Monday, October 31, 2011

If You Give a Girl a Viscount-Kieran Kramer

If You Give a Girl a Viscount

Kieran Kramer

St. Martin’s, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312374044

In crumbling Castle Vandemere in Scotland Daisy Montgomery lives a horrific life due to her cruel Cheapside London stepmother Mona and malevolent stepsisters (Perdita and Cassandra). She dreams of a Prince Charming coming to her rescue, but knows that inanity only occurs in fairy tales not for someone like her. When she finds a note that says she has a Godmother Lady Pinckney, she writes in hope of a recue. Instead of her Godmother responding, the grandson Viscount Charles Thorpe does.

Cut off from his family funds and after a bet with his now married Impossible Bachelors pals (see Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage) Charles travels to the Highlands hoping for an adventure of a lifetime. She wants to save her home but he lacks the funds to do so. As they fall in love, the pair persuades a neighbor to use his estate to host a gala for outsiders to experience the Highlands.

The latest Impossible Bachelor historical romance stars a Cinderella heroine and a not so charming Prince Charming. Filled with jocularity yet containing a deep poignancy as the lead couple finds they are more than just a victim and a wastrel, fans will appreciate the tale of a Godmother giving her goddaughter a viscount to love and be loved in return.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Deliciously Sinful-Lilli Feisty

Deliciously Sinful

Lilli Feisty

Grand Central, Dec 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446571555

Phoebe Mayle took over her family owned Green Leaf café in Redbolt, California, but her cooking incompetence has her fearing she will put the restaurant out of business soon. She desperately needs a chef so she hires British expatriate Nick Avalon currently of Los Angeles in spite of his unsavory reputation.

Over the next couple of months, the pair argue over the menu as he loves butter and she prefers organic cuisines that the café is known for. Nick muses how much he feels like he belongs in the small town, but also fears his attraction to his employer; as relationships end. Phoebe also struggles with her needing her chef, but expects him to ride his hummer into the sunset sooner than later while also trying to be there for her grieving brother whose wife recently died.

With a nod to the movie No Reservations, Deliciously Sinful is an entertaining culinary romance starring two seemingly opposites falling in love in the middle of nowhere. The amusing lighthearted is fun to read as love appears to not be enough to keep the big city Brit and the small town Californian together.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 17, 2011

Brazen-Margo Maguire


Margo Maguire

Avon, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062018410

In 1816 widow Lady Christiana Warnick’s parents and brothers are in Italy mourning the death of their brother Lang Jameson in a ship explosion. Christina has received her second blackmail note having paid the first from someone who insists Lang lives. She is practicing target shooting when Gavin Briggs arrives seeking the estranged granddaughters, Christina and Lily Hayes, of elderly ailing Lord Sunderland. Christina accidently shoots him. Gavin ignores the wound and explains her relationship to Sunderland. She asks if he can locate anyone which he says yes. She asks him to come to London to help her find Lang. After London, Christina agrees to go to Windermere to meet the grandfather she never met as he kicked her pregnant mom out of his house. He mentions the heir Lord Chetwood is nasty having already tried to kill Lily.

Gavin needs the reward money to buy a place for his sister and baby niece to live since their father tossed them out for her getting pregnant out of wedlock. He also remains hurt that his fiancée Lady Amelia married someone else while he served in the military. While Christina and Gavin head to London, he knows he wants her but accepts he cannot have her as the granddaughter of a duke is way above his station. Still they make love though both agree this is a bad idea.

The lead couple is a strong pairing of star-crossed lovers while the Regency woman in peril story line is entertaining and the Lang mystery cleared up with a nice spin. Although a coincidence involving the magistrate helps the lead couple and Gavin ignores his bullet wound, readers will enjoy this entertaining historical romance.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pleasure Bound-Anne Rainey

Pleasure Bound

Anne Rainey

Kensington Aphrodisia, Nov 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758269027

Deanna Harrison and Jonas Phoenix are attracted to each other, but he has kept his distance for years as she is his best friend’s sister. They finally succumb to their years of desire and have the most incredible weekend of sex in their lives in his Miami beach house.

Both want more in their budding relationship, but each is hesitant how far to tread. However she becomes upset with him when Jonas the private investigator warns her to back away from her current interior designer client as he is dangerous while she resents his intrusion until he is proven right, maybe dead right.

This is a heated erotic romance with the lead couple making up for lost time. Inside the boudoir the story line is torrid as the protagonists come to life in all sorts of positions. Outside the bedroom, they seem somewhat flaccid even when danger turns their relationship into a perilous triangle. Still sub-genre fans will enjoy Anne Rainey’s contemporary as the heat is on.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dangerous Master-Tawny Taylor

Dangerous Master

Tawny Taylor

Kensington Aphrodisiac, Nov 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758265654

Camera in hand, private investigator Amanda “Mandy” Thompson follows a cheating husband to a BDSM dungeon to capture pictures of the philanderer. There she meets dom Master Zane. She has never felt the slightest S&M itch but finds Zane somehow controls her libido. Used to other spilling their guts, a surprised Mandy reveals her most innermost sensual desires to her hypnotizing Master.

Zane compels Mandy into a ménage a trois with him, her target and her, but Zane shocks himself when he realizes he wants no one else touching his Mandy as even his male lover and feeder pales. However, as she surrenders to her need for her Master at the cost of her client’s assignment, he knows he must admit to his beloved sub just what he is.

This is a great BDSM romance starring an intriguing dom and a fascinating sub. The heated story line is fast-paced as readers wonder whether this new relationship, strange to both protagonists, will hold up outside of the dungeon. Although late suspense leads to an implausible climax, readers will enjoy the heated erotic romance between Mandy and Zane.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Making Spirits Bright-Fern Michaels, Elizabeth Bass, Rosalind Noonan and Nan Rossiter

Making Spirits Bright

Fern Michaels, Elizabeth Bass, Rosalind Noonan and Nan Rossiter

Zebra, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420108361

"Making Spirits Bright" by Fern Michaels. Melanie wants to adopt the twins made orphans by a car crash. To do so by Christmas, she would need a husband so her plan includes a marriage for the holidays to Bryce. His New Year’s resolution is to remain with his new family.

"Runaway Christmas" by Elizabeth Bass. Heidi the Brooklyn diner owner has had a rough holiday season. However, the biggest surprise is when her grieving for her late mom teenage niece runs from Texas to be with her New York aunt for Christmas. A runaway, a blizzard and a cop turn Heidi’s holiday into one to remember.

"Home For Christmas" by Rosalind Noonan. Single mom Jo needs Santa for her gift shop's Christmas Eve party. She pleads with wounded warrior Sam, a veteran of the Afghan war, to take the role.

"Christmas On Cape Cod" by Nan Rossiter. Maddie agrees to help Asa puppy-sit during Christmas Eve as she has a secret Santa wish involving the troubled teacher.

These are four lighthearted sweet holiday tales that readers will enjoy though none of the lead protagonists are fully developed.

Harriet Klausner

Seductive as Flame-Susan Johnson

Seductive as Flame

Susan Johnson

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780425244906

In 1894 independent Griselda “Zelda” MacKenzie returns home from Brazil after a successful orchid hunting trip. At the Duke and Duchess of Groveland’s gala, Zelda in a strange outfit with odd jewels meets womanizing earl, Alec Munro. Though married to the bitchy Violetta, he makes it clear that he wants the exotic Scottish beauty in his bed. Although bed hopping has become an acceptable activity amongst the Ton unless you are caught, she is attracted to him but has doubts due to his marital status.

However, her desire supersedes her caution. Zelda and Alec make love numerous times as neither can have enough sex with the other. He promises his beloved he will divorce his wife so they can marry. However, both are concerned over the well being of his six year old son Chris, who he loves though he is the offspring of his wife’s first husband.

Although the story line is extremely thin except in the boudoir, fans of Susan Johnson will enjoy her latest erotic late Victorian romance (see Gorgeous as Sin, Sexy as Hell and Sweet as the Devil). The boudoir scenes are scintillating, slow and steamy; while the relatively ethical lead couple is a nice pairing of a feisty female with a philandering married male.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Along A Wooded Path-Tricia Goyer

Along A Wooded Path

Tricia Goyer

B&H Books, Oct 1 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781433668692

After her older brother chose the Englisher world over his Amish roots, eighteen years old Marianna Sommer’s father decides to move the rest of the family from Indiana to Montana. Marianna had a choice, but with her mom pregnant, she left behind her beau Aaron Zook to travel with her family to Big Sky country (see Beside Still Waters).

While Aaron writes letters to her he never sends he tries courting Naomi. Marianna and her family find the mountainous environs forces them to be more involved with their Englisch neighbors than they did back in Indiana. She even works with Annie an Englischer friend at the store where both groups intermingle. She also has begun to fall in love with Ben the Englischer who is more attuned to God than her Amish family, but unacceptable by her father who has lost one offspring to the outside world.

The second Big Sky Amish tale is a fascinating novel that asks philosophical religious questions as to whether the Lord delineates in lifestyles between groups who adhere with their hearts and souls in God’s words. The support cast is solid but this is Marianna’s tale as she is caught between the Amish desires of her parents who prefer Aaron or any Amish for their daughter and her feelings for an Englisher that clearly has God first in his heart and soul. Although Ben's feelings for God complicate the difficulty of Marianna’s family rejecting him, it also simplifies her potential for accepting him. Regardless readers will enjoy Tricia Goyer’s thought provoking tale of whether walking with God is enough to cross man-made cultural biases.

Harriet Klausner

Holly Lane-Toni Blake

Holly Lane

Toni Blake

Avon, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062024602

Following her husband dumping her for someone else, Sue Ann Simpkins decides to take a break from the custody issue involving their child Sophie and her lack of money. She leaves Destiny, Ohio for a getaway weekend.

Adam Becker feels lonely with his two sons spending the holidays with their mother. He heads to a cabin to wallow in drink by himself.

At the cabin, Adam and Sue Ann meet in surprise. They know each other as he is the godfather of her daughter and the best friend to her ex. A snow storm strands the pair who with the help of alcohol acts on their long time attraction. However, though they each realize they love one another, she distrusts males with her heart; even one kind to her Sophie.

The fourth Destiny contemporary romance (see One Reckless Summer, Sugar Creek and Whisper Falls) is a sweet second chance romance starring two divorce war wounded warriors falling in love. The lead couple is an intriguing pairing while the townsfolk provide a sense of coming home to readers. Filled with angst and inanity, fans will enjoy visiting Destiny as we will never think of reindeers in the same way.

Harriet Klausner

The Spy Who Left Me-Gina Robinson

The Spy Who Left Me

Gina Robinson

St. Martin’s, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312542399

One week before her marriage Carrie ended her engagement. To celebrate her coming to her senses, Carrie takes her bridesmaids, including her separated cousin Treflee Miller, to Maui. However, Treflee, who has nor seen her husband Ty in months, is taken aback with her attraction to their tour guide, her missing spouse.

Ty is a great espionage agent but knows that means he is terrible husband as he constantly abandons the woman he loves for the mission. Even the divorce papers have yellowed waiting for him to come home to sign them. As he struggles with complex tasks that includes keeping the bridal party away from him except for his wife, who he plans to win back once he finishes this caper.

The third Agent Ex I spy romance (see Spy Games) is an amusing yet exhilarating thriller as Ty has to complete the mission, keep the woman he cherishes and her playmates safe, and persuade her for a second chance at love relationship. Readers will appreciate The Spy Who Left Me as Gina Robinson provides a wonderfully entertaining Mr. and Ms. Bond jocular contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tempt Me-R.G. Alexander

Tempt Me

R.G. Alexander

Heat, Nov 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780425243336

His pain in the butt conscience Emmanuel that his brain conjured up has sent Gabriel Toussaint Giodarno, a businessman known as The Dark Messenger, home to New Orleans to reconcile with his mom and his twin sister Michelle. He wishes his torturous companion would leave, but even alcohol in shadowy dives cannot rid him of his plight.

Gabriel is stunned by his attraction to his sibling’s best friend Angelique Rousseau; she reciprocates his desire. However, he fears that if Emmanuel does not exist than he is insane and if he does he has no idea what the spirit wants from him. He only knows he cannot allow Angelique to be harmed from his imagination or from the voodoo that seems to engulf them.

The sibling sequel to Possess Me is a delightful heated romantic urban fantasy. The story line starts slow introducing the key players and their respective plights, but once the intros are done, the plot accelerates into a fast-paced thriller. Readers will enjoy the romance between the grumpy twin and the BFF as he learns “Heaven must be missin' an angel” (Tavares) because she is here with him.

Harriet Klausner

Temptation at Twilight-Jo Carlisle

Temptation at Twilight

Jo Carlisle

Heat, Nov 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780451234827

In New Orleans, the three Fontaine vampire siblings (Aldric, Soren, and Luc) own La Petite Mort, an adult resort that caters to the fantasy desires of a variety, not all human, customers. Over a century ago a demonic vampire killed Soren’s wife Helena. He has not moved on as she was his soulmate.

Desperate he offers part of his soul to Voodoo Priestess Leila Doucet to bring back his beloved. Leila agrees but Soren must sleep with her for the next century or more and help her meet the right people in high society. The couple visits Lush where he sees Harley Vaughn, captured by two demons, being auctioned to the highest bidder. He believes she is his Helena and buys her, which annoys Leila. When the pair begins to fall in love, a raging Leila plans to destroy the Fontaine brothers and Harley.

The Lords of Pleasure urban fantasy is an entertaining heated triangular romance starring the good (Harley), the bad (Soren) and the ugly (Leila). The story line is filled with sex, sex and more sex in the city. However, the supernatural elements never come across as genuine except in the bedroom. Still readers will enjoy the second chance at love romance between the vamp, his soul mate and the vile witch.

Harriet Klausner

What Happens After Dark-Jasmine Haynes

What Happens After Dark

Jasmine Haynes

Heat, Nov 1 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425244128

Six months ago Luke Raven rescued Bree Mason from a bruising boyfriend Derek at a club. They became an entry with him the Master to her sub. However, Luke wants more than just BDSM satisfaction though his needs and her desires to be chained and pained blend nicely for both of them.

However, Luke wants more from Bree than just handcuffing and cursing her. He wants a fuller relationship and not just in the bedroom. When he asks her to go out on a date, Bree suffers an anxiety attack, but she agrees. His agenda is to help her move passed her fears so they can become even greater together. He is unaware of the dark secret that controls her soul while also dealing with dad’s dying from cancer and her mom acting helpless.

The latest DeKnight BDSM tale is an engaging psychological romance starring a strong Silicon Valley CEO and an emotionally crippled beloved accountant who works for Erin DeKnight (co-star of Past Midnight). The story line is filled with pathos and passion as love may not be enough for this couple engaged in a limited to sexual bonding relationship. Although the ending seems doubtful even with a caveat, the fully developed lead couple makes for a complex romance; as What Happens After Dark is not enough for the hero who wants his wounded beloved to encourage blood flow to both of his heads, not just the lower one.

Harriet Klausner

The Prince of Ravenscar-Catherine Coulter

The Prince of Ravenscar

Catherine Coulter

Putnam. Nov 1 2011, $19.95

ISBN: 9780399158070

In 1831 Lord Julian Monroe returns to Ravenscar, England after three years away. He left the country after he found his wife Lily dead from a bullet wound. His former brother-in-law Richard Langworth holds him culpable for his sister’s death and plans to enact revenge on Julian.

His mother Lady Corrine, ecstatic that her son has finally come home, wants her son to remarry, but he has no interest in a second wife. Her choice is Miss Sophie Wilkie, niece of her friend Miss Roxanne Radcliffe. Reluctantly he agrees to escort Miss Sophie while his nephew Lord Devlin the self-anointed vampire finds himself attracted to Miss Roxanne. As the pair of couples falls in love on the road from London to Ravenscar; Richard dangerously raises the past leading to Julian learning why he is called the Prince of Ravenscar.

This is an amusing historical romantic suspense starring four strong independent characters. The course to true love is straighter than the Bonneville Salt Flats as there are no twists of consequence, yet the protagonists and the antagonist make for a fun journey. Filled with tension and jocularity especially the witty exchanges between the aunt and the nephew, readers will enjoy the couples on the road and at Ravenscar in Catherine Coulter’s family affair.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Pleasure of Bedding a Baroness-Tamara Lejuene

The Pleasure of Bedding a Baroness

Tamara Lejuene

Zebra, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420108743

Twenty year old American twins Patience and Prudence Waverly inherit titles and estates in England. They leave Philadelphia for London to see what they own. Although Patience has become Lady Waverly, she has no patience for the aloof inanity of the Ton. Her title-less sister Prudence has even less prudence willing to battle the entrenched aristocracy who seek scandals of others to titter over.

Intoxicated Lord Max Purefoy assaults Patience the baroness, but ignores her when he is sober though he likes her bodacious outspoken manner. Meanwhile Prudence on the other hand wants a title like her sister has. She decides she will marry debauched Max although Patience to her chagrin is attracted to the rogue. However, Prudence’s marriage trap sends Max to her sister demanding she marry him.

This screwball Regency romance is a jocular comedy of errors as the twins manage to land in one mess after another. Purposely using character-traits hyperbole, the tale lampoons the rigid public ethical code and its amoral private code of the Ton, but the satire loses some of its sting because the humor never fully takes enough serious relief moments. Still fans who enjoy a zany over the top tale of siblings, suitors, switches, and suspense will want to read Tamara Lejuene’s comedy of romantic errors.

Harriet Klausner

Promise Me Forever-Diane Amos

Promise Me Forever

Diane Amos

Five Star, Nov 16 2011, $25.95

ISBN 9781432825430

In 1898, Benjamin Ricker worries he will soon lose his ranch though he worked twelve hours a day herding cattle and half a night at the Gold Nugget Mine. He stops at the Golden Harp Saloon where he sees a nun. Sister Elizabeth came to Welcome, Montana based on a satirical article written by Ben.

Elizabeth is upset as she thought this would be her escape from her abusive stepfather Robert T. Hines. Contrite Ben hires her as a cook after he agrees she can keep everything in the wagon in her room. This includes to Ben’s chagrin nine year old Cecilia and six year old Joshua, as well as Bernie the eighty pound basset hound that he is unaware he now resides in his home.

His Granny Ricker wants the easterner to go home. While Elizabeth proves incompetent as a cook, someone tears down his fences and spooks his longhorns, which forces him to take out an exorbitant loan from his nemesis banker Ward Metcalf. As Ben and Elizabeth fall in love; he adores her siblings and even the canine while she cherishes Granny and his special needs ward Clyde. However, she remains in her Sister identity to keep her younger siblings safe. When he fails to pay back the bank, Ben sees a wanted poster for Elizabeth O’Hara who kidnapped two children. He must decide between keeping the ranch or having Elizabeth.

This is an engaging Western romance starring a fully developed cast who bring to life Big Sky country at the end of the nineteenth century. Fast-paced with key suspense enhancing the prime romantic plot, readers will enjoy Diane Amos’s entertaining tale even if the course of true love follows the anticipated straight path.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Plain & Fancy Christmas-Cynthia Keller

A Plain & Fancy Christmas

Cynthia Keller

Ballantine, Oct 25 2011, $16.00

ISBN: 9780345528759

Gil and pregnant Nina Lawrence were traveling through Lancaster County, Pennsylvania when she went into labor. She was rushed to Lancaster’s Griffin Hospital where she gave birth to her daughter Ellie before the trio continued on to New York. Also in the hospital giving birth is Amish Leah King who with her husband Isaac names their child Rachel too.

However, Nurse Violet Thompson realized that her husband the physician to both families mixed up the babies. To save his career and his life she persuades Paul to do nothing. Now over three decades later, he is dead and she is dying with a need to cleanse her conscience. She dispatches the same letter and proof to the two adult switched at birth babies.

Both are hesitant about meeting their biological parents, but Ellie makes the plunge first. The Amish welcome her especially her birth mother which makes the widowed single mom Rachel jealous as she never pleased her critical mother. Accompanied by her daughter Katie, she heads to Manhattan to meet her affluent biological parents, who welcome her warmly, but Rachel feels like a fish on dry land.

Although switched at birth is not a new premise (see The Wrong Child by Patricia Kay), Cynthia Keller provides an interesting spin to the nurturing vs. naturing debate with the cultural differences between the two families. Aptly titled, the cast is strong as the parents and other members of the families and friends are kind, welcoming and caring while the switched offspring adapt differently to meeting their biological families and the culture they should have been part of.

Harriet Klausner

To Wed a Wild Lord-Sabrina Jeffries

To Wed a Wild Lord

Sabrina Jeffries

Pocket, Nov 22 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9781451642407

In 1806, his Gran tells seven years old Lord Gabriel Sharpe and his siblings that their parents died when their mom killed their dad. In 1825, Virginia Waverly blames Lord Gabriel Sharpe for the death of her brother Roger in a horrific carriage- accident seven years ago while racing; he agrees with her assessment of his culpability in the death of his best friend. Gabe will accept any racing wager as he wants to die, but believes he cannot as he is the Angel of Death.

Virginia challenges Gabe to a race on the same “needle’s thread” course Turnham Green where her sibling died. With a reputation to accept any racing challenge, Gabe shocks her with his refusal. Instead he decides to marry her so he can get his Gran off his back and help her and her family with their failing stud farm. She informs his she prefers leeches to her brother’s killer. Meanwhile he realizes he loves his Virginia, but he has no idea How To Woo a Reluctant Lady who hates him; or does she.

The fourth Hellions of Halstead Hall Regency romance (see The Truth About Lord Stoneville and A Hellion In Her Bed) is a great tale of redemption. The story line combines a strong mystery with a passionate yet amusing romance. The lead couple is a great pairing whose relationship is marred by the ghost of her late sibling; ironically Roger would relish his sister and his BFF marrying. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this delightful historical.

Harriet Klausner

Katie’s Way-Marta Perry

Katie’s Way

Marta Perry

Berkley, Nov 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780425243220

In Pleasant Valley, Pennsylvania, furniture craftsman Caleb Brand is unhappy that Bishop Mose rented the store next door to the daadi of Katie Miller. To get away from a failed romance when her Eli married Jessica, Katie relocated to open up a quilt shop. Caleb’s concern turns to dismay as the shop next door becomes an in place for gossipy Amish and Englisch. Worse in his mind is his attraction to the kind quilter

Strike three occurs when Katie's parents leave her troubled teenage sister Rhoda, whose rumored rumspringa activity is scandalous, with her. However, she begins to win over Caleb as a friend and perhaps more especially when he protects her from vandals who she assumes rejects her efforts to bring more business to Main Street.

The fifth Pleasant Valley inspirational Amish romance (see Sarah’s Gift and Anna's Return) is a superb contemporary that focuses on starting over for the protagonists, her sister and the storekeepers on Main St. Katie holds the charming storyline together; as she diligently tries to make her store a success while other storekeepers resent her; falls in love with Caleb who believes his ability to love ended with Mattie, and cares for her sister whose rep back home has been shredded. Magnificent Marta Perry provides another engaging Pleasant Valley tale.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, October 7, 2011

Baby It’s Cold Outside-Addison Fox

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Addison Fox

Signet, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235213

On another boring Scarsdale date arranged by her mom, Sloan McKinley receives a text message from her best friend Grier Thompson pleading with her to leave Manhattan for Indo, Alaska. Her BFF inherited property from her late dad Jonas Winston, but the townsfolk blame Grier for the estrangement. Grier believes Sloan would make her acceptable and help with the legal entanglement of her having a half-sister Kate Winston that until she went north to Alaska was unaware of her existence

Sloan arrives as quickly as possible to be with Grier at a time when the town’s grandmas host the annual bachelorette competition in order to see the marriages of their commitment phobic grandsons. Her friend is treated like a pariah while one of the matriarchs Mayor Sophie Montgomery thinks the New York shtick Sloan is the perfect mate for her grandson Walker the lawyer who is working the Winston estate.

This is a fun Alaskan Nights contemporary romance starring am urbane affluent New Yorker and a Last Frontier remote small town lawyer. The quirky townsfolk enhance the plot though at times the support cast overwhelms the story line with sheer numbers. Still fans will enjoy the amusing Baby’s It’s Cold Outside, but warm inside the hearts of everyone (except mean-spirited Kate).

Harriet Klausner

Tied with a Bow-Kimberly Frost, Eileen Wilks, Virginia Kantra, Lora Leigh

Tied with a Bow

Kimberly Frost, Eileen Wilks, Virginia Kantra, Lora Leigh

Berkley, Nov 1 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425243299

“Upon A Midnight Clear” by Virginia Kantra. In 1792 Paris at the Conciergeri Prison, the angel comes in answer to Solange’s dying prayer. He promises to take her thirteen year old daughter Aimee to family in England though the teen is unaware he visits her mother. He keeps an eye on her over the next few years and though an angel knows he would risk heaven to keep her safe.

“First Light” by Kimberly Frost. Since she found a ring years ago that vanished a few days later, Kate Devane has suffered from violent nightmares in which two beings battle one another and she is often injured. However, one of the stars of her nocturnal nightmares Nathaniel arrives in the real world suffering from amnesia and she believes his lethal odious adversary will follow.

“Human Error” by Eileen Wilks. Benedict the Lupi reluctantly accompanies his beloved Chosen Arjene to spend time with her Delacroix family over the Yule holidays. However, upon arrival starting with his being forced into an unwanted Change, the soulmates realize something evil is coming.

“An Inconvenient Mate” by Lora Leigh. Coyote Breed Malachi attends the Navaho Nation Council where he meets his mate Isobel, but the Council has plans for her.

These are four entertaining romantic fantasies filled with strong lead characters in suspenseful scenarios as each contributor brings their own worldly uniqueness to the mix. Fans of Ms. Leigh’s Breed Mates Ms. Wilks’ Lupi tales will especially want to read their latest series entries.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Night Hawk-Beverly Jenkins

Night Hawk

Beverly Jenkins

Avon, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062032645

In 1889, former bounty hunter U.S. deputy marshal Ian “Preacher” Vance believes his soul died when his wife was murdered. A hybrid Scot and Black, Ian reassesses his self assumed death of feeling when he sees lovely Maggie Freeman standing in cuffs on a Kansas station waiting for the train bound to Kansas City. His job is to escort the proud defiant Maggie, a hybrid like him with her mixed black and Indian blood, to a circuit judge to stand trial for the murder of a white man.

She insists he was only defending herself from a sexual assault. However, though he believes her declaration, he knows a non-white female will hang regardless of her self defense claim that rings true. As they fall in love, Ian plans to keep his woman safe on his Wyoming ranch; but he thought her past not his will catch up to them.

The latest Beverly Jenkins Black Americana historical romance (see Captured) is a fabulous late nineteenth century thriller as the reader learns justice is myopic when it comes to an accused person of color especially if the so called victim is white. The protagonists are a delightful pairing of two strong proud people with her adding a sense of humor while the support cast enhances the look at race relations on the Great Plains in 1889. This is another puissant entry by the Queen of African American historical romances.

Harriet Klausner

The Black Hawk-Joanna Bourne

The Black Hawk

Joanna Bourne

Berkley, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425244531

By 1818, the war between France and England has been over for several years. However, long time English spy Adrian Hawker and as long French espionage agent Justine DeCabrillac have been in love for much of the time since they first met in Paris in 1794 as preteen spies during the Terror, but over two decades later they still distrust one another. Over the years as alliances changed, they went from opposite sides to the same side to opposite sides, etc. Through all this time, they love one another but each knows their country is first in their heart.

Now in 1818, Hawker leads the British Intelligence Service while someone tries to kill DeCabrillac of the Police Sècrete on the streets of London; framing her beloved Englishman as her assassin. She goes to his house bleeding from a stab wound though she has doubts if he was the assassin. Will they team up in love to uncover a mutual enemy, of which both have many; or will they go after one another? If he has a say they will become permanent rather than intermittent.

The fourth Spymaster Regency romantic suspense thriller (see The Spymaster's Lady, My Lord and Spymaster) is a great entry that will be considered one of the best historical thrillers of the year. The story line is tense on two fronts: the romance and the mystery of the assassin while the lead couple is a wonderful pairing of star-crossed patriots. Introduced in The Forbidden Rose by talented Joanna Bourne, The Black Hawk is a fabulous thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

To Pleasure a Duke-Sara Bennett

To Pleasure a Duke

Sara Bennett

Avon, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061339189

In 1837, Eugenie Belmont yearns to escape the scams of her family led by her father the baronet who taught his offspring to con the unsuspecting. She wants respectability and believes Sinclair St. John; a Duke from the prim and proper Somerton family is perfect for her.

Sinclair, a secret wannabe artist, meets her family when he returns their wastrel goat to them. As she makes it clear she wants him, Sinclair must deal with ducal family affairs as his mother the dowager orders him to force his sister to marry her mom’s chosen one. Before he knows what happened, Sinclair is falling in love with Eugenie in Scotland where their siblings are causing havoc. He wants her to be his mistress, but she wants him to be her spouse.

This entertaining early Victorian romance contains two interesting lead protagonists whose debates are preciously clumsy yet deeply honest. They turn the historical into a fun read in spite of their respective families coming out of sub-genre central tasking. Readers will enjoy this warm battle of wits as love and DNA battle for supremacy.

Harriet Klausner

Come A Little Closer-Dorothy Garlock

Come A Little Closer

Dorothy Garlock

Grand Central, Nov 23 2011, $16.50

ISBN: 9780446540155

In 1946 Twentyish Christina Tucker accepts a nursing position working for Dr. Samuel Barlow, the sole physician in Longstock, Wisconsin for the last three decades. Her prime patient is Dr. Barlow’s nephew battle fatigue veteran Holden Sutter.

Holden’s brother Tyler, who served in the Pacific Theater is filled with rage yet also shows his concern for his sibling. Christina cares for both brothers, but it is Tyler who she wants. However, neither she nor Tyler will risk hurting the emotionally scarred Holden. However, as the nurse and the two brothers work out their relationships, resident Morris Doyle blames Barlow for the death of his brother Jimmy and plans to enact vengeance against the loved ones of the revered doctor.

This delightful post WWII thriller stars a strong small town cast struggling to move passed the war. The tenuous relationships between Tyler, Holden and Christina make the tale fun to read while Dorothy Garlock paints a vivid the backdrop of 1946 Wisconsin. Although the Doyle subplot adds suspense, it detracts from the otherwise terrific Tucker tale (see Stay A Little Longer and Keep Little Secret).

Harriet Klausner

It's A Waverly Life-Maria Murname

It's A Waverly Life

Maria Murname

Amazon Encore, Nov 8 2011, $13.95

ISBN: 9781612181493

In San Francisco, Waverly Bryson has come a long way since her long time fiancé Aaron Vaughn dumped her just before their wedding; while at the same time she lost her job as a sports PR specialist (see Perfect on Paper). She created the reasonably successful Honey Notes greeting cards and has a weekly advice column Honey On Your Mind in the San Francisco Sun.

At the wedding of McKenna Taylor Kimball, one of her two BFFs (Andie Barnett being the other), Waverly met NBA physical therapist Jake McIntyre of Atlanta. They hit it off and share a geographically challenged relationship with each visiting the other in their home city and in Argentina where he is on assignment. However, Waverly fears diving too deep into the relationship pool having failed to move on passed the doubts caused by the end of her engagement. Adding to her trauma of being left behind by herself is McKenna is pregnant and heading to the burbs and Andie has met the one. On the other hand her new upstairs neighbor elderly Red Springfield encourages her to swing the bat if she wants a chance to hit a home run.

It’s A Waverly Life is a delightful chick lit romance starring a charming cast of friends, but owned by the title character whose doubts keep her from believing in herself. Although Waverly’s lack of confidence turns at times irritating, reads will enjoy her seeking her groove with Jake and her two buddies while wondering who Red is and what the strange notes she receives mean.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Temporary Rancher-Ann Evans

Temporary Rancher

Ann Evans

Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 1 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717415

In Texas following her divorce from cheating Brad, Riley Palmer and her four years old twin daughters (Wendy and Roxanna) move in with her sister Jillian. For almost a year, she has slept on the couch and her kids in the second bedroom. Her sibling, who has been with her and her nieces since the ordeal began, encourages her to apply for a manager position at the Echo Springs Ranch working for Widower Quintin Avenaco. On her email she fails to mention she is a mother of two and her experience is with the spread she ran while Brad ran after his boss’ daughter.

Quintin hires her via email because she mentions a mutual friend he respects. However, he has doubts when he learns she is mother of two as he does not want kids around after the tragedy of what happened to his wife and son a decade ago. Desperate Riley persuades Quintin to give her a one month trial. However as the time flies by and she proves competent, Quintin wants the mother and her kids to stay with him at the ranch as a family not an employer-employee.

This is an entertaining second chance at love romance starring two reluctant protagonists with relationship issues and a strong support cast especially their respective families (his from the grave). Readers will enjoy this warn contemporary as love has obstacles to overcome if this foursome is to be a family.

Harriet Klausner

Christmas in Montana-Kay Stockham

Christmas in Montana

Kay Stockham

Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 1 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717408

In North Star, Montana, unemployed single mother Jenna Darlington waits for a refund she desperately needs at the McKenna Feed Store though she needs to pick up her two children (Victoria and Mark Jeffrey) from school. She lost her job by doing a kindness that has led to rumors of her shagging the janitor. Chase McKenna who knew her late husband Jeff from mountain climbing is dressed as Santa when she learns her holiday layaway cannot be entirely refunded. He offers her a job at the store and a discount; she accepts though she has childcare issues once school ends.

Chance and Jenna are attracted to each other. He makes it clear he wants her and likes her kids. However, she cannot risk the jump because he is a mountain climber like Jeff was. However, she also has issues with her in-laws and her BFF Rachel’s mother is showing signs of Alzheimer’s.

This is an insightful family drama that showcases the difficulty of a single parent raising young children as little things like childcare need community involvement. The cast is strong as Jenna and her kids have concerns that if they allow Chance into their lives they will receive the hospital call one day. He has demons too that has kept his female relationships somewhat stark. It will take a Christmas miracle beyond just love to convert this foursome into a family.

Harriet Klausner

The Son He Never Knew-Kristi Gold

The Son He Never Knew

Kristi Gold

Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 1 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717446

Ten years ago in Placid, Mississippi Chase Reed and Jess Keller shared a one night stand just before he shipped out to Afghanistan. As he deployed, she and her high school sweetheart Dalton Wainwright marry.

A decade later, Chase is out of the military and working as the local sheriff. Jess divorced Dalton and raises their son Danny by herself. Though home for several months, his first encounter in person with Jess is breaking up a domestic dispute. However, he finds Danny lying unconscious with a fractured skull. He warns Jess that she will have trouble with her ex-father-in-law and if she says anything to Chase, he must testify as to what she said. Still he has a gut need to help her though he believes she conceals something significant from him.

Even with readers knowing what happened, this is a pure Gold police procedural romance starring two fascinating protagonists, a hurting tweener, and a nasty spoiled ex. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Chase and Jess meet for the first in ten years while Danny lies comatose nearby and never slows down. Readers will appreciate this exciting Delta Secrets (see The One She Left Behind).

Harriet Klausner

A Simple Winter-Rosalind Lauer

A Simple Winter

Rosalind Lauer

Ballantine, Oct 18 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780345526717

Wannabe journalist Remy McCallister and Adam King meet on a train heading to Philly as both head home. She goes from New York to Philadelphia where her widower father Herb the control freak will manage her life 24/7 and him from Providence to his family in Lancaster County where his parents died leaving him in charge of his horde of younger siblings. The Amish Adam and the Englischer Remy are attracted to one another, but he vowed never again and she has seizure issues that drove her to a job on her dad’s paper The Post. They remain friends though they go their separate ways.

One year later, Remy visits Adam, but conceals her agenda from him. She has come to Lancaster County to write an article on the cold case double homicide of his parents. He and his family welcome her into the fold as part of a loving family; feelings that have been dormant in Remy since her mom died when she was a girl. As Remy and Adam fall in love, her undercover manipulation will end her relationship with him and his family once she admits to him the truth.

This is a warm leisurely paced romantic cozy starring a likable lead couple and key family members in support of the entertaining story line. Remy and Adam have inner issues that threaten their already tenuous relationship, but snowbound by A Simple Winter in Pennsylvania gives the pair time to work through their problems except for her motive in coming to see him as a deal-breaker. Readers will enjoy this gentle Plain people contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 3, 2011

Seduced by a Highlander-Julianne MacLean

Seduced by a Highlander

Julianne MacLean

St. Martin’s, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312365332

In 1718 in the Scottish Highlands, Kinloch Castle’s Laird of War Lachlan MacDonald awakens to find himself chained inside a burial cist. He persuaded his cousin Kinloch Castle Laird Angus to exile the volatile dangerous Raonaid the Hebrides Oracle from Kinloch one month ago. Both despise each other while she rages at him for taking away her beloved Angus. Angry she throws the bones of his past lovers on him as she curses him with the knowledge that any woman who he impregnates will die in childbirth. Once freed, he vowed to force her to lift the curse; if she refuses he may use the curse to kill Raonaid.

Three futile years later without a woman Lachlan catches up with Raonaid, but she insists she is the Drumloch heiress Lady Catherine Montgomery who suffers from amnesia and the dowager countess came for her in Italy claiming she is her grandmother. Skeptical, he assaults and threatens her but her cousin John Drumloch the earl rescues her. However, Catherine wonders whether this berserker Highlander might the one to help her regain what she most wants in life: her memories.

This twisting super Scottish paranormal romance is a great finish to Julianne MacLean’s Highlander historical saga (see Captured by the Highlander and Claimed by the Highlander). The story line grips readers from the onset with a neat curse and the lead male’s premise on how to avenge what the witch did to him. With a strong cast especially the lead pairing and a fabulous spin, sub-genre fans will appreciate the curse.

Harriet Klausner

Scandalous Desires-Elizabeth Hoyt

Scandalous Desires

Elizabeth Hoyt

Grand Central, Oct 18 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446558938

1738 widow Silence Hollingbrook and her brother manage the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children in the St. Giles slims of London. She adores all the children, but especially loves Mary Darling, abandoned as an infant.

River pirate Mickey O’Connor left his newborn daughter with Silence whom he met when they shared the greatest night of his life that ruined hers almost a year ago. He felt his little darling was better off with Silence in order to keep her safe from his ruthless rivals. However, an unknown amoral adversary learns the truth as to who sired little Mary and plan to snatch her as leverage. Instead Mickey kidnaps his daughter forcing Silence to enter the abode of the man she loves.

The third Maiden Lane Georgian romance (see Wicked Intentions and Notorious Pleasures) is one of the year’s best historical tales. With a strong deep cast, the fast-paced story line is filled with passion and pathos. The pirate and the do-gooder fall in love, but each recognizing no hope for a future, let alone together; as danger from several sides mount they never lose sight of protecting their little darling.

Harriet Klausner

Fallen Angel-Logan Belle

Fallen Angel

Logan Belle

Kensington Aphrodisia, Oct 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758261618

In Manhattan Mallory Dale works as a paralegal for Park Avenue’s divorce lawyer Gavin Stone. However that is her day job to pay bills; her real vocation is what she does at night at the Blue Angel. She owes her rising burlesque career as Moxie to her boyfriend Alec Martin. Last year he was doing a story on the upscale exotic dance scene when he took Mallory to Blue Angel for her birthday where she ended up on stage stripping.

At work, Gavin outrageously flirts with Mallory; making it clear he wants a tryst. Anti vanilla cream, Alec wants to turn their lovemaking into a ménage a trois with his choice being Violet "no mercy” Offender.

The return to the angelic world of burlesque is a fun tale when the plot focuses on the lead couple. The story line loses some of the bump and grind when the tsuris of the support cast strips on center stage. Still fans who enjoy a diverse range of heated sexual deviant behavior will relish the sexcapades of Mallory and Alec (and others).

Harriet Klausner

Anything-Michael Baron


Michael Baron

The Story Plant, Oct 18 2011, $15.95

ISBN: 9781611880212

In DC, lawyers Ken and Melissa are in love and marrying in under two weeks in spite of being on opposite teams in the heated Alaskan oil drilling debate. Ken vows he would do anything for his beloved and soon he will be tested on his pledge.

While visiting her parents, Ken concludes someone in Melissa’s teen years still leaves her filled with sadness; he believes that trauma is in the photos she avoids looking at as if they are haunted, but though he wishes he could help her, Ken knows he can only be there for his cherished Melissa.

At a strange shop run by owner Stephon grants Ken an extraordinary wish with a warning. Ken will be abale to look at Melissa’s past especially the big hurt, but what he sees may not be what he desires. He takes the ride and loves what he witnesses of Melissa’s wonderful childhood until he learns the secret that still devastates Melissa and now him. She is despondent with her fiancé’s new found knowledge. Knowing he must do something, he thinks of his vow and considers whether to ask Stephon for another trip back in time, but not as an observer.

This is a terrific whimsical romance as caring Ken learns sometimes even a knight in shining armor regretfully gets what he wished for. Character driven, readers will appreciate Ken’s heartfelt efforts to remove the big hurt from Melissa as Michael Baron provides a charming tale in which true love may not be enough to stand the test of time.

Harriet Klausner

Stay Hungry-Lorie O’Clare

Stay Hungry

Lorie O’Clare

St. Martin’s, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312372187

King Fugitive Apprehension is a family affair. The father Greg (see Play Dirty) opened KFA just after retiring from LAPD; his two sons Jake and Marc (see Get Lucky) as well as other relatives quickly signed on too.

Chicago based private investigator James Huxtable comes to Los Angeles to hire KFA to protect his undercover partner, his daughter Angela from the game player nasty Mario Mandela and the slave juice drug. Jake met Angela in Mexico so though he prefers being the bounty hunter, he agrees to protect Huxtable’s daughter. Posing as Angela Torres, she walks a thin wire between bringing down Mandela and becoming his slave.

The third Bounty Hunter tale (see Get Lucky and Play Dirty) is an entertaining thriller that continues the overarching theme involved in the game and slave juice, but also contains an enjoyable albeit over the top of the Willis Tower romantic suspense story line. Loaded with action while starring a likeable lead pair supported by their respective families, fans will appreciate this tense novel while staying hungry for more KFA thrillers.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Beginner's Guide to Rakes-Suzanne Enoch

A Beginner's Guide to Rakes

Suzanne Enoch

St. Martin’s, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312534516

Lord Frederick Benchley gambled away a fortune. His creditors forced him and his Diane to flee London. After rustication for a few years, Frederick dies. Obsessed with never being impoverished again, the widow returns to London seeking the assistance of a former lover Oliver Warren the Marquis. Her plan is to convert her mansion into an exclusive gentleman’s gaming club.

After announcing her plan to a stunned aristocracy, Lady Diane blackmails the reluctant marquis into cooperating with her venture. He, on the other hand, believes he owes her for what he did to her. However, although she uses a secret to compel him to helping her, Oliver has a secret agenda to prove his love of his cherished bodacious partner.

A Beginner's Guide to Rakes is a delightful jocular second chance at love Regency romance starring two likable protagonists. Readers will admire the courageous heroine as she boldly goes where no Lady has gone before her and adore the lead male who matches her every step of the way. As the pair fuss and fight, they affirm what each knew deep in their heart that they loved one another. Suzanne Enoch provides a charming historical.

Harriet Klausner

Night After Night-Janelle Denison

Night After Night

Janelle Denison

St. Martin’s, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312372286

Former con artist Sean O’Brien belongs to the Reliance Group while tending bar in a Vegas casino. Because of his background and his father’s connection to the target, the Group founder Caleb Roux selects Sean to investigate Grant Russo who allegedly scammed investors of millions in a real estate sting.

Sean figures the easiest path to Grant, who set up his dad Casey to take the solo fall and still serving twelve years in a Ponzi scheme, is to seduce information from his daughter Zoe. However, the offspring of two con artists meet and attraction explodes. When Zoe learns the truth behind Sean’s seduction, she agrees to work with the Reliance group to prove her dad is innocent but nothing more with Sean. As someone stalks her, and they seek her missing father and the money, they fall in love but Sean knows trust lost is impossible to regain.

The second Reliance Group romantic suspense (see Into the Night) is an engaging thriller as Sean obsesses over penitence for what he did before he found morality while Zoe believes in her father. Love may not be enough as the pair has a divisive pre-history and a current trust problem to overcome. Fans will relish this entertaining tale that contains a deft late twist and a secondary romance.

Harriet Klausner

Real Men Will-Victoria Dahl

Real Men Will

Victoria Dahl

Harlequin HQN, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776092

In Boulder, Beth Cantrell manages The White Orchid erotic boutique. Six months ago at a business convention, she met and had the sexual highlight of her life, a one night stand with Jamie Donovan of the Donovan brothers Brewery. Her current date Robert Mapplethorpe escorts her to a party at the brewery owned by her fantasy lover of the past half a year.

Beth learns her Jamie (see Bad Boys Do) is actually the oldest Donovan sibling, uber responsible Eric, who raised his younger brother and sister Tessa (see Good Girls Don’t) when their parents died. Though Eric has never forgotten the greatest night of his life, he faces an empty nest crisis while Beth struggles with fatherly approval issues in spite of her job. As they share an incredible tryst, Eric and Beth fall in love, but neither is ready to commit their soul like they already have their body.

The final Donovan sibling tale stars two interesting flawed individuals who find the road to love is exclusively through sex. Thus Real Men (and women) Will enjoy the boudoir romance, but the lead couple’s relationship lacks any other depth.

Harriet Klausner