Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Moonlight in the Morning-Jude Deveraux

Moonlight in the Morning

Jude Deveraux

Pocket, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781416509745

They met when she was nineteen and though he was attracted to her, Dr. Tristan Aldredge felt Jecca Layton was too young for him. A few years later, he is excited that Jecca will spend the summer painting at her BFF Kim’s house in his hometown of Edilean, Virginia. She reciprocates his feelings especially in the dark.

As the town doctor and the Manhattan art gallery employee fall in love, each knows their career stands in the way of a permanent relationship. She resides in New Jersey and works in New York where a major opportunity has come her way. He resides in Virginia as the small town’s physician since his father retired. Their passion for each other may not be enough to overcome their passion for their respective occupations.

The latest Edilean contemporary romance (see Heartwishes and The Scent of Jasmine) is an engaging charming tale between geographically impaired lovers. The story line is made fresh by the support cast like Kim and Tristan’s parents who bring love and friendship into the story line. With a surprising final twist, fans will enjoy spending Moonlight in the Morning (and a lot of darkness time) in Edilean.

Harriet Klausner

Susanna’s Choice-Sara Luck

Susanna’s Choice

Sara Luck

Pocket, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451650426

In 1878 business mogul Rab Trudeau arrives from San Francisco in Virginia City, Nevada. He poses as a Great Western Detective Agency investigator; a firm he owns. He wants to know who is responsible for illegal silver mine stock dealings as reported by a B.D. Elliot about his Silver Falcon Mine in the Virginia City Pioneer.

Rab rescues reporter Susanna Ward Kirkland from a runaway wagon. They are attracted to one another although he refuses her request for an interview even as accidents seem to be the norm for the newcomer. As they fall in love while trying to solve the mysteries of the mine and the accidents, Rab’s Nob Hill fiancé Margaret Worthington and Susanna’s future mate Jesse Kirkland the son of the man who rescued her as a child, refuse to give up their intended.

This is a superb Americana romance starring a strong cast especially the lead couple in a vivid setting. The story line focuses on silver fever and the complicated relationship between the affluent businessman with a haunting New Orleans past and the orphan. Fans will enjoy Sara Luck’s fabulous late nineteenth century tale of avarice, honor and love.

Harriet Klausner

The Pleasure of Your Kiss-Teresa Medeiros

The Pleasure of Your Kiss

Teresa Medeiros

Pocket, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439157893

In 1834, Clarinda Cardew sails from England to marry her fiancé Lord Dravenwood, Max Burke in spite of the fact her future brother-in-law Captain Ashton Burke was her first love who deserted her for a fortune. However, Corsair pirates attacked her ship and sold her to a sultan in El Jadida. No ransom has been asked by the sultan. Max rescues his wastrel brother from certain death for cuckolding a powerful sultan. In return he asks Ash to rescue his fiancée Clarinda offering an exorbitant reward, the girl who tormented Ash as a child and he loved as a young adult.

Ash and his sidekick Luca rescue the sultan Zin al-Farouk from assassins. He recognizes the sultan as Frankie from his Eton days. Farouk takes the pair into his palace where his Uncle Tarik shows his disdain for the foreigners. Upon first sight, Ash knows he still wants Clarinda. She on the other hand asks her beloved Farouk why he allows rogues in his home.

The Pleasure of Your Kiss is an entertaining nineteenth century historical romance with an offbeat setting as no one will look at cucumbers in the same way. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Ash realizes who he is to rescue and never slows as the pair fall in love while on a desert adventure. Although much of the support cast is stereotyped and readers will know who the enemy is, fans will appreciate Teresa Medeiros’ sensational second chance romance.

Harriet Klausner

Warrior’s Redemption-Melissa Mayhue

Warrior’s Redemption

Melissa Mayhue

Pocket, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451640878

In the Land of the Faerie in 1294 human time, Elesyria is hysterical when she learns her only daughter Isabella vanished in the World of Man. The Earth Mother tells her that her offspring lives with her SoulMate but not in the time and place Elesyria left her. Heeding the advice of the Goddess she crosses into the World of Man seeking the Tinklers to find out who aided her child.

Clan MacGahan Laird Malcolm MacDowylt feels doomed as the old gods of Asgard must constantly test his mettle. His spouse Isabella is dead and his sister Christiana is held captive by their half-brother Torquil who demands homage and silver from Clan MacGahan. Finally to drive him crazy the old gods send him the untamable shrew Elesyria.

Orphaned very young, Danielle Dearmon of Texas believes fairies are real. Her belief proves correct when she is sent back the Earth Mother seven centuries to Castle MacGahan. She thinks her host the laird is her one true love while he feels guilty how much he wants the opinionated newcomer. Dani’s magic enables Malcolm to survive the ordeal of his odious sibling while her love emboldens him to take the fight to the enemy as he begins to understand Christiana’s destiny.

The latest Melissa Mayhue’s marvelous magical mayhem (see Highlander’s Curse) is a superb time travel fantasy romance starring a twenty-first century Texan and a besieged thirteenth century Highlander-Viking. The fresh story line is fast-paced as Malcolm in the middle as the victim of two kick butt tongue lashers that make his abusive evil half-brother seem like a non in comparison. Readers will enjoy this otherworld medieval thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Heir of Danger-Alix Rickloff

Heir of Danger

Alix Rickloff

Pocket, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439170380

Following the murder of his father seven years ago, Brendan Douglas fled Ireland and remained on the run. He left behind Elizabeth Fitzgerald at the altar to flee assassins while unable to leave behind the horror that haunts his every moment.

Finally, Brendan knows he ran out of time as he must prevent Maelodor the malevolent mage from raising King Arthur from the grave and destroying the world. To do so means retrieving the stone he left behind with his beloved Elizabeth who Brendan believes loathes him; she insists she does detest the dis-honorable one. He arrives in Dun Eyre, Ireland as his Lissie is set to marry Gordon Shaw. To keep her safe, Brendan abducts Lissie though the risk is that she will be in the midst of the fight, but he also needs her when he challenges the evil one.

The third Heirs of Kilronan Regency romantic fantasy (see the Earl of Darkness and the Lord of Shadows) is a terrific tale in which readers will believe they have been transported to 186 Ireland where mortals and Fey reside. The lead couple is a wonderful second chance at love tale; that is if they survive. Fans will appreciate the dark, fervid and deadly Rickloff mythos as the latest Douglas sibling and soul mate battle against impossible odds.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Other Guy's Bride-Connie Brockway

The Other Guy's Bride

Connie Brockway

Montlake Romance, Dec 22 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781612181448

In 1897 Lady Althea lies about her grandson and heir driving away Charlotte who she thinks is not good enough to one day replace her. Her angry grandson leaves England, becomes Jim Owen and joins the Foreign Legion while his grandmother grooms his younger brother to become the duke. Jim fears he will soon be dead at the hands of Mahdists so he vows to never act stupid again due to a woman.

In 1905, Egyptologist student Genisse Braxton quits her job as a researcher to Professor Tyneborough when he rejected her belief she found a clue to the location of the lost city of Zerzura. Mildred Whimpelhall becomes seasick on her journey to meet her fiancé, Colonel Lord Pomfrey, Commander of Fort Gordon in the Sahara near Genisse’s destination. Mildred leaves the ship to take a train while Genisse in Cairo becomes Miss Whimpelhall to obtain a guide. Her escort to her “fiancé” is Jim who owes Pomfrey a favor for saving his life in 1897. “Mildred” leaves with Jim who flees Cairo after a fight with the dangerous LeBoeuf. While “Mildred” lands into one perilous situation after another, in Cairo two groups follow the pair with different agendas

This is a great Edwardian era romantic adventure starring a brave woman who seems to be a trouble magnet and a confused man caught in the dilemma of how does a “ghost” deal with falling in love with The Other Guy’s Bride. Fast-paced and loaded with action this outstanding tale also contains delightful light humor enhancing the insightful look at living one’s life to fulfill your desires or your perception of your family’s. Readers will envision Hepburn-Grant teaming up in Connie Brockway’s fabulous historical.

Harriet Klausner

Some Like It Hot-Louisa Edwards

Some Like It Hot

Louisa Edwards

St. Martin’s, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312534394

New Yorker Danny Lunden joins his family and his team as they compete in Chicago in the Rising Star Chef Competition to be shown on the Cooking Channel. Eva Jansen replaces her father as the director of the competition. Both have in common a deep need not to let down their loved ones.

They meet and are instantly attracted to one another. Danny finds her fascinating with her take charge vulnerability but also thinks she is a spoiled rich brat; Eva finds him kind especially since he seems to ignore her affluence, but also thinks he is a know it all New Yorker. However, her father scrutinizes her every move so they agree to do nothing personal. As her dad wants the melodramatic embarrassments like food fights and affairs aired, Eva wonders if ratings are all that matter.

This is an engaging culinary romance starring two heated opposites in love. In some ways the kitchen combat and trysts supersedes the romantic subplot. Still sub-genre fans will enjoy the second Lunden Rising Star Chef tale (see Too Hot to Touch) as Danny and Eva fall in love amidst food fights and family drama.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Born Ready-Lori Wilde

Born Ready

Lori Wilde

Harlequin Blaze, Dec 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796625

Home in Key West for three weeks Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Scott Everly believes in his agency’s motto: “Semper Paratus,” but when he sees marine biology graduate student Jackie Birchard he feels unprepared. She is working on her thesis by finding the elusive Key blenny but shares Scott’s mutual interest upon seeing him.

Meanwhile a drug dealer uses the Keys to smuggle cocaine into the country. This deadly felon wants no witnesses, which means destroying the researcher’s marine equipment and killing her.

As Scott and Jackie fall in lust, each denies they are in love. However though on vacation, he teams up with her using her equipment to end the cocaine trafficking of a nasty seller.

Readers will enjoy this heated Uniformly Hot romantic suspense while never looking at a hammock or a beach in the same way. Fast-paced, the lead couple is a wonderful pairing as he rationalizes that six months of abstinence is why he needs her and she has barriers bigger than the Great Florida Reef. Fans will enjoy this enjoyable Wilde tale as the heroes prove they have The Right Stuff.

Harriet Klausner

The Phoenix-Rhonda Nelson

The Phoenix

Rhonda Nelson

Harlequin Blaze, Dec 20 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796618

Atlanta police detective Charlene “Charlie” Martin arrives for an interview with the renowned Ranger Security but believes she lack a key element in obtaining the position: a penis. Still she wants out of APD as a third generation cop whose peers assume her promotions are due to her pedigree rather than merit. She is disappointed when former Army Ranger Jay Weatherford gets the job she wants.

His first assignment is to work the dognapping of Truffles, the heir to the Betterworth candy fortune. Charlie handles the investigation for APD. The abductees demand two million or else. As they fall in love, each understands rescuing the Yorkie comes before their desires as time is running out for the famous canine.

The latest Men Out of Uniform is a charming regional romantic mystery. The protagonists are two people unafraid of facing danger but deathly afraid of facing love. Although the heat is somewhat limited as the rescue subplot efforts are the prime subplot, fans will enjoy the escapades of the Phoenix and the detective.

Harriet Klausner

The Deepest Sin-Caroline Richards

The Deepest Sin

Caroline Richards

Kensington Brava, Jan 1 2012, $14,00

ISBN: 9780758242792

British operatives know they killed Montagu Faron the enemy agent who failed to steal the Rosetta Stone. However, recent mysterious events leave the Home officer wondering if somehow Faron survived. The wisdom is that if this miscreant lives, he will contact his lover. Thus Sir Richard Avery is assigned to observe Faron’s lover, Lady Meredith Woolcott.

Richard understands his task is not to keep the traitor’s woman safe, but to use her as an expendable pawn to catch Faron. To his chagrin, he is attracted to her, but keeps his head on the mission. That is until he realizes she places herself in peril to bring out her former lover. Unable to ignore the danger to Meredith, Richard intervenes learning she wants Faron out of her life.

The second :Sin” Woolcott family historical romantic suspense (see The Deadliest Sin) is a super thriller as the fully developed lead couple fall in love while playing a losing game of chess against each other and a deadly match with a diabolical grandmaster. Fast-paced with a great late twist, fans will appreciate Caroline Richards’ exciting tale while awaiting Rowena’s cold darkest sinful entry.

Harriet Klausner

Hidden Summit-Robyn Carr

Hidden Summit

Robyn Carr

Mira, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313007

Leslie Petruso left Grants Pass and her ex husband Greg to start over in Virgin River, California hoping to regain her self esteem working for one of her former bosses at Haggarty Construction Paul Haggarty offered her a job as office assistant. She wants peace with no relationships beyond friendship as she still recovers from catching her husband of eight years cheating; he since has remarried and his new wife is pregnant. The hurt is big because Greg told her no children.

Sacramento Office of the District Attorney ADA Ray Maxwell asks his former colleague Brie Valenzuela to provide carpenter Conner Danson a place to hide until he testifies against affluent Regis Mathis in a homicide case. Thus Connor is in Virgin River temporarily.

When Connor and Leslie meet, they are attracted to one another. However, each is wary of any attraction having been hurt before. Still as they spend time together Connor and Leslie fall in love; but their pasts remain a hindrance to their future.

The latest Virgin River romance (see Bring Me Home for Christmas) is an engaging tale starring two newcomers finding love as they start over together. Greg is a fascinating troubled individual who is a harassing codependent with a need to be first chair; while Connors former wife Samantha is a manipulative piece of sh*t. Although neither spouse has any redeeming qualities, readers will enjoy a visit to Virgin River.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 18, 2011

Be My Texas Valentine- Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda and DeWanna Pace

Be My Texas Valentine

Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda and DeWanna Pace

Zebra, Jan 3 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420119671

“The Valentine Curse” by Jodi Thomas. In 1867 at the Double R Ranch, Brody works diligently but is a pariah due to the war. The boss’ wife insists he attend their dance and shower attention on Widow Valerie. Since he shows her respect and knows farming, Valerie offers him a marriage partnership. Brody accepts but plans to be more than the “You’ll do husband”.

“Cupid’s Arrow” by Linda Broday. In 1884 Rue Ann hates Logan who accepted money from her wealthy dad to dump her. He wonders why she is marrying abusive Theodore. Family friends Miss Emily and Miss Charlotte trick the pair into talking about her father’s lies.

“Loving Miss Laurel” by Phyliss Miranda. In 1887 Mayor Hunter wants a railroad stop in town which means paving the streets as they compete with other cities. He hosts a meeting of men but finds three female spies including orphan Laurel who was east for years at school. The spies grab Laurel and take her to their leader, Hunter’s mother Melba who insists they need a library.

“Sweet Talk” by DeWanna Pace. Dr. Noah knows his pet lovebird Amigo is lonely since he is away a lot on medical calls. JoEmma has been wheelchair bound since she suffered from Scarlet Fever. Her lovebird Gabby escapes. A week later Noah realizes he has two lovebirds. Noah arrives with the lovebirds, but also decides to take JoEmma to the dance.

The latest Texas quartet (see A Texas Christmas) contains strong lead characters and solid support casts. Although the story lines are thin and mostly fail to anchor time and place, fans will enjoy the novellas of Be My Texas Valentine.

Harriet Klausner

How the Marquess Was Won- Julie Anne Long

How the Marquess Was Won

Julie Anne Long

Avon, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061885693

Six weeks earlier Phoebe Vale, a tutor at Miss Marietta Endicott’s Academy, receives a note from her former student Lisbeth Redmond which invites her to stay at her family home as a paid companion. While Phoebe reads the note at Postlethwaite’s Shop, Dryden enters followed by Waterburn. The latter bets the former he cannot get a kiss from the “unkissable” teacher. Jules ignores him as he thinks of his late dad who left the estate in ruin and scandal. He has behaved perfectly as he bought back the land with one estate left; from his mom’s dowry owned by Isaiah Redmond.

Jules arrives at the academy to see if it is suited for his niece who has alienated her third stepmom. Phoebe shows him the place, while exchanging innuendoes and retorts with the Marquess. She offers him ten pounds to pay Waterburn if he would get over the kiss. He is shocked by her attitude, but enjoys her friskiness and intelligence. She assumes he is going to Redmond to court Lisbeth. At Redmond, Phoebe tells Jules her parents left when she was ten years old. She met Charybdis the cat and they adopted each other. A benefactor got her into the academy as a student. Jules tells her he wants her as his mistress, but she assumes while Lisbeth is spousal acceptability she wants to be his wife; nothing less is acceptable by her.

The latest Pennyroyal Green (see What I Did for a Duke) historical romance is delightful amusing entry with a solid cast; especially humorous is the Marquess’ fashion sense satirizing the Ton. Although the plot is straightforward and thin, readers will enjoy the fun in getting there.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Texan’s Christmas-Linda Warren

The Texan’s Christmas

Linda Warren

Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 29 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717477

Shilah Oil CEO Cadde Hardin (see The Texan’s Bride) sends his brother Cisco "Kid" back home to High Cotton, Texas to negotiate a deal with Lucinda "Lucky" Littlefield as their firm needs to lease her land. Kid procrastinates meeting Lucky; stopping to see family including his brother Chance (see The Texan’s Secret) as he fears how she will greet he man who broke her heart years ago.

Stopping at the Beer Joint which she owns, Kid learns that time heals no wounds as two decades have passed since he left her behind to play football at Texas Tech and never came back for her. Lucky loathes him; acting colder than the brew she served him. She tells him she will never lease to a Hardin. His brothers offer to work out a deal, but Kid says no. He needs to learn why Lucky works at her Beer Joint, but finds out she is employed by the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association where she and Travis investigate rustling. However, it is the final truth that shakes him as he failed to be there when she really needed him. Now he knows what love is but fears he will not get Lucky persuading her he wants her not the lease.

The latest Hardin Boys Texas romance is a great finish to a terrific family saga. The lead couple has a history together but he needs to learn what he failed to realize twenty years ago if he wants a second chance with the woman he loves. Readers will relish this wonderful entry starring two seemingly antagonists as Kid needs to figure out why his Lucky resents him so much.

Harriet Klausner

A Southern Reunion-Lenora Worth

A Southern Reunion

Lenora Worth

Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 29 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717507

Ready-to-Wear designer Cassandra Brennan opens up two more Cassie’s Closet Boutiques in Atlanta in the same week she ends her engagement to Ned Patterson. Finally her estranged widower father Marcus asks her to come home as he is dying.

Cassie drives the four hours from Atlanta to her family Camellia Plantation in South Georgia to find Cal Collins and Marsha Reynolds together. Cal broke her heart when she saw him years ago in a clinch with Marsha. He tells her he works at the planation while thinking her father once threatened to kill him for what he did to his daughter. Her dad explains their home is in financial trouble and that for her to inherit it she must marry Cal. Meanwhile he regrets what he did to Cassie and to himself but had no choice though her return makes him realize he still loves her; which means regaining her trust by telling her the truth behind what ended their relationship and why he came back.

A Southern Reunion is a strong Georgia family drama starring a wonderful lead couple and a solid support cast. The truth may set you free but does not guarantee happiness as Cal and Cassie begin to learn. Readers will enjoy this insightful regional contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

The Cost of Silence-Kathleen O’Brien

The Cost of Silence

Kathleen O’Brien

Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 29 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717460

Dying from cancer, Victor Wigham asks his friend Redmond "Red" Malone to deal with a situation that will hurt his family. Red is willing to do anything for his friend so after Victor dies, he heads to Windsor Beach where he will offer money to waitress Allison York to keep quite about her affair with Victor and their three month old lovechild Eddie.

After a fender bender in the Windsor Beach Peacock café lot introduce Red and Allison to each other, he tries to arrange the deal, but she refuses to have anything to do with Red or his money though she can use the income with an ailing baby. Red is shocked by her reaction as he assumed she was a gold-digger taking advantage of a sick man. As he begins to know the inconvenient truth behind her affair with his late buddy, Red and Alli fall in love, but he must choose between his beloved and a deathbed pledge.

The key to this strong family drama is all the prime players including the late Victor seem genuine. Character driven, readers will appreciate Red’s dilemma as love for Alli and for the deceased man who acted more like a father to him, and his desire not to hurt the grieving widow Mari leaves him confused. Kathleen O’Brien provides a super contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 14, 2011

Merry Christmas, Baby-Vicki Lewis Thompson, Jennifer LaBrecque and Rhonda Nelson

Merry Christmas, Baby

Vicki Lewis Thompson, Jennifer LaBrecque and Rhonda Nelson

Harlequin Blaze, Nov 15 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796557

“It’s Christmas, Cowboy” by Vicki Lewis Thompson. As a blizzard is coming to the Last Chance Ranch, cowboy Tucker Ramsey, who did not celebrate Christmas, searches for Houdini the escape artist horse. Forest Service Ranger Lacey Evans stays in a cabin when Tucker, Houdini and his overturned snowmobile arrive. Lacey and Tucker soon celebrate the holiday in bed as the blizzard hits in a Sons of Chance Holiday tale.

“Northern Fantasy” by Jennifer LaBrecque. Manhattan stockbroker Jared Martin accompanies his childhood friend Nick Hudson to Good Riddance, Alaska as a groomsman at his pal’s wedding to Gus Tippens. Jared thinks Nick is nuts until he meets bridesmaid Teddy Monroe in this Alaskan Heat Holiday tale.

“He’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Rhonda Nelson. Major Silas Davenport comes home on holiday leave, but his parents are not there to greet him. Instead, interior decorator Delphie Moreau welcomes him home for Christmas in this Uniformly Hot Holiday tale.

These are three heated holiday romances starring engaging protagonists.

Harriet Klausner

Red-Hot Santa-Tori Carrington

Red-Hot Santa

Tori Carrington

Harlequin Blaze, Nov 15 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796564

Decorated Marine Reservist Jackson Savage has one last assignment at his older brother Jason’s (see Undeniable Pleasures) bar before quitting as he has accepted a job at Lazarus Security. His final task is to be Santa while his fondest wish is that his older brother who raised him after their parents died would accept him as an adult not a kid.

His childhood friend, Marine Maxine "Max" McGuire climbs onto his Santa lap with plans to tell him what she wants for Christmas. He changes his fondest wish as he wants her as much as she needs him. After the greatest Christmas of their respective lives, they are on a dangerous assignment with each fearing the other will remain distracted.

This Uniformly Hot romantic suspense is a super thriller filled with action and a wonderful lead pair. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the heroine sits on the hero’s lap and never slows down in the boudoir or on the perilous mission. Team Carrington provides a winner with the second Savage tale.

Harriet Klausner

When a Duke Says I Do-Jane Goodger

When a Duke Says I Do

Jane Goodger

Zebra, Dec 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420111514

In 1862 French painter Laurent Desmarais and his mute assistant Alexander arrive at the Nottinghamshire home of Miss Elizabeth “Elsie” Stanhope. Her affluent father commissioned the famous Frenchman to complete a ballroom mural in time for his daughter’s twenty-second birthday gala. At her ball, her dad will announce her engagement to a duke’s heir.

Elsie discovers the secrets that Desmarais has rheumatism and Alexander is the artist. Alexander, whose father dumped him in an asylum, and Elsie are attracted to one another. As they fall in love, he knows she belongs to the future duke and not an assistant while she knows overcoming their class distinction will prove almost impossible.

Although readers will need to ignore plausibility, Victorian romance readers will enjoy Jane Goodger’s fascinating historical as the issues of abuse on the mental health of victims is insightfully developed. Elsie is a courageous individual who must deal with her beloved being a hermit while he suffers from a crippling past. This is an engaging tale as there is rarely a lead protagonist in romances like Alexander is.

Harriet Klausner

SEAL of My Dreams-Christie Ridegeway (editor)

SEAL of My Dreams

Christie Ridegeway (editor)

Bell Bridge, Nov 11 2011, $15.95

ISBN: 9781611940510

These are eighteen well written romantic short stories that pay homage to the dedicated Navy SEALs. Nick is “Coming Home” (by Jami Alden) to bury his beloved mom, as duty kept him away too frequently from her and Sarah who he will always love. Stephanie Bond returns readers to Sweetness, Georgia in ”Baby, I’m Back” as Barry the seaman comes home with a prosthetic lower leg and a desire for his physical therapist. SEAL “Panama Jack” (by Tara Janzen wants Little Miss Blondie the field operative he escorts in Panama. After his parents died, Shane the SEAL came home to be there for eight year old half-sister Shannon, but soon wants Teri to be there for both siblings. All the entries are exciting with none sinking; the contributions star surprisingly developed lead characters, especially the SEALs. In addition all proceeds will go to the Veterans Research Corporation not for profit raising funds for veterans' medical research.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recklessly Yours-Allison Chase

Recklessly Yours

Allison Chase

Signet, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235381

In 1839, as she has done with two Sutherland sisters (see Ivy in Outrageously Yours and Laurel in Most Eagerly Yours), Queen Victoria asks the third sibling Holly for help. The monarch wants Holly to find and return a stolen horse she intended to give as a gift to Prince Fredrick. Anything but the right horse could be an affront.

Holly and her sisters are invited to Masterfield Park where she plans to investigate as she believes Earl Colin Ashworth, the heir to the Masterfield dukedom, is the thief. Cambridge Science Professor Colin knows the purloined colt descends from his family’s renowned Ashworth stallions. As the undercover agent and the professor fall in love, they search for the colt that allegedly has the power to end the legendary Ashworth curse.

The third Her Majesty’s Secret servants is an enjoyable early Victorian romance starring an intrepid heroine and a besotted male who knows he should get out of the English version Dodge before his beloved exposes him and his family. Although the story line is slow especially at the beginning, fans will enjoy the Ashworth curse as the reckless Sutherland sister must choose between love and a horse.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Unexpected Gentleman-Alissa Johnson

An Unexpected Gentleman

Alissa Johnson

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425244913

Twenty-seven years old spinster Adelaide Ward feels the weight of the world on her shoulders as she has no dowry but has to take care of a teenage sister, a brother in debtor’s prison, and an infant nephew. She needs to accept a marriage proposal from prim and proper but boring yet wealthy Baron Robert Maxwell. If Adelaide could choose she would wed her beau’s illegitimate half brother, former press gang prisoner Connor Brice. This rake kissed her in front of the Ton; stealing her heart and reputation with his sweet lips.

However, Adelaide reconsiders her affection for the charming rogue once she knows his secret agenda was to use her as a pawn in his sibling squabble. Irate with both feuding brothers, Adelaide demands the truth even if it means her family remains in dire economic straits.

This is a superb historical romance in which the intelligent triangle is set early leading to tension and danger. Action-packed but character driven by the fully developed lead trio, fans will enjoy Alissa Johnson’s terrific thriller as the battling brothers seek the prize of the strong pragmatic heroine for the wrong reasons.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Scottish Love-Karen Ranney

A Scottish Love

Karen Ranney

Avon, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062027788

In 1859 in Inverness, Scotland, war hero Gordon MacDermond visits his ailing best friend Fergus Imrie who was injured while in combat under his command. He is greeted rather coldly by Fergus’ sister Widow Countess Shona Morton. She blames Gordon for her sibling’s health. He tells his friend he left the army and that his martinet father the General is dead. Shona thinks back seven years ago when his father insisted his son had no future with a wife and that he would marry her out of pity. She needed money to support her and Fergus so she wed elderly Bruce. He died two years ago and she finds she is broke so to support herself, Fergus and her cousin in law Helen Shoma needs to sell Gairloch Castle to visiting Americans.

Shona and Helen head to Gairloch, Gordon takes Fergus with him to his home Rathmor. The Americans arrive several days early. Accompanying obese Mr. Lofton is his daughter Miriam, his bodyguard Helmut and his nurse Elizabeth. When Fergus sees Elizabeth, they stare at each other before he walks out rudely. Fergus recalls Elizabeth caring for his men in the Crimea. He fell in love with her. Gordon asks Fergus to run his local ammo plant as he trusts him while he also knows he still loves Shona.

The ensemble cast is solid with diverse personalities though the Loftus pair is stereotypes of the “Ugly American”. The two romances will delight Victorian fans even as each is similar in tone. With a late suspense involving Shona, fans will enjoy the rocky path to true love.

Harriet Klausner

Seductive as Flame-Susan Johnson

Seductive as Flame

Susan Johnson

Berkley, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425244906

In 1894, Scottish Zelda Mackenzie has just returned home after spending time exploring the Brazilian rainforest. She attends her cousin Jamie Blackwood’s house party where she meets his friend an earl Alec Munro who shows he is interested in her.

However though attracted to the earl, she rejects his seduction as she refuses to bed a married man. He insists he has a “free” arrangement, but she still declines although she likes the way he is kind and nurturing with his young stepson. As Alec continues to press her into an affair, Zelda reconsiders her earlier position and agrees to a tryst. As they shock each other by falling in love, his feckless wife interferes with their relationship as much as his fear that he will prove to be just like his abusive dad.

This late Victorian erotic romance is a fun read though the storyline is emaciated except in the boudoir as the only external suspense involves to divorce or not to divorce his despicable wife. The heroine is a courageous person who does not acre one iota what society thinks of her; as what you see is what you get. The lead male is much more complex with an ugly history. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Susan Johnson’s heater.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Border Lord's Bride-Gerri Russell

Border Lord's Bride

Gerri Russell

ISBN: 9780983899972

In 1332 Lucius Carr returns home to take on the mantle of the Carrick earldom on the Scottish side of the Borderlands. However, the reason he returned is to protect his four sisters, named after flowers, since his brother Marcus recently died during an English raid. Lucius also carries guilt from when he fled his home and family after Elizabeth Huntingdon rejected him and his brother Peter joined him only to die by being burned at the stakes.

The biggest shock to his coming home comes from the Seward who tells Lucius that his duty as the new earl includes marrying Elizabeth in four days. He does not wish to wed the woman he hates as he believes she betrayed their love; she also does not wish to wed the man who hurt her. For his sisters who they both love, they marry. However someone will do anything including murder to keep this pair apart.

The fourth Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars (see To Tempt a Knight, Seducing a Knight and A Knight to Desire) is a super fourteenth century Borderlands romance. As always in a Gerri Russell historical, the lead couple is a charming pair while the support cast (especially his sisters) is powerful and the deadly Machiavellian villain hidden in plain sight. Sub-genre readers will appreciate Ms. Russell’s engaging novella as love is not enough when trust does not exist.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Last Cowboy-Lindsay McKenna

The Last Cowboy

Lindsay McKenna

Harlequin HQN, Nov 15 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776160

When the parents of twins Slade and Griff McPherson died when they were six years old, the siblings were separated. Slade stayed on the family Tetons ranch, which he and his brother co-own, to be raised by an aunt and uncle. Griff went to New York raised by a different uncle. Slade became a champion endurance rider while Griff became a successful stockbroker.

Dr. Jordana Lawton accompanied by her mustang mare Stormy arrives at Tetons Ranch where she wants Slade to train her and her horse in endurance riding. He wants to say no because she is a female, but he needs the money so accepts her as a student. Unlike his ex city wife, she and Stormy prove they are A level students.

Like Jordana, Griff lost a fortune in the stock market collapse. He comes to the ranch although his brother does not welcome him as he failed to invest when the spread needed money. When Slade is injured from an attacking bull just before a competition in which he needs the prize money, he fears the ranch and the sports doctor he loves will be lost.

This is an engaging contemporary ranch romance that focuses on the aftermath of the stock market crash. The insight into endurance racing is fascinating while the history of mustangs is also interesting but detracts from the prime story line. Still readers will enjoy the romance between the rancher and the doctor while waiting for city slicker’s tale to be told.

Harriet Klausner

A Midsummer’s Night Sin-Kasey Michaels

A Midsummer’s Night Sin

Kasey Michaels

Harlequin HQN, Nov 22 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776108

Although she has trepidations, the daughter of an uncouth shipping merchant and an arrogant aristocrat, Regina Hackett and her cousin Miranda Mentmore decide to attend a taboo masquerade ball. At the London gala, the illegitimate son of a Marquess, Robin “Puck” Goodfellow Blackthorn dances with and kisses Regina, but stops when he realizes she is an innocent.

She wants to go home, but cannot find her cousin. She turns to Puck for help. He fears Miranda is the latest blonde-haired blue-eyed beauty to vanish during the season. Knowing they need help as Puck believes slave traffickers abducted Miranda, he turns to his brother Black Jack who is already investigating the kidnappings.

The second Blackthorn Brothers historical romance (see The Taming of the Rake) is an engaging suspense thriller as the lead couple and Black Jack search for Miranda and other abducted females. Puck and Regina learn much about one another while on their inquiry as she proves brave and intelligent and he proves reliable and caring. Although the prime villain seems too obvious early on, readers will enjoy Kasey Michaels’ exciting nineteenth century romantic thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Desired-Nicola Cornick


Nicola Cornick

Harlequin HQN, Nov 15 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373775903

In 1816, everyone amongst the Ton who knows three times a widow Lady Tess Darent would insist the woman has no depth. However, Tess cultivates her image of a shallow scandalous sop to hide her alter ego as the radical cartoonist Jupiter and her philanthropy.

American Owen Purchase misses his seafaring adventures as he struggles to be come a viscount rather than sail the Sea Witch, He is fascinated by Lady Tess who is much more intelligent than her simpering smile let’s on. Owen wonders why she hides her brilliance so to silence him Tess stuns him with a proposal of marriage that he shocks himself by accepting. As he learns her secrets, he also finds her myriad of enemies coming for his Tess.

The latest Scandalous Women of the Ton (see Notorious and Mistress by Midnight) is a great Regency romance due to the intrepid refreshing heroine. The intelligent fast-paced story line follows Tess’ escapades while Owen uncovers the truth about his wife. Readers will enjoy the passion between the lead couple, but before they can fully settle down they must contend with her horde of adversaries.

Harriet Klausner

Pride & Passion-Charlotte Featherstone

Pride & Passion

Charlotte Featherstone

Harlequin HQN, Nov 15 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776177

Lucy Ashton dreamed of marrying her true love, but her father the Marquess of Stonebrook, unaware of his daughter’s loneliness and desires, arranges for a proper staid marriage to Adrian, the Duke of Sussex. She misses her true love Thomas whom she had a fling with, but weds Adrian.

After they marry, Lucy is shocked by her new husband’s passion for her and even more so by her falling in love with Adrian. She learns her spouse is a Brethren Guardian of ancient artifacts and that Thomas still lives but is an enemy of her husband. Manipulated by Orpheus, the man the Brethren need to capture, Lucy inadvertently places her beloved Adrian in peril.

The second Brethren Guardian Victorian romantic suspense is an exhilarating thriller that grips readers once the players are established. The action-packed story line contains a strong lead couple although their relationship in several key ways mirrors that of Black and Lucy’s cousin Isabella (stars of the first entry, Seduction & Scandal Isabella) with Thomas as the refreshing wild card. Readers will enjoy Pride & Passion as Lucy learns the true meaning of true love.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Agony/Ecstasy: Original Stories of Agonizing Pleasure/Exquisite Pain

Agony/Ecstasy: Original Stories of Agonizing Pleasure/Exquisite Pain

Jane Litte (editor)

Heat, Dec 6 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425243459

“Agony.” This section contains eleven BDSM escapades that run the genres gamut. In “Transfixed” by Anne Calhoun, Cole the Sub and Marin the Dom meet when he is a client of her employer. No one brings Warlord Ai-Kan Fen Jul to his knees except the “Sybil” by Jean Johnson. Nora visits the wolf in his cage while wanting her and for her to say his name in “Caged” by J.K. Coi.

“Ecstasy.” This section also contains ten BDSM erotic escapades that run the genres gamut. In Christine D’Abo’s “Bruised Ego”, Lee the CEO who boxes seeks therapy for his bruises and for his attraction to pain when he visits Diana the Dom who insists it’s not sex. In the “Kiss of Life” by Lily Daniels, newlyweds Hugh and Theodora are lucky to be alive after the Titanic sank, but his anger even in sex makes their marriage shaky.

Though the characters mostly relate in trysts, most are surprisingly much more developed than normally seen in a short story collection. Readers will enjoy this entertaining erotic collection that includes a variety of sub-genres

Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 4, 2011

Baby Don’t Go-Stephanie Bond

Baby Don’t Go

Stephanie Bond

Mira, Nov 15 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778312574

A decade ago a tornado destroyed their small town in the Georgia Mountains. However, the three Armstrong brothers want to rebuild Sweetness. The only problem with their plan for greening Sweetness is the lack of women. Thus they advertised for females to settle in their town renovation project.

Feminine Power magazine reporter Alicia Randall reads the ad asking for women to come to the Georgia Mountains and her journalistic instincts smells a con. Leaving Manhattan she goes undercover as Alicia Waters to expose the Armstrong brothers as fakes. Although his two younger siblings believe in the ad that has brought love into their lives, the oldest Armstrong brother Marcus remains a skeptic who has a rebirthing town to run. When he and Alicia meet, he changes his mind about the embarrassing ad while she plans to use the boudoir to seduce the truth from him. The reporter runs into two problems while going under the covers with the town leader. First she uncovers no sordid secrets and second she falls in love.

The final Southern Roads contemporary romance (see Baby, Drive South and Baby Come Home) is an entertaining regional romance as big city meets rural town. The story line is character driven as is the previous entries. Although somewhat similar in tone to the previous Armstrong falling in love tales, the lead couple brings the freshness as she is undercover and he is the skeptic. Stephanie Bond provides an engaging tale in a warm series.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Big City Cowboy-Julie Benson

Big City Cowboy

Julie Benson

Harlequin American, Nov 29 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753857

Adverting executive Elizabeth Harrington-Smyth arrives from New York as a bridesmaid at her cousin Janice’s wedding in Estes Park, Colorado. She feels like a fish out of water especially after meeting the outdoors other bridesmaids at the Twin Creeks Ranch. However, she also believes Rory McAlister would be the perfect Rhinestone Cowboy model to showcase her Devlin Designs. He laughs at her offer.

He wants to say no, but needs the $30,000 fee to pay part of his mom’s cancer treatment. When he arrives in New York for the shoot, he feels like a fish out of water. Neither likes the feeling of the attraction that each shares towards one another in spite of recognizing being geographically divided.

This is an entertaining opposites attract romance between the big city woman and ranch male. Rory is a fabulous individual who understands family first. However, Elizabeth is a nasty person who treats her cowboy with contempt until the revelation of what she stands to lose. Although compromise is one sided fans will enjoy this contemporary romance.

Harriet Klausner

A Rodeo’s Man Promise-Marin Thomas

A Rodeo’s Man Promise

Marin Thomas

Harlequin American, Nov 29 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753864

Champion rodeo performer Riley Fitzgerald was flying his Cessna from Colorado to Arizona when an object crashes into his propeller while in Albuquerque air space. With a prayer he shuts down the engine and propeller seeking to land his crippled plane. Schoolteacher Maria Alvarez is driving when she sees the plane emergency landing in Mesita near the turf of the Los Locos gang. They meet when he calmly asks her if she knows an avionics mechanic.

Though she assumes he is a drug dealer as cowboys don’t fly planes or carry hundred dollar bills, they are instantly attracted to each other. As he dreams of mud wrestling, she has doubts since she is a decade older than he and on a mission to save three at risk teens (Alonso Marquez, Victor Vicario and Cruz Rivera). He needs to persuade the teacher they belong together.

The latest Rodeo Rebels (see The Bullrider’s Secret) is an exciting older woman younger man romance. Although the lead couple is a solid fresh pairing of a dedicated teacher (her brother was a victim of gang violence) and a younger rodeo star, the three at risk teens own this insightful entertaining contemporary.

Harriet Klausner