Friday, June 29, 2012

Deception-Kris Kennedy


Kris Kennedy

Pocket, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439195918

In 1294 in Last Fells, England, Sophia plans to steal her odious late father Judge Roger Darnly’s ledger on the wealthiest merchants; a tome that would destroy many people. Kier recognizes her by just seeing her neck as they were once lovers until he abruptly left her after being outlawed.

He is on a vengeance quest so has no time to deal with an obstinate Sophia. However, he quickly realizes she has not changed at all when she persuades him to team up with her on both of their missions. She comes up with a scheme to gain access to information; Sophia will masquerade as a shipping magnate with Kier as her trusted employee. However, neither anticipated that their love remains strong or that an unknown powerful adversary wants Darnly’s damning ledger to become the most powerful person in England.

Deception is a super medieval romantic suspense starring two lead characters who find their second chance at love more dangerous than their first time. With a fully developed cast, Kris Kennedy provides a fabulous historical as Sophia and Kier follow clues to try to identify the villain who will kill for the ledger.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Summer of Seduction-Candace Camp

A Summer of Seduction

Candace Camp

Pocket, Jun 19 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451639513

Aristocratic friends Alec Stafford and Gabriel Morecombe got into a brawl over the late Jocelyn who had been the former’s fiancée and the latter’s sister. Jocelyn left behind baby Ruth with Thea Bainbridge before she died. The father is not Alec but another friend (see A Winter Scandal). Married, Gabriel and Thea raise his nephew in a happy home.

Alec and Thea’s friend Widow Damaris Howard met during his estrangement with Gabe; but she remains an enigma to her neighbors in Chesley including her best friend. Damaris and Alec meet in London starting at the theater and their already strong attraction explodes. However, her past makes her know she must stay away from him and passion; while he still reels from his late fiancée’s infidelity with a close friend. Everything changes in an instant when an unknown predator abducts Damaris.

The second Legend of St. Dwynwen Regency romance is an enjoyable second chance at love tale. The storyline starts slow with a feeling out round as the lead couple wants to engage but their respective relationship histories make each fearful and too pensive over I’m Not In Love (10Cc). The plot accelerates somewhat late with the kidnapping. Fans will enjoy Alec and Damaris as neither wants love, but the heart fails to heed the brain.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VIII-Kimberly Raye and Julie Leto

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VIII

Kimberly Raye and Julie Leto

Harlequin Blaze, Jul 24 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797042

“The Cowboy Who Never Grew Up” by Kimberly Raye. Western America leatherworks firm executive Wendy Darlington thinks wild child eight-time Professional Bull Rider champion Pete Gunner is perfect as a spokesperson for their Outlaw Outfitters line. Pete agrees to sign on condition they spend the night together.

“Hooked” by Julie Leto. Since they were sweethearts in high school, former rodeo star James Hooker and Allie Barrie have broken up more times than Mark Twain gave up smoking. However, this time Allie is determined to take their relationship beyond just the greatest sex either has known, but to do so they need to overcome their history.

These two heated Texas rodeo romances are fun short stories starring fully developed protagonists.

Harriet Klausner

Guilty Pleasures-Tori Carrington

Guilty Pleasures

Tori Carrington

Harlequin Blaze, Jul 24 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797073

Veteran Jonathon Reece knows that in spite of his Army Ranger experience, as the rookie at Lazarus Security, he starts over again proving he belongs. His boss Darius Folsom assigns Reece his first solo task in his hometown of Winslow, Arizona; where he is to bring in bail jumper Mara Findlay, murder suspect.

He assumes he will have no problem catching the bobcat. Jonathan’s assumptions prove partially correct as he quickly catches up to Findlay; so have Feds and a militia who agree that this hot female must die. Mara realizes that her only prayer to get out of the frame-up rests with the hunk who seems to have only two things on his brain: sex and incarceration with the latter might be fun in combo with the former, but that is not his intent; thus she must work his lower head.

This is an exciting heated romantic suspense as Reece learns that “the best-laid schemes of mice and men often go awry” (John Steinbeck) especially when dealing with a hot chick. Fast-paced and filled with action though over the top of Humphreys Peak, fans will appreciate this entertaining thriller as the bounty hunts the hunter right where he is vulnerable.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ain’t Misbehaving-Molly Cannon

Ain’t Misbehaving

Molly Cannon

Forever, Jun 26 2012, $5.99

ISBN: 9781455515721

In Everson, Texas Marla Jean Bandy still feels humiliated that her now ex-husband Bradley dumped her for another woman; made worse by the fact Libby Comstock is twenty years older than her and frumpier but speaks five languages including Russian. The divorced Marla Jean muses that she encouraged his husband of six years to read more, but in her wildest imagination never expected Bradley to hook up with a fifty-four years old Bookmobile driver who introduced him to Tolstoy.

Tired of the pity of her friends and family, Marla Jean decides to get back into swinging singles lifestyle at Lu Lu’s. Her first attempt with Donny Joe is a bust as she feels uncomfortable. Her brother Linc’s best friend, Abel “Jake” Jacobson, whose aunt owns her ex, intercedes when Donny Joe fails to remove his hands. Jake decides to be her guardian but begins to wonder who will protect her from his traitorous lower head’s fantasies starring her.

Ain’t Misbehaving is a lighthearted zany Texas two-step starring engaging protagonists and an eccentric support cast. Filled with zany humor, fans will enjoy this wild regional contemporary with two romances.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Dangerous Kiss-Francis Ray

A Dangerous Kiss

Francis Ray

St. Martin's, June 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312536497

Manhattan restaurateur Summer Radcliffe and sports consultant Payton “Sin” Sinclair have known each other for years. However, recently both find themselves secretly attracted to the other; wondering if their feelings are a second order effect of the engagements of their friends C.J. Callahan and Cicely St. John (see With Just One Kiss) and Dianna Harrington with Alex Stewart (see A Seductive Kiss).

Summer decides to take a chance on love while Sin feels schizoid as he wants to risk his heart too but hesitates. She refuses to back away as Summer believes her love is returned. However, Sin has a terrible secret that makes him fearful of any permanent relationship.

The latest Grayson Friends Kiss trilogy is a terrific tale that brings freshness to the trite theme of old friends falling in love (When Harry Met Sally). The key to this strong suspense is the secret that has Sin rejecting love; as Francis Ray shows why she is one of the best contemporary writers by keeping the audience’s attention with a need to keep reading to learn what Sin hides what disturbs him so much. A Dangerous Kiss is a strong romance with a powerful family issue.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Company You Keep-Tracy Kelleher

The Company You Keep

Tracy Kelleher

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jul 3 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717927

A dozen years ago at Grantham University in New Jersey, Mimi Lodge was the star of the women’s water polo team while Vic Golinski was the football hero. They got into an argument over Title IX support to women sports that he called minor and unnecessary, and she claimed important and needed; which led to both of them wet and ready for a tryst at the fountain when the cops arrived.

In the present TV reporter Mimi psychologically deals with PTSD two months after her release from her abductees in Chechnya. Her dad asks her to be part of the Reunions debate on Title IX using the fact she has not seen her family in Grantham since she returned to Manhattan after her ordeal; she agrees if Vic is on the panel. Vic is the CEO of GSI, his family’s natural stone supplier business. He reluctantly agrees if Mimi is on the panel. At the reunion, just like she told her father, fire ignites when Mimi and Vic meet. Each wants the other, but her time in captivity leaves her traumatized.

This is an entertaining second chance at love starring an eccentric cast, a heroine whose sense of humor enables her to somewhat cope with what happened to her, and the former football captain who enjoys agitating his Mimi as much as she does him. Fast-paced, Mimi’s PTSD adds pathos to an amusing madcap romance.

Harriet Klausner

Hidden Agenda-Kara Lennox

Hidden Agenda

Kara Lennox

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jul 3 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717910

Project Justice investigator Jillian Baxter receives her first undercover assignment to ferret out the identity of the real murderer at Houston-based Mayall Lumber. The firm’s CEO Stan Mayall, suffering from cancer, is incarcerated ever since the corpse of Greg Tynes was found in the trunk of his car; temporary CEO Hamilton “Ham” Payne hired Project Justice to prove his friend’s innocence.

Jillian’s boss at Mayall is Connor Blake, a childhood friend of Jillian’s brother and someone she had an unrequited crush that turned to lothing as a teen. He has no idea that his new gorgeous employee was once a short overweight girl he turned high school into hell for her and called her Jillybean. Connor believes his mentor and former grandfather-in-law Stan is innocent but has found no proof amidst the documents to prove otherwise. As she mingles with other employees, betting pools form on when she will quit like everyone else (including his ex-wife Chandra) who worked for the dark Connor. She concludes her gut is right that in spite of employee mumblings he is not the killer. As she continues her inquiries, Jillian realizes she still loves the man who hurt her as a teen. However she knows the assignment comes before telling him the truth.

This is an exciting investigative romance starring two fascinating protagonists who have an ugly history. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Connor and Jillian meet at Mayall and never slows down until the final confrontation at a picnic (office celebrations are not a safe environment for the heroine) as the killer remains hidden in plain sight. Readers will enjoy the latest Project Justice thriller (see For Just Cause and Outside The law).

Harriet Klausner

The Other Soldier-Kathy Altman

The Other Soldier

Kathy Altman

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jul 3 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717903

In Afghanistan Corporal Reid Macfarland kills fellow G.I. Sergeant First Class Tim Dean in a friendly fire incident in which he sent the killing drone. Suffering from nightmares that he feels he deserves and ignoring the advice of his counselor, a despondent Reid visits the widow Parker in Castle Creek, Pennsylvania to show respect, apologize, and offer to help the widow mother of a young daughter Natalie with whatever she needs. She angrily tells him to leave but her elderly tired helper Harris Briggs persuades the lad to hang around and likewise convinces his employer they could use the help.

Parker reluctantly assigns Reid to work in her greenhouse that she hopes to turn into a thriving business. Though he only he has a month of leave before returning to Fort Knox, he diligently works at making her greenhouse succeed. As each heals from the tragedy that haunts both Parker and Reid; Briggs, Nat and Chance the dog like the soldier. However as they fall in love, his guilt and her anger leave both of them unable to move on with their grief.

This is a strong and heartwarming military second chance at life (and love) family drama. The protagonists are fully developed with each suffering from the friendly fire death of her husband; while the eccentric support cast enhances the insightful storyline as the aftermath of war comes home to Pennsylvania

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Aidan, Loyal Cowboy-Cathy McDavid

Aidan, Loyal Cowboy

Cathy McDavid

Harlequin American Romance, Jul 3 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373754137

Aidan, Loyal Cowboy. Following the death of his father, veterinarian Aidan “Ace” Hart hopes to save his family’s Running Thunder Ranch while continuing his medical practice and work with Midnight the rodeo champion. A second order effect is that Ace has no time for socializing though he enjoyed his one night stand with Flynn McKinney. However, when he learns Flynn is pregnant from their tryst, he wants to be in her life and that of their child. She refuses though she loves him as she rejects being his latest responsibility project.

The Family Plan. After almost a decade away, Jolyn Sutherland returns to Blue Ridge to start a construction company. Her first customer is veterinarian Chase Raintree who wants his clinic expanded. As they muse over what could have been if not for SherryAnne and her daughter Mandy, they fall in love.

These are two warm second chance cowboy romances starring solid protagonists with offspring issues complicating the relationships though the wariness of the leads to take a chance on love can get frustrating. Note that The Family Plan is a bonus reprint.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Claiming The Heart-Sara Luck

Claiming The Heart

Sara Luck

Pocket, April 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451652246

A few years after the Civil War ended, workaholic track supervisor Gabe Corrigan lives to see the expansion of the Texas and Pacific (T&P) Railroad across Texas as the deadline of reaching Fort Worth looms. His Louisiana Southern belle wife Marthalee complains that he pays no attention to her she insists his only love is the rails. Disgusted, Marthalee heads home while filing for an annulment.

Gabe does not blink with his spouse leaving him. Instead he finds himself attracted to hotel-shop owner Josie Laclede who loves his dream of rails across Texas. They fall in love and soon travel to DC where they meet the President and First Lady and other dignitaries. Marthalee comes back into his life claiming they remain married; as she wants part of the wealth he earned with his T&P investment and to be part of the DC upper crust society. Her father influential General Galloway offers Gabe a chance to reconcile with his family and to begin a political career; while foundling Josie knows she cannot compete, so she leaves.

This Reconstruction Era romance is a terrific Texas tale starring two fabulous protagonists. The mystery of Josie’s birth enhances this strong historical with a fabulous late spin that emphasizes the limited degrees of separation between slaves and the highest social elite. Character driven Sara Luck provides an enjoyable nineteenth century Americana tale.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 15, 2012

Great-Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells-Lisa Cach

Great-Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells

Lisa Cach

Gallery/Pocket, June 19 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781416513315

Grace Cavanaugh is a Ph.D. candidate in Women’s Studies whose thesis hypothesis is beauty leads to misery. Her octogenarian Great Aunt Sophia, a retired movie star, asks her to spend the summer with her as she heals from surgery. Though her aunt hurt her badly when she was a little girl, Grace agrees as Aunt Sophia is the anecdotal poster child of her thesis.

Grace assumes Aunt Sophia is alone in Pebble beach so she reached out desperately to her great niece. Instead Aunt Sophia may suffer from arthritis and have ancient skin, but remains a dynamite queen of her mansion and beyond as it’s the attitude that makes a bombshell a bombshell even at eighty-five. Her aunt mentors her into letting out her inner bombshell and soon Grace has two different men Declan and Andrew enthralled by her beauty.

This is an amusing lighthearted chick lit tale in which the triangle participants are overshadowed by the geriatric actress. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Grace gets her groove but seemingly at the cost of her dissertation as Great Aunt Sophia’s Lessons for Bombshells is based on the hypothesis that beauty is more than skin deep with the right attitude.

Harriet Klausner

Hot In Handcuffs-Shayla Black, Shiloh Walker, Sylvia Day

Hot In Handcuffs

Shayla Black, Shiloh Walker, Sylvia Day

Berkley, Jul 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425247693

Arresting Desire by Shayla Black. FBI Agent Jon Bocelli and Professor Lucia DiStefano share the same desire that he be her first lover. Her work on her late father’s encrypted message becomes life threatening.

On Fire by Sylvia Day. Fire inspector Darcy Michaels asks Deputy U.S. Marshal Jared Cameron to help her investigate serial arsons. As they work together on the fires, they heat the sheets too until her past places her in peril.

The Unwilling by Shiloh Walker. Mica Greer and former FBI agent Colby Mathis were once lovers bound by psychic skills. They are back together investigating bizarre serial killings and a second chance at love.

These are three heated police procedural erotica though none of the lead protagonists are fully developed except the lower male heads.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How To Be A Proper Lady-Katharine Ashe

How To Be A Proper Lady

Katharine Ashe

Avon, June 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0062031761

In 1803 Devonshire, the smugglers abducted brazen child Viola Carlyle who was with her sister Serena. She was raised by a pirate.

In 1818, the April Storm privateers led by Massachusetts Captain Violet Laveel sink the Cavalier owned by Jin “The Pharaoh” Seton. He is stunned as he has searched for Viola Carlyle for two years as homage to his mentor Captain Alex Savege and the man’s wife Serena (see Captured by a Rogue Lord) and now he has found her. She takes him to a constable, but he buys his freedom and comes after her. Jin escorts Viola back to Serena. Though she loves her sibling, Viola feels like a fish out of water amongst the Ton and their inane rules of behavior while longing for Jin to kiss her again; a notion he loves and fears just like her.

The latest Falcon Club Regency romance (see When A Scot Loves A Lady) is a fun swashbuckling historical as two pirates fall. Though over the top of the Tower, fans will appreciate this exciting gender war as at sea, at port and at the ballroom, Captains Laveel and Seton fight, fuss and kiss.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Defiant-Pamela Clare


Pamela Clare

Berkley, July 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425246115

In 1760, her family banished Lady Sarah Woodville to the colonies after a scandal ruined her in London. She was sailing up the Hudson from New York to Albany to plead with her Uncle British army commander William Wentworth to help her, but the ship ran aground due to ice floes. Shawnee attack them scalping all except Sarah, her maid Jane and a young boy Thomas Wilkins. The Indians grab Sarah to take with them; she prays Jane and Thomas follow though she fears otherwise as unlike her they were not given moccasins to wear.

Lord William orders Scottish Major Connor MacKinnon to rescue his niece. Connor loathes his arrogant superior officer and assumes Lady Sarah shares his blood and his despicable loftiness. When he catches up the small band of Shawnee, Connor realizes the only way he can liberate Sarah is to claim she is his spouse and therefore has the right to fight her capturer for her. When he escorts her back to Albany, their roles reverse as she must save her beloved from her uncle.

The latest MacKinnon’s Rangers Colonial America romance (see Surrender and Untamed) is a delightful historical as the Scotsman and the Englishwoman fall in love; feelings neither want and sure to anger her uncle. Fast-paced, fans will believe Pamela Clare transported them to the upstate New York colony during the French and Indian War as Defiant is a vivid action-packed thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Echoes At Dawn-Maya Banks

Echoes At Dawn

Maya Banks

Berkley, July 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250860

Affluent billionaire Gordon Farnsworth would do anything to save his beloved dying daughter Elizabeth. His last hope rests with alleged healer Grace Patterson. However, his crack team fails to bring her in as a fluke explosion allowed her to escape. Desperate he warns his operative he will die horribly if Elizabeth dies and then contacts Titan to retrieve the healer.

The Kelly Group International led by Rio mount a rescue. When he reaches her, he is taken aback as they telepathically communicate just like her sister does with KGI operative Nathan Kelly (see Whispers In The Dark). As he and his team escort Grace hopefully to safety, a mercury militia group and Titan pursue. Rio realizes his gut-need to keep Grace safe is more than just another mission as he willingly would die for this woman he loves; she feels the same and acts likewise.

The latest KGI romantic suspense (see Hidden Away) is a tense thriller starring an operative who like his teammates works missions outside of the government scope, but this time the task turns personal. Fast-paced time is running out on Elizabeth and subsequently anyone who her father believes allows her to die. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the healer and the operative as they fall in love struggling to stay alive.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Moonshell Beach-JoAnn Ross

Moonshell Beach

JoAnn Ross

Signet, Jul 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451237385

Captain JT Douchett’s last mission as a Marine is the hardest he ever faced as he went ahead without a weapon to visit homes of fallen comrades. Following this last heart-wrenching assignment in California, he heads home to Shelter Bay, Oregon where he does not want to go out on the boat with his father or brother that he loved to do before enlisting; instead he prefers to drink.

Famous Irish movie star Mary Joyce agrees to appear at the Shelter Bay film festival because of her fond childhood memories of the coastal town. Her bodyguard is a stoic sourpuss JT. They are attracted to one another, but his PTSD keeps him from acting on his feelings; as he knows love means watching someone else you care about die; but he never met anyone handle an outreach mission better than her with her selkie tales.

The latest Shelter Bay romance (see On Lavender Lane, One Summer and The Homecoming) is a wonderful contemporary starring a wounded warrior who knows he wants is to be left alone to not feel and a strong actress who goes after what she wants. Their tango, enhanced by the townsfolk, makes for a warm tale of love healing the soul.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 11, 2012

Melt Into You-Roni Loren

Melt Into You

Roni Loren

Heat, Jul 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 978-0425247716

Evangeline “Evan” Kennedy is engaged to Daniel who likes men. Daniel obtains membership for Evan at the exclusive fantasy Ranch. While Daniel is with a sex partner, Evan walks the beach only to have a starfish injure her leg. Jason “Jace” Austin helps her. She is shocked to learn her hero is Jace who she was attracted to in college; he felt the same way about her.

Jace and his roommate Andre persuade Evan to enjoy a ménage a trois with her as their sub though they agree no strings once they leave the Ranch. As the trio enjoys the trysts immensely, each knows the final climax will prove bitter sweet.

The second Loving on the Edge erotic romance (see Crash Into You) makes a strong case that an M/F/M can share in a loving adult relationship. The key to this engaging love fest is that the lead trio is each full blooded and not just in the engorged penises. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Roni Loren’s hot sizzler as one and one and one make for one heated contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Lie To Me-Tori St. Claire

Lie To Me

Tori St. Claire

Heat, Jul 3 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425253076

Two and a half years ago, Irina and Alexei Nikanova met in Russia where they shared an incredible night before he informs her that she was a gift in a business deal. She is euphoric to be able to leave Russia for Dubai even if that means being a sex slave to a Sheik.

The Black Opals sends Alexei into Dubai to retrieve Sasha Zablosky, whose father is internationally extremely influential. When he arranges a ménage a trois with Sheik Saaed to get to her, he was unprepared for Sasha to be Irina who he never forgot. Forced to kill Saaed when she recognizes Alexei, the pair flee with his partner Grigoriy as the enemy seems to always anticipate their moves. As they fall in love, he adheres to his mission to return her to her loving father.

The exciting second Black Opals erotic romantic suspense (see Stripped) is a fast-paced thriller that focuses on ménage a trois sex, political influence, human trafficking and terrorism; not always smoothly together. The lead pair is an intriguing coupling as Alexei’s hardened heart is superseded by his hardened lower head, which makes him miss obvious clues as to how the enemy seems to always find them. Fast-paced with a great late twist, readers will appreciate this tense second chance at love erotica if they stay alive long enough.

Harriet Klausner

Starlight-Carrie Lofty


Carrie Lofty

Pocket, Jun 26 20212, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451616392

In 1880, ruthless businessman Sir William Christie dies. His four children (illegitimate Vivienne and her beloved half-siblings (Alexander and twins Gareth and Gwyneth)) come to New York for the reading of their bombastic late father's will. Executor Alain Delavoir informs Alex that his assignment to earn his inheritance requires him to make a profit after two years at Christie Textiles mill in Glasgow. Though he loathed his father, Alex a widower astronomer knows he must take on the million dollar challenge if he to keep custody of his frail infant Edmund from his vicious father-in-law Josiah Todd.

At the cotton mill, Alex and Polly Gowan, a union leader’s daughter, meet and argue over how to make the enterprise a success. He realizes he needs her to gain employee loyalty and she realizes she needs him to uncover the identity of a merciless saboteur, who has no qualms about hurting children. As they fall in love, their seemingly diverse objectives and their misunderstanding of their beloved’s respective goals leave them in peril of failure in all aspects of their lives.

The second Christies Victorian romance moves from South Africa to Scotland, but retains the twisting exciting action adventure of Flawless. Fast-paced from the moment the lead couple first argues until their last “confrontation”, fans will enjoy Carrie Lofty’s excellent late nineteenth century Starlight.

Harriet Klausner

The Way Back Home-Barbara Freethy

The Way Back Home

Barbara Freethy

Pocket, Jun 26 20212, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451636543

In River Rock, California, single mom Alicia Hayden tries to save Hayden River Adventures after the accident on the Smoky left her father using a cane and in total denial about the business or the townsfolk rage towards them as local Brian Farr died and she barely survived a drowning. Three weeks ago she buried her twin brother Rob a marine who died in combat one week before he was to come home. Their competitor Wild River Tours sees an opportunity to drown their rivals as Alicia worries about the future of her almost ten year old son Justin.

Former Marine Gabe Ryder, who was with Rob during that final fatal firefight, arrives in River Rock as he promised his Rob’s best friend to take care of the Hayden family. Though she knows she is being unreasonable and bitter, Alicia holds Gabe culpable for the death of her sibling. They have a past that he refuses to talk about as Gabe believes he is unworthy of the love of Alicia and the admiration of Justin. However, when the assaults on the business turns ugly and Justin and his BFF David vanish, the marine in him reacts as he never leaves a man (woman or child) behind.

This is an engaging romantic suspense that focuses on how customized grief is especially in a small-town where everyone not only knows one another but everybody is impacted by a tragedy. Character driven by a strong cast and by the river, fans will enjoy rafting with Barbara Freethy as our guide.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 10, 2012

At Last-Jill Shalvis

At Last

Jill Shalvis

Forever, Jun 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455503742

Tired of bad decisions especially with men, Amy Michaels decides to follow her late grandma’s journal to Lucky Harbor, Washington where her ancestor found what she lost: hope. However, as always lately, even in Lucky Harbor as a waitress, nothing goes right as she becomes lost while hiking a trail in the woods. She calls her Chocaholic friend Mallory who sends forest ranger Matt Bowers to the rescue; the one man she avoids as she does not need another failed relationship.

Former Chicago SWAT, Matt enjoys his job as a ranger even if there is no Yogi to keep away from picnic baskets. He is attracted to Amy, but has no plans to act on his feelings as he emotionally cannot deal with a relationship after Chicago. As avoidance and abstinence fail, they fall in love, but neither trusts themselves to not be making another spectacular relationship mistake.

The latest Lucky Harbor contemporary (see Lucky In Love) is a warm tale starring two people who share in common love and relationship phobia. Filled with humor and pathos, fans will enjoy the middle “Chocaholic” romance (Forever And A day to follow) as love and laugher battle the protagonists’ respective pasts.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dark Crossings-Karen Harper, Marta Perry and Patricia Davids

Dark Crossings

Karen Harper, Marta Perry and Patricia Davids

Harlequin Anthology, July 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373837663

The Covered Bridge by Karen Harper. Eight years ago Benjamin Kline left his Amish community in Homestead, Ohio after being shunned for an act of violence against someone hurting his sister. He returned home from Cincinnati where he is the prime suspect in a jewelry shop heist. His neighbor Abigail Baughman is attracted to him as she was as a teen though nothing can come of it as he remains an outsider. When she becomes the target of stalkers, he vows to protect the woman he loves even if that means never being allowed to return to the people.

Fallen in Plain Sight by Marta Perry. Englisher Richard Strickland’s housekeeper Sarah Weaver finds him dead. Chief Byler thinks he slipped down the stairs to his death, but Sarah thinks otherwise. She tells her childhood friend Jacob Nast why she believes her late employer was murdered but the people do not go to the cops so she tells the estate lawyer instead. When she becomes the target of stalkers, he vows to protect the woman he loves.

Outside the Circle by Patricia Davids. Widower Isaac Bowman, accompanied by his mute ten years old daughter Ruby, leaves Indiana to start over in Mount Hope, Ohio. Isaac prays the move helps his grieving child who has not spoken since her mom died three years ago. Ruby’s teacher Lena Troyer is kind to both. Deer poaching by trophy seekers leaves Lena in danger as she protests these acts of violence; Isaac vows to keep safe the woman who has brought back father and daughter to life.

These are three engaging Amish romantic suspense thrillers in which the three female protagonists are BFFs.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 8, 2012

Temptation-Karen Ann Hopkins


Karen Ann Hopkins

Harlequin Teen, June 26 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780373210541

Following the death of her mom, her father relocated with his family from suburban Cincinnati to rural Meadowview, Ohio where he accepted the position of a hospital’s ER chief. Their Amish neighbors welcome the widower and his three children (Rose, Sam and Justin).

Sixteen year old Rose did not want to leave their home to rusticate. However, one of the welcoming committee is Noah. Rose and Noah are instantly attracted to one another. They try to forge a relationship, but he feels guilty as his Amish heritage disallows him to court an Englisher; he would be shunned unless she turns Amish.

This is a warm young adult romance starring two fully developed people whose love for one another is taboo. Rotating perspective between the lead couple, teen fans will understand how each feels about their love and its impact on their respective family though this reader wanted the unfiltered viewpoints (in small doses) of the two Dads and the siblings especially the “spy”. Still fans will enjoy the Temptation of forbidden love.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Wrangler-Lindsay McKenna

The Wrangler

Lindsay McKenna

Harlequin HQN, Jun 19 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776894

Former Air force lieutenant Val Hunter vowed to never return to the Bar H Ranch in Jackson Hole where her childhood memories of an abusive father and frightened mother make her puke. However, her ailing octogenarian grandmother Gus needs her to run the ranch while her broken femur heals; and Val would do anything for her loving relative even enter hell.

Wall Street investment banker Griff McPherson saw his career collapse with the meltdown. He comes home to Wyoming, a place he was exiled from when he was six years old. His brother Slade makes it clear he should go back to Manhattan because his twin failed to invest in the ranch when the money was needed (see The Last Cowboy). Griff gets work at Andy’s Horse Emporium where he meets Val seeking to hire a wrangler; he takes the job. As he and Val work the land, they fall in love while someone covets owning the Bar H using any means to achieve their odious objective.

The Wrangler is a fabulous Wyoming ranch romance starring two intriguing protagonists. She trusts no one except Gus and he needs to prove he belongs in a place he was sent away from years ago. The villain adds suspense, but this western romance belongs to the lead couple as love may not be enough to surmount the hurdles of their respective pasts.

Harriet Klausner

Temptation and Twilight-Charlotte Featherstone

Temptation and Twilight

Charlotte Featherstone

Harlequin HQN, June 19 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776627

A member of the secret Brethren Guardians, Marquis Iain Sinclair is known as an uncaring rake. However, few know that Iain has one exception; he loves Lady Elizabeth “Lizzy” York though he betrayed her.

Everyone feels sorry for Lizzy who has become blind. They also believe she is a proper behaved lady. Only one person knows differently and he betrayed their love just before she lost her sight. She hates him. When she finds a twelfth century journal about a man having a passionate love with “the Veiled Lady”, Lizzy asks Iain to help her identify who the woman is. Iain agrees as he wants a second chance with his beloved Beth. Neither expected danger to arise with their endeavor.

The third Brethren Guardians historical romance (see Pride and Passion, and Seduction and Scandal) is a hot second chance at love thriller. This tale is fast-paced from the moment Iain agrees to be his Beth’s “eyes” and never slowing down as working a several centuries-old mystery proves dangerous to the lead couple. Fans will relish this entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Carolina Home-Virginia Kantra

Carolina Home

Virginia Kantra

Berkley, Jul 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250938

In Dare Island, North Carolina, since his teenage son Joshua returned to school, Matt Fletcher sails the Sea Lady II with his dad as mate as they take affluent people out fishing. Upper crust Philadelphian transplant Allison Carter informs Matt, as Joshua’s teacher, his son is an underachiever. Matt says he has no time now, but will talk to Josh later. He thinks Allison is like Josh’s mom a professor with little involvement in her son’s life.

Matt’s brother Luke is on compassionate military leave. With him is his ten years old daughter Taylor whose mother just died. Luke was unaware he had a child until now. He asks Matt to take care of her until he returns from Afghanistan.

Allison has a flat tire when Matt arrives. He takes her bicycle to the rental shop for repair. They next stop for a beer where they discus Joshua who has no college plans. Matt says he wants Josh to attend college, something he dropped out of to raise his son. They talk about family and she mentions she has not seen her big brother in years. They kiss as each feels the attraction, but he is one night stands with off islanders and she is no one nighter; besides family matters take precedent over love.

The vivid isolated barrier island location sets the tone of a tender family drama in which the lead couple’s families are extreme polar opposites in how they support their respective loved ones. Although the lead couple makes love while his traumatized niece and his son (her student) are nearby and the niece’s fears never explored (probably will when Luke’s return), readers will enjoy this warm romance.

Harriet Klausner

Brody-Emma Lang


Emma Lang

Kensington Brava, Jun 26 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758269058

In 1836, Texas Ranger Brody Armstrong arrives at the Circle Eight Ranch to talk with the oldest owner, Matt Graham. Since Matt is away with his wife, the second oldest of eight siblings Olivia demands the Ranger tell her. Reluctantly he says he has a lead on what happened to her youngest sibling five year old Benjy. He explains he has locked away a drunk who worked for Jeb Stinson. The man mentioned a nearby shack where stolen goods were kept. Liv thinks back to when their neighbor the late Stinson killed the Graham parents and abducted their brother.

Brody leaves to follow the lead. He finds the shack and enters it only to have Olivia follow. He is angry and tells her to go home, but she refuses. They find the corpse of Jeb’s sister Margaret, but a calm Olivia finds an item belonging to Benjy. Brody leaves only to walk into a man with a shot gun and another man with a rifle. Olivia shoots and kills both of them saving Brody’s life. He agrees to her being his partner, but no sex as a distraction can prove deadly. The pair argues and has sex as they follow the trail to Mexico where they meet lethal bandito Rodrigo and the deadlier females in his life.

The second Circle of Eight Lone Star romance (see Matthew) is loaded with action while starring a female with a general officer’s personality and a guilt ridden ranger who can’t say no to her. Although their behavior on the trail places them in peril especially stopping for trysts at wrong moments for instance when they are prisoners, fans will enjoy this heated nineteenth century Texas romance.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Dark Knight-Elizabeth Elliott

The Dark Knight

Elizabeth Elliott

Bantam, Jun 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780553575675

In 1293, King Edward assigns assassin Dante Chiavari to use any means necessary even murder to prevent the marriage between Avalene de Forshay and Faulke Segrave. Avalene’s aunt and other members of her foster family demand she wed Faulke who plans to use the last Welsh royal as a sacrificial lamb in order to ignite a rebellion against the crown.

Dante arrives at Coleway Castle claiming to be Sir Percival loyal knight pledged to Avalene’s late father. He is attracted to her but knows he is unworthy of this woman he considers heaven’s missing angel. She shocks him when she begs him, out of his “allegiance” to her sire, to kidnap her as she rejects her aunt’s manipulations to pawn her on vile Faulke. He agrees, but Faulke counters his measures at the same time Avalene learns the truth about her hero.

This is an engaging medieval romance starting with Edward’s strict order to void the nuptials any way Dante can. Filled with action, the truth sets no one free since now the heroine has one more person to distrust while the assassin reconsiders his liege’s instructions as marriage to almost anyone except Faulke is acceptable; by Edward so why not Dante; though he knows he has to keep her free and overcome her disdain of him . Fans will enjoy this wonderful historical as Elizabeth Elliott brings back the Chiavari family (see Betrothed).

Harriet Klausner

Can’t Buy Me Love-Molly O'Keefe

Can’t Buy Me Love

Molly O'Keefe

Bantam, Jun 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780440423072

Eighty-nine years old wheelchair bound Lyle Baker, owner of the Crooked Creek Ranch, asks his young friend Tara Jean Sweet to play the role p of his gold-digging fiancée in order for his children, hockey star Luc and Victoria to come home before he dies. She hates the ruse but agrees to Lyle’s death bed wish as he saved her life.

Luc prefers to tell his despicable dad to go marry his floozy. However, Victoria wants to see their father. So the siblings and her son Jacob head to Texas. When Lyle dies, his will demands that his offspring remain in Texas or they get nothing. As he and Tara Jean get to know one another, each realizes there is more to the other than bimbo and loather. Though they fall in love, each has a past to overcome if they are to have a future together,

This is a warm serio-comedic contemporary romance starring seemingly emotionally crippled protagonists (and sister) as first impressions are hard to surmount even when proven false. Though the theme of a sham gold-digger has been used before, fans will enjoy this engaging character driven tale as love appears not strong enough to overcome the demons that respectively hunt the lead couple.

Harriet Klausner

Thief Of Shadows-Elizabeth Hoyt

Thief Of Shadows

Elizabeth Hoyt

Forever, Jun 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455508327

In 1738 Baroness Isabel Beckinhall knows better than to volunteer as she stupidly did when coaxed by Lady Hero Reading. Thus she is in St. Giles on her way to meet aloof Winter Makepeace, manager of the Ladies’ Syndicate for the Benefit of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children. However, the coach stops to find a not so dead corpse in the road. Her servants pick up the unconscious body of the Ghost of St. Giles, protector of the weak, as a mob charges at them. Lady Isabel takes the Ghost to her home, but not before he steals a kiss. By the next morning like his name he is gone.

Lady Hero expects Lady Isabel to tutor Makepeace on the Ton’s charitable enterprises as he needs to raise money and awareness for his orphanage. His eyes look familiar to her, but she is unsure why. When they kiss she knows why. As they fall in love, both knows someone wants him dead before he identifies who is behind the abduction of little girls.

The fourth Maiden Lane Georgian romance (see Scandalous Desires, Wicked Intentions and Notorious Pleasures) is an engaging tale as a previous key player takes the male lead role. Action-packed from the rescue until the final confrontation, readers will enjoy this exciting romantic historical mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Summer Nights-Susan Mallery

Summer Nights

Susan Mallery

Harlequin HQN, Jun 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776870

Following an ugly divorce, horse whisperer Shane Stryker wants nothing to do with sexy sirens. If he marries again he will pick a rancher as his wife. As such, he moves his horses to temporarily stay at his mom’s spread in their hometown of Fool’s Gold, California while his stable is built.

When he meets the librarian Annabelle Weiss at a bar, though attracted to her Shane assumes she is wrong for him as a clone of his former wife. Annabelle likes Shane, but cannot understand his rejection of her. As she needs to learn to ride a horse for a fundraiser, Shane reconsiders his initial impression when he observes how good she is with his dangerous horse Khatar who adores Annabelle.

The second Stryker Sibling Fool's Gold contemporary romance (see Summer Days) is a wonderful tale in which the protagonists affirm W.C. Field’s lament to "never work with animals …" due to the matchmaking antics of Khatar and Priscilla the elephant. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted second chance at love tale as Susan Mallery continues to strike gold in California.

Harriet Klausner

Midnight Promises-Sherryl Woods

Midnight Promises

Sherryl Woods

Mira, Jun 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313489

Elliott Cruz married a divorcee over his family’s objection when he wed single mom Karen Ames and her children (six years old Daisy and four years old Mack). However, a few years into their marriage, the couple has communication issues as they have gone their separate ways; culminating with him opening a gym in Serenity that she learns about from her friend.

Fuming Karen confronts Elliott that he planned to use their “baby fund” savings to bankroll the gym. His excuse for not telling her is that he wanted everything in order before informing her of his investment. A neurotic when it comes to rainy day money as her first husband left her drowning in debt; Karen and Elliot compound their dispute with miscommunications. As their relationship continues to splinter, the battling duet learns perspective from Elliot’s beleaguered sister Adelia and her philandering husband Ernesto.

The latest The Sweet Magnolias contemporary romance is an engaging tale as the Fixx sang “one thing leads to another”; all seemingly making it worse. The cast is strong as bigger family crises put perspective on the inanity of that between Karen and Elliot, which affirms readers desire to Moe these two stooges.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Guy Most Likely to …-Leslie Kelly, Janelle Denison and Julie Leto

The Guy Most Likely to …

Leslie Kelly, Janelle Denison and Julie Leto

Harlequin Blaze, Jun 19 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796984

“Underneath It All” by Leslie Kelly. Chicago’s Winfield Academy class of 2002 celebrates the tenth anniversary reunion at Celebrations. Prom queen Lauren Desantos wonders whether the prom king, her boyfriend back at school, Seth Crowder will show up as he failed to back then when he and his family vanished. Seth has one goal in mind to make up for what he did to Lauren through no fault of his own.

“Can’t Get You Out of My Head” by Janelle Denison. Will Beckman hated high school as a computer geek scholarship student who felt like he left prison once he graduated. However, though he could not care one iota about the rich bullies he went to school with, he decides to go to the tenth reunion because of nice cheerleader Ali Seaver. When Will arrives, all the girls who shunned him back then thinks he is hot and his wealth enhances their acceptance of him that he rejects. He makes it clear he came to see Ali, owner of Paper Bliss Designs, as he hurt her in their senior year while her former boyfriend Tim Delgado remains the same barbaric bully he was as a teen.

“A Moment Like This” by Julie Leto. Scott "Rip" Ripley was the school’s bad boy; Erica Holt was the school good girl. They were attracted to one another but neither could make that first move. Now ten years later at the reunion, she plans to ride Rip.

These are three fun contemporary second chances at love romances as the adults do what their teen selves could not.

Harriet Klausner

Lead Me Home-Vicki Lewis Thompson

Lead Me Home

Vicki Lewis Thompson

Harlequin Blaze, Jun 19 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373796977

In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Last Chance Ranch hires horse-whisperer Matthew Treadway to train problem horse Houdini. Jeb Branford meets Matthew at the airport and suggests they stop at a restaurant for tasty food as the meals of the temporary cook Aurelia Imogene Smith are so awful everyone is on a diet. He says no one eats escargot on a ranch though Matthew would beg to differ.

When Matthew and Aurelia meet, the attraction stuns both of them. He agrees to talk to her about her menu. As they unite to create ranch friendly repasts, they also enjoy a tryst. Though they fall in love, she knows he will leave soon.

The latest Sons of Chance ranch romance (see Cowboys Like Us) is a fun lighthearted affair starring two temps, the cook (part of the job description is falling in love) and trainer, fall in love. Readers will wonder what Aurelia will come up with next while Matthew is a magician when it comes to horses but a failure when it comes to his woman.

Harriet Klausner

The CEO’s Unexpected Proposal-Karen Rose Smith

The CEO’s Unexpected Proposal

Karen Rose Smith

Harlequin Special Edition, Jun 19 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373656837

In Miners Bluff, Arizona, music therapist Mikala Conti and construction CEO Dawson Barrett meet at their fifteenth year high school reunion. She still considers him her hero when he rescued her from a bad prom scenario. Dawson was apparently her unrequited crush before he abruptly vanished.

The widower is coming home to live in order to help his troubled ten year old son Luke who tried to run away to stay with his school sponsored Internet buddy in Kentucky. He hires her to work with Luke who was in the car when his mom Kelly died in a crash while driving on ice. As the adults fall in love, both know disturbed Luke comes first, but neither can resist their attraction a first degree effect may end their second chance relationship.

The third Reunion Brides (see His Daughter … Their Child and Once Upon a Groom) contemporary romance is a fabulous family drama made poignant by Luke though most readers will guess what is causing his depression beyond grief. The cast is strong as everyone rallies around troubled Luke and the spotlight on music therapy (an occupation my sister-in-law does) enhances Karen Rose Smith’s engaging character driven tale.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ravishing the Heiress-Sherry Thomas

Ravishing the Heiress

Sherry Thomas

Berkley, Jul 3 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780425250877

In 1888, the wealthy sixteen year old daughter of the tin sardine king Millicent Graves and the new Earl of Fitzhugh marry as he desperately needs money to keep his destitute family from ruin and she obtains a noble title though his late thirty-something predecessor was had dad’s first choice. They share their first kiss but Millie persuades her nineteen years old husband to wait eight years before they consummate their vows as she hopes to win his heart, which belongs to Lady Isabelle Pelham; her rationale is she is only sixteen. He accepts her request.

They have lived together as best friends but the couple live separate lives until 1896 when the time to make their marriage real has arrived. Millie has loved Fitz since she first saw him, but believes his heart belongs to the widow Mrs. Isabelle Englewood, who has returned to London with two small children to claim him as hers. The offspring of a manufacturer knows she cannot compete with the lovely widow who is her mate’s peer, but though she knows he will fulfill their vow, she will do the right thing for him even though her heart will break.

This is a charming Victorian romance summed up nicely by Millie’s friend Venetia when she says “friendship is what gives love its wings.” Sub-genre readers will enjoy this tender tale of love as Millie and Fitz distrust their love is reciprocated so hide how they feel out of fear of losing their friendship. Sherry Thomas provides a wonderful historical.

Harriet Klausner