Wednesday, August 31, 2011

His Destiny-Diana Cosby

His Destiny
Diana Cosby
Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420109924

Her uncanny ability to play any undercover role and her unmatched skill with a knife makes Emma Astyn the best English mercenary as she can charm anyone to do anything for her. Currently her assignment is to infiltrate the inner circle of rebel Dubh Duer in order to steal the writ the outlawed Scotsman is carrying to a supportive bishop. To conduct her mission successfully requires her to pose as innocent Scottish damsel Christina Moffat.

However, while Christina prepares to charm Dubh, Emma is taken aback when she meets the man behind the legend Sir Patrick Cleary MacGruder. He distrusts her but wants her. She finds him a man of honor who gave up everything including his family who believe he is dead for his cause, the freedom of Scotland. Love and honor clash with selfless duty.

The latest Diana Cosby “His” medieval romance is an exciting tale of late thirteenth century war torn Scotland in which key players from the previous historical thrillers (see His Woman and His Conquest) including real persona play major roles. The lead couple is a fascinating pairing as love intrudes on their respective mission. Although the ton of historical data at times slows down the story line, fans will enjoy His Destiny is hers.

Harriet Klausner

Tempting a Highlander-Michele Sinclair

Tempting a Highlander
Michele Sinclair
Zebra, Sep 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420108569

In 1315 twin brothers reserved Crevan and extroverted Craig McTiernay kiss twin sisters in your face Raelynd and dainty Meriel Schellden. Powerful clan leader Laird Schellden catches the two pairs. However, instead of outrage over the affront to his family, the cagy politician sees an opportunity to protect their clan from scam artists. He orders the quartet to pretend they have twin betrothals that would end in one month.

Raelynd is the most volatile against the concept, but appreciates that her partner is outgoing Craig as she cannot stand his mousy twin. On the trek however, Raelynd begins to appreciate the strong reserved Crevan; he shares her attraction but is bound to her sibling. When Raelynd learns his secret that makes him seem wimpy, she realizes she loves her sister’s pretend betrothed.

The latest McTiernay medieval Highlander romance (see Desiring a Highlander) is a family affair as a comedy of errors make for a delightful historical. The two sets of twins are fully developed with diverse personalities. As the best laid plans of mice and McTiernay brothers go astray, fans will wonder if the other twins can just remain friends.

Harriet Klausner

In the Barrister’s Chambers-Tina Gabrielle

In the Barrister’s Chambers
Tina Gabrielle
Zebra, Sep 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420122749

In 1814 London Lady Evelyn Darlington dreams of becoming a barrister, but society refuses to allow females to pursue scholarly intellectual endeavors; even one who loves the law like she does. Her chosen betrothed Randolph Sheldon is accused of murdering a Drury Lane actress who is a distant cousin of his. Evelyn asks her father’s former student barrister Jack Harding to defend Randolph. She explains her intended was not having an affair, but was seen running from the brutal crime scene from the horror of what he saw. Jack’s only stipulation is he will tell her father Lord Lyndale who he owes so much to that he is taking on a case indirectly involving his daughter. Evelyn’s stipulation is she works the case with him.

Jack has been attracted to his mentor’s daughter from the first time he saw her though she was taboo in his mind. Whereas Jack insists he loves her mind though another part of his anatomy would beg to differ, Evelyn always admired Jack’s brain and passion for the law. As they follow clues in exquisite and seedy neighborhoods while their client is not very cooperative, they fall in love, but first seek the rumored murder victims tell all journal of paying customers.

The first Barrister Regency romantic legal thriller is an entertaining tale starring two intelligent and obstinate protagonists. Jack understands what he faces on the case; he must find proof to exonerate Randolph which could cost him the girl while failure will cost him the girl most likely anyway. Although the fast-paced story line follows the anticipated path, readers will relish Tina Gabrielle’s enjoyable legal historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

In the Barrister’s Chambers-Tina Gabrielle

In the Barrister’s Chambers
Tina Gabrielle
Zebra, Sep 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420122749

In 1814 London Lady Evelyn Darlington dreams of becoming a barrister, but society refuses to allow females to pursue scholarly intellectual endeavors; even one who loves the law like she does. Her chosen betrothed Randolph Sheldon is accused of murdering a Drury Lane actress who is a distant cousin of his. Evelyn asks her father’s former student barrister Jack Harding to defend Randolph. She explains her intended was not having an affair, but was seen running from the brutal crime scene from the horror of what he saw. Jack’s only stipulation is he will tell her father Lord Lyndale who he owes so much to that he is taking on a case indirectly involving his daughter. Evelyn’s stipulation is she works the case with him.

Jack has been attracted to his mentor’s daughter from the first time he saw her though she was taboo in his mind. Whereas Jack insists he loves her mind though another part of his anatomy would beg to differ, Evelyn always admired Jack’s brain and passion for the law. As they follow clues in exquisite and seedy neighborhoods while their client is not very cooperative, they fall in love, but first seek the rumored murder victims tell all journal of paying customers.

The first Barrister Regency romantic legal thriller is an entertaining tale starring two intelligent and obstinate protagonists. Jack understands what he faces on the case; he must find proof to exonerate Randolph which could cost him the girl while failure will cost him the girl most likely anyway. Although the fast-paced story line follows the anticipated path, readers will relish Tina Gabrielle’s enjoyable legal historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Season for Temptation-Theresa Romain

Season for Temptation
Theresa Romain
Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420118957

In 1817 Lord Oliver approves of James Matison’s suit of the former’s daughter Louisa. James arrives in Kent to meet Louisa’s family when he hears a women curse. He thinks Louisa’s half-sister Julia is impulsive and cute. She introduces him to her three younger sisters and brother while she eats the better snacks.

James and Louisa met in a library at a party. She was hiding amidst the books as she loves to read while he sought a bathroom. He feels awkward as he now realizes he is attracted to her sister and enjoys the impish play between his fiancée and Julia. Louisa’s parents arrive after a calf is born. Dinner proves as lively; reminding him of his mother’s need for no scandal since his late brother-in-law died in his mistress’ arms. James feels welcomed. The next morning he is late for breakfast, but Julia sees he has a nice meal while he coaxes her to join him, which she does. Feeling distraught as he wants to kiss Julia, he asks Louisa to set a date. She acts skittish trying to delay him while also backing away from his attempt to kiss her. Louisa explains she will come to London with Julia being sponsored by their Aunt Estella. They will wed after that; he agrees though his attraction is to her sister.

A strong unique cast, especially Julia’s eccentric family, anchors this engaging romantic triangle between the two sisters and the Viscount. Each adores and respects one another, which adds depth as not one of them deserves to be hurt. In fact James’s mom is the villain, but comes across as inane and selfish while causing unnecessary conflict to an otherwise wonderful fresh Regency romance.

Harriet Klausner

Sage Creek-Jill Gregory

Sage Creek
Jill Gregory
Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425244470

Following her divorce from her cheating spouse, Sophie McPhee sells her San Francisco bakery to return home to Lonesome Way, Oregon. Her mom welcomes her warmly while her late dad never thought much of his offspring.

Sophie visits her pregnant BFF Lissie. She once had a crush on Sophie’s older brother Rafe. A divorced Rafe and his twelve year old daughter Ivy arrive. When she learns Ray’s Diner is closing as the elderly couple is retiring, Sophie decides to open a bakery there. Her former teacher Doug Hartigan says he and her mom are dating. Sophie hates Doug for verbally abusing her as a student.

Sophie enters the Double Cross Bar & Grill to meet her other BFF Mia when a fight breaks out. Rafe keeps her from being hurt. He is attracted to Sophie, but will not act on it out of respect for Lissie and not to confuse his daughter who is still hurting four years after her mother deserted her. Sophie feels the same way as he does. She has no time for romance as she is busy trying to get her A Bun in the Oven bakery to open up. Meanwhile someone wants to hurt Sophie who has no idea who or why. Rafe vows to keep her safe as he and his daughter have fallen in love with his sister’s BFF.

The lead couple is a nice pairing whose issues are external and mostly due to family problems. The strong cast anchors the small town location and many residents play matchmaker involving Sophie and Rafe so they can see how they really feel about one another. Although the villain is over the top of Mt. Rainer and his daughter goes from confused tweener to mature adult , readers will enjoy Sophie’s choice to come home to start over.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 29, 2011

1225 Christmas Tree Lane-Debbie Macomber

1225 Christmas Tree Lane
Debbie Macomber
Mira, Sep 27 2011, $16.95
ISBN: 9780778312697

Three years ago in California, Beth and Kent Morehouse divorced. She and their two daughters Bailey and Sophie move to Cedar Cove on Puget Sound. Beth owns the Cedar Cove Christmas Tree Farm and rescues animals. Currently she needs to find a home for ten stranded puppies left by her door.

Bailey and Sophie return from college for the holidays. Neither understands why their parents split up, but each hopes to pull off a miracle of bringing them back together though their mom is seeing veterinarian Ted Reynolds. Kent arrives to spend time with his daughters but to their disappointment he brings towering Danielle Martin with him. Before the girls are out of the first inning, the game looks lost.

Fans of the Cedar Cove community series will enjoy the engaging twelfth entry; as besides the Morehouse matchmaking, there are several subplots involving other residents. Newcomers will be lost as much of the cast has a history in previous novels (see 1105 Yakima Street and 1022 Evergreen Place). Still Debbie Macomber provides a sweet Yuletide tale

Harriet Klausner

An O’Brien Family Christmas-Sherryl Woods

An O’Brien Family Christmas
Sherryl Woods
Mira, Sep 27 2011, $16.95
ISBN: 9780778312703

In Chesapeake Shores, Laila Riley ended her relationship with younger Matthew O’Brien but paid the price for what she declared a fling. Her parents condemned her and after a fight with her father she left the greatest position in the world at his bank. Only Trace her brother seems to support her emotionally and with customers as she opens up an office in The Inn At Eagle Point. Matthew is heartbroken as he wanted a permanent relationship with the love of his life, but honors her wishes to stay away from her as he knows she resents him for what their tryst cost her.

The O’Brien clan believes Laila and Matthew are soul mates and plan to act on it while on a two week Christmas vacation in Ireland in honor of the family octogenarian matriarch Nell. Knowing her estrangement with her parents, Laila’s friends persuade her to come on the trip as they do not want her alone over the holidays. Although she has trepidations of seeing Matthew who will be going too, she travels to Ireland for an O’Brien family Christmas. Meanwhile Nell sees her pre American marriage Irish boyfriend Dillon.

The latest Chesapeake Shores family drama (see A Chesapeake Shores Christmas) is the usual charming tale. Part of the pleasure is to observe what has happened to former lead protagonists and Nell’s second chance romance. However, the main story line is the relationship between the older Laila and Matthew whose game plan is to prove to his beloved they can have more than just the greatest sex he ever has known.

Harriet Klausner

Tis The Season to be Sinful-Adrienne Basso

Tis The Season to be Sinful
Adrienne Basso
Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420111910

In 1858 England, American businessman Richard Harper arrives at Highgrove Manor to buy the place. He explains to widow Juliet Wentworth, mother of three young children he needs it for a short time. He offers her a deal she cannot refuse since this enable her and her family to no longer remain impoverished as they are now since her brother-in-law Hastings gives them very little money. Juliet tells her sons she sold the estate. Hastings yells at Juliet that as co-guardian he will not allow the sale to occur. Richard tells Juliet her joking comment when they met is the answer. Thus they agree to a marriage of convenience with Richard’s stipulation being no future kids and her point that the estate belongs to Edgar.

He meets the kids and knows Edgar is hostile; James is curious; and Lizzie is guileless. After they marry, they make love. He asks her to redesign the house as he leaves on extended business. While he is away they exchange letters in which he begins to open up and trust her opinion. As the married couple falls in love and his new sons prank him, he wins over the children when he defends them at the cost of a business deal.

The lead male is a refreshing character as he is all business even in marriage until he falls in love. His stand re his stepsons vs. a business partner is terrific. The secondary cast including the nice late first husband enhances the story line. Although the odious brother-in-law is the negative matchmaker, he vanishes from the story line. Still in spite of no major villain and muted conflict, this is an entertaining Victorian romance.

Harriet Klausner

Knight Everlasting-Jackie Ivie

Knight Everlasting
Jackie Ivie
Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420108859

In 1297, during combat, Highlander laird Aidan MacKetryck rescues English Lady Juliana D’Aubenville from the battlefield. She conceals her identity from her savior out of fear because her family is under a deadly assault from an unknown vicious adversary. Instead Juliana asks Aidan to let her go, but he refuses to comply with her request.

Aidan, who was cursed at birth, vows to uncovers her secret and make the enigmatic female his. She has escaped captivity before and plots to do so again. However, she unprepared for his need to keep her safe while she also feels a necessity to cover his back as he has traitors within his clan plotting to replace their laird as leader.

The latest Knight medieval romance (see Tender Is the Knight and Lady of the Knight) is a wonderful late thirteenth century tale. She is the Houdini of the era while his superstitions enhance the entertaining story line with a refreshing lead. Although the tale starts slowly after the first encounter in which the couple arguing over whether he saved her life or nearly killed her, the pace accelerates as readers will enjoy the gender war between two cursed souls.

Harriet Klausner

Seduced by Grace-Jennifer Blake

Seduced by Grace
Jennifer Blake
Mira, Sep 27 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778312659

In 1497 King Henry VII of England arranges for Lady Marguerite Milton, the youngest of the Three Graces of Graydon sisters (see By Grace Possessed and By His majesty’s Grace), to marry Lord Halliwell. As her fiancé’s man Sir John and his paltry guard escort her, the Golden Knight abducts her.

Ten years ago, Marguerite’s beloved David left her vowing to return one day to marry her. He is her abductee who in spite of his love and attraction remains steadfast to his pledge of abstinence to her chagrin and frustration. However, they soon learn they are expendable pawns in the monarchs plot to expose York conspirators.

The final Graces medieval romance is an engaging historical that combines love, honor and intrigue into an exhilarating thriller. The lead couple is a delightful second chance if they survive the machinations of the king and his rivals. Jennifer Blake is three for three as she provides another charming fascinating late fifteenth century tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Texas Christmas-Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda and DeWanna Pace

A Texas Christmas

Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda and DeWanna Pace
Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420119664

“One Wish: A Christmas Story” by Jodi Thomas. In December 1887 in Kasota Springs, Texas, Sam the farmer wants to go home but waits in a cold alley watching the mercantile across the street as he fears for the life of Maggie who he has cherished since they met as little kids. He knows his bloodline is not good enough, but she persuades him otherwise when he recues her from robbers.

“Naughty or Nice?” By DeWanna Pace. In December 1887 tired of the scorn by the townsfolk of Kasota Springs, saloon owner Anna Ross returns from a supply run as a snowstorm assaults the Texas Panhandle. There she saves the life of greenhorn James Elliot III caught in the blizzard.

“The Christmas Bell” by Linda Broday. In December 1887 the blizzard strands the train on the Texas Panhandle as it headed to Kasota Springs. On board is spoiled Tess Whitgrove the banker’s daughter coming home from Boston. Sloan Sullivan, who she disliked when they were children, arrives with a sled to rescue the stranded passengers and workers.

“Away in the Manger“ by Phyliss Miranda. In 1887 on the Texas Panhandle Randall Humphrey looks forward to solitude during the Christmas season. Instead the Kasota Springs blacksmith finds Edwinna Dewey yelling at him over his half brother failing to arrive with her family. Her niece Sarah Callahan arrives with three years old twins Damon and Addie Claire at the blacksmith shop.

The latest western romance anthology by this quartet (see Give Me A Texas Outlaw) is a terrific somewhat interwoven but mostly separate tales of couples trapped by a snowstorm falling miraculously in love.

Harriet Klausner

A Father’s Name-Holly Jacobs

A Father’s Name
Holly Jacobs
Harlequin SuperRomance, Sep 6 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373717330

In Whedon, Pennsylvania her beloved Pops informs his daughter single mom of teenage Bart, Angelina Tucker that he is retiring after his recent health scare. She wants to run the family business, but Pops stuns Rucker when he introduces their garage’s newest employee Tyler Martinez. The former banker was sent to County for six months and remains on probation. He had been a big customer taking his cars to Tucker Garage for years but is back to his youth making his own repairs on a clinker. Pops explains that Tyler is a top rate mechanic who can also be the prime voice with customers.

Tyler becomes guardian of an infant, who ties back to his nolo contendere conviction. Meanwhile the new mechanic and his boss emit sparks between them, but she refuses to consider a fling with an employee as Bart comes first. As they fall in love, he has to prove to his beloved he is in for the long term.

Nobody does Pennsylvania contemporary romance better than Holly Jacobs consistently writes. Tucker who has appeared in support roles in other tales like Unexpected Gifts proves she handle the lead. Her relationships with her son, pops and the mechanics seem real. Tyler’s fall from grace hits home as genuine also. Together they grease their way to love at the garage.

Harriet Klausner

Winning Over the Rancher-Mary Brady

Winning Over the Rancher
Mary Brady
Harlequin SuperRomance, Sep 6 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373717309

Widowed and pregnant KayLee Morgan leaves Southern California for April in Montana in order to win the contract to construct environmentally friendly cabins on the Shadow Range Eco Ranch. She needs the project in order feed her baby once her child is born.

She meets Baylor Doyle and the rest of his ranching family who hope to avoid having to sell the spread with the eco project. Starting with the matriarch Evvy, the Doyle family welcome KayLee as if she is one of them. In turn she works diligently as if this was her ranch. Then there is the attraction between KayLee and Bay as she prays she is Winning Over The Rancher to ask her and her unborn to stay in Big Sky Country with him.

The strong cast and picturesque location enhance a warm contemporary romance starring a pregnant woman who hopes the man she loves not just reciprocates her feeling but can accept her child too. Readers will enjoy the sweet changing relationship between the lead couple encouraged by his living and caring family as Mary Brady provides another pleasant Montana romance (see He Calls Her Doc and Promise to a Boy).

Harriet Klausner

The One She Left Behind-Kristi Gold

The One She Left Behind
Kristi Gold
Harlequin SuperRomance, Sep 6 2011, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373717323

She left Placid on the Mississippi Delta when she was eighteen years old to become a big city lawyer. Several years later attorney Savannah Greer returns home from Chicago for her father’s funeral and to end the estrangement with her widow mom Ruth. However, Ruth refuses to welcome her prodigal daughter home; instead choosing as much as possible polite avoidance.

When she fled her family’s ranch, Savannah also left her boyfriend Samuel Jamison McBriar. She never forgot him while he also never moved passed his first and only love. Savannah plans to leave immediately but finds it difficult to say goodbye to Sam who manages her mom’s ranch. He struggles between wanting to make love with her forever and needing her to just leave as he fears he will not mend from another broken heart.

This character driven second chance at love romance is a strong tale, but ironically the key poignant relationship is not with the lead couple but that between mother and daughter. The three prime protagonists turn the entertaining The One Left Behind into a warm regional family drama summed up nicely by Sam’s dad when he advises his son to “get the corncob out of your keister”.

Harriet Klausner

When Love Gets In The Way-Janelle Mowery

When Love Gets In The Way
Janelle Mowery
Harvest House, Oct 1 2011, $13.99
ISBN: 9780736928083

In 1873 in Pueblo, Colorado Territory, following her mother’s funeral Grace Bradley runs away from home as she fears the vile man Frank Easton, whose first wife vanished, the one her widower father chose for her to marry. She pleads with family friend Cade Ramsey, who attended her mom’s funeral, to take her with him when he goes home. Grace insists she can help his mom Ella recovering from an injured hip. He tells her no.

She sneaks inside his wagon, but by the time he discovers his stowaway he ignores his inclination to return her to her dad and instead takes her to his family Ranch near Rockdale. He arranges for her to work as a housekeeper at the ranch of his friends Bobby and Jace (see When All My Dreams Come True). Meanwhile a gang of four keeps robbing prospectors in the area while Grace’s “fiancé” is coming for her.

The amusing charming second "Colorado Runaway" western romance stars two delightful protagonists as he needs full body armor to protect him from his klutzy beloved. The villains are nasty but the warm Grace makes the tale work as a unique lead. First is her love for Cade and his family and friends; second are her demands of God to explain why he allows bad things to happen to good people; and finally the comic relief of all the bruises Cade receives from his dangerous beloved. Sub-genre fans will obtain immense pleasure with this humorous historical.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Taken by Passion-Jayme Holland

Taken by Passion
Jayme Holland
St. Martin’s Griffin, Aug 30 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312386665

In San Francisco, Alice O’Brien lost her secretarial job for failing to understand sucking her boss’ penis is major duty number one. She goes home to find her fiancé Jon having sex with Min the landlady and Stone the bearded one in Alice’s bed. Adding to her shock is Jon is chained as a slave to Min the Mistress and Stone the Master. Alice’s twin sister Alexi rushes in from her apartment upstairs as Jon blames Alice for her being too fat.

While Alexi terrorizes the BDSM threesome, a stunned Alice wanders the city in disbelief. She vows to become a one night stand bad girl, but in Golden Gate Park falls through a hole in the ground. There she meets King Jarronn the shapeshifter who wants her to be his submissive queen. Alice’s deepest fantasies have just begun in in Wonderland until she learns why her royal dom needed her as his mate.

This is a wonderful reprint of the first erotic Wonderland E-book (by Cheyenne McCray). The story line is character driven by the heroine who finds her BDSM adventure with Jarronn perfect until she learns his motive for luring her to his realm. Readers will appreciate this enticing erotic fairy tale of S&M sex under the city.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shadow Highlander-Donna Grant

Shadow Highlander
Donna Grant
St. Martin’s Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312533489

In 1603 Galen, the Druid-created Highlander warrior is sent to an isolated Scottish loch to find a key powerful artifact that should enable the Castle McLeod forces to defeat their enemy Deirdre, the evil Druid. There instead of the arcane relic he came to retrieve, Galen meets Reaghan the Druid without any magical power.

Both are stunned by their immediate attraction to one another. She and her villagers join Galen as he returns to Castle MacLeod to help defend the Druids from Deidre’s malevolent assaults. Her horde attacks the travelers severely injuring Reaghan, the focus of the assault. As Reaghan heals and she and Galen fall in love, they will learn the dark powerful reason Deirdre wants her captive.

The latest Dark Sword historical romantic fantasy (see Untamed Highlander, Dangerous Highlander and Wicked Highlander) is a terrific tale that deftly merges early seventeenth century Highlander tidbits inside of Donna Grant’s Druid mythos. The story line is fast-paced but driven by the lead protagonists and their dangerous adversary. Readers will enjoy this strong thriller as Galen and fans wonder if love can overcome insidious evil.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stand-In Mom-Megan Kelly

Stand-In Mom
Megan Kelly
Harlequin American, Sep 6 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373753758

At the James Brothers Hotel in Howard, Missouri, Ginger Winchester attends the Riley and Ross Electronics’ Christmas party due to the instance of her friend. Ginger is depressed following a divorce and her still waiting for approval as a foster parent. Ginger and new R&R employee Scott Matthews meet and are attracted to one another. They share what each assumes is a one night stand as neither provides a last name.

The Atlanta transplant takes the older of his two daughters, eight-year old Shelby, to enroll in school. Her teacher is Ginger. Shelby dislikes her teacher, her school and the city. As Scott and Ginger fall in love, he has issues with her desire to adopt and she fears she is just a Stand-in Mom replacing his late wife.

This is an entertaining family drama starring a strong cast that obviously includes the lead protagonists, but also his preadolescent daughters and Horace the ugly dog. With a interesting family tree twist, the story line is well written as the Alabama expatriates struggle to adapt to life in small-town Missouri while still grieving the loss of their beloved mom. Readers will enjoy Megan Kelly’s enjoyable tale.

Harriet Klausner

Montana Sheriff-Marie Ferrarella

Montana Sheriff
Marie Ferrarella
Harlequin American, Sep 6 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373753734

Over six years ago just after high school graduation, Veronica McCloud left Redemption, Montana. Sheriff Cole James thinks he sees a mirage when he notices a woman enter the Livestock feed Emporium as she looks like a mature Ronnie; the woman he never stopped loving even after she left for the big city and failed to come back until now.

He remembers that last night together as the highlight of his life and wants to top that with his Ronnie. However, Ronnie is back from Seattle to help her injured dad and her brother Wayne with the family ranch. She has also brought home with her Christopher, her child from that last night in Redemption.

Although not informing a father that he sired a child is an ancient theme and her motive for doing so extremely selfish, fans will enjoy this Big Sky second chance at love. Cole is terrific as he knows he still loves his Ronnie as he always has, but wonders how to keep Ronnie on the ranch after she has seen Seattle. Sub-genre readers will enjoy this contemporary family drama as Christopher cherishes his grandparents and uncle and worships his hero the town sheriff; making leaving even more difficult for Ronnie who wants to flee town before her secret is revealed.

Harriet Klausner

Secret Weapon-Opal Carew

Secret Weapon
Opal Carew
St. Martin’s Griffin, Sep 13 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312674601

In Maine wild Janine has two particular tastes. She loves to take off the clothing of men in uniforms and prefers a ménage a trois. Her current boyfriend brings Sloan the cop to forge a threesome. Janine is stunned as Sloan was the reason she fled across the continent from Los Angeles. Sloan is not stunned as he relocated from LAPD to be a New England cop so he could have a second chance with the wild woman he loves.

Fearing her feelings for the by the book cop, Janine refuses to have anything to do with Sloan. However, he remains steadfast with his objective to marry his Janine for he believes she loves him as much as he loves her.

This is an engaging erotic gender war starring seemingly opposites. The story line would heat Maine in winter as Janine knows how to please her self and first responders. Although Sloan would do anything for his love including ménage a trois with his peers, readers will find his giving up his values in this scenario even for love improbable. Still Secret Weapon is a torrid The Pine Tree State romance.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Raw Desire-Kate Pearce

Raw Desire
Kate Pearce
Kensington Aphrodisia, Sep 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758241405

A decade ago, Ally Kendal and Rob Ward were engaged with plans to marry right after their high school graduation. However, their relationship imploded when she cheated with their best friend Jackson Smith and the latter’s girlfriend Susan, is found dead in Ally’s home. Heartbroken and filled with remorse, Ally leaves town.

Ally comes home for the first rime since she left in disgraceful scandal. She is selling her mother’s house. Although she has never forgotten the man she still loves, her plan is to say low, finish the mission and get out of town. Rob has moved past the betrayal but when he sees his Alex, he knows he still wants her. His plan is to drive her wild with Raw Desire and need for him.

This is an engaging erotic second chance at love starring two interesting characters whose past is tied to love, betrayal and death. The relationship between the older lead couple is fun to follow though they too easily ignore what broke them up in the first place to reconnect sexually; but emotionally they never connect as the past never is quite put to rest.

Harriet Klausner

Rough Play-Christina Crooks

Rough Play
Christina Crooks
Kensington Aphrodisia, Sep 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758261373

Charlotte left her now ex-husband Corey aka Kartane because he took their dominant-submissive relationship to abusive extremes. Planning to avoid any SM relationship, she opens up a consulting business the Dating Coach.

A client Gail considers joining a popular Subspace BDSM club. Gail meets the owner Master Martin and Kartane. Charlotte becomes concerned when she fails to hear from Gail. She reluctantly goes to the club. Although she vowed to stay away from the underground fetish community, Charlotte feels she owes it to Gail to learn what happened to her. At Subspace, Charlotte meets Master Martin and sees her former spouse. As she falls under Martin’s dominating spell, Charlotte fears for Gail and for herself.

This is an engaging BDSM romance in which Martin must prove to Charlotte that a dom-sub relationship does not have to become abusive. However, their changing relationship is not explored deep enough for readers to accept her trying again with a new master while her client may be in peril. Still sub-genre fans will enjoy the erotic adventures in Subspace.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cheri On Top-Susan Donovan

Cheri On Top
Susan Donovan
St. Martin’s, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312536213

BFFs Cheri and Candy left Bigler, North Carolina for. Tampa. There Cheri made a fortune, but currently is broke. Her grandfather asks her to become publisher of the family-owned newspaper the Bigler Bugle. She wants to say no, but instead comes home to face the same family issues that sent her running away from her home town.

Adding to her dismay is that her former brother-in-law and high school unrequited secret love, J.J. DeCourcy is the editor. A forensic accountant, Cheri looks at the books and knows something fails to add up. She continues to dig into the finances even as a body found in a nearby lake takes over the newsroom. As her acrimonious sister warns her that J.J. is a SOB, Cheri knows she still loves him, but distrusts him with her heart and her family newspaper.

Cheri on Top is a fast-paced romantic suspense starring a quirky cast of small-town rural Tar Heels. The journalistic investigations are entertaining while the triangular relationship detracts from the romantic mysteries. Still fans will enjoy Cheri finds her groove in this exciting regional thriller.

Harriet Klausner

A Night to Surrender-Tessa Dare

A Night to Surrender
Tessa Dare
Avon, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062049834

In 1813 in Spindle Cove, Sussex, women run the seaside town as their personal sanctuary. Men for the most part especially militia are unwanted as the male dominated army takes over everything. Lieutenant Colonel Victor "Bram" Bramwell leads a troop heading to the town to set up an encampment as French forces are rumored nearby. However, sheep block their passage so he has his squad use explosives to move the flock. Susanna Finch happens to be walking nearby, but Bram saves her by knocking her from harm’s way.

Susanna and Bram are attracted to one another, but he has three strikes against him even before they can relate. First he is titled; second he owns a dilapidated castle; and third he is military. Still as the couple intelligently debates what protection the women of Spindle Cove need, they fall in love.

The first Spindle Cove Regency romance is a delightful historical starring two stubborn strong battling protagonists with conflicting needs supported by a deep secondary cast. The enjoyable story line is fast paced with a nod to Lysistrata. Sub-genre readers will appreciate this brilliant early nineteenth century gender war as love may not be enough.

Harriet Klausner

Star Crossed Seduction-Jenny Brown

Star Crossed Seduction
Jenny Brown
Avon, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061976063

In 1820 Dragoon Captain Miles Trevelyan has just retuned home to find a proper “military” bride after a decade stationed in India. One week in London and the bored Miles wants to go “home” as he was only fifteen when he enlisted following his father’s death.

A tiny girl sells Miles a poorly drawn picture of a broadsword while all in black Temperance “Tem” Smith picks his pocket. However, Miles catches her in the act, but is frozen when he sees her. She flees knowing he saw her.

Miles cannot forget the woman in black and searches for her. She loathes herself for feeling passion for a dragoon as his unit killed her lover. While his mom seeks advice for her son’s marital hunt from an astrologer who runs a homeless shelter for young women, Tem learns her dead lover lives in America. Trev finds her and persuades her to be his mistress. As lust turns to love, trust remains difficult for this pair of Scorpios to accept.

The second astrological Regency romance (see Lord Lightning) stars an intriguing pair who meet when she steals his wallet. The story line starts slow until the second encounter speeds up the pace as the two Scorpios battle one another and their respective hearts. Anchored by real historical tidbits interwoven into the plot, readers will enjoy this fun nineteenth century tale as love is in the stars.

Harriet Klausner

The Deed-Lynsay Sands

The Deed
Lynsay Sands
Avon, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062019707

In 1395 England, her cousin regal favorite Duke Rolfe arranges for Lady Emmalene Eberhart to meet with King Richard II as she wants to be a good wife to Lord Fulk her husband of two years. Though she hesitates she blurts out that her spouse has not bed her and she wants a royal decree ordering him to consummate their vows as she wants children. Fate intervenes as her husband dies on his way home to do The Deed, leaving her still a virgin but with a large dowry and estate.

The monarch rewards loyal landless knight Amaury de Aneford with marriage to Lady Emmalene. However, others want control of her vast estate and are willing to kill her betrothed and take her virginity. As she remains ignorant of the boudoir and he ignorant of anything unrelated to war, this couple needs a primer if they fail to allow love to train them in a marital relationship.

This is a reprint of the humorous first Lynsay Sands romance. The story line employs hyperbole as the faults and ignorance of both protagonists are amusingly exaggerated. Though an external threat adds suspense, this subplot detracts from the virgin bedding as the crowd asking whether the Deed is done is the medieval equivalent of the movie Are We There Yet

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 18, 2011

To Seduce an Angel-Kate Moore

To Seduce an Angel
Kate Moore
Berkley, Sep 6 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425243695

His acrimonious grandfather the Duke of Wenlocke arranged for Kit Jones to be kidnapped by thugs because he loathed the “Living Sin” son of a courtesan Sophie Rhys-Jones being his heir. Kit survived the streets of London but never came home in order to keep his brothers safe. However his siblings Will Jones (see To Save the Devil) and Alexander Jones (see To Tempt a Saint) find him and have him declared the duke’s heir.

In 1824, the Duke is dying and wants his odious pureblood nephew the earl of Aubrey as the next duke. They force accused murderess Emma Portland, hired as a teacher to Kit’s street urchins, to spy on him. As Emma and Kit fall in love, his grandfather, second cousin and a corpse in Reading stand in their way.

The third "Sons of Sin" tale is a great finish to a delightful Regency trilogy. The vile villains plot to destroy the heroic heir who is a bad penny they cannot get rid of so turn to blackmailing the tutor in their latest attempt. Fans will appreciate Kate Moore’s exciting historical.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Improper Gentlemen-Diane Whiteside, Maggie Robinson and Mia Marlowe

Improper Gentlemen
Diane Whiteside, Maggie Robinson and Mia Marlowe
Kensington Brava, Aug 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758251091

“Talbot's Ace” by Diane Whiteside. In 1875 Wild Laurel, Colorado, fast gun Justin Talbot owns the Hair Trigger Palace. Bostonian transplant Charlotte "Ace" Moreland is in town for a poker tournament, but an adversary is on her tail. Justin rescues her. As they fall in love, she remains in danger in spite of having the fastest gun in the Rockies protecting her.

“To Match a Thief” by Maggie Robinson. In 1820 London, Sir Simon Keith has come a long way from his pickpocketing days. Though he would like forget those activities, he never forgot his only love the late Lucy Dellamar; However, Lucy is the mistress to financially bankrupt Lord Ferguson who sells her home and her to her first and only love Simon who she believes deserted her.

“A Knack for Trouble” by Mia Marlowe. In 1827 in a Bermuda prison Aidan Stonemere and Rosalinde Burke make love though she was a virgin. Three years later in London Lord Adrian wants another round with Rosalinde but first needs to prove he is not a murderer; his mission changes when the killer abducts his beloved Rosalinde.

These are three diverse but fascinating historical romances starring bad boys tamed by feisty foxy females in peril needing their protection and much more.

Harriet Klausner

My Fair Highlander-Mary Wine

My Fair Highlander
Mary Wine
Kensington Brava, Aug 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758242075

Lord Curan Ramsden has given his sister Jemma plenty of time to move past the death of their beloved father, but she has not. Instead she is passed the acceptable age of marriage and rides the estate like a wild woman neglecting her duty to the clan. Their neighbor Lord Gordon Dwyre wants to marry the rowdy female and her brother accepts his offer. When Curan informs Jemma of his decision, she become irate and jumps on her stallion.

When English rogues attack her while she is riding the Ramsden estate, Gordon rescues her; taking her to his keep where her English roots are scorned though she trusts the Scots before her own kind. She is as attracted to the Scot as he is to her. They fight, fuss and make love with abandon. However, someone poisons his beloved Jemma; Gordon knows they must find who her dangerous stalker is before this person succeeds in killing Jenna.

My Fair Highlander is an exciting heated Highlander historical romance starring two independent obstinate protagonists who feel they are Bedding the Enemy from just after his rescue of her as she finds herself In the Warrior’s Bed. The story line is fast-paced but it is the battling lovers who make Highland Heat to the elation of sub-genre fans.

Harriet Klausner

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy-Karen Doornebos

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy
Karen Doornebos
Berkley, Sep 6 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425243824

Though she thought she signed up for a documentary, not fortyish single mom of a young daughter, Chloe Parker leaves Chicago to join a reality show set in Jane Austen’s England because she needs the $100,000 prize money as her antique letter press business is failing. The participants are eight bachelorettes who accept the conditions of Regency England in order to win the heart of Mr. Wrightman. Chloe gives up indoor plumbing, central heating, phones and much more in anticipation of men in tights.

However, Chloe finds she fails nineteenth century activities as sewing is a foreign skill and the use of a fan seems inane. Her odious rival Lady Grace makes it worse as her shenanigans are to get Chloe kicked off the show by setting up the ancient moron to look even more like a loser. Her other rivals are just as young, beautiful and shark-like as Grace is. Then there is the prize.

Just when a reader would think that there is no knew take on Jane Austen, Karen Doornebos provides a fresh amusing spin by combining 1812 Regency England within a modern day reality show. The story line is amusing as Chloe competes with women younger, prettier and nastier than she could ever dream of being. With a nod to the 1900 House reality show, fans will agree that Mr. Wrightman is Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, but to Chloe he may be the right man.

Harriet Klausner

Temptation Island-Lorie O’Clare

Temptation Island
Lorie O’Clare
Kensington Aphrodisia, Aug 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758261380

Jenny Rogers wins a free trip to Hawaii by answering correct the question of what happened on August 16, 1977 on the TV show Last Chance for happiness. However, she is delayed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, which leaves her reservation on the islands in jeopardy of cancelation and the show is uncooperative. Having met while waiting for flights to take off, wealthy widow Samantha Winston offers her a trip on her private jet in exchange for Jenny to make the Winston Enterprises CEO’s appointments. Mrs. Winston likes the idea of fresh eyes.

Jenny’s first appointment is with Samantha’s orphaned maternal grandson Ric Karaka, who wants her to loan him money so he can renovate his paternal family’s rundown plantation house turning it into a B&B. Ric must persuade his grandmother’s agent Jenny that his restoration is worth the investment. However, each is stunned by the attraction between them as neither has felt this way before.

Readers who ignore the improbable opening in which a CEO, even an elderly tired person, assigns a total stranger, even one who sounds ethical, to take her business trip, will enjoy Jenny’s Hawaiian romance with Ric. The erotic story line with its exotic background is fun to read as love comes to the Island Paradise.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kissing Comfort-Jo Goodman

Kissing Comfort
Jo Goodman
Berkley, Sep 6 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425243909

In 1870 San Francisco, womanizing shipping mogul Bram DeLong announces that he and Comfort Elizabeth Kennedy are engaged. She is shocked by his announcement but Bram says to her afterward they will end their engagement soon. Comfort has not yet accepted.

Bram’s older brother Bode comes home injured after an attack by the Rangers gang of thugs. Comfort helps him with his injuries but when he learns the woman he cherishes is marrying his brother, Bode leaves. She is disappointed in him and accepts Bram’s proposal. However, Bode will not walk into the sunset without fighting for the woman he loves especially when her unknown heritage before she became a mute foundling begins to surface culminating with the Rangers kidnapping her.

Kissing Comfort is an exciting American romance starring two likable protagonists and an overall wonderful cast especially family though there is some stereotyping of tertiary characters. The intrepid title heroine makes the tale as her shrouded past may prove deadly while her hero would die for her. Fans will enjoy this fine historical as Bram’s proposal sets in motion a comedy of errors that turns uncomfortably dangerous to the lead female.

Harriet Klausner

One Night In London: The Truth About the Duke-Caroline Linden

One Night In London: The Truth About the Duke
Caroline Linden
Avon, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062025326

Affluent widow Francesca Gordon desperately needs to gain custody of her orphaned niece Georgina from her wicked stepmother. She goes to hire the most highly regarded solicitor, but is too late as the Lord Edward de Lacey has retained the man to defend the inheritance of him and his brothers as a rumor spreads that they may not be the legitimate heirs.

Thus Francesca and Edward meet at the solicitor’s office. She offers the aristocrat a deal he accepts. She will counter the gossip in exchange for his support of her effort to legally raise Georgina. As they work together, they fall in love though she is passionate heat and he is cool logic.

Starting with the fresh first encounter, the lead couple makes One Night In London an enjoyable historical reading experience. Fast-paced throughout although the two legal cases never quite sustain their early momentum, fans will enjoy the lead couple as each feels their issue takes precedent over the other’s so that love may not be enough to cement their relationship once the legal matters are done. With two brothers to follow to the delight of Regency fans, Caroline Linden provides an engaging nineteenth century legal romance.


Romancing the Countess-Ashley March

Romancing the Countess
Ashley March
Signet, Sep 6 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451234513

One year ago Leah George’s husband and Sebastian Madinger’s wife died in a carriage accident. The twenty years old widow knew her late spouse was cheating with his best friend’s wife. On the other hand the Earl of Wriothesley thought he married the perfect woman until the tragedy in which the pair was running away together. The upset widower does everything to inter the truth with his spouse and her lover for the sake of his son.

Leah is sick of society blaming her while demanding she behave like a grieving widow. She decides one year of a lie is enough. Sebastian wants to keep her from affirming the rumors are true. He decides the only way to keep her mute is to marry her.

This is an engaging Victorian romance starring two cuckolded aristocrats forced by society to pretend grief for the spouses who did them wrong. The story line is fast-paced but loses some momentum with the sudden out of character odd behavior of the lead couple. Still this engaging historical stars two fascinating protagonists who fall in love while arguing to scandalize or not to scandalize that is the question.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 15, 2011

His Country Cinderella-Karen Rose Smith

His Country Cinderella
Karen Rose Smith
Harlequin Special Edition, Aug 23 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373656196

Famous country singer Zane Gunther retreats to Thunder Mountain, Montana to elude the persistent pesky paparazzi who accused him of partying while his family grieved; Zane knows he cannot run from a recent tragedy. When he finishes his hike, he is angry to find the cleaning lady still there. He makes a deal with her; she tells no one about him is and he will be silent about her being late. After she leaves his childhood friend from Midland, Texas Dr. Dillon Traub gets Zane to admit he felt a vibe.

Mop and broom Cleaning Service Jeanette Williams fears losing her housekeeping job that she needs to feed her and her four year old son Jonah. The single mom assumes Zane got her canned so when they meet again she is cold to him. He insists he did not complain. Zane tries to get Jeannette to go out on a date with him, but she is too busy with her jobs so after Dillon vouches for him so they have dinner at her apartment. As they fall in love, each has a tragedy haunting them that prevents the two adults from sharing how they feel.

This is a warm family drama starring two wounded warriors in love but doubtful about a relationship between them. The support cast enhances a fun Big Sky romance. No one creates better child characters than Karen Rose Smith who once again provides a wonderful uplifting tale of love’s healing power.

Harriet Klausner

Making a Splash-Joanne Rock

Making a Splash
Joanne Rock
Harlequin Blaze, Aug 23 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373796403

In Chatham, Massachusetts, Keith Murphy worries about his older brother Jack who has just completed his obligation to the Navy. Since returning from Bahrain Jack is very taciturn and refuses to return to his VP position at the family owned Murphy Resorts. Jack even scowled at the party celebrating his sibling Ryan’s engagement bash on the Cape. Keith knows his sibling does not have PTSD, but instead has a female woe whose name is Alicia LeBlanc.

Keith has a plan as he has been providing environmental consulting services to Alicia who hopes to open up a B&B in Bar Harbor, Maine. He has Alicia on his boat waiting to meet with him. Instead Keith swaps boats with Jack. As Jack and Alicia see each other for the first time in years, their spark remains equatorial hot. He ran from love once before and she fears he will break her heart again. This time he runs towards love, but must persuade her he will never run away from her again.

This is an engaging second chance at love contemporary romance. The lead couple is a fine duet as he has plenty to make up for in the trust department, but has the edge of believing she loves him. With a strong New England backdrop and a warm caring family for support, fans will enjoy this at sea Wrong Bed Again and Again tale and look forward to Keith sailing Jack’s boat to Charleston.

Harriet Klausner

Witness Seduction-Elle Kennedy

Witness Seduction
Elle Kennedy
Harlequin Blaze, Aug 23 2011, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373796410

Eight months ago Marley Kincaid the nurse met Patrick Grier where she worked as he came in with a knife wound. They dated and became engaged. However, their relationship ended when the cops arrived looking for him; she insisted he was a web designer only to learn he was a drug dealer considered the prime suspect in the murder of a DEA agent. She has not seen him since, but rarely leaves her house.

DEA Agent Caleb Ford conducts surveillance of Marley as he believes Grier will return to her. However, his observation of Marley has him going crazy with desire especially when she does her yoga. He knows to keep his distance but cannot while fearing his lower head may cost the case. After meeting, they are attracted to one another, but he must keep her and her family safe as he knows Grier is coming for Marley. He also knows once she learns who he is she will rank his deception only a notch or two above that of her former fiancé.

With a nod to the Richard Dreyfuss character in Stakeout, this is an exciting police procedural romance. The triangle makes for a delightful tale as the audience anticipates several confrontations between them. Readers will enjoy this taut thriller as Caleb knows he is coming for her.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Dark Earl-Virginia Henley

The Dark Earl
Virginia Henley
Signet, Sep 6 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451234643

In 1842 Staffordshire, England, the Lichfield family is selling the contents of Shugborough Hall at auction to pay off the gambling debts run up by the patriarch Earl. Nine year old Harriet “Harry” Hamilton accompanies her mom the Duchess of Abercorn to the estate. She loves houses but especially when she sees this one as she tells herself: “I wish you were mine.” She and the owner’s son Thomas Anson meet and argue. However, he has bigger concerns as his odious father burns down his insured other estate Ranton; Thomas vows to restore his beloved Shugborough Hall to its glory when he inherits.

In 1854, Harry and Thomas know each other socially but each conceals a deep attraction to the other. Harry has suitors who fall in love and marry her sisters with her blessing. Thomas must marry an heiress or lose his rights to Shugborough Hall. He proposes to Harry who accepts. The couple is happy together until she learns his reason for a hasty marriage; though true he asked her because he loved her before they married and plans to prove he still does.

Virginia Henley is perhaps the best author over the passed decade when it comes to bringing alive the Historical aspects in a historical romance. Her latest is made fresh by the matchmaking House that the lead couple cherishes. Bringing alive the early Victorian era, Ms. Henley provides another strong tale that her grateful fans will appreciate.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ecstasy Wears Emeralds-Renee Bernard

Ecstasy Wears Emeralds
Renee Bernard
Berkley, Sep 6 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425243725

In 1859 in London, Gayle Renshaw wants to become a doctor but females are not accepted as trainees. She extorts Dr. Rowan West to accept her as his apprentice-assistant or she will expose secrets of his that will destroy his practice. He had originally thought she was a man when they corresponded but reluctantly agrees to train her in return for her silence over the matter of the death of his fiancée.

Rowan plans to run off the feisty female by overwhelming her with work and study as he treats her like he would a male assistant. Instead of driving her out of the city as he refuses to ease off of her because of gender, she thrives. Soon Rowan respects his diligent conscientious assistant while she admires his treatment of her as if she was a man. However, she is also attracted to her mentor and him to her. When his enemies threaten his beloved Gayle, he tries to drive her away, but she is even more obstinate than when they first met as now she is a woman in love.

The third Jaded Gentleman Victorian romance (see Revenge Wears Rubies and Seduction Wears Sapphires) is a superb historical that showcases a suffragette pursing her professional ambition while falling in love. Rowan is ahead of his times as he treats her as if she is a male apprentice; that is until his admiration turns to attraction and desire. Gayle walks the thin line between career goals and love. Fans will enjoy this deep, still timely today, nineteenth century romance as the mentor and the mentee find respect and love.

Harriet Klausner

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue-Stephanie Laurens

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue
Stephanie Laurens
Avon, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062068606

In 1829 unmarried twenty-five year old Heather Cynster decides to no longer wait for her hero to sweep her off her feet or for her to be declared an on the shelf spinster. Instead she chooses to sweep the man of her dreams off his feet.

Heather crashes a non-sanctioned gala only instead of her dream mate, notorious rake Viscount Breckenridge, Timothy Danvers, intercepts her. Timothy charmingly in a rage kicks her out of the party before she becomes the subject of scandal while Heather declares he is too old for her. However, hooligans abduct Heather, but once again Timothy comes to her rescue by pretending to be a clerk who seems to help her captors only to free her when the opportunity arises. This time he stays near her to keep her safe though he wonders who will keep her safe from him.

Readers will relish the action packed first Cynster Sisters historical romantic suspense due to a strong lead couple and the villains whose motive for the abduction rings true to followers of the saga. Fans will enjoy this fun tale as the rake and the spinster fall in love but he must convince her that he is her hero.

Harriet Klausner

The Seduction of Scandal-Cathy Maxwell

The Seduction of Scandal
Cathy Maxwell
Avon, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061772122

In 1811 the Duke of Banfield decides his daughter Lady Corinne will marry Lord Freddie Sherman. Although the Ton insists he is the catch of the season, she loathes the repugnant Sherman. Thus Lady Corinne decides to run away until the wedding day passes without her.

Thorn the infamous highwayman catches Corinne. She makes a deal with him to keep her as his prisoner until after her wedding day and in return she will not reveal his secret identity. However, as the highwayman and the runaway fiancée fall in love, Sherman and her father seek Corinne while others seek Thorn to hang him.

Although a Robin Hood hero has been used before, Cathy Maxwell keeps her enjoyable Regency romance fun due to the strong quirky support cast. The lead couple is a nice pairing of an unlikely duo falling in love, but it is those pursuing the fleeing twosome who brings the action to them (and the novel). Sub-genre readers will enjoy the escapades of Thorn and Corinne as they elude a horde of pursuers. Note that a portion of the sales will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Harriet Klausner

In the Arms of a Marquess-Katherine Ashe

In the Arms of a Marquess
Katherine Ashe
Avon, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061965654

In 1812 teenage Octavia “Tavy” Pierce arrives in Madras, India from England during a monsoon. She lives with her older sister and brother-in-law. Tavy and her sister’s neighbor Ben Doree meet and fall in love, but her family rules him unacceptable as a hybrid third son.

Just under a decade of residing in India, Tavy relishes her time there as she loves the culture. Now five and twenty years old she turned into a beauty. Thus in 1821 Tavy goes back to London where she is expected to make a match. Ben also lives in England as he has become the Marquess of Doree, which makes him acceptable by her family. The pair remains in love, but Lord Marcus Crispin also wants to marry Tavy. As the two male aristocrats compete for Tavy’s hand in marriage, someone stalks them.

In the Arms of a Marquess is an exhilarating Regency romantic suspense that uses early nineteenth century India to refresh the mostly in England plot. The cast is solid while readers will enjoy this fine fast-paced, historical thriller while wondering who the villain is. Note that a portion of the sales will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 12, 2011

Never Enough-Lauren Dane

Never Enough
Lauren Dane
Heat, Sep 6 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425243008

Thirteen years ago her older sister Tina called Gillian Forrester to tell her she is at a hospital giving birth. Gillian rushed over to be with Tina and her newborn nephew Miles who she adopts and raises as her own.

Just before dying ironically at the same hospital she gave birth to Miles, Tina makes her sibling give a death bed promise to her. Gillian fears performing her late sibling’s request as she does not want to lose her beloved teenage nephew. Still, she informs rock star Adrian Brown that he is the father of a thirteen years old son. He has doubts but is attracted to the prim and proper Gillian. She feels the same way about him but after her abusive childhood trusts no one. Adrian’s oldest brother Brody (see Coming Undone) intervenes when he informs his sibling that if he fails to get his act together he will lose a chance to spend time with his offspring and with the woman the father and son love.

The latest Brown heated family drama (see Laid Bare) is an engaging contemporary that refreshes the ploy of a man not knowing he sired a child. The Brown family plays support roles with the patriarch Brody the key support. Miles is a confused teen excited to learn of his extended family especially a rocking dad. However, the erotic story line belongs to the protagonists who distrust relationships.

Harriet Klausner

Desire’s Edge-Eve Berlin

Desire’s Edge
Eve Berlin
Heat, Sep 6 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425241400

In high school, senior Dante DeMatteo beat the crap out of junior Kara Crawford’s cheating boyfriend for bruising her. Already having a monster crush on her hero that went stratospheric with his intervention, she regrets she never got to thank him as he was taken to the office by two teachers and then left for college.

Several years later at Lucie’s housewarming party, Dante and Kara see each other across the crowded room. With one glance, each feels the heat, but has doubts as he needs to be her dominant and she wants to be his sub. As they start a spanking relationship, he joins the law firm where she works. When each falls in love, they fail to come together as Dante and Kara fear going over the Pleasure’s Edge of loving a relationship filled with desire.

The key to this superb erotic romance is the fear factor as the protagonists are frightened to death with how deeply they love one another. This relationship anxiety leads to Dante and Kara confused as to what they want. Eva Berlin provides a heated but poignant BDSM romance.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ripe for Scandal-Isobel Carr

Ripe for Scandal
Isobel Carr
Forever, Sep 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446572736

In 1784 as the spare Gareth Sandison belongs to the secret League of Second Sons. He does not mind playing second fiddle except he knows his station is far below the one woman he adores, his best friend’s sister, Boudicea “Beau” Vaughn. Unbeknownst to Gareth who has become a notorious rake, Lady Beau misses him since he stopped teasing her.

When Lady Beau steps out of the Pall Mall circulating library, Mr. Nowlin grabs her and tosses her inside his coach. He plans to take his victim to Gretna Green. She expects her father and brothers to rescue her. Gareth stops at an inn and notices Beau eloping. Unable to stop himself he gives chase. He rescues Beau from her irate kidnapper. They flee the angry Nowlin and his apparent allies over the next few days before reaching her family. Gareth proposes as he knows his beloved has been compromised and she accepts though she distrusts the motives of the man she loves. She agrees to a marriage of convenience while he is accused of siring a child Jamie.

Ripe for Scandal is an enjoyable Georgian romance starring a couple who love but seem to be drifting further apart as outsiders take advantage of the mistrust between the protagonists. With an intelligent marriage of (in) convenience plot, the second League of Second Sons (see Ripe for Pleasure) is a fabulous tale as love may not be enough for this couple.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Bed With a Highlander-Maya Banks

In Bed With a Highlander
Maya Banks
Ballantine, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345519474

Mairin Stuart is the illegitimate daughter of King David. She lives in contented seclusion at a monastery until violent Finn and nineteen soldiers arrive. Finn demands Mother Serenity hand over Mairin or die. Mairin steps forward to save the kind Sisters. Her vicious half brother Duncan Stuart sent Finn to abduct her as he plans to use her as a pawn to wrestle the throne from the king. While encamped for the night, the soldiers capture a lad Crispin. Mairin saves his life when she challenges Finn as she knows Duncan plans to marry her and sire an heir so he can claim her keep Neamh Alainn.

The McCabe laird Widower Ewan is upset that his son Crispin is missing. He cannot send his soldiers on a hunt as that would leave the keep vulnerable; the last time that happened eight years ago left his father and his wife dead betrayed by his sister-in-law. Instead he assigns his two younger brothers (Alaric and Caelin) to find their nephew.

Duncan batters Mairin when she rejects his demand she marry him. A woman enables Mairin and Crispin to escape. Alaric finds them and brings them to the keep where Ewan fears she is the enemy as she wears the garb of hated Duncan. As they fall in love father like siblings and son ferociously protects her from a raging Duncan.

The first McCabe brother Highlander romance is an enjoyable tale as brave Mairin and doubting Ewan fall in love. The story line is action-packed from the moment Finn and his men assault the monastery and it never slows down because of a series of confrontations. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Maya Banks’ exhilarating good vs. evil opening act.

Harriet Klausner

Serendipity-Carly Phillips

Carly Phillips
Berkley, Sep 6 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425243831

In Serendipity, New York, former wealthy Faith Harrington disowned her father Martin when he accepted a plea bargain after a Bernie Madoff level financial fraud; she also divorced her womanizing husband Carter Moreland who knew all before dumping her. She and her family are broke having to sell everything including the mansion on the hill through an SEC auction to pay back investors.

After a decade away Ethan Barron returns home too. He owes his younger brothers Nash and Dare having deserted them to foster care when their parents died and he couldn’t cope; he knows he will need to be patient to win them over as they no longer need him like they did when he ran. Although the victim of her father’s crime the townsfolk refuse to hire interior designer Faith; that is until Ethan hires the Princess on the hill to renovate his new purchase, her family’s former mansion. Back in high school, they had a heated moment, but that seems tundra compared to how the former princess and the entrepreneur feel today.

The first of the Barron brothers’ contemporary romances is an entertaining tale starring two strong obstinate protagonists and a powerful mostly extended families’ support cast. The lead couple and their siblings have realistic issues including family dynamics that may keep them apart. With a nod to the headlines and some late suspense, Carly Phillips opens her upstate New York tale with a strong entry.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Home At Last Chance-Hope Ramsay

Home At Last Chance
Hope Ramsay
Forever, Sep 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446576109

Tulane Rhodes left his home Last Chance, South Carolina to become a racing car driver. He has been successful, but currently is angry at Bostonian public relations specialist Sarah Murray. She painted his vehicle sissy pink with a bunny. Her rational is that Jim Ferguson Racing Team’s sponsor Cottontail Disposable Diaper uses pink as the official color. Her marketing has gone viral with sales leaping. To add insult she wants him to wear a girly pink racing outfit.

Though he wants to ring her cute neck, Tulane goes pink as he has no choice without a win this year and is in trouble because of his temper. The pair is in Last Chance for a race. He knows the Ladies Auxiliary at Cut & Curl will intrude on his life and that of the New England pink imp. To Tulane’s chagrin his predictions about Sarah prove true as the ladies including his mom Ruby adore her and she likes them too. The matchmakers decide the good preacher’s daughter Sarah and Reverend Ellis is a match made in heavenly Last Chance, Ruby thinks her devilish son is the one.

Readers will feel once again the warm Welcome to Last Chance by the quirky Ladies Auxiliary crew in a fun around the oval romance. The entertaining tale stars stereotypes with a good girl-bad boy falling in love theme that Hope Ramsey makes fun to read. Contemporary fans will enjoy the homespun regional race to the finish line.

Harriet Klausner

The Survivor-Shelley Shepard Gray

The Survivor
Shelley Shepard Gray
Avon, Aug 30 2011, $12.99
ISBN: 9780062020635

In Jacob's Crossing, twenty-something Mattie Lapp has survived her war with cancer that took over her life for the past few years. On a Geauga County Hospital elevator, the Amish Mattie asks her best friend Graham Weaver to help her find a husband as she was fighting for her life when other girls her age like her cousin Lucy found their mates. Graham reluctantly agrees.

Mattie’s personal preference is for Graham to court her, but he treats her like an invalid best buddy. Worse is the rumor that he sired the baby single woman Jenna Yoder carries. To Mattie, the gossip is false as she knows her Graham would never ignore a child or an unborn of his. However, the destruction of his reputation bothers Graham just like the gossip that she was dying disturbed Mattie. She vows to be there for Graham like he was for her.

The third Families of Honor Amish romance is a terrific drama that focuses on anyone surviving the cruel frightening darkness even a baby bunny for God’s light is always nearby. Fans of the series will relish Mattie finding love as she is a cancer survivor who has been very sick through the previous two novels (see The Protector and The Caregiver). Shelley Shepard Gray provides a strong entry in a great inspirational Amish saga.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 8, 2011

Seven Years to Sin-Sylvia Day

Seven Years to Sin
Sylvia Day
Kensington Brava, Sep 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758231741

Lady Jessica Sheffield is marrying Viscount Benedict Sinclair. She looks forward to leaving behind her violent abusive father though she worries about her younger sister Hester. She is walking her dog when she sees Alistair Caulfield, an unwanted fourth son, having sex. He notices her and asks her to stay, which she does for awhile. She tells Benedict what she saw and seduces him into not waiting for the exchange of their vows.

Seven years later, Benedict has been dead for a year. His brother Michael arranges for Jessica to travel to the Caribbean so that she can look over the estate Benedict left her. Alistair meets his friend Michael and learns that Jessica is traveling on one of his ships. Excited, he tells Michael he will escort her across the ocean. Alistair explains to Jessica he owns the ship and made arrangements to escort her after talking to Michael. She enjoys the dinner discussion about business as women normally are not privy to such talk. Alastair offers to help her understand the plantation she owns in exchange for her assisting him in his adjustment to the Ton now that two of his older brothers are dead and he is the spare. He hides from her that he loves her and she is why he stayed away from England.

This is a delightful erotic Regency romance starring a unique lead. The heroine’s late husband was a caring person and their relationship one of love that Alistair recognized and envied. Although the subplot involving her sister, her sibling’s husband and her late spouse’s brother is distracting, readers will enjoy this fresh historical as love blossoms on the high seas.

Harriet Klausner

The King’s Courtesan-Judith James

The King’s Courtesan
Judith James
Harlequin HQN, Aug 23 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775590

Her mother always reminded Hope Matthews that she was a whore just like she was. Still Hope has ambition to use her body to socially climb the ladder rather than just allow her clients to climb on her. She has had a pair of protectors, but by 1662 she has become mistress to recently returned to the throne King Charles Stuart as her lover. However with the Queen coming to Whitehall, King Charles must decide what to do with his favorite lover as she understands she is the sacrifice to the monarch’s wife.

The Civil War resulting in Charles being back on the throne has left Captain Robert Nichol landless as he fought on the losing side. He is angry at his misfortune. However, his friend recently married Elizabeth de Veres and her husband Will (see Libertine’s Kiss) get Charles to agree to give Robert back his land if he marries his mistress as a front to the royal affair. He accepts the term though he loathes the concept of his wife sleeping with anyone; made even more unbearable when he falls in love with his spouse.

This is an entertaining Restoration romance that if loaded with a rich historical background interwoven with an endearing romance. The lead couple is an engaging pairing of independent flawed souls who fall in love while fearing the day the King demands his favorite lover serendipitously rendezvous with him. Historical romance readers will relish this exciting late seventeenth century tale.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Me Again-Keith Cronin

Me Again
Keith Cronin
Five Star, Sep 7 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9781432825034

When Jonathan Hooper was twenty-eight years old, he suffered a debilitating stroke while in Chicago. His doctors expected him to die, but instead he remained in a coma for six years in a unit in St. Louis. To the joy and annoyance of his parents, girlfriend Victoria and others who moved on, Jonathan awakens but his memory is gone as he fails to recognize anyone. He does not recognize any of those visiting him at the hospital where he must remain until his wasted body recovers.

Rebecca Chase was a trophy wife until she suffered a debilitating stroke. Her personality changed from spirited to reticent. Whereas she was discrete now she says what she thinks to her husband Big Bob’s embarrassment and chagrin.

At the long term facility, the recovering young stroke victims Jonathan and Rebecca feel isolated from their previous respective lives. However, each shares in common a basic human need for friendship, which they find with one another leading to much more between them.

Me Again is an intriguing second chance at life drama starring two relatively young stroke victims and their impact on those in their inner circle who are not nasty people just confused as to what to do. Besides a strong cast and a reminder that stroke is the third leading cause of death that can attack the young, Keith Cronin avoids preaching while providing an uplifting tale made more so by his donating 25% of what he makes to the American Stroke Association.

Harriet Klausner

Life Studies-Nancy Gotter Gates

Life Studies
Nancy Gotter Gates
Five Star, Sep 7 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9781432825294

In Greensboro, North Carolina when financial planner Peter Raynor died after a bout with cancer, he left his fiftyish widowed wife Liz economically secure, but the survivor lacks a purpose. Tiny Samantha Graces arrives at Liz’s home asking for Peter. The young woman from Wilmington is shocked to learn Peter died and offers no reason why she sought him.

Liz rents a studio at the Sternberger Artist's Center where she plans to paint. She also attends a painting class provided by instructor Jay Kadlacek, a single dad raising a rebellious teen Brian. While working at the Urban Ministry homeless kitchen Liz sees Samantha. A spur of the moment decision has her taking Samantha into her home. Her financial planner steals the funds of Liz and others. As Liz struggles with her lack of funds, she and Jay fall in love; even while both help reclusive Samantha blossom in spite of the small woman breaking her leg and Brian’s behavior hindering their relationship.

Although readers will ironically figure out the Peter connection long before the characters do, fans will enjoy this warm romantic family drama. Jay and Liz are caring souls (as her BFF says too kindhearted) people while Brian and Samantha bring issues to the warm story line. Well written and especially enhanced by an inspiring look at Noonan Disorder, fans will enjoy the romance between the older generation hampered by their nurturing of the younger generation.

Harriet Klausner

Lone Star Trail-Darlene Franklin

Lone Star Trail
Darlene Franklin
Moody, Sep 1 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780802405838

In December 1845 The Fleischer German immigrant family arrive in Carlshafen, Texas but while living in the tent city Ulla becomes ill from the pox and dies. While the family grieves their loss and push forward to Victoria, another daughter depressed Wande wonders whether her fiancé Konrad will be in town to greet her. Their wagon breaks down and another driven by Jud Morgan with his mom and sister Marion with him fails to stop over the pleading of the two females.

Wande and Marion become friends over the objection of Jud. He personally loathes the German invasion as an affront to his late dad who died during the war of independence a decade ago. Jud particularly detests the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas as he believes these newcomers want to establish a New Germany deep in the heart of Texas. However, he also admires and likes Wande, whose fiancé chose someone else.

The first Texas Trails Morgan Family historical romance is a superb timely antebellum thriller that focuses on discrimination against new immigrants. Jud and Wande are a fabulous pairing as he loves her yet hates who she is. Unless he learns tolerance towards German émigrés he has no chance at happiness. Readers will relish this powerful character driven issue dominated tale and will also appreciate the next entry, The Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

By Grace Possessed-Jennifer Blake

By Grace Possessed
Jennifer Blake
Mira, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778312543

In 1486 England, King Henry VII feels good about overcoming the curse of one of the Three Graces of Graydon sisters when he ordered Lady Isabel Milton and Earl Rand Braesford to marry (see By His Majesty’s Grace). Not one to sit on his laurels, the proactive monarch declares that the second cursed Grace sibling Lady Catherine Milton will wed the ruler’s Scottish freedom fighting “hostage” Ross Dunbar if the man agrees; as the king cannot force him to do so.

Ross thinks the curse that men who marry the Graces of Graydon die if they fail to love their wife is an inane superstition. Still he has no plans to marry her or any Englishwoman. When Ross is severely wounded rescuing Catherine from his enemy, Henry gives him the choice of dying from his wounds in the Tower or marrying the middle Grace. As a rebellion breaks out, Ross is caught in the middle as he remains loyal to Scotland and to King Henry VII, but mostly to his beloved Cate. Ironically the curse will not kill him as he loves his Grace, but the combat could.

The middle sister’s Graces medieval romance is an exciting period piece as armchair readers will believe they are at the court of King Henry VII in the late fifteenth century. Except for her belief in the curse, Cate is a typical historical heroine while Ross is a fascinating protagonist whose loyalty is stretched in diverse directions as he must choose between Scotland (and his father), the English king and Cate.

Harriet Klausner

In Seconds-Brenda Novak

In Seconds
Brenda Novak
Mira, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778312444

She has kept her present persona as Laurel Hodges for two years. Laurel and her two children (seven year old Mia and nine year old Jake) have felt safe in remote Pineview Montana. That is as safe as a person can be while running from a vicious prison gang; her brother Virgil joined The Crew while inside of California's Pelican Bay Maximum Security Prison. The Crew blames her when she was Vivian Stewart for the death of a member. The Crew never forgets.

Her feelings of security end with the murder of fifty-five years old Pat Steuben. Laurel believes the Crew has come to Big Sky country hunting for her. Her neighbor Sheriff Myles King investigates the homicide that has shaken the townsfolk, but though deeply attracted to her neighbor she trusts no one as the Witness Protection Program sold her out to the ruthless Crew.

The second Bulletproof romantic suspense (see Inside) moves from exonerated Virgil to his still in trouble sister. The story line is action-packed from the moment the local postman announces the murder of Pat and never slows down as more murders occur, which has Laurel believing she is the cause and Myles protecting the woman and kids he loves. Brenda Novak provides a tense thriller.

Harriet Klausner.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Good Girls Don’t-Victoria Dahl

Good Girls Don’t
Victoria Dahl
Harlequin HQN, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775958

In Colorado, the three Donovan siblings equally own the Donovan Brothers’ Brewery. However, a robbery has the youngest Jamie calling his sister Tessa instead of the oldest Eric. Known for his womanizing, Jamie tells Tessa he gave a tour of the brewery with samples to High West Air Vice President Monica Kendall before taking her home. Tessa understands why Jamie called her as Eric is working a distribution deal with Monica’s father Roland, CEO of the airlines.

James college friend Police Detective Luke Asher leads the investigation in which the thieves apparently searched for personal information stored in the computers. Luke and Tessa are attracted to one another, but her two brothers oppose her seeing the cop. Rumors fly that the divorced detective is the father of the baby his partner Simone Parker is carrying.

This is an engaging contemporary romance starring a woman who loathes change at work or in her relationships and a man who’s known as either a babe or bullet magnet depending on one’s perspective. The brothers bring sibling rivalry and jocularity to the plot while the pregnant partner and the ex-wife seem unnecessary intrusions into the relationship between the lead couple. Although the story line outside of the heat is thin even at the brewery, fans will enjoy the first Donovan family tale.

Harriet Klausner