Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When Scot Loves A Lady-Katherine Ashe

When Scot Loves A Lady

Katherine Ashe

Avon, Feb 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062031662

In 1813 London, Lambert Poole ruined Lady Katherine “Kitty” Savege. She pretends to still want him but instead she wants to learn his secrets. She attends a masquerade where she sees Lord Leam Blackwood back from overseas and is attracted to him; as he is to her. Kitty drops her plans to destroy Poole until the rat threatened her brother six months ago. She gives information to the Home Office about Poole’s illegal dealing. He flees to France to live in poverty.

In 1816 Leam informs Colin Gray he quit the Falcon Club as he plans to spend time with his son in Scotland. Gray asks him to perform a last mission to learn whether member Captain Jinan Seton also quit and to look into French activity in Scotland. Wyn Yale accompanies Leam. A blizzard strands Kitty and her friend Lady Emily Vale at an inn. Also stopping due to the weather are Leam and Yale. Leam and Kitty recognize each other and the attraction remains strong. David Cox comes to the inn to stay until the snow melts. He flirts with Kitty which make Leams jealous. Kitty and Leam play strip cards before making love. Later a sniper wings Kitty, but gets away; she demands the truth from Leam.

This entertaining Regency is a wonderful historical as the romance seems real while the suspense enhances the plot. The lead couple and the support cast are fully developed. Although I personally do not like local vernacular, but the use of the Scottish brogue adds authenticity to the engaging tale. Although the climax is a bit weak, sub-genre fans will enjoy this exciting nineteenth century romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Secrets of an Accidental Duchess-Jennifer Haymore

Secrets of an Accidental Duchess

Jennifer Haymore

Forever, Feb 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446573153

A Marquis used to easily bedding the women, Maxwell Buchanan is frozen in place for the first time in his thirty years of life when he sees the angel Olivia Donovan for the first time. Leonard Reece catches him staring at the beautiful fragile Olivia for ten minutes. Competitive with Maxwell, Leonard who failed to persuade Olivia into a tryst bets him he will not succeed either. Though he knows he should not accept the wager, Maxwell agrees on a hefty bet over his seduction of his angel.

The middle sister, Olivia knows her siblings, Jessica and Margaret (See Confessions of an Improper Bride), are overly protective of her ever since she suffered from malaria as a child in the West Indies. However, though she still looks frail, Max soon learns quickly that Olivia has a steel backbone, which amplifies his desire for her. As he falls in love with his angel, he fears for the safety of the three Donovan sisters especially his angel when they rescue an abused spouse that enrages a psychopath who targets them for their intrusion.

The second Donovan sisters’ historical romance is an exhilarating tale that grips the reader from the moment a spellbound Donovan can’t take his eyes off of her and never blinks until after the final confrontation. The storyline is fast-paced as the Marquis learns the mouse he has a tendre for is actually a lioness.

Harriet Klausner

With This Kiss-Bella Riley

With This Kiss

Bella Riley

Forever, Mar 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446584227

In Emerald Lake, New York, innkeeper Rebecca Campbell hosts the wedding of her Lake Yarns’ friend Andi Powell to Mayor Nate Duncan (see Home Sweet Home). This happens to be a difficult time for Rebecca as she forced her fiancé Stu Murphy to end their engagement as she wants a love like Andi and Nate share rather than just a nice friendship. Since he is generational family and she decided to hide his secret, she is blamed by the townsfolk except for her Lake Yarns’ Knitting group for the end of their relationship.

Stu’s younger brother Sean returns home for his sibling’s wedding after being away for almost two decades following seeing something that broke his heart when he was fourteen. To his chagrin, Sean finds himself attracted to his sibling’s former fiancé. Rebecca feels the same way about him. Neither wants to make that first move as secrets keep them apart.

The second Emerald Lake contemporary romance is an engaging story of secrets estranging a family. Second chances surface but the Murphy family and Rebecca must dive into the opportunity; which means having confidence that your loved ones will keep you from drowning in a sea of distrust and encouraging you into swimming in a sea of love. Fans will appreciate this engaging family drama.

Harriet Klausner

Last Chance Beauty Queen-Hope Ramsey

Last Chance Beauty Queen

Hope Ramsey

Forever, Feb 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446576086

English Baron Hugh DeBracy comes to America with a plan to build a textile machinery factory. U.S. Senator Rupert Warren wants the plant in his home state of South Carolina. He sends his aid former Watermelon Queen Caroline “Rocky” Rhodes to escort the aristocrat around the state; especially since Lord DeBracy considers her hometown of Last Chance as his last chance to avoid a marriage of money.

Hugh needs to purchase land, but the locals never sell to carpetbaggers. However, Ricky’s mom Ruby considers an exception as she knows her daughter could lose her job if the deal falls through and besides the pair are obviously attracted toe on another. However what clinches the deal for Ruby is his earthly behavior at the Watermelon Festival.

The third Last Chance contemporary romance (Welcome to Last Chance and Home At Last Chance) is a zany, jocular and over the top of Sassafras Mountain frolic. The lead couple is a nice pairing while the townsfolk are an amusing eccentric crowd. Timely with the textile industry having left the state, fans will enjoy riding the Rhodes to Last Chance.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 30, 2012

Colorado Fireman-C.C. Coburn

Colorado Fireman

C.C. Coburn

Harlequin American, Mar 6 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373753994

Only having returned home in Spruce Lake, Colorado a week ago,, firefighter Adam O’Malley enters the burning apartment to rescue a an elderly woman and eighteen month old Charlie. The boy’s three older siblings were taken outside by the babysitter. However, Adam learns that Molly remains inside. Though Molly is a dog, Adam goes back in and rescues the canine. The widow working mom Carly Spencer, a masseuse at the Spruce Lodge Spa, thanks the firefighter who just wants to catch his breath. His mom offers the apartment over the stables to Carly, her four kids and the dog to the shock of Adam; who happens to be living there.

Adam and Carly are attracted to one another. However, he has a secret that he concealed from everyone that keeps him distant from relationships while she has doubts about having another firefighter in her life and that of her kids as her late husband Michael was one in San Diego. When Carly is charged with arson, Adam intercedes.

The latest contemporary romance (see The Sheriff and the Baby and Colorado Christmas) is a warm second chance at love O’Malley drama. Neither of the lead couple wants to fall in love, but they cannot help themselves as they do. The two extended families add depth to their romance especially mom who brings humor (and aggravation if you ask Adam) to this wonderful tale.

Harriet Klausner

Cowboy to the Rescue-Trish Milburn

Cowboy to the Rescue

Trish Milburn

Harlequin American, Mar 6 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373754007

Merline Teague, proprietor of the Vista Hills Guest Ranch in rural Texas, interviews Brooke Vincent for the position of a cook. Mrs. Teague remarks that the applicant’s résumé is thin, but will give her a trial of cooking for the family. If that works out she will also cook for the guests who can number upwards of forty. The food is so good that Merline’s son Simon jokingly proposes. Brooke Vincent is hired while she laments that Brooke Alder no longer exists.

Another Teague son, Ryan was a loner before he served in the Iraq War; now he is all but a hermit except for his family. However, he feels more than just attracted to the new cook, Ryan senses a fellow wounded warrior. Ryan also knows he cannot compete with Simon who is interested in the new employee. Brooke hopes hiding on the ranch will eventually force publicly squeaky clean lobbyist Chris Franklin to stop stalking her since she no longer resided in Arlington though she misses her family in West Virginia. However, no one walks out on Franklin who will use any tool including threatening the Teague clan and Brooke’s extended family including her young nieces to force her to return to him.

The latest Teagues of Texas (see The Cowboy’s Secret Son) is a tense romantic suspense starring two hurting souls and a psychopath. Readers will appreciate love healing the protagonists even as she fears she owes him the truth at the cost of her job, haven and him. Fans will relish this exciting taut thriller as readers anticipate that Franklin is coming for Brooke.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Time Out-Jill Shalvis

Time Out

Jill Shalvis

Harlequin Blaze, Feb 21 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796731

In Santa Rey, California, Rainey Saunders is the junior sports coordinator at the beleaguered North District Rec Center. At the same time that Rainey and her BFF Lena run a car wash to raise some funds, on the news the Sacramento Mammoth players and their thirty-four years old coach Mark Diego and the Anaheim Ducks got into a brawl at a seedy bar after the latter team won the Stanley Cup over the former team due to a controversial call. Lena dates their boss, Mark’s brother Rick’ while Rainey remembers when she was sixteen and offered herself to Mark who rejected his friend’s advances with a life misconduct.

Mark and two of his players arrive at the rec center as the coach and his Ducks’ counterpart make their inane fighters do community service. Rainey’s seditious heart stops as she knows she still wants the rat, but she never forgave him for the humiliation. However, as he hangs around coaching the girls’ softball team, he realizes he is in love; she has been in love with him for over a decade. He plans to score the goal of his life winning the trust of his woman.

This is a charming second chance at love sports romance starring two likable protagonists and a strong support cast especially rec teens at the rec center. Fans will enjoy this fun tale as Mark prays Rainey will release him from the penalty box so that they can heat the ice with their love.

Harriet Klausner

Have Me-Jo Leigh

Have Me

Jo Leigh

Harlequin Blaze, Feb 21 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796755

A member of the Manhattan trading card women St. Marks Lunch Exchange, socialite and charity foundation CEO Rebecca Thorpe has tried three hunks but none give her the sizzle. She sees the card of retired NYPD detective Jake Donnelly, who was injured on the job, and likes what she sees and reads.

While she is Manhattan and he is Brooklyn, Rebecca and Jake have in common is neither is interested in a long term relationship; both want a one nighter or three. They have the best sex of their respective lives. Meanwhile Rebecca targets affluent William West for a large donation to her charity. Jake is stunned as even with major cosmetic surgery, West appears to be a high roller drug trafficker he busted years ago who vanished while on bail. Meanwhile he rationalizes why he must stay with this woman he is falling in love with. He needs to keep her safe from a nasty person pretending to be an honest businessman.

The second It’s Trading Men! contemporary romance (see Choose Me) is an enjoyable New York City frolic. The lead couple seems to be total opposites except in bed as she is a 1% upper class Manhattanite and he is a 99% middle class Brooklynite. Their romance is wonderfully developed to slowly evolve from just lust with the impetus to keep them together long enough for the evolution to occur coming from West.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Texan’s Honor-Shelley Gray

A Texan’s Honor

Shelley Gray

Abington, Mar 1 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781426714634

In 1874 the notorious Walton outlaw gang is infamous for cold blooded murders as much as they are for their robberies. Gang member Will McMillan plans to end the killing spree of his violent compatriots soonest though he knows how difficult this will prove to be as he expects he probably will not survive.

The gang stops a train in Kansas. Those who are not immediately killed are held hostage including the only solo female Jamie Ellis. She quickly realizes that the outlaw Will is the only reason she has not been harmed so far. Undercover Will needs to stay in character if he does not wish to be exposed although that keeps him at risk when the law catches up to them, but saving Jamie takes precedence over saving his life though he sadly knows she could never love a violent man like him.

The second Heart of a Hero thriller stars an honorable man who rode with the title character of A Texan’s Promise. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the romance between the “outlaw” and the hostage as Shelley gray provides a fabulous Kansas post-Civil War thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 20, 2012

Touch of a Rogue-Mia Marlowe

Touch of a Rogue

Mia Marlowe

Kensington Brava, Feb 28, 2012, $14.00

ISBN 9780758263544

Clairvoyant investigator Jacob Preston loves women, but demands his females be passionate in his bed and married so as to insure no dangling relationship demands. Lady Julianne hires Jacob to determine whether her husband’s death was not a suicide as reported and to locate the missing Druid dagger in the set he was collecting.

Jacob knows a widow is off limits in his womanizing as that means she is no longer married. Yet he cannot stop his desire for her. She matches him move for move as Julienne desires her detective but wants no commitment. A fanatical Wollstonecraft disciple, Julienne demands she be Jacob’s sidekick on the inquiry; though he insists he works with no partner except in the boudoir, she refuses to not join the investigation.

The second touching Preston paranormal historical romance (see Touch of a Thief) is a terrific nineteenth century frolic containing a madcap relationship mindful of the Grant-Hepburn movies. Fast-paced from the moment the protagonists meet, readers will enjoy their gender war antics inside of a clever detective storyline in which the feminist and the clairvoyant rock each other’s worlds.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quinn-R.C. Ryan


R.C. Ryan

Forever, Feb 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781455502455

In 1996 Wyoming, Big Jim Conway takes his grandsons (ten years old Quinn, seven years old Josh and five years old Jake) to town while their Pa Cole and Police Chief Fletcher talk. This has been a weekly affair since Cole’s wife and mother to the kids vanished.

In the present, wildlife expert Quinn is in the Grand Tetons observing a wolf pack. Rancher Cheyenne O’Brien meets Quinn in an acerbic encounter. However, a blizzard forces Quinn to stay at her spread. He realizes from her eyes that the independent rancher shares in common with him first-hand knowledge of tragedy. He learns of the deliberate "accidents" to her ranch and insists on helping her when arson destroys part of her home. As they fall in love while his family spread comes under attack, Quinn vows to find the culprit endangering the people he loves.

Leaving behind Big Sky Country (see the McCord cousins’ Montana trilogy) for the Equality State, R.C. Ryan writes an enjoyable romantic suspense. The storyline vividly describes the ruggedness of Wyoming while also focuses on a strong heroine and the close Conway Cowboy clan. Although the villain is too obvious, fans will enjoy the first Conway ranch romance.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne-

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne

Madeline Hunter

Jove, Mar 6 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780515150469

In 1798, Maurice Fairbourne, owner of the prestigious Fairbourne’s Auction House, falls from a cliff near Kent. His secret partner the Earl of Southwaite attends a final auction of mostly junk. Maurice’s daughter Emma pushes the sale while Southwaite wants to sell the house before the value deteriorates too much. Emma refuses and though he cannot explain what happened he leaves meekly. A woman visits Emma with a wagon of wine and other cargo lacking a government stamp. She realizes her dad dealt with smuggled goods. Southwaite looks at the accounts and concludes Maurice dealt with smuggled goods.

Southwaite discusses the Kent coast with concerned friends; while Emma’s pal lines up the consignment for Count Van Kandstrandt. Though Southwaite knows she tricked him to get the Count’s business he kisses Emma. Meanwhile Southwaite watch Emma’s activities near where her dad fell to his death. He confronts her and takes her to his estate where they make love. Since she was a virgin, he says he will marry her, but she refuses. He asks her to be his mistress, but she refuses. However, he vows to keep her safe as he realizes the woman he loves has become embroiled in his smuggling investigation.

The lead couple is fully developed protagonists engaged in a wonderful gender war. The support cast mostly enhances the smuggling subplot with the implication of a sequel between a French female printer and the “handsome Stupid Man.” Although the climax fails to live up to the taut suspense leading to the final encounters, fans will enjoy this exciting historical romance.

Harriet Klausner

The Revenge of Lord Eberlin-Julia London

The Revenge of Lord Eberlin

Julia London

Pocket, Feb 21 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781439175460

In 1792 in Hadley Green, eight year old Lily Boudine's testimony led to the hanging of a man for stealing the jewels of her aunt and guardian, the Countess of Ashwood (see The Year of Living Scandalously). Tobin Scott witnessed his father’s execution for a crime he did not commit. To keep young Lily safe she is sent to live with family in Ireland.

Fifteen years later, Lily inherits the Ashwood title. She finds her estate in terrible condition. Wealthy Tobin as Count Eberlin informs the Countess she has a choice between saving the people of Ashwood and saving herself. She agrees to a tryst to save her people. However he never expected to betray his own quest when he is attracted to the female who hung his dad. On the one hand she feels the same way but also has guilt weighing her down as Lily begins to thinks she condemned an innocent man to the gallows. As they fall in love, they seek the truth of what happened fifteen years ago.

The second Secret of Hadley Green Regency romance is an enjoyable tale as beloved enemies investigate the cold case. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy Tobin’s revelation that "revenge is a dish best served cold" (except for the Count of Monte Crisco and Emily Van Camp) as he finds Lily nothing like the frozen bi*ch he expected; especially with her remorse over what she realizes she did. Readers will appreciate this entry and look forward to more secrets revealed.

Harriet Klausner

Exclusively Yours-Shannon Stacy

Exclusively Yours

Shannon Stacy

Harlequin HQN, Dec 20 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0373776788

Spotlight Magazine editor Tina Deschanel learns that her entertainment reporter Keri Daniels and reclusive famous author Joe Kowalski were an entry two decades ago in high school. Tina has Joe on the bulletin board as the number three interview for years. She demands Keri do her job or find a job.

Keri left their New Hampshire home years ago without a look back at brokenhearted Joe. She makes contact and he agrees to her interrogation if she meets his condition. Keri must join the extended Kowalski family two-week camping trip. Reluctantly Keri accepts Joe’s terms. She quickly finds herself under assault by her former best friend Joe’s twin sister Terry, and wants to escape from the angst of his brothers and their spouses. Throw in a teen, four tweeners, and her attraction to her former sweetheart, Keri considers finding work suddenly viable; while Joe makes it clear she will not run away this time.

This is an amusing second chance at love romance in which the support cast, except for overly baggage Terry, adds humor and poignancy. Character driven, readers will enjoy the antics of the “Killer” Kowalskis as Keri and Joe realize they still are in love.

Harriet Klausner

Harlequin HQN, Dec 20 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0373776788

Spotlight Magazine editor Tina Deschanel learns that her entertainment reporter Keri Daniels and reclusive famous author Joe Kowalski were an entry two decades ago in high school. Tina has Joe on the bulletin board as the number three interview for years. She demands Keri do her job or find a job.

Keri left their New Hampshire home years ago without a look back at brokenhearted Joe. She makes contact and he agrees to her interrogation if she meets his condition. Keri must join the extended Kowalski family two-week camping trip. Reluctantly Keri accepts Joe’s terms. She quickly finds herself under assault by her former best friend Joe’s twin sister Terry, and wants to escape from the angst of his brothers and their spouses. Throw in a teen, four tweeners, and her attraction to her former sweetheart, Keri considers finding work suddenly viable; while Joe makes it clear she will not run away this time.

This is an amusing second chance at love romance in which the support cast, except for overly baggage Terry, adds humor and poignancy. Character driven, readers will enjoy the antics of the “Killer” Kowalskis as Keri and Joe realize they still are in love.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 16, 2012

Autumn Lover-Elizabeth Lowell

Autumn Lover

Elizabeth Lowell

Avon, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780380769551

After spending the Civil War years overseas, Elyssa Sutton returns to her Ladder S Ranch in the Ruby Mountains once the fighting ended. She finds her spread devastated and the peace signed in Virginia meaningless in Nevada where raiders and others steal her cattle and use her natural assets as their own.

Hunter (Maxwell) tracks the butchers who killed his family to the Ruby Mountains. Needing to go undercover he comes out of the shadows to ask Elyssa for employment. She hires him as a “ramrod who can use a gun.” Although she somewhat fears the rage she sees in his eyes, she is also attracted to her employee. He does not wants to care about his boss as he fears losing his ugly edge, distrusts women whose strength is betrayal, and besides people you love die.

This reprint of a 1996 “Only” post-Civil War romance (see Only Love and Only Mine) is an intriguing tale starring an intrepid rancher and an unlikable acrimonious person obsessed with revenge. Hunter’s constant debasing of the heroine even when they make love fits his ire that women betray while he still grieves the murders of his wife and children by the Culpepper gang. Although the story line is as straight as the Bonneville Salt Flats even setting up the obvious sequel starring Hunter’s s bitter brother (see Winter Lover), readers can see the plot for miles ahead, fans still will appreciate this engaging dark historical romance.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Can’t Stop Loving You-Bette Ford

Can’t Stop Loving You

Bette Ford

Avon, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061728853

Having no security until she came to live in the foster home of Mrs. Green, Laura Murdock believes money is critical to keep her off the streets. She has vowed to marry a wealthy man. Her work at a women’s crisis center in Detroit affirms her belief that money is key to survival.

In St. John’s, Lara and renowned artist Wilham Sebastian Kramer meet. He is her favorite painter so is honored when he asks her to pose. As they fall in love, she remains in denial though they marry in Vegas. He is preoccupied with business while she already distrusts any male although Jessie Tucker makes a bid to win her over.

The second of Mrs. Green’s foster daughters (see Can't Get Enough of You) is an interesting contemporary Virgin Islands romance in which the child becomes the adult who cannot communicate his or her fears so uses defense mechanisms to hide their feelings. Lara sings “I’m Not In Love” (10cc) and Wilham buries himself in the hotel deal. Although readers obtain profound insight into what holds back the protagonists, the romance between the pair remains extremely passive until later on in the tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae-Stephanie Laurens

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae

Stephanie Laurens

Avon, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062068620

In 1829 London, Lady Angelica Cynster receives the talisman that enables her family to find their true love. When she sees Debenham, Angelica knows he is the one. However, instead of a loving courtship, her hero abducts her.

Debenham explains why he took her and previously tried to take her sisters (see Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue and In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster); as he pleads with Angelica to save his clan. His insane mother Mirabelle, raging over his father’s obsession with Angelica’s mother Cecilia, recently stole a jewel-encrusted goblet that Debenham’s late dad stole in ‘23. She threatens to expose and ruin the clan unless until her son ruins a Cynster daughter. Knowing he is her true love makes the decision easy for Angelica. As he falls in love with his “capturer”, they face danger while desperately seeking the goblet.

Bonus tale: “The Wedding Planner”. In 1820 Lady Margaret Dawlish is the wedding planner to the royals. Her beloved died in battle so Meg has no plans to marry. Duc Gaston Devillriers has wanted Meg for a long time. He has returned with plans to woo the Wedding Planner.

This is an engaging finish to the Cynster Sisters trilogy. Although the sisters possess almost identical bossy personalities, Debenham brings freshness to the mix as the wannabe kidnapper who is the “matchmaker” in the first two novels and the male lead in this one. Fans will enjoy his unique courtship while he learns what males find out about a Cynster female is that she is alpha to his omega. The short story is an enjoyable second chance at love Regency that was part of the Royal Weddings E-book anthology.

Harriet Klausner

She Tempts The Duke-Lorraine Heath

She Tempts The Duke

Lorraine Heath

Avon, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062022462

In 1844 in the freezing Tower of Pembroke Castle, fourteen year old Duke of Keswick Sebastian Easton and two brothers (Rafe and Tristan) expect to die that night at the hands of their Uncle Lord David Easton. Sebastian believes his father was murdered by their Uncle in what looked like an unfortunate riding accident; and he knows they have no allies in this “prison”. That is until their childhood friend Mary Wynne-Jones arrives to help them escape from certain execution.

Though Sebastian sealed a promise to come for her with a kiss, by 1856 Lady Mary gave up on him the other “Lost Lords” and is engaged. Sebastian has returned hardened by war and his Uncle’s actions over a decade ago and since. His face scarred, Sebastian vows vengeance while Lady Mary, ignoring her father’s warnings, wants his love that she once had and she still gives to her acrimonious lord. Uncle David will soon force his nephew to choose.

The first Lost Lords of Pembrook Victorian romantic suspense is an exciting thriller as the Duke returns with one thought in mind until he meets his beloved love. The lead protagonists are a great second chance pairing of two brave souls whose relationship seems as damaged as his soul. Although Lord David has no redeeming qualities as an over the top of Big Ben 200-proof evil villain, historical fans will enjoy Lorraine Heath’s enthraling tale for the battle of the duke’s soul.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Lady Never Surrenders-Sabrina Jeffries

A Lady Never Surrenders

Sabrina Jeffries

Pocket, Jan 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-1451642452

In 1825 Lady Celia Sharpe knows she has two months to marry or lose her inheritance. None of her suitors interest her; though she admits to herself that her attitude is part of the problem as she simply wants to wed no one.

Celia hires Bow Street runner Jackson Pinter to do a background check on her potential mates. He prefers to investigate what happened to her parents in 1806 when she was not quite five years old. However, Pinter keeps rejecting her suitors, which leads Celia to analyze his motive. Meanwhile as her suppressed memories of what she witnessed two decades ago begin to surface, someone wants her dead. Jackson risks his life and his heart to keep the woman he loves safe.

The final Hellions of Halstead Hall (see To Wed A Wild Lord) is a terrific late Regency romantic suspense as the prim Bow Street Runner knows he wants to wed a wild lady though she is too above his station; while the sharp scandalous lady knows who she wants and goes out to get him. The finish to the overarching murder theme is deftly done as Sabrina Jeffries provides a great finish to Gran’s wonderful Hellions of Halsted Hall.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Never Seduce a Scoundrel- Heather Grothaus

Never Seduce a Scoundrel

Heather Grothaus

Zebra, Mar 6 2012, $6.99

ISBN 9781420112436

In 1277, Cecily Foxe sneaks out of the lavish supper at Fallswtowe Castle. She enters the legendary Foxe Ring stone circle where the myth is a woman will find her mate there. As Cecily arrives, intoxicated rake Oliver Bellecote is thrown from his horse and hits a stone. In spite of his injuries Oliver seduces Cecily.

Oliver heals at Fallestowe with Cecily as his nurse. She is humiliated that her patient fails to remember what she thought was the greatest moment of her life. He dubs her “Saint Cecily” as she seems to be immune to his charm while her oldest sister Sybilla, who no longer can mother hen her youngest sibling (see Never Kiss a Stranger), diligently watches over her middle sister to keep her safe.

The second whimsical Foxe sister historical romance is a fast-paced tale of love between a skeptical rake and a romantic believer. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment the lead couple meet at the stone circle and never slows down though the plot lacks the whimsical creativeness of the first Foxe “never” thirteenth century thriller. Still with some suspense due to the death of Bellecote’s older brother, fans will enjoy Heather Grothaus’ fun foxy fable.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Heart’s Frontier-Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

The Heart’s Frontier

Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

Harvest House, Mar 1 2012, $13.99

ISBN: 9780736947527

In 1881, Hancock hires Luke Carson as foreman of a cattle drive from El Paso to Kansas. Amish Emma Switzer and her maummi are moving from Apple Grove, Kansas to Troyer, Kansas to stay with the former’s Aunt Gerda. Emma’s widower father Jonah and her younger sister Rebecca accompany her on the journey.

Eight men rob them taking their coach with all the belongings. The Switzer family walks to nearby Gorham when Luke is tossed out of a saloon along with his intoxicated cowhand Jesse Montgomery. Jonah believes Luke was sent by the Lord while Emma thinks he is a bum. Luke gives them money to complete their journey while he and his drunken best friend rejoin the drive. When the cowhands find the wagon with the humongous hutch still in side, Luke goes back to escort the Switzer brood to their coach. He still denies the Lord sent him, but he thanks the Lord for sending him Emma.

This entertaining Amish western romance is a fun tale that fans of both sub-genres will enjoy. That is if the Amish romance crowd adapts to the changing relationship between the protagonists as it’s worth the acceptance because Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith deftly makes their road bumpy but real. The Heart’s Frontier is a wonderful Civil War era tale of love between seemingly incompatible cultures.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sunrise With A Notorious Lord-Alexandra Hawkins

Sunrise With A Notorious Lord

Alexandra Hawkins

St. Marin’s, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250001368

Miss Isabel Thorne prevents a pickpocket from stealing the snuffbox of an Earl. Nox club owner and card carrying Lord of Vice member Christopher Courtland appreciates the lady’s intervention, but he enjoys her barbs even more as he wants her sharp tongue exploring his body. When she rejects his advances, his interest rises; as she becomes a challenge that will rid him of his ennui. For her part, Isabel has enough problems caring for her aristocratic widowed mother and her younger sister Delia on impoverished finances without a persistent vain rake bothering her.

The earl’s matchmaking mother believes kick-butt Isabel’s younger flirtatious Delia would make a nice match for her son. However, Christopher has no interest in the younger Thorne as he enjoys the gender war with the older sibling.

The latest Lord of Vice Regency romance is delightful gender war with a third party (his mom) strategically outflanking the combatants. The storyline starts somewhat slow as readers learn what has happened to previous Lord of Vice fan favorites (see After Dark with a Scoundrel, Till Dawn With the Devil and All Night With A Rogue). Once that is done the games of misconceptions begin in what series fans will agree is a wonderful historical entry.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mad About the Earl-Christina Brooke

Mad About the Earl

Christina Brooke

St. Martin’s, Jan 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312354134

Perhaps the most powerful agency, The Ministry of Marriage arranges marriages based on three criteria: power, wealth and prestige. No one appeals their decisions not even those in love as the cost is unbearable to most of the Ton.

Lady Rosamund Westruther saw and fell in love with the miniature of her Ministry of Marriage match chosen one. Although they have not met in person, she believes she hopes her earl returns her already deep feelings. When Rosamund and Griffin meet, both are taken aback. She cannot believe this uncouth gorilla is her intended and he agrees with her assessment that beauty deserves better than the beast. Three years he delays the nuptials until the Ministry force his hand by threatening his sister. However, Rosamund wants her beloved to prove he loves her as she refuses to settle for less.

The latest Ministry of Marriage alternate historical romance (see Heiress In Love) is an engaging twisting tale of love. The MM concept once again is deftly deployed so that fans will accept the matchmaking agency as real. Ergo fans will enjoy waltzing to Christina Brooke’s delightful music as the beast more suited to dance in a stable takes the floor with the beauty in her element.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Principal’s Office-Jasmine Haynes

The Principal’s Office

Jasmine Haynes

Heat, Feb 7 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425247167

Single mother of two teenage boys, Rachel Delaney feels her life is good though the divorcee could use an occasional hunk. Her ideal male will satiate her needs while accepting her mantra of no relational strings as the only males in her life are her sons.

Rachel and Rand meet and begin a tryst constructed around the alternate weeks when her ex-husband has custody of their teens. The principal asks Rachel to come to the school for a parent meeting when her oldest offspring gets into trouble. Rachel is shocked and dismayed that the new principal is Rand. She ends their sexual encounters until he persuades her it is okay for them to have fun. Hell breaks loose when her former spouse obtains a video starring his ex and his kids’ principal.

The third DeKnight erotic contemporary (see Past Midnight and What Happens After Dark) is a heated affair but also looks deeply at joint custody and what is acceptable behavior by a principal in the privacy of his boudoir. Putting aside the risky behavior of the intelligent lead pair making a video even for though targeting for their private use only, fans will enjoy a visit to The Principal’s Office.

Harriet Klausner

Breakaway-Deirdre Martin


Deirdre Martin

Berkley, Feb 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425243688

The New York Blades of the NHL offered Rory Brady a contract to play hockey for them. He left Ballycraig, Ireland as the town’s hero but promised his girlfriend Erin O’Brien he would send for her. However, the lights of Broadway distracted him as he never went back for her.

Erin works at her parents’ B&B while majoring online in art history. She vowed never again will she let her aspirations slide for that of a man. However, Rory is back in Ballycraig to help his grandmother and the football camp he started. However, his real agenda is Erin, but she has him stuck with a game misconduct in the penalty box.

The latest New York Blades contemporary hockey romance (see Just A Taste and Fair Play) returns the readers to Ballycraig (see Straight Up) for another O’Brien tale. The eccentric wagering townsfolk welcome back the conquering hero with one exception, the woman he wants a second chance at love with rejects him as the bets make her the favorite. Fast-paced, the skating on thin ice storyline stars two initially unlikable lead characters (though her frozen heart is understandable) who grow on the reader.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sweet Enemy-Heather Snow

Sweet Enemy

Heather Snow

Signet, Feb 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451236104

Miss Liliana Claremont has two goals in her life. First she wants employment as a chemist in a lab and second she wants to prove to the new Earl of Stratford, Geoffrey Wentworth murdered her father. On the other hand war hero Geoffrey has one field objective: to avoid women suddenly interested in him as an earl worthy of marriage.

His mother wants a grandchild so she arranges a party of acceptable single females. Liliana accepts the invitation as an opportunity to find the evidence to hang Geoffrey. However, at the gala, to her chagrin she is attracted to the former officer. Her behavior so different from the gaggle has led him to learn why she came as Liliana shows no inclination to wed an earl. All previous non-relational thoughts end when they kiss.

The opening Veiled Seduction eighteenth century romance is an entertaining historical starring a wonderful independent female amateur sleuth and the target of her suspicions. Fans will appreciate their encounters as first there is distrust, than there is attraction, and finally there is love, but as the scope of her interest expands his connection to her father’s death remains a bridge seemingly too far for these beloved enemies to cross together.

Harriet Klausner

The Duchess Diaries-Jillian Hunter

The Duchess Diaries

Jillian Hunter

Signet, Feb 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451413123

Miss Charlotte Boscastle knows, as the headmistress of the Scarfield Academy for Young Ladies, how critical if her school is to stay open scandals must be avoided. She is pleased this year’s class proved a success culminating with a terrific graduation ball.

Her euphoria ends when Charlotte, in a panic, realizes her erotic diary is missing. She knows her heated writings of sex with Gideon, the Duke of Wynfield, could ruin her. Gideon possesses Charlotte’s ultra-hot diary. He plans to return it to her. When she learns he has it, she sneaks into his room to regain her inner musings, but they are caught in a compromising position. As they must marry, her diary is stolen causing a bigger impropriety that the Boscastle brood plans to rectify their scandalous way.

The latest Boscastle in a Bridal Pleasures historical romance (see A Duke’s Temptation) is a fabulous amusing tale as the headmistress manages to turn her academy into a School for Scandal (Sheridan) due to her erotic dreams turned real by her former fantasy lover. The bodacious Boscastle brood returns in full scandalous force in order to catch a thief.

Harriet Klausner

A Scandalous Countess-Jo Beverly

A Scandalous Countess

Jo Beverly

Signet, Feb 7 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451236043

In 1764 Widow Lady Georgia Maybury, spent the last year grieving her loss. However, though she rusticated, she did not mourn the death of her foolish husband in a duel, but the impact of his scandalous stupidity placing a spotlight on her rumored activity cost her standing in London high society. Her plan is to return to the elite though the impropriety of her late spouse’s death and rumors of her cheating remain problems.

Georgia’s father offers her hand in marriage to former naval officer Lord Darcy as payment of a gambling debt; he accepts as he could use her widow’s income. Darcy and Georgia become acquainted and enjoy their verbal battles. As they begin to fall in love, last year’s ruinous rumors arise with a new odious one. However, there is one difference this season from last year; a scarred military aristocrat in love rejects these as lies and investigates who the mendacious one is, why he or she is telling these fabrications and even into the death of the Earl of Maybury.

The latest Malloren Georgian tale (see An Unlikely Countess and The Secret Duke) is an engaging eighteenth century romantic mystery starring two seemingly opposites in love. Georgia is a terrific protagonist, but it is Darcy who makes the historical fun as his amateur sleuthing grips readers with a need to know who and why.

Harriet Klausner

Lucky Penny-Catherine Anderson

Lucky Penny

Catherine Anderson

Signet, Jan 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451236036

In 1891 Brianna O’Keefe heads west young woman accompanied by her ward, her young niece. Brianna obtains work on a Colorado ranch. To keep the cowboys away, Brianna says she is married to a Denver gold miner David Paxton and raising their child.

David Paxton arrives and meets his spouse\ and daughter. However, he recognizes neither nor remembers marrying anyone, but his offspring has his family birthmark. Confused David fears he was intoxicated when he had sex with Brianna and when he abandoned the pregnant Brianna. As the two wary “married” adults fall in love, she fears her lies will destroy their special bond of a family especially hurting her niece and breaking her heart and that of their “daughter”.

Lucky Penny is an entertaining historical romance starring the likable Paxton “family” in a strong Gilded Age Colorado tale. The storyline is fast-paced as Brianna struggles with rectifying fate’s twist in which she wants her scam family to be real. Fans will root for her to resolve her problems as she knows she owes her beloved the truth for “There must be some misunderstanding; There must be some kind of mistake” (Genesis).

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Undeniably Yours-Shannon Stacey

Undeniably Yours

Shannon Stacey

Harlequin HQN, Jan 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776863

In Concord, New Hampshire, Jasper's Bar and Grill owner Kevin Kowalski is the biggest Brady fan in the world as every time the Pats win he scores. He informs a drunk that he will not be served anymore alcohol. The sop goes ballistic accidently elbowing his “date” and throwing a punch at Kevin. The bartender grabs the man and mashes his nose to the bar. The cops arrive while the intoxicated man Derek informs his companion Beth Hansen that she is fired.

Kevin cannot get Beth out of his head, but has no hope ever to see her again. Fate becomes his ally when Beth attends a Kowalski wedding. His admiration for her goes stratospheric when she survives his insane extended family. They make love, but she is gone in the morning. Beth returns to inform Kevin she is pregnant. He persuades her to move in to his apartment above the bar though her need for independence makes her wary. As they fall in love, Kevin knows he needs a Hail Mary touchdown pass to persuade his beloved they and their unborn belong together as a loving family, but fears he will be sacked.

The latest Killer Kowalski Bostonian tale (see Exclusively Yours) is a warm humorous contemporary romance starring two charming individuals wrestling between independence and a permanent relationship. The family, and the workers and patrons at the bar including a secondary romance add zaniness to the enjoyable mix. Even with the frequently used pregnancy matchmaking theme (see Susan Mallory’s A Little Bit Pregnant), readers will undeniably appreciate Shannon Stacey’s sensational story.

Harriet Klausner

Forever And A Day-Delilah Marvelle

Forever And A Day

Delilah Marvelle

Harlequin HQN, Dec 20 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776368

In 1830 Duke Roderick Gideon Tremayne is in New York City seeking an enigmatic map his mother begged him to retrieve. He intercedes when a thief tries to grab a young woman’s bag, but is severely injured in the process. The obviously affluent Good Samaritan suffers from amnesia, but doctors inform Irish-American Georgia Milton he should quickly recover his memory.

Georgia takes her patient home to her apartment to heal though she knows his stay will intrude on her activity as the head of the Forty Thieves. As the amnesiac and his nurse fall in love, each one knows when his memory returns that he is ballrooms and she is streets.

Although amnesia and matchmaking devices have been used frequently (see The Blackguard's Bride by Melynda Beth Skinner), fans will enjoy this warm historical romance due to the unusual occupation of the Olive Twist heroine. Part of the fun is the male protagonist’s struggles to adjust to tenement living in New York; as instinctively he is used to luxury of being served not toiling. Readers will enjoy the tale of two economic and social opposites falling in love.

Harriet Klausner