Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tempting the Bride-Sherry Thomas

Tempting the Bride

Sherry Thomas

Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425251027

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 17, 2012

Follow My Lead-Lisa Renee Jones

Follow My Lead

Lisa Renee Jones

Harlequin Blaze, Sep 18 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797202

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Living The Fantasy-Kathy Lyons

Living The Fantasy

Kathy Lyons

Harlequin Blaze, Sep 18 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797196

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Heart Made New-Kelly Irvin

A Heart Made New

Kelly Irvin

Harvest House, Oct 1 2012, $13.99

ISBN: 9780736943833

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male-Jessica Clare

The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male

Jessica Clare

Berkley Heat, Oct 2 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425253168

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Undeniable-Alison Kent


Alison Kent

Berkley Heat, Oct 2 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425253267

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Bianca-Bertrice Small


Bertrice Small

NAL, Oct 2 2012, $16.00

ISBN: 9780451237958

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hidden Paradise-Janet Mullany

Hidden Paradise

Janet Mullany

Harlequin HQN, Sep 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780373777198

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Forbidden-Nicola Cornick


Nicola Cornick

Harlequin HQN, Aug 21 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776672

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed-Anna Campbell

Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed

Anna Campbell

Forever, Sep 25 2012, $5.99

ISBN: 9781455512072

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lord of Temptation-Lorraine Heath

Lord of Temptation

Lorraine Heath

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062100023

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

My Scandalous Viscount-Gaelen Foley

My Scandalous Viscount

Gaelen Foley

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062075932

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

The Lady Risks All-Stephanie Laurens

The Lady Risks All

Stephanie Laurens

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062068637

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

How A Lady Weds A Rogue-Katharine Ashe

How A Lady Weds A Rogue

Katharine Ashe

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062031891

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

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

When the Duchess Said Yes-Isabella Bradford

When the Duchess Said Yes

Isabella Bradford

Ballantine, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780345527318

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Never Seduce A Scot-Maya Banks

Never Seduce A Scot

Maya Banks

Ballantine, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780345533234

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter-Lori Austin

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter

Lori Austin

Signet, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451238276

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Josh- R. C. Ryan


R. C. Ryan

Forever, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455502431

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Study in Seduction-Nina Rowan

A Study in Seduction

Nina Rowan

Forever, Aug 28 2012, $5.99

ISBN: 9781455509546

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 8, 2012

An Outlaw's Christmas-Linda Lael Miller

An Outlaw's Christmas

Linda Lael Miller

Harlequin HQN, Sep 25 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9780373777013

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

A Fool's Gold Christmas-Susan Mallery

A Fool's Gold Christmas

Susan Mallery

Harlequin HQN, Sep 25 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9780373777020

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Angel-Tiffany Reisz

The Angel

Tiffany Reisz

Mira, Sep 25, 2012, $13.95

ISBN: 9780778313991

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Don't Cry for Me-Sharon Sala

Don't Cry for Me

Sharon Sala

Mira, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313427

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Autumn Winds-Charlotte Hubbard

Autumn Winds

Charlotte Hubbard

Zebra, Sep 4 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121704

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

The Trouble With Cowboys-Melissa Cutler

The Trouble With Cowboys

Melissa Cutler

Zebra, Oct 2 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420130041

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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

Mischief and Mistletoe

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

Zebra, Sep 25 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781420124866

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sweet Laurel Falls-RaeAnne Thayne

Sweet Laurel Falls

RaeAnne Thayne

Harlequin HQN, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776702

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

The Accidental Bride-Christina Skye

The Accidental Bride

Christina Skye

Harlequin HQN, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776597

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner

Shades of Temptation-Virna DePaul

Shades of Temptation

Virna DePaul

Harlequin HQN, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776740

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

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

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

Harriet Klausner