Friday, September 30, 2011

All About Seduction-Katy Madison

All About Seduction

Katy Madison

Avon, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780062017352

Caroline Broadhurst has been married for fifteen years to an abusive mill owner who paid her family for her. Now with no heir and learning he is sterile, Broadhurst orders his wife to bed an aristocratic friend of her brother. She is appalled as her husband parades the who’s who of decadence passed her. However, Carline is an obedient wife so will do what is demanded of her even if she loathes sleeping with any of these rakes or for that matter her odious mate.

Caroline is attracted to mill engineer Jack Applegate who has loved her from afar since he first saw his employer’s wife. When Jack is injured at the mill, Caroline takes him to her manor house to heal. He learns of Broadhurst’s insidious scheme and volunteers to be the sire of her offspring. However, her husband learns of her duplicity with an unacceptable middle class worker so plots revenge as the cuckold spouse.

With a nod to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, readers will enjoy this entertaining Regency romance. The exciting story line is character driven mostly by Caroline who is refreshing with her pathetic inability to break out of what society and her family expects of a woman. Although over the top of the Tower especially once Jack is injured, fans will enjoy this engaging nineteenth century version of the Miller’s Tale.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Christmas Cowboy-Shelley Galloway

My Christmas Cowboy

Shelley Galloway

Harlequin American Romance, Nov 1 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753833

His body battered from a bull, rodeo performer Trent Riddell comes home to heal from busted ribs, arm and other injuries that put his career in jeopardy. Childhood friend Jolene Arnold calls Trent who assumes she wants to start a tryst with him. He prefers not to follow up on their one night stand when he was last laid up. Instead she arrives with her three month old baby Amanda Rose who she says is his.

While Trent is in denial and demanding paternity tests, his dad arrives and accepts Amanda Rose as his granddaughter while telling Jo she will not be alone anymore. She explains she called him numerous times to tell him, but he refused to return her calls. Trent insults her offering her money and saying she slept around. Jo leaves. However, his dad warns him to make it right.

The latest Riddell cowboy contemporary is an engaging family drama though as Trent explains there is no engagement so the romance is muted to first comes, the carriage than comes the marriage and finally comes love. The Riddell patriarch is a superb role model as he welcomes Jo and Amanda as a daughter and granddaughter. Trent and his brothers are not quite as welcoming. The mystery involving missing farm equipment detracts from the prime story line of whether Trent mans up to make the two females in his life part of his family.

Harriet Klausner

A Texas Ranger’s Christmas-Rebecca Winters

A Texas Ranger’s Christmas

Rebecca Winters

Harlequin American Romance, Nov 1 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753819

Divorced Texas Ranger Captain Caige Dawson considers leaving the force in order to spend more time with his special needs eight year old son Josh. Three years ago the accident changed the family dynamics leading to Liz leaving him to raise their son by himself; though thanks to angles like teacher Mrs. Wright and caregiver Elly, he knows his child is bring taken care of with love when he is away.

His supervisor Mac Leeson assigns Caige to work on a FBI five years old cold case. Agent Robbins explains that banker Nathan Farley left a branch of the Yellow Rose Bank only to vanish. His wife Blaire was a UT at Austin undergraduate when her husband disappeared. Blaire’s parents called asking for Robbins to bring closure to them and their daughter. Caige goes undercover at the Texas Forest Service where Blaire Kosolov works. He and his son are instantly attracted to the kind Blaire, but he fears she has killed her spouse as two more murders seem to converge on her.

This is a powerful family drama starring three likable individuals, but Josh steals the show from the adults. The mystery of the vanished spouse is deftly handled to blend in with the romance and the nurturing of Josh, who needs special attention. Readers will appreciate Rebecca Winters’ superb holiday thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Royally Claimed-Marie Donovan

Royally Claimed

Marie Donovan

Harlequin Blaze, Oct 18 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 978037379654

In Boston, Aunt Elva and Uncle Paul are injured from a car accident. Nurse Julia Cooper’s parents are flying from Sao Miguel Island in the Azores to Boston to help their relatives. Bostonian native Julia will remain in the Azores.

Portuguese Duke Francisco “Frank” Duarte das Santas Aguas returns to Sao Miguel where he owns a villa. When he and Julia were teens, they fell in love, but each went their separate ways. Now over a decade later, they meet on Sao Miguel with an attraction that is hotter than a Portugal summer. They agree to a dirty dog tryst with an understanding that this relationship is short term. However, as they share food, sex and much more; neither wants this time together to end.

The final Royally Prince romance (see Royally Romanced and Royally Seduced) is a charming contemporary set in an interesting North Atlantic locale as the Azores archipelago somewhat steals the show from the Duke and the Yank. With a late nod to the wedding movie The Best Man, readers will enjoy Royally Claimed.

Harriet Klausner

Roped In-Crystal Greene

Roped In

Crystal Greene

Harlequin Blaze, Oct 18 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796533

Square W+W rancher Nicki Wade has a makeover that turns her from a tomboy into a sexy saloon girl. She and her cousin Candace are at the Pine Junction Grand Hotel Halloween party.

The male she has loved unrequitedly for years, neighboring rancher Shane Carter has come home to his family’s

Slanted C Ranch. Like Nicki, he hopes to save the spread that is in financial trouble.

Candace sees the pair eyeing one another at the gala. She urges Nicki, who she knows has wanted Shane since they were little girls, and Shane to have fun together. They begin a sexy role-playing fantasy that generates enough heat to keep both their ranches warm in winter. As they fall in love, each wonders whether the other would like to erase temporary from their relationship

Roped In is a fun Wrong Bed ranch romance. The fantasies create a heated relationship between the lead couple, but both fear reality. Cousin Candice adds depth to a strong contemporary as the audience wonders whether the fences will come down under a Wade-Carter collaboration as lust and love may not be enough to save the spreads.

Harriet Klausner

Model Marine-Candace Havens

Model Marine

Candace Havens

Harlequin Blaze, Oct 18 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796502

In under an hour Hannah Harrington Designs fashion show is to begin at the annual Fashion Week gala. However, Hannah’s assistant director Anne Marie informs her that the male models are all in jail. The problem is the show fails without them as the only males nearby are much shorter than the towering six foot plus female models. Hannah goes on the streets of Manhattan seeking two hunks. She recruits two marines, Captain Will Hughes and Lieutenant Rafael. They save the Lincoln Center design show.

While Rafe leaves with one of the models; Will escorts Hannah. They begin a two week tryst with the stipulation of no strings or regrets. As he gets in trouble with the brass especially a certain upset general, they fall in love. However, both realize their worlds do not overlap in the slightest; so neither wants to risk their heart by asking the other to break the no permanent clause.

This is a fun lighthearted military out of “Uniformly Hot” entertaining romance. The lead couple is a delightful charming pairing of total opposites. There is some suspense that adds tension to the plot. Fans will appreciate the Marine Model and the designer finding love in Manhattan.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fires of Winter-Roberta Gellis

Fires of Winter

Roberta Gellis

Sourcebook, Nov 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9781402255014

Bruno is the offspring of the holder of Jernaeve Keep Sir William Fermain and Berta the whore. His father refuses to recognize Bruno even as a bastard of his.

Lady Melusine of Ulle has been raised in luxury as the cherished daughter of Sir Malcolm and his wife. Though her dad has lineage to the Scottish throne, but not to Ulle, Malcolm owes his control of the keep partially because he is a fair honest leader and partially because he has the King's support.

Years later, civil war divides the country. Melusine’s father and brother support King David against King Stephen. Declared traitors, Bruno leads a unit of King Stephen’s army that takes Ulle. To anchor his stronghold, King Stephen orders his loyal soldier Bruno to marry the traitor’s daughter. On their wedding night, Melusine sets the tone of their marriage when she tries to kill her new spouse. As they begin to find common ground besides an unwanted attraction, Bruno remains loyal to his liege even becoming incarcerated with him, but he is looking forward to return to the wife he now cherishes.

This reprint of a classic twelfth century romance showcases the talent of the great Roberta Gellis. The terrific story line rotates perspective between the lead couple in an epic sweep of the years, but also maintains a strong medieval base as the protagonists are a sign of their times in a great historical

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tango's Edge-Carol Bellacera

Tango's Edge

Carol Bellacera

Beautiful Evening Books, Sep 2 2011, $12.95

ISBN: 9780615532011

In Park City, Utah, ice skating pairs prepare for their event at the Winter Olympics. The favorite team is the Russian duet Mikhail Kozlof who is considered the world’s best and his partner Elena Boiko who has political influence that she used to become his skating mate after hers died. In fact Mikhail is unhappy that his long time coach and his partner were removed from his team while forcing him to ice dance with snotty Elena.

American Kerry Niles and her lazy partner Adam Cutter are the best chance for the home country to win a medal. Kerry meets Mikhail’s friendly former partner Tanya Novokiva who with Sergei Isavenivic is good but not great. Tanya introduces Kerry to Mikhail who she was attracted to when she saw him at the World’s two years ago. Mikhail stuns Kerry when he asks her to help him deflect. If she helps him, Kerry knows this will cost her only chance at medalling.

Tango's Edge is a strong romantic suspense thriller starring two likable lead characters, a super support cast, and a powerful world stage ice dancing background. The story line contains more twists and spins than a dance routine as the course of freedom to love is not easy with both American and Russian interests involved in a Cold War revision. That segue seems real even if two decades has passed since the Iron Curtain collapsed as the audience will score Carol Belacera’s tale with a 10.

Harriet Klausner

Winter Hawk’s Legend-Aimee Thurlo

Winter Hawk’s Legend

Aimee Thurlo

Harlequin Intrigue, Nov 1 2011, $5.99

ISBN: 9780373746378

Twentyish Holly Gates runs TechTalk, Inc. providing consulting and public relations services to her clients. He largest current customer is Navaho Nation. Ahead of schedule, she takes a time out to enjoy the Mew Mexico landscape. She notices a coyote and several humans before returning to her vehicle to complete her drive. Holly begins a talk to the Navaho on extraction of natural gas when activist Clyde Keeswood interrupts her talk and lifts a chair but Navaho security specialist Daniel Hawk intervenes.

They arrange to meet for dinner in Hartley to discuss security when someone grabs her and places a rope around her throat. Daniel intervenes again. Someone obviously wanted her dead as this was not a simple mugging. She has no idea why or whom. Her Navaho POC Martin Roanhorse assigns Daniel to keep her safe as he considers her work on their behalf important. As the assaults continue with increasing intensity; in order to keep her safe and buy time to learn what is going on, Daniel takes her to his remote New Mexico cabin. Meanwhile Daniel and Holly fall in love; but he prefers soaring free like an eagle while she needs roots.

Winter Hawk’s Legend is a superb Native American mystery starring a woman in peril who she has no concept as to who wants her dead or her unknown adversary’s motive. Thus readers have an innocent doing an innocent thing leading to her danger mindful of Alfred Hitchcock. Daniel is a terrific bodyguard who begins to learn to follow his heart if he is to soar like an eagle. Readers will relish team Thurlo’s enchanting New Mexico thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It Happened One Christmas-Kaitlin O’Riley

It Happened One Christmas

Kaitlin O’Riley

Zebra, Oct 4 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420112399

In 1873 Lisette Hamilton and architect Quinton Roxbury approach the same corner in haste from a converging right angle. Thus they collide. Yet both find warmth on this wintry day, but she plans to marry her childhood friend Henry Brooks and he is to wed Lady Emmeline Tarleton, the daughter of a Duke.

They meet the next day on the train heading to Brighton where he is conducting business and she is going for pleasure. Both know their desire is scandalous but the urge to kiss is difficult to stop. Neither wants to hurt others and he fears what will happen to his financial backing and political aspirations, but each feels the blood rush of falling in love over the cold days of December.

The latest Hamilton Sisters Victorian romance (see When His Kiss Is Wicked and Desire In His Eye) is a warm sweet holiday tale. The key to this engaging historical is the respective partners of the lead protagonists as both Henry and Emmeline are nice individuals who make it that more difficult on Lisette and Quinton to dump them even for love. Readers will enjoy this charming holiday romance as it will take a Christmas miracle for this seemingly fated couple to make it together without hurting others.

Harriet Klausner

Slow Ride-Erin McCarthy

Slow Ride

Erin McCarthy

Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425243961

Hysterical at her father’s funeral, former racing driver Daniel “Diesel” Lange provides a shoulder for Tuesday Jones to weep in. She thought her dad would beat cancer like he did other incidents in his life; but finds it ironic that her father’s favorite driver attended his burial; though he actually was there for his cousin Pete Briggs who died in a crash. Diesel gives Tuesday solace as he says it will get better in time before limping away; showing the remnants of the wreck that broke his neck forcing him to retire.

At a wedding in which she is the maid of honor, Tuesday gets drunk. Diesel is there too so he takes her home as he understands that with her grief comes a special grace. They are attracted to one another, but the timing is off. She grieves her loss and fears the kind ex driver is a convenience while he has issues with his battered body and deaths in his family so is not ready for more than a fling. Neither can prevent the heated encounters, but both refuse to explore their feelings.

The latest Fast Track romance (see The Chase and Hot Finish) stars two fascinating protagonists struggling with recent traumas. Whereas hers is emotional with her loss; his is emotional and physical with his losses. Fast-paced yet tender, readers will enjoy going around the track with Diesel and Tuesday are our drivers.

Harriet Klausner

Animal Attraction-Jill Shalvis

Animal Attraction

Jill Shalvis

Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425244005

In Sunshine, Idaho, for the past eighteen months, Jade Bennett has worked for veterinarian Dr. Dell Connelly as a temp office manager at his animal clinic. She is superb at what she does loke keeping order. She knows she must return to Chicago where her family and profession are, but finds Sunshine helps her heal from the trauma that drove her from the Windy City.

Dell and Jade are attracted to one another, but each conceals their desire from the other. Jade becomes frightened when she learns of attacks at animal clinics, but Dell calms her down and shows her how to defend herself. As they fall in love, one of them must take that treacherous first step if they are to avoid a lifetime of regretting what could have been perfect.

The second Sunshine “animal romance (see Animal Magnetism for the tale of Jade’s friend kennel owner Lilah Young and pilot Brady Miller) is an amusing tender contemporary. The characterizations including the animals like the pussy the hero asks to give it up to him and Gertie the St. Bernard. Sub-genre fans will relish a visit to this ranching community while looking forward to more Jill Shavis’ charming animal crackers romances.

Harriet Klausner

Belong to Me-Shayla Black

Belong to Me

Shayla Black

Heat, Oct 4 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425243152

Twelve years ago on Tyler, Texas, sixteen years old Logan Edgington and Tara Jacobs wanted one another. He took her cherry, but dumped her with no explanation. Hurt badly by him, Tara is unaware he left her to keep her safe from the predator who murdered his mom and threatened his girlfriend.

Logan enjoys being a Dom at Club Dominion especially when he comes home from the latest hellhole the US Navy sends SEALs like him who enjoy seeing the world. FBI Agent Tara is on her first field assignment going undercover inside a sex trafficking ring as a Sub to mount a rescue of another agent who went in as a Sub but untrained; a third agent will be Tara’s trained Dom. Tara may be a Sub in reality, but remains angry with Logan for his cavalier mistreatment of her back when they were in high school. Still attracted to one another, Logan replaces the Fed as her Dom on the dangerous undercover assignment.

This second chance at love BDSM romantic suspense is a heated thriller that never slows down from the moment Logan recognizes his Cherry as the Sub he must train. Fast-paced, the key to the entertaining tale is trust or lack of as she must depend on him to survive and complete the rescue mission but cannot bring herself to do so; failure to believe in her partner could prove fatal. Meanwhile he savors the opportunity to protect and make Cherry his life Sub.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wishes and Stitches-Rachael Herron

Wishes and Stitches

Rachael Herron

Morrow, Oct 11 2011, $13.99

ISBN: 9780061841323

Home to her late friend knitting expert Eliza Carpenter, Dr. Naomi Fontaine comes to Cypress Hollow, California to practice medicine. However, no matter how hard she tries, she remains the outsider. Her loneliness is accentuated whenever her mom calls; this time the topic being her little sister Anna calling and asking for money. Eliza tells her about her new life, but mom only gets excited when she assumes her daughter has a date, which she does not.

A SUV hits a boy dashing into the street. Milo’s Uncle Rig checks to see if he is okay while Naomi asks him let her examine the child. He informs Naomi that Pederson the lead in their practice just added him as the third partner without telling her. Naomi and Eliza had one incredible night in Portland at a medical convention, the only time in her life that she broke the rules of her rigid adherence. Now they must work together ignoring a strong attraction as he fears relationships after watching what happened to his brother and she fears relationships after her father died whens he was a teen.

The return to Cypress Hollow (see How to Knit a Love Song and How to Knit a Heart Back Home) is a warm charming contemporary medical romance as neither doctor has a prescription to cure the love blues. With a nod to knitting and a strong support cast including their respective families and the locals, readers will enjoy the tale of two physicians in denial.

Harriet Klausner

Heartstrings and Diamond Rings-Jane Graves

Heartstrings and Diamond Rings

Jane Graves

Forever, Oct 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446568487

Brandon Scott watched his real estate business collapse with the burst of the housing bubble. He has no capital available except what he inherited from his late grandma in Plano, Texas. To keep her house in order to sell it, he must reside there for six months. So he decides to also run her matchmaking business for six months to obtain some income in order to return to the housing market and selling his grandmother’s business, Matchmaking by Rochelle. Brandon assumes running a matchmaking firm is a deal maker like in real estate. He figures finding six matches for a client at three hundred dollars a match cannot be to difficult.

Alison Carter’s BFF suggests she try Rochelle as she has gone out with a who’s who of Texas losers. She tries Rochelle, but Brandon’s first attempt is just like her failures on her own. His next effort is not much better, but she proves to have great acumen in finding matches for others. As Brandon reconsiders fleeing Plano, he looks in a mirror and realizes staring back at him is the perfect match for Alison, but she may not agree with his assessment.

Heartstrings and Diamond Rings is another warm jocular contemporary romance starring two likable protagonists with different goals in mind until love unites their diverse objectives. The breezy story line is fast-paced with a strong eccentric support cast, especially her dates and his clients, enhancing the entreating tale of a man changing his priorities after learning what matters and a woman finding self esteem when she modifies her priorities.

Harriet Klausner

Home Sweet Home-Bella Riley

Home Sweet Home

Bella Riley

Forever, Oct 1 2011, $5.99

ISBN: 9780446584210

A decade ago, Andi Powell left Emerald Lake, New York to move to the Big Apple. She has come home for short visits to family over the ten years she has lived in New York City. However, one year ago her father suddenly died stunning the still grieving Andi who glued a smile on her face everyday she entered the office of the Klein Group where she works.

She has driven the five hours two hundred miles to sell a Klein Group proposal to construct condos in Emerald Lake for affluent Manhattanites. Andi’s beloved grandma Evelyn opposes tearing down the magical old carousel. The boy she once loved, Mayor Nate Duncan is for condos but not at that historical location. Nate remains bitter towards the woman he loved and needed who broke his heart when she did her solo dream pursuit. Andi realizes she never stopped loving him and begins to reconsider what matters in life as she has a secret to reveal either to those she loves or her employers.

The first Emerald Lake contemporary romance is a charming second chance at love tale. The lead couple is super as he tests the woman he loves while she struggles with her priorities; the support cast is solid although the small-town life is made too magical vs. urban avarice. Still readers will appreciate the profound debate between preservationists and developers as economics is the root of all arguments.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Engaged in Sin-Sharon Page

Engaged in Sin

Sharon Page

Dell, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780440244912

Orphan Anne Beddington is a fallen lady who makes her living selling her body at Madame Sin’s brothel. However, when she learns that Sin employs young kidnapped girls, she hits the Madame in the head enabling the youngsters to flee. Believing she killed her employer, Anne needs to leave London. When she sees the Duke of March, who was her first attempt at a sale five years ago, Anne offers again as Cherise, claiming to be a present from his friend.

Bitter since losing his sight during the war, the former charming Devon accepts her as his mistress. However, when he rages, she refuses to walk away from his rants. As the courtesan heals her patron and even helps his sister, her sinful past has caught up with her. Wanting to keep her beloved Devon safe, she begins to flee, but he refuses to allow his cherished angel to leave until at least he can prove her innocence.

The unique lead couple makes for a fresh Regency romance as he is blind and bitter and she is a soiled dove. Their coming together against all odds will have fans racing through the pages to learn what next in a sensual suspenseful historical.

Harriet Klausner

Too Wicked to Wed-Cara Elliott

Too Wicked to Wed

Cara Elliott

Forever, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780446584579

Though women of quality are forbidden to enter the Wolf’s Lair, Lady Alexa Hendrie brazenly walks into the gaming brothel. She seeks information as to the whereabouts of her brother. Secret owner of the lair, the Earl of Killing Connor “Wolf” Linsley takes a kiss from the female invader. She stuns him when she kisses him back. Both are excited and appalled by their mutual reaction.

Four months later they meet at a gala and each realizes they remain attracted to one another. Alexa wins half-ownership of the Wolf’s lair. When she arrives there, she finds her partner shot. She takes him to his country estate where he finds his body and his heart healing thanks to his nurse while she sees the real man behind the faced of a rake. However, he has made enemies over the years and now they have his Achilles’ heel to bring him down.

The first Lords of Midnight Regency romance is an entertaining heated tale starring two wonderful protagonists. Brave Lady Alexa makes the story line work as she appears to be rusticating spinster, but her secret sojourns to London prove otherwise. Impoverished Wolf clandestinely works for a living but has concerns that his new partner will overwhelm his sense of survival. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the tale of the lady who tames the big bad Wolf.

Harriet Klausner

The Sinner-Margaret Mallory

The Sinner

Margaret Mallory

Forever, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780446583107

In 1515 Lady Glynis MacNeil has one failed marriage to her name and no plans to test those waters again although she prays for a kinder protector than the hag she currently has. Alex MacDonald is a highly regarded warrior who vowed to never marry.

Her father wants Glynis to have an alliance with his clan so he proposes a marriage between his feisty but obstinate daughter and one of the MacDonald brood. Duncan MacDonald asks his cousin Alex to wed the pox padded Glynis. When he rescues her from pirates, they forge a bond as they trek to safety. Forced to marry, they fall in love, but she distrusts his faithfulness; while her former husband and an enemy of Alex combine their plans to cause trouble for the newlyweds.

The second Return of the Highlander sixteenth century Scottish romance (see The Guardian) is an action-packed historical thriller. Glynis is a refreshing protagonist as she goes to incredibly excessive lengths to get her point across; but that fascinating trait also slows down the otherwise fast-paced story line as she fails to move passed her beliefs regardless of the counter evidence. Still fans will enjoy The Sinner and his redeemer as this couple is made for each other to the delight of their clans and readers.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bring Me Home For Christmas-Robyn Carr

Bring Me Home For Christmas

Robyn Carr

Mira, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778312710

Nineteen year old USC student Becca Timm loved Marine Denny Cutler, but he broke her heart three years ago before he left for Iraq. Unemployed, she cajoles her twin brother Rich to let her accompany him when he drives to Virgin River to go hunting with Denny and several other Iraqi brothers in arms. Her goal is to prove during the stag only weekend to herself she is over Denny and ready to move on with her boyfriend Dog.

However, the best laid plans of mice and Becca go astray when she breaks her ankle requiring an operation. Denny wants a second chance with the woman he loves and hurt. His one fumbled attempt to reconcile left him with no hope, but her coming to see him has renewed his need to try and win her. Though it kills his gut to see his Becca hurt, he plans to take advantage of her being laid up by proving they belong together.

Fans of Virgin River (See Harvest Moon) will enjoy spending the holidays with Denny, Becca and the townsfolk in this warm second chance at love romance. The tender story line is character driven by a strong cast. Although several elements seem contrived like Becca’s concerns for deserting her “BFF”, readers will enjoy her tale of love with her marine.

Harriet Klausner

Until There Was You-Kristan Higgins

Until There Was You

Kristan Higgins

Harlequin HQN, Oct 18 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780373776115

In Bellsford, New Hampshire, Posey Osterhagen fell in love with town bad boy Liam Declan Murphy when they attended high school together. However she was way too thin, as Posey with her boyish figure attracted no male let alone the king of the school.

Still too skinny though she works at her parents’ German restaurant; overall Posey is contented though would not mind a hunk in her life. A widower, his wife Emma was a hometown girl who died from leukemia; Liam is home accompanied by his fifteen year old daughter Nicole. When they meet, she still wants him while he struggles to control panic attacks and his obsessive need to keep Nicole safe. One CPR and a sweet Diamond of a song later have Posey expecting another broken heart.

This is an entertaining New England romance starring a refreshing lead protagonist whose weight problem enables her to pass off as a high school student and a single dad with emotional problems. The evolving second time around relationship between the pair of thirty southings is fun to follow as he is all she ever wanted but she expects him to leave while he has doubts about being with another adult after Emma’s death.

Harriet Klausner

A Home by the Sea-Christina Skye

A Home by the Sea

Christina Skye

Harlequin HQN, Oct 18 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780373776085

Although she has never moved on beyond the death of her fiancé in a plane crash, Grace Lindstrom has buried herself in her job as she travels the world to write about food. However, she has an opportunity in DC that the international gourmet historian cannot ignore though it means remaining in one place.

Military explosives detachment specialist Noah McLeod is fortunate not to have been splattered with his latest bomb disposal. He and Grace meet at a dumpster where someone discarded kittens. They are attracted to each other, but he knows he cannot offer her what he believes she deserves. However, when her beloved grandpa takes a bad fall that has left him with amnesia, Grace heads home to the Oregon barrier isle Summer Island to care for him while he heals. Her departure is a wake up call for Noah who knows life without his Grace would be unbearably lonely.

This is an entertaining contemporary romance starring two likable individuals who fall in love but each believes they have no long term future together. Although several support characters detract from the overall engaging sequel to Christina Skye’s entry to The Knitting Diaries anthology (see Return to Summer Island), fans will enjoy this return to the Oregon coast.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wrangled and Tangled-Lorelei James

Wrangled and Tangled

Lorelei James

Signet, Nov 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN 9780451235145

After eight years and one divorce away from her hometown of Muddy Gap, Wyoming, Janie Fitzhugh is home. She helps Renner Jackson with his new Split Rock Ranch and Resort. Janie is stunned by her attraction to her former spouse Abe Larson and him with her. Also a bit shocked is Renner over his feelings for Tierney Pratt the spoiled daughter of his backer CEO of the Pratt Financial Group who he assumes s is spying on him for her dad. She has feelings for Abe even though he scorns her.

Someone driving a truck rams into Janie’s vehicle deliberately knocking her in a ditch. Abe is at the scene when Deputy TJ McConnell arrives suspecting him, but he has proof of his innocence as his truck has no damage. No longer bitter at the woman who dumped him leaving him the victim of pity, Abe knows he still loves Janie and vows to protect her. Janie also realizes she still loves her former husband who has gained a maturity he lacked when they were married.

The third Blacktop Cowboys contemporary ranch romance (see Corralled; and Saddled and Spurred) is an enjoyable heated tale as two couples find love in Wyoming. Although the suspense never gels and Tierney’s dad Gene is a nasty sort using his daughter as a commodity, readers will enjoy two times the erotic fun.

Harriet Klausner

Never Love a Highlander-Maya Banks

Never Love a Highlander

Maya Banks

Ballantine, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780345519511

With his two older brothers finding the inconvenience of love (see In Bed with a Highlander and Seduction of a Highland Lass), the youngest McCabe sibling Caelen must complete the clan alliance with the McDonald brood by marrying Rionna McDonald. Neither wants this marriage as he distrusts females after a betrayal left his clan in peril and she prefers to fight with men and not kiss them. They do their duty as the two clans need each other to battle their common enemy Duncan Cameron, but on their wedding night Rionna passes out from too much ale.

However, Rionna and Caelen find they enjoy love making with one another. Still though he has fallen in love with his trouser wearing wife and her with him, Caelen anticipates her betrayal. By the time he learns how loyal she is, he may be too late.

The third sword and romance McCabe brother historical is a terrific finish to a strong saga as the youngest sibling finds love in a marriage of political and military convenience. Action-packed from start to finish, sub-genre fans know this is one author we can bank on for a wonderful tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cowboy Come Home-Janette Kenny

Cowboy Come Home

Janette Kenny

Zebra, Nov 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420106602

In 1895 Texas, Trey March rides to the JDB Ranch to confront owner Jared Barton. He believes Barton had his men led by viscous Ned Durant leave him for dead because the upstart went after his daughter Daisy. However, he is shocked to learn Daisy is not married and that Barton is dead. Trey shows Daisy where her dad kept his ledger supporting his claim of a debt due. Daisy asks Trey to become foreman at her other ranch Circle 46 where he said there is water. She is upset with herself for still wanting him though he deserted her.

Trey leads a cattle drive to the Circle 46. Daisy tells Trey she has memories of the orphan train and a boy who held her. Trey mentions his foster brother Dade Logan had a little sister Daisy who was taken from him. He sends a letter to their friend Reed to give to Dade. Someone deliberately burns down the JDB. Trey and Daisy visit the JDB to see the damage. He proposes but cannot say he loves her; she refuses though they make love. Their trek back to the Circle 46 proves harrowing as Ned surfaces while Trey becomes increasingly confused with how he feels.

This is a strong end to the Lost Sons western romance (see A Cowboy Christmas and In a Cowboy’s Arms). The lead couple anchors the prime plot while they and the support cast insure the major threads from the previous entries are tied up. Readers will enjoy this warm second chance at love if Trey follows his heart.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Highlander for the Holidays-Janet Chapman

Highlander for the Holidays

Janet Chapman

Jove, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780515150087

Following a brutal assault in Atlanta poor Mrs. Eric Dixon relocates to Pine Creek, Maine because the population of 800 allows her baby steps to heal mentally from the trauma. Using her maiden name of Jessie Pringle, her service dog Toby and her friend Merissa Blake stop at Pete’s Bar and Grill where they meet Duncan MacKeage and his nephew Ian.

Duncan dances with Merissa who will return home to Atlanta in a week. Ian does likewise with Jessie who plans to buy a house in Pine Creek. Ian and Jessie fall in love, but she remains hesitant still struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while he stays patient with her waiting for the right time to bend down on one knee. While limping in the woods near the lake, an elderly man gives Jessie a cane that he insists will help her heal.

Fans of the Pine Creek Highlander romances (see A Highlander Christmas) will appreciate this warm Yuletide tale of a strong man giving the woman he loves the time to heal. Although the story line never digs that deep into the roadblocks to the lead couple’s relationships caused by her PTSD and physical scars of the attack, readers will enjoy a stop with the magical MacKeage of Maine.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 16, 2011

What A Duke Wants-Lavinia Kent

What A Duke Wants

Lavinia Kent

Avon, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061986314

In 1821 England, the Duke of Strattington’s man Divers tosses Miss Isabella Masters and her baby Joseph out of his house because the infant makes too much noise crying, which will disturb the lord. Outside in the dark she meets a man who originally thought she was a doxy until he sees the baby. Once they clear that up she says she Isabella Smith taking Master Joseph to his father in London; he says he is Mark Smythe, who hides from her that he may be the Duke she just scorned.

They hit it off, but she dreams of marrying him while he dreams of not marrying her or anyone. As they kiss, they land in a compromising position. Mark proposes, but Bella wants Strattington so she decides to run away again. However, Mark realizes he wants Bella as his wife whether he is a duke or a commoner.

This is an entertaining Regency romance with a bit of a mystery and suspense enhancing the story line. Sub-genre readers will enjoy the changing relationship between Smith and Smythe while wondering along with the lead male how Bella became Master Joseph’s escort.

Harriet Klausner

Norse King’s Daughter-Sandra Hill

Norse King’s Daughter

Sandra Hill

Avon, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061673511

His father orders Sidroc Guntersson to throw the female baby into the thrall. However, the widower decides he needs a wife to raise his daughter. Sidroc woos long in the tooth hybrid Princess Drifa, daughter of King Thorvald. They marry, but she becomes irate with his boasting of gaining wealth as a third born and a mom for his child; Drifa hammers her new spouse with a pitcher to his head before walking away. When he awakens after days of unconsciousness, he learns his wife has left him and his baby is gone.

Five years later, Sidroc and Drifa meet in Byzantium. He is irate to learn she has a daughter Runa. Needing revenge, he courts and beds his virgin wife. Stunned Sidroc realizes his spouse is raising his daughter. When Drifa is kidnapped, Sidroc vows to rescue her so they and their child can forge a loving family.

This is similar in tone to many of her Viking romances (see The Viking’s Captive) with modern day humor imbued into a Dark Ages gender war. The lead couple is a delightful pairing of two strong individuals who both melt in each other’s arms though sometimes caustically and with their child. Readers will appreciate the battle between two powerful adversaries in love as even their trysts are jocular (don’t tell Sidroc I said that).

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Novel Seduction-Gwyn Cready

A Novel Seduction

Gwyn Cready

Pocket, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9781451612646

In Manhattan, Vanity Place magazine publisher Martin Black rages at critic Ellery Sharpe for her scathing incoming missile review of Bettina Moor’s memoir and the romance novels her Pierrot Enterprises publishes. Fuming Martin orders his prim and proper literary editor Ellory to write an ode to romance novels. She can handle the candy for the masses assignment except that Black orders her to work with photographer Axel Mackenzie; five years ago they heated Pittsburgh before their relationship ended.

Ellery must learn to praise romance not to bury romance if she wants to keep her position as her boss is secretly trysting with her potential successor; while Axel gets double his fee if he succeeds at her doing so. As he relies on his sister for guidance, Axel shows her first hand what romance is by copying the heroics of the lead male of the book Kitlander. Ellery begins to realize the novels she loathed contain strong intelligent themes as she concludes if you want to study relationships read a romance.

With the contemporary’s metafiction anchor, Gwyn Cready provides a wonderfully jocular Novel Seduction. The lead pair are fun to follow as he tries to be a romantic hero while she soon holds out for a hero. The amusing story line is fast-paced with plenty of loud laughter moments as beer, kilts and romance converge in New York, Pittsburgh, and Scotland.

Harriet Klausner

A Winter Scandal-Candace Camp

A Winter Scandal

Candace Camp

Pocket, Oct 25 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9781451639506

A decade ago at Fenstone Park Lord Gabriel Morecombe kissed Thea Bainbridge. Though he never followed up, the kiss left her mentally ruined foe anyone else. Now twenty-seven years old prim and proper Thea is on the shelf. At a Christmas gala hosted by Squire and Mrs. Cliffe, they meet, but though her heart beats out of control, he does not seem to remember who she is or he was her only kiss. Still he flirts with her.

At the Nativity scene at St. Margaret’s Church, Thea finds an abandoned baby wearing a brooch that matches the Morecombe signet ring. Thea confronts Gabriel who insists he is not the father of the infant. He persuades her to help him find the mother of the baby Matthew as he has a very good idea of who she is.

A Winter Scandal is an engaging Regency romance made refreshed by the mystery of Matthew. The lead couple is an intriguing pairing as she has loved him from their first and only meeting up until the Cliffe party and he falls in love starting with her intelligent eyes. Although no one seems to be trustworthy as betrayal and back stabbing are recurring too frequent themes, readers will enjoy this entertaining historical romantic mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Always Devoted-Karen Rose Smith

Always Devoted

Karen Rose Smith

Amazon Digital Services, Sep 1 2011, $1.99


Emma Henderson is a natural nurturer who has taken care of her mom until her mother died and her teenage sister Paige; she continued to do so even after she married and had a child of her own. Last year Emma’s husband died in a car accident; three months ago, twenty year old Paige vanished while driving to San Francisco. The police found her car but not Paige.

Media giant Linc Granger gets Emma air time to make a plea for information involving Paige. Afterward, Linc who likes the mother and four year old daughter introduces her to his friends Jake Donovan (see Jake’s Bride) and Gillian Bradley (see Nathan’s Vow) who find missing people as the latter has a special paranormal "gift". As Linc and Emma are attracted to one another, each struggles with their feelings as she feels guilt and he os drowning especially with the added pressure of Becky insisting he is her buddy.

The third Search for Love drama is somewhat different in tone than Karen Rose Smith’s insightful Silhouette tales but contains the author’s renowned deep look at people struggling with relationships. The mystery of what happened to Paige is cleverly handled while the touch of the paranormal enhances the exciting story line. However, it is the changing relationship between the cynic, the mom, and the child who affirm that Ms. Smith is one of the best contemporary family drama authors.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Men Out of Uniform-Maya Banks, Sylvia Day, and Karin Tabke

Men Out of Uniform

Maya Banks, Sylvia Day, and Karin Tabke

Heat, Oct 4 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425243169

“Soul Possession” by Maya Banks. In between their hunt for a killer, Truitt and Rick drink at a bar where Jessie Callahan works. The two males want her and soon she joins them in a ménage a trois tryst.

“Wanted” by Karin Tabke. FIST operative Colin Daniels escorts his former high school sweetheart Sophia Gilletti from Lake Tahoe to New York to testify against her ex husband. On the trek east, they find time to make love.

“Taking the Heat” by Sylvia Day. U.S. Marshal Brian Simmons escorts a witness to the murder of an undercover Fed, Layla Creed to San Diego. As he keeps her safe, they make love.

These three erotic romantic suspense thrillers are fun tales as the heroes protect the women while chasing down the bad guys; when they are in uniform. When they are not they are exploring the respective woman they protect.

Harriet Klausner

The Next Always-Nora Roberts

The Next Always

Nora Roberts

Berkley, Nov 1 2011, $16.00

ISBN: 9780425243213

In Boonsboro, Maryland, the historic inn has survived over two centuries of war and pace; the walls have heard cries of joy and grief. The edifice lives on in spite of different often uncaring owners. Now the Montgomery Family Contractors begin an obsessive renovation project to modernize the classic beautiful centerfold of their hometown. Oldest brother Ryder is the head contractor; middle sibling Owen is the scheduler; the youngest offspring Beckett is the architect; and finally mom is the eccentric overseer of the three.

While Beckett is fixated on the renovation; he also has a more important personal project in mind. Since he was sixteen he obsessed over Claire Murphy, but she became wife to Clint Brewster and had three sons with him until an Iraqi sniper left her a widow running a bookstore in her hometown. Her biggest regret is Clint never met his youngest son. As Beck begins his campaign to make the widow and her children his family; someone else plans to make the widow sans the kids his family.

The first Inn Boonsboro Montgomery contemporary romance is an enjoyable family affair. The cast is solid including both sets of families, the townsfolk and the historic inn. Although the suspense feels unnecessary as if Nora Roberts was well compelled to include such a subplot for her myriad of fans; readers will appreciate this wonderful warm homage to small-town America.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 12, 2011

Silent Night, Sinful Night-Sharon Page, Chloe Harris and Melissa MacNeal

Silent Night, Sinful Night

Sharon Page, Chloe Harris and Melissa MacNeal

Kensington Aphrodisia, Sep 27 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758266705

“Wicked For Christmas” by Sharon Page. Five years ago, Lord Dante Rivington proposed to Amelia Weston. They made love and he vanished the next morning. Every Christmas since he disappeared without a trace she wonders if this is the season he will return to her. This year he is back leaving the governess to choose to join him on his destiny or not

“Stolen Chances” by Chloe Harris. Winston Matthews believes Lady Beatrice Latimer is a thief. When a necklace vanishes, he knows who took it and plans to expose her as the robber using any means possible.

“Naughty Or Nice?” by Melissa MacNeal. Widow Tess Bennett rides the train to Colorado to escape her memories of Christmas pasts. When she and glass artist Johnny Gazara meet, Tess believes he is just what she needs to stuff her stocking.

Though different in tone except for the heat, these three historical romances celebrate the Christmas season with engaging erotic tales.

Harriet Klausner

Prowl the Night-Crystal Jordon

Prowl the Night

Crystal Jordon

Kensington Aphrodisia, Sep 27 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758261557

“Crave Me.” Tomas and Ciri Montoya are newlyweds, but before they can enjoy their bond, he is named the heir to leadership of their Panther pride. While he struggles to balance his duties to his pack and his wife; she struggles likewise with her new role.

“Want Me.“ Were-Panther Teresa Garcia wants to never meet her soulmate after watching her brother go crazy when his died. However, Rafael Santiago makes it difficult for her to reject what he means to her and her to him.

These are two entertaining heated paranormal romances as Crystal Jordon provides exciting were-feline Primal Heat.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Long Trail Home-Vickie McDonough

Long Trail Home

Vickie McDonough

Moody, Oct 1 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802405852

In 1865, skin and bones Riley Morgan arrives in Waco only to find his family farm in ruins; his parents dead; and his fiancé Miranda married to someone else. Needing work, he obtains a handyman position at the nearby Wilcox School for Blind Children and sleeps in the barn.

Annie Sheffield lives at the school where she cares for the younger children. She is attracted to the former solider, but has a pickpocket past that makes her unsuited for him. However, when an avaricious individual tries to close the school, Annie and Riley team up hoping to save it; along the way they fall in love and may save each other.

The third Texas Trails Morgan Family nineteenth century Texas romance (see Darlene Franklin’s The Lone Star Trail and The Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis) is a superb historical drama. The story line looks deeply at veterans coming home after the Civil War and profoundly at blind children. The lead couple is a delightful pairing as they share a whimsical previous encounter. Readers will appreciate this powerful character driven and issue dominated thriller as the third different author has added another winner to the saga.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In Total Surrender-Anne Mallory

In Total Surrender

Anne Mallory

Avon, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062017314

Financial wizard Andreas Merrick runs London’s underworld. No one dares to challenge his power. Yet in spite of a crafty lethal reputation that has even the bravest keeping their distance, Miss Phoebe Pace pleads with him to help her find her missing brother.

Though he admires her courage as he understands what she risks, he still says no and tells her to go home before she is hurt. Phoebe may be an innocent, but she knows the scandalous risk she takes yet refuses to heed his warning. Instead, she blithely assaults him at his office and his home. As she continues her quest, he tries to kiss her away, but instead she wants more of him. As they fall in love, Andreas knows his Phoebe is not safe with him because his enemies will use her as his Achilles’ heel.

The second London’s underworld historical romance is an exciting suspense starring an unlikely pairing who, as with One Night Is Never Enough, proves to be a perfect coupling. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the persistent pursuing Phoebe accosts the dangerous Andreas. Though he knows the cost to her of her obstinacy and his attraction, he cannot resist the temptation. Anne Mallory will receive accolades for her alliterative female heroines invading the London underground to the delight of sub-genre fans.

Harriet Klausner

Every Scandalous Secret-Gayle Callen

Every Scandalous Secret

Gayle Callen

Avon, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061783456

Lord Leo Wade enjoys the hedonistic offerings of London. He loves to gamble and wins most wagers especially those involving his other passion females. His current bet centers on the intellectual Lady Susanna Leland. Her only love is the fine arts while she deploys her brains to frighten away the shallow male aristocrats.

Having followed her, Leo introduces himself to Susanna at a party. He confidently informs of his wager and thus will seduce her to win the bet. She as confidently offers to bet him that he will fail. Leo remains persistent as her pursuer while Susanna remains equally persistent at rejecting his advances. While her family demands she marry, Leo wins his bet only to be caught in a compromised position with Susanna. Though each knows they are in love, neither trusts their new spouse with their heart.

The key to this charming historical romance is both protagonists are fully developed so that the audience understands the respective weaknesses of each hidden behind different veneers of a wastrel bad boy and a blue-blooded brainiac. Thus their wager makes for a delightful tale as love may prove too weak to overcome the deep rooted distrust both bring to their relationship.

Harriet Klausner

In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster-Stephanie Laurens

In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster

Stephanie Laurens

Avon, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062068613

McKinsey hires kidnap and disposal specialist aristocratic Scrope to abduct Elizabeth Cynster in London and deliver her to him in Edinburgh unharmed. Scrope succeeds in extracting the target from her sister’s engagement ball (see Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue).

Eliza escapes her captors, but knows she needs a hero who’s “gotta be strong and he's gotta be brave” (Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero), but settles on academic Jeremy Carling as the only stud at a posting inn. He knows he is out of his league, but cannot desert the desperate damsel in distress. Thus Jeremy dresses her in male garb to pass her off as a boy while they flee her persistent pursuers. As they fall in love, the enemy traps them.

The second Cynster sister is a refreshing Regency thriller due to the hero who is the anti-Cynster male on the surface, but his heart beats like a lion when it comes to protecting Eliza. Action-packed, fans of the series will appreciate this historical romantic suspense while anticipating the next sister Holding Out for a Hero of her own.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 9, 2011

Unwrapped-Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell


Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell

Kensington Brava, Oct 1 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758251329

"Blue Christmas" by Erin McCarthy. Blue and Christian meet over car trouble during a Christmas Eve blizzard. They share a night of bliss in a nearby motel.

"Santa in a Kilt" by Donna Kauffman. On Kinloch Island, Scotland, relationship phobic divorce attorney Shay and once burned divorcee Kira fall in love.

"Snow Angel" by Kate Angell. Wealthy heir Aidan and Allie the ski instructor meet and share a night of love, but in the morning she has skied out of his life. Three years later, the couple meets again inside a department store where the outside is frightful, but inside is delightful.

These are three lighthearted holiday romps though the relationships are underdeveloped except for the steamy sex.

Harriet Klausner

Blood and Fire-Shannon McKenna

Blood and Fire

Shannon McKenna

Kensington Brava, Oct 1 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758228673

Lily Parr questions the death of her drug addicted father in a mental institution. On his dying day, he mumbled some enigmatic clues about something. She vows to learn what he meant that she considers may have killed him.

Bruno Ranieri suffers from horrific nightmares that he believes must have a basis in reality. He and Lily meet when he intercedes with three thugs trying to harm her; he kills them. She explains what her late father told her and the link to his mom’s death two decades ago; but he scoffs at her conspiracy assertion. He admits he has no explanation why she was attacked or how she seems to alleviate his nightmares. As they work together obtaining information, Bruno realizes they need the cavalry; he asks his adopted former Special Forces McCloud brothers to help them battle a mad scientist and his creations, humanoid robots.

Although it helps to have read previous McCloud brothers romantic suspense (see Fade to Midnight), Blood and Fire is an exhilarating action-packed thriller starring the believer and the skeptic. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this heated tale with a strong science fiction base as Shannon McKenna provides a thrilling tale of love and robots.

Harriet Klausner

‘Til Death Do Us Part-Beverly Barton

‘Til Death Do Us Part

Beverly Barton

Harlequin HQN, Sep 20 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373775996

“Blackwood’s Woman.” J.T. Blackwood and Joanna Beaumont meet for the first time when her Jeep breaks down on his New Mexico ranch where she lives in one of the cabins and he is taking time off from Dundee Security based in Atlanta. He assumes she is a spoiled high society Virginian rusticating while she heard from his sister Elena that the former Secret Service Agent has never had a meaningful relationship. However, though attracted to one another, Joanna is skittish when J.T. comes near her even pulling out a gun on him. He soon learns why she fears touching when the predatory cause for her hiding in the Land of Enchantment comes for her.

“Roarke’s Wife.” Cleo McNamara hires Dundee Security expert Simon Roarke to be her husband, protect her and donate his sperm. This is the only way she can take charge of her late daddy’s firm McNamara Industries. Simon likes the pay but wants nothing to do with his offspring once the child is born as he still grieves the death of his daughter in which he holds himself culpable. As the heiress and the hired gun fall in love, someone tries to take out Cleo.

These are reprints of two mid 19990-s Dundee Security personal protection romantic suspense thrillers. Both are well written exciting story lines starring protagonists with past traumas and present danger.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Only His-Susan Mallery

Only His

Susan Mallery

Harlequin HQN, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776016

While Nevada Hendrix’s triplet sisters Montana (see Only Yours) and Dakota (see Only Mine) prepare for their weddings, she focuses on obtaining a job at the Janack Construction Company. The firm is working on a major construction project in Fool’s Gold.

Her only hesitation is she would have to deal with Tucker Janack. A decade ago, she met an intoxicated depressed Tucker. While he struggled with the end of a relationship, she wanted him. They shared a one night stand but in the morning she knew love left with him. Tucker agrees to Nevada’s platonic professional relationship, but soon wants more; she always wanted more. However, the woman who broke his heart ten years ago Cat the renowned artist is back ready to play with his heartstrings while Tucker refuses to dance to her tune as he loves Nevada but must persuade her to give him a second chance to prove he wants her.

The latest Hendrix sisters' contemporary romance is a delightful triangle in which the heroine burned once believes her love cannot match the glamour of Cat even if the artist’s glitter is Fool’s Gold. The story line is thin but fun as the second Fool’s Gold trilogy draws to a wonderful conclusion.

Harriet Klausner

Bad Boys Do-Victoria Dahl

Bad Boys Do

Victoria Dahl

Harlequin HQN, Sep 27 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776023

Her husband divorced her because he insisted thirty something Olivia Bishop was a pathetic downer. Having no friends and feeling alone and depressed, the college teacher likes to read so she joins a book club. However, the discussions at meetings have nothing to do with books and all to do with sex. Since she has no one, Olivia offers nothing just like he ex said about her.

Still she attends the sessions with the latest meeting at Donovan Brothers Brewery. There she meets the younger Jamie Donovan. When he attends her class on restaurant development and management, Olivia surprises herself by asking the charming hunk out though she knows this is out of character for her. However, as Olivia regains her confidence she realizes Jamie is much deeper than the shallow bad boy she thought he was. On the other hand Jamie struggles to persuade his teacher he wants her to accept he is not just a bad boy sex toy. Each wants more from the other but both hesitate to take that first step.

The second Donovan Family contemporary romance is an engaging tale of two individuals trying to reinvent themselves as they dislike how others see their respective image. The fascination in the fun story line is how similar the inner protagonists are to each other though on the surface they appear to be opposites since see Good Girls Don’t and Bad Boys Do; yet each struggle with self esteem issues that make a long term relationship doubtful.

Harriet Klausner

A Lawman’s Christmas-Linda Lael Miller

A Lawman’s Christmas

Linda Lael Miller

Harlequin HQN, Sep 27 2011, $16.95

ISBN: 9780373776146

In 1914, wannabe rancher Clay McKettrick leaves Arizona and buys land and accepts the position of Marshal of Blue River, Texas. However, when he arrives in town, he finds the house that goes with the job occupied by three females. Twenty something seamstress Dara Rose Nolan was married to Clay’s late womanizing predecessor and their two daughters (Edwina and five years old Harriet) still reside in the abode. He refuses to toss the trio out especially with Christmas coming soon. Instead he moves into the jail.

When he learns the town plans to sell the house if he fails to move in, Clay offers Dara Rose a marriage of convenience so he can protect her and her children and they can remain in their home. As he falls in love with the three females starting with Edwina who is seven years old going on forty, Clay knows he must earn the trust of the widow and the younger daughter who both distrust males.

The latest McKettrick of Texas historical romance (see Austin, Tate and Garrett) is a warm Christmas tale starring a competent Dudley Do-Right hero, a precious seven year old child, her frightened sister and a distrusting mom. Readers will enjoy spending the holidays with Clay and his new family.

Harriet Klausner

Unclaimed-Courtney Milan


Courtney Milan

Harlequin HQN, Sep 20 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776030

In 1841 Sir Mark Turner’s A Gentleman’s Practical Guide to Chastity tome affirms what everyone knows about him; he is the most virtuous person in London while waiting for true love. However, Sir Mark has enemies who want to ruin him. They hire courtesan Jessica Farleigh to pretend to be a genteel lady of virtue to enable her to get close to the ethical Sir Mar. Her assignment is to seduce him into succumbing to a sexual tryst.

Jessica and Mark meet and forge a friendship that has him wanting to disown his virtual values that guide his life. However, Jessica needs the money but knows she cannot live with herself if she harms the kind caring man she cherishes above her own need to escape a sordid lifestyle she loathes.

Unclaimed is an excellent character driven Victorian romance in which each of the lead couple is willing to sacrifice something they hold dear for the other in a Gift of the Magi loving manner. Courtney Milan provides a wonderful charming historical fairy tale starring two fully developed individuals who learn that love is not enough when opposites attract.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Surgeon’s Surprise Twins-Jacqueline Diamond

The Surgeon’s Surprise Twins

Jacqueline Diamond

Harlequin American, Oct 4 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753796

In Safe Harbor, California, Dr. Owen Tartikoff donated his sperm so his half-brother Boone and his sister-in-law Phyllis can have a baby. When he visits Boone he sees Phyllis is too thin to be carrying for three months so he assumes she lost the baby. Instead he learns that her younger sister nurse Bailey Wayne is the surrogate mom.

The new head of the Safe Harbor fertility Clinic, Owen is further shocked to learn his sibling leased half of his house to Bailey as a means to defray her costs since Boone failed to cover her medical bills. Unable to resist the tough doctor offers his help to the pregnant nurse, but conceals from her that she is carrying his twins. With their siblings in trouble with the law, he owes her the truth especially as he falls in love with the mother of his unborn children.

The latest Safe Harbor Medical romance (see Falling for the Nanny) is an engaging family drama though resolution of issues is made too easy by the behavior of Boone. Owen feels betrayed and knows when he tells the truth to his roommate she will too as she assumes she carries his brother’s baby. Series readers will enjoy the “matchmaking” of the unborn twins as they hook up their biological dad with their biological mom.

Harriet Klausner

Rancher and Protector-Pamela Britton

Rancher and Protector

Pamela Britton

Harlequin American, Oct 4 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753772

His friend Logan asks Colton Sheridan to find his son Rudy hidden from him by the kid’s nasty aunt. Logan further explains when his wife Sharron died he had legal problems with her death so his sister-in-law gained custody and refuses to tell him what boarding school his son attends. If he gets him back his son, Logan will reward Colt with a prized horse.

Country Colt assumes Aunt Amber is a city snake. However, he is taken aback when he meets the city slicker at Camp Cowboy in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. She has taken a job there as a speech therapist for special needs children while he obtains work with the horses. She also conceals her autistic son from his dad who went to jail for the involuntary manslaughter killing of his wife. Amber would die before she lets this murderer near her “Dee”. As he gets to know her, Colt not just falls in love but realizes she is best for what Dee needs.

Dee and Colt’s dog Mac own the entertaining family drama as they affirm E.C. Field’s wry comment about never starring with kids or animals by stealing the top gun relationship from the adults. The lead couple is a fascinating pairing of a child’s ferocious champion protector who sees the good in everyone except Logan and the rancher who sees the bad and ugly in everyone even himself. Filled with angst, perhaps too much si as the three adults have issues; fans will relish this warm tale.

Harriet Klausner

A Touch Of Scarlet-Liz Talley

A Touch Of Scarlet

Liz Talley

Harlequin SuperRomance, Oct 4 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717385

Actress Scarlet Rose speeds from Southern California to prevent her older sister Rayne from marrying that womanizing Brent Hamilton (see A Taste of Texas). However, as she goes ten miles over the speed limit in Oak Stand, Texas, new police chief Adam Hinton gives the vampy star of Deep Shadows a ticket; Scarlet is shocked as no none gives a speeding ticket to Veronica Collins (her TV character) except for the always keeps to the law cop. He ignores her seductive plea and informs she was thirteen miles over the limit and a brake light is out. She thanks him for welcoming her home, which leads to him realize she is Summer Rose. They depart with each irate with the other.

She blames the cop for making her late as her sister married the rat. However she also knows she is attracted to the cop while he keeps reminding himself no bad girls but his desire has him on edge. As they exchange sarcastic barbs and she gets into trouble leading to community service in her hometown, the War of the Roses continues abated by love

Though the lighthearted story line is a bit thin; this Hometown USA Texas romance is an amusing gender battle as the actress has the straight-laced cop tied in knots. The story line is a series of humorous arguments with kisses in between as fans will enjoy a trip to Oak Stand, home of the Rose of Texas family.

Harriet Klausner

For Their Baby-Kathleen O’Brien

For Their Baby

Kathleen O’Brien

Harlequin SuperRomance, Oct 4 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717378

At the Sugarwater Resort in the Bahamas, Kitty Hemmings is shocked that her mom Laurel is going to marry her odious long term boy toy Jim Oliphant. She knows he is a shallow charmer just trying to get deeper into her mom’s money. Kitty had hoped that he would leave after eight years of staying at their Virginia home Lochaven which kept her away all that time too. When she hurts herself on the beach, a concerned stranger San Francisco attorney David Gerard asks if she is okay. They make love that night before going their separate ways.

Two months later, when Kitty becomes pregnant she feels she should inform David, but assumes he will be another irresponsible Y chromosome carrier. Instead he stuns her when he says he wants in the life of their offspring and offers to marry her so their child has a complete two parent family. She compromises by moving into his home platonically. As they fall in love, he wants a family with her and their unborn while she has doubts as men are fickle when it comes to sustaining power.

The keys to this deep 9 Months Later romance are the beliefs that the psychological motives driving the lead couple are real. Thus the growing changing relationship makes for a fine contemporary tale. Adding to the fun is that David lost the girl in For The Love of Family so fans of Kathleen O’Brien will root for this kind soul to make it with Kitty.

Harriet Klausner

The Texan’s Bride-Linda Warren

The Texan’s Bride

Linda Warren

Harlequin SuperRomance, Oct 4 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717354

Shiloh Oil CEO Roscoe Murdock was dying, but had one unfinished business left before he can go on in peace. He wanted his daughter Jessie safe after she inherits his shares of the firm. He trusts one person, his former ambitious but honest employee Cadde Hardin. He orders Caddie to marry his daughter, but sweetens the deal with stock.

Months after Roscoe died, Jessie remains angry with Caddie for agreeing to a marriage of convenience. They remain estranged while she thwarts his plans to expand drilling beyond Texas. Thus he is shocked when she offers him a deal. Caddie is shocked when -- after months of a cold war with his wife -- Jessie suddenly tells him she’ll sign over controlling interest in the company if she and Cadde have a baby together. Cadde agrees, and the two soon realize that months of ignoring each other only allowed them to hide the attraction they feel for each other.

The second Hardin Boys contemporary romance (see The Texan’s Secret) is a delightful modern day marriage of convenience in which Linda Warren displays her talent with a merger of babies and oil. The protagonists are a fabulous pairing of a business mogul and the woman who keeps him on his toes. The support cast, especially her father from the grave and his siblings, enhance a wonderful Texas tale of love cementing the deal.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Once Upon A Groom-Karen Rose Smith

Once Upon A Groom

Karen Rose Smith

Harlequin Special Edition, Sep 20 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373656288

When Arizona rancher Silas Decker suffers a heart attack, his son Southern California based film director Zack comes home to the family spread in Miners Bluff. In the Flagstaff hospital Silas asks Zack to help Jenny Farber run the ranch while he recuperates.

Zack and Jenny loved one another, but when he asked her to come with him to Los Angeles she refused; insisting her life is as a rancher and not a Hollywood bimbo while he could not wait to leave Arizona. Both believe the attraction ended fifteen years ago when he headed west. Working together on the ranch and rescuing endangered horses while also attending their high school reunion, Zack and Jenny know they remain in love, but he is California and she is Arizona.

This Reunion Brides ranch romance is a warm second chance at love tale starring two likable protagonists who appear to have different life objectives. Their attraction remains strong even with each employing denial as a defense mechanism fortified by their obstinacy; especially dividing them is how each feels about Silas. Fans will enjoy this entertaining contemporary as Malibu and Miners Bluff converge.

Harriet Klausner

Too Wicked to Keep-Julie Leto

Too Wicked to Keep

Julie Leto

Harlequin Blaze, Sep 20 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796434

Five years ago Danny Burnett and Abby Albertini were falling in love. However, he rocked her world when he stole her family painting. Danny showed his true colors as an amoral art thief while Abby learned to never trust her heart.

He wonders whether the two-century ring his brother Michael (see Too Wild to Hold) claims as magical really can change a master thief like him into an upright citizen. Danny will soon face the ultimate test of his attempts to go straight when Abby arrives in New Orleans demanding he right his wrong. She plans to teach the man who taught her about betrayal and broken hearts a lesson he will never forget.

The latest Legendary Lovers contemporary romance (see Too Hot to Touch) is a fun second chance at love redemption tale. Abby knows how to heat up vengeance so it is not a cold dish while Danny is confused by what has happened to his orderly thieving life. Although the story line at times is too passive, fans will enjoy the latest pairing by the matchmaking ring.

Harriet Klausner

Riding the Storm-Joanne Rock

Riding the Storm

Joanne Rock

Harlequin Blaze, Sep 20 2011, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796472

In Chatham, Massachusetts, exhausted interior designer Josie Pessano searches for the boat owned by Chase Freeman in the dark. The Wall St. Bigwig hired her to decorate his vessel. She finds the boat at Slip 39 and enters it. He is not on board so she takes a couple of sea sickness pills as a precaution and falls asleep.

Green Principles CEO Keith Murphy arrives at the Slip to sail the Vesta to Charleston for his brother Jack (see Making A Splash). He is unhappy with Freeman’s ship crossing the slip boundaries but saw the mogul drunk at the engagement party of Keith’s sibling so he knows to move on. He begins sailing the Atlantic when he learns he has a stowaway. Not long after, he invites her to give in to her neglected carnal desires and continue on a sailing vacation. Their strong attraction is mirrored by a tumultuous storm that brings them even closer and solidifies their irrational attraction in a sexy read from start to finish.

The latest escapade of a magnificent Massachusetts Murphy is a charming Wrong Bed romance. The lead pairing is a delight as the extrovert in your face pirate and the princess in the tower introvert find love on the high seas.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bond of Passion-Bertrice Small

Bond of Passion
Bertrice Small
NAL, Oct 4 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451234766

In 1565 Scotland, the laird Of Rath arranges for his daughter Annabella Baird to marry the older Earl of Duin Angus Ferguson over the objection of his wife who insists her future son-in-law is a Catholic sorcerer. Angus is the most powerful laird on the western borders. He arranged a deal with the recently widowed French Queen Marie de Guise to protect her infant daughter, Queen Mary of Scotland from the machinations of the English who plot to have her wed to the royal heir Prince Edward. Over the years Annabella and Angus forge a strong caring relationship. Annabella is there for Queen Mary whose marriage to Lord Darnley is a battlefield in spite of a son James. Lady Duin tries to help Mary avoid Queen Elizabeth’s scheme to incarcerate her on charges of treason. However, she and her spouse are happiest when together with their family.

The latest Border Chronicles (see The Border Lord and the Lady) is an enjoyable sixteenth century drama that brings to life the impact on others by the bitter rivalry between the female monarchs. The lead couple forges a Bond of Passion between them, but like many Scots and English are caught up in the cold war between the two queens. More a historical thriller that does not add anything new to the overly used rivalry, fans of the Elizabethan era will enjoy Bertrice Small’s delightful tale of trying to remain loyal without becoming a victim.

Harriet Klausner

The Accidental Courtesan-Cheryl Ann Smith

The Accidental Courtesan
Cheryl Ann Smith
Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425243978

To keep her former courtesan student Bliss from Newgate, Lady Noelle Seymour sneaks into an aristocrat’s home to return a necklace stolen by her pupil. However, while inside the bedroom of the Earl Seabrook Charles, she finds the lord intoxicated. She explains she is a courtesan to the occupant Charles half-American cousin Gavin Blackwell. He kisses her before falling into a drunken sleep while she exits the boudoir.

Charles and Gavin discuss who the mysterious mistress is and where did the former’s courtesan Bliss go. When Gavin sees Noelle, he knows who she is and demands she live up to the promise she made to him when she entered his bedroom although she insists her “deal” was with the Earl and not the cousin. As they fall in love, Noelle has doubts that she can trust him based on her observations of father’s behavior over the years. Having an estranged aristocratic English dad, Gavin is patient with his beloved until she finally stomps on their love.

The sequel to A School for Brides is a wonderful historical romance between The Accidental Courtesan and the Bostonian. A mystery subplot adds to the entertaining story line. The solid support cast enhances the courtship between a Bostonian business mogul and a distrusting teacher at what might be better named The School for Scandal (by Richard Sheridan).

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Highland Hero-Amanda Scott

Highland Hero
Amanda Scott
Forever, Oct 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446574303

In 1402 in Scotland eighteen year old Lady Marsi Cargill refuses to marry for anything but love, but must avoid the vows of an arranged marriage that her guardian the King of Scotland has arranged for her. The dying Queen Annabella tasks her youngest Lady-in-Waiting Marsi to escort the heir to the throne, her seven years old cousin Jamie, to his father the king.

The frail aging King assigns Sir Ivor “Hawk” Mackintosh to bring his son to him. The monarch fears his brother Albany will control the lad once the king joins his late wife. Hawk accompanied by Henrietta Childs and nursery maid Marsi escorts Jamie. As the knight falls in love with the disguised Marsi, the danger mounts from those who either want the heir dead or abducted. To keep the lad safe while on the treacherous journey, Ivor and Marsi pretend to be married, which in Scotland means they are married. When she finally tells her beloved protector that she is cousin to the heir, he becomes irate with her for her deception. However, he knows the mission comes before his contradictory disdain and love for Marsi.

Highland Hero is a deep early fifteenth century Scottish romance starring a strong cast. As always in an Amanda Scott historical the inclusion of real persona and facts enhances the romance; while treachery and betrayal are a normal part of the court. Readers will enjoy the historical romance between Ivor and Marsi as they escort and protect the future king of the Scots while falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Always a Temptress-Eileen Dreyer

Always a Temptress
Eileen Dreyer
Forever, Oct 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446542050

In 1815 Major Sir Harry Lidge is war weary having sent good men to their death on the continent. He looks forward to a life without responsibilities, which is coming soon as he completes his last undercover mission for Lord Drake. Harry believes Lady Kate Seaton is a spy who betrayed him a decade ago and belongs to the seditious Lions. His plan is to kidnap the lioness in order to make her reveal the secret she hides so that she does not harm the Crown.

As he knows first hand from the chaotic fog of the battlefield that things often fail to go in accordance with the plan. Though he distrusts her, Lidge cannot stop himself from protecting Kate as her brother and others prefer she disappear in the Rose Workhouse asylum.

The third Drake’s Rakes (see Barely a Lady and Never a Gentleman) is a super Regency undercover romance starring a tough combat veteran and a courageous heroine. Their pairing make for a fun thriller, but it is the support cast at Rose Workhouse and an orphanage that brings a strong emotional element to an exciting complicated historical.

Harriet Klausner

The Talk of the Town-Fran Baker

The Talk of the Town
Fran Baker
Five Star, Oct 12 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9781432825393

In 1933 in Blue Ridge, Missouri Roxie Mitchell attends the Ladies Aide monthly meeting and is shocked that the members are in total agreement over Agnes Dill locking her door out of fear of recently released convict Luke Bauer. Unable to allow a session to occur without dissent, Roxie claims that seems too harsh and dramatic. The others, in turn lecture, the twenty-five years old single woman who all believe is too educated, intelligent and opinionated to land a husband.

The former St. Luis bookkeeper displays her independence by managing a local clothing warehouse. When Luke cannot find work due to his criminal record, Roxie gives him a job in the warehouse. She becomes his only friend in town while her family and friends demand she cut him off even while the boss and the employee begin to fall in taboo love; until money goes missing.

The first Daughters of the Great Depression is an entertaining historical romance in which the era comes alive with little tidbits like a father of five quitting his low paying position to head to the Promised Land. Roxie has moxie whether it is stirring the Ladies Aide members, her family, the warehouse workers, or the rest of the townsfolk with her feisty independence especially when she decides Luke is hers. In many ways proud, insolent, but somewhat beaten Luke is the more realistic character as his convict past is a pariah that limits his activity in his birth town. Still fans will enjoy this fine 1930s Show Me State romance.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 3, 2011

When Two Hearts Meet-Janelle Mowery

When Two Hearts Meet
Janelle Mowery
Harvest House, Oct 2011, $13.99
ISBN: 9780736928106

In 1874, Rachel Garrett arrives in the Colorado Territory from Missouri to work as a nurse assisting Dr. Jim Barnes. She opens her heart to the residents of Rockdale while remaining faithful to the Lord’s guidance. Rachel is attracted to deputy sheriff Luke Mason. But his heart is buried inside tundra and his soul detests the harsh God who allowed his hero, his law enforcement dad, to die on the job.

Rachel becomes the victim of a series of dangerous assaults by an unknown assailant. Luke vows to keep the feisty believer safe. However, he is not there when a gang kidnaps her so she can keep the leader’s son from dying. Although he has fallen in love with her, Luke, panicking over Rachel’s safety, still vows to keep his heart safe from the loss of another loved one and his angry soul from God.

The third Colorado Runaway inspirational western romance (see When All My Dreams Come True and When Love Gets in the Way) is a terrific tale of a love between a true believer and a person who turned his back on the Lord. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Rachel arrives in town and never slows down as she lands in one predicament after another but never loses her faith. Although the religious messages are much more in the face of the reader lacking the subtly of the previous entries, fans of inspirational historical tales will enjoy caring Rachel finding love in the Colorado territory but fears the lawman who owns her heart is not suitable as he scorns God.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shards of Ashley-Karen Wiesner

Shards of Ashley
Karen Wiesner
Whiskey Creek, Oct 1 2011, $17.95
ISBN: 9781611600179

From the moment Jay Samuels met Ashley Savage when she moved to la Crosse when she was seventeen years old, he knew he loved her though she has childhood issues that would have anyone else fleeing for their sanity. A military chaplain Pastor Jay is the only male under the age of a zillion who gets inside the skin of Ashley as he not only refuses to run from her he enjoys the battles they have. Still he dreams of one day to have her as his wife raising a family of rug rats together with God’s blessing.

Though in denial, she knows obstinate Jay has come closest to penetrating her emotional fortress but besides distrusting people, she loathes his being a pastor. She also believes she could rid herself of him by telling him her darkest secret from her ugly teenage years, but cannot bring herself to do so as his scorn would kill her. Meanwhile he prays to God as Jay knows he can only pick up Shards of Ashley while the Lord can heal all of Ashley.

The fifth Family Heirlooms inspirational romance (see Glass Angels and Foolish Games) is an engaging tale but much darker than the previous entries due to the heroine’s past in a dysfunctional abusive home. Jay is a patient person who prays that one day his beloved will find God, but he believes she must forgive herself first for a transgression he does not know what it is. Although her second chance at salvation seems too simplistic with all her psychological baggage including her belief God punishes her for what she did fourteen years ago, readers will root for Ashley to trust the Lord.

Harriet Klausner

Mistress by Marriage-Maggie Robinson

Mistress by Marriage
Maggie Robinson
Kensington Brava, Sep 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758251039

Six years ago, prim and proper Baron Edward Chase, out of character, married Lady Caroline Christie within a week of their first meeting. One year later, angry with what he perceived her betrayal, he exiled his wife to Jane Street. Once a year on their anniversary date, over the next five years he visited her to make love with her; meanwhile she has become the popular author of the scathing exposé Courtesan Court gothics.

Thus in 1820, Edward needs to flush out of his mind and body his constant lust for Caroline. He decides to make her His Mistress by Marriage as he assumes having her available 24/7 will lead to his tiring of her and ergo expunging her from hm. Caroline humiliated by her exile initially says no, but changes her mind and agrees to be his mistress-wife as she assumes he will divorce her soon so she can at least have something of value though she still wants him.

The third Mistress Regency romance (see Mistress by Mistake and Mistress by Midnight) is a great historical starring powerful protagonists and a deep support cast. The story line is a fast-paced gender war with some intrigue caused by a humiliated debaucher who starred in one of Caroline’s gothics. Readers will appreciate the amusing (extracts from the novels especially are jocular) battle between the staid spouse and his unconventional Mistress by Marriage wife.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Viper-Monica McCarty

The Viper
Monica McCarty
Ballantine, Oct 18 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345528391

In 1306 Bella Comyn sits in a cage hanging high over Berwick Castle ever since she crowned Robert Bruce as King of Scotland. King Edward of England uses her as an example of those who betray him; and her abusive spouse John who wanted to be the Scottish ruler encourages him. Her only regret is she misses her daughter.

Six months earlier, Highland Guard mercenary Lachlan MacRuairi arrives at Belvedere Castle to escort Bella to Scone to coronate Robert Bruce as the Scottish king. Time runs out on them when John arrives. Lachlan forces Bella to leave her twelve year old daughter behind. They escape, but she is angry with him. John follows them so Lachlan has them hide in a cave. He wants the Countess but distrusts women since his wife betrayed him and his clan. They leave for Scone with Lachlan killing several enemies. They make it safely to Scone but too late for the coronation at a time when Bruce’s claim is shaky due to a betrayal. Bruce asks Lachlan to escort nine women and three children to his brother. Lachlan reluctantly agrees. On the journey Lachlan and Bella fall in love, but upon arriving at their destination, she believes he betrayed them to her husband.

More historical than romance, the early fourteenth century era with betrayal and distrust as common traits comes across vividly described. The lead pair is fully developed, but besides an attraction and a few kisses deftly avoids each other; thus rightfully so the romantic subplot is almost non existent. Although there is an odd major gap in time towards the end, readers will enjoy the tale of two supporters of Robert The Bruce.

Harriet Klausner

Seduction of a Highland Lass-Maya Banks

Seduction of a Highland Lass
Maya Banks
Ballantine, Sep 27 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345519498

The three McCabe brothers have struggled for years to bring prosperity to their clan. Recently the oldest one Laird Ewan took the first major step when he married his beloved Mairin (see In Bed With a Highlander). Now Alaric McCabe feels he must follow in his older brother’s footsteps.

Taking a small party with him as his clan needs warriors to stay home to protect the laird and his pregnant wife, Alaric heads to nearby Clan McDonald where the aging chief has promised his daughter Rionna in marriage. His party is ambushed by he assumes the family enemy Duncan Cameron. Alaric escapes on horseback near dead. McDonald clan outcast Keeley finds him and heals him. However, as they fall in love, he knows he must wed Rionna for the sake of his clan as two clans and a king would demand; and Keeley though kicked out due to a betrayal remains loyal to her clan (and his) which means he must wed Rionna.

The second McCabe Highlander romance continues the exciting intrigue as the marriage of convenience alliance appears broken when Alaric and Keeley meet and fall in love. The fast-paced story line grips the reader once the loyal heroine rescues the severely injured knight and never slows down until the final confrontation from demanding lairds and a king that also sets up third McCabe brothers historical.

Harriet Klausner