Archive for May, 2011

Rapture Becomes Her-Shirlee Busbee

May 31, 2011

Rapture Becomes Her

Shirlee Busbee

Zebra, Jun 28 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9781420118421


American Viscount Barnaby Joslyn has no idea how he ended up in the Channel.  Sea Captain Jeb finds Barnaby and brings him to the Crown tavern owned by Widow Mrs. Gilbert.  Dressed as a man, very tall Emily Townsend knows the guest interrupted their smuggling that keeps her beloved great Aunt Cornelia and Widow stepmother Anne safe from their cousin Squire Jeffery Townsend.  Jeffery wants the three women out of his house with his plan to wed pliable Anne to his odious business partner Ainsworth who needs a wife immediately or lose a fortune as his inheritance has a stipulation.


Barnaby knows something is not right with the tall boy near his bed while Emily realizes he is the American.  Jeffery arrives raging so Emily escapes through a closet as the five Gilbert daughters delay him before he rushes into the room occupied by Barnaby.  The patient gives Jeffery a hard time.  Barnaby knows they are smugglers but he owes all of them his life.  He will find a way to pay then back though Mrs. Gilbert demands his silence as the only remittance.  Meanwhile he wonders who wants him dead besides Mathew and considers his other cousins Thomas and Simon.  Barnaby finds Emily and Anne in distress having been run off the road.  Barnaby protects the three females while attempts on his life occur even as he and Emily fall in love.


The lead couple is atypical of the sub-genre while the ensemble cast enhances a strong story line.  The story line is loaded with action but though there are a couple of other possible suspects, the villain seems obvious relatively early.  Still historical romance readers will enjoy Shirlee Busbee’s exciting thriller.


Harriet Klausner


Married by June-Ellen Hartman

May 30, 2011

Married by June

Ellen Hartman

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 7 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717118


As he struggles with writing his wedding vows political speech writer Cooper Murphy decides instead to end his engagement to wedding planner Jorie Burke.  She is heartbroken at a time her business is tanking though she admits herself she would have learned to love him even if it was her late mom’s initial doing.


His parents demand a seat in the US Senate, which his brother Bailey held from Pennsylvania.  However, Bailey has a newborn out of wedlock, which make him poison to his constituents.  “Saint Cooper” as Bailey calls his brother will replace as the senator for the remaining few months to the term; heir apparent cousin Theo will be thirty and run in the election.  To hold the “family” seat, Cooper needs Jorie as his fiancée because word of his dumping her on top of his sibling’s indiscretion would lose the governor’s support.  Jorie accepts a new engagement only if they work on their relationship.


This refreshing political romance works because the audience will believe in the emotions of the lead couple.  Fans will accept the tenet that politics is a contact sport played by amoral opportunists (no wonder Congress has such a low rating).  Character driven especially by a strong cast (his father, uncle and the state governor are something else while Bay’s logic for the affair is a stunner) readers will enjoy a look behind the scenes of DC power brokering.


Harriet Klausner

Twice the Chance-Darlene Gardner

May 30, 2011

Twice the Chance

Darlene Gardner

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 7 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717149


While jogging in Ashley Greens Park near Charleston, South Carolina, Jazz Lenox notices the redhead with the right shade of color.  Although she has seen the tint a dozen times since moving here three years ago, this preadolescent is the first that is the approximate age of the twins she gave up for adoption eight years ago when she was behind bars convicted of armed robbery.  She sees a boy who could be her other child and with them is a man she assumes is there father playing soccer with them.  Because she was bleeding from a fall and the ball came to her, Uncle Matt Caminetti accompanied by Robbie and Brooke asks if she is okay. 


Matt invites her to stop by every Sunday at the park.  Jazz knows she should not, but she is attracted to him and wants to know more about her offspring.  When Matt and Jazz begin going out, she knows she owes him the entire truth, but fears that will end their relationship as well as her time with the kids since he will never allow harm to his nephew and niece.


Although the initial coincidences are a bit of a stretch even with Jazz checking every redhead for three years and having a somewhat unique coloring, fans will enjoy this family drama as Jazz knows the twins have wonderful parents.  The key to this engaging well written contemporary is the heroine, whose torment feels real and makes for a complex romance.


Harriet Klausner

Honor Bound-Julianna Morris

May 30, 2011

Honor Bound

Julianna Morris

Harlequin SuperRomance, Jun 7 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373717132


In Sand Point, Oregon, eighteen year old Kelly James wonders why her relationship with Ben Santoni ended.  Kelly is also worried about her single mom Shanna who falls in love all the time and expects them to marry her like this Nate guy she is seeing.  When Shanna crashes the car killing herself, Kelly as the passenger expected Ben to rescue them, but another first responder Mitch Lawson arrived instead.


Fifteen years later, Ben is the police chief and widower Kelly Lawson is the city hall public relations specialist.  She is also a mystery writer under another name whose novels have been donated by her publisher to the town library.  However two men were recently murdered as described in her books.  When he learns the identity of the author and that someone is conducting surveillance of her home, Ben tries to protect the woman he never stopped loving.


Although the heroine holds Ben in contempt for not being there for her during the tragic accident fifteen years ago seems over the top of Mt. Hood even factoring in shock and grief, fans will enjoy this second chance police procedural romance.  The investigation is fun to read as fact follows fiction.


Harriet Klausner

Falling for the Nanny-Jacqueline Diamond

May 29, 2011

Falling for the Nanny

Jacqueline Diamond

Harlequin American Romance, Jun 7 2011, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373753628


Alec Denny fled Boston with his four years old daughter Fiona after her mom Sabrina endangered the child.  He took her to his hometown Safe harbor, California where her maternal grandma can provide her loving stability. 


His high school girlfriend Patty Hartman, a former cop, is in town too working as a private investigator.  He knows he hurt her when he broke up but they were teens in love and his studies to become a doctor took precedent.  When Sabrina threatens Fiona’s safety, Dr. Alec, who vowed never again regardless of inane court rulings that jeopardized his little darling once before, hires Patty to keep his beloved child safe.  However, the former sweethearts soon realize their heated attraction is much more.


This second chance at love romance is a wonderful contemporary starring a terrific lead couple and a string support cast.  The Safe Harbor Medical story line (see Officer Daddy) is for the most part amusingly fast-paced, but fills with taut suspense when Sabrina surfaces.  All though her scheme seems insanely over the Sierra Madres, fans will enjoy father and daughter Falling for the Nanny.


Harriet Klausner

A Cowgirl’s Secret-Laura Marie Altom

May 29, 2011

A Cowgirl’s Secret

Laura Marie Altom

Harlequin American Romance, Jun 7 2011, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373753635


A decade ago, pregnant teenager Daisy Buckhorn fled Weed Gulch, Oklahoma leaving behind her heartbroken family and a despondent boyfriend Luke Montgomery.  She settled in San Francisco as Julie Smith and went to school until now the single mom is a practicing attorney.


Luke finds her in San Francisco as she battles a fever.  She wants to explain why she fled Buckhorn Ranch by still feels shame from when popular family friend Henry Pohl molested her.   When her BFF Heidi arrives with Kolt, Luke is shocked and irate as he knows the ten years old is his son.  He rips into her for being a coward by running away with her teen pregnancy.  Kolt believes his father never loved him, but the truth makes him question his mom for the first time.  Still in love with her while also detesting her, Luke wants the full truth even as he forces a reluctant Daisy accompanied by Kolt to return to Weed Gulch, site of her nightmare.


Besides a second chance romance, this contemporary family drama contains a powerful child/teen molestation subplot.  The cast is fully developed including returning Buckhorn Ranch characters (see The Rancher’s Twin Troubles and The Bull Rider’s Christmas Baby).  However, a late suspense subplot detracts from an otherwise deep tale.


Harriet Klausner

If He’s Dangerous-Hannah Howell

May 29, 2011

If He’s Dangerous

Hannah Howell

Zebra, Jun 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420118780


In 1790 England, Lorelei Sundun blinks several times to find a naked man gaping at her in her father’s garden.  She remains calm but appreciative as he introduces himself as Sir Argus Wherlocke; and further explains he does not want to be a duke’s rose garden.  However, their fascinating discussion ends in the blink of an eye when her nude guest vanishes.


While Lorelei ponders what happened including why she feels she fell in love at first naked sight, Angus wonders how his mental projection ended up in the Sunden estate rather than his clan who he needs help from as government agents plan to use his otherworldly skills for their benefit.  When they meet again in person, as she and her cousins rescue him from incarceration, Lorelei affirms what she knew that they are life mates.  However, though he wants her, Angus hesitates as the model for marriage is his parents’ failed one so he tries to use his skills to control her feelings but love proves stronger than his potent paranormal power.


The third Wherlocke Regency fantasy (see If He’s Wicked and If He’s Wild) is a terrific paranormal historical romance from the opening scene when the duke’s daughter and the naked lord meet and never slows down until the final “confrontation” with her father.  Fans will relish this charmer as another eccentric Wherlocke finds love.


Harriet Klausner

Quarantine-Rahul Mehta

May 28, 2011


Rahul Mehta

Harper, May 31 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9780062020451


This is an entertaining insightful nine story anthology that focuses on gay second or third generation Indian-Americans coping with being a sexual preference minority that is amplified by their respective family’s elders clinging to the old country’s culture.  Each entry is well written and as a collection thought provoking but few attain profundity in part due to the format.  In “Quarantine”, a grandson takes his male lover to meet the family patriarch though he fears the older man will not accept his being gay as his parents are at best tepid towards his significant other.  The lovers travel to India where they hide their hurt from a general disdain towards gay lovers as being an inane westernization.  An octogenarian grandma wants to become an American “Citizen”; so her grandson trains her for the test, but she fails anyway.  His parents consider his brother “The Better Person” because he married; while he is in a gay relationship in which his family refuses to recognize his significant other whether it is the sibling wedding or a trip to India.  The remaining five entries also explore family acceptance or rejection of an offspring’s gay relationship.


Harriet Klausner

Praise Jerusalem-Augusta Trobaugh

May 28, 2011

Praise Jerusalem

Augusta Trobaugh

Bell Bridge, Mar 11 2011, $12.95

ISBN:  9781611940183


In Georgia elderly widow Miss Amelia feels trapped with her position as a local Brahmin and her age as her family and peers are dead; and her home is a fund draining mausoleum of the better financial times.  She knows she must give up her home, but the only place she can move to is the abandoned home of the grandma of her current housemate Maybelline and Mamie in Jerusalem, Georgia.


Maybelline is a bit off her rocker though a good person who has direct communication with god.  On the other hand, Amelia is an agnostic cynic who fears she is suffering from early dementia as she increasingly goes back to the summer when she found her heart and the Lord while living with a black family who worked for her mom.


This reprint of an engaging Southern drama provides the audience with an insightful look at segregated society in which a white minor is entitled to more legal and social protection and rights than black women. Although the allusions to the “Great Mystery” is overdone, the glimpse to Georgia’s past makes for a fine Steel Magnolia tale as Miss Amelia realizes how much that year was the greatest summer of her life.


Harriet Klausner

Break the Skin-Lee Martin

May 27, 2011

Break the Skin

Lee Martin

Crown, Jun 14 2011, $24.00

ISBN: 9780307716750


In Mt. Gilead, Illinois, police officers question skinny teenager Laney Volk who lives in a trailer with fellow Wal-Mart associate thirty-five-year-old Delilah Dade and Rose MacAdow.  This is the second time they interrogate him over the course of a few months.  While Delilah and Rose competed for the attention of singer Tweet, Laney liked band member Lester Stipp.  When Tweet chooses Rose, Delilah rages.


In Denton, Texas, lonely tattoo artist Miss Baby hates men for using her but fantasizes that one day her prince will come.  Although she knows better having been hurt frequently by strays, she takes in a stranger who says he suffers from amnesia.  However, Lester could be lying about knowing his name as mendacity and lonely desperation link Texas and Illinois.


Break the Skin is a terrific tale that rotates between the women in Illinois and the woman in Texas; their bond is a deep Eleanor Rigby level of loneliness.  Character driven by the four women whose catalyst for their respective behavior is the two band members, fans who relish an atmospheric thriller will want to read this dark ballad of human foibles.


Harriet Klausner