Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Closer You Get-Kristi Gold

The Closer You Get

Kristi Gold

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 5 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718337

Nine years ago, Brett Taylor began his ascent as a country music superstar at the same time his wife left him taking their daughter with her. Cammie Carson obtains the bus driving position on Brett’s tour. She is attracted to Brett, but realizes that he leaves broken hearts in his wake. When a band member becomes ill, Cammie is drafted as the replacement.

Brett and Cammie become an item even while she expects he will dump her very soon. Still they fall in love, but she remains consistent expecting her heart to break as she knows he has commitment trust issues having failed to move on with what happened almost a decade ago.

This is a warm second chance at love romance starring a charming angel and an emotionally scarred devil. The enjoyable storyline will have readers feeling they are on the bus touring along with Brett and his retinue; while also answering the Lovin’ Spoonful’s question “Do you believe in magic?” with only when love is “in a young girl’s heart.”

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bending The Rules-Margaret Watson

Bending The Rules

Margaret Watson

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 1 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718320

Restaurant owner Nathan Devereux and Department of Children and Family Services social worker Emma Sloan meet at the teen center FreeZone, which his sister Frankie and her beloved Cal established. She notices his limp, which Frankie says came from a car hitting him. Frankie also teases Emma as she, Cal and others saw how the social worker and Nate looked at each other. Meanwhile his FBI brother Patrick asks Nate for documents related to his restaurant.

CPD Officer Trenton calls Emma to inform her that her best friend single mom Sonya Michaels died suddenly while riding a bus. Emma, licensed as a foster parent, takes in Sonya’s grieving teenage daughter Harley. Lawyer David Sanders tells Emma that Sonya named Harley’s biological father, Nathan Devereux. Having handled paternity cases for DCSF, Emma tells a stunned Nathan and a shocked Harley. Nate knows Emma wants to adopt Harley, but he wants in the life of his offspring; and for that matter her foster parent too.

Though a father not knowing he sired a child is an old theme, Margaret Watson provides an engaging family drama starring three likable lead characters struggling with what Sonya left behind and a strong support cast. A taut fresh subplot involving a menace to the extended Devereux family and anyone in their sphere enhances the contemporary with suspense; as Nate fears his presence in the lives of the two new women he just met and loves places them in danger.

Harriet Klausner

Reservations For Two-Jennifer Lohmann

Reservations For Two

Jennifer Lohmann

Harlequin SuperRomance, Feb 1 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718344

In Chicago, Chef Tilly Milek opens up Babka, a restaurant serving Polish cuisine. Her life is going great as her restaurant has had some early success and she meets Dan Meier who is attracted to her like she is to him and shares with her a love of food. However, her optimism collapses when the Eater food critic rips Babka in CarpeChicago.

As her dream along with her confidence collapses, Tilly vows to find the Eater and rip his or her guts out. That changes when she learns her Dan betrayed her as he is the anonymous Eater. Dan realizes he erred with how he handled the review as he broke protocol; he also concludes someone inside wants Tilly to fail. Knowing he lost the trust of the woman he loves and may have destroyed an excellent Polish restaurant, Dan tries to make amends.

Reservations for Two is a delightful foodie romance starring two “star-crossed” lovers as critics and chefs don’t mix. The Polish cuisine in many ways steals the show as irresistible Chicago pierogies remind me of the Bronx delis’ knishes. Readers will enjoy this scrumptious contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 28, 2013

That Night on Thistle Lane-Carla Neggers

That Night on Thistle Lane

Carla Neggers

Mira, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780778314202

In Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, librarian Phoebe O’Dunn lends vintage dresses she found in in the library’s attic to her sister Maggie and their BFF Olivia Frost so she can attend a charity ball in Boston. Phoebe will not attend though Olivia’s fiancé, Dylan McCaffrey, invited her too.

Dylan’s BFF San Diego based NAK CEO Noah Kendrick calls Loretta Wrentham about a stalker, but she knows nothing. He goes to the ball dressed as a swashbuckler where he meets Phoebe who changed her mind. They dance and kiss though neither knows who the other is; she is his princess and he is her swashbuckler. When Noah takes a call, she leaves but overhears someone on a cell talking about her and her swashbuckler. Later Noah asks Dylan and Olivia if they know who his princess is. Instead of flying home as he planned, Noah remains in town seeking his princess. When they meet again, she realizes he is her swashbuckler and he knows she is his princess. As they and others identify who stalks him and research who left the dresses and more in the library, Phoebe and Noah fall in love.

The latest Knights Bridge tale (see Secrets of the Lost Summer) is an enjoyable romance due to the fully developed ensemble cast enabling a close look at relationships in a small New England town (and to a lesser degree Southern California). The resolution of the dress making mystery is brilliant yet simple while the stalker suspense fizzles. Contemporary fans will enjoy spending that night and much more on Thistle Lane.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Austensibly Ordinary-Alyssa Goodnight

Austensibly Ordinary

Alyssa Goodnight

Kensington, Jan 29 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758267450

Cate Kendall teaches high school English in Austin, Texas. Her favorite author is Jane Austen whose novels she uses in her classes. Though she dreams about an Austen brooding male sweeping her off her feet at a ball, Cate feels alone as she has no Darcy in her life and feels jealous of Elizabeth; though she enjoys her weekly scrabble games with teacher Ethan even if she never wins.

When Cate obtains a journal in which she writes an entry followed by something odd as if the book has ties to Jane Austen. Suddenly following Austen advice, Cate attends galas where she meets a mysterious brooder while noticing Ethan acting different towards her. From none to two admirers almost overnight, Cate will need Austen, Texas style, to navigate her romances.

The latest Austen in Austin romance (see Austentatious) is an engaging tale as Cate finds her groove confusing rather than enlightening but with Jane to guide her through the fog of relationships. Although the storyline starts very slow (may be a down side to the unique approach as Austentatious v likewise) as readers meet Cate, once the teacher has the journal and Jane as her coach, the plot accelerates from Austensibly Ordinary to Austensibly fabulous.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sex And The Single Fireman-Jennifer Bernard

Sex And The Single Fireman

Jennifer Bernard

Avon, Jan 29 2013, $5.99

ISBN: 9780062088987

As she has done for the past thirteen Thanksgivings, Sabina Jones turns up the volume while fleeing San Gabriel, California for Reno hoping her mom will finally call her. She receives a ticket for running a red light and a lecture from single dad Rick Roman who calls her insane for drowning out his first call with his son in two thousand miles.

A few days later, Rick arrives at the San Gabriel fire station as the new captain. Rock hard when it comes to enforcing the rules, he was hired to end the "Bachelor Firemen" (see One Fine Fireman) ending up as centerfolds in the tabloids. One of his firefighters is Sabrina. Attracted to each other, Rick tries to control his libido unaware that Sabrina feels the same way about their attraction and their desire to keep the distance; in her case exposure of her famous past could end her firefighting career.

The latest Bachelor Firemen tale is an amusing romance between two obstinate firefighters proclaiming not to be in love while the strong support cast knows otherwise from the heat they emit. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate two firefighters fighting the fire in their respective hearts that they cannot put out.

Harriet Klausner

Reunion-Mary Daheim


Mary Daheim

Camel Press, Feb 1 2013, $16.95

ISBN: 9781603818896

In 1860 Massachusetts, business mogul Marcus Farrar arranges a marriage for his headstrong daughter Serena to sea Captain Brant Parnell, who needs money to save his ship. Outraged by her father selling her to a fortune hunter, Serena makes it clear to both men she does not wish to marry him; instead she wants to become a reporter in Springfield though she settles for the New Bedford Mercury.

After they wed, Serena’s rejection sends an angry Brant back to the sea while a scandal ends her journalism career. Fleeing New England to stay with her sister Cecelia, who is married to a half black in New Bern, North Carolina, Serena obtains a local reporter position seeking the truth. As war breaks out and her cousin provides medical care to both sides, Brant arrives in town to see his wife who he loves in spite of her condemnation of him.

This is a reprint of an engaging 1980s release Pride’s Captive as the storyline focuses on northerners residing inside the Confederacy while married to southerners. The three female blood relatives and their mates bring alive the Civil War in North Carolina. Although the vile sadistic Stanbroke siblings add tension, they are stratospherically over the top of Mount Mitchell with their stereotypical maliciousness. Fans will enjoy Mary Daheim’s historical over a century and a half, and across the continent from Hillside Manor.

Harriet Klausner

When She Said I Do-Celeste Bradley

When She Said I Do

Celeste Bradley

St. Martin’s, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250016126

In 1816, the storm in the Cotswolds swelled the river pouring vast amounts of water over a bridge and flooding the carriage carrying the Worthington family from London. Calliope, her brother Dade, their Mama and their now unconscious dad seek shelter in a nearby seemingly abandoned mansion.

However, the dusty abode has a resident, cynical recluse Ren Porter who watches the Worthington brood make themselves at home. While her parents sleep and her sibling went back outside to help their manservant Morgan with the horses, Ren’s first reaction to Calliope is she is an angel until he sees her taking a pearl necklace. Revealing himself to her, Ren demands his angelic thief pay for the jewelry. His price is marriage and nights of lovemaking for each pearl. Although frightened of her host after seeing his monstrous scarred visage, Calliope steps between her brother and the hermit as they begin a duel. She intercedes by stating to her family and the beast that she accepts his proposal. After marrying in nearby Amberdell village, the newlyweds settle in his mansion. As the pair fall in love, a killer obsesses over eliminating an obstacle.

This entertaining Regency fairy tale romance stars a brave spinster, a hermitic caring “monster” and a maniacal compulsively-driven villain whose motive seems over the top of Cleeve Hill yet enhances the delightful storyline. Readers will enjoy what happens after the Beauty said I do to the Beast.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 25, 2013

How To Get Over Your Ex-Nikki Logan

How To Get Over Your Ex

Nikki Logan

Harlequin Kiss, Jan 22 2013, $2.59

ISBN: 9780373207022

On Valentine’s Day in London at Radio EROS, Georgia Stone proposes to Daniel. To her chagrin, he says no. EROS station manager Zander Rush feels for Georgia having been jilted, but his sympathy only goes so far as he must face advertisers seeking happily ever after. Thus he demands she complete her one-year contractual obligation though both thought it would involve her wedding plans.

Instead Zander plans to turn naive Georgia into a sympathetic heroine while leaving Daniel looking shallow. She agrees to allow the station follow her exploits as she moves passed the on air REJECTION. With Zander at her side, Georgia enrolls in spy and belly dancing classes even as he begins to wonder if he could be Prince Charming with Georgia as his happily ever after soul mate.

This is a fun British coming of age frolic as humiliated Georgia finds her groove over the year. Zander proves adept and flexible by turning a PR disaster into a win-win-win for the station, him and Georgia. The romance is sweet and slow like it needs to be as the storyline focuses on the greater relationship between the protagonists. Although reality radio seems so late 1930s Orson Wells as TV or the Net would be better venues, fans will enjoy how Georgia got over her ex by finding real love.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Travis-Georgina Gentry


Georgina Gentry

Zebra, Feb 5 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121681

In 1889 Texas Ranger Travis Prescott follows the Grande Kid who killed a Ranger into Red Rock, Kansas while the townsfolk celebrate the land run. In a showdown, Prescott kills the Kid but takes a bullet to his wrist. Doc tells him a piece of steel is lodged inside that he cannot take out and that his gun-drawing days are over. Prescott begins the depressing journey home as he has no idea what he will do now that he is no longer a Ranger.

Saloon girl Violet LaFarge finds four abandoned young orphans when the eleven year old oldest asks her to adopt them and a dog. Determined to find them a home, Violet believes the Ranger who she saw take out the Kid is what she needs to keep her make-shift family safely together. Pretending to be a young teen, Violet cons Travis into helping them get to Texas. As he escorts the quintet, Travis finds his thoughts disturbingly focusing on Violet. She, in turn, falls in love with their protector even as a gambler and his gunslinger pursue her.

The latest Texans western romance (see Colt and Rio) is a thrilling tale starring a wounded warrior, a jaded woman in disguise, four precocious kids and a dog. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment the young quartet asks Violet to adopt them and never slows down until a final confrontation with a nice twist. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this entry as Travis and Violet disagree with E.C. Fields’ wry comment to “never work with animals or children," as they love each other and their charges.

Harriet Klausner

The Importance of Being Wicked-Victoria Alexander

The Importance of Being Wicked

Victoria Alexander

Zebra, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420117073

In 1887, cousins Grayson Elliot (see What Happens At Christmas) and Viscount Winfield Elliott stare at the fire damage done to the latter’s Fairborough Hall. Gray insists it is not too bad and Winfield keeps reminding himself it could be worse until the worst occurs when the roof collapses.

Though she hides from her family her running of her late husband’s building construction firm, Lady Miranda Garret is an active earnest owner. Win hires her firm unaware that Miranda will design and supervise the renovation. Miranda knows of Win’s reputation having ended three engagements, but when they meet she is attracted to the Lothario and him to his architect. As they play a game of wicked desire, they fall in love, but neither is prepared to be first to change the rules of engagement.

The latest Millworth Manor Victorian romance is an entertaining gender war starring two witty protagonists who sub-genre fans will adore. Fast-paced and somewhat wild especially the horde moving into the nearby the dower house, Victoria Alexander provides her audience with a wonderful historical.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crazy Thing Called Love-Molly O’Keefe

Crazy Thing Called Love

Molly O’Keefe

Bantam, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780345533692

Madelyn Baumgartner was excited when the hometown Pittsburgh Pit Bulls drafted her sweetheart Billy Wilkins in the second round. A couple years later, he became the team’s enforcer with a flash temper at the cost of his marriage. Fourteen years after being called up, he plays for the losing Dallas Mavericks whose coach Hornsby refuses to use Billy as the league turned away from goons due to concussions, but Billy had not altered his style. After losing a playoff spot, he coldcocks the visiting Boston team’s best player. Hornsby tells him we needed a leader not a brawler.

Madelyn Cornish hosts Am Dallas morning TV show. No one she works with knows she was once the naive wife of Billy “Brawler” so she refuses to be involved in a month makeover of her ex-husband. Billy agrees to the show as a desperate chance to win back what he lost as he still loves Madelyn. As they work closely, he sees the desire in her eyes giving him hope even with her obstinacy of no second chance between them. However, his family remains an obstacle.

The third Texas “love” story (see Can’t Buy Me Love and Can’t Hurry Love) is an engaging contemporary romance. The lead couple is a nice pairing as they fell in love when she was the playground enforcer as a tweener and remains in love though they split apart years ago. With issues of childhood abuse and neglect adding substance, fans will enjoy this second chance at love romance although the NBA especially Mark Cuban will not appreciate the Dallas Mavericks as an NHL team.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Lass Wore Black-Karen Ranney

The Lass Wore Black

Karen Ranney

Avon, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062027801

In 1862 London, Catriona Cameron panics when she sees Andrew Pender at a gala as he is the only person she had sex with and she fears will expose the beautiful “virgin” to ridicule. Riding inside her coach, a shot kills Maisie the horse followed by an explosion. Shards of glass rip into Catriona’s face and her leg twists at a horrible angle as the coach turns over.

In 1863 Edinburgh, Catriona’s Aunt Dina MacTavish worries about her niece, who hides from the Ton and wears a veil to conceal the scars when she must venture outside. Desperate to help Catriona who she thinks of as her daughter, Dina asks Dr. Mark Thorburn to help her niece who she admits is not a blood relative. Reluctantly Mark has no time for wallowing fools as his patients are the city’s needy slum dwellers, but visits Catriona who thinks he is a handsome footman. He revises his opinion of her from self-pitying idiot to someone in need. As much as he heals her, she mends his heart with love. Though he knows he owes her the truth that he is an aristocratic heir, neither is aware someone wants to finish the job started with the killing of Maisie by murdering Catriona.

This is an engaging Victorian romance starring a dedicated doctor and his despondent lost soul patient. The exciting fable provides readers with a strong moral premise by looking profoundly at what beauty truly is. Although the ogre is obvious early on, fans will relish this powerful fairy tale romance.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baby Out Of The Blue-Rebecca Winters

Baby Out Of The Blue

Rebecca Winters

Harlequin Romance, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373178612

Kellie invites her recently divorced (from attorney Rob) BFF since elementary school in Philadelphia, Fran Myers to stay at the Persephone luxurious getaway in Thessalonica on the Greek Riviera built by her husband Leandros Petralia. Fran, realizing Kellie is upset, wonders if her beautiful marriage is teetering. Forced to stop before reaching their destination due to a horrific hail storm and a T-4 tornado, Kellie says she is losing her beloved to new employee Karmela Paulos, younger sister of his late first wife.

In Athens Angelis Corporation CEO Nik Angelis learns of the tornado destroying hotels on the Greek Riviera including suites at Persephone Resort where his sister Melina, her husband Stavros and their infant daughter were staying. Meanwhile, Kellie and Fran learn five people died at the resort. In the hotel garden where they stopped, Fran finds a severely injured baby suffering, who apparently was swept away by the tornado. They take her to the hospital where the infant’s Uncle Nik arrives from Athens to learn his niece’s parents are two of the dead and to see Fran with baby Demi.

This entertaining Grecian contemporary showcases Rebecca Winters’ talent as the grief of Nik (and his siblings too) losing his sister, caring of his niece, and to a lesser degree Fran’s recent divorce takes front and center over the romantic subplot between the protagonists. Adding in the Kellie-Leandros tense relationship to the mix leads to a strong drama starring a powerful cast.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hooked-Liz Fichera


Liz Fichera

Harlequin Teen, Jan 29 2013, $9.99

ISBN: 9780373210725

Lone Butte High School Golf Coach Larry Lannon consistently watches his team come in last place in Maricopa County, Arizona. Principal Graser warns Lannon if the team fails to improve, he will lose his coaching position and return to teaching history fulltime. Desperate to avoid the dire straits of classroom instruction, Lannon observes a teen girl displaying the most natural golf swing he ever saw.

After persuading her poor Gila River Indian Reservation family he will keep her safe, Lannon arranges for Fred Oday to attend affluent Lone Butte and join the golf team. To make room for his new star, Lannon kicks Seth off the team. Seth’s best friend Ryan Berenger, other team members and much of the school are irate though the golfers acknowledge the Rez female has skills. Fred feels like a complete outsider, but is attracted to Ryan when he is nice though more often he is nasty to her. Meanwhile someone filled with anger sabotages Fred’s game taking the assaults to dangerous levels.

Hooked is a refreshing teen romance starring an arrogant spoiled rich kid and a poor lack of confidence Rez female. The concept of an athletic female playing with the boys is deftly handled as is the changing relationship between the protagonists who rotate perspective though I did not like the change in print to delineate who’s the lead is as that felt like dumbing down. Even with the attacks eventually feeling over the top of the Estrella Mountains, fans will be Hooked by fabulously feisty Fred.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 7, 2013

When Summer Comes-Brenda Novak

When Summer Comes

Brenda Novak

Mira, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314233

After learning she needs a liver transplant and that her prospects were slim at best as time was running out, photographer Callie Vanetta, accompanied by Rifle the dog, moves to her late grandparents’ run down farm in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. With no neighbors nearby, she becomes frightened when a man bangs on her door pleading for help. Afghan war veteran Levi McCloud explains his motorbike broke down a couple of miles away followed by dogs attacking him.

Knowing she has little time to live anyway, reluctantly Callie gives Levi shelter while he repairs his bike; in return he will work on the farm. On the run from the nightmarish deaths of his Afghani fiancée and their unborn, and a police matter that means prison time, Levi plans to leave as soon as his bike runs. However, neither he nor his hostess expected to fall in love, but each owes the other an inconvenient truth.

The latest Whiskey Creek romance (see When Lightning Strikes and When Snow Falls) is an interesting tale starring two wonderful protagonists with no future. Although the overall intense storyline loses momentum when the focus turns to secondary characters, fans will enjoy the tale of the dying photographer and the scarred vet who find a miracle in love but need more if they are to count their relationship in decades instead of months.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Prince Of Power-Elisabeth Staab

Prince Of Power

Elisabeth Staab

Sourcebooks, Jan 8 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402263187

Vampire and wizards have been at war seemingly forever. The Wizard Master exiles his son Anton to die for failing to perform his duty as the lad is not a chip off the old block since he hates killing vampires to steal their power. However, Anton has one last chance to return home in glory: steal her power before killing Tyra Morgan, sister of the Vampire King Thad (see King of Darkness).

Since Tyra works in a shelter in Ash Falls, Virginia; to gain access to her Anton pretends to be homeless, which ironically he knows he is if he fails his last chance. Anton saves Tyra’s life. Attracted to each other, neither trusts the other as both know their eternal legacy. His species demands he take her power before murdering her; while hers demands the execution of him.

The second vampire-wizard war once again is a complex superb romantic urban fantasy in which the Staab mythological universe seems genuine due to strong supporting characters like widowed vampires and a young female human player. Fast-paced from the moment the star-crossed lead couple meets in the Virginia homeless shelter and never slowing down, sub-genre fans will relish the forbidden romance between the Sister and the Prince of Power

Harriet Klausner

Simply Scandalous-Kate Pearce

Simply Scandalous

Kate Pearce

Kensington Aphrodisia, Dec 24, 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758269478

A retired spy, Richard Ross has mixed feelings about how his extended family perceives him as their belief that he is listless means he did his work well but still feels insulted. He recognizes his father’s new wife Madame Helene who ran Pleasure House in London and that his half-brother Christian Delornay does now, but that does not mean he is uninteresting; only grieving the death of his beloved in France.

Former espionage agent Violet LeNy faked her death. She knows the love of her life Richard will be livid when he learns the truth that Vincent Lennox is actually Violet. She realizes she must risk her heart to keep her twin brother Jack and herself safe as only her Richard is capable of protecting them, but has no idea how to regain his trust and his love. Meanwhile, someone blackmails Richard’s sister Emily who loves freed slave Ambrose the House of Pleasure manager, but he refuses to act on his matching feelings as he accepts she is above his social station, he is the wrong race and he cannot afford to alienate his employer.

The latest House of Pleasure erotic regency romance (see Simply Forbidden and Simply Sexual, etc.) is simply an entertaining historical with two engaging subplots involving the Ross siblings. The prime though somewhat thin (except for the hero’s lower head) focus is on Richard and the ghost he loves as they investigate the threat to the twins in between their Simply Carnal renewal. However, it is the Emily-Ambrose entry that is more fascinating as she puts a unique spin to class warfare.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Taking The Reins-Kat Murray

Taking The Reins

Kat Murray

Kensington Brava, Dec 24, 2012, $9.95

ISBN: 9780758281043

Her older brother Trace and her younger sister Bea fled their amoral widow mom and the M Star Ranch in Marshall, South Dakota. Thus the middle child Peyton Muldoon was left alone as a teen to save the spread that her mom has been destroying ever since their father died. However Peyton is devastated to learn she owns only one third of the ranch as her absentee siblings own equal shares. She demands her late dad’s heir apparent her rodeo brother and soap opera actress sister come home to reach an agreement on her managing the ranch.

Trace arrives with his infant son Seth and no plans to leave; Bea also seems to settle in at the ranch. Meanwhile Peyton persuades highly regarded horse trainer Red Callahan to work for her. Employer and employee are attracted to each other; each tries to keep a professional distance but their attraction proves too strong to ignore.

The first Roped & Wrangled ranch romance stars a determined heroine and a strong trainer who recognizes a kindred spirit when it comes to love and horses though their attraction never quite gels until late as each place saving the ranch over saving their hearts. The secondary subplots involving the siblings enhance the background into the life of Peyton as well as introducing the audience to future series leads.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 4, 2013

Redemption-BJ Daniels


BJ Daniels

Harlequin HQN, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777570

Jack French spent the last two years in prison doing forced ranch labor after being convicted for cattle rustling, a crime he did not do. After his release, he returns home to Beartooth, Montana with one mission in mind: enact vengeance on the unknown(s) who framed him.

While he did hard time, Kate LaFord relocated to Beartooth where she owns the Branding Iron Café. Beartooth General Store owner Lynette “Nettie” Benton persuades Sheriff Frank Curry to uncover the secrets of the enigmatic Kate and also wants to know more about her mysterious new tenant Tiffany Hayes. Lynette and Frank are attracted to each other though her remaining married but separated from her husband Bob (who resides in Arizona) leaves both hesitating to do more than harmlessly flirt. Having found a murdered corpse, Frank asks Lynette to look at a photo he found on the unidentified body; she confirms it is the dead for three decades Ackermann family. As Kate serendipitously searches for rumored gold that her mom swears exists, she and Jack meet and fall in love.

The latest Beartooth Big Sky romantic suspense (see Unforgiven) is an entertaining thriller as once again deaths from decades ago (and rumored lost gold) keep a firm grip on the townsfolk. Fast-paced from the moment Jack returns home as an unappreciated Good Samaritan and never decelerating, readers will enjoy this taut Montana tale with multiple (perhaps too many) mysteries and one and a half romances.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beyond Valor-Lindsay McKenna

Beyond Valor

Lindsay McKenna

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Jan 22 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373278091

Near Lar Sholtan, Afghanistan, highly regarded for his scrounger skills almost as much as his combat medical expertise, US Navy medic Luke Collier learns he is responsible for mentoring and keeping safe newly assigned Navy medic Megan Trayhern. General Maya Stephenson, who recognized modern warfare has no clearly delineated front line and thus created the Black Jaguar Squadron, persuaded the Pentagon to send trained female medics into the villages to gather Intel from the frightened villagers who may talk to a woman, but never a man as they fear the marines as much as the Taliban.

Luke and Megan are attracted to each other at first sight. However, each knows that the fraternization ban must be strictly adhered too especially in combat settings. Additionally, Luke knows what three deployments did to his marriage and Megan believes a relationship, especially a taboo one, would compromise her mission. Honor and duty are at war with love.

The latest Black Jaguar Squadron military romance (see His Duty To Protect and Operation: Forbidden) is a great tale due to the deep look at daily survival of combat medics in the field. The Afghani villagers bring the freshness with their fear of the marine and the Taliban. Action-packed, readers will appreciate Lindsay McKenna’s excellent forward deployed romantic thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Date With Fortune-Susan Crosby

A Date With Fortune

Susan Crosby

Harlequin Special Edition, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373657216

His Uncle James sent Michael Fortune, CEO of FortuneSouth Enterprise based in Atlanta to Red Rock, Texas to talk some sense into his cousin Wyatt who quit the family business and became engaged to Sarah-Jane Early (see Her New Year's Fortune by Allison Leigh). An atheist when it comes to believing in the myth of true love, Michael wonders what is in the Red Rock air as Wyatt is the seventh Fortune to find their soul mate here.

While meeting at Estelle’s Diner, Sarah-Jane invites her roommate confectioner Felicity Thomas to join them. When True Convections’ owner Felicity and Michael meet, sparks fly. She babbles mentioning his sister Wendy was her first truffles customer, which has become a booming business while the hunk in the “Suit” acts like an idiot. As they fall in love, Michael refuses to acknowledge his feelings leaving Valentine's Day apparently a misfortunate holiday for the candy-maker.

This “Fortunes of Texas: Southern Invasion” is an engaging contemporary filled with humor mostly by the Red Rock gossip brigade starting with Estelle. The virginal confectioner and the sophisticated non-believer in love make a nice pairing as Susan Crosby concocts a fun sweet romance.

Harriet Klausner