Friday, December 30, 2011

How To Dance With A Duke-Manda Collins

How To Dance With A Duke

Manda Collins

St. Martin’s, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312549244

Miss Cecily Hurston desperately needs admission to the Egyptian Club that her father belongs to. She knows the only way a female can join is as the wife of a member. Although she likes digs better than balls Cecily prefers to remain single but has no choice since her father scandalously has been accused of killing a member on an expedition; to prove his innocence means joining the Egyptian Club, which denotes marrying some boring elderly academic in order to uncover the identity of the real killer.

War hero Duke of Winterson, Lucas Dalton, also wants to know what happened to his brother who never returned from Hurston’s last dig. He agrees to help her obtain a suitable husband so she can gain access to the club enabling them to investigate from the inside. As they fall in love, neither Lucas nor Cecily are prepared to what the danger they dig up.

This is an entertaining historical romantic mystery starring a heroic wallflower; who uses her brains and guts to figure out How To Dance With A Duke. The storyline is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down as outstanding lead couple teams up in love to investigate what happened to his sibling on that fatal expedition.

Harriet Klausner

How To Dance With A Duke-Manda Collins

How To Dance With A Duke

Manda Collins

St. Martin’s, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312549244

Miss Cecily Hurston desperately needs admission to the Egyptian Club that her father belongs to. She knows the only way a female can join is as the wife of a member. Although she likes digs better than balls Cecily prefers to remain single but has no choice since her father scandalously has been accused of killing a member on an expedition; to prove his innocence means joining the Egyptian Club, which denotes marrying some boring elderly academic in order to uncover the identity of the real killer.

War hero Duke of Winterson, Lucas Dalton, also wants to know what happened to his brother who never returned from Hurston’s last dig. He agrees to help her obtain a suitable husband so she can gain access to the club enabling them to investigate from the inside. As they fall in love, neither Lucas nor Cecily are prepared to what the danger they dig up.

This is an entertaining historical romantic mystery starring a heroic wallflower; who uses her brains and guts to figure out How To Dance With A Duke. The storyline is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down as outstanding lead couple teams up in love to investigate what happened to his sibling on that fatal expedition.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Between Love And Duty-Janice Kay Johnson

Between Love And Duty

Janice Kay Johnson

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 7 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717583

The court assigns advocate Jane Brooks to protect the interests of teenager Tito Ortiz. His father is leaving prison and demands custody of his child. Police captain Duncan MacLachlan has acted as a big brother to the troubled teen as he knows first-hand what it is like to be not raised properly by terrible parents. He wants the right thing for Tito.

Duncan and Jane argue over what is right for Tito. He sees a world of good and bad with no straddling or gray area; she sees people acting at times good and bad. Attracted to one another, they disagree as to what is best for this at risk teen. However, when Jane’s life becomes threatened, Duncan knows he would risk his to keep her safe as he loves his adversarial advocate.

The key to this powerful contemporary romance is Duncan as his black and white philosophy about humans is deftly developed from a troubled childhood in which some people like his parents were bad and some like his mentor were good. Jane struggles with understanding his polar absolute belief as she sees the grays in everyone. Although the suspense is handled nicely, it is unnecessary as readers will relish this strong tale of two individuals in love but the adult is the child and each carries tons of childhood baggage.

Harriet Klausner

On Common Ground-Tracy Kelleher

On Common Ground

Tracy Kelleher

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 7 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717620

Although she vowed to never go back, Grantham University graduate Lilah Evans returns to her alma mater to receive the Distinguished Alumni award at the ten year reunion. At the event Lilah and Justin Bigelow, her college boyfriend’s roommate, meet. They chat over old times and what each has done since graduating. He especially shocks her with his passion about being a kindergarten teacher as her memory of him is that of an egotistical BMOC player.

Lilah is further stunned when she learns Justin nominated her for the award. Far from being the self-indulged big man on campus jock, he is a caring person. As she revises her opinion of him, Lilah falls in love while Justin has been in love for over ten years.

This is a tender second chance relationship drama as Lilah realizes how wrong her misconceptions about this jock are as he proves to be a tender caring person who loves his work (I admire elementary school teachers especially the younger grades as it take a special person as those who can teach). Readers will enjoy their changing dynamics as this pair makes a wonderful warm couple.

Harriet Klausner

Just Desserts-Jeannie Watt

Just Desserts

Jeannie Watt

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 7 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717613

Schoolteacher Layla Taylor learns her boyfriend is cheating with a colleague of hers. Stunned by their betrayal, she ends her relationship. Feeling self-pity as she was faithful to the rat, Layla has too much to drink as a blizzard hits. Her high school enemy, catering business owner and pastry chef Justin Tremont with snow tires on his vehicle takes her home to comfort her (and him).

However, parents obtain a damaging picture of normally prim and proper Layla intoxicated and ill in public. The school fires her for reprehensible conduct. Rule breaker Justin comforts the depressed Layla. As their attraction grows from lust to love, each has major doubts whether opposites can stay together without killing one another.

This is a fun lighthearted romance starring two likable polar opposites in love; as he cannot even follow his own recipes while she cannot even bend a rule. Although the storyline is thin, fans will enjoy the lead couple’s changing relationship as first came hate, than came lust and finally came love.

Harriet Klausner

The Rodeo Man’s Daughter-Barbara White Daille

The Rodeo Man’s Daughter

Barbara White Daille

Harlequin American, Feb 7 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753956

As an impoverish teenager Caleb Cantrell left Flagman’s Folly, New Mexico over a decade ago to join the rodeo. His only regret is leaving behind his sweetheart Tess LaSalle, but he rationalized she could do much better than a poor non bitter person like him.

A recent near fatal injury has all but ended Caleb’s sterling career, He returns home wealthy but the acrimony he thought he left behind remains in his gut. Caleb comes back with a chip on his shoulder. However, his plan to for a second chance with Tess goes nowhere as the single mom refuses to have anything to do with him. When he learns her daughter is his, he rages at Tess for never telling him though he knew he never gave her a chance. Finally calming down, Caleb wants to be part of the lives of his two beloved females, but Tess doubts his staying power fearing he will hurt her and their child.

This is an engaging second chance at love tale starring two wounded warriors carrying tons of emotionally crippling baggage. Although the theme has been used frequently, fans will enjoy Caleb’s return to Flagman’s Folly (see A Rancher’s Pride) as he works his toughest contest ever, winning back the trust of the woman who was a pregnant teen though unaware of her condition when he abandoned her.

Harriet Klausner

The Detective’s Accidental Baby-Jacqueline Diamond

The Detective’s Accidental Baby

Jacqueline Diamond

Harlequin American, Feb 7 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753963

Safe Harbor fertility clinic nurse Erica Benford has no plans to become pregnant. However, a one night stand with private investigator Sherlock Vaughn proves that the plans of mice, men and Erica go astray when she learns she is carrying. Erica knows she does not want to raise a child especially as a single mom, but tells the father what she is doing. He refuses to sign away his paternal rights as a foster child alumni he distrusts parents so will learn to do it right as a single father.

Over the next few months, Erica bonds with her unborn and soon wants to raise the child with Lock. However, though he wants both in his life permanently, his ugly past has returned endangering his beloved Erica and their unborn.

The return to Safe Harbor will elate fans as heroes like Dr. Owen (see the Surgeon’s Surprise Twins) return in key support roles. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of two people not ready to be an entry and especially not prepared to raise a child. Medical romance fans will appreciate Jacqueline Diamond’s warm baby makes three tale.

Harriet Klausner

Once Upon a Valentine-Stephanie Bond, Leslie Kelly and Michelle Rowen

Once Upon a Valentine

Stephanie Bond, Leslie Kelly and Michelle Rowen

Harlequin Blaze, Jan 24 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796670

“All Tangled Up” by Stephanie Bond. Forever Summer Tomlinson wanted Andrew Macmillan. They became business partners and share a bed, but she wonders if following Rapunzel’s lead will lead her beloved to a happily ever after with her.

“Sleeping With a Beauty” by Leslie Kelly. Historian Ashlynn Scott searches for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. He never expected to be the kisser of legend, but the fairy tale never mentioned the happily ever after in the sheets.

“Catch Me” by Michelle Rowen. Ginger Redman makes a wish on a magic cookie, which leads to her best friend Stephen Fox wanting her in his or her bed happily ever after.

These are entertaining lighthearted Bedtime Stories that are fun to read as readers obtain a modern take on the rest of the story of happily ever after.

Harriet Klausner

Sex, Lies and Valentines-Tawny Weber

Sex, Lies and Valentines

Tawny Weber

Harlequin Blaze, Jan 24 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796700

Of the three offspring of notorious Tobias Black, the leader of Black Oak, California, Gabriel is the chip off the felonious block. Like father like son Gave is a con artist. However, his latest scam is busted by FBI Agent Danita Cruz. She gives him a choice between prison and an undercover sting in his hometown.

Gabe and Danita posing as his girlfriend arrive in Black Oak. Their undercover mission is to break up a drugs and guns trafficking mob that has taken root in the town. As they con his family who feel the heat between the pair and fool themselves into believing it’s the mission, each is in lust with the other, but the operation comes first or does it.

The final heated Sex, Lies and … romantic suspense (see Sex, Lies and Mistletoe, and Sex, Lies and Midnight) is an engaging thriller starring a sexy kick butt agent and the smooth king of lies operative. Although the fast-paced storyline ends suddenly, readers will enjoy the gender war between the Fed and the felon.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 26, 2011

An Amish Family Reunion-Mary Ellis

An Amish Family Reunion

Mary Ellis

Harvest House, Feb 1 2012, $13.99

ISBN: 9780736944878

In Winesburg, Ohio, Phoebe Miller loves her family but wishes she had some moments of quiet respite to draw but even the Sabbath is nosy since her Uncle Simon, his wife Aunt Julia and their extended horde live next door to her family. Her rumschpringe voyage enables her to escape from the Ohio Amish community that she loves. She travels to Niagara Falls.

Amish Eli Riehl is a highly regarded storyteller. When Phoebe hears his tale, she draws pictures of what he said. They agree to collaborate on a children’s book he will write and she will illustrate. However, their plans seem dead when his father suffers a heart attack as the solo son with five sisters goes home to run the family farm. Although his writing dream appears dead, Eli wants his beloved Phoebe to come with him as his wife.

This warm coming of age Amish romance stars two wonderful protagonists who belong together and a strong family support group. Ironically to achieve her two dreams of illustrating and finding a loving pious mate means Phoebe must accept Eli’s nosy family as hers. Readers will appreciate Mary Ellis’ tale as the Amish lifestyle makes for an engaging contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Blue Moon Promise-Colleen Coble

Blue Moon Promise

Colleen Coble

Thomas Nelson, Feb 14 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9781595549150

1877 is a bad year for most residents of Indiana especially in the Chicago area, but the Marsh siblings are particularly in trouble. Their lecherous landlord informs the oldest Lucy that he has sold the place where they live and she and her two younger siblings (twelve years old Jed and three years old Eileen) will have to vacate within ten days. However, Lucy learns that their father’s death was not the accident as reported; his second wife Catherine her stepmother abandoned the children. Older than her late father, Henry Stanton cites Abraham finding a bride for Isaac; he offers her a deal to marry his son Nate by proxy. To protect her brother and sister and to keep Jed out of further trouble, she accepts a marrying a total stranger.

Henry escorts the three Marsh siblings to the family ranch in Wichita Falls, Texas. Nate is stunned that his father returned home with a wife for him and two young in-laws. He assumes the city slicker will quickly run from ranch life. However, though insecure Lucy refuses to quit as she has a strong inner self-sacrifice that her husband respects but prays she learns to trust him with what disturbs her. When the Hoosier danger arrives at the Stanton spread, Nate risks his life and his ranch to keep his beloved new family safe.

The first Under Texas Stars is a terrific inspirational historical romance. The key to this engaging Americana is the cast as the lead couple are nice pairing of Isaac and Rebecca while the support characters add either intelligence and humor or the sale of their souls for shekels. Sub-genre readers will enjoy Colleen Coble’s charmer.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Summer of Secrets-Charlotte Hubbard

Summer of Secrets

Charlotte Hubbard

Zebra, Feb 7 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121698

Willow Ridge, Missouri is home to the Amish Old Ways. Childhood sweethearts carpenter Micah Breeneman and Rachel Lantz, who works at their two families’ Sweet Seasons Bakery Café, look forward to their upcoming marriage.

Tiffany Oliveri, an Englisher looking like a Halloween party attendee with her ghoulish clothing, spiked hair and tattoos, arrives. She uses profanity as Rachael takes her order and thinks the girl is her twin sister Rhoda or her with a ton of make-up on her. Her mamma Miriam believes the newcomer is her lost third triplet Rebecca. Her marriage to the late Jesse never was the same from that terrible day. The girl says she just buried her mom when her dad Bib said he rescued her from a tree on the Missouri River in the flood of ’93 when they were three. The dynamics have changed as relationships are altered forever.

The first Seasons of the Heart Amish is a terrific extended families’ drama. The ensemble cast is fully developed so that the readers understand the impact of the return of the lost child on three caring families. Fans will relish this tender tale as the Englisher finds her roots as cultures collide while love blossoms in Missouri.

Harriet Klausner

Matthew-Emma Lang


Emma Lang

Kensington Brava, Jan 31 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758269041

In 1836 in the Republic of Texas, twenty-five years old Matthew Graham, accompanied by six of his seven siblings, goes to town for supplies. On the way back to the six hundred acre family cattle ranch, he sees a fire. They arrive at their homestead to find their parents dead and their five year old youngest brother Benjy missing.

Two months later, Olivia tells Matt he needs to complete their dad’s dream of claiming the four thousand acres the Republic is offering. Although afraid to do so, he agrees and heads to Houston to file, but needs a wife in thirty days to keep the new land as he lied on the application. Matt stays at a boardinghouse run by Hannah Foley and her Granny. He proposes and though they are strangers the plain Hannah accepts Matt’s marriage of convenience. However, neither anticipated love between them nor the attacks on them and their families over land.

The first Circle Eight historical romance is an entertaining Texas tale starring a strong cast as the title character and his stranger wife fall in love. The villain is in plain sight, but deftly insures someone else is targeted as the culprit. Action-packed, sub-genre readers will enjoy the first Graham entry and look forward to apparently the Taming of the Shrew's story next.

Harriet Klausner

Firelight-Kristen Callihan


Kristen Callihan

Forever, Jan 31 2012, $5.99

ISBN: 9781455508594

In 1878 London, Lord Benjamin Archer comes to collect a debt from Hector Ellis whose pirates cost him salvation when they plundered his ship stealing the cure he needs. When he meets Hector’s daughter Miranda while she holds a knife on him, Archer finds himself attracted to her. She is the reason he allows Hector to live, but negotiates a new deal.

Three years later, Hector informs Miranda she will wed Lord Benjamin Archer to save her family from ruin as he blames her fiery gift for the family’s impoverished state. Wearing a mask to conceal his disfigurement, Archer finds his brave wife demands he give his soul to her like she offers to him. However, he cannot oblige her though he desperately wants to. Miranda wonders about his older companions especially when the members of the West Moon Club are viciously murdered. As Miranda wonders if she wed a killer, she investigates her husband; learning her gift may be the only thing that can save his soul.

With a nod to Beauty and the Beast though somewhat altered by the paranormal gift of Beauty, Firelight is a superb Victorian romantic fantasy. The story line is fast-paced from the first encounter to the last; while the protagonists are a fascinating pairing of a passionate soul with a dark soulless. Readers will appreciate Kristen Callihan’s entertaining paranormal historical thriller as London is rarely darker.

Harriet Klausner

Colt-Georgina Gentry


Georgina Gentry

Zebra, Feb 7 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121674

When Hannah Brownley was fifteen, she ran away from her abusive stepfather. She met and married Luther who she thought would treat her kindly, but he proved abusive in a different way and her husband tried but failed to break her spirit. Three years later, Luther held the rifle watching for Comanche while Hannah and the children picked plums. When the Comanche arrive, her cowardly husband flees knocking over children. The raiding party leader punches Hannah in the face, something she expects from all males, before she and her son are taken captive. Once again Hannah believes these brutes may hurt her physically but will not break her spiritually.

In 1856, Second Lieutenant Colt Prescott and the Second Cavalry out of Camp Cooper rescue Hannah, but fail to free her son. Colt learns that her Indian name is Muakatu (Moonlight) and that she is the woman of vicious Puhu Retsi (Spider). The major’s easterner daughter Miss Olivia Murphy takes charge of Hannah. While Doc and Colt understand Hannah, Olivia thinks the savage needs her Christian help while also deciding Colt will make a perfect mate for her. When Hannah goes for her child Travis, Colt decides to help her.

The third Texans romance (see Rio and Diablo) is a superb pre Civil War tale starring a strong title character and a brave woman who refuses to let men break her as she knows as a Texas girl the only male who could is Travis. The support cast is somewhat stereotypical, but that enhances the time and place as well as the relationship between the lead Texas couple. Georgina Gentry provides an engaging historical.

Harriet Klausner

An Accidental Bride-Denise Hunter

An Accidental Bride

Denise Hunter

Thomas Nelson, Jan 3 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9781595548023

In Moose Creek, Montana, Shay Brandenberger knows men leave. Fourteen years ago her fiancé Travis McCoy jilted her on the courthouse steps while she was wearing her wedding gown just before they were to exchange their vows; he married the rodeo instead of her. She did marry, but her late spouse left her before he died. Now Shay struggles as a single mom to twelve years old Olivia while hoping they do not lose their family ranch.

Travis has returned home praying for a second chance to make up for his teenage blunder when he left his beloved. Miss Lucy asks Travis to play the art of Joseph Adams at the Founder Day Ceremony. He agrees when he learns he will be part of a reenactment wedding with Shay as his bride Prudence. However, Miss Lucy feeling true love needs intervention so she arranges the marriage to be real. Travis is euphoric while Shay leaves him on the top of her most loathed list. He promises to prove he means to stay by working the ranch platonically until she agrees to allow him to share the conjugal bed. However, both know they must factor in her daughter that he will soon learn is his.

Although hiding the truth about Olivia’s fatherhood from the biological dad is an old theme, Denise Hunter keeps her second chance at love plot fresh with inspired Miss Lucy pulling off the marriage ruse. Travis desperately wants a do-over while Shay believes men even caring ones like her former husband leave. Her daughter echoes that sentiment having had two dads leave. Fans will appreciate this warm Big Sky Romance as Miss Lucy once again matches tow people in love (see A Cowboy’s Touch).

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Town Called Valentine-Emma Cane

A Town Called Valentine

Emma Cane

Avon, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062102270

Following her divorce, Emily Murphy drives from San Francisco to her late mom’s hometown Valentine, Colorado where she inherited her grandma’s restaurant. She plans to sell the establishment. Stopping at Tony’s Tavern after her car died, a tired Emily has too much to drink. She and cowboy Nate Thalburg play a game of pool for a kiss. He wins and kisses her and much more until she finally asks him to stop, which he does. Nate drives her to his grandma’s Widows’ Boarding House.

Emily meets the three widows who are kind to her. After breakfast Emily walks to the restaurant, which is a dump. Nate’s brother Josh worries his sibling is spread out too thin doing too much, but he ignores his sibling’s concern as he believes he must prove to his adopted dad that he loves their family ranch. He has not forgotten his biological dad abandoned him and his mom when she got MS.

Emily learns her late dad is not her biological father and wonders who is. Though she plans to sell the restaurant, Emily likes the townsfolk and is falling in love with Nate, but needs to know who her biological father is while he keeps a distance because he believes whenever he is nice to a woman she gets hurt.

This is an enjoyable character driven contemporary romance. The relationship between the lead couple changes in a logical deliberate manner while the prime support cast enhances the storyline. Although the “conflict” is weak, fans will enjoy A Town Called Valentine while looking forward to more visits.

Harriet Klausner

A Secret In Her Kiss-Anna Randol

A Secret In Her Kiss

Anna Randol

Avon, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062025807

In 1815 following Waterloo, British Major Bennett Prestwood looks forward to going home to extract his sister from her abusive husband. He did this once before, but apparently his sibling cannot stay away from the brute so he will keep the monster away from his sister anyway he can. However Army Intelligence general Caruthers shows Prestwood a message containing only a picture of a butterfly; except with a magnifying glass shows a message that the Ottoman Empire is building a fort. The artist is British naturalist Mari Sinclair, who has spied for her home country and helped the Greek independence cause. Although he resigned his commission Prestwood is blackmailed into going to Constantinople to help Sinclair complete her last mission.

Like Prestwood, Mari is blackmailed to continue her espionage work. She finds her protector too stiff as he believes in obeying the rules while she prefers bending and breaking them. However, when Bennett realizes the full threat to this remarkable woman, he vows no rule will keep him from insuring his beloved remains safe.

With an exotic location; a terrific lead pairing; and a strong support cast mostly of locals; readers will relish this engaging refreshing Regency romantic suspense. Filled with plenty of action and intrigue, Anna Randol transports her delighted audience to Constantinople just after Waterloo.

Harriet Klausner

An Affair With Mr. Kennedy-Jillian Stone

An Affair With Mr. Kennedy

Jillian Stone

Grand Central, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451629002

In 1887 London, Detective Zeno Kennedy works for the Special Irish Branch of Scotland Yard whose mission is to prevent anarchists like the Fenians from exploding bombs. He believes a ring of dynamiter aristocrats plan to terrorize the city with bombings in a bid for Irish freedom.

Zeno feels he got a big break on his investigation when he learns his new tenant, Cassandra St. Cloud knows his prime suspect. An artist with a feminist mom the doctor as a role model, Cassie is not afraid or shy to show her attraction to Zak; as he likewise does to her. They begin a tryst but as they fall in love, she learns what caused his original interest and no longer trusts Zak with her heart though she will have his back.

This is an entertaining late Victorian romantic police procedural that grips the audience from the moment we meet the lead couple. The Fenian movement anchors time and place, but it is the relentless diligent detective and his courageous modern day equal who make the first Gentlemen of Scotland Yard historical a heated affair.

Harriet Klausner

Last Man Standing-Cindy Gerard

Last Man Standing

Cindy Gerard

Grand Central, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451606829

Several years ago, the ambush left Black Ops, Inc. operative Bryan Tomkins dead in Sierra Leone. His comrade in arms Joe Green finds some enigmatic evidence that suggests the deadly assault was not as random as reported. At Fort Meade, Maryland Joe ends his relationship with a stunned heartbroken Stephanie for her safety; as he plans to go solo to Sierra Leone to learn the truth and if what he suspects is real take down his friend’s killer.

Angry at her stubborn beloved, Stephanie is shook when she learns Joe has been arrested for murdering a priest In Freetown. His Black Ops, Inc. unit is communication shutdown as required by a deep undercover mission so she knows she must go solo to rescue Joe. However, someone in the shadows plans to keep the truth about Bryan interred even if that means killing the man’s sister and her lover.

The latest Black Ops, Inc. thriller (see No Mercy, Take No Prisoners) is an exciting action-packed tale that brings much closure to the overarching theme of what really happened to Bryan Tomkins. The key to the fast-paced story line that provides insight into that fatal mission that haunts much of the agents of BOI is the identity of the prime suspect behind the bloody ambush as the romantic subplot takes a back seat to who killed Bryan Tomkins?

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cassidy’s Cowboy-Karen Rose Smith

Cassidy’s Cowboy

Karen Rose Smith

Amazon Digital Services, 2011, $2.99


When Cassidy Sullivan was five years old, her only known relative her mom dies. She goes through the swinging doors of the foster care system until she finally stole a car when she was seventeen. An accident got her in trouble with the law, but Tina Christopher, owner of the Twin Pines Ranch in Long Brush, Wyoming, took her in. Now with Tina dead, twenty-six year old Cassidy owns the ranch and has met her twin sister Lucy (see Always Her Cowboy) who she never knew existed until recently.

Cassie agrees to allow Vermont resident Ben O'Donnell, the nephew of Ranch foreman Loren, to stay at the spread for a couple of months with his troubled nine year old daughter Julie who suffers from the abandonment of her mom eighteen months ago. Cassie and Julie hit if off over horses while the rancher and Ben are attracted to one another. However, as psychic Gillian Moore (see Nathan’s Vow) helps the twins search for their biological father, Cassie conceals the one secret that shames her from Ben while this father and daughter know women they love leave.

The sixth Search For Love drama (see Jake’s Bride, Always Devoted and Heartfire) is a superb contemporary due to the fully developed cast. Readers will know the fears that cripple each of the lead trio in forging caring relationships. Whether it is electronic or paper, no one does poignant family dramas better than Karen Rose Smith consistently does.

Harriet Klausner

Love Blooms In Winter-Lori Copeland

Love Blooms In Winter

Lori Copeland

Harvest House, Feb 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9780736930192

In 1892 in Dwadlo, North Dakota, town postmistress Mae Wilkey worries about the mental health of her nonagenarian neighbor Pauline. Mae notices the increasing signs of dementia and wants to contact Pauline’s family but the older woman cannot remember if she has any. However, Mae finds the name of Tom Curtis in a drawer. She sends the Chicago and North Railway executive a telegram which he ignores as he assumes a prank has occurred. When she wires him again, he decides to go to South Dakota to learn the truth though he doubts he has a relative there.

Tom and Mae are attracted to one another, but she is almost engaged to town lawyer Jake Mallory though they have not set a date after six years together. Mae likes the way Tom treats her fourteen years old younger brother mentally challenged Jeremy and Pauline with patience and respect. Love Blooms In Winter during the Dakota Boom; as Tom, Mae and the townsfolk deal with two train wrecks assisted by an elephant while knowing God is there for them.

This is a warm inspirational Americana romance starring two likable protagonists and a strong quirky support cast. Although Tom is too perfect, fans will enjoy this entertaining late nineteenth century tale as runaway trains, mentally challenged people, elephants and herring leads to the blooming of love in wintry North Dakota.

Harriet Klausner

My Wicked Little Lies-Victoria Alexander

My Wicked Little Lies

Victoria Alexander

Zebra, Feb 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420117066

After five years working for the Department of Domestic and International Affairs, Evelyn writes a note to her boss Sir informing him she is leaving to raise a family; her only regret is they never met in person. Sir begins a note back but stops.

Two years later, the new head of the department Sir Maxwell Osgood sends a note to Countess Evelyn Hadley-Attwater that he needs her help. Eve once worked there but is happily married to Adrian. Max trusts no one since a file with names was stolen on what looks like an insider job and a former agency head died though apparently from natural causes. He needs Eve who he trusts since Sir erased her name from the files.

Adrian knows something disturbs Eve. He fears she has a lover. The next day he follows her and her BFF Celeste. Later he asks them what they did; neither mentions the British Museum where Max’s instructions send her to a bookstore where she finds out the suspect is Lord Dunnell. Eve convinces Adrian they need to attend Dunnell’s bash. At the gala, she sneaks into a room and breaks into Dunnell’s locked desk. She finds nothing, but Adrian arrives just before Lord Radington arrives for a tryst with a lady. Adrian thinks Eve and Radington are having an affair and sets out to prove it.

The heroine is a fresh protagonist as she is former spy who loves Sir and her husband. The support cast is solid especially the other two spies in love. Although Eve too easily learns the truth about Sir, readers will appreciate this amusing madcap historical as love makes even the top agents act inane.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Mosaic Heart - Reshaping the Shards of a Shattered Life

A Mosaic Heart - Reshaping the Shards of a Shattered Life

Terry Jones-Brady

Quartet, 2011, $17.95

ISBN: 9780615517209

In 1966 in New York City, Terry and Tim met when she auditioned for a part in his production in Norfolk of A Shot In the Dark. They married and in 1969 had their first baby Heather who stayed longer than normal at the hospital due to weighing so little. Soon afterward the couple learns that Heather suffered from cystic fibrosis; at seventeen she was dead. Their second child Holly was also diagnosed with CF, but her condition was considered worse than her older sister. However, like Heather Holly had a strong will and attended college until the illness finally forced her to drop out. She soon joined her sister and grandma.

Terry Jones-Brady provides a poignant memoir focusing on the impact of the worst kind of mental suffering; watching helplessly your children dying while she and her husband also grow emotionally stronger from these tragedies. Both parents changed their dreams to accommodate the needs of their beloved children, and after their deaths to accept that their lives are shattered yet enriched by these brave little girls who fought to live. Terry and Tim accept the need to honor their children by “Reshaping the Shards of a Shattered Life” to help others somewhat heal from similar family losses.

Harriet Klausner

Seduction-Brenda Joyce


Brenda Joyce

Harlequin HQN, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776559

In 1793 near Brest, France, someone tries to assassinate Dominic Paget. Lucas Greystone concludes the assassin knew Dominic was a spy. His brother Captain Jack Greystone, knowing the spy will be dead before reaching London, takes the severely wounded Earl across the Channel to his family estate in Penzance, Cornwall.

At her family estate, Julianne Greystone helps Dominic heal from his near fatal wounds. She believes the French Revolution is a great thing for the masses. Julianne also thinks her patient is the heroic freedom fighter Charles Maurice. Dominic seduces his hostess though he knows he should not treat her as he does. As they fall in love, Juliana learns of his duplicity and tells him to leave. However, she is arrested for treason and brought to the Tower to await punishment. Only Dominic, risking his life, can save her.

This is a superb look at the divided opinions on the French Revolution as pragmatic Dominic feels the nightmare is dangerous for all classes while romantic Julianne relishes Lady Liberty. The romance is a sort of star-crossed affair as their political views divide them. Readers will enjoy this terrific late Georgian historical as love may not be enough to overcome monumental events sweeping both sides of the Channel.

Harriet Klausner

Shadow’s Stand-Sarah McCarty

Shadow’s Stand

Sarah McCarty

Harlequin HQN, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777051

In 1859 West Texas Territory, Fei Yen Tseng revoked her father Jiang’s heritage when he sold her cousin Lin to pay a debt. Now, Fei invokes a rarely used law to claim Shadow Ochoa as her husband before the sheriff and a mob can string him up as a horse thief. The vigilantes are angry at her but need Jiang, a dynamite expert, to help them with a tunnel through the nearby mountain. Fei leaves with her groom chained to her buckboard as he is only a front to her business empire.

However, Shadow is not a Hell’s Eight Texas Ranger for nothing. He challenges his owner who fears her passion for her incarcerated spouse will cost her independence. Meanwhile he finds himself falling in love with his captor who he distrusts with his life. Before they can figure out their feelings, bounty hunters plan to collect on his hide and her father does not sit well with his daughter’s insult.

The fifth Hell’s Eight western romance (see Sam’s Creed and Tucker’s Claim) is an exciting tale due to the unique Chinese heroine. Although the male protagonist is somewhat interchangeable with his brothers in arms like Tracker and Caine, Fei brings freshness with her need for independence and her skill at running a business empire from the shadows. Adding in her Chinese nationality, she makes for a strong pre Civil War entry.

Harriet Klausner

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms-Cindy Woodsmall

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

Cindy Woodsmall

WaterBrook, Feb 21 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780307446558

Feeling like an outsider within her mamm-run family in Seneca Falls, Old Order Mennonite nineteen year old Annie Martin moves into the home of her grandfather Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge. When bitter wheelchair bound Old Order Amish Ronan Zook goes to his uncle’s farm to fix a broken machine, Annie agrees to help the understaffed family run their restaurant, co-owned by Daadi Moses.

Annie and Ronan’s twin brother Aden, who stutters, are attracted to each other. They begin to meet at night, but her Daadi Moses threatens to pull out of the restaurant if they do not stop. The Zook family knows they need him to abide by Pennsylvania statute or lose their diner. At the same time Ronan likes Marian Lee but refuses to believe she would want a cripple.

This is an interesting Old Order romance in which the star-crossed in love protagonists are caught by the strict rules of the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite clans they belong to. Character driven by the lead pair but also containing strong unique individuals like mamm and Ronan, readers will appreciate the engaging path to love for the lead couple, his brother and Marian, and a flashback to Daadi Moses’ unconventional courting. The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is a fresh fascinating tale as love may not be enough to bridge the differences between the Old Orders of Amish and Mennonites.

Harriet Klausner

I’ve Got Your Number-Sophie Kinsella

I’ve Got Your Number

Sophie Kinsella

Dial, Feb 14 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9780385342063

Poppy Wyatt is euphoric as she is engaged to Dr. Magnus Tavish, Fellow at King’s College London. She and seven of her friends celebrate her engagement at Marie Curie Champagne Tea. They are looking at her heirloom engagement ring that has been part of his family for three generations when sirens force them outside. However, no one claims to have Poppy’s ring while his parents are flying to London from Chicago to meet her. Worse her cell phone is missing too.

Panic and anxiety attacks batter Poppy. When she finds a cell phone tossed in the grave, she uses it to give the hotel a number to reach her if they find the ring. However the phone’s owner, Sam Roxton wants his cell back while she refuses. As she reads his fascinating text messages, Poppy meets her future in-laws while hiding her ring hand from them. Adding to her bewilderment is her feelings seem to be out of whack.

This is a zany contemporary romance starring a shocked young woman hoping for a miracle but when one arrives she may miss it. Over the top of King’s College London School of Medicine, I’ve Got Your Number is a madcap frantic chick lit tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Art of Healing Heartbeats-Jan-Philipp Sendker

The Art of Healing Heartbeats

Jan-Philipp Sendker

Other, Jan 31 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781590514634

Four years ago in New York, Julia Win’s Burmese-American father Tin informed her and her mom that he had a business trip in Boston. After he left, his Wall Street secretary Susan called to ask if he was ill. However, instead of Massachusetts, Tin apparently flew with stops in Los Angeles and Hong Kong to Bangkok where he vanished; although flight attendants on Thai Airways claimed to have seen him on flights to London, Paris and Phnom Penh respectively, but none of these clues led to him.

Four years later, Julia’s mom gives her a package that belonged to her dad. Inside is a love letter written in 1955 addressed to a Mi Mi from Julia’s dad. Needing the truth though she abhors confrontations, Julia decides to risk her career by flying to Burma in order to meet Mi Mi in a remote Burmese village, as she may have been the love of her dad’s life even after he resided in America for five decades. When she tells her mom where she is going, the older woman says her husband never truly gave himself to her in thirty five years of marriage.

This is an incredible romance in which true love never dies in spite of fifty years and thousands of miles apart. Once Julia arrives in Burma, she meets U Ba who tells her (and readers) the love story of her father and Mi Mi. Readers will relish this strong historical as Tin proves you can come home while the audience will not walk away with dry eyes.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 19, 2011

Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time-Lisa Tracy

Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time

Lisa Tracy

Bantam, Mar 23 2010, $25.00

ISBN: 9780553807264

Following the death of their mom, sisters Lisa and Jeanne had to make decisions about the estate. There are seemingly tons of heirlooms dating back to the Revolution, as the Tracey family has a long military tradition. The pair decides to sell some items, but need to determine pricing of objects with alleged major ties to prominent figures like pistols supposedly used by Aaron Burr. As they look into their ancestors, Lisa and Jeanne learn the history behind these possessions. Following the auction, both felt depressed and remorseful as if they sold their DNA.

This fascinating memoir is an entertaining look at the genealogy of several generations of a family though the prized items they accumulated over centuries with the military. Not for everyone, as not everyone will find “Affection” for a Pickle Fork; however, those who enjoy tidbits of American history through the affectionate look at the background of objects amassed from military campaigns will relish Ms. Tracy’s homage to her family tree.

Harriet Klausner

Princess Charming-Nicole Jordan

Princess Charming

Nicole Jordan

Ballantine, Jan 31 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780345525277

In 1816, Maura Collyer grieves the death of her father while her loathing her wicked stepmother grows since the latter sold her horse without her permission to pay a gambling debt to an evil aristocrat. Maura plans to retrieve what is hers though she knows how difficult achieving her goal will prove.

At midnight at a gala, Marquis Ashton Wilde observes his sister Katherine’s closest friend twenty-four years old Maura Collyer fleeing from a tryst with Lord Deerfield. Fascinated, he learns the truth of her mission including her meeting with Deerfield; and offers his assistance to her in retrieving her steed. As his romantic sibling insists that he is Prince Charming to Maura’s Cinderella, the reluctant pair fall in love but their quest proves dangerous.

The first Legendary Lovers Wilde Regency romance is a delightful twist on the Cinderella-Charming tale. The key cast mirrors the fairy tale (including a self-proclaimed fairy godmother) with the exception of the heroine who rejects a prince, a stubborn marquis or any man wanting her forever. Readers will enjoy Nicole Jordan’s fun historical spin as ever after cannot happen if the heroine rejects her Cinderella present.

Harriet Klausner

The Summer Garden-Sheryl Woods

The Summer Garden

Sheryl Woods

Mira, Jan 31 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313090

Luke O’Brien met "Maddening Moira" O'Malley when both were in Dublin a few months ago. He was and remains attracted to her though he expects nothing will happen between them. Instead he diligently focuses on opening up a pub in Chesapeake Shores, Maryland while his dalliance with Kristen Lewis fails to delete Maddening Moira from his mind.

Moira wonders if Luke the playboy will be like her father who abandoned her and the family when she was a child or a dedicated loving mate. She fears risking her heart while he tries to concentrate on the pub. His family does what the O’Brien clan always does; interfere as they want Luke and Moira together.

The latest Chesapeake Shores contemporary romance (see Beach Lane and Moonlight Cove) is a lighthearted romp starring an interesting pair as he is married to his pub and she is frozen with her phobia of men leaving. Although the storyline contains no surprises as the plot is very straightforward, fans will enjoy the return to Maryland for a visit with the O’Brien boisterous brood.

Harriet Klausner

Secrets of the Lost Summer-Carla Neggers

Secrets of the Lost Summer

Carla Neggers

Mira, Jan 31 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313113

Boston based designer Olivia Frost returns to her rustic home in Knights Bridge New England with a dream. Her plan is to convert her property into a picturesque getaway. Though she has doubts she can succeed, the ramshackle dilapidated house next door will insure failure unless he can persuade the absentee owner to fix up the horror.

San Diego based Dylan McCaffrey learns he inherited a house in Knights Bridge that he never knew his late father owned. He goes to look at his inheritance only to find a falling apart dump and he cannot fathom why his dad owned especially since it has no heat during an ice storm. Dylan begins to realize this crapper contains generations old family treasure. Over the objection of her canine Buster, Dylan and Olivia seek the hidden loot, but he soon realizes the real treasure is her.

This is a great regional romance with a bit of a family history enhancing the wonderful plot. The protagonists are an engaging pair of West and East Coast while the support crew, consisting of his and her families and friends, strengthens the entertaining storyline. Fans will enjoy winter in Knights Bridge.

Harriet Klausner

If You See Her-Shiloh Walker

If You See Her

Shiloh Walker

Ballantine, Jan 31 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780345517548

in Ash, Kentucky, District Attorney Remington Jennings speaks to the former husband of Hope Carson, police detective Joseph Carson about helping Hope who is in the hospital after a suicide attempt and is the prime suspect in an assault against Law Reilly. Joseph says she is a violent person suffering from a borderline personality disorder that makes her a manipulative chameleon.

Hope distrusts anyone even remotely associated with law enforcement as she barely survived spousal abuse and her ex’s clever painting of her as the lunatic while he was the nurturing cop from a powerful family. She remains fearful of any person offering to help her; especially a DA who thinks she tried to kill Law. However, someone stalks her and she thinks that hunter is Joseph Carson. Remy knows he is in love, but she needs help although he offers the wrong kind as he fails to believe her paranoia until it may be too late.

The second Ash romantic suspense (see If You Hear Her) is an exciting tense thriller starring an endangered woman written off by cops and the DA as a nutcase. Fast-paced, If You See Her moves forward the overarching theme but leaves the prime villain in the nebulous shadows. Hope is an intriguing protagonist while Remy assumes he fell in love with a certifiable maniac who he knows he should convict for murder and assault. However, this tale belongs to the “Golden boy” Joseph though his masquerading as a saint with a bad seed persona has been used before,

Harriet Klausner

Not This Time-Vicki Hinze

Not This Time

Vicki Hinze

Multnomah, Feb 21 2012, $13.99

ISBN: 9781601422071

The second Talbot marriage between Dr. Harvey and FBI agent Roxy occurs at the Seagrove Village country club. Police Detective Jeff Myers arrives late only to find everyone unconscious. One person elderly Clyde Parker, village matriarch Nora’s beloved, dies from the chemical terrorist attack. The villagers believe Nihilists in Anarchy (NINA) deployed to send them a warning message for interfering in their illegal unethical operations (see Forget me Not and Deadly Ties).

The endearing relationship between business partners BFF Sara Jones-Tayon and Beth Dawson has increasingly been estranged due to the latter’s husband Robert. When Robert calls Beth frantically insisting he has been kidnapped, Jeff thinks Beth is behind the abduction while Beth thinks the “victim” is pulling another con job though she also believes her Joe is playing with her heart. Finally Karl Masson tries to rectify his one act of kindness in order to get back in the graces of NINA’s Raven, who remains unidentified and deadly.

The final Crossroads Crisis Center romantic suspense is an exhilarating action-packed thriller from the moment Jeff finds everyone supine on a floor. The storyline ties the major threads up to the delight of fans. Although Raven’s identity seems obvious early on in spite of a clever red herring, readers will relish Vicki Hinze’s engaging finish to this taut series.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where She Belongs-Cindy Procter-King

Where She Belongs

Cindy Procter-King

Five Star, Dec 16 2011, $25.95

ISBN 9781432825454

Nearly a decade has passed sine the logging tragedy killed the father and high school sweetheart of Jess Morgan. Grieving her dual loss, Jess cannot turn to her mom who found solace with another man. Jess left her hometown of Destiny Falls, British Columbia vowing to never return to the sight of her greatest trauma and betrayal.

However, when her stepfather dies, Jess the shoe buyer returns to Destiny Falls to briefly be there in order to persuade her mom to live with her in Toronto as she hopes to mend their estrangement. Jess is stunned by how much her mother needs her and how much forester Adam Wright wants her. Adam pushes for a permanent relationship amidst their families in Destiny Falls but fearful of relationships as loved ones die Jess prepares to flee back to Ontario.

This is an entertaining family drama starring a young woman unable to move past the losses of her dad and her boyfriend. Jess makes the tale as she brings realism with her trauma. Her mom’s inability to cope then and now enhance how alone Jess felt back then. Although Adam is a bull in a china shop when his beloved needs gentle support, fans will enjoy visiting Destiny Falls in picaresque British Columbia.

Harriet Klausner

A Haunted Twist of Fate-Stacey Coverstone

A Haunted Twist of Fate

Stacey Coverstone

Five Star, Dec 16 2011, $25.95

ISBN 9781432825416

Fourteen months ago her dad died only six month after her mom passed away. On top of that men wanted her fortune not her. So needing to leave Illinois, Shay Brennan arrives in Hill City, South Dakota. On a whim she contacts Widower realtor Colt Morgan and buys the historic Buckhorn Saloon, built in 1885.

Her sleep in her first night inside her new home is interrupted by a female ghost begging for her to help her. Not long afterward Colt arrives at midnight to make sure she is okay as a caller woke him to say he saw water running out the front door and a woman entered through the unopened door. Since the ground is dry, Colt assumes the caller was intoxicated. As the realtor and his client begin to fall in love, Shay realizes she has a second paranormal presence in her new house, but unlike the woman, he is evil.

This is an enjoyable ghost romance starring a wonderful female and an equally delightful male. They fall in love while sleuthing the saloon spooks to learn why they haunt the place and what happened over a century ago. The romantic subplot supersedes the ghost story as A Haunted Twist of Fate leads to love.

Harriet Klausner

Where She Belongs-Cindy Procter-King

Where She Belongs

Cindy Procter-King

Five Star, Dec 16 2011, $25.95

ISBN 9781432825454

Nearly a decade has passed sine the logging tragedy killed the father and high school sweetheart of Jess Morgan. Grieving her dual loss, Jess cannot turn to her mom who found solace with another man. Jess left her hometown of Destiny Falls, British Columbia vowing to never return to the sight of her greatest trauma and betrayal.

However, when her stepfather dies, Jess the shoe buyer returns to Destiny Falls to briefly be there in order to persuade her mom to live with her in Toronto as she hopes to mend their estrangement. Jess is stunned by how much her mother needs her and how much forester Adam Wright wants her. Adam pushes for a permanent relationship amidst their families in Destiny Falls but fearful of relationships as loved ones die Jess prepares to flee back to Ontario.

This is an entertaining family drama starring a young woman unable to move past the losses of her dad and her boyfriend. Jess makes the tale as she brings realism with her trauma. Her mom’s inability to cope then and now enhance how alone Jess felt back then. Although Adam is a bull in a china shop when his beloved needs gentle support, fans will enjoy visiting Destiny Falls in picaresque British Columbia.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Price of Temptation-Lecia Cornwall

The Price of Temptation

Lecia Cornwall

Avon, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062018946

Lady Evelyn Renshaw is under a form of house arrest in which she can only venture outside at a time in which duelists, their seconds and French agents are the sole people roaming the streets. The Ton condemned her ever since her husband Lord Phillip vanished seven months ago when he was accused of treason by the Crown; ironically Napoleon has accused Phillip of theft. Her every move means surveillance and no escape from London as the Crown’s operatives hope Phillip will visit his wife. In spite of receiving the Ton’s claws, she knows nothing about whether her husband lives or his seditious activities; then again the fickle aristocracy does not care preferring her as the scandal of choice.

On his way to a duel, Captain Sinjon Rutherford intercedes when a Napoleonic operative assaults her claiming his emperor wants what her spouse stole from him. Sinjon’s reward is to have the English secret service offering him a prison cell or or spying on Evelyn. Thus he becomes Sam the footman in her household. He protects her from a persistent killer as they fall in love.

The second Crown Regency espionage romance (see Secrets of a Proper Countess) is a superb historical starring a beleaguered protagonist whose innocence does not matter to the Ton or the English government. For that matter the government treatment of Sinjon is similar to that of his beloved as both are expendable pawns in the war of intrigue with Napoleon and his agents. Readers will appreciate this terrific early nineteenth century novel, as everyone asks where in the world Phillip is.

Harriet Klausner

Hot and Heavy-Sandra Hill

Hot and Heavy

Sandra Hill

Avon, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062019042

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Ian MacLean leads his commando team on Operation Rodent; the objective is to eliminate terrorist leader Jamal ben Hassan in Northern Iraq. The SEALS safely land near their target with Ian entering an empty cave to use as the rendezvous point.

In 1013 Madrene Olgadotter is paraded naked and in chains by Steinolf the Vicious who has taken over her home Norstead. When she continues to display a vitriolic tongue, he sells her to a harem. Over the next three years she is sold nine times, but no one touches her as she curses her owners with a shriveled jewel. She escapes her last captivity in Northern Iraq and hides in a cave.

Madrene surprises Ian and hits him with a rock. She binds him, but he easily escapes. He believes the sharp tongued beauty is Jamal’s girlfriend while she thinks he is a caliph’s slave. As they become acquainted during the dangerous mission, they fall in love, but neither is sure how much time she has although she will soon find her parents and siblings living comfortably in twenty-first century California.

This is a fun reprint of a 2005 Viking time travel-SEAL romance starring two protagonists who belong together even if their birth dates are over a millennium apart. Madrene is terrific as she curses males with a shriveling ease until she meets Ian who thinks she is crazy but seems too enchanted by her with an opposite spell that leaves him in a permanent state of hardness due. Readers will enjoy Sandra Hill’s latest romantic thriller starring this time a female Viking warrior and the SEAL she tames.

Harriet Klausner

My Ruthless Prince-Gaelen Foley

My Ruthless Prince

Gaelen Foley

Avon, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062075918

In 1816 the Order of St. Michael the Archangel knows Drake, Earl of Westwood has deserted their cause by joining their enemy the Promethean. In fact he heads the Promethean Guard.

His childhood friend, the gamekeeper’s daughter Emily Hunter, rejects the notion that honorable Drake would betray his beliefs. She journeys to the Bavarian Alps in order to locate and bring Drake home to England. However, Emily’s arrival leaves Drake’s plans in disarray as much as her presence does likewise to his heart. He demands she go home, but she refuses; in spite of the evidence Emily believes in her Drake. His cards are called when she becomes a hostage pawn of an adversary he loathes.

The fourth Inferno Club Regency romantic suspense (see My Irresistible Earl, My Wicked Marquess and My Dangerous Duke) is an exciting espionage thriller. The fun storyline is filled with twists and spins although the climax ends as expected from the moment the intrepid heroine sets foot in the Alps. Fans of the series especially will relish this entry in which the reader learns about enigmatic traitorous Drake while we wonder whether Emily sees him through rose colored glasses.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Lure of Song and Magic-Patricia Rice

The Lure of Song and Magic

Patricia Rice

Sourcebooks, Jan 1 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781402255748

Children television producer Dylan “Oz” Ozwin has spent the past year in a futile search for his missing son Donal. Concerned friends and family tell him to accept the reality that his child is dead, but Oz refuses end his hunt.

Recently the enigmatic Librarian sends Oz an email suggesting he talk with former tweener singing sensation Syrene at the Little Angels Childcare center in El Padre, California where he asks to meet with Phillipa “Pippa“ James, her real name. She vowed to never sing again while becoming a children’s author. While sympathetic to his dire quest, she fears reentering the public domain as the magic of her voice has caused emotional problems; yet Oz seems immune to her power.

Bringing the Malcolm Magic series (see Must be Magic and Magic Man) to the present (Pippa is a Malcolm), fans of the saga will appreciate Patricia’s Rice clever exhilarating romance. Part of the fun is Pippa’s efforts to hide her magic in the instant digital age (think of the opening scenes in I Am Number Four). Fast-paced from the moment the desperate father follows any even remote lead takes him to the voice of power, fans will enjoy This Magic Moment as he is immune to the Lure of Song and Magic but not love.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Soldier’s Secret-Linda Style

A Soldier’s Secret

Linda Style

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 3 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717576

In 2003 in Iraq, helicopter pilot Natalia Sokoloff is on a rescue mission when she spots a baby and a terrorist. She kills the terrorist before he can murder the infant. However, she is shocked when she realizes he was just a tweener. An explosion leaves Natalie unconscious.

Nine years later in Arizona, Natalie is a helicopter rescue pilot who works with her BFF paramedic David “Mac” MacAllister. She suffers from PTSD that has worsened to the point she has panic attacks. Mac informs her he needs a wife so he can bring home his half Iraqi child that until recently he never knew he fostered six years ago. He assumes the mother was killed by zealots while the grandma who raised the child just died. Mac and a maternal aunt compete for custody. Natalie agrees to marry Mac. His son Joey joins them but as Natalie battles with her syndrome, she also falls in love with her BFF and his son.

Aptly titled A Soldier’s Secret, this engaging contemporary romance somewhat looks into the impact of combat induced PTSD and deeper into trysts between Americans on tour and Iraqis. Although the PTSD is not fully explored beyond short cripplers, readers will enjoy the coming together of two BFFs in love and their child.

Harriet Klausner

A Hero In The Making-Kay Stockham

A Hero In The Making

Kay Stockham

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 3 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717521

Fifteen years ago her mom uprooted her from New York to Montana. Now Skylar Mathews-Adams repeats that pilgrimage by bringing her seven year old son Cody to the Second Chance Ranch in Montana so that both can move past the grief that has crippled Cody and frightened his mom with fear he will commit suicide; his therapist recommends drugs. Cody has not been able to cope with the death of the man he considered his father.

On the ranch, Skylar expects to meet Marcus Whitefeather. Years ago they were lovers in love until a football injury left him wheelchair bound unable to use his legs. He drove pregnant Skylar away; a decision he has always regretted. With her and Cody at the ranch, Marcus wants a second chance to prove his love for Skylar and a first chance with his son Cody who rejects him except for Cassie the canine as unsuitable for his mom.

This is a superb family drama as the three prime players act realistically. Marcus and Skylar remain in love and want a do over, but each understands Cody comes first; as he is an at risk child capable of doing something stupidly irreversible. Readers will appreciate this powerful character driven tale as Cody’s troubles make for an insightful plot.

Harriet Klausner

His Brother’s Keeper-Dawn Atkins

His Brother’s Keeper

Dawn Atkins

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 3 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717538

In a bad section of Phoenix, in honor to his late younger brother Robert and their deceased father, Gabe Cassidy wants his STRIKE program to keeps at risk kids from joining gangs like the El Doble 22nd Street or the Baseline Kings. However, he fears his martial arts program will be shut down since Principal Charlie Hopkins, who sanctioned the activity at the high school, was fired due to political B.S.

Robert’s high school girlfriend Felicity Spencer becomes the school principal. Gabe remains angry with her for deserting his sibling when Robert needed her most. He becomes irate when Felicity chooses to shut his program as she wants to use the gym for a different after school activity. However, making him rage is his attraction to the woman he considers the enemy.

This engaging modern day urban romance focuses strongly on the problems families in gang controlled areas and dedicated people face trying to make a difference. The romance takes a back seat to the Blackboard Jungle (by Evan Hunter) social drama. Timely with recent presidential candidate commentary, Dawn Atkins makes a case that influential outsiders with no real knowledge believe the business model of poor neighborhoods is illegal activity, fans will enjoy this discerning tale of diverse types of inner city love.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stripped-Tori St. Claire


Tori St. Claire

Heat, Jan 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425246771

CIA Black Opals operative Natalya Trubachev works undercover as the fiancée of Russian Mafia boss Dmitri Gavrikov. Her mission is to take down this entire human trafficking ring. To do so means staying in cover by selling strippers as commodities into sexual slavery.

Las Vegas police Lieutenant Brandon Moretti is undercover as manager of the Fantasia strip club. He recruits Natalya to ostensibly watch over his “girls”. However he knows she has ties to a killer he wants to take down, but is unaware that her next commodity works at the club. Her fraternal twin Kate, who dances at Fantasia, has been chosen for sale. As the undercover pair fall in love, both vows to keep Kate safe.

Stripped is a unique refreshing erotic romantic suspense due to the nature of the occupations of the lead couple. Readers will ask do the ends (shutting down the trafficking operation to keep many more females from the commodity exchange) justify the means (selling some women into sex slavery). Tori St. Clare provides a thought provoking thriller in which the undercover operations supersede the romance.

Harriet Klausner

Crash Into You-Roni Loren

Crash Into You

Roni Loren

Heat, Jan 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425245248

Considering her mother was murdered and she raped, Brynn LeBreck is mentally stable though she has muted her sexual cravings. Her work at a crisis center has been a life saver.

However, her haven ends when attorney Reid Jamison begins working at the crisis center. They have a history in which he broke her heart years ago when she gave him her love and broke it again when he defended the man accused of murdering her mom. However, Brynn becomes frantic when her sister vanishes. Fearing the worst happened to Jace, she assumes her sibling hides in the Ranch BDSM retreat from mobsters and cops. Brynn plans to go undercover as a sub at the retreat to rescue Jace, but has no invitation to get inside unless she allows Master Reid to escort her. As they fall in love at the raunchy Ranch, an adversary plans to obtain pleasure from murdering them.

This exciting erotic romantic suspense stars protagonists “Loving on the Edge.” The lead couple is a delightful pairing as she hopes to escape from him with her heart intact; while he hopes for a second chance at love with her. The suspense enhances an engaging BDSM romance.

Harriet Klausner

On Lavender Lane-JoAnn Ross

On Lavender Lane

JoAnn Ross

Signet, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235435

Former SEAL Lucas Chaffee left the Navy to join with his dad in a father and son business in Shelter Bay, Oregon. However, he learns the true meaning of the citation “man proposes but God disposes” when he arrives in time to bury his dad at sea. Lucas is in shock by his loss. The townsfolk rally around the stunned Lucas who knows he suffers from a grief-driven PTSD much worse than any of his SEAL mission.

Sofia De Luca, who was there for father and son when tragedy struck yearago is there for Lucas again. She asks him to redesign her farmhouse, Lavender Lane, into a restaurant. Lucas agrees though that brings back memories of her granddaughter Madeline; he broke two hearts back in high school.

Madeline has become a famous TV chef. She catches her husband Maxime with a bimbo on YouTube. Deciding to go home for a respite following his betrayal, Madeline returns to Shelter Bay to help Gram with her restaurant. However, on Lavender Lane, she realizes Lucas is the answer to the question How To Mend a Broken Heart (Bee Gees)?

The third Shelter Bay romance (see One Summer and The Homecoming) is an insightful second chance at love contemporary. The key to the storyline are the traumas impacting the lead couple to include death of a love one, returning military trying to adjust to civilian life, spousal abuse and PTSD as these conditions widen the understanding of the protagonists. Readers will enjoy dining in Shelter Bay with Chef Madeline and veteran Lucas.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 9, 2011

Defy The World Tomatoes-Phoebe Conn

Defy The World Tomatoes

Phoebe Conn

Samhain, Oct 4 2011, $16.00

ISBN: 9781609282943

On the California coast, internationally reknowned classical pianist Griffin Moore enters the Defy The World Tomatoes Nursery seeking to speak with the male landscape architect. Darcy MacLeod forgives his chauvinism as she needs the client. He explains he just purchased the old Hadley Place on exclusive Ridgecrest which winds around the mountainous slopes overlooking Monarch Bay. Griffin wants a Zen Garden overlooking the sea.

However, once she completes that task, Griffin creates jobs for Darcy to have her around. Darcy feels the same way as these seemingly opposites are attracted to one another. As Texas dirt and Georgia tuxedo fall in love, she has one qualm about him, his dangerous work for Interpol.

This is a terrific character driven romance between two fascinating obstinate protagonists. Although seemingly having nothing in common except their love, both are stubborn, hide feelings and are steadfast; ironically at times that resolve makes each unlikable for the moment but realistic. Darcy’s partner Christy adds much Joy to the mix as a single parent raising her young daughter while fending off her odious affluent ex blackmail threats of a full custody suit. With some suspense from his other occupation, fans will enjoy touring the Monarch Bay area with Griffin and Darcy as our tour guides.

Harriet Klausner

Trouble At The Wedding-Laura Lee Guhrke

Trouble At The Wedding

Laura Lee Guhrke

Avon, Dec 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061963179

In 1904 on board the Atlantic Ocean liner, nouveau riche American heiress Annabel Wheaton knows she still has Mississippi mud running through her veins as the New York Knickerbocker snobs reminded her, but will marry into respectability. Her wedding to impoverished womanizing Lord Bernard Rumsford will give her what she craves. Bernard with one dance in Saratoga after three years of ostracizing made the redneck relevant and now they will marry on the ship at sea.

A week earlier, her Uncle Arthur wanted the fortune-hunter Rumsford out of his niece’s life as he wants better for her. He hired the Duke Christian Du Quesne to prevent the wedding. Christian succeeds in his task, but now covets being the groom to the affluent steel magnolia. However, a raging Annabelle rejects his proposal as the ducal rake, unsure why he feels the way he does, has fallen in love with the American from Goosebend.

Although the premise of competing rakes chasing after the money of an affluent country bumpkin is not new (see Bedtime Story), talented Laura Lee Guhrke provides a fresh exciting Edwardian Era romance. Filled with humor and heart, fans will root for the heroine who as a rebel with a cause fights for what she wants; though her choice seems between two Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Trouble At The Wedding is a delightful romantic comedic historical.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Under The Same Sky-Genevieve Graham

Under The Same Sky

Genevieve Graham

Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425245231

In 1746 Maggie Johnson and family struggles to eke out a living on the frontier of the Carolina Colony. Maggie has the ability of “the sight” ever since she was a child. Her visions predominately focus on the Wolf as she dubs the lad she has seen grows from a child to a ferocious warrior. She believes he is her destiny.

In his dreams, Andrew MacDonald has always seen and talked with a female who has grown from a young girl into a beautiful woman as he matured. He pledged as a child to find his dream. He believes she is his destiny.

Whereas Andrew fights on the side of Jacobite uprising, slavers capture Maggie and her family is killed. Indians rescue her and taker her to their camp to heal. Meanwhile having lost in Scotland, Andrew crosses the ocean in search of his beloved destiny.

Rotating perspective between Scotland and the Colonies, Under the Same Sky is an exciting eighteenth century paranormal romance starring two people who shares a dream of love though having never met outside of the nocturnal plane. The storyline is character driven with first hand accounts enabling the audience to see the visions while the third person viewpoints add action; though the switching can be disruptive. Readers will relish the quest for true love.

Harriet Klausner

Colorado Dawn-Kaki Warner

Colorado Dawn

Kaki Warner

Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425245224

In 1868 after six-years of a non-existing marriage to Scottish Cavalry Officer Angus Wallace in which she seen him once for a short visit and only three paltry and none recent letters, Madeline decides enough moping. She accepts a position as a photographer for the Illustrated London News. Editor Mr. Chesterfield assigns her to take pictures of the American West as he believes his readers will enjoy the distaff perspective.

After months of recovering from war injuries and becoming an earl as his family was decimated by illness, Angus returns home looking forward to being with his Maddie. However, he is shocked when he arrives to learn she is on the other side of the pond. Angus follows his wife’s tail until he encounters her Heartbreak Creek Colorado. She orders her mate to go home as she refuses to accompany him. As he courts his spouse whom he neglected but loves, Angus also must keep her safe from deadly outlaws and amoral upright citizens with avarice agendas.

The latest Runaway Brides historical romance (see Heartbreak Creek) is a wonderful second chance at love Americana tale. The two Scottish aristocrats come across somewhat as fresh fish swimming in the ocean. Their loving antics in the forefront of a vivid post Civil War Colorado Territory tale turns into an exciting action-packed western romance.

Harriet Klausner

Twice Fallen-Emma Wildes

Twice Fallen

Emma Wildes

Signet, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235282

In 1816 London, Lady Lillian Bourne knows she must behave exemplary because the slightest hint of impropriety will leave her rusticating on the shelf. She owes a debt to the Dowager Duchess of Eddington who helped her return to society following her scandalous elopement attempt four years ago.

However, her prim and proper deployment is tested when she finds herself locked in a library with only former operative Lord Damien Northfield. He gets them back to the party through a secret passageway. Damien is assigned a final mission to uncover the identity of a blackmailer. One of the victims is Lily’s former ex-fiancé Lord Sebring who ruined her. Even as he wonders why her father failed to challenge the rogue, Damien recruits Lily to assist him on his task, but his secret agenda is to court her.

The latest Ladies in Waiting Regency romance (see One Whisper Away) is an intelligent undercover thriller starring two likable individuals whose amusing banter brings a fun element to an exciting tale. The storyline is fast-paced as Emma Wildes deftly blends love, danger and humor into a first rate historical.

Harriet Klausner

Tempted Again-Cathie Linz

Tempted Again

Cathie Linz

Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425244548

Over a decade ago Marissa Bennett left Hopeful, Ohio to attend Ohio State rather than the hometown Midwest College where her dad is a history professor. Following a nasty divorce and the loss of her job, Marissa heeds her manta to find shelter when things go wrong. Shelter has always been Hopeful so in need of R&R, she returns home as the librarian.

However, she receives quite a home greeting when she drives her rusty VW Bug in the Founders Day Parade. Former Chicago cop and current town Sheriff Connor Doyle-walks up to her vehicle and turns off her car. She recognizes the man who took her virginity when they were teens, but he fails to realize who the New York license identifies as Marissa Johnson is until her mom lectures him. Her hope for a bit of home haven is shattered as she is Tempted Again to make it with the bad boy but she fears her broken heart will never mend; he knows he wants a second time with her too.

This is a lighthearted second chance at love Buckeye romance. The townsfolk enhance the warm thin storyline by bringing alive Hopeful. However, this engaging frolic belongs to the lead couple as both are Tempted Again, but he must convince her that he has matured since they worked side by side at the pizza parlor.

Harriet Klausner

Catch of a Lifetime-LuAnn McLane

Catch of a Lifetime

LuAnn McLane

Signet, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235497

Jessica Robinson was a kid having a kid when she moved to Cricket Creek, Kentucky to raise her daughter Madison as a single mom. To everyone’s shock, Jessica became a famous Chicago chef. However, she is back in town to help insure the success of her beloved zany Aunt Myra's Wine and Dine Restaurant as the in place to eat.

Retired major leaguer baseball player Ty McKenna knows Jessica's Chicago cooking as he dined there every night with seemingly a different bimbo when the team was home. He now resides in the small Kentucky town managing the minor league Cricket Creek Cougars. Ty was attracted to the chef in Chicago but failed to swing the bat as he expect to strike out. With a second chance at the plate, he plans to swing for the fences as he tries to persuade the forty year old Jessica that belong together.

Catch of a Lifetime is an entertaining lighthearted sports-culinary romance starring a baseball manager and a renowned chef. The support cast brings zaniness especially her family and his players and fans. Although the plot follows a straight path, this amusing tale belongs to the “oh lordy” forty couple who run the bases of love with their walk off homerun.

Harriet Klausner

Untamed-Pamela Clare


Pamela Clare

Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425245811

In 1757 Frenchwoman Amalie Chauvenet becomes an orphan due to a daring raid by the notorious British militia MacKinnon's Rangers near Fort Ticonderoga. However, the legendary Morgan MacKinnon is injured in the battle and captured by his enemy, the French and their Indian allies the Abenaki.

Amalie who loathes MacKinnon, sight unseen, is shocked when she is assigned to nurse him back to health especially since Brigadier de Bourlamaque plans to allow his Abenaki friends to torture Morgan. Even more stunning to the gentle Frenchwoman is he is far from the brutal berserker she expected; instead he is grateful for her care and remorseful for killing her kin. Morgan is attracted to Amalie, but pretends to switch allegiance from the English to the French. When Amalie realizes he lied, she wants nothing to do with him; instead she is married to him. Before they can figure out what to do next, Morgan and Amalie are on the run with the French, the English, the Indians and his two brothers in pursuit.

This reprint of the second Mackinnon French and Indian war romance (see SURRENDER) is a great tale due to the interweaving of historical tidbits into the story line including the fact that some of the colonists already resented the English military almost two decades before the Revolution. The story line is action-paced but owned by the fleeing lead couple and the historical backdrop that makes this clearly must reading for Colonial America romance fans.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Danger of Desire-Elizabeth Essex

The Danger of Desire

Elizabeth Essex

Kensington Brava, Dec 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758251589

In 1799 in London, the Admiralty assigns injured Captain Hugh McAlden to uncover the identity of a traitor. He observes a female adeptly pick pockets and wonders if she could be his undercover agent posing as a servant inside the home of the suspected traitor.

Hugh offers Meggs a deal of amnesty and money; which she accepts as this will enable her to attain her dream of returning to the countryside with her brother. She completes the mission obtaining the evidence though one seditious operative escapes. Meggs falls in love with her handler while his mother teachers her how to be a lady; likewise Hugh falls in love with his thief. At a Christmas gala, Meggs’ abandonment explodes into the open just before the remaining free traitor abducts her. Hugh risks his life to rescue his beloved Meggs.

This is an engaging Georgian romance (see The Pursuit of Pleasure) between two unlikely protagonists. Fast-paced from the early point when Hugh admires Meggs’ felonious skills until his final rescue attempts, although the climax feels abrupt. Still fans will enjoy this exciting historical with its loose nod to George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Harriet Klausner

Yours, Unexpectedly-Susan Fox

Yours, Unexpectedly

Susan Fox

Kensington Brava, Dec 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758259318

Merilee and Matt have been an entry since they were small children. In fact she was seven years old when she planned her wedding to reliable Matt. Everyone expects them to exchange I do shortly. However, Merilee has doubts as she watches her three Fallon sisters find passionate love (see Love, Unexpectedly; His, Unexpectedly; and Yours, Unexpectedly). She envies what her beloved siblings have found and wants the same; but believes her dependable long time boyfriend takes her for granted and ergo is incapable of romancing her.

Merilee ends their engagement. Matt refuses to give up on marrying the woman he has loved for years. He persuades her they should go on their honeymoon cruise not as a married couple but as buddies. His hidden agenda is to court the woman he believes still loves him as much as he loves her.

This is an engaging second chance romance with the premise of never take for granted critical relationships. The fascinating lead couple seems to have no issues until Merilee observes her sisters’ heated love. Readers will enjoy this lighthearted frolic that sails the expectedly course of love.

Harriet Klausner

Sugar Rush-Donna Kauffman

Sugar Rush

Donna Kauffman

Kensington Brava, Dec 27 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758266347

After over a decade of blood, sweat and tears Leilani Trusdale leaves New York City and chef Baxter “Hot Cakes” Dunne pastry shop to open a cupcake shop in her father’s hometown of Sugarberry Island, Georgia. Baxter, who gave the running of his pastry shop to Lei while he became a popular TV chef, announces he will do a show on Sugarberry Island. Her BFF Charlotte warns her that his arrival on her turf will be The News.

Chef Hot Cakes arrives at the barrier island announcing on the air that he will do a show in her new shop. He conceals his secret recipe of winning the heart of his former student and assistant. Lei feels the tension of her former boss who she loves, but turns to advice from Charlotte and the sugar members of the Cupcake Club as the heat is in the kitchen.

The first Cupcake Club romance is much more complicated than a Sweet Stuff pastry as the cast is strong especially in the kitchen. The lead chefs are a nice pairing of a bantering couple in love with each other and with their vocation as their relationship matches types of pastry. With a nod to the movies Mostly Martha and No Reservations, fans will enjoy this engaging much more than a Sugar Rush contemporary culinary romance.

Harriet Klausner

A Place Called Home-Jo Goodman

A Place Called Home

Jo Goodman

Zebra, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780821774182

Five years ago at the Christening of their newborn twins (Case and Grant), Gabe and Kathryn Reasoner asked their friends businesswoman Thea Wyndham and political cartoonist Mitchell Baker to be legal guardians to the babies and their oldest offspring (then six year old Emilie). Thea and Mitchell agree signing the document as neither expected to ever end in that role.

However, the horrible accident happens with both Reasoner parents dead. Thea insults Mitch by offering him money to go solo as parenting paralyzes her; he tells her where to place her money. Her fiancé Joel and his fiancée Gina put pressure on each of them to dump the kids on the other. Having been in charge of them for a month while Thea remained incognito, Mitch demands she get involved in honor of Gabe who selected her. She soon realizes the children need her and Mitch, and both realize they need each other.

The theme of “unfit” guardians falling in love with each other and the children they raise has been used frequently (see A Kiss for Cade by Lori Copeland and The Redemption of Sarah Cain by Beverly Lewis). However, Jo Goodman makes her entry fresh with a deep yet amusing look at changing extended relationships in a modern somewhat upper class setting (the significant others are old money). The cast is terrific as the lead couple struggle with the demands of their hearts, the twins and their future mates; but none put on the pressure quite like Emilie who is summed up by Mitch as a victim of an adult body snatcher with her pod in the basement. Readers will enjoy this modern take on a newly forged in love family.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Cowboy’s Secret Son-Trish Milburn

The Cowboy’s Secret Son

Trish Milburn

Harlequin American Romance, Jan 3 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753901

Her recent cancer bout frightened interior designer Grace Cameron, but not for herself. The single mom worried what would happen to her six year old son Evan if she should die. Deciding to leave her home for the past seven years in Arkansas, she and Evan drive to the Vista Hills Guest Ranch in Blue Falls, Texas where her son will attend the cowboy camp and meet his father Nathan Teague for the first time,.

As Evan goes to meet the horses, a sickly looking Grace blurts out to Nathan that her son is his. Irate he asks why she failed to tell him; she responds that her ashamed parents dragged her away while he wanted nothing to do with her after that night. He challenges his paternity but she implies there has been no one else. He stalks out while one of her BFFs Laney Stuart offers her solace and French Toast.

The first Teagues of Texas (Nathan’s siblings to follow) is a thrilling second chance at love tale. The premise of concealing a child from a father is not new (see Special Assignment: Baby by Debra Webb), but Trish Milburn refreshes the theme with Grace’s trauma forcing her to relook her priorities though her close friends Laney and Emily Stringer would have been there for Evan. With a strong lead couple and a fully developed secondary cast (including the horses), readers will enjoy this tender ranch family drama.

Harriet Klausner

The SEAL’s Promise-Rebecca Winters

The SEAL’s Promise

Rebecca Winters

Harlequin American Romance, Jan 3 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753918

In Salt Lake City, former Navy SEAL widower Chaz Roylance works as a private investigator at the Lufka P.I. firm (see Undercover Husband for the boss Roman Lufka’s tale). He believes in no permanent relationships since his parents are dead and recently his wife succumbed to cancer.

His current assignment is to protect radio personality widow Lacey Pomeroy and her three year old daughter Abby from a vicious life threatening stalker; the notes are vividly bloody. She left Long Beach when the first note was placed on her car while she was burying her Coast Guard husband Ted who died at sea. The bodyguard and the client are attracted to one another, but both are wary of a relationship. Besides which keeping mother and daughter safe while uncovering the identity of the culprit by pretending a relationship to draw the psychopath out comes before their desire.

The key to this engaging romantic suspense is that the mystery supersedes the romantic subplot as protection comes before love. Although the romance seems abrupt, fans will enjoy this fast-paced, taut thriller in which the culprit stalks in plain sight.

Harriet Klausner

Whisperers In the Dark-Maya Banks

Whisperers In the Dark

Maya Banks

Berkley, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425246108

Although telepath Shea Peterson knows the risk she takes she cannot stop herself from whispering to torture victim US Army soldier Nathan Kelly incarcerated in an airless box. Although Nathan thought he mentally broke down, the voice in his head enables him to escape. Shea knows by her telepathically calling to him, she and gifted sister Grace must flee.

Nathan tries to explain his escape to his family and the Kelly Group International paramilitary, but none of it makes sense to him or them. He also admits he admires his not fragile sister-in-law Rachel who survived a greater and longer ordeal than his (see Hidden Away) and misses the whisperer’s gentle voice. Several months later, the voice returns but sounds desperate. Shea never lost her telepathic link to Nathan and pleads with him to rescue her and her sibling from kidnappers who plan to exploit their paranormal skills.

The latest KGI romantic suspense (see No Place to Run) is a superb fresh thriller with the spin into telepathy. That extrasensory element works as readers believe in the bond of heart and mind between the lead pair. Fans will enjoy the Whisperers In the Dark while looking forward to learning more what the Peterson sisters can do.

Harriet Klausner