Monday, December 31, 2012

The Marriage Campaign-Karen Templeton

The Marriage Campaign

Karen Templeton

Harlequin Special Edition, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373657247

The three cousins called themselves the Summer Sisters as they spent vacation time together at their late grandma’s house near St. Mary’s Cove on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. April Ross (see A Gift For All Seasons) and Melanie Duncan (see The Doctor’s Do-Over) are brides in a double wedding ceremony attended by the third “Sister” maid of honor Blythe Broussard. Also there are Blythe’s childhood nemesis widower Congressman Wes Phillips and his young son Jack.

Blythe recognizes a troubled kindred spirit in Jack whose mom died in a car accident two years ago. She warns Wes that Jack has self-destructive issues like she once had. Attracted to the Congressman and caring about Jack, Blythe plans to keep her distance from father and son until she makes her escape back to DC as fourteen years ago on Valentine’s Day her heart (and virginity) broke. Wes has other ideas as he is falling in love with Blythe and believes strongly she is perfect for him and Jack though her rocky past negatively impacts his reelection chances.

The Marriage Campaign is an engaging contemporary second chance at love romance starring a relationship-phobic designer, a Congressman whose campaign focus is Blythe not the voters and a disturbed eleven year old boy. Filled with compassion and passion, readers will enjoy this wonderful contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Free From Guilt-Pat Simmons

Free From Guilt

Pat Simmons

Lift Every Voice Books (LEVB)/Moody, Sep 20 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802403896

Brilliant MIT graduate Cameron Jamieson completed ten generations of his family roots tracing his ancestry back to African royalty and to previously unknown Boston kin. However, his genius also leads him to question the simplistic embrace of God’s love and offer of salvation by his entire St. Louis family except for the septuagenarian matriarch Beatrice "Grandma BB" Beacon, the terror of the city. Cameron accepts her belief that life is meant to enjoy today and worry about redemption far into the tomorrows.

Unlike Cameron who can quote scriptures, Gabrielle Dupree believes God comes first above all else. She prays that one day the Lord delivers to her a man of equal faith to share a love of one another and Jesus. Gabrielle and Cameron are attracted to one another at first sight. However, the strength of their polar opposite religious convictions places a relationship between them in peril as each struggle with love.

The latest Jamieson Legacy urban Christian inspirational (see Still Guilty, Guilty of Love and Not Guilty of Love) is a terrific contemporary romance with a fascinating triangle consisting of Cameron, Gabrielle and Jesus; Gabriele especially feels the tug on her heart and soul. As in the cousins’ tales (see The Guilt Trip and Guilt by Association), genealogy plays a key supporting role enhancing the engaging storyline. Readers will appreciate this strong entry as temptation and God-fearing converge with Gabrielle knowing the right path is with Jesus but the damning alternate seems so good.

Harriet Klausner

The King Next Door-Maureen Child

The King Next Door

Maureen Child

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732227

Griffin King and Nicole Baxter met at the wedding of his cousin Rafe King and her best friend next door neighbor Katie Charles last year. Affluent Griffin is house-sitting while Rafe and Katie are in Europe for three weeks and his beachfront condo is on the market. Though he admires how sexy all work and no play is except with her three years old son Connor Griffin adheres to his vow to end his serial affairs lifestyle and especially avid women with kids.

A fire in Katie’s kitchen forces her and Connor to temporarily vacate. He invites mother and child to move into his cousin’s home. Nicole decides a short tryst is just the thing for her as the divorcee shares in common with the bachelor: no marriage. As Griff proves kind and caring towards her son though an easy mark for Connor’s child con; neither adult knows how to react to falling in love.

The latest Kings of California romance (see King's Million Dollar Secret) is an engaging romance starring two protagonists whose theme song is 10 Cc’s “I’m Not in Love” and a too precocious matchmaking toddler. Contemporary fans will enjoy this warm tale as the King falls in love with the single mom and her child next door.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 29, 2012

All He Really Needs-Emily McKay

All He Really Needs

Emily McKay

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732265

Dying Hollister Cain informs his offspring that they take charge of Cain Enterprise and prevent a missing heiress from stealing their billion dollar legacy. Dalton the CEO hunts for the woman; while his brother Griffin the International marketing VP performs little except in bed with beautiful women and overseas travel; and their illegitimate sibling Cooper is the outsider. Dalton informs Griffin that he quits as the CEO as he has a more important mission: winning the heart and regaining the trust of his beloved Laney Fortino (see All He Ever Wanted). Before leaving, Dalton tells Griffin, whom their dad scorned as a wastrel do-gooder, that his assistant Sydney Edwards will take good care of him.

Stunned Griffin the underachiever has been Sydney’s secret lover, but now he is her boss. He believes they can combine the boardroom with the bedroom, but though she loves Griffin she informs him no more trysts. As bad as that thought is since he loves being with her; he also fears he will have little time for his vocation of helping Hope2O.

The second At Cain’s Command contemporary romance stars a seemingly unambitious hedonist and a dedicated administrative assistant. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy learning of the hidden depths of Griffin (and for that matter Sydney too) as he makes a case not to judge a book solely by its cover while also encouraging the audience to look up Hope2O’s real counterpart

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Real Cowboy-Sarah M. Anderson

A Real Cowboy

Sarah M. Anderson

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732241

Oscar winner James Robert Bradley left Hollywood at the height of his fame several years ago. Though many including his agent Bernie Lipchitz expected him to come back after a respite, James remains on his Bar B Ranch in the middle of nowhere Montana.

Thalia Thorne has a chance to produce her first movie, Blood for Roses, if she can persuade James to play the role of Sean; she believes he could win another Oscar with this part. When she reaches his ranch, she sees nothing California in the boorish cowboy who wants her to leave as she disturbs the peace he has found in Big Sky Country by reminding him of the bad things he did in Southern California; worse he is attracted to her as she is to him. Thalia refuses to go away as she needs him or her career dies for failing to deliver. Trapped by a blizzard, J.R. and Thalia begin to fall in love.

The lead couple makes for a rousing redemption ranch romance as he has demons from his past that haunt him while she needs him if she plans to remain in Hollywood. Though the device of a snow storm stranding the protagonists has been used a lot, fans will enjoy this entreating character-driven contemporary

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Mighty Quinns: Logan-Kate Hoffmann

The Mighty Quinns: Logan

Kate Hoffmann

Harlequin Blaze, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797394

Ninety-six year old Irish author Aileen Quinn is writing her autobiography of a rags to riches orphan girl making it big; when she asks her assistant Ian Stephens to find the descendants of her older brothers, siblings she never met. Assuming her brothers are dead, Aileen wants to leave her fortune to their children and grandchildren. She learns the youngest Tomas sailed to Australia in 1916; so Ian hires Capley and Drummond of Brisbane to investigate.

In Queensland, Australia, struggling horse breeder Logan Quinn faces bankruptcy. Logan drives to deliver his favorite horse Tally to a buyer. He stops at affluent Williamston Farm where his old mate Ed Perkins the stable manager invites him to stay for a night. Ed lectures him for not letting his boss Simon Grant bid on Tally. Simon’s daughter Lucinda introduces herself to Logan as Sunny. She knows she failed her dad when she flopped at the equestrian event at the London Olympics. Refusing to compete in Brisbane, Lucinda decides to escape her father’s disapproval and pressure by hiding in Logan’s camper. As they travel the continent, the poor hose-breeder and the heiress fall in love.

The latest Mighty Quinns’ series (see Ronan and Cameron) is a fabulous Australian romance starring two wonderful protagonists on a journey of love. Though financially polar opposites, the pair share a deep love of horses and soon of each other. Readers will look forward to more tales of Aileen’s relatives as the nonagenarian who has always felt alone for over nine plus decades has found family.

Harriet Klausner

Night Driving-Lori Wilde

Night Driving

Lori Wilde

Harlequin Blaze, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797417

In Bozeman, Montana, former Army Captain Boone Toliver recuperates from his third right knee surgery to repair an injury suffered from a bomb in Afghanistan. He feels like an invalid as he was forced to hire help though he can afford it having invested wisely the millions he inherited millions from his beloved late wife. The only tsuris besides his knee is his ditzy neighbor Tara Duvall, a sexy irritant. He is busted when he pretends to be on the cellphone only to have his half-sister marine biologist Ph.D. candidate Jackie Birchard call. Before leaving Tara says she is moving home to be with her ailing mother; while Jackie says she is marrying the man she loves and trusts, Coast Guard Lieutenant Scott Everly whom she has known just over a month. He reacts poorly as Jackie says she will marry her fiancé in a few days in Key West before hanging up on him.

Boone has less than five days to save Jackie from herself, but cannot fly due to the threats of blood clots and he can’t drive that distance while local car service says no. He places an ad on the internet and gets a response by someone going to Miami. They negotiate terms of leaving tonight; afterward he learns his driver is the ditz. The road trip has misadventures as time is running out, but also opens up Boone’s heart as he begins to fall in love with his zany neighbor.

Night Driving is a fun zany romance starring two opposites falling in love while on the road. Character driven by the lead couple, fans will enjoy the changing relationship between Tara and Boone.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chance of a Lifetime-Jodi Thomas

Chance of a Lifetime

Jodi Thomas

Berkley, Dec 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250525

In Texas, Tannon Parker visits the Harmony County Library to tell librarian Emily Tomlinson that his mom no longer recognizes him. She thinks back to when they were best friends growing up and on the high school newspaper together as juniors when the bloody tragedy ended their friendship fifteen years ago as he pushed her away. Like Tannon, Emily will go home alone, but unlike her former BFF she will write a fantasy piece on her journal about him holding her hand with a smile. When she visits his mom, he hopes they can at least be best friends again though he wants much more.

Not yet twenty-one, musician Beau Yates works gigs in town in places where he cannot drink. At the same time his estranged dad makes it clear to everyone that his son is a disgrace. His belated New Year’s resolution is to have a girlfriend who likes him. He knows he is attracted to the mysterious Red but doubts she cares about him.

Recently, lawyer Rick Matheson has been beset by a series of accidents that he believes were deliberate as he wonders who wants him dead and why. He wonders if the sleazy clients that he defends are the cause. U.S. Marshal Trace Adams rides her bike into Harmony concealing her mission to protect Rick.

Rotating subplots, the latest Harmony drama (see Just Down the Road, The Comforts of Home and Somewhere Along the Way) is an engaging small-town Texas tale starring a charming ensemble cast. The cast makes fans feel Welcome to Harmony.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Breath Of Scandal-Elizabeth Essex

A Breath Of Scandal

Elizabeth Essex

St. Martin's, Dec 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250003805

In December 1814 in Sussex, Antigone Preston attends her Papa’s funeral but has no time to mourn his loss because on that same day her Mama informs her that she arranged for her to marry to wealthy Lord Aldridge who is three times her age. Refusing to be a sacrificial lamb, Antigone needs a scandal to turn Aldridge away from her. At a gala, she punches and knocks down Aldridge for all to see. Her reputation is shattered.

At the same ballroom where Antigone let her fists do her talking, Navy Captain William Jellicoe enjoys her bodacious antics and is attracted to her. As this son of an earl and the female boxer become an entry, they scandalize London with their escapades.

The latest Reckless Brides Regency romance (see Almost a Scandal) is an entertaining historical due to the antics of the refreshing heroine. Fast-paced and amusing from the first punch until the final kiss, fans will enjoy A Breath Of Scandal.

Harriet Klausner

Live And Let Love-Gina Robinson

Live And Let Love

Gina Robinson

St. Martin's, Dec 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312542412

CIA agent Con Russo goes undercover in Orchard Bluff, Washington to obtain information on RIOT’s top assassin Rooster before he kills the enemy operative. However, Con has a major problem in the small town that could expose his identity to the Rooster. His wife Willow, who thought he died two years ago in an explosion in Ciudad when he was Jack Pierce, resides there. She is unaware that Rooster set the blast.

Though his face is radically different, Willow believes Con Russo is her husband Jack Pierce as no one has his eyes, Spookie recognizes him, and her heart tells her so. Willow vows to learn the truth using seduction as a weapon of choice. Rooster begins to wonder if his friend Willow is right that Con Russo is her husband Jack Pierce. Not willing to take chances, Rooster plans to kill Con and Willow.

The latest Agent Ex espionage romance (see Diamonds Are Truly Forever) is an action-packed thriller with a unique triangle consisting of an assassin, a terrorist and a widow. The storyline deftly combines tension and jocularity in a fast-paced fun tale.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beach House No. 9-Christie Ridgway

Beach House No. 9

Christie Ridgway

Harlequin HQN, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780373777402

Frank the agent hires editor Jane Pearson to help former imbedded Afghanistan War journalist Griffin Lowell complete his memoir of one year with the troops as the reporter is way behind schedule. He ignores her calls so needing the job after severing ties with a best-selling client, Jane travels to Crescent Cove, California to accost Griffin on person. She expects to see an alcoholic brooding recluse, but instead at his Beach House No. 9 cabana she finds an alcoholic “party central” womanizer.

Griffin tells the nuisance “Librarian” to leave as he insists he needs no help especially from a comma momma. She ignores him and moves into Beach House No. 8 and charms his dog Private to betray him and join her side. To drive the "Governess" away, Griffin invites his troubled sister and her brood to move into Beach House No. 8. Instead Jane moves into Beach House No. 9. Although each believes the other is a pest, they also share in common an attraction.

The first Crescent Cove contemporary romance is an enjoyable tale starring two individuals who are enemy combatants falling in love. The support cast especially his extended family and party goers like Ted and the diet cherry cola crowd enhances the well written storyline. However, it is the flashbacks to his year with the troops leading to Griffin’s PTSD ,making him feel shattered and causing his writer’s block that bring poignancy to a warm novel.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night-Heather Graham

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night

Heather Graham

Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 18 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885619

Musician Rhiannon Gryffald relocates to Los Angeles as the new Keeper of Southern California; a tough place to enforce peace amidst the Others and the human species as Hollywood is loaded with performers. Her first major assignment as the Keeper to the stars is serial murders in which the evidence points towards a rogue vampire. Her investigation leads to Elven police detective Brodie Mac who is undercover as an actor on a show working the same case.

Rhiannon and Brodie agree to work the case together. They soon connect the victims to Brodie’s show. Believing they know the predator personally though not the identity of whom he/she is as the culprit remains hidden in plain sight; the pair tries to focus on ending the homicides though their attraction makes concentration on the killer difficult.

The first of a new Keepers series (future tales by Harley Jane Kozak and Alexandra Sokoloff) is an entertaining entry as the Los Angeles paranormal realm seems genuine with Brodie as an Elven cop anchoring the realism. The whodunit is cleverly designed as a combo matchmaker and Hollywood Homicide inquiry as the protagonists know they must solve the case quickly (with timeouts for kisses) without revealing the truth of the Others residing among the humans. Readers will enjoy Heather Graham’s tour of the SOCAL night life.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Home by Dark-Marta Perry

Home by Dark

Marta Perry

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777358

Almost a decade has passed since Rachel Mason eloped to marry Ronnie over the objections of her Amish family and community. She never returned to home in Deer Run until now. Now a widow, Rachel, accompanied by her nine year old daughter Mandi, comes home to face communal ostracizing as no one including her Daad and Maam welcome her or her child except for her fourteen year old brother Benjamin Weaver.

Her late husband’s BFF Colin McDonald knows he owes Rachel for failing to be there for his deceased buddy though he believes she will not welcome him. However, a troubled Benjamin tells his sister and Colin a secret that haunts the teen and makes him a target of the killer. The estranged pair unites to keep Benjamin safe.

The first Watcher in the Dark is a taut romantic suspense starring a brave heroine who though a pariah within her family will do anything to keep her child and brother safe. The key to this strong Amish thriller is the family and romance subplots support the suspense as the danger remains the prime focus. Readers will enjoy Home By Dark as a clever predator implements his plans for Deer Run.

Harriet Klausner

Highlander Claimed-Juliette Miller

Highlander Claimed

Juliette Miller

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777594

Lord Ogilvie sexually assaults Roses claiming her mom escaped him with death but she would not. As she struggles to escape, he rips her clothing but stops abruptly when he sees the small tattoo previously hidden by her garb. Ogilvie questions her where she got it, but she tells him nothing to protect the healer who saved her life when as a child she was dying from measles. Roses stabs her attacker and flees to nearby Clan Mackenzie as the first stop before vanishing into the Highlands as an outcast.

Wilkie Mackenzie finds Roses and knows he wants her as his forever. However, his older brother clan chieftain has arranged a political alliance through Wilkie marrying the daughter of an ally. While Wilkie struggles between his love of Roses and his clan, she fears her unknown heritage will destroy her beloved Warrior. So Roses flees again only to be caught by Ogilvie who knows who she is having seen the tattoo while her warrior pursues his Angel.

The first Clan Mackenzie historical romance is an exciting Highlander thriller as clans battle to claim the mysterious female as theirs; and assassins kill to keep secrets hidden. Fast-paced but driven by the Angel, the Warrior and the odious, sub-genre fans will appreciate Highlander Claimed.

Harriet Klausner

Forever a Lord-Delilah Marvelle

Forever a Lord

Delilah Marvelle

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0373777310

In 1800, the Venetian tells his ten year old prisoner Nathanial Atwood that the lad’s father ignored the kidnapper’s demand. The angry man calmly tells the lad he cannot deal with Atwood’s sister Auggie or their mama as that would be a hanging offense and that he is no murderer. Five years later the Venetian freed Nathaniel who remains in New York.

In 1820, Coleman, a top bare knuckle fighter, answers a notice in the paper for information on a missing Nathanial Atwood. He goes to see the Duke of Wentworth and his son Lord Yardley at the Adelphi where he learns the older man is his brother-in-law and the younger his nephew as they seek to honor their beloved late Auggie by finding her lost brother; a quest they have tried to achieve for years. Coleman says Atwood died, but Yardley says he owes it to their respective moms to come home.

Nineteen year old Lady Imogene Norwood attends her first Season expecting no matches due to her stutter and lack of confidence having been ill. Her assumption changes when she meets brawling angry Lord Atwood whose return to London has one objective to destroy his father. All bets are off when Imogene wants to sponsor him as a bare knuckle fighter so she can help her brother. To persuade Atwood, she offers a marriage of convenience.

The third Rumor historical romance (See Forever and a Day, and Forever a Lady) is a terrific refreshing tale that provides a unique reason for a marriage of convenience and Coleman’s stunning story as a Forever a Lord fighter. Rotating perspective will have readers enjoying this strong nineteenth century thriller as well as the previous entries.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The One That Got Away-Kelly Hunter

The One That Got Away

Kelly Hunter

Harlequin KISS, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373207008

In Sydney, business partners Max Carmichael the architect and Evie Jones the engineer forged a good working relationship when they created MEP (Max and Evangeline Partnership). Max asks Evie to marry him so he can access his fifty million dollar trust fund two years earlier than if he remains single though he admits they do not love each other and will divorce once he no longer needs marriage. He tells her that way they can have the ten million they need for this project. After negotiating stipulations, she agrees.

Max sends a cell phone picture of his fiancée to his older half-brother Logan Black and their mom. Logan feels like his stomach was pounded as this Evie looks like the Lena who he shared the greatest kinkiest week of his life over a decade ago. Evie and Max travel to Melbourne to meet his family. When Max introduces Evie to Logan, both are stunned but go through the motions of a first encounter to fool his family. She knows he was the one but he wanted more than she could give and offered nothing except incredible sex in return. Now Logan wants Evie gone as she is the only person who ever wiggled inside his heart while she remembers the sex was heavenly but they had nothing else.

The first KISS romance is a great Australian second chance at love contemporary starring two fascinating protagonists and a solid support family. Both leads possess strong personalities as they go through phases of the Kübler-Ross model re their original break-up (denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and acceptance) though accepting their love may not be enough for this couple. Kelly Hunter provides a powerful opening act.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady-Tiffany Clare

Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady

Tiffany Clare

St. Martin's, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250008022

In 1846 three rakes (an earl, a marquess and a duke) attend the funeral of the abusive Earl of Fallon. Thus Leoniadas, Tristan and Hayden show up not out of friendship to the deceased, but as a show of support to the SOB’s financially broke widow Lady Jezebel. Jez asks the rogues for a favor as she wants them to prevent a marriage between the abusive next Fallon and the naive Lady Charlotte Lindsay as she does not wish the innocent to end up like she did. Willing to do anything for their friend, each knows the best plan to thwart unholy matrimony is to compromise the daughter of Lord Ponsley.

Four years ago Leo Harrow deserted his beloved Genevieve Camden. Since he dumped her, she swore off marriage and love while accepting the role of poor relation. Her uncle demands Genny act with propriety especially while chaperoning her cousin Charlotte or face the street. Leo and Genny see each other across a ballroom; plans are shattered as the pair only has eyes for each other but she distrusts her beloved who broke her heart.

The first Dangerous Rogues Victorian romance is an entertaining second chance at love historical with a strong lead couple and a solid support cast who add depth to this storyline and appears to set up the future entries. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady while wondering who will pair up in the future tales while hopefully also clarifying the mystery of the enigmatic Dowager Jez.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When You’re Desired-Tamara Lejeune

When You’re Desired

Tamara Lejeune

Zebra, Dec 4 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420123913

In 1817, widower Lord Dorian and his brother Lord Simon a soldier discuss a play starring notorious actress Cecilia St. Lyrs. Simon hates her while Dorian likes her. Their mom invited wealthy Sir Lucas Tinsley and his daughter Lucasta to join them. After the show, Lucasta, Dorian and his mom visit Cecilia while Simon talks to Prinny about business with Lucas. Lucas tells Simon he will ignore Prinny’s debt to him if he retrieves a necklace he gave to Cecilia because she failed to sleep with him. She plans to sell the necklace to raise money for the Foundlings Home.

Cecilia informs Simon she chose the late Armand over him because the Frenchman offered marriage. Irate Simon demands she choose sex with Lucas or return the necklace. She chooses sex. Cecilia tells Dorian she will never be his mistress as she used to sit on his knees when she was a child. Dorian is shocked as she is Sarah Hartley who lived with their family years ago. His mom said she died while he was away; he even visited her grave. Instead she was sent to Ireland as a teen to wed an odious man. As Dorian vows to protect her, he cuts off his mom shocking his sibling who still loves his brother’s “mistress”.

This entertaining late Regency romance stars an interesting heroine, an angry lead male and a strong fully developed support cast. The theatre provides a nice backdrop. Although the Dowager Duchess’ actions seem inane several years ago but much more so in the present as if she did not expect her sons to talk, fans will enjoy this engaging second chance at love historical.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Hometown Boy-Janice Kay Johnson

A Hometown Boy

Janice Kay Johnson

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718252

Two weeks ago in Tucannon, Washington, Joyce Own told her troubled oldest son thirty-four year old Robbie he would have to leave if he failed to take his psychiatric medicine as she feared for her life. He left with rifles and began a deadly rage starting with the nasty next door neighbor Tindall and ending with his suicide. The mass killings became a media sensation.

Robbie’s brother David comes home to help his mom cope with what her boy did and with the town’s ostracizing her, which he cannot blame them as he told his parents Robbie was dangerous and needed to be committed; they refused. In town, David and his friend from his teen days Acadia Henderson meet. They were sweet on each other, but she moved before either acted on their feelings. The pair remains attracted, but David knows his mom’s need comes before his desire; complicating any relationship is Acadia grieves the death of her dad; one of Robbie’s victims.

This is a tense small-town thriller that looks at the aftermath of a massacre done by one of them. The key to the character-driven poignant tale is the romance between David and Acadia plays second fiddle to a town and a family struggling with the bloody tragedy.

Harriet Klausner

The Truth About Comfort Cove-Tara Taylor Quinn

The Truth About Comfort Cove

Tara Taylor Quinn

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718290

In Comfort Cove, Massachusetts, twenty-eight years ago, a man raped Sandy Hayes and kidnapped her baby daughter Allie. Now the police have a DNA match, but because the science was new that may not be enough to convict him. Sandy’s daughter police officer Lucy Hayes encourages her frightened alcoholic mom to look at a line up where the older woman claims number four raped her.

Comfort Cove Police Detective Ramsey Miller never comes home to Vienna, Kentucky as his negligence years ago led to the death of his sister though his father pleads with him to see his ailing mom. Ramsey investigates a missing child cold case in which the DNA of the victim snatched almost three decades ago was found in the home of a baby trafficker. When Ramsey and Sandy team up on the inquiry neither expected the attraction between them.

This is a great taut police procedural romance with a strong cast and wonderful twists including a stunning final spin. Fast-paced but character driven, readers will relish this powerful romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

The Other Side Of Us-Sarah Mayberry

The Other Side Of Us

Sarah Mayberry

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jan 2 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718245

After learning that his wife Edie was cheating on him with her ex for five years, musician and sound technician Oliver Barrett obtains a divorce and moves into the Melbourne suburban beach house of his late aunt. His next door neighbor is TV producer Mackenzie Williams, who is recovering from a terrible car accident last year.

Neither is friendly as healing is their top priority. However, their dogs become BFFs while teaming up to tear down the fences, physically and metaphysically. Soon the two obstinate humans follow the lead of their canines as Oliver and Mackenzie fall in love.

The Other Side Of Us is an entertaining contemporary Australian romance starring two sets of couples with the precocious pooch pair leading the way. The keys to this engaging love heals all storyline are the realistic portrayal of the respective anguish and hurt of the lead humans and their “recovery.” Fans will enjoy this warm Down Under tale.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Miss Whittier Makes a List-Carla Kelly

Miss Whittier Makes a List

Carla Kelly

Camel Press, Jan 1 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9781603818971

Teenage Quaker Hannah Whittier leaves her Nantucket home to sail from Boston to her brother’s home in Charleston on the Molly Claridge. The crew of His Majesty’s Frigate Dissuade boards the vessel. The British Naval Captain Sir Daniel Spark demands that Captain Winslow hand over deserters as he pronounces “once and Englishman always an Englishman.” Hannah intercedes as the British impress American sailors, but Daniel kisses the stunned spitfire.

Not long after the Dissuade leaves, a French vessel sinks the Molly Claridge. The Dissuade rescue the lone survivor Hannah. Spark informs her she will be his guest for at least six weeks as they sail to the Caribbean. There she will find a ship heading to America. As Daniel and Molly sail together they fall in love, but she is a Massachusetts Quaker and he is a British aristocrat who expects the American experiment into democracy to fail.

This is a reprint of an entertaining early nineteenth century romance mostly on the dangerous high seas as the French and British are at war. Like Sparks, readers will appreciate the spirit of feisty Hannah once she gets her sea legs; however acceptance of Sparks is more difficult as he goes from ruthless and arrogant when he boards the ill-fated Molly Claridge to caring and nurturing on the Dissuade. Still fans will enjoy this mostly at sea historical with the reality of combat in the background while wondering if these star-crossed lovers can become a permanent couple as at least one of them will have to give up a way of life that is bone marrow deep.

Harriet Klausner