Saturday, April 20, 2013

Copper Lake Confidential-Marilyn Pappano

Copper Lake Confidential

Marilyn Pappano

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Apr 2 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373278176

It has been a long time since Macy Howard last was in her hometown of Copper Lake, Georgia. She left following the death of her husband Mark and her miscarriage. After a year in an asylum and living with her aunt and uncle in Charleston, Macy decides to return to Copper Lake over the objection of her concerned caring kin especially her worried brother.

In Copper Lake, Macy meets veterinarian Stephen Noble, who also writes fantasy novels. They are attracted to one another and she begins to see hope for a future though she has trust issues after her tragic past. However, something is slightly off kilter at the old house that has Macy wonder if she left the asylum too soon as items are not where she swore she left them and a slight lingering odor that dissipates quickly should not be possible. With Stephen at the side of the woman he loves, Macy struggles to keep her equilibrium while seeking the truth.

The latest Copper Lake romantic suspense (see Copper Lake Secrets) is a great taut thriller that grips readers from the moment the vulnerable heroine returns home and never slows down until the final confrontation with a toss of the paranormal enhancing the climax. Fast-paced with several twists including a stunning late spin, readers will relish Marilyn Pappano's fabulous tale due to the insightful look at the mind of troubled Macy who fears she is insane.

Harriet Klausner

A Profiler’s Case For Seduction-Carla Cassidy

A Profiler’s Case For Seduction

Carla Cassidy

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Apr 2 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373278183

The murders in Vengeance, Texas forty miles from Dallas has the FBI believing a serial killer is loose. While his team disagrees with his initial assessment, FBI agent Mark Flynn considers Darby College Sociology Professor Melinda Grayson as a person of interest so attends her lecture to get a deeper impression of the instructor.

Mark enlists student Dora Martin to assist him in his effort to look deeper at Melinda. For her part, Dora wants nothing to do with the Brainiac hunk as she vowed off men while trying to use her second chance for a life starting with a degree. Still, as they work together, they fall in love while he knows she hides something from him that he fears involves the homicides and could make her part of the body count.

This is an entertaining romantic suspense that the audience will enjoy though the motive is inane. Still fast-paced with two likable protagonists falling in love while working the case, fans will appreciate visiting Vengeance in Texas.

Harriet Klausner

Beauty’s Beast-Jenna Kernan

Beauty’s Beast

Jenna Kernan

Harlequin Nocturne, Apr 2 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373885688

Empathic seer Samantha Proud knows the price she pays to save the soul of a child from the demon possessing the youngster, but the bear shifter does anyway. When she displayed her power, Samantha placed her family in harm from the Ruler of Ghosts Nagi; who has stalked her and her kin forcing them into hiding after her Good Samaritan deed exposed them. The Thunderbirds rescue the Prouds but scatter them to different places to make it difficult for Nagi to complete his species cleansing.

Samantha is dropped off near Alon Garza the ghost child trying to prevent his evil father Nagi from murdering any perceived threats like the shifter and ghost children that might impede his plan for world domination. Samantha suggests the two beleaguered groups team up in the fight to end Nagi’s quest to rule the world.

The latest Trackers paranormal romance (see Ghost Stalker and Dream Stalkers) is a super thriller that continues the strong saga based on Native American mythology. Though similar in premise to Soul Whisperer, as the likable lead heroes are natural enemies who need each other against a more powerful mutual adversary leading to strange bedfellows falling in taboo love. Well written, readers will be fully engaged by Jenna Kernan’s fabulous tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Wolf Prince-Karen Whiddon

The Wolf Prince

Karen Whiddon

Harlequin Nocturne, Apr 2 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373885671

Heir to the throne of Teslinko, shapeshifter Prince Ruben fears his inner wolf is taking control of his body and mind at a time when his parents King Leo and Queen Ionna demand he marry. Ruben knows who the only female he covets is unacceptable as his future queen.

At the Seelie court, someone murders a servant. Ruben persuades Princess Willow to escort him into the palace so he can investigate and find the killer. He quickly realizes his hostess is unwanted by her fae brethren because her dark pigment means she is the offspring of an undesirable Unseelie. As they fall in love while working the homicide, the pair also looks into the royal reject’s heritage.

The latest Pack romantic fantasy (see Wolf Whisperer and The Wolf Princess) is an enjoyable investigative thriller starring two troubled souls finding solace in their love for one another. The thrilling storyline is fast-paced though a deeper look at the impact of scornful Sidhe discriminating against a royal due to the color of her skin would have added profundity to the mix of two lost individuals falling in love during a murder investigation.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 7, 2013

And Then She Fell-Stephanie Laurens

And Then She Fell

Stephanie Laurens

Avon, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062068644

In 1837 London, as the last two unmarried Cynster females of their generation (see The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh), Henrietta’s younger sister Mary persuades her to wear the legendary family heirloom known for the wearer finding love. At a gala, Lady Henrietta intervenes to stop young and innocent Melina Wentworth from foolishly accepting James Glossup’s suit. The Ton dubs the spinster Henrietta the “Matchbreaker” as she has an inner sense of when a bad marriage will occur.

Feeling some guilt for what she did to James and ignoring her family’s feud with his, Henrietta believes she owes him and offers to assist him in finding an appropriate wife. The only problem with the right spouse is Henrietta wants it to be her; James shares her attraction.

The latest Cynster Sisters historical romance is an amusing lighthearted tale as the heroine sings “I’m Not In Love” (10Cc) while the lead male chortles “Love Hurts” (Nazareth). Fast-paced, fans will enjoy this fun frolic as “… Then There Was One” (Agatha Christie) left.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sand Castle Bay-Sherryl Woods

Sand Castle Bay

Sherryl Woods

Mira, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314363

A decade ago, Emily Castle left Sand Castle Bay, North Carolina and her boyfriend Boone Dorsett to begin an interior decorating career in Los Angeles. She and her sisters, Gabi and Samantha head home to help their grandmother Cora Jane after a hurricane battered her Castle’s by the Sea Restaurant.

Single dad widower Boone knows he owes his restaurant success to Cora Jane and plans to help her rebuild. When he and Emily meet for the first time in ten years, each feels the attraction that still remains strong. However, besides feeling guilt over desiring another woman because his late wife died a year ago, Boone knows his eight yeas old son B.J. comes first. Meanwhile B.J. and Emily become friends as Boone wonders whether a bicoastal relationship can work.

The first Ocean Breeze romance is a tender second chance tale starring two likable individuals struggling between love and other desires and needs. Although their misunderstandings seem overly done and the prime obstacle to the relationship dead with her parents as poor surrogate replacements with their custody suit threats, fans will enjoy hurricane season on Coastal Carolina.

Harriet Klausner

What She Wants-Sheila Roberts

What She Wants

Sheila Roberts

Mira, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314325

In Icicle Falls, the three shy poker playing buddies share in common that the women they love barely know they exist. Geek Gods Computer Service guru Jonathan Templar has loved TV personality Lissa Castle for years but never asked her out. He seeks guidance from the romance novels written by Vanessa Valentine as he prays for a Hail Mary at their fifteen year high school reunion.

His friends, Kyle Long and Adam Edwards laugh at Jonathan for reading romances. However, Kyle loves Jillian, the receptionist at Safe Hands Insurance who ignores him at work while Mindy in the next cubicle is friendly with him. Adam actually is married, but his wife Chelsea left him. Kyle and Adam begin to wonder if romance novels may provide the clues to obtaining and keeping the respective women they love.

What She Wants is a refreshing contemporary romance told from the viewpoints of the lead males. With a fun twist re Vanessa, the engaging storyline focuses on The Invisible Man Dancing to the Stars with his beloved in his dreams but now gives it his last shot at making it real; while his comrades struggle with their desires too.

Harriet Klausner

The Wanderer-Robyn Carr

The Wanderer

Robyn Carr

Mira, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778314479

Upon learning that his military friend Ben Bailey died, Henry “Coop” Cooper Jr. leaves Virgin River, California for Thunder Point, Oregon after receiving a call his friend was killed several weeks ago. He meets Deputy Sheriff McCain at Ben’s Bar who says Ben fell in an accident. Coop also learns he inherited 200 acres of Oregon beachfront property and the bar.

Though he was not planning to stay for long in Thunder Point, people keep him there. First the townsfolk turn to him as some sort of savior; and second Coast Guard helicopter pilot Sarah Dupre, who he saw do a dangerous landing that he as a pilot would have been proud to achieve if he had her balls. As Coop and Sarah fall in love, each fears commitment for different reasons and besides she must consider her teenage brother Landon who she is raising.

Readers will enjoy Robyn Carr’s new West Coast small-town series as Coop becomes the first protagonist to leave Virgin River though there are obvious similar themes. Coop and Sarah make a warm couple who prefer no strings flying friends with benefits; while Landon and the locals add depth to the storyline with pieces of their own the tale.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 5, 2013

What Tears Us Apart-Deborah Cloyed

What Tears Us Apart

Deborah Cloyed

Mira, Mar 26 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778313793

In 2007 in Topanga, California Leda tells Amadeus the dog that she quit being a chef as that failed to satisfy her deep need to do something meaningful though she does not need a pay check as she is wealthy. While searching the net for a purpose, she comes across a boys’ orphanage in Kiberia, Kenya with the picture of a handsome worker Ita. She volunteers to help at the orphanage.

Leda flies to Nairobi before finishing her journey to the suburban slum. The abject poverty that greets her seems overwhelming, but Leda quickly finds herself spiritually lifted by the energy and enthusiasm of the children overcoming their troubled pasts and the counter serenity of Ita. As the American and the Kenyan fall in love, his past places her in peril and violent aftermath of the recent election places the orphanage in danger as two groups vie for power.

The brutal 2007 Kenyan backdrop brings freshness to this fascinating redemption romance as two flawed people from polar different worlds fall in love. Character driven by the protagonists, support cast and location, readers will appreciate Deborah Cloyed’s profound look into emotional risk-taking second chances after the demons inside a person nuke the first time.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Currant Creek Valley-RaeAnne Thayne

Currant Creek Valley

RaeAnne Thayne

Harlequin HQN, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777471

In Hope's Crossing, Colorado thirty-something Alexandra McKnight feels good about her life as she has a wonderful family and friends who care about her just like she does about them even if men who matter seem to always hurt her. Further adding to Alexandra’s euphoria is that she will soon run a restaurant owned by Brodie Thorne. However, the contractor renovating the place left on a family emergency so Brodie hires Sam Delgado to finish Alexandra’s kitchen.

When they meet at the restaurant over an identity misunderstanding, she believes the temp is ideal for a short term relationship. Instead, former Ranger, widower Sam and his six yeas old son Ethan are relocating to start fresh. As Alex and Sam fall in love, she expects him to hurt her so she refuses to take a chance on father and son.

The latest Hope's Crossing contemporary romance (see Sweet Laurel Falls, Crossing Woodrose Mountain and Blackberry Summer) is an engaging drama starring a likable widower, his overly precious child and a doubting Thomasine; although her denial eventually becomes an irritant. With a wonderful natural background and a strong support cast add depth to the coming together of three people forging a family if Alex takes a chance on love.

Harriet Klausner

The Jezebel-Saskia Walker

The Jezebel

Saskia Walker

Harlequin HQN, Mar 26 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9780373777440

As a child Maisie Taskill watched her mother burn at the stake. She was taken from Scotland to London by her benefactor. Now in 1715, as an adult, Maisie flees from her benefactor as she knows he wants to use her heathen powers for his own benefit. At the docks, Maisie offers her virginal body to Captain Roderick Cameron to plunder if he takes her safely to Dundee. Although he knows how his Libertas' crew will react with a woman on board, he accepts her offer.

On the Libertas, Roderick and Maisie forge a heated relationship that leads to amplifying her seductive powers; while the men on the ship threaten mutiny. Meanwhile her influential benefactor obtains the assistance of the British Royal Navy in pursuit of the Libertas.

The third Taskill Witches tale (see The Harlot and The Libertine) is a fast-paced thriller that hooks the audience from the moment the witch seduces the skeptical sea captain, who knows he must refuse her offer as he knows how his crew will react, but feels spellbound to accept. Thus he agrees to her virginity as payment for her rite of passage. Though the adversary never quite holds up to fan anticipation of the confrontation, the actions and reactions of the superstitious crew provides a strong counterbalance to the lead couple’s erotic Georgian paranormal romance sea adventure.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shades of Passion-Virna DePaul

Shades of Passion

Virna DePaul

Harlequin HQN, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777426

Still grieving the murder of his girlfriend, a psychologist, California Department of Justice Special Investigative Group Detective Simon Granger works the most dangerous cases while vowing never again let anyone get inside his heart. He is irate and frustrated when SIG assigns him to partner with psychiatrist Dr. Nina Whitaker. Ironically, like Simon, she does not want to pair up with law enforcement and she too grieves the murder of her sister.

After their teaming proves successful, an unknown deranged individual targets Nina; holding her culpable for a death and seeking revenge. Simon vows not again as he risks his life to keep safe his partner who he has fallen in love with.

The latest SIG romantic police procedural (see Shades of Temptation and Shades Of Desire) centers on how law enforcement and mental health providers deal with the criminally mentally ill; as each side comes from a different perspective due to their respective missions. Although the protagonists’ disagreement on the fundamental underlying mental health premise is raised too frequently, fans will enjoy this twisting thriller, which pays homage to Hitchcock.

Harriet Klausner

The Love Shack-Christie Ridgeway

The Love Shack

Christie Ridgeway

Harlequin HQN, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777150

Combat photographer Gage Lowell returns to his family’s childhood summer home in Crescent Cove, California for his twin brother’s wedding (see Beach House No. 9 for Griffin’s tale). However, his recent stint on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border has him shook up though he is stateside. Gage knows his correspondence with Cove childhood friend Skye Alexander kept him sane.

However, instead of a warm greeting, Skye keeps her distance from Gage. She has a secret she fears being exposed; and does not want to be hurt as she has loved Gage since they were children, but he never showed an iota of reciprocation. Skye expects once his sibling marries he will leave her life forever.

The third Crescent Cove summer romance (see Bungalow Nights) contains two engaging romances (the married sister of the twins Polly and firefighter Teague). Ironically, the Polly-Teague supporting subplot is the fresh entry while the main storyline between Skye and Gage comes across as similar to the previous tales. Readers will appreciate this warm summer romance starring likable characters with personal issues to overcome to achieve loving permanent relationships.

Harriet Klausner

Too Hot To Handle-Victoria Dahl

Too Hot To Handle

Victoria Dahl

Harlequin HQN, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777464

Merry Kade feels great when her best friend Grace Barrett (see Close Enough to Touch) hires her to change Providence, Wyoming into a tourist attraction as a ghost town. Euphoric she leaves Los Angeles for Jackson Hole, Wyoming only to find the Trustees responsible for funding the project hording the money; worse she concludes her employment is a sham as the board only uses her as a pretense to elude a lawsuit.

Still Merry decides to go ahead with the project. She hires Shane Harcourt, BFF of Grace’s boyfriend Cole Rawlins, who resides in the same apartment complex as she does, to begin the renovation. Shane and Merry are attracted to one another, but he feels guilty as he knows he will darken her sunshine when he devastates her optimism and affirms her belief no one would truly want her.

The latest Wyoming romance is an entreating contemporary tale starring a woman with low self-esteem and a man at war with his family. Readers will adore aptly named Merry, but disdain Shane whose avarice seems out of place until we learn the rest of the story. Although more on the project would have added depth to the somewhat thin storyline, fans will enjoy the love tale of two individuals reluctant to take a chance on love.

Harriet Klausner

Slow Burn-Anne Marsh

Slow Burn

Anne Marsh

Kensington Brava, Mar 26 2013, $9.95

ISBN: 9780758287861

In Strong, California, photographer Faye Duncan is working on a piece on firefighters. Concerned for her safety, Los Angeles firefighter Mike Thomas asks his friend Evan Donovan to keep her safe as her ex knows she is apt to drive a Corvette though flames on a curving mountain road. More comfortable with blazes than women, Mike reluctantly agrees.

Evan is stunned by the fire in his lower body when he meets Faye; while she is equally as shocked by how hot he makes her by just being nearby. When she takes a photo of a probable arsonist, Evan keeps Faye safe. As they fall in love, she wonders if she can cope with his dangerous occupation as it is rhe second time for her; and he tries to deal with feelings he never had before.

The latest Smoke Jumpers romance (see Burning Up) is a fabulous thriller due in part to the lead characters and the arsonist coming across as genuine and even more critical as Anne Marsh does not romanticize the danger of fighting fires. In spite of the Slow Burn title and a relatively leisure boy and girl meets beginning, this accelerates into a fast-paced heated tale.

Harriet Klausner