Monday, April 28, 2014

When We Met-Susan Mallery

When We Met Susan Mallery Harlequin HQN, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778652 In Fool’s Gold, California, though he lost his wife Marie and their son Marcus several years ago, Widower Angel Whittaker still grieves for them even while attracted to newcomer public relations specialist Taryn Crawford. Knowing he needs to become part of the community, the CDS bodyguard school trainer offers his services to Mayor Marsha. She assigns him as Grove Keeper of the Acorns. Believing he can handle any mission after years in combat and expecting to meet teenage or tweener boys, the former Special Ops officer panics when his unit turns out to be eight seven-year-old girls. Angel offers Taryn a deal that would benefit both of them. She helps him with his girls and he cooperates with her company Score’s campaign to persuade CDS to hire her and her three ex jocks partners as their PR firm. As she struggles with adjusting to the relocation from Los Angeles to this welcoming town, Taryn and her veteran agree to be partners with benefits. However neither expected a deep need to turn those benefits into a lifetime shared entitlement. The latest Fool’s Gold contemporary (see A Fool’s Gold Christmas and the “Only” trilogy, Etc.) is an engaging amusing romance with each bringing special “bodyguards” to the mix; though his little girls easily tackle her former NFL players. Series fans will enjoy the latest stay in this magical town while also anticipating the sacking of the jocks to follow. Harriet Klausner

Breaking Point-Lindsay McKenna

Breaking Point Lindsay McKenna Harlequin HQN, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778676 In Operations Camp Bravo FOB, SEAL Chief Hampton introduces the latest team member 18 Delta Medic Baylee-Ann Thorn who he explains is part of a top secret program Operation Shadow Warriors testing whether women can perform as part of a cohesive unit in combat. Her Alpha Platoon new teammates are less than welcoming as none accept a woman on their squad; that is with one exception E-6 Gabe Griffin who believes her size, apparent skill and demeanor will make her an asset in a hot fire scenario. As the SEALs reject her, Bay loses confidence that she can do the job. Only Gabe, who believes in her, encourages her. As they fall in love, a deadly taboo in the amorphous frontlines, Bay is baptized under fire. This Operation Shadow Warriors military romance (see Risk Taker) is a strong timely tale as women increasingly are in combat situations due to the nature of modern day on the ground war conditions in the Afghan theater and elsewhere. Bay makes the storyline realistic as she understands their macho reluctance and the Degree of Risk she faces if her comrades in arms fail to have her back. On the surface, Gabe is the typical male lone wolf (with a few surprises like an MBA), but finds his heart resuscitated by his love for Bay. This author always writes a great tale. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Everything to Lose-Andrew Gross

Everything to Lose Andrew Gross Harper, Apr 22 2014, $26.99 ISBN 9780062326379 Thirty-something single mom of seven year old low functioning Aspie Brandon, Hilary Blum is in financial trouble with enormous debt and no longer employed since losing her marketing position. With no other options, Hilary concludes she must confront Brandon’s affluent father Jim for child support though he abandoned them four years ago and since began a new perfect family. As she drives from Westchester to Greenwich on a back road she never uses, Hilary watches the car in front of her lose control and crash down an embankment. She goes down the slope to check on those inside the vehicle. Hilary finds the driver dead and a bag containing 5000 hundred-dollar bills. Desperate, Hilary grabs the loot and uses it to pay her bills. However, an angry killer seeks the cache that belongs to this psychopath. Realizing her theft left her and Brandon in peril from a deadly adversary, Hilary seeks the truth behind the cash in hopes to expose her predator before he murders her child. This is a strong thriller starring a beleaguered mom who would do anything to protect her son though she struggles to understand his behavior and fears for his future without her. Andrew Gross captures the essence of an NT caregiver raising an Autistic Spectrum child; as a mom of a high functioning Aspie I relate to Hilary’s efforts to deal with her child’s thought-processes she perceives as alien. However, why she failed to sue for child support is never explained as raising an Autistic Spectrum child is expensive and Greenwich denotes affluence. Readers will appreciate this tale as the caregiver’s prime personal value is do anything for her son even breaking all her other moral anchors. Harriet Klausner

Untamed Wolf- Linda O. Johnston

Untamed Wolf Linda O. Johnston Harlequin Nocturne, May 1 2014, $5.75 ISBN: 9780263913934 General Greg Yarrow learns of feral friction between the established Alpha Force and the newly commissioned Ultra Special Forces Team. He wants the two units to cooperate in fighting the paranormal enemy and not each other. Thus he sends Lieutenant Sara McLinder to report to Alpha Force stationed at Fort Lukman on the Maryland Eastern Shore where the Ultra Special Forces Team also has its flag planted, with plans to join her. Sara arrives a day early, but soon afterward someone attacks the General. Sara and her direct reporting subordinate Sergeant Jason Connell investigate the assault, but she also finds out that rumors of shapeshifters are real as Jason turns out to be a wolf-shifter. As they work the case, their attraction grows until he risks all to keep his beloved superior officer safe. The fifth Alpha Force military romantic fantasy (see Undercover Wolf, Alaskan Wolf and Alpha Wolf) is an enjoyable tale due to the lead protagonists; especially Sara’s reaction to what she learns about Jason’s duality. Though somewhat similar in tone to Guardian Wolf, readers will enjoy this thrilling romantic suspense as Jason proves to be all he could be when it comes to fraternizing and accomplishing the mission. Harriet Klausner >

Monday, April 21, 2014

Seduce Me-Jo Leigh

Seduce Me Jo Leigh Harlequin Blaze, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373798001 In New York City, twenty four women race to the table filled with the Hot Guys Trading Cards. Film archivist Natalie Gellar likes what she reads about librarian Max Zimm because of his reference to How I Met Your Mother before turning over the card to stare at the picture of a super hunk; other women are stunned by his looks too. However, due to a printer’s mix-up of card info, Max Zimm is not the librarian but instead the hunk never heard of Lilypad or Marshmallow; finally he is a disgusting lawyer. As Natalie learns more about her choice, she finds she loathes his personality and what he enjoys; likewise he feels the same about her. Still each agree to one-night but both know that is not enough. The latest It’s Trading Men (see Choose Me, Have Me and Want Me) contemporary romance is a strong entry; as the protagonists know their attraction is solar heated but each also accepts they have little else in common. Readers will enjoy this deep drama between diametrical opposites as love (and sex) may not be enough to forge a long-term relationship when nothing else binds the pair. Harriet Klausner

Possessed By A Warrior-Sharon Ashwood

Possessed By A Warrior Sharon Ashwood Harlequin Nocturne, May 1 2014, $5.75 ISBN: 9780263913941 The attack left La Compagnie des Morts lead horseman Jack Anderson the vampire dead, but not before Death contacted his teammate Sam Ralston. The police ruled Jack’s demise was caused by a DUI. Attending his funeral are his niece wedding planner Chloe and three of his friends, Sam, Kenyon the werewolf and Dr. Mark Winspear. Sam turns out to be co-executor along with a stunned Chloe of Jack’s estate; both share in common love, respect and now grief for the dearly departed billionaire, and a disbelief that he died while under the influence; but apparently little else. At Jack’s Oakwood estate, Sam and Chloe find a wedding dress with valuable jewels sewed into it and a note to her to trust him. As the pair team up on an investigation as to who or what killed the leader of the Four Horsemen field agents unit and try to learn the secret of the wedding dress, unknown adversaries assault Chloe; causing Sam to put aside his thirst for revenge in order to protect the woman he loves. The paranormal elements, particularly the species, come across as genuine as does the inquiry while Chloe and Sam are a delightful pairing of seemingly star-crossed lovers. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy stepping into the Ashwood realm in a terrific romantic urban fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Make Me Melt-Karen Foley

Make Me Melt Karen Foley Harlequin Blaze, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373798018 Judge William Banks gave sixteen years old Jason Cooper a choice between a path to college and a stay in juvenile detention. Jason accepted William’s offer and moved in with the judge and his family. Five years later, William’s sweet sixteen daughter Caroline is attracted to Jason who is so different than the nearby Stanford law students who work for her dad and her high school cronies. Though he wants her, out of respect for his mentor, Jason rejects her advances culminating when he refused her in his bed seduction. A dozen years since Jason did the most difficult thing he ever did by saying no to Caroline, someone shoots the judge. While William is in ICU, now a U.S. Marshal Jason returns from San Diego to keep Caroline safe. The desire he barely controlled over a decade ago that she raised in him explodes as both succumb to their attraction. The latest U.S. Marshals romantic suspense (see Hard To Hold) is a thrilling heated second chance contemporary starring two wonderful leads. The romance and mystery are well written fun, but Jason steals the show with his at risk youthful selecting the difficult moral high road over instant gratification and continues to display strong ethics when it comes to the Banks. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fearless Hope-Serena B. Miller

Fearless Hope Serena B. Miller Howard Books/Simon and Schuster, Apr 8 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9781451660371 In Holmes County, Ohio, Titus Schrock spends $10,000 on a bull that frightens his wife Hope who pleads with him to sell the violent animal even at a loss. He refuses as he believes the bull will enable him to buy a farm instead of renting two acres. After tucking in bed their five years old daughter Carrie and four years old son Adam, pregnant Hope watches in horror when the bull gores her husband. Using the name Nate Scott, author Logan Parker turns to alcohol to cope with the pressure from his fiancée Marla and recent bad reviews on his latest work. Marla has to go Holmes County to buy Amish goods for a client and insists Logan accompany her. Logan notices a farmhouse that for no reason seems familiar though he never has been to Ohio before. Marla is cynical, his mother acts strange and his agent fears he lost his mind; yet Logan buys the house. He hires Hope as his housekeeper while he frighteningly finds other familiarities. As the Amish widow to her chagrin and the New York writer to his awe fall in love, Logan finds other anomalies that shake his world almost as much as Hope and her children do. This Buckeye State Amish romance (see An Uncommon Grace and Hidden Mercies) is an engaging tale due to the delightful déjà vu mystery haunting the hero; though readers will guess what is happening. Due to the fully developed lead couple, her children and the Amish community, the romance also is fun even as the subplot follows the expected course. Additionally there is a bonus account of An Amish Wedding Invitation to a real ceremony. Harriet Klausner

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride- Caro Carson

The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride Caro Carson Harlequin Special Edition, Apr 15 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373658169 In Austin, West Central Texas Hospital cardiologist Dr. Quinn MacDowell meets realtor Diana Connor at a major charity event in which her boss assigned her as his next to last choice (eight before her rejected the ticket) to give a business card to every doctor in attendance. Though he feels the time is right to find a woman to forge a relationship with like his brother recently has (see The Doctor’s Former Fiancée), he limits his pool to the medical world and definitely not a crazy realtor. Known for her matchmaking proclivity, Diana believes she has found her life mate in Quinn. However, the heart doctor rejects her as he finds the effervescent Diana too distastefully vivacious for him. Diana tries her best to get Quinn to recognize her as the only woman for him, but he refuses to acknowledge her as his beloved. Finally giving up, Diana concludes her cardiologist will never mend her broken heart. This Doctors MacDowell Texas romance is an amusing lighthearted contemporary starring seemingly total-opposites in every way, even apparently when it comes to falling in love. Mindful of the 1960s movie Tammy & The Doctor but with a twenty-first century spin, readers will enjoy this engaging tale. Harriet Klausner

A Sensible Arrangeme -Tracie Peterson

A Sensible Arrangement Tracie Peterson Bethany House Publishers, Apr 1 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9780764210587 In 1892 Martha Olson knows she needs to move passed her grief that has crippled her since her beloved husband Thomas died in a ranching accident several years ago. The Widow believes to do so she must find a new spouse outside of Texas; especially leaving their ranch where the memories of happier times and the tragedy are everywhere. Thus Marty responds to a Dallas Daily-Times Herald add in which a Texan living in Colorado wants to meet a Lone Star lady. Affluent banker Widow Jake Wythe and Marty exchange correspondence and soon agree to marry once she arrives in Colorado. As they fall in love, her only regret at being Mrs. Wythe is his insistence they return home and buy a ranch. She also feels guilt for concealing one major secret from her spouse that she still owns the spread where her first husband died. A Sensible Arrangement is an entertaining inspirational Americana romance starring two lonely people finding love and solace with each other, but lies of omission threaten their happiness; both believe the truth will not set them free. Although the late nineteenth century storyline slows down with too much detail about the behavior of the upper class and the era’s banking (though I enjoyed the tidbits seemingly related to the upcoming Great Depression Panic of 1893). Readers will enjoy this tender tale of second chances. Harriet Klausner