Friday, May 31, 2013

The Look Of Love-Bella Andre

The Look Of Love

Bella Andre

Mira, May 28 2013, $5.99

ISBN: 9780778315568

Globetrotting photographer Chase Sullivan feels better now that he escaped from his beloved widow mother’s seventieth birthday party. Seven siblings proves to overwhelming even if his brother’s home has a great view of Sam Francisco Bay and he loves his family. He heads to Napa Valley where he will take pictures at his brother Marcus’ winery in the morning.

As a sudden nasty storm hits, battered Chloe Peterson’s loses control of her car on an isolated road and lands in a ditch. Chase stops to help her and persuades the cared woman to stay at his sibling’s guest house where others are. They are attracted to each other, but her bruised face shows why she distrusts men as her abusive ex-husband stalks her.

This is an expanded version of the first enjoyable Sullivan sibling romance (released in 2011). Although the premise of a raging psychopath hunting down his victimized former wife is an overused theme, readers will relish “The look of love; it's saying so much more than words could ever say” (Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Chris S. Botti); as it heals battered souls.

Harriet Klausner

The Night Is Watching-Heather Graham

The Night Is Watching

Heather Graham

Mira, Jun 1 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778315063

Lily, Arizona Sheriff Sloan Trent knows he is out of his league when a nineteenth century human skull is found amongst other props in the Old West tourist attraction the Gilded Lily Theater. He contacts his friend from his Houston police days, Texas FBI Krewe leader Agent Logan Raintree for help. Logan sends FBI forensic artist Jane Everett to Lily to work with Sloan.

As they team up though he has doubts about her paranormal skills, Jane encounters the ghost of Sloan’s ancestor who worked at the Gilded Lily. Meanwhile more deaths follow as the cop and the fed realize that am Old West gold robbery is at the center of the present day homicides. With ghosts assisting the couple on the case and matchmaking them, Sloan and Jane fall in love.

Though similar in tone to previous Krewe of Hunters paranormal romantic mysteries (see The Unseen), The Night Is Watching is an entertaining thriller due to the Old West as remembered by the ghosts haunting the town vs. modern day people producing their vision of what occurred. Readers will appreciate the deadly hunt for lost gold as the ghosts help the Krewe and the sheriff who seek a killer while finding love.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sea Glass Island-Sherryl Woods

Sea Glass Island

Sherryl Woods

Mira, May 28 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314462

Actress Samantha Castle feels happy for her sisters (Gabriella in Wind Chime Point and Emily in Sand Castle Bay) who found love when they returned home to Sand Castle Bay, North Carolina to help their grandma Cora Jane with her hurricane battered Castle's by the Sea Restaurant. However, having returned to New York as the only one without a fiancé, Samantha misses her family.

Samantha returns to Sand Castle Bay to attend Emily’s wedding. Also home is her high school secret crush Ethan Cole who was three years older than her and the heartthrob of teens as the star quarterback and a hunk. His fiancée dumped him when he came home from Afghanistan minus a leg. As the matchmakers led by her Cora Jane try to bring them together, Ethan has doubts about intimate relationships, so they become friends falling in love.

The third Castle Ocean Breeze romance is an engaging contemporary that also allows the audience to see what has happened to the rest of the Castle family. Ethan seems real with his trepidations over commitment having been burned when he needed support. However, resolutions of his phobia and other complex issues seem rushed and too easily resolved. Still fans will enjoy this Castle family drama.

Harriet Klausner

A Brother’s Honor-Brenda Jackson

A Brother’s Honor

Brenda Jackson

Mira, May 28 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314332

Fifteen years ago, teenagers Jace and Caden, and tweener Dalton sat in a courtroom in which a jury convicted their father Sheppard of first degree murder of their mother Sylvia. Sheppard’s only wish is that his three sons believe he is innocent; as he knows his father Richard will take care of his grandsons. As soon as they could each child left Virginia.

In the present, a dying Richard asks his three grandchildren to prove their dad did not kill their mom. The trio vows to save the failing family business Granger Aeronautics and free their father as each knows in their heart he never killed his wife. The oldest Jace hires a crisis management consultant to save the firm. They quickly realize someone from within is sabotaging the firm. As they seek the traitor, Jace and Shana struggle to ignore their attraction while he learns some things about his parents and his ex-wife Eve that shake his core beliefs.

The first Granger Brothers’ romantic suspense is a taut thriller that grips the audience from the moment the jury foreman gives the verdict and never slows down until a tense final confrontation. With two siblings to go, readers will enjoy Jace’s entry and look forward to more about the Ganger family.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Right Mr. Wrong-Natalie Anderson

The Right Mr. Wrong

Natalie Anderson

Harlequin Kiss, May 21 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207169

Her parents and his parents want Victoria and Oliver to marry. Victoria knows he is a steady mate who she planned to accept his proposal until she met his magnetic BFF Liam. He goes on his knees and proposes. Victoria must decide between a lifetime of steady ennui that pleases her family or a lifetime explosive memory that will flame out rather quickly and place her in the family exile category alongside her no-name sister. The Right Mr. Wrong contains two clever related novellas that pivot from Victoria’s answer to Oliver’s proposal. Both are fun comparative tales as Natalie Anderson makes a strong case that choices matter as the heroine goes down two distinct paths over the next few years.

“The Wedding Dress Diaries” by Aimee Carson is a bonus entry as Amber decides on following her heart for the second time with Parker though she believes he does not feel the same way as her. This is a fun short story included in all the June Kisses.

Harriet Klausner

Too Close For Comfort-Heidi Rice

Too Close For Comfort

Heidi Rice

Harlequin Kiss, May 21 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207176

In a middle of a motel stakeout, private investigator Zane Montoya observes a woman in her early twenties enter the room he has under surveillance. Since his target is a male con artist, he needs her out of there immediately so Zane abducts Iona MacCabe before she destroys his inquiry. Iona explains she entered her ex-husband’s room to retrieve her passport. Over her objection, Zane places her under his protection. He also knows he fiercely attracted to the fiery redhead who does not believe the hunt wants her. As they fall in love, his childhood demons and her marital failure threaten to end their relationship. With a nod to the movie Stakeout, Too Close For Comfort is an engaging romantic suspense though several key scenes seem too clever and forced to bring the protagonists together.

“The Wedding Dress Diaries” by Aimee Carson is a bonus entry as Amber decides on following her heart for the second time with Parker though she believes he does not feel the same way as her. This is a fun short story included in all the June Kisses.

Harriet Klausner

The Cowboy’s Return-Susan Crosby

The Cowboy’s Return

Susan Crosby

Harlequin Special Edition, May 21 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373657483

Mitch Ryder has been away from his family ranch in Red Valley, California for three mostly out of country years. His father demanded he come home so after ignoring three previous orders, Mitch returns to Northern California, but he drives past the Ryder Ranch delaying seeing his family a little longer.

When his truck Lulu dies near Barney Barnard’s spread, he walks to the house only to have a woman accost him for being late. Instead of going home, he takes a job on a neighbor’s farm; but conceals from his employer single mom Annie Barnard who his family is. His work is top rate and her attraction powerful, but his patient tender treatment of her ten year old son Austin makes him perfect. That is until she learns he is the prodigal son of the family trying to buy her farm.

The first Red Valley ranch romance is a terrific contemporary due to the triangle dynamics between the fully developed characters (including Austin). The Cowboy’s Return is a wonderful family drama as a lie of omission affirms what Walter Scott said: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”; especially when the heart becomes involved.

Harriet Klausner

If The Shoe Fits: A Contemporary Fairy Tale-Sandra D. Bricker

If The Shoe Fits: A Contemporary Fairy Tale

Sandra D. Bricker

River North, May 15 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802406286

In the enchanted village of Cincinnati, BFFs since childhood Julianne and Will are legal partners. Whereas she is pleased with their personal buddies’ relationship, he has loved her seemingly forever. With every man she dates, his heart breaks but he remains silent about how he feels.

At a near multiple car crash where she almost played caboose, Jules notices a hunk who she believes is her Prince Charming. He leaves before she can exchange contact information, but she picks up his toolbox and a boot that fell off his vehicle. Jules begins her quest for her charming “Prince” Paul while her desperate partner decides that “where there’s a will there’s a way to his beloved’s heart at the Bar Association gala.

This is an engaging contemporary version of Cinderella with the twist that sometimes you look so hard for the image you fail to see the gallant knight riding a ten speed bike. Although Jules comes across as too pathetic, readers will enjoy this modern day fractured fairy tale romance that pays homage with chivalrous puns to Jay Ward.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Cross My Heart-Vicki Lewis Thompson

I Cross My Heart

Vicki Lewis Thompson

Harlequin Blaze, May 21 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373797554

Following his divorce from Lindsay, Nash Bledsoe looks forward to never hear a quote from self-help author of Happiness Is A Choice Bethany Grace, who his ex-wife kept citing. He leaves California and obtains work at the Last Chance Ranch in Wyoming.

However, fate has a way of nuking the best laid plans of mice and Nash when ranch foreman Emmett Sterling sends him to check out smoke at the vacant neighboring Triple G whose owner Hank Grace drank himself to death. Nash finds the late Hank’s grieving daughter Bethany angrily burning her dad’s lounger. He agrees to help her fix up the poorly kept house and ranch so she could sell them before returning to the city while she seduces him. By the time he learns that Bethany Grace is Lindsay’s Bethany Grace, he has fallen in love.

The latest Sons of Chance ranch romance is an enjoyable tale due to the strong lead characters and the return of the heroes from previous entries (see Feels Like Home and lead Me Home). Although the storyline follows a path straighter than the Bonneville Salt Flats, fans will enjoy the heated irony of Nash falling in love with the woman he never wanted quoted again.

Harriet Klausner

No Stings…-Janelle Denison

No Stings…

Janelle Denison

Harlequin Blaze, May 21 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373797585

For two years, Perry & Associates advertising executives Chloe Reiss and Aiden Landry kept their distance from each other except for harmless flirting as each hides their drooling attraction for the other. Besides the firm’s no- sleeping with your work colleagues policy, Chloe and Aiden have had failed relationships that leave each commitment phobic.

Richard Perry sends Chloe and Aiden to St. Raphael singles resort as competitors with separate marketing teams trying to win the account of the singles resort for their company. At St. Raphael, Chloe and Aiden break the no dating rule as they begin a tryst and discuss their relationship failures while falling in love.

Janelle Denison provides her audience with a heated conference room romance starring two driven competitors giving in to their respective libido and hearts in a for lovers’ exotic location. Readers will enjoy execs ignoring their No Strings agreement and office policy as two hearts beat as one.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ray of Light-Shelley Shepard Gray

Ray of Light

Shelley Shepard Gray

Avon Inspire, May 14 2013, $12.99

ISBN: 9780062204424

Needing to escape his recent family drama (see Daybreak), Roman Keim leaves his New Order Amish community in Berlin, Ohio to spend vacation time at his Uncle Aden’s condo in Siesta Key, Florida. He feels like a stalker as he cannot take his eyes away from his neighbor widow Amanda Yoder. She and her four year old child daughter Regina live in the nearby town of Pinecraft where she works at her in-laws’ bakery.

They are attracted to each other, but he feels embarrassed when she asks questions about his troubled family back home. As the time together draws to a close, Amanda knows she loves Roman; and he realizes he loves mother and daughter. Now they must decide between one state, a distance courting or ending it now.

The second Days of Redemption is an engaging Amish romance in which the overarching family theme also moves forward with a Ray of Light that the divided Keim clan might be coming together. Although it behooves the audience to read Daybreak first to learn how the schism occurred (as well as a wonderful romance); Shelley Shepard Gray authors another awesome tale.

Harriet Klausner

Miss Chartley’s Guided Tour-Carla Kelly

Miss Chartley’s Guided Tour

Carla Kelly

Camel Press, May 15 2013, $13.95

ISBN: 9781603819138

After being jilted at the altar by her fiancé Lord Matthew Bering eight years ago, then lady but now Miss Omega Chartley went into self-exile becoming a schoolmistress to sea captains’ daughters in Plymouth. She left her town only once to attend her sibling Alpha’s wedding. Now she is moving to a new teaching position in Durham teaching the daughters of the mill owners.

However, Omega intervenes when Bow Street runner Timothy Platter chases after runaway orphan Jamie Clevenden as the lad flees an abusive uncle for another uncle. War veteran Hugh Owen and his adopted daughter Angela abet the escape as Omega tours the countryside with the lad dodging the angry runner until they reach the home of his other uncle, Viscount Matthew Bering.

Readers will enjoy the reprint of a fun second chance at love Regency romance due to the misadventures of by the itinerary Miss Chartley. Although the mystery of why Matthew failed to show up at his wedding (nor helped his financially strapped beloved) is over the top, fans will enjoy Miss Chartley's (not so) Guided Tour.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cavanaugh On Duty-Marie Ferrarella

Cavanaugh On Duty

Marie Ferrarella

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, May 7 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373278213

Chief of Detectives Brian Cavanaugh informs Detective Esteban Fernandez that his three years stint undercover as Juan Dominguez ended when Jorge Lopez learned that his dealer was a cop. With a bounty on his head, Brian reassigns Esteban to Homicide in Aurora to replace a retiring veteran. His partner is Brian’s newly discovered niece Detective Kari Cavelli-Cavanaugh.

Esteban broods over his failure to take down the cartel who killed his mother and stepbrother and sent his stepfather to prison; and now is assigned to what he deems is a “demotion” especially partnering with Kari which seems like nepotism. Kari prefers working alone, but being flexible she plans to make their teaming a success. She also wonders if Esteban is Steve from high school. As they work cases together, they begin to fall in love, but he knows firsthand that love hurts.

The latest Cavanaugh Justice romantic police procedural (see Cavanaugh Surrender) is an enjoyable suspense; as fans will feel how depressed Esteban is from the onset. Fast-paced and filled with angst, Cavanaugh On Duty is an engaging entry.

Harriet Klausner

Second Chance With the Rebel & Her Royal Wedding Wish-Cara Colter

Second Chance With the Rebel & Her Royal Wedding Wish

Cara Colter

Harlequin Romance, May 7 2013, $5.99

ISBN: 9780373742424

“Second Chance with the Rebel.” Years ago, Lucy Lindstrom and Macintyre Hudson were an entry, but their different backgrounds and demeanors ended their relationship; especially when he could not commit. Lucy serves as the chief fundraiser for the Mother’s Day gala; where Harriet Freda will be honored. She asks Mac to be there for his foster mom. Though he failed her, he would do anything for his beloved foster mom. As they work together to make this the best gala ever, each realizes they remain in love with the other, but though they know so much more about their partner’s motives, neither wants to take a second chance on love.

“Her Royal Wedding Wish.” The B'Ranasha royalty hires personal protection expert Jake Ronan to provide additional security for the guests at the wedding of Princess Shoshauna. However, an attempt on her life leads to Jake keeping her safe at a secret location for a week. As the Australian soldier and the B'Ranasha princess fall in love, duty supersedes the heart.

Second Chance with the Rebel starts slow and muddled, but once the lead characters begin working the event, the storyline accelerates into a wonderful contemporary romance. With a nod to Roman Holiday, Her Royal Wedding Wish is a reprint of an engaging tale in which love may not be enough.

Harriet Klausner

Keeper of the Shadows-Alexandra Sokoloff

Keeper of the Shadows

Alexandra Sokoloff

Harlequin Nocturne, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373885695

Courier crime reporter Barrie Gryffald, like her two cousins Rhiannon Gryffald (see Keeper of the Night by Heather Graham) and Sailor Ann Gryffald (see Keeper of the Moon by Harley Jane Kozak), is a Keeper of the Los Angeles’ shapeshifters. When World International Pictures head Saul Mayo dies from an overdose, she thinks good riddance to this former human slug.

However, she changes her tune when she connects his demise to the filming of Otherworld; as fifteen years ago the shooting of that movie led to the murder of an actor that never was solved. More deaths follow while newbie reporter Mick Townsend seems everywhere she goes. He suggests they team up but hides from his partner that he is a shifter who had a part in the original filming of Otherworld and one more personal secret.

The third Keepers: LA romantic urban fantasy is an engaging investigative thriller starring two fascinating protagonists. Their hunt for a diabolical killer makes for a fun paranormal whodunit with kissing interludes.

Harriet Klausner

Taming The Demon-Doranna Durgin

Taming The Demon

Doranna Durgin

Harlequin Nocturne, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373885701

At night her boss Sawyer Compton sends his personal assistant Natalie Chambers to an address in the southwest quarter of Albuquerque that frightens her. While she mumbles to herself, several bad asses accost her. Devin James and his Demon Blade arrive to rescue Natalie.

Compton hires James to protect Chambers. However, he conceals his agenda from his two employees. He hired the thugs who assaulted her to bring Devin into his sphere. His goal is to kill the Demon Blade owner in order to gain control of the power; as Compton denies that the Demon Blade controls Devin equally if not more so in a sort of codependency. However Natalie has modified the equation by providing her rescuer with a needed anchor fueled by love.

This Demon Blade romantic urban fantasy is an exciting thriller that grips the reader from the moment Natalie encounters the first thug and never loosens that hold until the final confrontation. Action-packed, readers will relish this entertaining tense tale story, as love may not be enough to prevent Devin from falling to the same fate as his sibling.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Wyoming Cowboy-Rebecca Winters

The Wyoming Cowboy

Rebecca Winters

Harlequin American, May 7 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373754557

At Walter Reed, three wounded warrior marines (Lundgren, Buck and Ross) suffering from survivor guilt and respiratory problems caused by their Afghan deployment agree to convert Carson Lundgren’s spread into a dude ranch for the families of fallen servicemen and women. When the trio completes the renovation step, they begin to invite surviving family members of deceased comrades in arms.

In Sandusky, Ohio, Widow Tracy Baretta and her elementary school aged son Johnny accept an invitation to visit the renovated Wyoming ranch for a week where the mom hopes her son will heal somewhat over the loss of his father. Tracy and Carson are attracted to one another upon their first meeting while over the next few days Johnny worships the kind and patient ranch owner. As they fall in love near the Grand Tetons, both adults consider the future with the child’s needs most important.

Though the romance is a somewhat standard contemporary, the insight into the mental health of returning soldiers and surviving family members brings freshness to the warn storyline. The lead couple and the child seem real with each struggling to deal with varying degrees of PTSD as Rebecca Winters opens her Daddy Dude Ranch series with a tender family drama.

Harriet Klausner

Jane’s Gift-Abby Gaines

Jane’s Gift

Abby Gaines

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718504

Driving to Pinyon Ridge, Colorado, Jane Slater is late to the funeral of her best and only friend Melissa who had beaten cancer in her twenties only to die at thirty-one when her date crashed in a DUI accident. Melissa wanted Jane to be in her young daughter Daisy’s life over the objection of the child’s father Pinyon Ridge Mayor Kyle Everson who has full custody.

Kyle has always felt that Jane and her kin were bad influences. However, he admires her gumption as she refuses to quit on her late BFF’s request while both place the interests of Daisy over their own desires. As the adults fall in love, each remains in denial while Daisy disagrees with both adults as she has different dreams for the future.

Although the early denying feels overdone, readers will enjoy this romance as Melissa’s gift to Jane is love. Character-driven, fans will relish visiting Colorado as Abby Gaines provides a warm family drama.

Harriet Klausner

April Showers-Holly Jacobs

April Showers

Holly Jacobs

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718528

Former marine Sebastian Bennington takes his injured body and mind home to Valley Ridge, New York to attend his friend Colton’s wedding (see You Are Invited…). He also plans to spend time with his grandfather Hank who still runs the diner in town.

However, living in the apartment above the diner is nurse Lily Paul, who loves Hank like a grandfather though she never had anyone like him when she was a child. When Lily and Sebastian meet, she yells at him for ignoring his grandfather who she knows adores his grandson. However, Sebastian is filled with rage and nothing like the happy child his grandfather describes. Lily tries to help him with his mental and physical traumas while he soon loosens up enough to tell her what happened. As they fall in love with Hank’s blessing, each has major doubts.

The second VALLEY RIDGE WEDDING contemporary romance is a warm drama starring two wonderful hurting (in different ways) protagonists, a kind grandfather and a caring town overlooking Lake Erie (a Holly Jacobs’ delightful trademark). Readers will relish the relationship between the wounded warrior and the wounded nurse series while looking forward to the story of the third amigo.

Harriet Klausner

A Prior Engagement-Karina Bliss

A Prior Engagement

Karina Bliss

Harlequin SuperRomance, May 7 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718498

New Zealand attorney Juliet Browne is elated to learn that her deceased "fiancé" New Zealand SAS officer Lee Davis was coming home after being reported dead in Afghanistan as the Americans rescued him. However, Jules also is concerned over misleading everyone into believing she and Lee were engaged including wearing his ring. In truth she said no to his proposal before he deployed and became a POW.

At the airport, Jules thinks Lee has PTSD-driven amnesia and accepts his latest proposal, but ponders how to tell him the truth. However, she soon concludes he does not suffer from memory loss; but instead is avenging her rejection of him. As each knows they remain in love, Jules and Lee wonder how to tell the other they want the engagement to be real.

The latest New Zealand combat veteran romance (see Bring Him Home) is an engaging second chance at love tale. Lee comes back from the dead (see Here Comes The Groom for his reported demise) to see his family, renew friendships and get even with the woman who hurt him more than the enemy ever did. He and readers learn what he missed while the key to this welcome home party is Lee’s PTSD feels genuine and accentuates his ire at Jules.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Return of the Sheikh-Kristi Gold

The Return of the Sheikh

Kristi Gold

Harlequin Desire, May 7 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373657407

For several years the Crown Prince of Bajul, Zain Mehdi enjoyed the outside world of the West as the “Playboy Prince” but destroyed his reputation within his country by doing so. Now, he returns home to rule his kingdom. His brother Prince Rafiq understands the need to clean his sibling’s tarnished image of a womanizer so he hires media consultant Madison Foster to improve how Zain’s subjects see him.

Although he objected to an image consultant, Zain and Madison are attracted to each other. However, both accept the reality that they cannot be more than a short fling as he must marry a royal instead of the woman he loves who secretly carries his child.

This is an enjoyable contemporary romance as two individuals in love have no hope for anything permanent between them. Although the storyline goes as expected, fans will enjoy the Return of the Sheikh to rule his kingdom at the cost of his heart.

Harriet Klausner

Midnight Temptations with a Forbidden Lord-Tiffany Clare

Midnight Temptations with a Forbidden Lord

Tiffany Clare

St. Martin's, Apr 30 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250008039

In 1846 London, Marquess Tristan Bradley is a charming rake who loves to seduce women. His rep is known throughout the Ton. Thus when debutante Lady Charlotte Lindsey asks him to dance he is taken aback as no innocent would want to be seen with him especially in the beginning of her first season.

Based on three years of intense studying of the Mayfair Chronicles for the ideal Roué, Charlotte thinks Tristan is perfect as she needs the philanderer to ruin her rep so as to avoid an undesirable marriage to a nasty fiancé. Tristan thinks Charlotte is perfect as an expendable tool to destroy her fiancé, his enemy Mr. Warren. As they fall in love, he suggests they wed, but she has doubts.

The latest Dangerous Rogues early Victorian romance (see Wicked Nights with a Proper Lady) is an historical though the protagonists and key support characters never seem quite right with how they behave especially to adversity. Still readers who enjoy a gender war in which the beloved enemies have a common foe (my enemy’s enemy is my lover) will want to read bodacious Charlotte’s Midnight Temptations with a Forbidden Lord.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Beastly Scandal-Shereen Vedam

A Beastly Scandal

Shereen Vedam

ImaJinn, April 15 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9781610261241

In 1812 England, Lady Annabelle Marchant enjoyed the balls until she used her psychic powers to save a life, but failed. The man died and she became a pariah.

Lady Terrance pleads with Annabelle to help the ghost of her murdered late husband. Her son Lord Rufus demands Annabelle leave his family manor in Cheshire and preferably the village too as he has no time for frivolous females trying to trap him in marriage. The monarch warned Rufus he will explain his activity to the House of Lords as he is the only suspect in his father’s homicide. As Rufus investigates, additional killings occur and an angry ghost is running amuck. Reluctantly, Annabelle and Rufus team up to identify the real killer and enable the late Lord Terrance to obtain some peace before the new lord becomes a victim.

A Beastly Scandal is an entertaining paranormal Victorian amateur sleuth romance. The storyline is fast-paced while also enabling the audience to believe in the heroine’s psychic skills and ghosts exist. Although the protagonists’ attraction feels intrusive especially early in the otherwise engaging storyline, sub-genre fans will enjoy the exploits of the ghost whisperer and the murder suspect uniting in love to end a killer’s reign of terror.

Harriet Klausner

Heart Of Iron-Bec McMaster

Heart Of Iron

Bec McMaster

Sourcebooks, May 7 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402270307

In 1879 London, verwolfen Will “Beast of Whitechapel” Carver diligently continues to risk his life, especially with his being wanted, to protect the Blade ruler of the rookeries. However, danger from the Blade’s enemies is insignificant compared with Will’s unwanted feelings for Lena Todd that have grown almost out of control over the last three years. Perhaps Lena’s turning to the feral Echelon’s blue-blood Leo Barrons after Will rejected her offer of love hurts the verwolfen most of all.

Will learns his beloved Lena works undercover delivering coded messages for the Humanists in Whitechapel. He fears she is in danger as war seems imminent between the ruling Echelon and the rebellious Humanists. As Will vows to keep Lena safe, he remains unaware of the insidious threats demanding she betray him and others. Meanwhile the Prince Consort and four members of the council of Dukes seek an his assistance to forge an alliance with the verwolfen Scandinavian clans,

The second paranormal steampunk Victorian romance (see Kiss of Steel) is a fabulous thriller that cleverly uses political intrigue to keep the hero and readers wondering who to trust. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate this masterful historical urban fantasy suspense as falling in love requires a heart of Iron if the couple is to survive the dangerous world of Bec McMaster.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cowboy Take Me Away-Jane Graves

Cowboy Take Me Away

Jane Graves

Forever, Apr 30 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781455515196

Over a decade ago, Luke Dawson left Rainbow Valley, Texas with no looking back or he insists any regrets; not even for the girl he loved. He comes home for the first time in all those years to attend his father’s funeral although he does not mourn his dad’s death.

Shannon North runs the Rainbow Valley Animal Shelter, but fears not for long as donations have tanked with the economic collapse. With an injured knee temporarily sidelining him from competing for the bull riding championship, Luke helps at Rainbow Valley Animal Shelter where he works for the woman he left behind. Shannon and Luke remain attracted to each other, but her mother makes it clear he is unwanted while he agrees with her; as he fears sharing the same DNA as his abusive father.

The first Rainbow Valley romance is an engaging tale that focuses on love’s healing power. The lead couple is a nice pairing especially their work with animals bringing them together although his paternal issue is not a new cause of a split. Readers will enjoy visiting Rainbow valley for this wonderful second chance at love.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

No Strings Attached-Kate Angell

No Strings Attached

Kate Angell

Kensington, Apr 30 2013, $9.95

ISBN: 9780758269201

In the town of Barefoot William, Florida, the century old Cates and Saunders feud is legendary. Though there are throwback Neanderthals, the hostilities appear ending since Shaye Cates and Trace Saunders married and a child due any day (see No Tan Lines).

International beach volleyball player Dune Cates was a key player in the economic recovery of his hometown, but also paid the price of the Good Samaritan with tendonitis in his wrist. He avoids Trace’s sister Sophie as he is a no strings player and she is an attraction. Sophie worships the sand Dune walks on since he heroically rescued her from bullies as a child. However, lacking self-esteem, Sophie knows she cannot compete with the international beauties that flock to Dune, but takes a chance on life for the first time and soon afterward on love.

The latest Barefoot William feuding families’ romance is an amusing frolic as a reticent local and a beach volleyball superstar hesitantly admit to themselves (but not ready to tell the other) they are in love. Readers will enjoy this amusing romp.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 6, 2013

Waking Up To You-Leslie Kelly

Waking Up To You

Leslie Kelly

Harlequin Blaze, May 1 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373797516

“Waking Up To You.” Costume designer Candace Reid agrees to a five-year marriage to her friend Tommy Shane the actor so he can remain in the closet as coming out or being exposed as gay would end his film career. Before they announce their engagement, she heads to wine country when her Grandpa breaks his hip. Candace meets whistleblowing former prosecutor Oliver McKean the winery groundskeeper. As they fall in love, her promise to Tommy lingers in the way.

“Overexposed.” In Chicago, ex-marine Nick Santori knew Isabella Natale when she was little "Izzy" growing up in Little Italy. When he sees her in her family's bakery, Nick thinks she is beautiful and wants her. When she sees Nick in the bakery, her feelings of wanting him as a teen remains as strong as an adult. Nick works as a bodyguard at a night club that some might say is a strip joint. Though confused and wondering how shallow he feels as he desires Izzy, Nick also has the hots for exotic dancer Crimson Rose, whose velvet mask is almost as enticing as her exotic G-string. Crimson Rose knows the new bodyguard as she has desired him since they grew up in Little Italy together. Although as Izzy she does not have the guts to seduce Nick, as her alter-ego Rose she does.

Both romances are entertaining torrid “triangle” contemporaries starring likable protagonists though the premise of each feels over the top. Note that Overexposed is a reprint of a 2007 release.

Harriet Klausner

Northern Rebel-Jennifer LaBrecque

Northern Rebel

Jennifer LaBrecque

Harlequin Blaze, May 1 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373797523

“Northern Rebel.” Nurse Delphi Reynolds is professionally blackballed in Atlanta in disbelief after her employer married Dr. DeWitt Zellers makes a move on her that his wife blamed on her. Her friend Dr. Skye Shanahan persuades her to move to Good Riddance, Alaska to work for her. U.S. Marine Lars Reinhardt comes to town to attend his twin brother Liam’s wedding (see Northern Renegade). Though attracted to Lars, Delphi wants no relationships especially one night trysts as she fears no place to go if her rep is destroyed again.

“Daring in the Dark.” Tawny Edwards and Elliott are engaged, but she has the hots for his BFF Simon Thackeray. Elliot has fallen in love with someone else and plans to end his relationship with Tawny by telling her the truth. He asks Simon to be there when he tells her. However, a blackout strands Elliot in another building so asks Simon to end his engagement to Tawny by telling her he is gay and in love with someone else. Simon decides to tell Tawny the whole truth to include that he loves her.

Though the plots are thin, the Northern Heat Reinhardt sequel is an enjoyable baked Alaskan romance; while Daring in the Dark is a reprint of a 2005 over the top blazer.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Special Forces Father-Mallory Kane

Special Forces Father

Mallory Kane

Harlequin Intrigue, Apr 23 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373696871

In New Orleans, Army Special Forces Officer Travis Delancey spent four months in a hell hole as a prisoner of war. Dreaming of his college sweetheart Kate Chalmet kept Travis barely alive. When he escaped he spent a month at Walter Reed before driving from Bethesda shaking all the way to his hometown New Orleans to see his beloved even before his family though he expects a tundra welcoming having deserted Kate twice before.

Psychiatrist Dr. Kate Chalmet looks into whether Senator Myron Stamps was sane when he committed assault by a deadly weapon. However, someone hires professional Bentley Woods to influence the shrink’s decision by his kidnapping her four year old child Max. Travis arrives to see Kate for the first time in five years; he angrily learns he has a child and that son was abducted. He, his Delancey brothers and their cousin hunt the kidnapper and those who hired him to rescue Max.

The latest Delancey Dynasty romantic suspense (see Star Witness and Death of a Beauty Queen) is a super tale due to a strong cast especially the protagonists and their offspring. Although the premise of concealing the siring of a child from the biological father is an overused device, the portrayal of Travis, who suffers from physical and mental issues, makes for a strong thriller as he must overcome his problems to save his child he has not met.

Harriet Klausner

Explosive Attraction-Lena Diaz

Explosive Attraction

Lena Diaz

Harlequin Intrigue, Apr 23 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373696895

St. Augustine police detective and bomb technician Rafe Morgan obsesses over keeping the city streets safe; especially since his wife Shelby died during a home invasion. Shelby’s brother Jake, also a bomb technician cop, blames his former brother-in-law for failing to protect his late sister.

Rafe and psychologist Dr. Darby Steele often argue in court as she obsesses over helping troubled people obtain a second chance like she received. However, he arrives when she calls the police to report a threat. A serial bomber has obsessed on Darby. Rafe, with help from his DEA agent brother Nick, vows to keep her safe; as fighting between them turns to love.

Explosive Attraction is a fabulous romantic police procedural as courtroom enemy combatants fall in love while on the run. Rafe feels guilt which Jake constantly reminds him; while Darby is the phobia poster person. Readers will relish this taut suspense and demand Lena Diaz (see The Marshal’s Witness) provides tales starring Jake and Nick.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Expecting Fortune’s Heir-Cindy Kirk

Expecting Fortune’s Heir

Cindy Kirk

Harlequin Special Edition, Apr 23 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373657407

In the elegant La Casa Paloma Hotel in Red Rock, Texas, two people alone on New year’s Eve meet. Lia and Shane share a midnight kiss that leads to a wonderful one-night stand.

Not long after acting out of character, Natalia Serrano finds herself carrying the stranger’s baby. She cannot tell him as she only knows his first name. Shane Fortune returns to Red Rock for the first time since his delightful New Year ’s Eve tryst with Lia. When they meet for the second time, she tells him she is carrying his baby and just wants him to be a father to their child as she knows it is his hard it is to be raised without a dad. Distrusting everyone since his father recently betrayed him, Shane wonders if Lia is setting him up to pay child support for someone else’s kid as he considers that his need for her to be honest may paint her true intentions.

Though a serious dramatic contemporary, Expecting Fortune’s Heir will remind readers of the comedic movie Fools Rush In as two cultures collide over a pregnancy. Although the romance feels abruptly rushed at the end, readers will enjoy this engaging tale as The Fortunes of Texas unborn next generation plays matchmaker between two recalcitrant soon to be parents.

Harriet Klausner

Oath Bound-Rachel Vincent

Oath Bound

Rachel Vincent

Mira, Apr 30 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314301

Sera Brandt remains below the radar scope as she prefers to hide from her family and even her power. Her father Jake Tower recently died leaving behind a wife and two children, not counting his illegitimate love child Sera. She arrives at her late dad’s guarded estate to see his sister, her Aunt Julia, who now runs the corrupt Skilled Tower criminal gang that Jake used to lead.

Kristopher Daniels has struggled to keep his sisters safe from the Tower and Ruben Cavazos’ mob; especially his youngest Kenley as her Binder skill is what the syndicates covet (see the other sibling Kori the shadow walker in Shadow Bound). With Kenly abducted, Kris interrupts the meeting between aunt and niece. He kidnaps an irate Sera; unable to explain to even himself his gut wrenching needs to keep her safe. As she concludes she is not a hostage negotiable pawn, Sera chooses his side over her biological family especially after her loved ones are attacked.

The third Unbound romantic fantasy Novel is an exciting action-packed tale. The lead couple is a dynamite pairing as neither trusts the other yet both conclude they need each other to take down the Tower; while each finds their attraction undesirable but overwhelming. Although fans should read the previous two Unbound novels (see Blood Bound) to better understand Vincent’s world and the overarching premise, Oath Bound is a fabulous climatic thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 3, 2013

Anything But Vanilla…-Liz Fielding

Anything But Vanilla…

Liz Fielding

Harlequin Kiss, Apr 23 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207145

In Maybridge, landlord Alexander West has come to shut down bankrupt Knickerbocker Gloria as Ria failed again to organize her specialty ice creams business. Caterer Sorrel Amery arrives to pick up the Jefferson order only instead of the vanished Ria, “Mr. Postcard” Alexander greets her.

Desperate to save her catering firm, sensible Sorrel offers to take over the lease for one month of the bankrupt though not filed ice cream parlor. She detests her attraction to the world wandering landlord who she assumes is Ria’s younger lover whenever he is in town, which Sorrel believes is as frequent as Halley’s Comet. Still they begin a tryst and soon fall in love. However, Sorrel and Alexander assume once the month is up, their relationship ends or does it as there is plenty of other flavors to try.

With flavors that will stun ice creams connoisseurs, Anything but Vanilla is a wonderful contemporary romance. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing as they fight, fuss and fall in love over Earl Grey granita and champagne sorbet.

Harriet Klausner

It Was Only A Kiss-Joss Wood

It Was Only A Kiss

Joss Wood

Harlequin Kiss, Apr 23 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207152

In South Africa, confident and cocky marketing intern Jess Sherwood informs Luke Savage his plan for his family’s vineyard St. Sylve he recently inherited will fail. To silence the upstart, he kisses her. When she catches her breath, she continues with her tirade until he fires her.

Eight years later, St. Sylve remains in trouble while Jess is an in demand marketing guru. She bids for the St. Sylve job while he prefers anyone else, but hires her anyway. Each remembers that kiss like it was a second ago and both obsess with a need for a repeat while also fearing their lips locking again. As they fall in love, they begin to learn about his late mom who died when he was a child.

The keys to this terrific contemporary romance are the wonderful setting and troubled Luke coming across as real. Readers will relish It Was Only A Kiss that burned inside the respective hearts and minds of the protagonists (and readers).

Harriet Klausner

Wind Chime Point-Sherryl Woods

Wind Chime Point

Sherryl Woods

Mira, Apr 30 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314424

In Raleigh, public relations expert Gabi Castle cannot believe how fast her life fell apart. Her boss Amanda Warren made the fast-rising ambitious Gabi leave the firm to avoid the scandal of pregnancy. Her being kicked out the office door follows her boyfriend of five years Paul Langley dumping her upon learning she carries his baby. Mentally exhausted, instead of legally challenging Amanda, Gabi returns home to Sand Castle Bay, North Carolina.

Widower Wade Johnson met Gabi when she last came to Sand Castle Bay. They are attracted to each other, but she has doubts any man would love someone else’s child especially someone still grieving the death of his wife and unborn in an accident. The pair forges a friendship while falling in love encouraged by her family.

The second Ocean Breeze contemporary romance (see Sand Castle Bay) is a warm second chance at love tale. Although psychological tsuris is settled in a blink, fans will enjoy the return of the Castle brood as they match up one of their own with a sculptor.

Harriet Klausner

Against The Edge-Kat Martin

Against The Edge

Kat Martin

Mira, Apr 30 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314431

In Houston, still in his disheveled tuxedo former Navy SEAL Ben Slocum returns home after too much celebrating the marriage of his friends Alex Justice and Sabrina Eckhart (see Against The Odds). Waiting on his porch for the Atlas Security investigator is social worker Claire Chastain. She shocks him with the news that his former fiancée Laura Schofield nee Thompson is dead and that they have a child fifth grader Sam who Ben never knew he sired. She finishes by telling him nine year old Sam is missing; LAPD and Sam’s foster parents assume he is a runaway, but Claire believes Laura’s ex-boyfriend Troy Bridger kidnapped the child avenging her kicking him out. Whether the tweener is a runaway or abducted, Ben, after seeing Sam’s photo, plans to find his son.

To keep Claire safe from Troy who blames her for interfering in his relationship with Laura, Ben keeps her at his side while he follows clues that lead to a paramilitary encampment. When Troy and his allies learn of Ben’s search, they abduct Claire. Now Ben has two people he loves needing his rescuing them and he will risk dying to save them.

The latest Raines of Wind Canyon romantic suspense is a strong entry starring a kick butt hero and a caring female. Although the premise of not knowing you have an offspring is overly used, the drama of his going missing makes for a taut twisting thriller.

Harriet Klausner