Monday, December 31, 2012

The Marriage Campaign-Karen Templeton

The Marriage Campaign

Karen Templeton

Harlequin Special Edition, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373657247

The three cousins called themselves the Summer Sisters as they spent vacation time together at their late grandma’s house near St. Mary’s Cove on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. April Ross (see A Gift For All Seasons) and Melanie Duncan (see The Doctor’s Do-Over) are brides in a double wedding ceremony attended by the third “Sister” maid of honor Blythe Broussard. Also there are Blythe’s childhood nemesis widower Congressman Wes Phillips and his young son Jack.

Blythe recognizes a troubled kindred spirit in Jack whose mom died in a car accident two years ago. She warns Wes that Jack has self-destructive issues like she once had. Attracted to the Congressman and caring about Jack, Blythe plans to keep her distance from father and son until she makes her escape back to DC as fourteen years ago on Valentine’s Day her heart (and virginity) broke. Wes has other ideas as he is falling in love with Blythe and believes strongly she is perfect for him and Jack though her rocky past negatively impacts his reelection chances.

The Marriage Campaign is an engaging contemporary second chance at love romance starring a relationship-phobic designer, a Congressman whose campaign focus is Blythe not the voters and a disturbed eleven year old boy. Filled with compassion and passion, readers will enjoy this wonderful contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Free From Guilt-Pat Simmons

Free From Guilt

Pat Simmons

Lift Every Voice Books (LEVB)/Moody, Sep 20 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802403896

Brilliant MIT graduate Cameron Jamieson completed ten generations of his family roots tracing his ancestry back to African royalty and to previously unknown Boston kin. However, his genius also leads him to question the simplistic embrace of God’s love and offer of salvation by his entire St. Louis family except for the septuagenarian matriarch Beatrice "Grandma BB" Beacon, the terror of the city. Cameron accepts her belief that life is meant to enjoy today and worry about redemption far into the tomorrows.

Unlike Cameron who can quote scriptures, Gabrielle Dupree believes God comes first above all else. She prays that one day the Lord delivers to her a man of equal faith to share a love of one another and Jesus. Gabrielle and Cameron are attracted to one another at first sight. However, the strength of their polar opposite religious convictions places a relationship between them in peril as each struggle with love.

The latest Jamieson Legacy urban Christian inspirational (see Still Guilty, Guilty of Love and Not Guilty of Love) is a terrific contemporary romance with a fascinating triangle consisting of Cameron, Gabrielle and Jesus; Gabriele especially feels the tug on her heart and soul. As in the cousins’ tales (see The Guilt Trip and Guilt by Association), genealogy plays a key supporting role enhancing the engaging storyline. Readers will appreciate this strong entry as temptation and God-fearing converge with Gabrielle knowing the right path is with Jesus but the damning alternate seems so good.

Harriet Klausner

The King Next Door-Maureen Child

The King Next Door

Maureen Child

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732227

Griffin King and Nicole Baxter met at the wedding of his cousin Rafe King and her best friend next door neighbor Katie Charles last year. Affluent Griffin is house-sitting while Rafe and Katie are in Europe for three weeks and his beachfront condo is on the market. Though he admires how sexy all work and no play is except with her three years old son Connor Griffin adheres to his vow to end his serial affairs lifestyle and especially avid women with kids.

A fire in Katie’s kitchen forces her and Connor to temporarily vacate. He invites mother and child to move into his cousin’s home. Nicole decides a short tryst is just the thing for her as the divorcee shares in common with the bachelor: no marriage. As Griff proves kind and caring towards her son though an easy mark for Connor’s child con; neither adult knows how to react to falling in love.

The latest Kings of California romance (see King's Million Dollar Secret) is an engaging romance starring two protagonists whose theme song is 10 Cc’s “I’m Not in Love” and a too precocious matchmaking toddler. Contemporary fans will enjoy this warm tale as the King falls in love with the single mom and her child next door.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 29, 2012

All He Really Needs-Emily McKay

All He Really Needs

Emily McKay

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732265

Dying Hollister Cain informs his offspring that they take charge of Cain Enterprise and prevent a missing heiress from stealing their billion dollar legacy. Dalton the CEO hunts for the woman; while his brother Griffin the International marketing VP performs little except in bed with beautiful women and overseas travel; and their illegitimate sibling Cooper is the outsider. Dalton informs Griffin that he quits as the CEO as he has a more important mission: winning the heart and regaining the trust of his beloved Laney Fortino (see All He Ever Wanted). Before leaving, Dalton tells Griffin, whom their dad scorned as a wastrel do-gooder, that his assistant Sydney Edwards will take good care of him.

Stunned Griffin the underachiever has been Sydney’s secret lover, but now he is her boss. He believes they can combine the boardroom with the bedroom, but though she loves Griffin she informs him no more trysts. As bad as that thought is since he loves being with her; he also fears he will have little time for his vocation of helping Hope2O.

The second At Cain’s Command contemporary romance stars a seemingly unambitious hedonist and a dedicated administrative assistant. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy learning of the hidden depths of Griffin (and for that matter Sydney too) as he makes a case not to judge a book solely by its cover while also encouraging the audience to look up Hope2O’s real counterpart

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Real Cowboy-Sarah M. Anderson

A Real Cowboy

Sarah M. Anderson

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732241

Oscar winner James Robert Bradley left Hollywood at the height of his fame several years ago. Though many including his agent Bernie Lipchitz expected him to come back after a respite, James remains on his Bar B Ranch in the middle of nowhere Montana.

Thalia Thorne has a chance to produce her first movie, Blood for Roses, if she can persuade James to play the role of Sean; she believes he could win another Oscar with this part. When she reaches his ranch, she sees nothing California in the boorish cowboy who wants her to leave as she disturbs the peace he has found in Big Sky Country by reminding him of the bad things he did in Southern California; worse he is attracted to her as she is to him. Thalia refuses to go away as she needs him or her career dies for failing to deliver. Trapped by a blizzard, J.R. and Thalia begin to fall in love.

The lead couple makes for a rousing redemption ranch romance as he has demons from his past that haunt him while she needs him if she plans to remain in Hollywood. Though the device of a snow storm stranding the protagonists has been used a lot, fans will enjoy this entreating character-driven contemporary

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Mighty Quinns: Logan-Kate Hoffmann

The Mighty Quinns: Logan

Kate Hoffmann

Harlequin Blaze, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797394

Ninety-six year old Irish author Aileen Quinn is writing her autobiography of a rags to riches orphan girl making it big; when she asks her assistant Ian Stephens to find the descendants of her older brothers, siblings she never met. Assuming her brothers are dead, Aileen wants to leave her fortune to their children and grandchildren. She learns the youngest Tomas sailed to Australia in 1916; so Ian hires Capley and Drummond of Brisbane to investigate.

In Queensland, Australia, struggling horse breeder Logan Quinn faces bankruptcy. Logan drives to deliver his favorite horse Tally to a buyer. He stops at affluent Williamston Farm where his old mate Ed Perkins the stable manager invites him to stay for a night. Ed lectures him for not letting his boss Simon Grant bid on Tally. Simon’s daughter Lucinda introduces herself to Logan as Sunny. She knows she failed her dad when she flopped at the equestrian event at the London Olympics. Refusing to compete in Brisbane, Lucinda decides to escape her father’s disapproval and pressure by hiding in Logan’s camper. As they travel the continent, the poor hose-breeder and the heiress fall in love.

The latest Mighty Quinns’ series (see Ronan and Cameron) is a fabulous Australian romance starring two wonderful protagonists on a journey of love. Though financially polar opposites, the pair share a deep love of horses and soon of each other. Readers will look forward to more tales of Aileen’s relatives as the nonagenarian who has always felt alone for over nine plus decades has found family.

Harriet Klausner

Night Driving-Lori Wilde

Night Driving

Lori Wilde

Harlequin Blaze, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797417

In Bozeman, Montana, former Army Captain Boone Toliver recuperates from his third right knee surgery to repair an injury suffered from a bomb in Afghanistan. He feels like an invalid as he was forced to hire help though he can afford it having invested wisely the millions he inherited millions from his beloved late wife. The only tsuris besides his knee is his ditzy neighbor Tara Duvall, a sexy irritant. He is busted when he pretends to be on the cellphone only to have his half-sister marine biologist Ph.D. candidate Jackie Birchard call. Before leaving Tara says she is moving home to be with her ailing mother; while Jackie says she is marrying the man she loves and trusts, Coast Guard Lieutenant Scott Everly whom she has known just over a month. He reacts poorly as Jackie says she will marry her fiancé in a few days in Key West before hanging up on him.

Boone has less than five days to save Jackie from herself, but cannot fly due to the threats of blood clots and he can’t drive that distance while local car service says no. He places an ad on the internet and gets a response by someone going to Miami. They negotiate terms of leaving tonight; afterward he learns his driver is the ditz. The road trip has misadventures as time is running out, but also opens up Boone’s heart as he begins to fall in love with his zany neighbor.

Night Driving is a fun zany romance starring two opposites falling in love while on the road. Character driven by the lead couple, fans will enjoy the changing relationship between Tara and Boone.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chance of a Lifetime-Jodi Thomas

Chance of a Lifetime

Jodi Thomas

Berkley, Dec 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250525

In Texas, Tannon Parker visits the Harmony County Library to tell librarian Emily Tomlinson that his mom no longer recognizes him. She thinks back to when they were best friends growing up and on the high school newspaper together as juniors when the bloody tragedy ended their friendship fifteen years ago as he pushed her away. Like Tannon, Emily will go home alone, but unlike her former BFF she will write a fantasy piece on her journal about him holding her hand with a smile. When she visits his mom, he hopes they can at least be best friends again though he wants much more.

Not yet twenty-one, musician Beau Yates works gigs in town in places where he cannot drink. At the same time his estranged dad makes it clear to everyone that his son is a disgrace. His belated New Year’s resolution is to have a girlfriend who likes him. He knows he is attracted to the mysterious Red but doubts she cares about him.

Recently, lawyer Rick Matheson has been beset by a series of accidents that he believes were deliberate as he wonders who wants him dead and why. He wonders if the sleazy clients that he defends are the cause. U.S. Marshal Trace Adams rides her bike into Harmony concealing her mission to protect Rick.

Rotating subplots, the latest Harmony drama (see Just Down the Road, The Comforts of Home and Somewhere Along the Way) is an engaging small-town Texas tale starring a charming ensemble cast. The cast makes fans feel Welcome to Harmony.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Breath Of Scandal-Elizabeth Essex

A Breath Of Scandal

Elizabeth Essex

St. Martin's, Dec 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250003805

In December 1814 in Sussex, Antigone Preston attends her Papa’s funeral but has no time to mourn his loss because on that same day her Mama informs her that she arranged for her to marry to wealthy Lord Aldridge who is three times her age. Refusing to be a sacrificial lamb, Antigone needs a scandal to turn Aldridge away from her. At a gala, she punches and knocks down Aldridge for all to see. Her reputation is shattered.

At the same ballroom where Antigone let her fists do her talking, Navy Captain William Jellicoe enjoys her bodacious antics and is attracted to her. As this son of an earl and the female boxer become an entry, they scandalize London with their escapades.

The latest Reckless Brides Regency romance (see Almost a Scandal) is an entertaining historical due to the antics of the refreshing heroine. Fast-paced and amusing from the first punch until the final kiss, fans will enjoy A Breath Of Scandal.

Harriet Klausner

Live And Let Love-Gina Robinson

Live And Let Love

Gina Robinson

St. Martin's, Dec 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312542412

CIA agent Con Russo goes undercover in Orchard Bluff, Washington to obtain information on RIOT’s top assassin Rooster before he kills the enemy operative. However, Con has a major problem in the small town that could expose his identity to the Rooster. His wife Willow, who thought he died two years ago in an explosion in Ciudad when he was Jack Pierce, resides there. She is unaware that Rooster set the blast.

Though his face is radically different, Willow believes Con Russo is her husband Jack Pierce as no one has his eyes, Spookie recognizes him, and her heart tells her so. Willow vows to learn the truth using seduction as a weapon of choice. Rooster begins to wonder if his friend Willow is right that Con Russo is her husband Jack Pierce. Not willing to take chances, Rooster plans to kill Con and Willow.

The latest Agent Ex espionage romance (see Diamonds Are Truly Forever) is an action-packed thriller with a unique triangle consisting of an assassin, a terrorist and a widow. The storyline deftly combines tension and jocularity in a fast-paced fun tale.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beach House No. 9-Christie Ridgway

Beach House No. 9

Christie Ridgway

Harlequin HQN, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780373777402

Frank the agent hires editor Jane Pearson to help former imbedded Afghanistan War journalist Griffin Lowell complete his memoir of one year with the troops as the reporter is way behind schedule. He ignores her calls so needing the job after severing ties with a best-selling client, Jane travels to Crescent Cove, California to accost Griffin on person. She expects to see an alcoholic brooding recluse, but instead at his Beach House No. 9 cabana she finds an alcoholic “party central” womanizer.

Griffin tells the nuisance “Librarian” to leave as he insists he needs no help especially from a comma momma. She ignores him and moves into Beach House No. 8 and charms his dog Private to betray him and join her side. To drive the "Governess" away, Griffin invites his troubled sister and her brood to move into Beach House No. 8. Instead Jane moves into Beach House No. 9. Although each believes the other is a pest, they also share in common an attraction.

The first Crescent Cove contemporary romance is an enjoyable tale starring two individuals who are enemy combatants falling in love. The support cast especially his extended family and party goers like Ted and the diet cherry cola crowd enhances the well written storyline. However, it is the flashbacks to his year with the troops leading to Griffin’s PTSD ,making him feel shattered and causing his writer’s block that bring poignancy to a warm novel.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night-Heather Graham

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night

Heather Graham

Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 18 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885619

Musician Rhiannon Gryffald relocates to Los Angeles as the new Keeper of Southern California; a tough place to enforce peace amidst the Others and the human species as Hollywood is loaded with performers. Her first major assignment as the Keeper to the stars is serial murders in which the evidence points towards a rogue vampire. Her investigation leads to Elven police detective Brodie Mac who is undercover as an actor on a show working the same case.

Rhiannon and Brodie agree to work the case together. They soon connect the victims to Brodie’s show. Believing they know the predator personally though not the identity of whom he/she is as the culprit remains hidden in plain sight; the pair tries to focus on ending the homicides though their attraction makes concentration on the killer difficult.

The first of a new Keepers series (future tales by Harley Jane Kozak and Alexandra Sokoloff) is an entertaining entry as the Los Angeles paranormal realm seems genuine with Brodie as an Elven cop anchoring the realism. The whodunit is cleverly designed as a combo matchmaker and Hollywood Homicide inquiry as the protagonists know they must solve the case quickly (with timeouts for kisses) without revealing the truth of the Others residing among the humans. Readers will enjoy Heather Graham’s tour of the SOCAL night life.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Home by Dark-Marta Perry

Home by Dark

Marta Perry

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777358

Almost a decade has passed since Rachel Mason eloped to marry Ronnie over the objections of her Amish family and community. She never returned to home in Deer Run until now. Now a widow, Rachel, accompanied by her nine year old daughter Mandi, comes home to face communal ostracizing as no one including her Daad and Maam welcome her or her child except for her fourteen year old brother Benjamin Weaver.

Her late husband’s BFF Colin McDonald knows he owes Rachel for failing to be there for his deceased buddy though he believes she will not welcome him. However, a troubled Benjamin tells his sister and Colin a secret that haunts the teen and makes him a target of the killer. The estranged pair unites to keep Benjamin safe.

The first Watcher in the Dark is a taut romantic suspense starring a brave heroine who though a pariah within her family will do anything to keep her child and brother safe. The key to this strong Amish thriller is the family and romance subplots support the suspense as the danger remains the prime focus. Readers will enjoy Home By Dark as a clever predator implements his plans for Deer Run.

Harriet Klausner

Highlander Claimed-Juliette Miller

Highlander Claimed

Juliette Miller

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777594

Lord Ogilvie sexually assaults Roses claiming her mom escaped him with death but she would not. As she struggles to escape, he rips her clothing but stops abruptly when he sees the small tattoo previously hidden by her garb. Ogilvie questions her where she got it, but she tells him nothing to protect the healer who saved her life when as a child she was dying from measles. Roses stabs her attacker and flees to nearby Clan Mackenzie as the first stop before vanishing into the Highlands as an outcast.

Wilkie Mackenzie finds Roses and knows he wants her as his forever. However, his older brother clan chieftain has arranged a political alliance through Wilkie marrying the daughter of an ally. While Wilkie struggles between his love of Roses and his clan, she fears her unknown heritage will destroy her beloved Warrior. So Roses flees again only to be caught by Ogilvie who knows who she is having seen the tattoo while her warrior pursues his Angel.

The first Clan Mackenzie historical romance is an exciting Highlander thriller as clans battle to claim the mysterious female as theirs; and assassins kill to keep secrets hidden. Fast-paced but driven by the Angel, the Warrior and the odious, sub-genre fans will appreciate Highlander Claimed.

Harriet Klausner

Forever a Lord-Delilah Marvelle

Forever a Lord

Delilah Marvelle

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0373777310

In 1800, the Venetian tells his ten year old prisoner Nathanial Atwood that the lad’s father ignored the kidnapper’s demand. The angry man calmly tells the lad he cannot deal with Atwood’s sister Auggie or their mama as that would be a hanging offense and that he is no murderer. Five years later the Venetian freed Nathaniel who remains in New York.

In 1820, Coleman, a top bare knuckle fighter, answers a notice in the paper for information on a missing Nathanial Atwood. He goes to see the Duke of Wentworth and his son Lord Yardley at the Adelphi where he learns the older man is his brother-in-law and the younger his nephew as they seek to honor their beloved late Auggie by finding her lost brother; a quest they have tried to achieve for years. Coleman says Atwood died, but Yardley says he owes it to their respective moms to come home.

Nineteen year old Lady Imogene Norwood attends her first Season expecting no matches due to her stutter and lack of confidence having been ill. Her assumption changes when she meets brawling angry Lord Atwood whose return to London has one objective to destroy his father. All bets are off when Imogene wants to sponsor him as a bare knuckle fighter so she can help her brother. To persuade Atwood, she offers a marriage of convenience.

The third Rumor historical romance (See Forever and a Day, and Forever a Lady) is a terrific refreshing tale that provides a unique reason for a marriage of convenience and Coleman’s stunning story as a Forever a Lord fighter. Rotating perspective will have readers enjoying this strong nineteenth century thriller as well as the previous entries.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The One That Got Away-Kelly Hunter

The One That Got Away

Kelly Hunter

Harlequin KISS, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373207008

In Sydney, business partners Max Carmichael the architect and Evie Jones the engineer forged a good working relationship when they created MEP (Max and Evangeline Partnership). Max asks Evie to marry him so he can access his fifty million dollar trust fund two years earlier than if he remains single though he admits they do not love each other and will divorce once he no longer needs marriage. He tells her that way they can have the ten million they need for this project. After negotiating stipulations, she agrees.

Max sends a cell phone picture of his fiancée to his older half-brother Logan Black and their mom. Logan feels like his stomach was pounded as this Evie looks like the Lena who he shared the greatest kinkiest week of his life over a decade ago. Evie and Max travel to Melbourne to meet his family. When Max introduces Evie to Logan, both are stunned but go through the motions of a first encounter to fool his family. She knows he was the one but he wanted more than she could give and offered nothing except incredible sex in return. Now Logan wants Evie gone as she is the only person who ever wiggled inside his heart while she remembers the sex was heavenly but they had nothing else.

The first KISS romance is a great Australian second chance at love contemporary starring two fascinating protagonists and a solid support family. Both leads possess strong personalities as they go through phases of the Kübler-Ross model re their original break-up (denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and acceptance) though accepting their love may not be enough for this couple. Kelly Hunter provides a powerful opening act.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady-Tiffany Clare

Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady

Tiffany Clare

St. Martin's, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250008022

In 1846 three rakes (an earl, a marquess and a duke) attend the funeral of the abusive Earl of Fallon. Thus Leoniadas, Tristan and Hayden show up not out of friendship to the deceased, but as a show of support to the SOB’s financially broke widow Lady Jezebel. Jez asks the rogues for a favor as she wants them to prevent a marriage between the abusive next Fallon and the naive Lady Charlotte Lindsay as she does not wish the innocent to end up like she did. Willing to do anything for their friend, each knows the best plan to thwart unholy matrimony is to compromise the daughter of Lord Ponsley.

Four years ago Leo Harrow deserted his beloved Genevieve Camden. Since he dumped her, she swore off marriage and love while accepting the role of poor relation. Her uncle demands Genny act with propriety especially while chaperoning her cousin Charlotte or face the street. Leo and Genny see each other across a ballroom; plans are shattered as the pair only has eyes for each other but she distrusts her beloved who broke her heart.

The first Dangerous Rogues Victorian romance is an entertaining second chance at love historical with a strong lead couple and a solid support cast who add depth to this storyline and appears to set up the future entries. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady while wondering who will pair up in the future tales while hopefully also clarifying the mystery of the enigmatic Dowager Jez.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When You’re Desired-Tamara Lejeune

When You’re Desired

Tamara Lejeune

Zebra, Dec 4 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420123913

In 1817, widower Lord Dorian and his brother Lord Simon a soldier discuss a play starring notorious actress Cecilia St. Lyrs. Simon hates her while Dorian likes her. Their mom invited wealthy Sir Lucas Tinsley and his daughter Lucasta to join them. After the show, Lucasta, Dorian and his mom visit Cecilia while Simon talks to Prinny about business with Lucas. Lucas tells Simon he will ignore Prinny’s debt to him if he retrieves a necklace he gave to Cecilia because she failed to sleep with him. She plans to sell the necklace to raise money for the Foundlings Home.

Cecilia informs Simon she chose the late Armand over him because the Frenchman offered marriage. Irate Simon demands she choose sex with Lucas or return the necklace. She chooses sex. Cecilia tells Dorian she will never be his mistress as she used to sit on his knees when she was a child. Dorian is shocked as she is Sarah Hartley who lived with their family years ago. His mom said she died while he was away; he even visited her grave. Instead she was sent to Ireland as a teen to wed an odious man. As Dorian vows to protect her, he cuts off his mom shocking his sibling who still loves his brother’s “mistress”.

This entertaining late Regency romance stars an interesting heroine, an angry lead male and a strong fully developed support cast. The theatre provides a nice backdrop. Although the Dowager Duchess’ actions seem inane several years ago but much more so in the present as if she did not expect her sons to talk, fans will enjoy this engaging second chance at love historical.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Hometown Boy-Janice Kay Johnson

A Hometown Boy

Janice Kay Johnson

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718252

Two weeks ago in Tucannon, Washington, Joyce Own told her troubled oldest son thirty-four year old Robbie he would have to leave if he failed to take his psychiatric medicine as she feared for her life. He left with rifles and began a deadly rage starting with the nasty next door neighbor Tindall and ending with his suicide. The mass killings became a media sensation.

Robbie’s brother David comes home to help his mom cope with what her boy did and with the town’s ostracizing her, which he cannot blame them as he told his parents Robbie was dangerous and needed to be committed; they refused. In town, David and his friend from his teen days Acadia Henderson meet. They were sweet on each other, but she moved before either acted on their feelings. The pair remains attracted, but David knows his mom’s need comes before his desire; complicating any relationship is Acadia grieves the death of her dad; one of Robbie’s victims.

This is a tense small-town thriller that looks at the aftermath of a massacre done by one of them. The key to the character-driven poignant tale is the romance between David and Acadia plays second fiddle to a town and a family struggling with the bloody tragedy.

Harriet Klausner

The Truth About Comfort Cove-Tara Taylor Quinn

The Truth About Comfort Cove

Tara Taylor Quinn

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718290

In Comfort Cove, Massachusetts, twenty-eight years ago, a man raped Sandy Hayes and kidnapped her baby daughter Allie. Now the police have a DNA match, but because the science was new that may not be enough to convict him. Sandy’s daughter police officer Lucy Hayes encourages her frightened alcoholic mom to look at a line up where the older woman claims number four raped her.

Comfort Cove Police Detective Ramsey Miller never comes home to Vienna, Kentucky as his negligence years ago led to the death of his sister though his father pleads with him to see his ailing mom. Ramsey investigates a missing child cold case in which the DNA of the victim snatched almost three decades ago was found in the home of a baby trafficker. When Ramsey and Sandy team up on the inquiry neither expected the attraction between them.

This is a great taut police procedural romance with a strong cast and wonderful twists including a stunning final spin. Fast-paced but character driven, readers will relish this powerful romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

The Other Side Of Us-Sarah Mayberry

The Other Side Of Us

Sarah Mayberry

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718245

After learning that his wife Edie was cheating on him with her ex for five years, musician and sound technician Oliver Barrett obtains a divorce and moves into the Melbourne suburban beach house of his late aunt. His next door neighbor is TV producer Mackenzie Williams, who is recovering from a terrible car accident last year.

Neither is friendly as healing is their top priority. However, their dogs become BFFs while teaming up to tear down the fences, physically and metaphysically. Soon the two obstinate humans follow the lead of their canines as Oliver and Mackenzie fall in love.

The Other Side Of Us is an entertaining contemporary Australian romance starring two sets of couples with the precocious pooch pair leading the way. The keys to this engaging love heals all storyline are the realistic portrayal of the respective anguish and hurt of the lead humans and their “recovery.” Fans will enjoy this warm Down Under tale.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Miss Whittier Makes a List-Carla Kelly

Miss Whittier Makes a List

Carla Kelly

Camel Press, Jan 1 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9781603818971

Teenage Quaker Hannah Whittier leaves her Nantucket home to sail from Boston to her brother’s home in Charleston on the Molly Claridge. The crew of His Majesty’s Frigate Dissuade boards the vessel. The British Naval Captain Sir Daniel Spark demands that Captain Winslow hand over deserters as he pronounces “once and Englishman always an Englishman.” Hannah intercedes as the British impress American sailors, but Daniel kisses the stunned spitfire.

Not long after the Dissuade leaves, a French vessel sinks the Molly Claridge. The Dissuade rescue the lone survivor Hannah. Spark informs her she will be his guest for at least six weeks as they sail to the Caribbean. There she will find a ship heading to America. As Daniel and Molly sail together they fall in love, but she is a Massachusetts Quaker and he is a British aristocrat who expects the American experiment into democracy to fail.

This is a reprint of an entertaining early nineteenth century romance mostly on the dangerous high seas as the French and British are at war. Like Sparks, readers will appreciate the spirit of feisty Hannah once she gets her sea legs; however acceptance of Sparks is more difficult as he goes from ruthless and arrogant when he boards the ill-fated Molly Claridge to caring and nurturing on the Dissuade. Still fans will enjoy this mostly at sea historical with the reality of combat in the background while wondering if these star-crossed lovers can become a permanent couple as at least one of them will have to give up a way of life that is bone marrow deep.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wyoming Bride-Joan Johnston

Wyoming Bride

Joan Johnston

Dell, Jan 1 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780345527462

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left the six Wentworth children orphaned. The sextet has lived at the Chicago Institute for Orphaned Children for three years under the abusive control of headmistress Miss Birch. However, the oldest Miranda left as a mail order Texas Bride taking her two youngest siblings (ten years old Nick and four years old Harry) with her to San Antonio and plans to arrange her sisters seventeen years old twins Hannah and Hetty, and sixteen years old Josie to join her.

However, having not heard from Miranda, a desperate Josie arranges for Hannah to become a mail order Wyoming Bride. On the Oregon Trail, Hannah’s new husband McMurtey dies from cholera leaving her pregnant. The Sioux injure Hetty and capture Josie. Rancher Flint Creed finds Hannah trekking for help while her twin lay dying and her other sister is missing. In love with his brother’s fiancée, he proposes to Hannah who accepts though neither mentions love nor imply any passion between them.

The second Wentworth Mail Order Bride historical is a super Reconstruction Era western romance starring two interesting lead characters concealing critical secrets from one another. Action-packed with a secondary romance (Flint’s brother), fans will appreciate Joan Johnston’s entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Scoundrel Takes A Bride-Stefanie Sloane

The Scoundrel Takes A Bride

Stefanie Sloane

Ballantine, Jan 1 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780345531155

Over a decade ago, someone murdered Lady Beatrice Afton in Afton Manor in Petworth, Sussex. No one was accused of the homicide.

Over the years, Beatrice’s daughter Lady Sophia never turned to her arranged by her mom betrothed Langdon Bourne for comfort or help with her obsession to find her mom’s killer. Instead she studied criminology so that by 1813 she feels ready to investigate her mom’s homicide. She believes the one person who could assist her with achieving her objective has come home after years abroad amassing a fortune in India. She pleads with Langdon’s brother Nicholas to be there on her investigation. He reluctantly agrees as he obsesses over keeping the woman he has loved seemingly forever safe on their journey of discovery.

The latest rousing Regency Rogues (see The Saint Who Stole My Heart) is a terrific historical romantic mystery made stronger by Langdon being a decent honorable person. The amateur sleuthing is fun to follow as forbidden passion between the daring duet makes their inquiry that much more difficult.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shiver-Karen Robards


Karen Robards

Gallery, Dec 4 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451678673

In St. Louis, twentyish single mom of four year old Tyler, Samantha Jones attends EMT certification classes while working nights repossessing cars. She arrives to tow away a BMW only to find critically battered and shot Danny Panterro in the trunk.

Danny is an undercover FBI agent, who was outed when the drug cartel he had infiltrated blew up the safe house he was hiding in. That explosion confuses Danny as it seems wrong for drug lord Veith to blow up the townhouse before collecting the missing money. Sam saved his life, but he knows she and her son are now in peril as vicious drug runners pursue them with one objective, three deaths.

Shiver is an action-packed romantic suspense thriller that starts off with an incredible opening scene and never slows down as nothing is quite like it seems. Fast-paced and starring two intrepid protagonists, readers will enjoy Shiver as the bad guys keep the lethal pressure on the good guys.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wed to a Highland Warrior-Donna Fletcher

Wed to a Highland Warrior

Donna Fletcher

Avon, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062034878

In 1005 in the woods of Scotland, Bliss the Pict curses her gift as she waits for her destined mate to arrive just as she had envisioned. King Kenneth’s soldiers accost her with one insisting her race of pagans will be no more. His older comrades warn him that she is a seer who will steal his soul. While they debate what to do with her, Bliss says her husband has come for her. She claims Trey MacAlpin as her mate as he steps out of the mist. He affirms her statement.

Bliss knows that the MacAlpin brothers will fulfill the prophecy to place the True King onto the Scottish throne and that she would be part of the epic struggle. However, she was unprepared for her attraction to Trey as they head to his stronghold. However King Kenneth’s soldiers assault them on their dangerous trek but she knows her greatest peril is to her heart as she loves Trey; unaware even with her ability to read the future that he loves her too.

The final eleventh century MacAlpin brothers' Warrior King Scottish romance (see A Warrior’s promise, Loved by a Warrior and Bound to a Warrior) is a fabulous finish to a fresh medieval saga. Fast-paced from the moment the Pict seer names her husband, fans will appreciate this strong historical wondering which sibling is the true king.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To Tempt An Irish Rogue-Kaitlin O’Riley

To Tempt An Irish Rogue

Kaitlin O’Riley

Zebra, Nov 6 2012, $6.99

ISBN 9781420112405

In 1876, Paulette Hamilton enjoys her life as a single person with no desire to marry. She especially likes working at her family’s bookstore in London. One customer changes her feelings about marriage when widower Lord Declan Reeves, accompanied by his young daughter, Mara enters the bookstore to buy the child a book.

Paulette feels for the silent Mara who has been mute since she watched her mom die in a horrid fire; in which her dad is the only suspect. Ironically like Paulette, Declan has had no motive to wed in his case because of his miserable first marriage. Yet he and Paulette share an attraction. As he begins to frequent the bookstore, they fall in love, but the tragic fiery death of his late spouse stands between them.

The fourth Hamilton Sisters Victorian romance (see When His Kiss is Wicked, Desire In His Eyes and It Happened One Christmas) is a superb historical as the lead couple team up in investigating the death of his wife. Fast-paced from that first memorable meeting in the store, fans will appreciate this romantic mystery while rooting for this couple and his child to find out what happened that devastated a father and daughter so that the pair can move on with Paulette’s love making them whole.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

‘Twas The Night After Christmas-Sabrina Jeffries

‘Twas The Night After Christmas

Sabrina Jeffries

Gallery, Oct 30 2012, $19.95

ISBN: 9781451642469

In 1803, his parents sent him away to Titus’ Farm when he was eight years old. When he was younger Pierce Waverly believed they would welcome him home, but they never did. Now thirty one year old Pierce is the cold Earl of Devonmont who prefers the life of a rake as he lives up to the image demanded by his late father. In fact he has not been home in years and has not seen his Mother in all that time as he assumes she hates him or why else did she abandon him to distant family.

In December 1826, Mrs. Camilla Stuart sends him a note in which she warns him that if he wants to ever see his ailing mother he better come home now before it is too late. Stunned, he assumes his mom is dying so though he knows she will not welcome him he rushes to Montcliff to see her. Instead he finds his Mother healthy as her companion Widow Camilla sent him the missive hoping for the pair to reconcile. She did not anticipate her attraction to the troubled son of her employer or him to her.

This is an entertaining late Regency Christmas romance starring two individuals brought together by an estrangement. Filled with humor, pathos and a late twist, the cast makes for a warm wonderful holiday second chance at family tale even though the villain is over the top of the Tower.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Winter Wonderland-Fern Michaels, Holly Chamberlin, Leslie Meier and Kristina McMorris

A Winter Wonderland

Fern Michaels, Holly Chamberlin, Leslie Meier and Kristina McMorris

Zebra, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420121445

"A Winter Wonderland" by Fern Michaels. Actress Angelica Shepard gets away from New York for a Rocky Mountains holidays in Colorado. In Denver, trauma surgeon Dr. Parker North is despondent as he failed to save the life of an injured child. Each takes a respite at the same remote location. When a snowboarder drills Angelica, Parker gives her medical attention. Soon they are giving each other undivided attention.

"The Joy of Christmas" by Holly Chamberlin. After much introspective musing, Iris Karr moves away from her sweetheart Ben Tresch. Years later, Iris remains consumed with guilt over leaving her beloved and unfulfilling her dying mother’s wish. She is asked to come home for Christmas where she will see Ben.

"The Christmas Thief" by Leslie Meier. Elizabeth Stone looks forward to Christmas in Tinker's Cove, Maine with her family. However, her plans change when someone steals jewels from the Cavendish Palm Beach Hotel in Florida where she works at the same time Elizabeth is attracted to Chris Kennedy. Her mom Lucy joins her daughter in Florida for the holidays.

"The Christmas Collector" by Kristina McMorris. Estate liquidator Jenna Matthews ignores nostalgia as those feelings can interfere with sales. However, part of elderly Mrs. Porter’s estate includes a keepsake that Jenna has doubts should be sold. Soon she and her client’s grandson Reece meet.

These are four entertaining holiday romances with the bonus of Lucy Stone amateur sleuth as part of the fun anthology.

Harriet Klausner

The Warrior-Margaret Mallory

The Warrior

Margaret Mallory

Forever, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446583091

In 1508 on the Isle of Skye, Duncan MacDonald and his chieftain’s teenage daughter Moira fall in love. However, when her raging father and her equally angry brother the heir catch them, they exile to France Duncan and his cousins Alex (see The Sinner) and Ian (see The Guardian) who allegedly abetted him with his disloyal violation. Moira, while carrying Duncan’s child, is married to abusive Sean.

In 1516, Duncan finally comes home. His chieftain Ragnall assigns Duncan to breach Sean’s castle in search of weaknesses. Instead he arrives as Moira and her son Ragnall attempt a desperate escape. Duncan helps the pair to freedom, but his beloved distrusts men as her lover, her father and her brother abandoned her and her offspring to a brutal beast.

The third Return of the Highlanders historical romance is am entertaining second chance at love tale. The hero is somewhat stereotypical of the sub-genre, but the lead female and their child bring freshness as abuse victims. Fans will appreciate this engaging sixteenth century Scottish romance as love heals the mind and soul.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Walnut Tree-Charles Todd

The Walnut Tree

Charles Todd

Morrow, Oct 30 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9780062236999

In 1914, pregnant Madeleine Villard asks her best friend Lady Elspeth Douglas to come from Scotland to Paris to be at her side during the last few months of her pregnancy. Elspeth travels to Paris as the Germans invade Belgium and head to France. Madeleine's husband Henri and her brother Alaine enlist in the French army.

Elspeth loves Alaine who admits to her that he feels the same way; he gives her a family ring telling her he will speak to her guardian Uncle Kenneth when he returns from combat. As the Germans close in on Paris, Madeleine gives birth prematurely to a son. Meanwhile Scottish Captain Peter Gilchrist arrives to rescue Elspeth, who is confused by her feelings for him and her betrothed even as she provides sustenance to the soldiers near the front.

This is an exciting WWII military romance as all is not quiet on the northeastern front. The key cast is fully developed so that the transition in class status that the war to end all wars brought as its most lasting and radical outcome feels genuine. However, it is the atrocities and tragedies as an outcome of war that makes this a strong historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In Need of a Good Wife-Kelly McNees

In Need of a Good Wife

Kelly McNees

Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425257920

In 1866 in Manhattan City, Clara Bixby loses her job at Rathbone’s Tavern. This is the latest setback, having lost her baby followed by her husband George deserting her. She reads about a town in need of marriageable women. Seeing an opportunity, Clara writes to Destination, Nebraska Mayor Cartwright asking if anyone is interested in a wife.

Widow Rowena Moore still grieves for Richard who died in the Civil War. With her father in an asylum, Rowena worries about paying the bills, as she sells items like her wedding ring. She knows this is a far cry from her upper class social status. Fortyish Elsa has worked at the Channing Mansion laundry for three decades. When she reads an ad for Christian wives, she decides to take a chance on a change. Clara hosts a meeting with twenty two applicants for eight men. She pairs snobbish Rowena with widower businessman Daniel Gibson, but fails to mention he is the butcher and has five young children. Leopold Shreier wants a cook not a wife. Elsa is interested as both are older Bavarians. One woman backs out in Manhattan City. In Detroit, two more women leave. Another dies on the train. Four of Bixby’s Belles reach Destination. The men whose women fail to arrive accuse Clara of fraud. Cartwright likes her, but can’t help her as she faces a trial.

This is a super western romance with the three female protagonists possessing different personalities while the time and places come alive with nuances like the letter exchange. Although George’s actions seem illogical, fans will enjoy this engaging Cornhusker romance.

Harriet Klausner

The Marriage Trap-Jennifer Probst

The Marriage Trap

Jennifer Probst

Gallery, Oct 2 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9781476717517

Venezia Conte rants and rages at her brother Italian billionaire businessman Michael. She blames him for her long time beau Dominick not marrying her; as their widow Mama insists Michael must wed first. He does not want to marry anyone, but does not want to stand in the way of his sisters so he needs a fake spouse.

Last year Alexa Ryan (see The Marriage Bargain) introduced her sister-in- law photographer Maggie Ryan to Michael. Maggie loves Michael but assumes he loves Alexa. Desperate she tries a love spell while he chooses her to be his sham spouse since she will be in Milan anyway. Whether it is a love spell or just old fashioned love, Michael and Maggie want the temporary removed from their relationship.

The second entertaining Marriage to a Billionaire contemporary romance is a lighthearted farce starring likable lead characters and fiery Italian female warriors. An enjoyable tale, but only for readers who ignore the plausibility of a nineteenth century relationship premise in a twenty-first century drama.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tempting the Bride-Sherry Thomas

Tempting the Bride

Sherry Thomas

Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425251027

In 1896, the Ton believes that David Hillsborough, Viscount Hastings, has never been in love. However, David suspects that a few people who truly know him realize he loves Helena Fitzhugh; but she hates him ever since he was a teenage snot and besides she loves a married man. When a tryst goes wrong, David intercedes to keep Helena out of a life ruining scandal. They elope.

A carriage accident leaves Helena suffering from amnesia. Seeing a chance at happiness David persuades his wife they are in love. As they become friends and lovers, the moment David dreads yet wants occurs; his beloved’s memory returns.

The latest Fitzhugh Victorian romance (see Ravishing the Heiress) is an engaging historical starring a lead male in unrequited love and the female he cherishes who loathes him. The amnesia ploy has been used before in relationships (including the TV show Grim), but comes across fresh as David knows his judgment day of reckoning is coming but cannot stop himself from insisting they are in love.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 17, 2012

Follow My Lead-Lisa Renee Jones

Follow My Lead

Lisa Renee Jones

Harlequin Blaze, Sep 18 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797202

Reality TV show, Stepping Up, begins dance auditions for the second season shows. Rival variety show hosts Blake Nelson and Darla James are hired as part of the new season. Blake will film the opening auditions in Denver as he did with the successful first season (see Watch Me). Darla has been named a judge though she must prove her worth if she wants the job for the entire year’s run; which she does to pay off her parents’ enormous debts.

Darla and Black may be competitors, but they are also attracted to one another. He pushes a relationship while she hesitates. Still they begin a secret tryst that if exposed will nuke their careers.

The enjoyable second Stepping Up season focuses on auditions and the shaky top secret affair, but neither subplot is fully developed as the heated storyline comes across as emaciated. Still this is a fun read especially following the wannabe performers as they dance and the reactions by the judges to their performances.

Harriet Klausner

Living The Fantasy-Kathy Lyons

Living The Fantasy

Kathy Lyons

Harlequin Blaze, Sep 18 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797196

Quirky Games, Inc. CEO Ken Johnson seeks a queen, but not any royal will do. He needs to find Guinevere in Houston to help promote their new game, Winning Guinevere. Ken knows the significance of this actress on his firm; if this game fails to sell Quirky files for bankruptcy.

At the agency Ken hired to find his star, he sees his Queen leave the elevator and assumes Ali Flores is a model. In fact Ali is a shy office worker who hates her current job and happened to be in the building meeting her BFF, who is working the Quirky account, for lunch. Ken hires Ali who immediately takes to her role and her new employee as he changes his goal from selling his game to Winning Guinevere the woman he loves.

Living the Fantasy is an engaging heated romance starring a hunky geek and a no longer reticent heroine. Readers will enjoy the protagonists’ escapades in and out of bed as they turn their sexual role playing into a loving reality.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Heart Made New-Kelly Irvin

A Heart Made New

Kelly Irvin

Harvest House, Oct 1 2012, $13.99

ISBN: 9780736943833

In Bliss Creek, Kansas, Annie Shirack and David Plank love each other. Annie, who works for David’s mom at Plank’s Pastry and Pie Shop, wants to forge a relationship with him. David does too, but refuses to act on his feelings because he struggles with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and refuses to allow his beloved the tsuris of dealing with someone with a potential death sentence.

Logan McGee robs the bakery so that he can feed Charisma and their two years old daughter Gracie. Annie feels for the foolish lad while also taking into her home Charisma and Gracie. As a desperate Logan compounds his mistakes, Annie tries to help her two guests start anew while praying for the Lord to persuade David they belong together even if their time proves short.

The latest entertaining Bliss Creek Amish drama continues the tales of the Shirack family whose parents died in a tragic accident (see To Love and to Cherish). The cast is fully developed cast as two family members (younger brother Josiah) star in romances. Readers will appreciate this strong character-driven tale as love never dies.

Harriet Klausner

The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male-Jessica Clare

The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male

Jessica Clare

Berkley Heat, Oct 2 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425253168

In Bluebonnet, Texas, after an on and off and on relationship with nice guy Allan, salon owner Beth Anne Williamson ends their engagement permanently as she is tired of his inability to keep his dick zippered. Beth Ann’s mom Jeannette sends her out to bring home her younger sister Lucy who is with her boyfriend Colossal attending a QuestMasters convention at a time when their dad meets with Senator Brown.

A reluctant Beth Ann heads to the Arcane Forest where the tournament is being held. When she gets lost in the woods during a rainstorm, former Marine Colt Waggoner finds Beth Anne. He thinks she is spoiled and pampered while she feels he disses her like he did before he left for the military. Angry, Colt decides to teach the snob a lesson in survival; but their rage towards each other turns to love. However, Allan is back as he needs Beth Anne in his life or face losing clients while Colt believes she is better off with her ex rather than someone from a scandalous family like his.

The second Bluebonnet romance (see The Girl's Guide to (Man) Hunting) is a fun heated contemporary as the townsfolk and Colt assume that Allan is the man for Beth Anne. The cast is solid as love (and great sex between batman and Wonder Woman) may not be enough for Colt and Beth Ann.

Harriet Klausner

Undeniable-Alison Kent


Alison Kent

Berkley Heat, Oct 2 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425253267

In Crow Hill, Texas Tess and Dave Dalton left their rundown ranch to the Dalton Gang (Dax Campbell, Boone Mitchell and Casper Jayne). Hellcat Saloon owner Arwen Poole went to high school with the gang, but none of the noticed her, but it was the indifference of Dax, who she had a crash on sixteen years ago, that hurt.

When they meet for the first time after he left town years ago, Dax fully notices Arwen and her attributes. He wants her for a short fling as commitment is not in his dictionary; while she wants him for a short fling to get him flushed from her system. As they share a wonderful tryst, love intrudes on their best laid plans.

The first heated Dalton Gang romance stars two fascinating fully-developed protagonists who are offspring of alcoholic dads. Although the storyline goes the expected course, the pair’s making love in seemingly every conceivable spot makes for a hot time in Texas.

Harriet Klausner

Bianca-Bertrice Small


Bertrice Small

NAL, Oct 2 2012, $16.00

ISBN: 9780451237958

In 1474 affluent Florentine silk merchant Giovanni Pietro d’Angelo and his wife Orianna expect to arrange the right marriages for their daughters starting with the oldest, sweet beautiful Lady Bianca. However, her future collapses when her brother Marco admits to doing something stupid. He and Stefano Rovere visited a courtesan who died when his friend rode her. To avoid a scandal they dumped her body in the river. Stefano told his abusive father Sebastiano who makes sure the stupidity remains buried but informs Giovanni he owes him for keeping the family out of a scandal. Payment is Bianca.

Bianca uses her intelligence to somewhat lessen the abuse of her husband. However, fearing for her life as Sebastiano turns uglier towards her, Bianca abetted by her mom flees to Santa Maria del Fiore convent before hiding in remote Villa Luce Stellare. There she meets and falls in love with kindhearted Turk, Prince Amir, the grandson of Memhet the Conqueror. When someone murders her odious husband, Bianca plans on becoming Amir’s spouse knowing her mom will disown her for marrying an infidel.

The first Silk Merchant's Daughters early Renaissance romance is an engaging historical. The cast is fully developed especially the heroine who refuses to sacrifice her happiness and future for a second time. Although Sebastiano’s death feels convenient even if he deserved to die, readers will enjoy touring Florence and the Italian coast.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hidden Paradise-Janet Mullany

Hidden Paradise

Janet Mullany

Harlequin HQN, Sep 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780373777198

Paradise Hall resort in Somerset, England caters to guests who want a complete escape from the twenty-first century. Instead of wire and wireless, those staying (and working) at Paradise Hall will find themselves in a late Georgian era setting.

One of the owners Chris invites his close friend Widow Louise Connolly, a Jane Austen expert, to come to Paradise Hall. She decides to go because she hopes to “see” her beloved late Julian there. Leaving Montana, she arrives at Paradise Hall where her friends greet her like a conquering heroine. She and journalist Mac Salazar meet and begin a tryst. She knows they are playing roles and when the fiction ends it is time for her to go home.

Hidden Paradise is a fun heated tale with several romances (besides that above there is younger couple Rob and Di) in a “historical” setting. The cast is fully developed as fans will believe they entered a long ago era of English decadence when we arrive at Paradise Hall.

Harriet Klausner

Forbidden-Nicola Cornick


Nicola Cornick

Harlequin HQN, Aug 21 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776672

In 1817 elderly Lord Templemore asks his heir Lord Wardeaux to investigate whether maid Margery Mallon is his long lost granddaughter. Marjory dreams of one day having enough money to open up a confectioner’s shop as she loves to bake.

Marjory arrives at Mrs. Tong’s Temple of Venus brothel to barter her baked goods in exchange for items her brother can sell in his store. On the way out, she meets Henry Ward. He ignores her insistence she is not one of the girls when he kisses her. Henry begins courting Marjory to learn about her background. He knows if she is the granddaughter she will inherit instead of him, but owes Templemore the truth. As they fall in love, she finds out about his perfidy while the Ton scorns her and a dangerous adversary stalks her.

The latest Scandalous Women of the Ton Regency romance (see Desired and Notorious) is an enjoyable historical with a solid supporting mystery of what happened two decades ago. The protagonists are a nice pairing as he wants the best for her while she has been a footnote in previous entries. Readers will enjoy this fast-paced thriller as the villain will stun most fans.

Harriet Klausner

Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed-Anna Campbell

Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed

Anna Campbell

Forever, Sep 25 2012, $5.99

ISBN: 9781455512072

In 1826 Sidonie Forsythe arrives at Castle Craven on the South Devon Coast during a terrible storm. Jonas Merrick expected Sidonie’s sister Roberta to arrive to pay off her gambling debts. Sidonie says she is payment while stating he lured her older sibling into a trap to get back at Roberta’s husband Lord Hillbrook. He gives her credit as she does not cringe at his severely scarred face like all the females including her sibling do. Jonas welcomes his gift of seven nights with an innocent in his bed.

Sidonie shocks him with her courage, which stirs conflicting feelings as Jonas wants her but his heart that he thought died with the curse says to protect her not use her. She is stunned as the infamous monster is a caring lonely person. As they reveal their darkest secrets and cherished desires, enemies arrive at Castle Craven to destroy him; as he knows now he has an Achilles’ Heel they can deploy, but it is a secret she kept from him that has greater power of ending what they forged over a week.

The first Sons of Sin late Regency romance is a delightful retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing in a gothic setting (storm included). Sub-genre fans will enjoy the gender war between the innocent and the gilded as love levels the playing field.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lord of Temptation-Lorraine Heath

Lord of Temptation

Lorraine Heath

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062100023

In 1844 in the freezing Tower of Pembroke Castle, the three young Easton siblings (Sebastian, Rafe and Tristan) expect to die that night at the hands of their Uncle Lord David Easton; just like they believed their father did. Childhood friend Mary Wynne-Jones helps them escape from certain execution.

By 1858 Lord Tristan Easton no longer exists as he has become privateer Crimson Jack unaware of what has occurred to his brothers. Lady Anne Hayworth hires Crimson Jack to help her find her late fiancé’s grave in the Crimea. He agrees to take her in exchange for a kiss. Each is stunned by the feelings, but both know they have no future together. However when they meet again in London where her best friend introduces Lady Anne to Lord Tristan, he vows to make her his permanently.

The latest Lost Lords of Pembrook Victorian romance is a wonderful historical as the prodigal brother comes home to find love (from his “client” and his siblings). Character driven, fans will relish this engaging second chance at love and life (on his part) though the suspense is diminished from Sebastian’s tale (see She Tempts The Duke).

Harriet Klausner

My Scandalous Viscount-Gaelen Foley

My Scandalous Viscount

Gaelen Foley

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062075932

Carissa Portland considers herself to be “a lady of information.” She enjoys serendipitously learning all the news fit to print in the scandal rags. When she learns that Viscount Beauchamp is being set-up, she goes to warn him. His thank you is to steal a kiss from the nosy body.

However, they are caught so Beau the rake insists on doing the honorable thing by demanding she marry him. Unable to stop sleuthing, Carissa finds out the true mission of the disreputable Inferno Club that her roguish spouse belongs to. When she learns her beloved husband is in a perilous mess, Carissa dives into the danger to protect her mate.

The latest Inferno Club Regency romance (see My Ruthless Prince, My Irresistible Earl, My Wicked Marquess and My Dangerous Duke) is a fabulous thriller as the heroine brings danger and humor as she sets out to keep safe the spy who loves her. Fast-paced and filled with non-stop action, fans will relish this entry as brave Lady Carissa provides freshness to an intense yet jocular tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Lady Risks All-Stephanie Laurens

The Lady Risks All

Stephanie Laurens

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062068637

Second son Lord Julian Delbraith is a popular wastrel who is excellent at gambling. His older brother George the heir to a dukedom is boring while his wife Caroline believes her brother-in-law is a bad influence. In 1811 George commits suicide. Shocked Julian returns home to learn his sibling had fallen to the family curse of gambling and owed a fortune. To save the family and the dukedom, Julian proposes to his solicitor a plan to pay the debt from his funds and become a full time gambling king. He tells his mother and Caroline with the stipulation the young duke Henry knows the truth so he can be watched in case he succumbs to the curse.

In 1823, Miranda Clifford follows her younger brother Roderick who visits notorious gambling king Neville Roscoe. The Cliffords are wealthy due to making a fortune in trade, but lack respectability. She explains to Roscoe that she came to rescue her sibling from wicked activities. He allows her to hide while listening to her brother during a meeting. She is stunned that Roderick belongs to the Philanthropy Guild who runs charity projects. Miranda realizes that Roscoe is not corrupting her sibling. She apologizes as he walks her home and tells him her brother no longer needs her to watch over him. When Roderick vanishes, they team up in search of him while falling in love, but his scandalous life leaves them no future together.

The lead couple is an interesting pairing as she learns the true heroism of her scandalous beloved. The suspense subplot is exciting, but the switch to a well written romance detracts from the overall entertaining storyline.

Harriet Klausner

How A Lady Weds A Rogue-Katharine Ashe

How A Lady Weds A Rogue

Katharine Ashe

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062031891

Diantha Lucas has a plan that she knows violates the rules of polite society. She wants to see her mom Lady Davinna, who vanished years ago, but allegedly owns a brothel in Calais. Thus she sneaks out of Brennan Manor to take the coach to the coast.

Falcon Club member Wyn Yale has a plan that he knows violates the rules of polite society. He needs to murder a malevolent duke so he steals a horse to begin his quest though knowing he will hang for his virtuous mission.

Wyn’s is sidetracked when he rescues Diantha. He agrees to escort her, but his plan is to take her home not to Calais. However, as he increasingly admires his companion, Wyn wants to help her succeed. When they fall in love, he realizes she is more than just his heart and soul, she is his redemption.

The latest Falcon Club Regency romance (see How To Be A Proper Lady) is an entertaining historical starring a courageous naïve lady and a brave burned-out agent. Though there is late suspense the leisurely paced storyline focuses on the healing power of love as he has a second chance at life and she has a chance for happiness. Readers will appreciate this passionate tale.

Harriet Klausner

When the Duchess Said Yes-Isabella Bradford

When the Duchess Said Yes

Isabella Bradford

Ballantine, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780345527318

In 1762 after a decade away from England Hawke the Duke of Hawkesworth comes home to London to marry his betrothed before she turns nineteen in order to inherit his late father’s estate. Failure to wed his intended whom he believes he has never seen will leave Hawke without any money. When he meets his future wife Lady Elizabeth Wylder, they recognize that they actually shared a kiss at a masquerade.

Hawke courts his fiancée in rapid style. When they marry, all seems well as the pair are attracted to one another. However, as the youthful Countess gives everything to make this a happy relationship, the cynical Duke obstinately believes love is evanescent.

The second Wylder sisters’ Georgian romance (see When You Wish upon a Duke) is an enjoyable arranged marriage as the lead couple is a nice pairing of a sarcastic non-believer and a trusting true believer. Readers will appreciate this delightful eighteenth century historical even though the threat to the protagonists’ happiness comes somewhat late.

Harriet Klausner

Never Seduce A Scot-Maya Banks

Never Seduce A Scot

Maya Banks

Ballantine, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780345533234

King Alexander II of Scotland plans to end the feud between his two most powerful and loyal clans the Montgomerys and Armstrongs. He informs both lairds that their offspring Lady Eveline Armstrong and Laird Graeme Montgomery will marry. The monarch prays that the two chieftains don’t kill each other on the way to the wedding.

Due to a childhood injury, Eveline is deaf. Beloved by her overly protective clan she reads lips while concealing her ability to speak to avoid unholy matrimony. Thus she has catch-up on learning to be a laird’s mate. Graeme admires and respects her willingness to attempt anything. Eveline appreciates his patience and that she can hear his voice. As their admiration turns to love, some prefer the hostilities to continue so they plan to prevent the coupling using any means including assassination to achieve their objective.

The first Montgomerys and Armstrongs Highlander romance is an engaging tale as the insidious plotter manipulates the clan warfare. Eveline is a refreshing character due to her deafness though to avoid a bad marriage she pretends to be mute which seems odd yet apropos in the delightful storyline. Readers will enjoy this entertaining historical as the feud threatens the love.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter-Lori Austin

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter

Lori Austin

Signet, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451238276

In 1870 Abilene, Cathleen “Cat” O’Banyon pretends to be a whore in order to catch Clyde. She ties him up before asking her question “you or her?’ Alexi Romanov arrives and kisses Cat. She knows he saved her life when someone murdered her husband Billy. She became a bounty hunter with a goal to catch the killer. Alexi taught her how to play various roles. He warns her men seek Cat. Two men enter the room asking for Cat. Alexi tells her to meet him St. Louis as he gets the men to chase after him while she delivers Clyde to her brother-in-law Ben the Rock River sheriff.

Cat takes the train to St. Louis dressed as a woman but leaves the train dressed as a boy. She finds Alexi the con artist claiming to be “Count Sukhoruken! Famed Healer of Balshika!” to sell Black Sea elixir. His assistant is brain damaged Mikhail. He tells her there is a large dead or alive bounty on her. Alexi asks her to travel with him to Denver City where Cat’s body is to be delivered as they begin a final confrontation with her past as a wife of a murdered farmer and his as a Civil War sniper.

The characters are refreshingly unique as the Civil War impact on vets is powerful with the male lead suffering from battle fatigue and his “brother” from a brain injury. The engaging storyline focuses on Cat’s mission of vengeance as she gets them in and out of trouble. Although the climax is a bit of a letdown, the road getting there is fabulous.

Harriet Klausner

Josh- R. C. Ryan


R. C. Ryan

Forever, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455502431

Rancher Josh Conway loves mountain climbing and takes advantage of any chance he has to do so. Josh finds solace in the solitude of a mountain top. Thus when someone gets lost in the nearby ranges, he willingly goes to their rescue.

Officials notify Josh that photographer Sierra Moore is missing. He finds her and brings her back to his family’s ranch. Sierra the loner is stunned by the affection the extended Conway family have for each other. As she stays and captures life on the ranch with her camera, Sierra knows she must leave paradise as a stalker she met in Paris will find her and bring trouble to the clan she cherishes and the man she loves, but Josh will never allow the woman he loves to vanish, as his mom did, for his safety .

The latest Wyoming Sky romance (see Quinn) is a warm Wyoming ranch drama starring two likable protagonists. Although the family is stereotypical of the ranch romance, spunky Sierra brings freshness with her élan for life and her awe of people caring for one another. Readers will enjoy the middle Conway brother’s tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Study in Seduction-Nina Rowan

A Study in Seduction

Nina Rowan

Forever, Aug 28 2012, $5.99

ISBN: 9781455509546

In 1854 London, Lydia Kellaway arrives at the home of Alexander Hall as Lady Talia storms out of his residence. Not in the mood for anyone as his engagement ended when his Russian mom deserted her family for a Russian, he rudely demands she identify herself; while she orders him to give her back her property. The Viscount says he legally purchased the unusually designed locket from a pawn broker when the owner failed to claim it in a timely manner. She insists timely passed because the owner her grandma died.

Negotiations fail as he refuses to part with the locket. A desperate Lydia bets Alexander could not solve one of her puzzles. He accepts her wager of the locket for a kiss. Attracted to each other from the moment they bet, Alexander knows Lydia hides something from him. Knowing he needs to avoid a scandal to insure the Ton do not punish his siblings (Sebastian and Talia), he vows to solve the puzzle of Lydia while she will give up on love to protect her sister Jane.

A Study In Seduction is a fabulous Victorian romance in which the mathematical puzzles provide freshness as readers will want to solve them. The lead couple is a nice pairing of intelligent individuals and the siblings are fully developed. Although Alexander is in trade and Sebastian as a professional musician seem scandalous for an 1850s aristocrat making the lead male’s honorable intention re his family seem more like hypocritical pretension, sub-genre fans will enjoy the theorem of love.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 8, 2012

An Outlaw's Christmas-Linda Lael Miller

An Outlaw's Christmas

Linda Lael Miller

Harlequin HQN, Sep 25 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9780373777013

In December 1915 Texas, rather return to the family Triple M Ranch in Arizona, Sawyer McKettrick chooses to become marshal of Blue River, Texas. Sawyer heads to the town when a blizzard leaves him injured. He manages to make it to just outside the schoolhouse where teacher Piper St. James finds the shirtless Sawyer and helps him inside though she knows her Good Samaritan action will ruin her prim and proper reputation.

Though he insists he is a McKettrick, the teacher assumes he is an outlaw. As they stay indoors while the storm blankets the town, Piper recalls her dreams of raising a family with a beloved mate but knows her guest is a rolling stone; while Sawyer respects his hostess but is not ready to settle down though a pageant has him considering little McKettrick children performing in future galas.

The latest McKettrick holiday romance (see A Lawman's Christmas) is a warm historical starring two wonderful protagonists. Character driven by the lead couple, fans will enjoy An Outlaw’s Christmas as their chance wintry encounter revives her dormant dreams and changes his dreams. Linda Lael Miller provides her fans with a passionate Yuletide Americana.

Harriet Klausner

A Fool's Gold Christmas-Susan Mallery

A Fool's Gold Christmas

Susan Mallery

Harlequin HQN, Sep 25 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9780373777020

Dancer Evie Stryker’s professional cheerleading career ends with a broken leg. Now she is back at home in Fool’s Gold, California, a place she fled as a teen. Her mom and three brothers welcome her back in the family fold as if there were no estrangement. As she heals, Evie works at the local dance studio which is hosting the annual holiday production of The Dance of the Winter King. However, Miss Monica, the geriatric owner of the dance studio, sells the place and runs off with her boyfriend. Everyone turns to Evie to run the gala. She reluctantly agrees but plans to leave Fool’s Gold as soon as she can.

Attorney Dante Jefferson has adjusted somewhat to living in this Sierra Mountains town, but has headaches from the elephantine stomping of little people’s feet in the studio above the law office he and his partner Evie’s brother Rafe (see Summer Days) use. Dante pleads with Evie for relief but she looks at him like he is a lunatic; as the show must go on; not even the producer of the pageant for at least five centuries running away will stop the performance of The Dance of the Winter King. As the lawyer and the dance instructor fall in love, both have strong reasons to avoid any relationship, but this is A Fool’s Gold Christmas.

The final Stryker siblings’ Fool’s Gold romance (see All Summer Long and Summer Nights) is a fine holiday family affair. The too precocious preadolescent dancers steal the show from the adults in this engaging tale of redemption and self-forgiveness.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Angel-Tiffany Reisz

The Angel

Tiffany Reisz

Mira, Sep 25, 2012, $13.95

ISBN: 9780778313991

At Sacred Heart, Father Soren informs his lover erotica author Nora Sutherlin the dominatrix and her protégé Michael that he must behave for the time being as he is under a close scrutiny by an investigative reporter because of his strong possibility of becoming a bishop. If the Church uncovers his fetishes, his calling is over.

Nora agrees to rusticate away from Soren so neither can be tempted to have sex. Nora, accompanied by seventeen year old Michael, stays at the country estate of affluent Griffin Fiske. While Nora muses about her bond with her two male sadists (Soren and her editor Zach - see The Siren), Griffin is euphoric over a summer with Michael.

The second Original Sinners dark BDSM thriller is an engaging tale that takes place one year after The Siren. Nora is terrific as she heeds her master’s advice to train the Angel Michael into a sub. The men in her life are fully developed (and endowed) as Tiffany Reisz continues the erotic escapades of a dominatrix.

Harriet Klausner

Don't Cry for Me-Sharon Sala

Don't Cry for Me

Sharon Sala

Mira, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313427

In Rebel Ridge, Kentucky, Afghanistan veteran Quinn Walker suffers from PTSD though he kept it together to be there for his brother Ryal and Beth as she fled a killer (see Next of Kin). Quinn frequently dreams of when he witnessed PFC Wooten’s head explode.

Mariah Conrad was severely injured in Afghanistan. She has no family or home back in the States. Her ex-lover Quinn orders her to come with him to Rebel Ridge to heal with the help of a friend and his family. Though obstinate and independent as she has been alone for a long while; a reluctant but grateful Mariah agrees. However, she suffers from PTSD and keeps hearing helicopters at night, but sometimes the paranoid are right that the danger is real.

The latest Rebel Ridge romantic suspense is an exciting thriller that takes a deep look at wounded warriors struggling to readjust to civilian life. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Quinn comes for his beloved buddy and never slows down as the romantic subplot supports the premise that no man or woman is left behind.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Autumn Winds-Charlotte Hubbard

Autumn Winds

Charlotte Hubbard

Zebra, Sep 4 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121704

The violent storm hammered Willow Ridge, Missouri, but Widow Miriam Lantz does not care as her lost triplet Rachel, who vanished as a child in the flood of ’93, found her way home (see Summer of Secrets). Miriam watches as all the power at her family-owned Sweet Seasons Bakery Cafe shuts down and a hole ripped into a window. She hears a male voice outside and welcomes traveling blacksmith Ben Hooley inside the café to wait out the storm.

Miriam and Ben are attracted to one another, but she knows he is a rolling stone while she is Old Ways Amish. Bishop Hiram Knepp is upset with the newcomer’s arrival as he wants no rival for the hand of Miriam. With her café in jeopardy and her marital status at stake, Miriam turns to God for wisdom.

The second Seasons of the Heart (see Summer of Secrets) is an engaging Amish historical tale starring a strong female protagonist who wants to find happiness if she marries again after her first marriage fell apart when Rachel vanished. The triangle is super as the heroine must choose between two different men though the Bishop’s ill-temper sense of entitlement detracts from an engaging saga with recipes from the Sweet Seasons Bakery Café.

Harriet Klausner

The Trouble With Cowboys-Melissa Cutler

The Trouble With Cowboys

Melissa Cutler

Zebra, Oct 2 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420130041

After melting down on national TV during the Ultimate Chef Showdown, Amy Sorentino returns home to Catcher Creek, New Mexico swearing off cowboys after the betrayal by The Cowboy Cook. She tells Slipping Rock Ranch owner Kellan Reed that she and her sisters plan to open a family vacation spot with a restaurant and she needs his beef. They go to his ranch to talk as he keeps thinking no involvement with a dysfunctional family like hers as he had his own growing up. He gives her celery and carrots to take home. They have sex though she vowed no cowboys.

Amy’s sister Rachel runs the ranch. Their other sibling Jenna has come home as a single mom to her Tommy. Meanwhile Kellan’s avaricious Uncle Bruce calls to ask him to help buy the Sorentino ranch for his firm Amarex Petroleum though the land was surveyed as dry. Kellan comes to church to invite Amy on a date. His friend Sheriff Vaughn Cooper says the sisters went through a lot with the car accident death of their dad and the mental collapse of their mom. Rachel insists Kellan is not good for Amy. Kellan knows the Sorentino sisters scare him as they are there for each other unlike his dysfunctional family.

The lead couple is a nice pairing of flawed individuals with parental issues while the secondary characters enhance the look at the protagonists. Adding realism is that the odious Cowboy Cook never gets his comeuppance. Although Amy falls into the cowboy’s bunk too easily, fans will enjoy the first Sorentino sister ranch romance.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mischief and Mistletoe-Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Anne Gracie, Joanna Bourne, Susan Fraser King and Cara Elliot

Mischief and Mistletoe

Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Anne Gracie, Joanna Bourne, Susan Fraser King and Cara Elliot

Zebra, Sep 25 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781420124866

“Mistletoe Bride” by Anne Gracie. Ronan is marrying a dying Peggy so he can inherit her estate. When her coach crashes Peggy asks Marguerite to care for her small daughters. A coach takes Marguerite to Ronan’s home.

“Wilder Wench” by Susan Fraser King. When the Movement rushes into Johnny’s home, Ned keeps two children safe. Over a decade later, Ned is the lord who catches Christina robbing a coach.

“Intrigue and Mistletoe” by Joanna Bourne. The snow forces Elinor and Jack to stop at an inn where they see each other for the first time in two years ever since he betrayed her.

“She Stoops to Wenchdom” by Mary Jo Putney. Lucinda loves Gregory but he treats her like they never met as he knows she deserves better.

“Miss Breakheart’s Christmas” by Jo Beverley. Pen plans to win Ross’ heart though he is wedding Cassandra.

“On a Wicked Winter’s Night” by Nicola Cornick. Johnny’s coach crashes forcing him to stop at the Silent Wench owned by Lydia. Four years ago he proposed to her, but she assumed he was being honorable as she was pregnant.

“Winter Wench” by Patricia Rice. Damaris heads to Jonathon’s estate to tell his family that her cousin eloped with someone else. In an accident, a confused Damaris fails to explain who she is.

“Weathering the Storm” by Cara Elliot. Sophie and Bentley sail to London when a mast breaks. He needs to deliver documents to the Home Office while she needs to deliver the family bible to her grandfather. Each is attracted to the other but they conceal their feelings.

Each romance is light-hearted fun starring likable protagonists who bring alive the holiday season in the Regency British Isles.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sweet Laurel Falls-RaeAnne Thayne

Sweet Laurel Falls

RaeAnne Thayne

Harlequin HQN, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776702

In Hope's Crossing, Colorado, intoxicated teens crash while fleeing a police siren. Maura McKnight-Parker‘s daughter Layla died in the crash (see Blackberry Summer).

Still grieving her loss, Maura is shocked when her oldest daughter Sage returns to Hope’s Crossing accompanied by her biological father Jackson Lange who until recently was unaware he sired an offspring with the woman he left behind two decades ago. Jackson has plenty of fences to mend with his loved ones. His first goal is to connect with Sage. His second objective is to come to grips with the fact that he still loves Maura but knows helping her cope with her loss supersedes his desires. Finally he must decide whether to reconcile or not to reconcile with his father who betrayed him all those years ago. As the extended family bonds, Sage’s secret could shatter the healing.

The latest Hope's Crossing contemporary drama (see Woodrose Mountain) is an engaging tale that continues to look at the emotional impact of the car accident on all the townsfolk. The second chance romance enhances the prime tale of redemption (perhaps too much as the cast faces issues that occurred years before the recent tragedy). Still fans will enjoy this warm story of love healing.

Harriet Klausner

The Accidental Bride-Christina Skye

The Accidental Bride

Christina Skye

Harlequin HQN, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776597

In Arizona, twenty-seven years old Jilly O'Hara loves working in the kitchen of her restaurant Jilly’s Place though she hates the social schmoozing side. However, suddenly while in the kitchen she cannot breathe and is filled with severe pain as she falls to the floor. Jilly wakes up in a hospital where she learns she suffered a heart attack caused by a previously unknown congenital defect.

Her Summer Island, Oregon BFFs ((Grace Lindstrom (see A Home by the Sea), Caro McNeal (see The Knitting Diaries "Return to Summer Island” entry) and Olivia Sullivan)) know Jilly only goes at one pace hyperspeed so they decide to force her to take time off. The trip sends Jilly to Lost Creek Spa in Wyoming where she meets veterans Walker Hale and Winslow the dog who are both recovering from war injuries. When the owner elderly Mrs. Hale persuades Jilly and reclusive Walker to pretend to marry so she can host one last wedding bash, the pair conceals from one another that they wish it was the real thing.

This knitting romance focuses on love healing two wounded warriors. The BFFs with their knitting needles and Mrs. Hale add depth while Winslow serves as the matchmaker as she falls in love with the dog before she does with the ex-soldier. Fans will enjoy this warm romance as we wonder whether Walker retreats or boots to the ground.

Harriet Klausner

Shades of Temptation-Virna DePaul

Shades of Temptation

Virna DePaul

Harlequin HQN, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776740

In San Francisco, California Department of Justice Special Investigations Group Agent Carrie Ward struggles mentally with her hesitation before killing Kevin Porter before he could kill her. Though she has doubts, she welcomes returning to work even if that means facing Agent Jase Tyler who she wants to make love with but refuses to be a notch on his belt.

Though he dates bimbos, Jase is attracted to Carrie who almost bit his ear off. . They are assigned as leads on a serial killer investigation. Each knows ending the murders comes before their temptations, while the psychopath targets Carrie.

The second SIG romantic police procedural (see Shades of Desire, which introduced the leads of this entry to readers) is a fast-paced thriller from start to finish. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing especially Carrie who realizes even evil can have some goodness inside. Although the plot has been used a lot including a similarity to Shades of Desire, fans will enjoy this taut romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 31, 2012

Out of Bounds-Ellen Hartman

Out of Bounds

Ellen Hartman

Harlequin SuperRomance, Sep 4 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718016

Madrid Pirates basketball player Wes Fallon is shocked when he learns he was traded to the Serbian team. When he sees a dog running in traffic, he goes to help only to have a beer truck clip his hip. His brother Deacon arrives at the hospital to tell him his basketball career is over as he reinjured the shoulder in the accident. Worried about Wes’ mental state, Deacon hires his sibling to work the Hand to Hand project for their Fallon Foundation he runs with his wife Julia. Wes agrees just before he goes back to sleep.

After leaving the hospital, Wes heads back to New York to join the Foundation. Deacon tells him we have a problem in Kirkland, New York. Blogger Chloe Chastain called with a concern over a missing $65,000 that she and local business owner Trish Jones raised under the Fallon Foundation. He arrives in Kirkland where he meets Trish’s daughter Posy who he knows conceals something involving the transaction from him. As Wes investigates and Posy remains elusive, they fall in love but he feels caught between loyalty to his beloved brother who has always been there for him and his woman.

This engaging Fallon contemporary romance (see The Long Shot) stars two delightful protagonists in a fun tale. The support cast is strong especially little Angel the canine practitioner of chaos theory and Julia whose betting prowess keeps Barry Manilow’s career alive. . Fans will enjoy Out of Bounds as Wes and Posy need to start over but will they do it together since the money intrudes on their love.

Harriet Klausner