Friday, August 31, 2012

Out of Bounds-Ellen Hartman

Out of Bounds

Ellen Hartman

Harlequin SuperRomance, Sep 4 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718016

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

The Truth About Tara-Darlene Gardner

The Truth About Tara

Darlene Gardner

Harlequin SuperRomance, Sep 4 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718030

Coming from Kentucky, injured minor leagues baseball pitcher Jack DiMarco arrives in Wawpaney on Chesapeake Bay’s Virginia Eastern Shore seeking to speak with physical education elementary school teacher Tara Greer. He gives her a computer generated age progression picture of Haley Cooper who looks exactly like Tara. Jack explains his sister is the private investigator looking into the case of a missing child who vanished in Louisville twenty-eight years ago.

Tara denies she is that girl as she says she has lived here all her life. Jack believes her assertion and tells his sibling Maria by cellphone that she is not the one. While Jack visits a nearby orthopedic surgeon about his apparent career ending injury, Tara begins to reconsider what her mom has told her about her past. She begins to believe she may be that missing child even as Jack is back to help her with her identity crisis.

Supported by a solid secondary cast, the lead trio makes for a strong romantic family drama as readers wonder whether the truth will set mom and daughter free. Fast-paced with a fabulous late twist, fans will want to know The Truth About Tara.

Harriet Klausner

The Woman He Knows-Margaret Watson

The Woman He Knows

Margaret Watson

Harlequin SuperRomance, Sep 4 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718047

Darcy Gordon hides in Chicago from her abusive former husband Tim knowing she will never go back to Milwaukee alive. She works at Mama’s Place run by Nathan Devereux. While closing, a car crashes through the restaurant window hitting Nathan before driving away. A horrified Darcy assumes she was the target while her boss lies in a hospital. She would flee if she could, but knows she must remain where she is for now.

Nathan’s brother Patrick, an FBI agent in Detroit, comes to Chicago to run the restaurant and learn who and why. As they fall in love, he knows she hides something that paralyzes her with fear and she knows she must leave before she brings more harm to the kind Devereux family.

The latest Devereux family romantic suspense (see A Safe Place) is an engaging thriller starring two stubborn strong protagonists and a vile villain. The storyline is straightforward but enjoyable as Darcy trusts no one not even the Fed she loves while fearing what her presence will do to the Devereux family.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Loving Lady Marcia-Kieran Kramer

Loving Lady Marcia

Kieran Kramer

St. Martin's, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250009883

In 1814, fifteen year old Lady Marcia Sherwood meets the Lattimore brothers when they travel together to Liverpool. She is attracted to one of the siblings, but Finn breaks her heart leaving for the States the morning after her sixteenth birthday.

In 1819, the other brother Duncan sees her and knows he remains attracted to her as he learns she teaches school. When Marcia comes home, she finds Duncan there. He tries to court her but Marcia ignores his efforts though Duncan is unsure why. Marcia has rejected romance ever since Finn rejected her. At the same time an unscrupulous rival goes after her school while Finn is back from America. Duncan knows he has his work cut out to win the heart of the woman he loves.

This Regency romantic version of the Brady Bunch is an amusing historical with not so subtle references to the TV show; for instance, the names of the cast including Alice the housekeeper. Readers will enjoy this jocular jaunt while looking forward to more episodes from the Brady Bunch.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How To Capture A Countess-Karen Hawkins

How To Capture A Countess

Karen Hawkins

Pocket, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451685176

In 1806 seventeen year old Miss Rose Balfour believes she loves Lord Alton “Lord Sin” Sinclair. She goes for a kiss from the seemingly aloof Lord Sin, but suddenly shows her age when she becomes frightened and pushes him into a fountain. Rose flees while Alton sits in a lily pond with everyone laughing at him.

For six years, Sin patiently has waited for an opportunity to embarrass the chit who made him look foolish. He persuades his aunt the Duchess of Roxburghe to invite the Balfour family to a party she hosts. However, his plan to humiliate Rose takes a hit when Alton sees her. She is no longer an inane schoolgirl, but instead an intelligent beautiful woman. As they match wits, they fall in love.

The first Duchess Diaries Regency romance is a fun historical gender war starring two likable wary adversaries and a strong support cast especially the Duchess who swears to not get involved though she is already considering her next matchmaking endeavor. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy this jocular tale as a Rose and a Sin fight, fuss and fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

How To Capture A Countess-Karen Hawkins

How To Capture A Countess

Karen Hawkins

Pocket, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451685176

In 1806 seventeen year old Miss Rose Balfour believes she loves Lord Alton “Lord Sin” Sinclair. She goes for a kiss from the seemingly aloof Lord Sin, but suddenly shows her age when she becomes frightened and pushes him into a fountain. Rose flees while Alton sits in a lily pond with everyone laughing at him.

For six years, Sin patiently has waited for an opportunity to embarrass the chit who made him look foolish. He persuades his aunt the Duchess of Roxburghe to invite the Balfour family to a party she hosts. However, his plan to humiliate Rose takes a hit when Alton sees her. She is no longer an inane schoolgirl, but instead an intelligent beautiful woman. As they match wits, they fall in love.

The first Duchess Diaries Regency romance is a fun historical gender war starring two likable wary adversaries and a strong support cast especially the Duchess who swears to not get involved though she is already considering her next matchmaking endeavor. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy this jocular tale as a Rose and a Sin fight, fuss and fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sins of a Virgin-Anna Randol

Sins of a Virgin

Anna Randol

Avon, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062025791

During the war, Madeline Valdan worked for the Crown as an undercover agent. With the war over, the Crown downsizes Madeline who has no money or prospects except her body. Known as a scandalous courtesan by the Ton, a desperate Madeline knows only one way to obtain funds. Thus she boldly enters White’s where she states to the astonished male aristocracy that she is auctioning off her most prized possession to the highest bidder, her virginity.

Bow Street runner Gabriel Huntford has hunted down many criminals over the years, but the SOB who killed his twin sister remains elusive. As the price for Madeline goes stratospheric, Gabriel works an assignment that sends him from a school to her bidders; he hopes this will grant him access to those he deemed may have killed his sibling. As Madeline and Gabriel team up, they soon admire and respect each other while falling in love. However, a serial killer targets Madeline.

The first of a trilogy starring former criminals-spies is a delightful historical romantic suspense. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing while the support cast enhances the engaging storyline. As the runner and the courtesan risk their lives to catch a killer, the predator is in plain sight but impossible to identify due to fabulous red herring targets. Madeline is the next victim.

Harriet Klausner

The Way to a Duke's Heart-Caroline Linden

The Way to a Duke's Heart

Caroline Linden

Avon, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062025340

In 1810 Lord Charles de Lacey, heir to a dukedom, ignores responsibilities for decadence. However, he is shockingly awakened from his hedonism when a blackmailer demands payments or he and his siblings will lose their entitlements due to the potential exposure of his father’s scandalous behavior.

As manager of her brother’s businesses, Tessa Neville is in Bath looking into whether he should invest in a canal. She and Charles meet and it is hate at first sight. However, Charles suspects Tessa is in league with the person he suspects is extorting funds from his family as she meets with this reprobate. As such he follows her everywhere until they compare notes and realize they suspect duplicity by the same scoundrel.

The final Truth About the Duke Regency romance (see Blame It On Bath) is a pleasant historical starring two wonderful protagonists engaged in a gender war. Although there is too much reiteration of the overarching theme, fans will enjoy Lord Charles getting his comeuppance and hope that the blackmailer does too.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Her Amish Man-Erin Bates

Her Amish Man

Erin Bates

Gallery, Sep 4 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451662092

In Sr. Louis, attorney Carl Trevathan asks his associate Leah McKenzie to bring a file to him. She enters his office only to watch two strangers kill him. Frightened, filled with blood splatter all over her, Leah flees the crime scene. Later she learns she is the only suspect in her boss’ homicide while fearing the killers will come after the only witness.

Leah leaves Missouri for Arthur, Illinois where her estranged maternal family resides. When mom married an outsider, her Amish relatives shunned her. Now, Leah heads to the home of a grandma who she never met and who probably will not welcome her. On the way, she avoids a collision with a buggy driven by furniture maker John Miller, a war veteran seeking the peace of his youth. John takes the unconscious Leah to his mom’s home. As they fall in love, he knows she is considered English so Leah is unacceptable by his family. However when St, Louis comes to Arthur, John’s decision is made for him.

With a twisting nod to the movie Witness, Her Amish Man is a strong romantic suspense. Leah and John are fully developed protagonists while the support cast provides readers with insight into the Amish community via the reactions to the daughter of a shunned one. Readers will enjoy Erin Bates’ engaging tale as Leah finds love admits her maternal roots.

Harriet Klausner

Return to Willow Lake-Susan Wiggs

Return to Willow Lake

Susan Wiggs

Mira, Aug 28 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780778313847

In Avalon, New York, BFFs Sonnet Romano and Zach Alger attend the wedding of Daisy Bellamy (see Marrying Daisy Bellamy). However, when the pair shares a night of lovemaking, they see the future differently in the morning after. She leaves Avalon to pursue a fellowship while his plans to marry Sonnet leave with her.

When she learns her mom is carrying with a b high risk pregnancy, Sonnet returns home to be there for her family with plans to leave again as soon as she can. However, instead, Sonnet remains in Avalon to care for her ailing mom as places like Bhutan will wait. Award-winning filmmaker Zach hopes the sequel contains a happy ending.

This is an entertaining second chance at love (on his part) and first chance at love (on her part) romance as fans of the Lakeshore Chronicles will welcome a Return to Willow Lake. Readers will enjoy their latest visit to Avalon learning what has happened to the families of previous novels; at the same the lead couple’s future together seems doubtful.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The M.D.'s Secret Daughter- Jacqueline Diamond

The M.D.'s Secret Daughter

Jacqueline Diamond

Harlequin American, Sep 4 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373754243

When they lived in Texas Nurse Jan Garcia never told her former fiancé Dr. Zack Sargent that she kept their child rather than give her up for adoption when he accepted false allegations about her that led to his ending their relationship. In Southern California, a widower raising his third grade stepdaughter Berry, Zack is shocked to see Jan at the elementary school with apparently her daughter whom he assumed she adopted; though he knew worked at Safe Harbor as he now does too. In fact he is unaware that seven years old Kimmie is his.

Before she can tell him the truth, he realizes her Kimmie is his. As they struggle to deal with the needs of their respective daughters with the truth, Jan and Zack remain in love, but she distrusts him and he feels betrayed.

The fully developed cast (including two kittens) makes for an engaging Safe Harbor Medical family drama (see The Detective's Accidental Baby). Although the theme has been used too often and The M.D.'s Secret Daughter never veers from the linear path, fans will enjoy this fun tale.

Harriet Klausner

Rescued by a Ranger-Tanya Michaels

Rescued by a Ranger

Tanya Michaels

Harlequin American, Sep 4 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373754236

Affluent and influential Eileen and Philip Hargrove want their four years old granddaughter. The child’s mom widow Heather knows they will do anything to achieve their objective including bribery and character assassination. Realistically Heather knows she cannot compete with these amoral SOBs in a custody fight. She vows she will never allow them to have her child so she changes her name and flees with Josie.

Heather and Josie stop in Fredericksburg, Texas. Next door is by the book Texas Ranger Zane Winchester who she meets when she panics while he tends to Dolly after the child fell. . Zane has his own family issues as his ex-wife exiled their teenage daughter Eden from Southern California to live with him; Eden hates Zane. To his amazement, Eden and the females next door become friends. His efforts to become acquainted with the mom are met with scorn and distrust as he recognizes that she is running from someone. As the adults fall in love, her past arrives with a vengeance.

From the onset readers will empathize with Heather’s plight as she tries to protect her daughter from their vile paternal grandparents while fearing the Ranger she fell in love with will arrest her. With a strong cast including the former in-laws who believe they are above the law privileged elite, readers will enjoy this taut Texas tango.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 17, 2012

Angels Landing-Rochelle Alers

Angels Landing

Rochelle Alers

Forever, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455501380

New York City dedicated social worker Kara Newell travels to Charleston, South Carolina in response to an enigmatic request from David Sullivan, Taylor Patton’s attorney. She explains to David that she does not know Mr. Patton, but the attorney says Mr. Patton knew her. In a conference room she finds a horde of people angrily staring at her as the lawyer states deceased Taylor left his estate to his biological daughter Kara on the condition that she restore the National Historical registry site Angels Landing on Cavanaugh Island. Confused Kara knows her father resides in Little Rock but David persuades her to spend a week at the estate instead of allowing avaricious relatives to sell to developers.

David calls his cousin Cavanagh Island Sheriff Jeff Hamilton, a retired twenty year marine to keep an eye on Kara as her new family is not happy with learning Taylor had a child. Jeff, who returned to the island to help his beloved Grandmomma Corinne, says he will keep the newcomer safe. However, he becomes more active when someone tries to frighten Kara to run back to New York or Arkansas.

The second Cavanaugh Island Low country romance (see Sanctuary Cove) is an exhilarating contemporary starring an intrepid heroine and the ex-marine cop who loves her. The storyline is somewhat predicable, but made incredibly fresh by insight into the local history of islander African-Americans. Readers will appreciate the return to Cavanagh Island.

Harriet Klausner

Close Enough to Touch-Victoria Dahl

Close Enough to Touch

Victoria Dahl

Harlequin HQN, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780373776887

After years in Los Angeles to escape a raging former boyfriend, twenty-eight years old broke make-up artist Grace Barrett flees by bus to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Her plan is to stay a short while as she has an employment opportunity in Vancouver. In town she takes the free bus to 605 Sagebrush, known locally as the “Stud Farm” where her Great Aunt Rayleen rented her an apartment.

Grace meets cowboy Cole Rawlins who explains Rayleen only rents to men. A runaway as a teen, Grace trusts no one, not the hunk next door or her relative. As that hunk Cole, Aunt Rayleen, Jenny the bartender and Grace’s new boss Eve try to break down her protective barrier, she finds herself making friends and falling in love.

The healing of Grace is a terrific contemporary as she gradually begins to accept that some people have no motive to use and abuse you. Cole has his own issues that he must overcome if he and Grace are to be a loving couple as Aunty Rayleen (think of Patrick Dennis’ Auntie Mame in Wyoming instead of Manhattan) envisions. Readers will enjoy the healing power of love as Victoria Dahl provides a warm romance.

Harriet Klausner

A Lady By Midnight-Tessa Dare

A Lady By Midnight

Tessa Dare

Avon, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062049896

In 1814 Kate Taylor loves living in Spindle Cove, but has not found love there. Still she has made many friends in the village so overall is satisfied with her life.

Corporal Samuel Thorne remains aloof staying far away from kissable Kate. However, not too distant as he has vowed to himself to keep her safe and happy though at times he wishes he was her one, but also knows she deserves better. Strangers arrive in Spindle Cove seeking Kate who they insist is a wealthy relative. Distrusting these visitors, Thorne insists he is Kate’s fiancé and ergo under his protection. To his consternation, her trust in him just makes him want her more, but he remains steadfast that she is better off with someone her equal. Kate has found love in Spindle Cove and refuses to back away.

The latest Spindle Cove Regency romance (see A Night To Surrender) is a tender historical starring two protagonists who seem star-crossed. The lead couple makes the engaging storyline fun to read as he wants her even more so when he steps forward to protect her and she knows he is her one. Readers will appreciate this fabulous early nineteenth century wondering whether her real identity will end the relationship.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Last Renegade-Jo Goodman

The Last Renegade

Jo Goodman

Berkley, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250969

In 1888 while traveling on a train Kellen Coltrane meets popular dime store novelist Nat Church as the latter is dying from wounds to his stomach. Before he dies, Nat asks Kellen to complete the mission he failed to perform. Thus Kellen goes to Bitter Springs, Wyoming Territory to help “Penny Royal” who hired Church to end the bloody spree of a rancher and his three sons.

Kellen is stunned to learn Penny Royal is Lorraine Berry, owner of the Pennyroyal Saloon and Hotel. Raine is stunned by how young Kellen is as she thought the legendary Church had to be much older. Attracted to her, Kellen decides to remain in town to protect her from the brutal Burdick brood under the guise of Nat Church.

This is an exhilarating western romance, which pays homage to the dime store pulp fiction of the late nineteenth century. Fast-paced with strong twists, the protagonists, the antagonists and the townsfolk bring 1888 Wyoming to life; as readers will feel they stepped off the train alongside Raine while he attempts to bring justice, love and literature to Bitter Springs.

Harriet Klausner

Not Proper Enough-Carolyn Jewel

Not Proper Enough

Carolyn Jewel

Berkley, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780425250976

In 1817 London widow Lady Eugenia Bryant chaperones-mentors her friend naive Hester Rendell though her first season. The only down note on Ginny’s return to the Ton after a four-year mourning period for Robert is seeing her late husband’s best friend Marquess Grenville Foxman Talbot who insulted her when Robert was alive.

Fox dreams of making love to Ginny, but also in his reverie he promised Robert to keep her safe. Ginny is upset with herself for being attracted to the boorish man who treated her with contempt. Ironically he was rude because she was a temptation that would have led him to betray his BFF. Now he wants to make it up for his sake as the pair begings a tryst.

This Reforming the Scoundrels Regency romance (see Not Wicked Enough) is entertaining due to the engaging verbal barbs between the lead couple. Although the storyline is somewhat thin, subgenre fans will enjoy the gender battle between Fox and Ginny as the memory of beloved Robert remains a barrier from the pair making their affair permanent.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When Lightning Strikes-Brenda Novak

When Lightning Strikes

Brenda Novak

Mira, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313519

Public relations expert Gail DeMarco wants to tell her most important client movie A-list superstar Simon O’Neil that she can no longer help him, but knows her career would end if she kicked this simpleton to the curb. Simon’s latest drinking and public fighting binge has led to a judge lecturing him while barring him from seeing his son. He may be the top movie star, but Hollywood is barring him too as he has become unreliable.

To redeem his horrific image and more important custody of his child, Gail tells Simon he needs to marry a wholesome woman. Simon likes the plan and tells his PR agent she is perfect for the role in his fake marriage. She reluctantly accepts the part of his wife but on the stipulation of no sex. They wed and honeymoon in her hometown of Whiskey Creek, California while his public and her family and friends refuse to believe this is not a publicity stunt as the couple begins to believe this is the real thing.

This is a fun romance that allows love to slowly develop from initial cynicism. The townsfolk are wonderful as everyday people who cannot accept that he Hollywood and Whiskey Creek would fall in love. Readers will enjoy the relationship metamorphosis of the lead duet from scornful arguing to teasing love.

Harriet Klausner

Nightingale Way-Emily March

Nightingale Way

Emily March

Ballantine, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780345528780

Investigative reporter Catherine Blackburn causes a furor with her latest article. She refuses to cower though threats to her life multiply and though her house has been firebombed. Cat did hire a bodyguard.

Her mom CIA operative Melinda assigns Cat’s former husband Jack Davenport to insure her daughter is safe. He secretly observes her as she goes about her life in the DC area without a care in the world though Jack understands why she would feel that way after she buried their baby while he was away and consequently their marriage. Jack knocks out the guard and abducts Cat from DC suburbia. He takes her to his home near In Eternity Springs, Colorado to keep her safe. Cat rages over the kidnapping and that he still works for her mom. As each realizes they remain in love, Cat knows Jack would never give up his work forged in a fire when he was a child while he considers it is time to come in from the cold.

The latest Eternity Springs contemporary romance (see Lover’s Leap and Heartache Falls) is an engaging second chance at love suspense thriller starring two fascinating protagonists with his missions serving as the great divide. The storyline deftly merges the healing magic of the town with a mystery and plenty of suspense.

Harriet Klausner

The Memory Thief-Emily Colin

The Memory Thief

Emily Colin

Ballantine, Aug 21 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780345530394

Aidan Kimble informs his wife Madeleine that he, Roma, Jesse and J.C. are climbing Mount McKinley’s south face. She pleads with him not to go there as she has a bad premonition. He promises her he will come back to her and leaves for Alaska. Not long after Aidan left, their four years old son Gabe tells his mommy that his daddy just visited him though Aidan is in Alaska. Soon afterward a despondent J.C. calls Madeleine to tell her Aidan died in an avalanche. J.C. vows to be there for his BFF’s widow he secretly loves and her son whom he adores.

Nicholas Sullivan wakes from a coma in a hospital. He learns he was in a motorcycle accident, but suffers from amnesia; not even recognizing the pretty woman hovering over him. However, Nicholas feels haunted by a sad woman and a preschooler who he cannot recall ever meeting. Obsessed with learning who they are and why they haunt his dreams, Nicholas searches for them unaware that he is the instrument of fulfilling a promise.

This is an engaging paranormal romance starring a strong cast including the late Aidan (mostly through the memories of his loved ones). With nods to the movies A Guy Named Joe and Always, fans will appreciate this entertaining whimsical contemporary though the romantic subplot feels more like a requirement.

Harriet Klausner

By Starlight-Dorothy Garlock

By Starlight

Dorothy Garlock

Grand Central, Aug 21 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780446540094

In 1931, Jack Rucker’s job is to shut down illegal speakeasies and arrest the bosses in Montana. He knows fighting comes with the turf and most, if not all, are run by a local mom using mom and pop operations. His current assignment shakes him up because seven years ago, Jack was in Colton where he promised to return to his beloved fifteen year old Maddy Aldridge. Facing her seems more dangerous than the Chicago Mafia.

Maddy runs the illegal speakeasy in the basement of her family’s failing mercantile. She fears if the store goes bankrupt her ailing father will shatter emotionally. Her business partner Jeffers is a dangerous mobster surrounded by nasty thugs.

When Jack and Maddy meet for the first time since his promise, both know they remain in love. However, she distrusts him for never coming back as he pledged to her. He knows he must arrest his beloved and Jeffers while shutting down their speakeasy; fully understanding the second order effects.

This is an entertaining Depression Era romantic suspense that brings to life Prohibition in Big Sky Country. The lead couple is a delightful pair at cross purposes while considering a second chance at love. However, it is the speakeasy with mobsters, customers, employees and prohibitionists who make for an enjoyable Americana.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Perfect Knight For Love-Jackie Ivie

Perfect Knight For Love

Jackie Ivie

Zebra, Sep 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 978-1420124002

In 1689 Thayne MacGowan saves Amalie from a nasty fall as Lord Dunn-Fyne traps them. Dunn-Fyne wants to know if the new bairn is a boy. Thayne says she is a daughter of him and his wife Amalie. In truth the baby is the offspring of brutal Dunn-Fyne and his late wife Mary (of Thayne’s clan). Thayne and Amalie head to Castle Gowan while Dunn-Fynn escorts them.

Dunn-Fynn offers Amalie a real man, but she declines claiming the bairn was theirs and she was married to Thayne. Her declaration makes them married under Scottish law. Thayne knows her declaration will restart the feud with Mackennah as he is engaged to the laird’s daughter. Thayne tells her Dunn-Fynn will rape her so she must stay at his side. Near Castle Gowan, his men replace Thayne and Amalie. They flee with the baby. Thayne kills Dunn-Fynn but takes a knife to the butt. Jamie plans to tup Amalie but she knees him and flees as Thayne arrives. He vows to kill his brother if he hurts his wife. Amalie asks Thayne to let her go as she conceals that she is the daughter of an earl who fled London and a marriage her father pushed. He says she claimed him so they are married. He will consummate the act when they reach the castle, but he knows his troubles have just begun.

This historical romance focuses on a complex relationship between the lead couple as external interests are impacted by their relationship. Although the duke and duchess are pathetic and Amalie a spoiled whiner, fans will enjoy this seventeenth century Scottish romance that makes a strong case that a leader is not necessarily the chief.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 13, 2012

Just One Night-Nancy Warren

Just One Night

Nancy Warren

Harlequin Blaze, Aug 21 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797103

In Manhattan, World Week editor Gary Wallanger tells his star international hot spot photojournalist Rob Klassen he is on medical leave until he recovers from the bullet to his femur so he tells him to go home. Gary also lectures Rob that his job is to report the news not make the news. Rob heads to the house of his beloved late grandma he considered home in Fremont, Washington.

Realtor Hailey Fleming is listing the house of Rob’s late grandmother. When she arrives at the home, she is taken aback by the hunk sleeping in the bed. Each admires the home, and they both annoy and attract one another also. The pair shares Just One Night of mind blowing sex that both want another Just One Night and another. They realize their idyll ends when he returns to the field.

This is an entertaining Wrong Bed romance starring a realtor and the owner of the house she is selling who fall in love with the home before each other. Fans will enjoy this heated tale as love seems not enough to keep this pair together once his thigh heals.

Harriet Klausner

Northern Renegade-Jennifer LaBrecque

Northern Renegade

Jennifer LaBrecque

Harlequin Blaze, Aug 21 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797097

Marine Gunnery Sergeant Liam Reinhardt had planned a career with the military, but he failed his last physical when a faulty heart valve was discovered. The sharpshooter, who had been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, was forced into a medical retirement. Additionally, Liam’s wife divorced him, which is not much of a shocker to the soldier as broken marriages are a second order effect of constant deployments. Needing time alone to consider his options and mentally heal from two strikes, Liam motorbikes to an isolated place he visited sixteen years ago as a teen Good Riddance, Alaska.

His next door neighbor is columnist Tansy Wellington who, like the vet, needs time alone as she recovers from the end of a long relationship with Bradley the butthead, so she came to her stepsister’s isolated town Good Riddance, Alaska. When Tansy and Liam meet, sparks ignite. Each feels a short tryst before getting on with their lives is the prefect cure for their ailments. However, neither the former sniper nor the writer wants to end their time together.

The latest Alaskan Heat romance (see Northern Exposure) is a wonderful gender war starring two likable protagonist and quirky locals who are betting on Wellington to defeat Reinhardt. Fans will enjoy the battle as he fears total surrender of his heart and she believes they need to combine forces in love. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted frolic.

Harriet Klausner

The Dirty Book Club-Savanna Fox

The Dirty Book Club

Savanna Fox

Berkley Heat, Sep 4 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425253151

In Vancouver, the book club meet at Rogue restaurant to discuss their latest read. Kim suggests their next entry be a fun erotic historical novel The Sexual Education of Emma Whitehead.

One of the members widow Georgia Malone feels an affinity with the lead character Emma a young widow who has not found any joy in sex. As she starts the new selection, the marketing expert also meets her firm’s newest client NHL star Woody Hanrahan and assumes he is nothing like the hero Alexandre mentoring the title character in the joys of sex. Though known for his serial women, Georgia cannot resist Woody. As they enjoy their sexual interlude, Georgia knows that is not enough for her as she wants the hat trick of love, commitment and all of him; but Woody’s two goals are the Stanley Cup and no strings sex.

This is a fun tale starring likable polar opposites who spend too much passive time. The premise of an erotic nested story within a heated storyline works nicely as Georgia compares herself to Emma and Woody to Alexandre. Fans will enjoy this sports romance in spite of the limited action.

Harriet Klausner

Playing To Win-Jaci Burton

Playing To Win

Jaci Burton

Berkley Heat, Sep 4 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425247839

Cole Riley plays football and women with the same intensity as he expects to score any time he holds the ball. Ironically, though the women adore him and the fans recognize his talent, Cole dislikes people. Media types are placed in a special category of intense loathing.

However, his doing whatever the hell he wants places his football career in jeopardy as increasingly he has become persona non grata. Public relations specialist Savannah Brookes is hired to change Cole’s image from the centerfold of bad boys. She has doubts about changing his behavior while he has doubts about wanting to change his behavior. As the Southern belle orders the football star around while establishing the no touch infraction, he decides pass interference penalty is worth the cost.

The latest Riley sibling Play-by-Play sports romance (see Changing the Game, The Perfect Play and Taking a Shot) is an engaging tale starring two obstinate protagonists. Part of the gender war fun is the lead couple switching from offense to defense and back when one runs with the ball and the other tries to make the tackle. Readers will enjoy this heated football romance as the two minute drill begins.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Courting Carolina-Janet Chapman

Courting Carolina

Janet Chapman

Jove, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780515151060

Ski bum Alec MacKeage works on a wilderness trail in Spellbound Falls when he hears a woman’s bloodcurdling scream over the noise of a storm. He rushes to the site where he finds two men attacking a female being protected by a dog. He intervenes knocking out both thugs with the help of the canine. Alec takes her to his camp and strips the unconscious woman he calls Jane Smith so that she does not catch pneumonia from her wet clothing.

Carolina Oceanus is grateful that she her companion Kitty the wolf are okay. She fails to notify her matchmaking parents who seek the right suitor for their daughter. As Carolina and Alec fall in love, he reconsiders his ban on relationships until her raging dad arrives with demands on Alec and rivals with pedigree to compete for Carolina’s hand in marriage.

The latest engaging Oceanus romantic urban fantasy (see Spellbound Falls and Charmed by His Love) is a fun tale starring two delightful protagonists and a strong support cast to include Kitty. Fast-paced though thin, fans will enjoy Courting Carolina as Alec’s advantages start and finish with love connected by a debonair bond.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lady Gone Bad-Sabine Starr

Lady Gone Bad

Sabine Starr

Kensington Brava, Aug 28 2012, $14.00

ISBN 9780758266002

In 1893 Deputy U.S. Marshal Rafe Morgan enters the Red River Saloon in Delaware Bend, Texas to arrest Lady Gone Bad. He plans to take the outlaw to Judge Parker and Marshal Boles though he knows the Bend is unsafe for lawmen. He also hopes to find his abducted sister Crystabelle. Lady soon has him handcuffed while playing the crowd against him. Wearing a boy’s garb, she flees town but rescues Rafe from a mob lynching.

The mob pursues Rafe and the lad across the Red River. They are shot, but her singing gives them a respite. He arrests her though she saves their lives again and takes them to shelter when a storm hits. When he escorts her in cuffs to Paris, he is shocked to find he is a wanted man as Deputy Marshal Lampkin got to town before him. They flee into Outlaw Country where she seeks Copper, her stolen horse with a special horseshoe. Lady and Rafe reach a deal that he helps her find her horse and evidence on the man who killed her parents, and she helps him prove his innocence. As they fall in love, he revises his options while someone wants her dead.

This engaging western romance provides a strong sense of time and place three decades after the Civil War ended. Readers will enjoy the brave heroine who thinks in shades of gray while her beloved marshal thinks in black and white. Although the lead couple stopping in the middle of danger to make love seems inane as their enemies are not taking a time out, fans will enjoy Lady Gone Bad.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dangerous Liaison With Detective Lewis-Jillian Stone

Dangerous Liaison With Detective Lewis

Jillian Stone

Pocket, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451629057

In 1887, an anarchist begins murdering industrialists and even in the House of Commons’ chambers an MP who supports them. When the assassins murder the father of Fanny Nugent, Scotland Yard sends Detective Raphael Lewis to Edinburgh to protect her. Neither is comfortable with seeing one another as several years ago Rafe abruptly ended their engagement.

To his chagrin, she insists on honoring her late dad by entering the London Industrial Exhibition as he planned. Someone ruthlessly plots to prevent her entry. As she learns why he ended their relationship, they remain in love while struggling to survive the lethal trek from Edinburgh to London.

This Gentlemen of Scotland Yard (see An Affair with Mr. Kennedy)

late Victorian romantic suspense is a strong historical as the early stages of police science and a Dickensian anti-industrialization fervor merge to the forefront with the romance supporting the action. The lead couple is a delight as they struggle with controlling their second chance at love feelings with both knowing staying alive comes before passion. Filled with fabulous twists, readers will appreciate this taut Old Scotland Yard thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Tallie’s Hero-Sara Luck

Tallie’s Hero

Sara Luck

Pocket, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451673869

In 1878 in the Texas Panhandle, Jeb Tuhill plans to ask Katarina Falcon de la Garza to marry him. When he goes to ask her he finds her with his brother Jonas. Jeb leaves for Wyoming where British entrepreneur Moreton Frewen seeks investors and experts for his cattle ranch that has no cattle.

Heartbroken and disliking the coddling of investors, Jeb meets novelist Tallie Somerset, a divorcee who fled scandals in London. Her friend John Astor tells her to follow Horace Greeley’s advice so she goes west to Wyoming. There she pretends to be married while attracted to Jeb. He feels fickle for falling in love with the Englishwoman but refuses to court a married woman though he is shocked when Tallie’s Hero of her newest novel is him.

Sara Luck’s latest western romance (see Susanna’s Choice) is a superb Americana starring a fascinating lead couple in several locales but one vivid setting. The story line centers on Reconstruction ending as capitalist barons emerge. Although the reason for the heroine to hide her marital status seems senseless (at least to my twenty-first sensitivities); historical fans will enjoy the romance between the rancher and the writer.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 6, 2012

Where Azaleas Bloom-Sherryl Woods

Where Azaleas Bloom

Sherryl Woods

Mira, Aug 21 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313694

In Serenity, South Carolina Lynn and Ed Morrow are divorcing. Ed chooses golf courses rather than child payments for their two children (fourteen years old Alexis and ten years old Jeremy) leaving Lynn near panicked over have under $25 in her checkbook.

Her next door neighbors Carter and Raylene Rollins (see Honeysuckle Summer) like Lynn and the kids so they have them over frequently for dinners ignoring the proud mother’s objections. Also dining at the Rollins’ table is contractor Mitch Franklin, who is building an addition for the Rollins. A widower of one year with two grieving sons (Nate and Luke) away at college, he is attracted to Lynn and likes her kids. He offers her office work handling his contract documents. As they fall in love, neither is ready for a relationship because their respective children come before their heart.

The latest Sweet Magnolias romance (see Midnight Promises and Catching Fireflies) is a warm second chance at love family drama in which four offspring matter; as do the first spouses (his love for his late wife makes him feel guilty while her husband leaves her skittish). Although love supersedes messiness too easily, fans will appreciate the tender blending of two families in which with six you get Serenity.

Harriet Klausner

The Lovesick Cure-Pamela Morsi

The Lovesick Cure

Pamela Morsi

Mira, Aug 21 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313762

In Tulsa, Jesse Winsloe remains in shock after losing her faculty position as an earth science teacher at Lake Grove Middle School due to cuts and being dumped by her fiancé principal Greg Wilkinson. Her mom Patsy suggests she visit zillion years old Aunt Will a renowned healer in the Ozarks.

Jesse agrees and heads to Onery Cabin in Marrying Stone to stay with the family’s ancient one while her heart heals. Eccentric Aunt Will provides her the smelliest cure for a broken heart, but her putrid poultice apparently fails when Jesse meets single dad Piney Baxley a physician’s assistant. When Aunt Will informs Jesse that she is dying, the Sooner begins to relook at all she has going for her starting with family and the real cure for lovesickness.

This is a fun homespun regional romance starring two engaging protagonists and an eccentric support cast. The amusing storyline is at its best whenever the plot focuses on the jocularity of relationships of the heart, but loses some of its passion when the tale turns towards a folksy fable. With the return of stars from previous Pamela Morsi romances (see Simple Jess and Marrying Stone), fans will enjoy How to Mend A Broken Heart; not the Bee Gees but Ozark style.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Just Chemistry-Vera Jax

Just Chemistry

Vera Jax

Fanny Press, Aug 15 2012, $12.95

ISBN: 9781603815123

Logan, head of the successful Los Angeles branch of Blue Dreams Marketing, covets a position on the Board of Directors. He only competition is Martin, head of the equally thriving Houston office and son-in-law of the firm’s CEO.

At a conference in Houston, he and Sam, the force behind the success of the Texas’ office, meet on an elevator and are instantly in lust with one another. They share a nooner and much more though each recognizes their tryst is not a good career move. Logan’s mentor Carl tells him that Martin is having an affair with Sam. He refuses to believe she would behave in such a manner though he ended their long distance relationship. Martin tries to blackmail Sam into a sexual encounter, but she refuses though that means her job. Martin will get the BOD position as previous complaints about his sexual harassment activities has been ignored by his father-in-law, Logan wants Sam back in his life permanently even if it costs him his remote chance at the BOD job.

Just Chemistry (of love) is a super erotic office romance starring two dynamic ethical executives. The storyline grips fans with that opening encounter of strangers in the elevator exchanging lustful glances and never slows down as they team up to try to bring down a protected predator. Although a coincidence brings the engaging lead pair together for the second session and the unlikely ending, readers will sing Sinatra’s song Strangers in the Night: “Something in your eyes was so inviting; Something in you smile was so exciting; Something in my heart told me I must have you” as Vera Jax provides a “Lovers at first sight, in love forever” romance.

Harriet Klausner