Friday, May 30, 2014

The Best Man For The Job-Lucy King

The Best Man For The Job Lucy King Harlequin Kiss, Jun 1 2014, $5.99 ISBN: 9780373179008 Celia Forrester feels good about her brother Dan’s wedding to Zoe but dreads walking down the aisle afterward arm in arm with the best man Marcus Black. Fifteen years ago, teenage Cecilia loved Marcus, but he rejected her advances. However, this time Marcus has no compunctions and openly flirts with Celia. Although she still remains mortified over what almost happened, she also realizes she still wants her brother’s best friend. Celia concludes a brief fling will rid her of her craving for Marcus. They make love, but she becomes pregnant. Both wonder what to do about their relationship with a baby soon to be in the picture. The Best Man For The Job is an entertaining contemporary in which a pregnancy radically alters the dynamics between the protagonists. Although the relationship feels emotionally underdeveloped and the storyline goes the expected path, Lucy King writes an overall enjoyable second (and third) chance romance. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Cursed-Heather Graham

The Cursed Heather Graham Mira, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN 9780778316268 In Key West Hannah O’Brien runs Siren of the Sea bed and breakfast, which has been owned by her family for several generations. Though her B&B struggles to survive, Hannah supplements her income with ghost tours beginning at Siren of the Sea. Following a tour, a college student couple staying at the B&B, Stuart Bell and Shelly Nicholson, see an apparent ghost holding a knife dripping with blood by the pool; terrified they leave immediately. Hannah lectures Melody and Hagen the ghosts for frightening their paying guests, but both spirits emphatically deny involvement. The next morning Hannah finds a corpse who looks like the ghost as described by the upset guests. While her cousin Krewe of Hunters Kelsey O’Brien tells her she is coming, the local cops inform FBI Agent Dallas Sampson as this homicide seems to have ties to his smuggling ring Los Lobos case and the victim was a Fed. Meanwhile the new ghost Jose Rodriguez pleads with Hannah to help him while she believes Sampson suspects her as the killer. The latest Krewe of Hunters urban fantasy police procedural (see Phantom Evil) is a terrific thriller due to a solid cast (including ghosts) and a strong haunting locale. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy touring with Hannah and Dallas as our guides Key West for ghosts and learning of sunken treasure although the audience will guess who the villain is before the cops do. Harriet Klausner

A Man's Promise-Brenda Jackson

A Man's Promise Brenda Jackson Mira, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780778316251 Several years ago, Caden Granger and Shiloh Timmons planned to elope in Vegas. However, her martinet father Samuel sent Caden photos of his daughter with another man and though Caden waited, Shiloh failed to show up. Now Samuel’s widow Sandra visits Caden to apologize for not being there for him and his siblings fifteen years when his dad killed his mom and to set the truth straight re Shiloh. She says the incriminating pictures were Photoshop, and Shiloh failed to meet him because she was in Boston fighting for her life after being a victim of a hit and run which killed their unborn baby. Caden is shocked and ashamed as he never gave his beloved Shiloh an opportunity to explain. The second Granger romantic suspense is an exciting second chance drama although the protagonists’ conflict ends too quickly especially with how he reacted. The overarching theme moves forward with implications that what led to the Granger patriarch’s conviction fifteen years ago is not the truth. Although clearly a middle-book plot connecting the first entry (see A Brother’s Honor) to the next thriller, series fans will enjoy learning more about the two families intertwined tighter than the DNA helix. Harriet Klausner >

Something to Talk About-Dakota Cassidy

Something to Talk About Dakota Cassidy Mira, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN 9780778316275 In Plum Orchard, Georgia Emmaline Amos’s husband Clifton, Sr. dumps her for Gina who encourages his cross-dressing lifestyle in Atlanta; as he insists his wife is a lackluster mother of their two sons (Clifton, Jr. and Gareth). The town gossips have a field day with the breakup of the Amos marriage. Her best friend Dixie Davis (see Talk Dirty to Me) hires Em to manage her thriving phone-sex company Call Girls. After a discussion with Jax Hawthorne’s young daughter Maizy who called the “girlfriend store” to get her dad a date, Em decides to be more than a boring rural mom. She chooses fuming Jax who confronts the phone sex operator for talking with his daughter; only he is taken aback when Em suggests a tryst. As the single parents fall in love, Em deals with a town without pity, her spouse’s custody threats, and her sons’ issues re their father leaving. The second Plum Orchard romance is an amusing regional contemporary in which the beleaguered heroine owns the storyline as she struggles with family, friends, gossipers and her heart while in love with a single dad and his daughter. Fans will enjoy Dakota Cassidy’s tale of a woman finding her groove by simply finding herself Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Avenge Me-Maisey Yates

Avenge Me Maisey Yates Harlequin Presents, May 27 2014, $9.99 ISBN: 9780373430376 Once best friends, Alex, Hunter and Austin meet every year as they have for the past decade on the anniversary of the event that turned them into shallow deniers. This time Austin shows them the letter proving his renowned (for advocating women’s rights) father Jason caused Sarah to commit suicide when he ignored her rejection of his advances. Austin feels guilty for also ignoring Sarah’s mental state just before she killed herself. The three men agree to prove Jason’s guilt in this and other female victims including two others who were very close to them. Sarah’s sister Katy received a letter from her sister explaining all to her just before she jumped off the building. Since that fatal day, she has sought evidence to destroy the man responsible for tormenting her sibling to death. At a gala Katy and Austin attend seeking to avenge Sarah’s death, they meet and are attracted to each other. Once she learns who he is, she wants nothing to do with him; while he vows to insure his father keeps his creepy hands off of her. The first Fifth Avenue romance (prequel Take Me by Maisey Yates; future pubs: Scandalize Me by Caitlin Crews and Expose Me by Kate Hewitt) is an entertaining opening act as two people fall in love while sharing a common obsession for avenging justice. Although Jason’s behavior in this age of instant media seems unlikely to not have been exposed by now especially with deaths and pay-offs; he is diabolical using his support of female causes as sheep clothing for his proclivity. Readers will enjoy strike one in the effort to destroy the vile man who devastated so many lives behind the façade of mentor. Harriet Klausner

The Virgin of Clan Sinclair-Karen Ranney

The Virgin of Clan Sinclair Karen Ranney Avon, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780062242495 In 1875 Drumvagen, Scotland, prim and proper Ellice Traylor knows she will never compare to her late sister Eudora, the perfect paragon in the mind of her shrewish demanding mother Enid. Whereas Ellice is grateful to Macrath and Virginia Sinclair (see The Devil of Clan Sinclair) for allowing her and her mom to live at Drumvagen Estate in Scotland, Enid takes it for granted due to her being a countess. Ellice secretly writes a book "The Lustful Adventures of Lady Pamela" that she hopes her friend Mairi (see The Witch of Clan Sinclair) will publish, but must find a way to go to Edinburgh. When the Earl of Gladsden visits Drumvagen, Ellice is shocked as this Ross Forster could have been the role model for the hero in her tale. As the Earl leaves for Edinburgh, Ellice hides in his carriage. When he finds her book in his carriage, he draws the same conclusion she made that he could have been the hero. Fearing others would reach the same thoughts, which would destroy his political ambitions, Ross tries to prevent the book from being published. When they are compromised, he proposes but she has doubts as real men pale next to fictional heroes; or is it the reverse. The third Victorian Era Scottish Clan Sinclair romance is an enjoyable amusing nineteenth century tale with metafiction extracts and comparisons to Ellice’s erotica adding fun. Readers will appreciate Karen Ranney’s wonderful historical; as Ellice turns to Pamela for guidance while Ross struggles to prove he, not some fictional character, is the writer’s real hero. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Take My Breath Away-Christie Ridgway

Take My Breath Away Christie Ridgway Harlequin HQN, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778324 When the Inn Klein management announces a renovation project, employee Poppy Walker decides her family property could do likewise and turn it into a thriving Southern California mountain retreat. Her siblings insist the idea is inane as each believes the place is cursed with no good ever coming from this land their ancestors obtained over a century and a half ago. The single mom leaves her beloved five years old son with cousins and accompanied only by Grimm the dog begins her project. Needing money, she rents a dilapidated cabin at five times the normal rate to Ryan Hamilton who insists he needs time away to think; Poppy is unaware that her guest was a teen movie star and remains a Hollywood big shot. When a storm makes her abode unlivable and the nearby road unpassable, she moves into his cabin. As they enjoy their tryst, the paparazzi find them. Picking up her child, they hide in his mansion, but agree no sex even as their attraction grows. Leaving the Crescent Cove Beach House behind, the first Cabin Fever romance is an entertaining contemporary due to the protagonists; as both were hurt by love so each refuses to risk their heart again. The cabin time is hot while the mansion’s phone-sex fun and the leads’ chats enlightening. A late suspense disrupts the pacing and seems unnecessarily even though it forces Ryan to look at what he may lose if he fails to take a chance on love. Still fans will enjoy this entertaining tale as the lead couple makes each other lose control and take their breaths away. Harriet Klausner

Before We Kiss-Susan Mallery

Before We Kiss Susan Mallery Harlequin HQN, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 978-0373778812 Retired NFL player Sam Ridge is in Fool’s Gold, California because his PR firm Score relocated from Los Angeles. He and event planner Dellina Hopkins meet in a hotel bar and enjoy a wonderful sexual encounter until he panics in fear when he sees a room filled with wedding gowns. Score hires Dellina to host a weekend event for their clients over Sam’s doubts. Though she wanted more with Sam, Dellina relishes the opportunity to prove her competency to the newcomers, which she hopes means future bookings. Putting aside her hurt; Dellina quickly demonstrates she knows what she is doing as she plans the event. However, Sam almost has a stroke when she employs a certain sex guru; as this guest lecturer happens to be his outspoken mom. As the ex-jock and the planner work closely together they fall in love, but he obsessively distrusts that emotion since he always ends up hurt and at times even ridiculed like with his ex-wife’s tell-all autobiography. The second Score Fool’s Gold romance (see When We Met) is a fun amusing contemporary starring a hunk sacked by love and a responsible caring woman who hopes he will trust her one day with his heart. Rotating perspective between them, readers will relish this entry as his family and associates add humorous depth while her sisters enable us to understand her better. Harriet Klausner

Backwoods-Jill Sorenson

Backwoods Jill Sorenson Harlequin HQN, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778720 Though backwoods hiking is not at the top of her list, San Diego Seaside Retirement Center Director Abby Hammond accompanies her teenage daughter Brooke on a trek in the High Sierras. Abby decided to come because she distrusts her ex-husband, plastic surgeon Ray Dwyer, showing up for his daughter though he is a good father when he does his commitments. Accompanying Ray are his second wife Lydia and her college-age son Leo from her first marriage. Leo is at the cabin when mother and daughter arrive. As Leo and Brooke go for a ride on his motorcycle, recovering alcoholic former Major League player Nathan Strom comes to the cabin hoping to reconcile with his son; though his baseball career and visitation rights died after Leo uploaded on YouTube his drunken state. Abby muses that she and Nathan shares one thing in common; their respective spouses cheated on them with each other. Leo explains Lydia sprained her ankle so Ray opted out to be with her; ergo they sent him instead. As the tense quartet hike, the two teens angrily pronounce revelations re their parents. However, when Brooke vanishes, the rage turns to fear as two adults and a teen desperately search for her. The angst is higher than the range that the foursome hike as each has issues going back to the affair (though in Nathan’s case he believes alcoholism drove his then wife to another man) that changed the two families. The tension is already stratospheric when Abby’s disappearance raises it beyond the troposphere; yet it also enables the adults in their frantic search to get close. Although the ending feels wrong for this otherwise strong family drama turned thriller, fans will appreciate the hike. Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Marriage Pact- Linda Lael Miller

The Marriage Pact Linda Lael Miller Harlequin HQN, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778706 In Mustang Creek, Wyoming, determined Tripp Galloway marches to the front of the church with no opposition; as no one dares stop this resolute man on a mission. At the altar he tells the congregation there will be no marriage and dares the groom Oakley Smyth to explain to his fiancée why he will not wed the eighteen year old sister of his late best friend Will. Angry and confused Hadleigh Stevens begins a tirade that ends when he points out her “mate” kept silent rather than defend their right to wed. As he explains that Smyth has two kids with his pole dancer, Hadleigh hopes Tripp intruded out of love for her; but her fantasy dies when she realizes he acted on behalf of Will as he is already married. After her humiliation and rage diminished, Hadleigh and her BFFs Bex and Melody pledge The Marriage Pact in which each vows to marry for “true love or nothing.” A decade later, divorced Tripp returns home from California to care for his ailing widower father and save the family ranch. Hadleigh knows why she remained single; as Tripp is her one, but though attracted to her then and now, he hesitates. The characters and setting read similar to the Big Sky tales with Parable and Mustang Creek seemingly interchangeable; Linda Lael Miller fans will enjoy this second chance Cowboy State ranch romance as the support cast adds small-town depth to an entertaining storyline. The lead couple’s changing relationship is fun to follow as we get inside their heads although that profound look into their thoughts and feelings also slows down the pacing of a fine contemporary. Harriet Klausner

The Defender-Adrienne Giordano

The Defender Adrienne Giordano Harlequin Intrigue, May 20 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373697694 In Chicago, FBI Special Agent Russ Voight remains diligent on a humongous stock fraud case that he has worked on for over a year. At the steps of the Cook County Courthouse while Russ admires the perfect butt of defense attorney Penny “Killer Cupcake” Hennings, shots are fired at her. A reporter near Penny crumbles having been hit while Russ takes her to the ground and lies on top of her to keep her safe except from his poking erection. Later at her office, he tells the attorney that the shooter escaped. They discuss the conditions of immunity and protection for her client Elizabeth Brooks (and son) to testify against the vicious Colin Heath the prime dealer behind the massive multistate stock fraud case. As the Fed and the kick butt attorney team up, their attraction turns to love, but trust is more difficult to achieve. With a nod to 1940s detective movies like Undercurrent, but with at times Thin Man amusing banter and asides, readers will enjoy this wonderful romantic mystery; mostly because of the fun relationship between Killer Cupcake and the “sick, demented man” vowing to protect her. The Heath subplot provides the danger that serves as the impetus bringing the lead couple together in an exciting drama. Harriet Klausner >

Rescue At Cardwell Ranch-B.J. Daniels

Rescue At Cardwell Ranch B.J. Daniels Harlequin Intrigue, May 20 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373697649 Texas private detective Hayes Cardwell flies to Bozeman, Montana to attend his brother Tag’s wedding to Lily (see Christmas at Cardwell Ranch) and persuade his sibling from opening up a restaurant in Big Sky Country. His plane was delayed in Denver; so he stops for food when he notices a man carrying a woman towards the trunk of a car. He intervenes and rescues realtor McKenzie Sheldon from a dangerous assault though the pervert escapes. After the cops arrive, Hayes drives to the Cardwell Ranch; while rescued McKenzie Sheldon tells the police she failed to see her abductor and her plan to fire her top realtor Gus Thompson for stalking the office women including her. Hayes and McKenzie meet again because she is Tag’s realtor. He becomes her personal bodyguard when the irate fuming maniac, who attacked her in the parking lot, makes attempts to silence her and that Good Samaritan permanently in case either can identify him. This Cardwell Ranch romantic suspense is an enjoyable thriller as an obsessed psychopath rages over his first failure having abducted women before and his fear his latest chosen one or her cowboy can finger him. Although the second protagonists’ meeting comes across as a plausible but significant coincidence, readers will enjoy this twisting tale with several suspects besides Gus surfacing. Harriet Klausner >

Friday, May 23, 2014

Riding High-Vicki Lewis Thompson

Riding High Vicki Lewis Thompson Harlequin Blaze, May 20 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373798032 After he caught his fiancée sleeping with his best friend and partner, six months ago veterinarian Regan O’Connelli moved from Virginia to Shoshone in the Jackson Hole area where his sisters live. He joined the veterinary practice of his brother-in-law Nick Chance (see Wanted) at the Last Chance Ranch. Nick does volunteer work at the overcrowded and rundown Peaceful Kingdom Horse Sanctuary recently bought by brilliant free spirit Lily King. He asks Regan to help, which he agrees to do. When Lily and Regan meet for the first time, each fells an incredibly strong attraction like neither ever felt before. As they fall in love, he hesitates having been burned not too long ago; but she wants to take a chance that they belong together. The latest engaging Sons of Chance Wyoming ranch romance (see The Heart Won't Lie and Cowboys & Angels) stars another O’Connelli sibling (see Ambushed) matched with an eccentric genius. Freshness comes from Harley whose relationship with Wilbur is precious; as this mischievous pig upstages the lead characters to their everlasting joy by proving WC Fields’ wrong when he said “'never work with children or animals”. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Need You Now-Debbi Rawlins

Need You Now Debbi Rawlins Harlequin Blaze, May 20 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373798056 In Blackfoot Falls, Montana, high school teacher Melanie Knowles knows she lives up to the image of a virtuous life expected from Pastor Ray’s daughter by volunteering for many local activities, especially at the Safe Haven Animal Shelter. Dedicated Prison Reform Now representative Lucas Sloan arrives in Blackfoot Falls. He hopes to persuade Melanie and Shea Monroe to house over a hundred horses at Safe Haven in which his group will pay for feed and vet services as part of their Wild Horse Training Program. Starting with his shirt off as he changes a school bus’ flat tire and by the way he ogles her butt has the saintly good girl thinking wicked thoughts about the visiting hunk. As they begin a tryst, Lucas feels guilty knowing his past if revealed would change her reputation to fallen angel. This Made in Montana romance (see Alone With You, From This Moment On and No One Needs To Know) is an entertaining contemporary starring two seemingly opposites falling in love. Though readers will guess his secret early on and the pace slows down in the middle, series fans will enjoy visiting Big Sky Country. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Season Of Change-Lynette Sowell

A Season Of Change Lynette Sowell Abingdon Press, May 20 2014, $14.99 ISBN: 9781426753558 Still grieving the losses of his wife Hannah and their third child during childbirth; yet also knowing his two other young kids need a change as the three mourn deeply, Amish widower Jacob Miller takes them from Ohio to Pinecraft in Sarasota, Florida where he has family. However, his brother Ephraim pressures Jacob to consider Betsy Yoder as a wife since two children need a maam. The family’s fun of ice cream at Christmas time ends when a car hits his daughter Rebecca; so Jacob’s Florida stay will extend into next year while his offspring heals. Twenty-five years old Englisher Natalie Bennett’s aerial artist days ended with a severe knee injury. Now she performs as Bubbles the Clown at the children’s corridor of Sarasota General Hospital. There she meets Rebecca, her brother Zeke, her aunt and uncle, and Jacob. The widower and the clown are attracted to each other and he offers to help Natalie find her maternal Amish roots when she mentions her mom left her family and community years ago. However, as they fall in love, both believe nothing can come of their relationship as each resides in polar different worlds. The first Seasons in Pinecraft Amish romance is an engaging family drama starring a solid cast who bring alive this real place where Amish Snowbirds come for the winter. Although readers know how this will end, this is an enjoyable storyline as the two adults struggle to find common ground besides love while knowing there is no compromise solution. Harriet Klausner

The Single Dad's Second Chance-Brenda Harlen

The Single Dad's Second Chance Brenda Harlen Harlequin Special Edition, May 20 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373658190 In Charisma, North Carolina, Buds and Blooms florist Rachel Ellis hates Valentine’s Day except that is a major moneymaker. That holiday is also one of three days annually (November 22 and August 10 are the other occasions) that Andrew Garrett buys white roses. Lonely Rachel stops at Valentino’s for takeout, but her owner friends make her sit and eat in the kitchen. Andrew arrives for pasta takeout, but the owners make him sit down and dine with Rachel; as they insist no one should eat alone on Valentine’s Day. He tells her the woman he bought the flowers for, his wife of five years Nina, died three years ago. His first grade daughter Maura would like to attend a wedding by Christmas with her sad dad as the groom. When Maura meets Rachel, she writes in her diary that she wishes the nice flower lady was her mommy. Brenda Harlen fans will rejoice with the return of Those Engaging Garretts! (see the New York branch in From Neighbors … to Newlyweds, A Very Special Delivery and His Long Lost Family) as the North Carolina cousins take center-stage. The lead couple is a delightful pairing while precocious (at times too much so) Maura and her Dear Diary entries enhance the second chance romance between a florist who gave up on love and sleepless in Carolina. Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 19, 2014

The House On Blackberry Hill-Donna Alward

The House On Blackberry Hill Donna Alward St. Martin's, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9781250045164 Nova Scotia elementary school teacher Abby Foster inherits the Foster estate in Jewell Cove, Maine from Aunt Marian. Though she never heard of her late aunt or even knew she had any recently living relatives, persistent lawyer Ian Martin persuades her to finally come to the coastal town and decide what she wants to do with the dilapidated estate that was ignored for years after Marian became ill. Her plan is to sell The House on Blackberry Hill ASAP and return as quickly as she can to her Canadian home. Contractor Tom Arseneault wants to renovate the Foster estate. However, after an ignominious first step meeting, he convinces a reluctant Abby to hire him. Distrusting her new contractor and for that matter all the townsfolk, Abby knows firsthand the venom of small towns. Still Abby cannot resist learning about her ancestors as she and Tom find hidden photos and letters, but it is a ghost who teaches her what family love is all about. The first Jewell Cove romance is a wonderful tale that emphasizes the importance of familial relationships though not necessarily made up of blood relatives. The storyline is character driven by the strong pairing of the Canadian and her local contractor ably supported by locals including the ghost and the heroine’s ancestors (through the documents found in the house). Fans will enjoy visiting Coastal Maine as Abby finds her roots. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Heart’s Pursuit-Robin Lee Hatcher

The Heart’s Pursuit Robin Lee Hatcher Zondervan, May 13 2014, $15.99 ISBN 9780310259275 In 1873 bounty hunter Jared Newman, accompanied by a prisoner, arrives in Twin Springs, Colorado on the same day that charming rat Bob Cassidy jilted Silver Matlock. Silver’s father Gerald explains to his disbelieving arrogant second wife Marlene and his fuming daughter that business has been poor lately and though lacking legal proof he believes Cassidy stole a large sum of their money from a land sale that was to pay off the mortgage and other debts. The runaway fiancé left the Matlock family teetering on the brink of financial ruin with no options left. Sheriff Cooper introduces Silver to Jared as a person he can recommend to her. Cooper persuades Newman to help Silver though the bounty hunter’s motive is to collect a small fee while waiting for the money due him from his prisoner; deep in his gut he knows the murder of his sister back in Tennessee is why he accepts the commission. Over his objection, Silver joins Jared as he hunts her former fiancé. While on the trail together in Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada, the daughter of the town’s leading family and the bounty hunter fall in love. The Heart’s Pursuit is a wonderful inspirational western romance as two apparent opposites share in common a thirst for avenging justice and eventually love. Although the storyline goes as expected with the exception of a lad they meet on the trail, readers will feel we are traveling with the lead pair during the Reconstruction Era in the Rocky Mountains Old West that comes vividly to life in this entertaining tale of forgiving one’s self. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Always Emily-Mary Sullivan

Always Emily Mary Sullivan Harlequin SuperRomance, May 6 2014, $6.75 ISBN: 9780373608478 Over a decade and a half ago in Accord, Colorado, young teenager Emily Jordan fell in love with her twenty-year old BFF Salem Pearce; though attracted to her too, he knew she was too young for him so did nothing. Instead of waiting for her to grow up, he had sex with Annie, a girl his age. When she became pregnant, Salem married her. Four years ago, Annie died leaving him a widower single dad to their children. Thirty yeas old archeologist Emily goes off on another dig, but this time returns home suffering from malaria and framed by her boss-lover Jean-Marc for stealing a prayer book that she took from him. As he slanders her name all over the Internet especially within their field, Emily feels a deep need to take the tome back to the rightful owners the National Museum of Sudan and also decides to commit to Salem and pray he does likewise to her though she accepts his daughters must come first. However, as the pair struggles with love, the uncovering of human remains leads to Salem’s arrest at a time when she must make one last sojourn overseas this time to Khartoum. This is a strong contemporary romance as the lead couple deals with complex issues in an attempt to forge a permanent relationship while secondary players also have tsuris like cyberbullying. Character-driven by the protagonists and a fully developed support cast (including the arrogant nasty Jean-Marc), readers will enjoy this second chance at love. Harriet Klausner

The Baron’s Honourable Daughter-Lynn Morris

The Baron’s Honourable Daughter Lynn Morris FaithWords, May 6 2014, $15.00 ISBN: 9781455575596 When the Earl of Maledon suddenly died, his estate unraveled while his widow grieved alone in her chambers and his six year old son seemed lost with his new responsibilities. Realizing someone had to take charge, the new Earl’s eighteen years old stepsister Valeria Segrave began giving orders to the household and others working on the estate. However, though she knows she can do the job, the males universally reject her being in charge because of her gender, youth and lack of a blood tie to the late Maledon. A relative of her deceased stepfather, Lord Alastair arrives. Though attracted to the newcomer, Valeria feels unworthy of him as she thinks he deems her lacking in the social graces of a lady. In London for a season, her actions seem to affirm his first impressions. However, not one to back down from a challenge, Valeria takes on Alastair in a gender battle of wits and love. This engaging Regency romance is an entertaining historical that showcases the lack of support for a young female trying to do the right thing for her family and employees. Readers will root for spunky Valeria who makes the tale fun; as she believes in herself in spite of overwhelming sexism and other biases, with an “anything you (Alastair) can do, I can do better (from Annie Get Your Gun) attitude. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Home To Hope Mountain-Joan Kilby

Home To Hope Mountain Joan Kilby Harlequin SuperRomance, May 6 2014, $6.75 ISBN: 9780373608461 Melbourne-based architect Adam Banks moves to Hope Mountain as a single dad to his fourteen years old daughter Summer. Bushfires left many dead and the town severely devastated. While making a pitch to a Japanese contingent, Summer’s school interrupts Adam. Summer was arrested for shop lifting earrings that she tells her stunned dad she took to give to her mom Diane on her birthday. Widower Hayley Sorensen mourns the death of her husband and several of their horses due to the inferno. To help herself heal and provide comfort to despondent neighbors, Hayley runs a clinic allowing people to ride her surviving steeds as a form of therapy. Desperate, Adam turns to Hayley to help his troubled teen. As the two adults fall in love, they learn her late spouse and his former wife had an affair; leaving both with major relationship trust issues. Home To Hope Mountain is an emotional Australian contemporary as the traumatized townsfolk struggle with survivor guilt and paralyzing grief with evidence of the tragedy everywhere leaving little escape. The spousal affair feels unnecessary except to add an unneeded roadblock to the lead adults’ romance as they already have plenty of scars to deal with. Still readers will appreciate this angst-laden tale paying homage to the real Horses for Hope program that focuses on “therapeutic healing of the mind, body and soul …” Harriet Klausner

Cavanaugh Undercover-Marie Ferrarella

Cavanaugh Undercover Marie Ferrarella Harlequin Romantic Suspense, May 6 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373278695 Brennan Cavanaugh’s career as a DEA undercover operative ended when he blew his cover to save the life of Aurora former police chief (and family member from a side he never knew existed) Andrew Cavanaugh. Punished by exile to desk duty, Brennan quits DEA to accept a position with APD as an undercover detective. His first assignment is to infiltrate a sex-trafficking ring. San Francisco CSI detective Tiana Drummond arrives in Aurora seeking information on her missing sister Janie who she believes is incarcerated by a sex-trafficking ring. When Tiana meets Brennan in the dive he is staying in, her first reaction is a hunk who works for the nefarious traders selling females like her sibling. As Tiana begins to fall in love, she learns Brennan is undercover working the same case as she is. Although she accepts he is on the side of the good guys, her father’s abuse leaves her wary of all men while insisting to herself rescuing her sister remains her heart’s only mission. The latest fast-paced Cavanaugh Justice romantic police procedural (see Cavanaugh Baby) is an exciting undercover thriller; as this Cavanaugh Hero needs to forget undercover work having been exposed again by doing what he believes is morally right. As Tiana and Brennan fall in love, both know the priority remains ending the sex-trafficking ring’s selling of women on a “commodity” exchange while also rescuing Janie and other female prisoners. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Traitorous AttractionC.J. Miller-

Traitorous Attraction C.J. Miller Harlequin Romantic Suspense, May 6 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373278718 Intelligence database analyst Kate Squire intrudes on retired Sphere assassin Connor West when she arrives at his isolated cabin. He wants her to leave until she says she was a friend of Sphere operative Aiden. Though Connor assumes she was his sibling’s friend with benefits, Kate upsets him when she insists his dead brother Aiden is alive and held by Armed Revolutionaries in the troubled South American country Tumara. Even a sliver of hope has Connor ready to travel to Tumara although he expects nothing except life-threatening danger will come of this foolish venture. Accompanied by Kate while distrusting her out of paranoiac belief she is a Sphere tool, Connor enters Tumara with his former comrades in arms in murderous pursuit. Traitorous Attraction is an action-packed romantic suspense thriller as two strangers connected by his “late” brother enter a hellish scenario in what may be an inane rescue attempt. Connor makes the tale fresh with his attitude of “… just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face.” (Jim Butcher) attitude while desk jockey Kate adapts too easily to the rumble in the jungle. The unwanted feelings of love enhance an engaging quest. Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 9, 2014

One Night In Texas-Linda Warren

One Night In Texas Linda Warren Harlequin American Romance, May 6 2014, $5.50 ISBN: 9780373755189 Teenager Angie Wiznowski fell in love with Hardison Hollister (see The Sheriff Of Horseshoe, Texas in which they were secondary players). They shared one great night, but he left for school and she stayed behind carrying his child. She never told him he sired a child; instead Angie married someone else, but that ended in divorce so she raised her daughter Erin as a single mom with help from her family. Eight years later, Hardy returned to Horseshoe, Texas where, pushed by his powerful father the judge, he becomes the D.A. Though Angie knows she owes the truth to Hardy and Erin, two years pass with her remaining silent. When Erin runs into the street, Hardy has no time to brake and hits her. Horrified, Hardy does what he can for the tweener until he learns who sired Erin. Though the premise is not new, the characterizations and execution make for a strong tale as the protagonists and their families behave as expected when the secret is revealed. Angie fears for her daughter’s wellbeing and the loss of control. Irate Hardy is confused except for his demand to be in his daughter’s life while ignoring for the first time the objections of his raging father who wants to bury the scandal and his nasty girlfriend Olivia who wants him to forget the child. Erin’s maternal relatives add depth with their indignation towards the Hollister brood especially the latter using their influence to bully them. This deep cast makes for a super second chance at family drama. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From Single Mom to Secret Heiress-Kristi Gold

From Single Mom to Secret Heiress Kristi Gold Harlequin Desire, May 6 2014, $5.25 ISBN: 9780373733132 In Boulder, Colorado, single mom Hannah Armstrong knows she lacks the funds to pay for the plumber, but has no choice. The widow mistakes hunky cowboy Logan Whittaker as the plumber, but he explains he is a Cheyenne lawyer settling the estate of the late J.D. Lassiter. She reacts by saying she does not know any Lassiter, but he tells her that her deceased mom Ruth Lovell did. Logan claims she is an heir to the Lassiter fortune with her inheritance valued at five million, but must adhere to family stipulations. Hannah angrily she says the usual BS from those with more money than the National Debt like her North Carolina in-laws who has seen their granddaughter Cassie once. Attracted to Hannah, Logan feels a deep need to assist her adaptation from working poor to wealthy so offers to house mom and daughter on his Wyoming ranch. Coveting to learn what she can about her biological father whom she never knew even his name before Logan’s visit, Hannah accepts his offer. As they share the same abode and conduct research into her paternal kin together while chaperoned by her young daughter, they fall in love. However, he conceals his scarred past from her although he also knows that is a relationship breaker after her dad failed to legitimize her until he was dead. The lead couple is a nice pairing of two people who must overcome their respective histories if they are to make it. Although the climax feels disappointingly soft and at times the pace slows down, overall the first Dynasties: The Lassiters tale (see Dynasties: The Jarrods and Dynasties: The Kincaids for previous miniseries) is a warm contemporary. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sex, Lies & Her Impossible Boss-Jennifer Rae

Sex, Lies & Her Impossible Boss Jennifer Rae Harlequin Kiss, May 1 2014, $5.99 ISBN: 9780373178988 TV station manager Cash Anderson places Faith Harris’ show Sexy Sydney near the top of the cancelation list because the program fails to bring in advertising money. Faith argues that her show is not just about sex but much more as she insists Sexy Sydney focuses on loving relationships. Feeling a bit foolish as the bottom line screams cancellation, Cash gives Faith one week to prove her show deserves to remain on the air by proving Sexy Sydney provides a needed service to the community and will one day bring in revenue. To make her case, Faith decides to perform the Sexy Sydney routine on Cash, her relationship phobic boss, though her real experience is limited. As they fall in love, each needs the other to eradicate the demons preventing them from embracing a meaningful caring relationship. Aptly titled, this is an enjoyable, amusing yet passionate romance. Though not a new premise, Faith and Cash are fascinating individuals who make the case that a loving whole is greater than the sum of the emotionally scarred individual parts. Harriet Klausner >

Beach Bar Baby-Heidi Rice

Beach Bar Baby Heidi Rice Harlequin Kiss, May 1 2014, $5.99 ISBN: 9780373178971 Needing to escape London, Ella Radley goes on a solo vacation in Bermuda. However, she feels like odd person out at Paradiso Cove Resort since the other twelve guests are on their respective honeymoons. After six days of boring American soap operas and dreaming of baking cupcakes, Ella decides to join the six couples on a snorkeling adventure. When she meets exciting Jezebel Captain Cooper Delaney, out of character Ella decides to join him in a one-night stand though she feels she is cradle robbing when she finds out she is six years older than the hunk. Ella returns to ennui in London until Cooper arrives on a business trip and needs to see her. She seems different to him, but he cannot quite figure out why. Ella knows she owes her captain an explanation, but struggles to tell him why she is different as she fears striking out if she swings the bat. This is an entertaining romance as both protagonists handle their love poorly because of different trepidations. Readers will enjoy this engaging poignant contemporary as love may not be enough to overcome “cowardice” counter reactions. Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 5, 2014

Darkest Flame- Donna Grant

Darkest Flame Donna Grant St. Martin's, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9781250041364 M15 sends agents Denae Lacroix and Matt “the prick” to breach Dreagan Industries in Scotland. Though Denae does not know the objective, inside a cave the American operative carries on the mission until her partner tries to wound her. Matt explains she is bait to lure those residing on Dreagan Land out into the open; but instead she kills him although Denae is severely hurt. The furor wakes up Kellen the long dormant Bronze Dragon King, who uses his human form to investigate. Kellen finds the injured Denae and takes her to his manor house though centuries of loathing her kind since a betrayal wants him to leave her dead in spite of his attraction to the intruder; she feels the strong desire too. Neither trusts one another due to her failed mission as she realizes he and his community were M15 targets for some unknown reason and he believes her trespassing and killing of her partner were for a nefarious goal to harm his kind. This delightful Dark Kings romantic fantasy (see Dark Heat anthology) is a wonderful entry in the Grant universe that saga fans (see the Dark Sword and Dark Warrior series) will enjoy as the Dark Fae uses M15 to expose and destroy their enemies The Dragon Kings. The star-crossed romance seems doomed by mutual distrust yet also longing gives it a longshot’s chance. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Unexpected Duchess-Valerie Bowman

The Unexpected Duchess Valerie Bowman St. Martin’s, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN 9781250042071 In 1815, Lady Lucy Upton is very protective of her shy best friend Lady Cassandra Monroe. At a gala, Lucy hides nearby in the bushes in order to whisper responses for Cassandra to use while chatting with men. However, war hero and recently named the Duke of Claringdon Derek Hunt exposes Lucy and worse shows a desire to court Cassandra. Feeling he is not good enough for Cassandra, Lucy plans to prevent the unacceptable duke from hurting her buddy. Derek conceals from both women a death bed reason to go after Cassandra; while in battle against Napoleon, he promised his mortally wounded comrade in arms Julian he would protect Lady Cassandra. However, though his brain says demure Cassandra will give him the quiet life he needs after his harrowing war experiences, to his chagrin his betraying heart prefers the rude spitfire whose family even wants her to keep away from them. The Playful Brides opening act is an amusing lighthearted Regency romance. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing of enemy combatants (with Cassandra as the battlefield) falling in love. With her BFFs pushing these deniers together, the journey turns into a fun read. Harriet Klausner

Abducted By A Prince-Olivia Drake

Abducted By A Prince Olivia Drake St. Martin's, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9781250002105 In London Damien Burke owns the most popular gambling establishment in town, Demon’s Den. When Viscount Stratham admits he cannot pay his debt, Damien offers to forgive the bill if the haughty aristocrat returns the key he stole from him when both attended Eton. Damien gives Stratham one day or he will abduct and ruin the lord’s innocent sister Lady Beatrice. When Stratham fails to give him back his key, Damien abducts Lady Beatrice. Only the victim insists she is Beatrice’s poor relation companion Ellie Stratham. Marooned by the weather in Scotland, he realizes his error as they get to know each other and fall in love. Ellie vows to help him retrieve his key and solve its mysterious use; Damien pledges to assist her with publishing her children’s book of illustrations and getting her out of this potential scandal. The third Cinderella Sisterhood historical romance (see Stroke of Midnight) is an engaging nineteenth century tale due to the strong lead couple. Though the audience anticipates what is coming and most of the secondary characters are extremely selfish and mean; series fans will enjoy this entry as we delightfully know what If The Slipper Fits denotes. Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 2, 2014

Always On My Mind- Bella Andre

Always On My Mind Bella Andre Mira, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780778316176 Several years ago, Grayson Tyler’s wife died; unable to cope with his memories of their fabulous time together in New York City, the widower fled to Northern California to become a lonely farmer in Pescadero. Lori “Naughty” Sullivan caught her boyfriend bedding another woman; she fled Chicago for Pescadero. In the town’s general store, Lori finds a notice for a farm hand job. Though a dancer, Lori drives to the farm only to crash into a fence. Concerned Grayson is taken aback when the driver nonchalantly asks him for the job he advertised in town. As Lori and Grayson work the land together, they fall in love; however she recently was burned and he feels grief and guilt for caring for someone besides his late spouse. The final California Sullivan family romance is a wonderful contemporary starring two likable protagonists. Readers will not recognize Lori as she acts sweet and nice rather than risk-taker and impishly naughty. However, her belief, due to the examples set by her widow mom and her siblings (see Let Me Be The One and Come A Little Bit Closer), that love heals the emotionally wounded makes for a fun entry. Harriet Klausner

Dirty to Me- Dakota Cassidy

Dirty to Me Dakota Cassidy Mira, Apr 29 2014, $7.99 ISBN 9780778316190 For her only friend growing up in Plum Orchard, Georgia would Dixie Davis return home. Driving from Chicago, the “mean girl”, as the locals labeled her and they still believe this to be true even with a decade having passed, wishes it was not for Landon Well’s funeral. Landon’s will proclaims a contest between once engaged couple Dixie and fuming (at her) Caine Donovan. Whoever obtains the most customer calls wins Landon’s lucrative phone sex company. Needing the money, Dixie decides to go for it though the townsfolk mistreat her in retaliation for her previous nastiness; she takes everything ugly thrown at her as Dixie feels she deserves this for being the evil pariah. However, Caine begins to observe how different this Dixie is from the one who broke his heart although he fears his love for her may be tainting the truth. Dirty To Me is an entertaining second chance at love (and life) rural Georgia romance. Dixie owns the storyline as she accepts her just dues even from an abusive over the top avenger but also begins to believe she deserves love too; Caine is more typical of the subgenre while his transition from cruelty to passionate believer is cleverly portrayed. Readers will enjoy this small-town regional contemporary as from the grave Landon tries to bring together his BFFs before she dries up and he turns to dust. Harriet Klausner