Monday, June 24, 2013

All Out Of Love-Lori Wilde

All Out Of Love

Lori Wilde

Avon, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062218964

In Cupid, Texas overweight high school student Lace Bettingfield wrote a letter asking Cupid for help with her unrequited love for football star Pierce Hollister. Her love letter ends up in the school paper; leaving Lace humiliated and alone.

Twelve years since Lace’s embarrassment, now in the NFL playing for the Dallas Cowboys, an injury cost Pierce and his team a chance at winning the Super Bowl. He comes home to Cupid to heal. Meanwhile Lace’s grandmother Millie Greenway believes in the Cupid legend with the proof that the prodigal superstar has come home. However, Lace is a non-believer who runs the botanical gardens and wants nothing to do with her former crush who is interested in her. While he struggles with family problems football allowed him to avoid, they begin a tryst. When she lacks money to keep the gardens open, she reluctantly asks Pierce to headline a fundraiser.

The second Cupid contemporary romance (see Love at First Sight) is an engaging heated affair between the botanist and the football player. Although fans will appreciate this second chance romance, too many references into their respective occupations adds humor but detracts from the relationship.

Harriet Klausner

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh-Stephanie Laurens

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh

Stephanie Laurens

Avon, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062068651

By 1837, Mary Cynster is the only member of her generation to remain single now that her sister Henrietta married (see And Then She Fell). Perhaps because she is the youngest, whatever Mary wants Mary gets and she knows what she wants in a mate: someone she can control. Her first choice is gentle Randolph Cavanaugh while her last selection is his rowdy brother Ryder.

Ryder the rake is attracted to contrary Mary who rejects his overtures. However, as he continues his pursuit of her and she remains steadfast in eluding him, their gender war takes a different spin then ether expected when a lunatic goes after both of them. With help from the Cynster clan and their love, Mary and Ryder confront a maniac.

Almost two decades and twenty historical romances later, the Cynster saga comes to a wonderful but sad end with the second Cynster Sisters Duo tale (the family tree and the epilogue emphasizes that finality). The storyline is fast-paced even with the return of much of the extended family though that also can prove distracting. Still fans will appreciate this delightful entry while taking a page out of Mary’s spousal selection playbook by demanding of Stephanie Laurens, Cynster next generation Victorian romances.

Harriet Klausner

An English Bride In Scotland-Lynsay Sands

An English Bride In Scotland

Lynsay Sands

Avon, Jun 25 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780061963117

Lady Withram arrives at night at Elstow Abbey to take her daughter Annabel home to Waverly for a night or two. A confused Abigail says her home is the abbey as she wonders why her mom has taken her from her bed of fourteen years; in all that time not a word from her family. Mother refuses to answer any questions except her sister Kate is the reason she must come home as her sibling has runaway just before a Scottish laird was coming to marry her.

Laird Ross MacKay has no problems which English Rose will be his bride. Annabel feels more comfortable at the stables than managing a home or sleeping with a man. Ross and his clan find her naive efforts charming and soon accept her as a Scotswoman. As they fall in love, Kate comes home.

An English Bride In Scotland is an enjoyable medieval romance due to the amusing relationship between the lead couple. Although the premise is overused and the protagonists are inconsistent (ranging from brilliant to moronic), subgenre fans will enjoy Lynsay Sand’s humorous historical.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Widow Of Conard County-Rachel Lee

The Widow Of Conard County

Rachel Lee

Harlequin Special Edition, Jun 18 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373657520

In Conard County, Widow Sharon Majors has begun to move on after her husband Chet died while serving in the military in Afghanistan. However Sharon realizes her resolve is weak when a limping man arrives. Liam O’Connor survived the war but suffered a brain trauma that altered his life and lost his best friend Chet to the hostilities that changed him even more. Just released from rehab he has come to Wyoming to deliver Chet’s last letter written to his wife.

Sharon sees in the brain damaged Liam a kindred spirit grieving the loss of Chet. She persuades him to stay and work on her ranch while they heal and deal with their grief. As the couple falls in love, both believe Chet would be pleased, but the vet and the widow fear their feelings.

The latest Conard County ranch romance is a superb second chance at life tale in which the protagonists mentally struggle with the personal cost of war. The stress on Sharon is powerful, but it is the incredibly profound look at brain traumatized Liam that brings a timely fresh discernment to the storyline. Readers will appreciate this home front romance.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Once is Never Enough-Mira Lynn Kelly

Once is Never Enough

Mira Lynn Kelly

Harlequin Kiss, Jun 18 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207213

Accountant Nichole Daniels wants nothing to do with men after two broken engagements. Her best friend Maeve suggests she should set her up with her overly protective brother Garrett who raised her and three sisters to get him off her back. Nichole declines.

Construction company owner Garrett Carter and Nichole meet with each stunned by the attraction. When she learns he is her BFF’s older brother, she insists friendship only. As each falls in love, no touch becomes impossible while both reconsider their no commitment pledge especially Nicole who believes the third time is the charm though she fears strike three.

Once is Never Enough is an enjoyable contemporary romance though the storyline follows a narrow obvious course. Fans will enjoy the changing relationship between the fully developed main characters with each having doubts to overcome.

Harriet Klausner

What the Paparazzi Didn’t See-Nicola Marsh

What the Paparazzi Didn’t See

Nicola Marsh

Harlequin Kiss, Jun 18 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207220

In Melbourne Liza Lithgrow is an elite sportsman’s WAG (wives and girlfriends) in order to pay for the care of her disabled younger sister Cindy. The paparazzi love capturing her with affluent athletes like Jimmy. However, Liz feels good that she has finally made the money needed to insure Cindy’s care for life so plans to become an ex-WAG.

Qu Publishing CEO Wade Urquart and Liza meet and share an incredible night as she celebrates her liberation. The morning after is ruined when they learn who the other is. He wants her to write a scandalous kiss-and-tell autobiography that will save his company; while she learns her investment broker Walden Wren ran off with his clients’ money including her sister’s trust fund. As she agrees to write her story, they fall in love but Liza fears Wade will not see beyond what the paparazzi see.

This is an emotional Australian contemporary romance starring two protagonists with family issues that motivate both of them; as besides caring for her sister, her parents deserted Cindy, and he failed his late father so guilt drives his need to save Qu. Though readers should skip Liza Lithgrow’s “Style Tips for Maximum WAG Wow Impact” which opens each chapter with amusing cuteness that feels out of place, fans will relish this strong passionate tale.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rocky Mountain Lawman-Rachel Lee

Rocky Mountain Lawman

Rachel Lee

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Jun 4 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373278268

Veteran Skylar Jamison travels to the Wyoming Rockies to heal and hide in the wilderness painting. While on National Forest land, a big burly guy accuses her of being a spy and tells her to leave. After the man departs, having seen enough conflict she considers leaving until Forest Park Service Ranger and Wildlife Biologist Craig Stone arrives. She tells him what happened and he says he will take care of it with Buddy who owns land inside the National Forest.

Craig realizes Buddy is not being a cranky paranoid as strangers with weapons stalk the forest. They hunt Sky who Craig invites to stay in his cabin with her to keep her safe. As they fall in love, Sky and Craig team up against a superior force.

The latest Conard County: Next Generation romantic suspense (see No Ordinary Hero) is an action-packed thriller starring two strong protagonists though each is vulnerable when it comes to love. Rachel Lee provides another winning tale as love and danger come to the Wyoming Rockies.

Harriet Klausner

Confessing to the Cowboy-Carla Cassidy

Confessing to the Cowboy

Carla Cassidy

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Jun 4 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373278251

In Grady Gulch, Oklahoma teenager Jeffrey Lawrence calls 911 to report the murdered body of Dorothy Blake in her home. He explains to Sheriff Cameron Evans that he walks her dog every morning and has a key because she works nights at as a waitress at the Cowboy Café.

Cameron has been in love with the Cowboy Café owner, single mom Mary Mathis for eight years, but she refuses involvement with any man offering no reason though inside her heart she is attracted to Cameron. The sheriff ignores his attraction as he investigates three murders, with Dorothy the latest, linked to Cowboy Café but unaware of the motive. Filled with guilt over the three dead waitresses, Mary believes her violent past has come to haunt her present.

The latest Cowboy Café romantic suspense (see Cowboy With A Cause) is a thrilling romantic police procedural. The key to what is the final (and most anticipated) tale in the series is the relationship between the lead couple as each has looked forward to his close the café cup of coffee every night. The taut suspense has readers waiting for a confrontation between the sheriff and the café owner, and an unknown violent serial killer whose previous targets are calling cards to Mary.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Walk Down The Aisle-Holly Jacobs

A Walk Down The Aisle

Holly Jacobs

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 4 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718580

In Valley Ridge, New York, Sophie Johnston and Colton McCray are at the alter about to exchange marital vows when angry fourteen year old Tori Allen arrives claiming the bride was her mother. Stunned, Colt calls off the wedding as his fiancée never mentioned giving away a baby for adoption and wonders what other secrets Sophie concealed from him.

Though heartbroken, Sophie likes the idea of getting to know her blue haired daughter whose parents gave them permission to become acquainted. When she learns she is pregnant, Sophie refuses to give Colton a second chance though she loves him deeply. He feels like a villain though she failed to tell him about a daughter.

The latest Valley Ridge Wedding (see You Are Invited and April Showers) is a fabulous relationship drama as life proves increasingly convoluted for the bride and groom. Readers will enjoy this Lake Erie romance as Holly Jacobs provides a wonderful tale as the perfect couple proves imperfect.

Harriet Klausner

Once A Champion-Jeannie Watt

Once A Champion

Jeannie Watt

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 4 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718573

Champion calf roper Matt Montoya has searched for his missing horse Beckett since his then separated cheating wife Trena sold him over a year ago. Ironically, clues lead him to his neighbor’s ranch; but the condition of the spread shocks him. Instead of Tim Bailey, he runs into the owner’s daughter Liv, a physical therapist he has not seen in a dozen years since she tutored him in high school. Liv informs him she bought the horse from Trena, which was a legal sale as this is a community property state and they were still married.

She knows she is still attracted to him as she was in school, but refuses a relationship having just ended an engagement. Attracted to her, Matt no longer ignores the brain as her intelligence scared him when they were teens, but not now. As they argue over a horse’s ownership, they fall in love but in spite of a bad knee injury she expects he will return to the circuit and forget about her.

This is a delightful ranch romance due to a super support cast and the lead couple’s conflicting issues. He is like a champion boxer coming out of retirement (think of Ali-Holmes and Leonard-Camacho) while she fears controlling males. Readers will enjoy the roper and the therapist falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

His Uptown Girl-Liz Talley

His Uptown Girl

Liz Talley

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 4 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373718542

Katrina devastated jazz pianist Dez Batiste’s life, but after years away he has come home to New Orleans to open up a club in the Uptown neighborhood. However, the local store owners fear a jazz club will bring drugs and prostitution with it so they vehemently oppose.

The Queen’s Box antique shop owner Eleanor Theriot agrees with the opponents to Dez’s club though she is attracted to him and respects his encouraging her employee Tre, who suffered plenty from the Hurricane and human venom. Eleanor and Dez begin seeing each other, which upsets her daughter Blakely but makes her BFF Pansy elated. As they fall in love, she is his muse who brings back to him the music he lost but that may not be enough for the permanent relationship he covets and she fears.

His Uptown Girl is an electrifying post Katrina contemporary romance starring two wonderful lead characters and a strong support cast. Fast-paced, readers will relish Liz Talley’s terrific tale as love may not be enough for this couple.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 7, 2013

Smoking Hot-Karen Kelley

Smoking Hot

Karen Kelley

Sourcebooks, Jun 4 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781402263927

Raine McCandless left the life of a cop on dangerous patrol in a bad neighborhood of Fort Worth to come home to comatose Randolph, Texas as a Sheriff’s Deputy because her Grandpa needed her. After completing the night shift, Raine comes home only to find a Smoking Hot stranger inside waiting for her.

Dillon Taylor claims he is an immortal nephilim hybrid angel-man. He has come to prevent Raine from dying in a robbery that turns ugly. When the bank robbery occurs, her boss suspects Raine and her Grandpa committed the crime. Dillon must find a way to keep the purebred human, who fans the flames of heat inside him, out of prison. Raine realizes she must focus on the investigation but she knows “where there’s heat” there’s distracting desire.

Smoking Hot is a heated romantic urban fantasy starring two full blooded protagonists and a strong secondary cast. The mystery is clever with fabulous twists and red herrings that will have readers and the heroine wondering who robbed the bank while the romance seemingly has no future. Karen Kelley provides a wonderful tale.

Harriet Klausner

A Captain and a Corset-Mary Wine

A Captain and a Corset

Mary Wine

Sourcebooks, Jun 4 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402264832

In 1843 London, Sophia Stevenson knows she will never go back to her rigid frivolous Victorian life before the Root Ball changed her. Now inside the Illuminist’s Solitary Chamber she is the rarest of the rare a Navigator in training to guide ships.

Her instructor Captain Bion Donkova is stern and demanding, which angers and frustrates Sophia who struggles to adjust to her new lifestyle though she respects the Illuminist’s goal to make the world a better place for all. He thinks she is too frivolous and troublesome as she does not appreciate what she possesses. However, each conceals their attraction from one another. One of the unfriendly groups abducts Sophia in order to use her abilities to further their agenda to grab power. Wishing his beloved student was more biddable and adhered to the rules, a worried Bion pursues the kidnappers to rescue the woman he loves.

The second Illuminist steampunk romantic thriller (see A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious) is a fast-paced action-packed tale that never slows down from the moment Sophia is snatched. The villains are top of the line and in many ways steal the show (along with the wonderful Wine world) from the protagonists. Although the romance feels rushed, fans will enjoy the thrilling A Captain and A Corset.

Harriet Klausner

The Magic of "I Do"-Tammy Falkner

The Magic of "I Do"

Tammy Falkner

Sourcebooks, Jun 4 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402268151

In 1817 with magic banned in the land of Fae, fairie Claire Thorne returns to the human world where she recently helped her sister Sophia on her mission (see A Lady and Her Magic) but lost her fairy dust. She ends up in the one place she prefers to avoid, the room of hedonistic Lord “Finn” Phineas Tremble who possesses her shimmer in a vial.

Over her objection, Finn declares himself Claire’s protector though she wants nothing to do with a womanizing gambling cad and he believes her to be more an uptight harpy than a fairie. When Claire receives her mission to catch a killer, Finn demands in on her dangerous quest as he has fallen in love with the irritating defrocked fae.

The latest Thorne regency romantic fantasy is an engaging tale as the lead characters amusingly fuss and fight their way to love. Their jocular gender war and her perilous mission make for a fine thriller though Finn is to stereotypical of a reformed Regency rake.

Harriet Klausner

His Baby Dream-Jacqueline Diamond

His Baby Dream

Jacqueline Diamond

Harlequin American Romance, Jun 4 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373754588

High school biology teacher Peter Gladstone works summers at the Safe Harbor Sports Camp. Widow single mom Harper Anthony’s six year old daughter Mia attends the camp. They know each other because her late husband and Peter coached the high school wrestling team together. Peter and Harper, a nurse at the Safe Harbor Medical Center, are attracted to each other, but feel some guilt over their feelings.

A widower since his wife died of cancer two years ago, Peter decides to fulfill their dream of a child by using donated eggs that Harper has provided to an agency. He is euphoric that her DNA will be used, but when she learns this she becomes upset that Peter failed to tell her that someone else will be the surrogate mother.

The latest Safe Harbor Medical romance (see The Detective's Accidental Baby, The Baby Dilemma, The M.D.'s Secret Daughter, and The Baby Jackpot) is an engaging second chance at love starring two decent people who lost loved ones. Although His Baby Dream “conflict” feels forced, readers will root for Peter and Harper to come together.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hollywood House Call-Jules Bennett

Hollywood House Call

Jules Bennett

Harlequin Desire, Jun 4 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373732500

In order to eat, wannabe actress Callie Matthews works as the receptionist at Dr. Noah Foster’s cosmetic surgery office that caters to the rich and famous. Just as Callie receives a major acting part, she suffers terrible injuries in a car accident.

Filled with despair, Callie wallows in self-pity as she wants to be alone. However, Noah refuses to allow her to become a hermit. He persuades her to move into his home to heal and promises to restore her beauty lost to the crash. As they live together platonically, they fall in love with each wanting to change their bedside relationship from professional to personal, but his past has left him commitment phobic.

Hollywood House Call is a tender contemporary romance due the fully developed hurting protagonists having traumas that hold each back. Whereas Callie suffers emotionally and physically, Noah deals with mental demons from his past. Together these two walking wounded prove love makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Marriage for Her Baby-Raye Morgan

Marriage for Her Baby

Raye Morgan

Harlequin Romance, Jun 4 2013, $5.99

ISBN: 9780373742455

Just across the water from Seattle, Sara Darling, because of her sister Jill, annually begs door to door collecting funds for the Children’s Sunshine funds. Her last stop has a desperate man greet her with a stove fire, too much suds in the dishwasher, burned toast and the fire alarm going crazy while an angry cat adds to the mess. She takes control of the scene as Jake Martin explains he missed civilization over the last few years after spending his time in tents and motels for the military and as a child part of the Wild Ones family.

Jake and Sara, who he thinks is Jill, chat as he tells her he must learn how to raise his daughter Savannah as her mother Kelly died in a car crash. Sara is stunned as she has petitioned the court to name her to be the mother of her niece Savannah. When he learns his savior is Sara Darling who he knows wants to adopt Savannah, Jake suggests a marriage of convenience, which she accepts. As they fall in love, both adults want a real family.

This Single Mom Diaries entry (see A Daddy For her Sons) is an over the top of the Space Needle fun tale due to the likable lead couple. Readers will root for kind Sara, domestically-inept Jake and baby Savannah to become a loving family rather than a trio of convenience.

Harriet Klausner

It Had To Be You-Jill Shalvis

It Had To Be You

Jill Shalvis

Grand Central, May 28 2013, $8.00

ISBN: 9781455521128

In Lucky Harbor, Washington Ali Winters finds out her boyfriend Teddy is a serial cheater who abandoned her by text in the house he rented without telling her his lease ran out. The heartbroken florist may lose her job at Lucky Harbor Flowers as she is the prime suspect of stealing money from the town’s new community center construction fund since the cash was last seen in Teddy’s office.

San Francisco Police Detective Luke Hanover comes home to spend needed R&R at the house he recently inherited after a case turned homicidally ugly. When he arrives at his house in Lucky Harbor, he sees a beautiful thief in his kitchen while Ali thinks the hunk is a burglar. As they clarify who they are, neither wants the complication of the other but the attraction is powerful. Though Luke vowed not to investigate, he soon makes inquiries into the missing money.

The latest enjoyable visit to Lucky Harbor (see At Last, and Forever And A Day) is a fun tale with a mystery enhancing the romance. The lead couple is a nice pairing though Ali mends her broken heart and gets over her betrayal too fast. Still series fans will relish this humorous entry as the cop and the florist find their luck changed when they meet in Lucky Harbor.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Big Sky Summer-Linda Lael Miller

Big Sky Summer

Linda Lael Miller

Harlequin HQN, May 28 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777655

Parable, Montana rancher Walker Parrish loves country and western star Casey Elder. He sired two children with her, but he reluctantly agreed she would raise them while no one would know he was their father. When Casey returns to Parable with fourteen year old Clare and thirteen year old Shane, Walker feels he made a terrible error years ago as he wants to spend time with his teen children as their dad not as a family friend.

Casey asks Walker to marry her for the sake of the children who need a father but not an abrupt shocker. He wants to tell them that he is their biological father while she fears their reactions having kept it a secret from everyone. Additionally Casey conceals her hidden agenda that she needs him too.

The latest Big Sky contemporary (see Big Sky River, Big Sky Mountain and Big Sky Country) is an enjoyable ranch romance due to the interesting screwed up relationship. Casey’s original argument for hiding the identity of the father seems off base as Walker is nothing like her rationalization. Still, readers will relish this second chance at family.

Harriet Klausner

Just One Kiss-Susan Mallery

Just One Kiss

Susan Mallery

Harlequin HQN, May 28 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777600

In Fool’s Gold, California fourteen year old Patience McGraw and sixteen year old Justice Garrett are friends though both want more. Instead he vanishes and all traces that he lived in Fool’s Gold disappear with him.

Fifteen years later, Justice returned to town as a bodyguard to a ballet dancer. He visits Patience at Chez Julia, the hair salon where she works. Over coffee, he explains his father Bart Hanson, Sr. was a career criminal who killed people while robbing them. Justice testified against his dad and was in the Witness Protection Program when he was forced to relocate; he conceals from her that he believes his father killed his mother. In the personal protection business, Justice and his partners plan to open up an academy in town. She introduces him to her ten years old daughter Lillie. As they fall in love, he knows he is not spousal or daddy material and she expects him to abandon her and Lillie; while his father continues his hunt.

Though the latest Fool’s Gold romance starts a bit slower than usual, fans will enjoy this second chance at love entry as the male lead’s childhood has him doubting that he deserves the love of a family. Readers will enjoy the heroine living up to her name when it comes to the love of her life as Justice must defeat his demonic dad emotionally as much as in person.

Harriet Klausner

Freefall-Jill Sorenson


Jill Sorenson

Harlequin HQN, May 28 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777952

Olympic athlete Sam Rutherford was climbing Valhalla at night when he saw what looked like a single engine plane crash and subsequent fire on Angels Wings. He runs for five hours to the Sierra Nevada Mineral King Station where he reports what he witnessed to park attendant Owen Jackson and ranger Hope Banning. Hope delays her vacation to climb remote Angels Wing. Though each is reluctant to team up, Sam accompanies her as she needs a seasoned partner. Each remembers that great night of sex six months ago but his memory is tainted with guilt over his fiancé’s death from a climbing accident and hers with his brutal get lost attitude afterward.

As they climb together on the search and rescue mission, their attraction remains strong leaving both on edge. When they reach the crash site, neither is prepared for what will greet them there. Trust is the only way they and others will survive.

The sequel to Aftershock is an exciting romantic suspense that begins as a dangerous mountain climb before turning into a more standard thriller scenario. Sam showcases how talented Jill Sorenson is as he was a depressed brute in Aftershock, but converts into a hero from the moment he enters the ranger station. Readers will appreciate this engaging tale as a dangerous mountain climb and a deadly villain seem like child-play compared to freefalling in love.

Harriet Klausner