dr. Dakota Hendrix as the liaison with the stars.

Raging Alaskan bush pilot Finn Anderssen arrives to bring his younger twin brothers Sasha and Stephen home to South Salmon and their last semester at college. Their guardian since their parents died eight years ago he is upset his siblings dropped out of the University of Alaska to participate in the inane competition. He and Dakota are attracted to one another from the opening threat, but she has enough on her plate with adopting a baby.

The latest Fool’s Gold contemporary romance (see Finding Perfect and Almost Perfect) is a fun lighthearted tale as the Alaskan aviator and California shrink make a charming couple; their discussions are amusing with serious undertones. However, Finn comes across at times as schizoid since he is Mr. Responsibility but hates being Mr. Responsibility so he rejects love. Readers watch behind the scenes of the reality show that intrudes on the small town as Susan Mallery provides an engaging thin tale as Dakota knows her only choices are True Love or Fool’s Gold.

Harriet Klausner

Playing Dirty-Susan Andersen

Playing Dirty
Susan Andersen
Harlequin HQN, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775897

Thirteen years ago, Cade Gallari bet he could sleep with the Country Day School’s fat girl. He won his $200 wager with a-hole Dylan Vanderkamp announcing publically he made it with Ava Spencer. She was abashed, but with the help of her friends (Jane – see Cutting Loose and Poppy – See Bending the Rules) and their mentor Miss Agnes, she moved on from Quick Draw McGraw. He realized he mistreated her and apologized several times over the years but she ignored his remorse.

Documenter Cade returns home to Seattle with plans to film the life of Miss Agnes. He wants to rent the Wolcott Mansion the late Miss Agnes bequeathed to Ava and her other two friends, which will bring in some needed income; Cade also hires Ava on as a consultant. However, he is stunned when he sees the beautiful curvy woman Ava has become. They want each other but she distrusts him with her heart.

The final Wolcott Mansion diary sisterhood contemporary romance is an engaging second chance tale due to the star, a big woman who distrusts the motive of the man who broke her heart when they were teens. The story line starts slow, but accelerates towards the middle as Ava struggles between her treacherous heart (and libido) and her cautionary brain. Readers will bet that Cade does not stand a chance against Ava and the sisterhood.

Harriet Klausner

The Bed and the Bachelor-Tracy Anne Warren

The Bed and the Bachelor
Tracy Anne Warren
Avon, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062033055

Drake Byron developed codes to help the British conceal secrets from Napoleon’s spies. Currently he works on breaking a French code to assist the war effort. In 1813 when his housekeeper abruptly leaves, Drake hires twenty-nine year old Widow Anne Greenway to replace her.

However, Anne is actually an undercover French mathematician Sebastianne Dumont who has been forced to spy on Drake to protect her family. Rather quickly Anne and Drake are attracted to one another. While pressure mounts on her to betray her employer and her heart in order to save her father and siblings, Anne knows what she must do; when she does act, Drake knows what he must do.

The latest Byrons of Braebourne historical romance (see Wicked Delights of a Bridal Bed) features the most unique of the “bad” brood as “mad” intellect Drake (even his mom fears he will blow himself up one day) stars with his female genius counterpart. The espionage romantic Regency story line is fast-paced, contains a few surprising twists, and is supported by the energetic eccentric notorious Byrons; anyone think the French have a chance against this crowd?

Harriet Klausner

The Taming of the Rake-Kasey Michaels

The Taming of the Rake
Kasey Michaels
Harlequin HQN, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775910

In London, Lady Chelsea Mills-Beckman is desperate as all indications are that her brother who recently found religion will marry her to Reverend Francis Flotley. She needs a way out and decides scandal is it as the good reverend would never wed a woman with baggage. Her choice is Oliver Beau Blackthorn who loathes her brother Thomas for whipping him and holds a grudge against her sister Lady Madelyn for humiliating him years ago when he vowed to return one day.

Lady Chelsea offers Oliver a deal that will give him what his heart wants and her escape; she suggests they elope to Gretna Green so that she can be ruined and unworthy of Flotley. Though he tries to be a gentleman and refuse her proposal, he acquiesces. However, the trek proves harrowing physically and emotionally as they begin to fall in love, but he believes Chelsea deserves better but he knows he could not convince her otherwise; she believes Chelsea deserves Oliver.

The opening Blackthorn Brothers historical romance opens with an exhilarating romance due to a powerful cast, even the lead female’s snobbish siblings come across as carrying baggage as Thomas feels he never obtained his dad’s approval only his scorn. The story line is fast-paced and the race to Gretna Green is filled with dangerous action as love enters the coach if Chelsea and Oliver take a chance.

Harriet Klausner

In the Air Tonight-Stephanie Tyler

In the Air Tonight
Stephanie Tyler
Dell, Aug 2 2011, $7.99
ISBN 9780440423034

Though the Delta Force unit anticipated danger with some probably not returning except in a bag, the missions proved extremely harrowing (see Promises In The Dark and Lie With Me). Thus the black ops soldiers look forward to some needed R&R.

Caleb Scott and Mace Stevens head to the latter’s bar in upstate New York to grieve the loss of teammates. Entering Mace’s establishment is twenty-six years old Paige Grayson, stepsister of their late teammate Gray. Paige, who has the uncanny ability to read minds, demands Mace tell her what happened to her sibling who was under his command; at the same time Caleb suffering from memory loss fears he killed Gray. She also feels safe in Mace’s presence and that has not happened in a long time. Paige knows her psychopath murdering older brother Jeffrey escaped the mental war of a prison and now stalks her. However, she has lost some of her focus because of her attraction to Mace; likewise for the same reason he fails to appreciate the danger she is in.

Though a bit over the top, the Delta Force duet finds home leave as harrowing as being on a mission. The story line is more taut psychological suspense and less overt action than the previous thrillers, but that brings freshness to the saga. Fans will enjoy this exciting romantic suspense as Mace’s motive for being with Paige initially was a promise he made to Gray but now a promise his heart made.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

By His Majesty’s Grace-Jennifer Blake

By His Majesty’s Grace
Jennifer Blake
Mira, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778312437

In 1486 England King Henry VII orders heiress Lady Isabel Milton to marry farmer Rand Braesford. Isabel is taken aback on two fronts. First four suitors have died while courting her so many believe she is a curse so why the royal decree; second she finds it difficult to accept the monarch would choose someone outside of his inner aristocratic circle.

She soon realizes her mistake re her fiancé as he is a veteran soldier loyal to the king and given Braesford and her as his reward. Isabel feels rather good about her marital status when Braesford is arrested on a murder charge. However, she quickly reconsiders her position of once a warrior always a warrior as she looks back at his kindness towards everyone. Isabel investigates the homicide in order to liberate her betrothed from the Tower and rid herself of the curse by marrying her intended.

The oldest sister of the cursed Three Graces of Graydon, Isabel is a fascinating protagonist who changes her mind about her intended as he may be the one to overcome her “affliction” with the cure of love. The story line is action-packed yet makes the early Tudor era come alive. Although the two lead characters are too perfect (Candide would have said they belong in Eldorado as the “best of all possible worlds”), fans will enjoy their duet as the heroine believes Rand is innocent of the crime and risks her life to prove it when she could have let him be executed.

Harriet Klausner

Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel-Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel
Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Forever, Aug 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446561778

In 1396 King Robert Stewart of Scotland orders the lairds of clans MacDonald, Cameron and Mackintosh to end their bloody feud in the Glen of Many Legends with final combat. The clan of the last male survivor will own the Glen; those from the losing two clans will leave. The sisters of the three lairds form a secret pact between them in which each will marry the lord of one of the other two clans in order to bring a lasting peace.

In 1397 Lady Isobel Cameron selects Kendrew Macintosh as she loves him and prays he reciprocates though he shows no indication. He and his clan prefer the harshness of the tradition of a berserker, but are unprepared to weather the storm of Lady Isobel. She decides to seduce her chosen one who begins to fall in love with his guest unaware she is sister to laird James Cameron (see Sins of a Highland Devil for his tale of love with Lady Catriona sister to Laird Alasdair MacDonald). However, enemies of the three clans have other ideas for this pair.

The second Glen of Many Legends Highlander medieval romance stars a strong lead couple and a powerful support cast, especially the other prime duets. The story line contains the same general concept as the first tale in which the star-crossed protagonists struggle with conflicting love for their respective clan and each other. However, Sue-Ellen Welfonder shows her skills by making the path that Isabel and Kendrew take differ from that of Catriona and James. Historical romance fans will appreciate this entertaining late fourteenth century tale while looking forward to how the third sister wins her Laird.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Bride Wore Scarlet-Liz Carlisle

The Bride Wore Scarlet
Liz Carlisle
Avon, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061965760

With loving encouragement from her Nonna Sofia, Anais de Rohan trained with fervor for much of her life to achieve her desire of joining the male exclusive St. James Club. She actually obtains a sponsor though the Earl of Bessett Geoffrey leads the opposition to allowing a female amidst their Fraternitas. However, everyone agrees to a test to ascertain whether Anais is worthy.

Anais pretends to be married to Geoffrey as they travel to Brussels to rescue an abducted child who can see the future. She is stunned by how much he cares what happens to the child; he is stunned by her intelligence and sword play. They are stunned by their attraction to each other but both know the mission comes first as Nonna knows it is in the cards.

The second Victorian romantic fantasy (see One Touch of Scandal) is a fabulous paranormal historical starring two strong individuals. The fast-paced story line grips the reader from the first time the lead couple meets and never loosens that hold until the final confrontations between the lead pair and the villain and between the lead pair. With a fully developed support cast, readers will enjoy this passionate nineteenth century paranormal romance.

Harriet Klausner