Archive for October, 2012

Hers For The Holidays-Samantha Hunter

October 31, 2012

Hers For The Holidays

Samantha Hunter

Harlequin Blaze, Nov 13 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797325

 

Former Marine Ely Berringer works for his family’s bodyguard firm.  His sister-in-law Tessa asks him to leave Antigua to learn what happened to her best friend, tattoo artist and owner of Body, Inc. Lydia Hamilton.  Six months ago, Ely and Lydia shared an incredible tryst before going their separate ways.  He just was unprepared to freeze his butt in freezing Clear River, Montana where her trail leads.

 

Ely realizes Lydia is settling her late mother’s estate.  To inherit the ranch she must remain there for a month.  However, a series of increasingly dangerous incidents occur in which someone seems to want to drive her away.  When Ely offers bodyguard protection and much more, she hesitantly accepts.

 

The latest Berringer Bodyguards File (see Yours For The Night) is an engaging romantic suspense starring polar opposites falling in love.  Fast-paced, the suspense is well done but takes  back seat to the romance; as Ely and Lydia live for the holiday moment as both assume love is not enough to make a forever relationship.

 

Harriet Klausner

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Let It Snow-Leslie Kelly and Jennifer LaBrecque

October 31, 2012

Let It Snow

Leslie Kelly and Jennifer LaBrecque

Harlequin Blaze, Nov 13 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 978-0373797271

 

“The Prince Who Stole Christmas” by Leslie Kelly.  New York City candy shop proprietor Claire rents a room to Phil.  She is attracted to het tenant who has come to the Big Apple seeking his fairy tale princess, Claire.

 

“My True Love Gave to Me” by Jennifer LaBrecque.  In Alaska Gertie and Knox were BFFs until he became ensorcelled by a cold woman.  Now they meet for the first in a few years at the Good Riddance Christmoose festival and their emotions quickly turn to love.

 

The latest Blazing Bedtime Stories Holiday Collection (see Once Upon a Valentine) contains two delightful Christmas romances starring wonderful protagonists.

 

Harriet Klausner

Secrets Of The Lynx-Aimee Thurlo

October 31, 2012

Secrets Of The Lynx

Aimee Thurlo

Harlequin Intrigue, Nov 27 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373696611

 

A sniper using a high caliber rifle killed his partner U.S. Deputy Marshal Judy Whitacre and ended Paul Grayhorse’s field agent job with the U.S. Marshal Service.  Paul becomes a private investigator working New Mexico cases with his foster brothers.  However, someone tries to kill Paul with the overwhelmingly probable culprit being Chris Miller who he suspects previously went after him.

 

U.S. Deputy Marshal Kendra Armstrong was working the sniper murder when she is abruptly reassigned to protect Paul.  She wonders if her boss removed her from her inquiry because an agent went gun-trafficking rogue.  Paul makes it clear to Kendra that he does not want or need a body guard as he looks forward to getting it on with Miller.  As they fall in love, he uses his Navaho gift to hone in on a killer who likewise targets the pair pursuing him.

 

Secrets Of The Lynx is a strong police procedural romance starring two fascinating protagonists and a villain somewhat in the shadows.  Fast-paced, the storyline also enables the reader to obtain a taste of Navaho life and myths; as Aimee Thurlo provides another strong enchanting New Mexico thriller. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Lord Gray’s List-Maggie Robinson

October 30, 2012

Lord Gray’s List

Maggie Robinson

Kensington Brava, Oct 30 2012, $14.00

ISBN:  9780758269096

 

In 1820 Baron Benton Gray is irate with the London List gossiping about him and his mistress Veronique as the paper has ripped him for two years.  Adding to his furor is that his mom and his staff have subscriptions he pays for.  He decides to confront the publisher, R. Ramsey.  Benton immediately recognizes Evangeline Ramsey.  She thinks back ten years when she gave Gray her virginity and she rejected his proposal; fearing he was just like her wastrel father.  Benton offers to buy the newspaper; she says she will talk to her father and tell him their answer tomorrow.  He is wealthy due to his brilliant investments.

 

He ends his relationship amiably with Veronique and buys the newspaper from her dad angering her.  Benton kisses her though she broke his heart years ago.  They make love and she knows he still owns her heart and he knows she owns his.  A crowd gathers outside Benton’s home angry at him for cheating Ramsey out of the newspaper though he paid much more for it than it is worth and protest his plans to shut the List.  Benton discusses the List with Evie who says people with needs advertise in the paper.  At the shop he is all business while admiring how she helps others and publishes the paper.  When he finds a warning note that concerns him for her safety, she ignores it; while he plans to keep her safe and marry her. 

 

The lead couple is a fun second chance at love pairing and the London List is an intriguing newspaper although Benton adapts too easily to publishing a newspaper.  Fans will enjoy this Regency version of His Girl Friday.

 

Harriet Klausne

The Recruit-Monica McCarty

October 30, 2012

The Recruit

Monica McCarty

Ballantine, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780345528414

 

In 1306 Northumberland, King Edward hunts Lord Atholl while his wife Mary worries about him and their young son David, a hostage of the English monarch.  The English take Mary prisoner.  For three years ignored by King Edward, she learns little about her son and nothing about her missing sister; her husband is dead.  Finally Edward orders her to go to Scotland on a truce negotiation and to spy. 

 

Kenneth Sutherland wants to join King Bruce’s Highland Guard but his temper and his brother-in-law MacKay keeps him out.  Bruce wants Kenneth married soonest.  At the Highland Games that he is winning Kenneth has a tryst with Mary. The next morning she returns to England.

 

Kenneth joins the Guard.  Bruce assigns Kenneth to pretend loyalty to Edward so they can learn where he will invade.  Kenneth arrives at Henry Lord Percy’s castle where he provides information on a raid of a supply run.  Kenneth is stunned to see Mary here and learns her son David is Sir John Felton’s squire.  He leads Felton on an attack of the Guard in which he saves David’s life while the Scots escape.  Kenneth kisses Mary and realizes she is carrying his child.  He insists they marry and that he will become David’s guardian while Felton plans to kill Kenneth.

 

The latest Highland Guard medieval romance (see The Saint, The Viper, The Ranger, The Hawk, and The Chief stars  an interesting lead pair and a solid Scottish support cast; on the other hand the English are one-dimensional villains.  Although Mary’s distrust of Kenneth seems overly done, fans will enjoy this entreating historical filled with danger, intrigue and love.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Burning Up-Anne Marsh

October 30, 2012

Burning Up

Anne Marsh

Kensington Brava, Oct 30 2012, $14.00

ISBN:  9780758266811

 

Jack Donovan and his fire jumper crew complete a mission in California.  Afterward, Nonna, who raised him and his two “brothers” Rio and Evan, asks him to come home to Strong to help his mentor Fire Chief Ben Cortez with a rash of arson.  Her call has Jack thinking of Ben’s niece Lily Cortez who he left behind as he felt she deserved better than him.  Only for Nonna would he and his brothers return to Strong.

 

Ben shows Jack a map of the fire locations that cluster around Lily’s lavender flower farm.  Jack talks to her about the fires.  They argue over her safety.  Lily thinks back to San Francisco where she lived until a stalking arsonist had her fleeing for home six months ago when he burned her books in her kitchen sink; she knows he has found her.  A man watches Jack and Lily.  He sets fires to calm down and to inform Lily she belongs to him by leaving her personalized fiery gifts.  Jack moves into Lily’s home over her objection to protect her and insists that when she is ready they will enjoy sex together for the first time.  Meanwhile her arsonist turns irate with plans to teach his beloved a lesson.

 

This is an exciting romantic suspense in which the firefighting scenes are incredible.  The lead pair behaves inane at times as he is a bully and she is obstinate while the support cast show they care for the protagonists.  Although the cleverness of the villain seems doubtful with his compulsive obsessive behavior placing him at great risk of capture, readers will appreciate this entertaining firefighting romance.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Defender-Lindsay McKenna

October 29, 2012

The Defender

Lindsay McKenna

Harlequin HQN, Nov 13 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777105

 

Certified with an eagle license, just like her foster mother Donna, Katie Bergstrom opens up a raptor rehabilitation facility near Jackson Hole for birds with a medical condition who cannot fly in the wild.  She hires former marine Joe Gannon to help run her ranch.

 

Joe is an undercover FBI agent looking into whether Katie works for her biological mother’s cartel.  To his chagrin he is attracted to his employer and enjoys life at her sanctuary.  While his heart says Katie is innocent, Joe knows the mission comes first as he deals with drug traffickers and the appearance of his beloved’s birth mother for the first time in Katie’s life.  Katie loves her employee, but trust is not something she gives easily.

 

This is a strong romantic suspense with a powerful setting of majestic birds soaring high into the sky with the Grand Tetons in the background.  Fast-paced, readers will relish Sam and his fellow birds of a feather affirm WC Fields’ wry commentary to “Never work with animals …” as they will steal the show as Katie and Joe (and readers) learn.

 

Harriet Klausner

Unforgiven-B.J. Daniels

October 29, 2012

Unforgiven

B.J. Daniels

Harlequin HQN, Nov 20 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776733

 

Over a decade ago in Beartooth, Montana, someone viciously murdered Ginny West.  Everyone assumes Carson Grant killed her in a violent fit of passion as they had recently ended their relationship.  Though he insisted he was innocent and grieving the death of his beloved, and no concrete evidence proving he committed the homicide, Carson leaves town with a cloud over his head.  His sister Destry and Ginny’s brother Rylan end their relationship to focus on helping their respective families heal from the tragedy as she defends her sibling and he believes her brother killed his sister.

 

Over the years since the trauma, Destry concentrates on her family ranch while Rylan like Carson left town.  When new evidence surfaces, Carson returns home from exile to prove he did not murder Ginny.  Rylan also comes home as he never forgot his Destry.  

 

This is an entertaining Big Sky romantic suspense in which the investigation of a violent murder eleven years ago may have gone cold, but its grip on the townsfolk remains powerful.  The storyline is fast-paced and the setting beautiful.  However, none of the key players feel fully developed beyond the impact of Ginny’s death on their relationships.  Still readers will enjoy learning whether Carson killed his sweetheart.

 

Harriet Klausner

Caden’s Vow-Sarah McCarty

October 29, 2012

Caden’s Vow

Sarah McCarty

Harlequin HQN, Nov 20 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776993

 

On the Hell’s Eight Ranch, Caden Miller feels alone with his gunslinger peers marrying (see Shadow’s Stand, Sam’s Creed and Tucker’s Claim).  He decides to leave the spread before he turns soft like his compatriots and work a gold mine in the Kansas Territory.

 

Now living at Hell’s Eight Maddie O’Hare grew up in a brothel.  She loves Caden, but he keeps his distance from her.  Encouraged by a friend, she follows him as he prepares to move on.  When Caden learns she is being held prisoner at the nearby Fallen C Ranch, he rushes to her rescue.  Instead Caden and Maddie wed in a shotgun marriage ceremony that has him reeling and her dancing.  Now she must persuade him she is worth keeping before it is too late as his past shows up with guns blazing.

 

The sixth entertaining Hell’s Eight western romance is an engaging pre Civil War thriller though the lead couple is more pitiful than likable as he seems indifferent to her and she is a constant victim.  Still, fast-paced, fans of the series will enjoy the tale of the somewhat interchangeable gunslinger (with previous heroes) and the unique woman who lacks the confidence to corral him.

 

Harriet Klausner

What An Earl Wants-Kasey Michaels

October 29, 2012

What An Earl Wants

Kasey Michaels

Harlequin HQN, Nov 20 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776764

 

In 1789 a drunken Earl of Saltwood duels with the man poking his wife.  However, as he is shot by a hooded figure instead, he remarks he never anticipated this before dying.  His widow and her lover leave.

 

Over two decades later, their children grow up with the scandal always hovering.  Their oldest offspring, Gideon Redgrave, the current Earl of Saltwood ignores the scandal as he lives his way amidst London high society; except for distrusting everyone as he vowed to never allow a woman to destroy him.  He is unhappy to be named guardian to the Collier heir.  However he will do his duty even if the lad’s widowed half-sister Jessica Linden is a distraction he prefers to ignore but cannot as she demands custody of her younger sibling.  As they fall in love, his late father’s mysterious alleged Hellfire Club membership surfaces with lethal consequences.

 

The opening Redgrave Regency romance (the Wedding Party short story in Rules of Engagement precedes this) is an exciting taut thriller starring two interesting protagonists struggling with the deaths of their fathers.  The suspense grips the audience from the moment Jessica accosts Gideon and never slows down as the mystery of their respective fathers’ deaths place them and others in peril. 

 

Harriet Klausner