Archive for February, 2013

One Night With A Cowboy-Cat Johnson

February 27, 2013

One Night With A Cowboy

Cat Johnson

Kensington Brava, Feb 26 2013, $9.95

ISBN: 9780758285386

 

Dr. Becca Hart loses her assistant English professor position at Vassar at the same time her boyfriend moves out.  A month after the seminar ended she remains unemployed with the only vacancy at Oklahoma State University.  She tells her sibling Emma she will not apply.  OSU English Department Dean Mark Ross asks Becca to come to Stillwater for an interview.  Emma submitted her résumé.  The sisters travel to OSU.  The sisters attend the rodeo and meet bull riders Tucker Jenkins and Jace Mills.  Divorced army sergeant Tucker and Becca are stunned by their attraction.  The foursome goes back to the hotel where Becca and Tucker take out a room. 

 

Becca teaches at OSU while Emma returns home.  Dean Ross hosts a part welcoming Becca.  On the faculty, Tucker attends.  Both are stunned to see each other.  He is upset as she never told him she interviewed for a job and she with his not mentioning the military.  Tucker’s superior officer warns him of the non-fraternization rule.  Still each agrees to become friends with benefits until he volunteers to return to Afghanistan so she would not be fired. 

 

The latest Oklahoma Nights Romance (see Two Times as Hot and Three Weeks with a Bull Rider) is a fun military academic romance in which the attraction at first sight is deftly handled as each protagonist is fully developed.  The rodeo scoring rules and ROTC training are deftly interwoven into the engaging plot due to a solid support cast.  Although his logic for volunteering to serve in Afghanistan seems crazy and affirms the lead couple’s somewhat infantile behavior, readers will enjoy One Night (and many more) With A Cowboy.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

 

 

 

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The Earl Is Mine-Kieran Kramer

February 26, 2013

The Earl Is Mine

Kieran Kramer

St. Martin’s, Feb 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250009890

 

Heir to the Marquess of Brady though not his son, Lord Gregory Sherwood the architect needs a wife.  However, his choice Lady Eliza has selected his best friend Dougal instead of him.

 

Gregory has no time to mend his broken heart as childhood friend and fellow survivor of Uncle Bertie’s parties Pippa Harrington storms back into his life as she has done several times over the years.  She explains to him that she heads to Paris to avoid an unwanted arranged marriage.  As she takes a detour masquerading as his valet, she always has known deep in her soul that he is the one person who could break her heart if she trusts him with her love.

 

The second House of Brady Regency romance (see Loving Lady Marcia) is an amusing lighthearted historical with not so subtle references to the TV show beginning with the names of the Brady Bunch and Alice the housekeeper.  Readers will enjoy this amusing historical as Gregory and Pippa learn that love makes everything seem better.

 

Harriet Klausner

Dusk With A Dangerous Duke-Alexandra Hawkins

February 26, 2013

Dusk With A Dangerous Duke

Alexandra Hawkins

St. Martin’s, Feb 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250001382

 

Six years ago, Nicolas Towers became the Duke of Huntsley when his parents died.  His Grandmother arrived at Telcliffe Castle to raise the child with a tough love attitude.  In 1806, Hunter meets a weeping baby; the daughter of a duke with a large dowry.  Grandmother tells her shocked beardless virginal grandson that he will wed two year old Lady Grace Kearly when she turns twenty-one.

 

After years of rakehell activities, in 1825 the time for Hunter to wed his fiancée has arrived if he wants to keep his inheritance instead of his cousin Walker getting it.  Having seen her once almost two decades ago when she bit him, he does not look forward to his second encounter with Lady Grace.  She also fears marriage to this dedicated Lord of Vice as she assumes he wants the heir, the spare and her nowhere near.  Thus, Hunter is shocked when Lady Grace refuses to honor their families’ nuptial agreement.  Hunter’s new mission is winning the heart of his former fiancée unaware he also brings danger to her.

 

The latest Lords of Vice Regency romance (see Sunrise with a Notorious Lord, After Dark with a Scoundrel, Till Dawn with the Devil and All Night with a Rogue) is an entertaining historical.  Though the premise has been used frequently before and Grace’s abrupt change of heart never is explained though implied during the fiery climax, sub-genre fans will enjoy the delightful Dusk With A Dangerous Duke.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Garden of Stones-Sophie Littlefield

February 25, 2013

The Garden of Stones

Sophie Littlefield

Mira, Feb 26 2013, $14.95

ISBN 9780778313526 

In 1978 San Francisco, someone murders fifty-nine year old Reginald Forrest in his office near his gym in the basement of the De Soto Hotel.  SFPD Inspector Torre visits Forrest’s acquaintance Lucy Takeda as a witness placed someone who looks like her with her pink scarred face at the gym when the murder occurred.  Lucy admits knowing the victim over three decades ago.

 

Lucy tells her upset daughter Patty about what happened to her when she was fourteen and to her mom Miyako.  Her father just died when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  Japanese Americans were taken to internment camps.  Mother and daughter went to Manzanar Relocation Camp run by ruthless George Rickenbocker, who rapes and impregnates Miyako.  When he targeted Lucy, a distraught Miyako scarred her daughter’s beautiful face to try to keep the guards from raping her child.  She then kills Rickenbocker and herself.

 

Rotating between the 1978 mystery and the WWII internment in the California desert, Garden of Stones is a deep historical that shines a timely spotlight on a dark period in American history; the terrible mistreatment of American citizens rationalized by homeland security needs.  The three generations of Takeda women are fully developed with Lucy connecting family and eras.  Although Rickenbocker is stereotyped as a ruthless individual, he also brings a belief that the interred are not real Americans so are subject to abuse.  Readers will relish this profound storyline as one must “Never Forget” the heritage horrors caused by “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one” (Benjamin Franklin).

 

Harriet Klausner

Three Sisters-Susan Mallery

February 25, 2013

Three Sisters

Susan Mallery

Mira, Feb 26 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778314349

 

Besides humiliation and pain of standing alone at the altar in front of 300 friends and family including both moms, Andi Gordon is also left paying the bills and returning the gifts.  Thus three months later, Andi decides she needs a major makeover so buys one of the Queen Anne historical “Three Sisters” houses on Blackberry Island in Puget Sound with plans to open up a pediatric practice in her new home.

 

She meets her neighbor artist Boston King, whose husband Zeke she already met.  Boston and Zeke struggle to move on after the death of their baby, but increasingly they appear to be moving on separately.  

 

Also residing in one of the Three Sisters’ homes are Deanna Phillips, her husband Colin and their five daughters.  Deanna fears Colin is having an affair.  When she confronts him, he confesses but blames her; sadly she agrees with him.

 

The return to Blackberry Island (see Barefoot Season) focuses on three women with emotional issues bonding like the Three Musketeers with each believing in “All for one, one for all” mantra; as the trio knows they have “sisters” who have their back during their personal crisis.  The ensemble cast is fully developed due in part to the rotating storyline and mostly because of the “Three Sisters” sharing their tsuris with each other and readers.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Best Man-Kristan Higgins

February 24, 2013

The Best Man

Kristan Higgins

Harlequin HQN, Feb 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780373777921

 

 

In Manningsport, New York, high school sweethearts Faith Holland and Jeremy Lyon are engaged.  As the wedding nears, he jilts her when he realizes he is gay.  Shook up by her fiancé’s revelation, Faith left town heartbroken and feeling betrayed though in lucid less emotional moments she knows she owes thanks to Jeremy for ending their relationship before they said I do.  Still she trusts no man with Jeremy’s Best Man Levi Cooper the subject of her biggest scorn for failing to tell her that her fiancé was gay; using background checks that would make FBI agents envious, Faith has no faith in any man.

 

Several years after she left her Upstate New York town, Faith comes home to a dysfunctional family.  Making matters worse for Faith is that she loathes her attraction to Levi, the town’s Police chief.  He feels the same way as he wanted her when she was dating his best friend.  Both are wary to take a chance as he brought back his Afghan war experience as a wounded warrior and she struggles to move passed the betrayal. 

 

This is a fun madcap romance filled with plenty of feelings as the protagonists suffer from carrying differing emotional baggage.  Although the fully developed support cast (especially Jeremy and Faith’s family including her leg-humping canine) adds overall depth, they also impede the prime romantic storyline.  Still fans will enjoy the love story of the jilted bride and The Best Man.

 

Harriet Klausner

All He Ever Desired-Shannon Stacey

February 24, 2013

All He Ever Desired

Shannon Stacey

Harlequin HQN, Feb 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777563

 

After graduating from college, Ryan Kowalski fled his hometown of Whitford, Maine when the love of his life Lauren married his best friend Dean Carpenter.  The couple divorced eight years ago after she caught him cheating; their sixteen year old son Nick lives with Lauren who works as the office assistant at Demarest Insurance.

 

After years away from town, Ryan returns to help his family renovate their Northern Star Lodge.  When he catches teenager Nick vandalizing Kowalski property, Ryan must confront the woman he loved and lost.  They agree to allow Nick working for Ryan to pay for the damage he caused.  Both remain attracted to one another, but each is wary of a relationship.  At the wedding of his brother Mitch and Paige (All He Ever Needed), she takes the risky first step.

 

The latest “Killer” Kowalski contemporary romance (see Yours To Keep and Exclusively Yours) is an enjoyable third chance at love tale (he unsuccessfully tried to persuade her to take her then infant and go away with him).  The storyline is the usual warm madcap mania as the extended Kowalski brood celebrates a wedding in their boisterous style.  However, the key to this entertaining entry is the pace as Ryan and Lauren take their time to regain trust and faith in love.

 

Harriet Klausner

Operation Reunion-Justine Davis

February 23, 2013

Operation Reunion

Justine Davis

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Feb 19 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373278152

 

Chad Tucker vanished just after the murder of his parents over a decade ago.  The two intertwined cases have gone cold, but Chad’s sister Kayla continues to search for her sibling.  Her obsession has driven friends and family away, including her beloved Dane Burdette.  He believes she is throwing away her life on the delusion that her brother is innocent and is tired of coming in a distant second to her all-encompassing quest.

 

At a time when she has run out of ideas, Kayla and Cutter meet.  The Belgian canine escorts the distraught woman to Quinn Foxworth and Hayley Cole (see Operation Midnight).  They and their team take on clients like Kayla with no one else to turn to for help.  While Dane remains doubtful, but nearby, Cutter and his humans replenish Kayla’s hope.

 

This Cutter’s Code entry is an entertaining romantic suspense that affirms the W.C. Field’s comment “Never work with animals or children” as the delightful daring dog steals the show from the two pairs of couples.  Fast-paced, Operation Reunion is an engaging story as fans will conclude that the canine knows best.

 

Harriet Klausner

What She Saw-Rachel Lee

February 23, 2013

What She Saw

Rachel Lee

Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Feb 19 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373278138

 

College student Haley Martin works as a waitress at a truck stop.  She fantasizes about a consistent customer whose shirt says Devlin.  Ray Liston, who she knew in high school, stops for coffee.  Soon after he leaves to drive his rig, Deputies Micah Parish and Sarah Ironheart arrive to ask questions about Liston; which Haley answers without hesitation that he seemed fine to her.  Ten miles from the truck stop, Liston drive his rig off the road and died.

 

Former MP, truck driver Buck Devlin investigates the death and other odd events impacting his firm.  Already attracted to the college student, he fears her chatting with Liston places her in danger as a “loose end”.  To keep her safe and besides which he needs her help to uncover the truth, he asks for her assistance by pretending to be lovers.

 

The latest Conrad County: The Next Generation (see Rancher’s Deadly Risk) is a taut romantic suspense thriller due to the super protagonists.  Fast-paced from the moment the deputies enter the truck stop and filled with twists while never slowing down, readers will appreciate Rachel Lee’s interesting investigative romance.

 

Harriet Klausner

How To Catch A Prince-Leanne Banks

February 22, 2013

How To Catch A Prince

Leanne Banks

Harlequin Special Edition, Feb 19 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373657292

 

Sophie Taylor argues with her boss Max Carter that he should meet his royal family and is previously unknown sister Coco Jordan (see A Home for Nobody’s Princess); both offspring of Prince Edward of Chantaine.  Unimpressed by the uproar, he insists he is too busy designing roads to visit his biological family at the Royal House of Devereaux even with his being in country on a project.  

 

Still a reluctant Max listens to his assistant’s advice and meets the royals.  His regal half-sisters know that their new sibling and his assistant are in love with each other though they also conclude he is in denial and she gave up on his inability to commit.  Thus the royals play matchmaker.

 

The latest Royal Babies (see The Princess and the Outlaw) is an entertaining contemporary romance.  The relationship premise between the protagonists has been used frequently (see the movie The Duchess of Idaho), but made fresh by the royals especially the matchmakers. 

 

Harriet Klausner