Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hannah’s Joy-Marta Perry

Hannah’s Joy

Marta Perry

Berkley, May 1 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780425246948

Following the death of her husband Travis while on a military tour in Afghanistan Hannah Conroy and her twenty-month old son Jamie move to Pleasant Valley, Pennsylvania to live with her Aunt Paula Schatz. Hannah lived in Pleasant Valley as a child until her parents left their Mennonite faith. She works in her aunt’s bakery while wondering if staying here is good for her and her son.

When Hannah and woodworker William Brand meet, they share a sense of camaraderie as both feels like outsiders; she because of her years spent in the Englisher world and he due to a stutter. Hannah wants to help him with his speech impediment though she never completed her speech therapy program. William’s family opposes any relationship, even as a speech teacher, between them; while Travis’ father retired officer Robert threatens a custody suit if she fails to leave a community that does not support the military.

The latest Pleasant Valley (see Katie’s Way and Anna’s Return) is an enjoyable Mennonite romance starring two fascinating individuals. Each feels they do not belong in the community as Marta Perry provides a strong case that one can feel alone even within a welcoming loving family. Both are poster children of Maslow’s Hierarchy’s third step (each recognizes their physiological and safety needs are covered); as Hannah and William feel a lack of belonging. Though setting the key cast members takes a bit longer than usual, fans will enjoy this warm tale of love and belonging.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Fair Concubine-Jeannie Lin

My Fair Concubine

Jeannie Lin

Harlequin, May 22 2012, $6.25

ISBN: 9780373296941

In 824 Changan, China, Fei Long came home when his Ministry of Works father died. He had ignored his sister Pearl’s plea to help her avoid a heqin bridal alliance to a powerful barbarian lord in Khitan as decreed by the Emperor. Stunned Fei Long believes his father’s spirit is restless because Pearl has run away with her beloved Zheng Xie Han. A desperate Fei Long selects recently fired from the teahouse Yan Ling as a perfect substitute for his sibling though his choice is an orphan ignorant about behaving like lady.

Enlisting his friends, Fei Long tries to teach his recruit to act like a noble instead of an outspoken opinionated street urchin. Inspector Tong feels Fei Long is pulling off a ruse, but shockingly the substitute hequin behaves like a lady. However, as Fei Long works his miracle to prepare her to “the other side of heaven”, he falls in love with his student while Yan Ling falls in love with her mentor.

This is a great My Fair Lady in a vividly drawn ninth century Tang Dynasty setting. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing of two intellects in a teacher-pupil relationship that is actually a delightful gender war. Fans will agree this is the year of Lin.

Harriet Klausner

Shades of Desire-Virna DePaul

Shades of Desire

Virna DePaul

Harlequin HQN, May 22 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780373776351

The serial killer has only failed to complete the murder once. Photojournalist Natalie Jones escaped, but pays the price from her harrowing assault as she has become a legally blind agoraphobic. Natalie never leaves her home as her beloved vocation is a thing of the past.

California Department of Justice Special Agent Liam McKenzie investigates the Jones attack. He is upset with himself when he unprofessionally wants the victim, who feels the same way about their undesirable attraction. Liam persuades a reluctant acrimonious Natalie to help him catch the predator; neither is aware that her photos she has taken already contain the clues needed to identify and put away this deadly psychopath.

This is an engaging romantic suspense starring two individuals who know love is unwanted at this time as each has major issues to deal with. The over the top storyline is still fun to follow though the jaded cast takes away from the unique romance between a cop and a victim who team up to hunt a deadly hunter who, in turn, stalks them.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 23, 2012

One Naughty Night-Laurel McKee

One Naughty Night

Laurel McKee

Forever, Jun 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781455505470

The St. Claire family found Lily on the streets and adopted her. She knows she owes her life to this brood who showered her with love as if she had their blood; Lily would do anything for her family.

In 1851 in London, the widow Lily manages the family-owned The Devil's Fancy exclusive gaming den. She is obsessed with restoring her adopted family’s wealth and influence stolen by their enemy the Huntington clan over a century ago. However, Lily feels like a traitor when she learns the greatest night of her life was with Aidan Huntington who wants letters she possesses. As each knows they must end their relationship, neither can resist their secret trysts. However, an enemy from her past plans to destroy her and her loved ones while Aidan will do anything to keep his beloved safe.

This is an exciting Regency romance with a Romeo-Juliet feel to the feud. Fast-paced, the couple is clearly in lust as they share sex even at importune and risky moments. He shows his mettle when his beloved is threatened. However, sub-genre fans will enjoy the opening Scandalous St. Claires because of the unique unflappable heroine.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Be My Prince-Julianne MacLean

Be My Prince

Julianne MacLean

St. Martin’s, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312552770

In 1814, Lady Alexandra Monroe has spent her life groomed by her family to marry Prince Randolph of Petersbourg, a man she not met. He arrives at St. James Palace where she meets him his sister Princess Rose and his younger brother Prince Nicholas. Both men are handsome charmers.

Alexandra is attracted to the wrong sibling but for her family’s sake must ignore her desire. Known as a womanizer, Nicholas reciprocates her feelings as he wants the lovely Alexandra. They consider eloping, but he has a secret he must tell her first while she has a few of her own. Scandal leaves this couple in love with little hope for a future together.

Be My Prince is an engaging Regency romance starring two likable protagonists though his secret has been used frequently in literature so that readers will figure it out before it is revealed. The support cast adds to the enjoyable plot while the storyline is fast-paced as Julienne McLean opens up her Royal Trilogy with a fun historical.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 16, 2012

No Ordinary Sheriff-Mary Sullivan

No Ordinary Sheriff

Mary Sullivan

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 1 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717804

Two weeks ago her brother Tom visited DEA agent Shannon Wilson. She pleaded with him to enter rehab. Now their sister Janey (see No Ordinary Cowboy) tells Shannon he came to see her in Ordinary, Montana and looked terrible. Shannon conceals from her worried sibling that she is in Tom’s apartment as she wants Janey to go to Disney World with her family. Tom is dead from a meth OD and she has taken time off to find who sold him the drugs.

Sheriff Cash Kavenagh investigates the overdose death. He and Shannon agree to work together on apprehending who sold the meth to Tom. They are attracted to one another and she respects his volunteering to spend time with a boy. However, neither is ready to sacrifice for love.

This is an exciting romantic suspense that catches the essence of market capitalism at its best with a meth operation Near Yellowstone. The story line is fast-paced as the readers learn more about the drug distribution system from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to buyer. Although the drug chieftain is a stretch, fans will enjoy this engaging investigate romance as the two cops work the case while falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

Waters Run Deep-Liz Talley

Waters Run Deep

Liz Talley

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 1 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717767

California based private investigator Anna Mendes is assigned to go undercover as a nanny to five year old Spencer, son of Hollywood director Carter and actress Tawny Keene while they are on location near Bayou Bridge in South Louisiana. Someone has threatened the family so Anna has the perfect cover to protect the child and somewhat his parents and investigate who is behind the menace.

Upon first sight, Annie recognizes that Nate Dufrene is a local though he wears no uniform. Nate has a personal interest in catching the predator as he will do anything to prevent what happened to his sister Della who vanished in 1986. Anna and Nate are attracted to one another, but she was burned in a relationship during a case once before and besides each recognize keeping Spencer and his parents safe from an unknown adversary takes precedent over their personal desires.

This is an exciting romantic suspense starring two protagonists who know protecting the child comes before their feelings for one another. Action-packed, fans will enjoy this strong whodunit Waters Run Deep in the Bayou.

Harriet Klausner

The Long Shot-Ellen Hartman

The Long Shot

Ellen Hartman

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 1 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717774

Milton High School Principal Ty Chambers informs guidance counselor Julia Bradley that all sports programs were cut due to the austere budget. However, as a former player on a championship team, he also proudly says that the boys’ basketball program received funding from its boosters group. Julia, the coach of the girls’ team bets Ty that her squad makes the State tournament and her boosters will fund the trip. Her brother Henry suggests she turn to retired professional basketball player Deacon Fallon as her assistant.

Though he loathes his hometown of Milton, New York, Deacon agrees to coach the team to help his younger brother Wes who requires community service for a stunt that led to his suspension from college. Julia tricks him as he thought it would be the boys’ team and besides none of the players appear interested in basketball. However, when Ty arrives to honor the school hero and mentions Coach Simon, Deacon says he is behind schedule so he needs to meet with his players as the “Basketball Brothers” will lead the girls’ team. As they work together, Deacon and Julia fall in love, but each has issues to overcome.

The support cast makes for a strong romance as readers obtain a close look at the importance of sports in the lives of students and a community. Faster than a Magic Johnson Laker fast-break, fans will enjoy this fine tale as the older counselor and the younger athlete fall in love while coaching the girls’ team.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Proposal-Mary Balogh

The Proposal

Mary Balogh

Delacorte, May 1 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9780385343329

Working class son of a wealthy merchant military hero Hugo Emes becomes Lord Trentham for his heroism in combat. A member of the Survivors’ Club of veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, Hugh comes to the aid of blueblood Lady Muir Gwendoline Grayson who is visiting a recently widowed friend when she severely sprains her ankle in an isolated area. He carries her to safety.

Each recognizes an attraction that both acknowledge can never be acted on. She has no interest in an affair or a second marriage as her time with the late Vernon was tumultuous at best. He needs a wife but wants one who will enjoy rusticating with him on his estate; the frivolous Lady Muir is London Ton. However, Widow Gwendoline agrees to pay back his kindness by sponsoring his younger half-sister Constance. As they fall in love, one must take that first risky step of offering her heart.

The first Survivors’ Club Regency romance is a warm tale starring two seemingly opposites. The storyline is fun to follow as the protagonists believe they are unsuited for each other and besides neither want a relationship so as Tina Turner says “What’s Love Have To Do It?” Although there are too many tertiary players who make brief appearances and his family estrangement resolved too abruptly, fans will enjoy this timely novel that showcases injured vets ignored by the government but cared for by a kind aristocrat.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Warrior’s Promise-Donna Fletcher

A Warrior’s Promise

Donna Fletcher

Avon, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062034663

Early in the eleventh century, Bryce MacAlpin, like his three brothers, knows nothing must intrude on the overarching mission of returning the rightful True King to the throne of Scotland. Thus he focuses on his assignment to uncover the spy at King Kenneth’s court. However, though he realizes he must not intercede, he does so when soldiers chase a skinny boy. After rescuing the lad, Charles pleads with Bryce to help him free his father from a hidden secret prison.

However, Bryce soon learns Charles is Charlotte. As they team up to locate the prison and mount the rescue, their respect and admiration for each other turns to love. While the enemy pursues them, Bryce and Charlotte agree they must finish the mission before they commit to one another.

The third MacAlpin brothers Warrior King medieval Scottish romance (see Loved By A Warrior and Bound To A Warrior) is a terrific thriller starring two likable intrepid protagonists. Fast-paced and filled with action, readers will root for brave Bryce and courageous Charlotte as they risk their lives to keep each other safe and to complete the quest.

Harriet Klausner

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island-Cara C. Putnam

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island

Cara C. Putnam

Barbour, Apr 1 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9781616265359

When her brother Trevor was blamed by the locals for the drowning death of Grady Cadieux, Alanna Stone left Mackinac Island vowing to never return. The injustice ate at her soul especially when the principal’s son Brendan Tomkin who was part of the foolish teenage incident escaped untouched. She became a successful attorney in Grand Rapids. However, when mother begs her to come home to run her parents’ art studio Painted Stone while her father recovers from a stroke, she reluctantly goes.

When Alanna fled home, she left behind her high school boyfriend Jonathan Covington. He never understood why she abruptly cut him off, but Jonathan never moved pass the end of his relationship with Alanna. Upon seeing Jonathan for the first time in years, Alanna now realizes why she never married.

This is an engaging second chance at love amateur sleuth starring a Dona Quixote heroine who vows to uncover the truth. Her persistent inquiry leads to murder while Alanna also realizes she still loves Jonathan. He has issues to as he has another woman in his life. Readers will relish this fabulous return to Mackinac Island with Alanna and Jonathan as our tour guides; if they survive her investigation and if she stays.

Harriet Klausner

The Fireman Who Loved Me-Jennifer Bernard

The Fireman Who Loved Me

Jennifer Bernard

Avon, Apr 24 2012, $5.99

ISBN: 9780062088963

For her birthday, Nelly McGuire asks her granddaughter TV news reporter Melissa McGuire to meet her at the San Gabriel Hilton where the San Gabriel County Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers Fourth Annual Bachelor Auction is being held. Nelly wins the bid on Ryan Blake while Melissa walks out embarrassed. Before she can leave the ballroom, an over eager bidder trips her. Fire captain Harry Brody assists her until she rips into his male stripping auction that he says provides money for charity.

Unable to handle the ribbing from his peers, Ryan refuses to take out a granny on a date. Harry replaces him. He is stunned when instead of Nelly, he escorts Melissa. They are attracted to one another but each carries baggage from previous relationships. It may take a loving granny to help this couple overcome their obstacles to love.

The first Bachelor Firemen romance is a lighthearted frolic except for one late stunner that does not fit in the overall motif of the plot. The lead couple is a nice pairing of individuals suffering from commitment phobia, which readers will understand when they meet the former odious mates. Overall fans will enjoy this second chance contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 9, 2012

All For You-Lynn Kurland

All For You

Lynn Kurland

Jove, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780515150650

Peaches Alexander wants nothing to do with her persistent pursuer medieval scholar Stephen de Piaget. She feels he is too studious and boring besides being rude to her; she is unaware that his boorishness is caused by his love at first sight of her leaving him unable to speak. She is excited that David Preston invited her to a Cinderella weekend party at the Duke of Kenneworth’s estate.

However, her euphoria ends when she realizes her host wants sex only and that her nemesis is always around. Needing to escape both men, Peaches flees to the garden, but a slip on a time gate leaves her trapped in medieval England. Only Stephen can bring her home. As she sees another side of him as her champion, Peaches begins to fall in love with her brave knight in shining “suit.”

The latest expanding De Piaget time travel romance is an enjoyable romp as many of the heroes from previous tales (see One Magic Moment and One Enchanted Evening) add to the fun though that can also be overwhelming. Although the storyline has a déjà vu sense of all over again, readers will enjoy the fresh misadventures of the tongue tied scholar and the woman who leaves him stuttering.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sound of the Heart-Genevieve Graham

Sound of the Heart

Genevieve Graham

Berkley, May 1 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425247341

In 1746, Duncan MacDonnell informs his three sons (Dougal, Andrew and Ciaron) that he is proud of them. Dougal, who hears thoughts, knows his father expects the worst as they prepare to battle the English at Culloden. His father’s belief proves correct as the Highlanders are routed with Dougal’s family dead and he is captured.

A young lad Aiden helps Dougal escape. They flee from the English before taking refuge in an abandoned hut. He realizes his young companion is a girl, Glenna. Their admiration soon turns to love, but she is caught poaching. Glenna is exiled to the colonies as an indentured servant serving as a teacher while Dougal goes to prison. The owner of a bawdy house claims her next with her belief her beloved will one day find her is the only thing keeping her going. Meanwhile Dougal becomes a member of the British Army’s Scottish unit before being deployed in the colonies where he seeks his beloved.

This is an exhilarating colonial romance with some paranormal elements enhancing the plot. Fast-paced, readers will believe in the Sound Of The Heart as Glenna and Dougal believe their love will one day bring them together. Genevieve Graham provides a charming whimsical tale filled with historical tidbits but anchored by the sound of love.

Harriet Klausner

Beguiling the Beauty-Sherry Thomas

Beguiling the Beauty

Sherry Thomas

Berkley, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425246962

In 1886, Christian de Montfort, Duke of Lexington, saw Venetia Townsend for the first time. He fell in love, but was heartbroken to learn she was married. When he met her husband, Anthony who told him he may have his desire and regret it like him. A week later, Tony is dead. Five years later, Christian learns Venetia is married a much older man Mr. Easterbrook with rumors of an affair.

In 1896, Venetia attends a lecture on Lamarck vs. Darwin presented by Christian at Harvard. She held him in high regard until he got into the topic of a cold hearted beauty, whose greed killed her two husbands; she knows he means her. Irate, she vows to teach him a lesson on the scientific method as he failed to consider alternate arguments to his premise. As the Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg, on a voyage from Massachusetts to England, she enters into an affair with Christian. The sex is great, but it is the intellectual discussions that have both clamoring for more. As they fall in love, she fears the truth will end their happiness.

This is a great Victorian romance in which gossip and innuendoes are critical to unfairly destroying reputations. The lead couple is super as both enjoy fossil hunting while her past and his belief in whom she is makes for a wonderful late nineteenth century historical.

Harriet Klausner

Larkspur Road-Jill Gregory

Larkspur Road

Jill Gregory

Berkley, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250891

In Lonesome Way, Montana, school’s out for summer (Alice Cooper) so fifth grade teacher Mia Quinn plans to work with her friends at Bits and Pieces quilting society to raise funds for charity. Her high school boyfriend former FBI agent Travis Tanner arrives in Lonesome Way with his ten year old adopted son Grady. Travis is taking the lad to his family ranch while worrying about the tweener’s well-being since the child’s mother dumped him abruptly on her ex-husband.

Mia and Travis meet and remain attracted to each other though she knows to remain wary as he broke her heart years ago. She and her rescue dog Samson are especially good with troubled Grady. Meanwhile Travis realizes the mistake he made when he left his Mia behind; he plans to correct his blunder. However, danger has surfaced in Big Sky Country.

The second Lonesome Way contemporary romance (see Sage Creek) is an entertaining second chance at love tale. The lead couple is a fine pairing while in many ways disturbed Grady steals the show. A stalker adds suspense that feels unnecessary while events in Los Angeles enhance what is happening in Montana. Jill Gregory provides a warm romance.

Harriet Klausner

Wicked Burn-Beth Kery

Wicked Burn

Beth Kery

Berkley, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425247983

In Chicago, Niall Chandler still grieves the death of her four years old son, murdered in front of her. Whereas she has buried herself in her work at Chicago Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art, her spouse tried suicide and then homicide when he went after her; he is locked away at an asylum.

She meets divorced playwright Vic Savian in their apartment building when he intervenes to prevent an unwanted date from pawing her. They begin an affair in which she states nothing except sex can come of it; he is all for that after he caught his fiancée cheating on him. However, Vic cannot prevent his need to protect her when she suffers her harrowing nightmares. As they fall in love, she remains insistent nothing can come of their relationship besides mind boggling sex. Confused until he learns her history, Vic must decide whether to go slow with his beloved or go gently into the night alone.

Wicked Burn is an enjoyable contemporary romance starring mentally battered protagonists falling in lust, which brings them back to life while eventually falling in love. Niall’s past is heartbreaking while Vic’s issue seems inane in comparison. Fans will appreciate the healing power of love as two traumatized souls may come together if they take a chance on being hurt again.

Harriet Klausner

Angel’s End-Cindy Holby

Angel’s End

Cindy Holby

Berkley, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425248416

Preacher Timothy Keys travels from Ohio to his flock in Angel’s End. At his campfire he welcomes severely wounded Cade Gentry for some food, warmth and a good ear. Besides his gut shot wound, Cade suffers nightmares from the deaths of his mother and baby sister. The kind preacher is murdered by Fitch’s hired gun Davis who is after Cade.Just before dying Timothy tells Cade to “feed my sheep.”

Sheriff’s widow and single mom Leah Findley takes an unconscious Cade into her home so she can nurse him back to health. She thinks her handsome patient is the new preacher as he carries a bible with him. As Cade begins to recuperate, he is attracted to his nurse. When Leah catches the measles, they are quarantined together. As they fall in love, their mutual passion explodes. Now, armed with faith in their newfound love, all they have to face is the danger from Cade’s past.

This is a terrific inspirational western romance starring a fascinating protagonist who has gone through hell and done many bad things, but starting with the Timothy encounter begins to find his way back to the lord and respectability. Action-packed, fans will root for Cade who used to pray to god as a child to intervene, but eventually concluded the lord laughed at his pleas. Fans will enjoy this engaging historical as High Noon comes to Angel’s End.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Lady Rival-Ashley March

My Lady Rival

Ashley March

Signet, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451236609

Their fathers were partners in a dye manufacturing firm. However, by 1849 their offspring Alex Laurie and Willa Stratton are rivals running separate companies. Each seeks new investors and most critical for the future is the secret behind the Madonna dye. Neither worries about business ethics as they will flirt, cheat, lie and steal to gain an edge.

However, the Ton becomes outraged at the affront of the Laurie family to have the gall to purchase a place in exclusive Belgrave Square. Alex knows he must marry an aristocrat if his family is to become accepted by their neighbors. At a gala, he and his rival Willa meet. Both believe they can seduce the enemy into doing their bidding. Neither was prepared for the first kiss.

This an amusing Victorian romance starring two competitors who employ any technique to gain the edge as business ethics is defined as the bottom line until that first kiss shakes both of them. Fast-paced, fans will appreciate this capitalist historical gender war as Ashley March keeps her enthused attentive readers wondering who, if either, will be the last man or woman standing.

Harriet Klausner

Coming Up Roses-Catherine Anderson

Coming Up Roses

Catherine Anderson

Signet, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780451236548

In 1890 Oregon, Widow Kate Blakely struggles to keep the farm while raising her four year old daughter Miranda. She does not miss her late abusive husband Joseph who drowned as he used scripture to terrorize his wife and daughter; Joseph thought they were temptation sent by Satan. Ironically the rose garden flourishes from a man’s touch while the rest of the farm is more wasteland then producer. Her brutal brother-in-law Ryan demands Kate marry him or lose custody of Miranda.

Meanwhile, Zachariah McGovern receives a rattlesnake bite while rescuing Miranda from a well. A thankful Kate takes Zachariah home to help heal. Miranda adores her kind, patient hero who plays with her and her ragtag dolls unlike any of the vicious male role models in her life. Zachariah learns why Kate's rose garden blooms and persuades her to marry him to keep Miranda safe from her predatory uncle.

This is a reprint of a wonderful 1993 published late nineteenth century romance. The lead couple is a nice paring of wounded warriors although traumatized Miranda owns the storyline as the little innocent child brings out the best (her mom and Zachariah) and the worst (her dad and her uncle) in people. Although the ending seems too stereotypical for these troubled souls, fans will enjoy this Pacific Northwest Gilded Age family drama.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Maverick Returns-Roz Denny Fox

The Maverick Returns

Roz Denny Fox

Harlequin American Romance, May 1 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373754083

Cooper Drummond fled the family Triple D Ranch and his girlfriend Willow Courtland to join the rodeo. Willow married Tate Walker on the rebound. Tate proved a nasty husband who refused to accept their autistic daughter Lily as his. When he died in a brawl, she inherited their rundown ranch.

Retired from the rodeo so his bones could heal, Coop rejects his older brother Sullivan’s demands to either come home or sign his share of the spread to his nephew. He learns of a widow needing help so he travels to the spread to obtain work. To his shock, the widow is Willow. Coop wants a second chance, but Willow refuses as she cannot afford a broken heart when Lily needs her. However, Coops’ patience and nurturing of Lilybelle begins to win over the love of his life.

The key to this strong second chance at love ranch romance is Lilybelle whose disorder brings together the lead couple. Character driven, Rox Denny Fox provides a wonderful tale of a couple still in love as they were in their Aggie days but distrusting one another. As a mother of a high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome, I am biased when it comes to the special needs of those on the Autism Spectrum; as Ms. Fox captures the essence of the relationship between a caring parent and a low to middle functioning child. The Maverick Returns is terrific as love heals many psychological wounds.

Harriet Klausner

Lassoing The Deputy-Marie Ferrarella

Lassoing The Deputy

Marie Ferrarella

Harlequin American Romance, May 1 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373754069

A decade ago Cash Taylor left Forever, Texas to become a hot shot criminal lawyer in Southern California. He comes home to attend his grandfather’s wedding, but plans to get back to Beverly Hills as soon as he can say goodbye to his family.

Sheriff’s Deputy Alma Rodriguez believes she no longer loves Cash, who dumped her ten years ago. However, at first sight she knows her belief is wrong. Cash is stunned that he still remains deeply attracted to the woman he left behind. However, he tries to ignore his feelings, but somehow she sees the haunting in his eyes from a tragic case he was involved in that has left him suffering from depression.

The latest Forever, Texas romance (see The Doctor’s Forever Family and Ramona And The Renegade) is a wonderful second chance at love tale. The support cast is solid while Alma and Cash are a delight as they each fear their feelings means hurt, but still cannot resist the attraction. Although his healing from what appears to be near crippling PTSD seems too miraculous but fans will enjoy their journey.

Harriet Klausner

Her Man Advantage-Joanne Rock

Her Man Advantage

Joanne Rock

Harlequin Blaze, Apr 17 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796885

Philadelphia Phantoms defenseman Axel Rankin refuses to sign the waiver that would enable a film crew from following him and the team for a documentary on them. He gives his coach Nico Cesare some excuse, but hides his real reason is his enemies from his gangbanger days as a child back home in Finland might find him. Cesare says this is not negotiable as the team prepares for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

However, Axel’s issues go stratospheric when he meets director, Jennifer Hunter who does not want to do this project. The Helsinki hockey player and the New York filmmaker are in instant heat that could melt the rink’s ice. Neither is prepared for their first kiss, which ends up on film.

This is an engaging hockey romance (see One Man Rush) with once again two love stories though the flying fighting Finn and the fiery feisty filmmaker are the stars. The gang coming after a former goon never quite gels, but still fans will enjoy the Double Overtime romances as the lead couple (and a teammate and a fan) fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

Coming Up For Air-Karen Foley -

Coming Up For Air

Karen Foley

Harlequin Blaze, Apr 17 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796861

Before deploying to Afghanistan for six months, Army Black Hawk helicopter captain Jenna Larson and Special Forces Major Chase Rawlins enjoy a tryst at Fort Bragg. However, instead of “Major Hottie” Chase, he is the twin “Major Hottie” Chance an Apache helicopter pilot. Though he knows he should tell her who he is and he knows he breaks his steadfast rule re sex with helicopter pilots, Chance rationalizes that this is a one night stand.

Jenna and Chance meet again in Afghanistan. He needs to soar with her again, but knows he also owes her the truth that she slept with the devilish hottie and not the consummate serious twin. As they fall in love, he encourages her to keep on flying; something her dad the career officer and most male pilots scorn females in the cockpit.

The latest Uniformly Hot! military romance deftly merges combat missions with a strong love story. Filled with action, fans will enjoy Jenna proving she belongs in a cockpit (in spite of the name) as she performs rescue missions and other sorties in the combat zone. Chance is terrific as he supports her vocation.

Harriet Klausner

Sweet Spot-Kate Angell -

Sweet Spot

Kate Angell

Kensington Brava, May 1 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9780758269188

At Club Haunt, Driscoll Financial associate Catherine "Cat" May wears a Wonder Woman costume. Richmond Rogues second baseman James "Law" Lawless is dressed as Captain America. They meet and both feel like superheroes.

James hires Cat to help him with his outside of baseball business activities. At the same time he searches for the woman who took him to Paradise. Cat knows who Captain America is, but refuses to reveal to her client who her alter ego is although every time he is near she wants to lie down on either his shield or second base with him on top. However lips are fingerprints to him.

The latest Richmond Rogues’ baseball romance is an entertaining sports tale starring two superheroes. The lead couple is a nice pairing of an arrogant athlete and a no play business handler. Although similar in tone as a one pitch game to previous entries, (see SLIDING HOME, STRIKE ZONE, CURVEBALL and SQUEEZE PLAY), fans will enjoy the final amusing cocky antics while wondering whether the team can defeat those Damn Yankees.

Harriet Klausner

Karma-Carly Phillips


Carly Phillips

Berkley, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425247907

In Serendipity, New York police officer Dare Barron has wanted Liza McKnight in his life ever since high school, but does not act on his feelings. He skipped school to attend a party hosted by her brother Brian to see her; an ugly incident at that party straightened out his life but kept him away from his dream although she is in his life. He sort of as sees her frequently at the station when she bails out her brother Brian who believes wealth makes him above the law.

Liza has been attracted to Dare since she was a teenager, but was too old to be seen with him. However, she expects nothing to come of it as he never shows any inclination her way except sympathy. Their relationship changes when Liza is in trouble and in need of a body guard. Dare insures he is the only one guarding her body. However, Brian remains a show stopper.

The third Serendipity romance (see Destiny) is an engaging tale that overcomes the somewhat by the book storyline due to Brian whose destructive behavior impacts others as his sister tries to help him while the cop who lives her believes she is an enable. Readers will enjoy the latest Barron brother entry as the love of family can help someone cope better with tragedies.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Last of Lady Lansdown-Shirley Kennedy

The Last of Lady Lansdown

Shirley Kennedy

Camel Press, May 1 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9781603818186

In 1814, Lady Jane Elton does not grieve the stunning death of her abusive husband, the Earl of Lansdown. However, the widow has a problem as she has not birthed the heir. Her only hope is she is carrying her late spouse’s child or the estate goes to his twin brother. While her papa is in the colonies, her acrimonious mama and her sister Millicent pressure her to take care of them; as they understand how far they will fall if she has no son. Only her Granny is there for her.

Hydrologist Douglas Cartland is staying at Jane’s next door neighbor Rennie’s home. They danced twice, but her mom said he was unsuited for her as he could not enter Almack’s. As she acts the widow, he keeps showing up. Attracted to one another, Jane knows a tryst would ruin her and her family, but he is so hard to resist.

This is a warm enjoyable Regency romance starring two likable protagonists and with few exceptions unlikable secondary characters. Readers will relish the plot as Jane struggles between her countess image and a chance for love.

Harriet Klausner

The Girl’s Guide to (Man)Hunting-Jessica Clare

The Girl’s Guide to (Man)Hunting

Jessica Clare

Berkley, May 1 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425247358

Former Bluebonnet librarian Miranda Hill is leaving town in two weeks for an office position in Houston. She sees Dane “Casanova” Craft who left town a decade ago for a career in the NHL. When he departed he dumped Miranda but not before he placed sexually explicit photos of her on the net. She became known as the “Boobs of Bluebonnet while her storeowner mother suffered a nervous breakdown.

Dane and his high school buddies have started a wilderness survival camp teaching teambuilding outdoors. With an unfair creepy reputation thanks to the wife of his former boss, Dane pledges to his partners he will not use his penis with their clients. He thinks back to the one he lost after he left town. Dane called Miranda several times but her mother answered hysterically so he stopped trying.

Miranda plots revenge on Dane by taking naked photos of him to place on the net. Later she tells her mom she will be out of town for a week due to her new job. Melissa signs up for the survival training. A stunned Dane will instruct five men and her. She tells Dane she plans for them to finish what they started nine years ago as they never slept together.

Although the behavior of the protagonists is too childish to accept, the modern day revenge angle is fully developed and fascinating as the key motivator of the lead female. The trysts are well written, but the lead couple has sex seemingly everywhere regardless of witnesses and his grand gesture of love is inappropriate. Still fans who enjoy Revenge will want to read the Boobs of Bluebonnet man-hunting Casanova.

Harriet Klausner

Melt Into You-Lisa Plumley

Melt Into You

Lisa Plumley

Zebra, May 1 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420122114

A decade ago, Damon Torrance hired recently married Natasha Jennings as his administrative assistant. Over the years he took her for granted as she made his firm Torrance Chocolates a powerhouse while extracting him from his sexcapades and other foibles. Now a single mom, she has hidden how she feels about him until Natasha realizes she cannot any longer deal with falling in love as her first time ended poorly. Natasha quits.

He is shocked by her departure. However, Damon is unprepared for a string of back luck while Natasha is on a roll. Somehow he believes she left with his luck and he needs her back. With his house flooded Damon persuades Natasha to let him stay for now. While he plans to behave, she plans to have her way with him.

With a nod to the secondary romance in The Duchess of Idaho, Melt Into You is a charming lighthearted romp. The fun in the tale is “demon” Damon’s attempts to behave while now naughty Natasha has other ideas. Fans will enjoy this amusing tale of mojo lost and regained (maybe) if each embraces their love.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Saint Who Stole My Heart-Stefanie Sloane

The Saint Who Stole My Heart

Stefanie Sloane

Ballantine, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780345531148

In 1813, Lady Sophia Afron demands her three childhood friends (Honorable Nicholas Bourne, Viscount Dashiell Matthews and Earl Langdon Bourne) find the killer of her mom as she knows the trio holds secrets from her. She is right about them as they belong to the Young Corinthians who have been chasing an assassin for years.

Bluestocking bibliophile Elena Barnes learns from her father that the new Viscount Carrington has offered her his family’s antiquarian book collection. She travels to the estate to catalogue Dashiell’s library. He has concealed his keen mind behind the image of a handsome dolt, enabling him to work undercover. Though attracted to the gorgeous lord, she observes his intelligence and wonders why he pretends otherwise. As she works on unraveling his motive, he, though more comfortable behind a desk than in the field, seeks the Bishop who murdered Sophia’s mother, but apparently the Bishop targets Sophia.

The latest Regency Rogues (see The Sinner Who Seduced Me, The Angel in My Arms and The Devil In Disguise) romantic suspense is an entertaining tale as the Viscount’s inquiry is fun to follow due to Sophia’s insistent involvement. Although a major sidebar detracts from the fun storyline, but fans will enjoy the latest escapedes of the Young Corinthians.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunrise Point-Robyn Carr

Sunrise Point

Robyn Carr

Harlequin HQN, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313175

Her boyfriend Chad abandoned Nora Crane and their two infant daughters (two year old Berry and nine month old Fay) in Virgin River, California. Stranded without a car, the townsfolk help her and her babies. She sees a notice at the Virgin River Presbyterian Church for seasonal full time employment picking apples at Cavanaugh Orchard. Though she works at the clinic, Nora needs the money. Reverend Noah Kincaid drives her 3.4 miles so that she would need to walk only one way to the Cavanaugh Orchard.

Manager former marine Tom Cavanaugh takes one look at Nora, hears her story of need, and says no. Noah persuades Tom’s septuagenarian grandmother Maxie the owner to hire her. Tom is attracted to his new employee, but her kids are baggage he does not want to deal with. In turn, she ignores her feelings for her boss as she needs money not a tryst. Both are stubborn about their attraction, but former significant others and meeting her father Jed for the first time in years enforce their love for one another.

The latest Virgin River rustic romance (see Redwood Bend) is an entertaining and delightful contemporary as Nora learns it takes a caring village to raise a child and Tom learns that most mothers can and will do anything for their younglings. Although Nora’s mom was certifiable (and a counselor no less), readers will enjoy romance in the apple orchard.

Harriet Klausner

Somebody To Love-Kristan Higgins

Somebody To Love

Kristan Higgins

Harlequin HQN, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776580

Parker Harrington Welles’ preschool age son Nicky spends time with his father Ethan and his new stepmother Lucy who is also her BFF (see The Next Best Thing). Meanwhile the kiddie lit author of the Holy Rollers, Parker struggles to accept her father is in prison and her once affluent family is broke; he even lost his grandson’s trust fund.

Unprepared for financial ruin, Parker plans to sell her remaining asset a fixer-upper in Gideon's Cove, Maine. Her father’s “Thing One” boot licker James Cahill the attorney asks if he can accompany her to help flip the place. She has no respect for him while he has loved her from a distance for years. As she takes a job as a floral assistant, Parker begins to learn living without a gold spoon means accepting decisions you hate. James proves he is more than her dad’s lackey, but will that be enough to overcome her iconic image of him as a butt kisser.

This entertaining contemporary romance is a fun tale due to the female lead who begins to understand life for the 99% of the population who having to eat means accepting decisions you may dislike as economic freedom (and subsequent social freedom) belongs only to the 1%. Enhancing the heroine’s likability is her “chats” in her head with angelic characters from the Holy Rollers. James has issues too starting with a terrible mistake he made as a child cost his loved ones’ plenty. Fans will enjoy Parker’s revelation that “ When the truth is found to be lies and all the joy within you dies … You better find Somebody To Love” (Jefferson Airplane).

Harriet Klausner