Archive for August, 2013

I Married The Duke-Katharine Ashe

August 24, 2013

I Married The Duke
Katharine Ashe
Avon, Aug 27 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062229816

In 1804 in Cornwall, the three young orphans (Eleanor, Arabella and Ravenna) have “no rank and less fortune.” The Gypsy tells the sisters that the ring their late mom gave to the oldest Eleanor belongs on the finger of a prince; one of the siblings will wed royalty and eventually reunite them with their lost father.

In 1817 Plymouth, Arabella remains confident that she is the one who will marry the prince though time is running out on her with less than two weeks left and she still needs to be in France to achieve her destiny. She pleads with pirate Captain Lucien Westfall to take her. However, the duke wonders why a governess desires travel to his brother’s French castle; Luc assumes his family sent her to report his activities to them. Thinking he should keep his enemy close as he knows someone else will replace her if he refuses her; Luc agrees to escort Arabella to France. When robbers assault them, the couple realizes how in love they are as they trust their respective life in the hands of their partner.

The opening Prince Catchers Regency romance is a fun gender war tale as two spry witty opponents fall in love in spite of their misconceptions. The storyline begins at a leisurely pace so readers can meet the players. Once the adventure begins the plot accelerates into a delightfully fast-paced romantic caper in which he is no prince charming or pirate and she is no damsel in distress or governess.

Harriet Klausner

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Mission: Seduction-Candace Havens

August 24, 2013

Mission: Seduction
Candace Havens
Harlequin Blaze, Aug 20 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373797684

When Marines Captain Will Hughes and Lieutenant Rafe McCawley were in New York, they were recruited off the street by Hannah Harrington as male models. After the show Will left with Hannah (see Model Marine) and Rafe with model Mimi Callahan.

Rafe is severely injured during a firefight while back on duty. His emails with Mimi have kept him sane though he never could arrange a call or Skype. Now he heads to Fiji to spend quality time with Mimi at a converted mansion yoga resort. However, instead of Mimi greeting him, her wellness expert sister Kelly welcomes him. She delays telling him the truth that she is the author of those letters as she feels he needs to believe otherwise while psychologically healing. As they fall in love, Kelly fears once she confesses he will break Semper Fi culture and leave behind her wounded broken heart.

This Uniformly Hot! romance is a wonderful sequel as the wounded marine and the sister fall in love but her concealment hurts their chances especially if he learns the truth from another source besides her. Although the premise has been overly used, the Fiji locale and Kelly bring freshness with her pure motive. Fans will enjoy this engaging entry.

Harriet Klausner

The Devil She Knows-Kira Sinclair

August 23, 2013

The Devil She Knows
Kira Sinclair
Harlequin Blaze, Aug 20 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373797707

Devlin Warwick returns home from Atlanta to Sweetheart, South Carolina after being away for a decade. He has a goal to prove to those do-gooders who ran him out of town as a bad boy that they judged him wrong. Thus he ironically wears a devil’s costume for the town’s fall masquerade.

Wedding dress designer Willow Portis is Sweetheart’s good girl. For the masquerade she dresses as a sexy angel. When the devil and angel meet at the ball, each is stunned by the attraction and share the best night of their respective lives until the masks come off as Willow sees the man who broke her heart ten years ago.

The latest Sweetwater romance (see She’s No Angel) is a heated second chance at love tale. The lead couple is a delightful pairing of the devil and the angel though he has some angelic traits and she has some devilish inclinations. A suspense subplot adds tension but also feels unnecessary as this couple holds the fine plot together with their history and a town that insists love is not enough.

Harriet Klausner

Bodyguard Under Fire-Elle James

August 23, 2013

Bodyguard Under Fire
Elle James
Harlequin Intrigue, Aug 20 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373697137

Ever since his wife and child died in a botched kidnapping last year, billionaire Raging Bull Ranch owner Hank Winchester decided justice needed help. He hired four unemployable former law enforcement officials at his firm Covert Cowboys, Inc. Two of them proved their worth right out of the gate (see Triggered and Taking Aim).

Hank assigns Afghan wounded warrior vet Chuck Bolton to protect an employee at Cara Jo’s Diner. Chuck wonders why this person needs a bodyguard, but he will do the job going undercover as a handyman at the adjacent Wild Oak Canyon Resort run, along with the diner by Cara Jo Smithson; the only person besides himself and Hank who knows his real assignment. Waitress PJ Franks screams when an intruder enters her apartment as she fears for her baby Charlie. Hearing the scream, Chuck intercedes but the man escapes because of the retired Special Forces soldier’s bad leg prevents him from pursuing. His ex-fiancée PJ introduces a stunned Chuck to his sleeping daughter even as he learns that a Mexican drug lord targets mother and child though the motive remains unknown.

The third Covert Cowboys, Inc. is an exciting thriller that never slows down as readers are hooked with a need to know why though some fans will believe the reason is weak for a cartel chief. Fast-paced from the opening rescue, fans will appreciate this enjoyable second chance at love romantic suspense as family matters.

Harriet Klausner

Maid of Dishonor-Heidi Rice

August 22, 2013

-Maid of Dishonor
Heidi Rice
Harlequin Kiss, Aug 20 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373207282

At Hillbrook College in Upstate New York, Gina Carrington the tramp slept around and enjoyed every tryst though deep down none of them gave her any warmth afterward. That is except the one that she really enjoyed yet afterward left her empty as she knew she crossed a forbidden line when she slept with her friend Marnie’s older brother just before “Saint” Carter Price was to marry Missy.

A decade later, Gina regrets how she behaved back in school especially her final bedding that remains the only one etched into her mind, body and soul. Thanks to her business partner Reese Michaels (see The Unexpected Wedding Guest by Aimee Carson) opting out on her re the Cassie Barclay’s wedding plans meeting (see Girl Least Likely to Marry by Amy Andrews), Gina has a chance to apologize to Marnie. After Gina does; Marnie says her brother was the prime culprit by cheating on his fiancé. Marnie also explains Carter’s marriage proved a disaster and now he is a player.

This is a fun romance as ironically ten years ago she was the bad girl and he was the virgin; while now she acts the virgin and he is the bad boy. With a strong support cast, fans will appreciate this wonderful Wedding Season’s second chance at love relationship drama.

Harriet Klausner

If You Can’t Stand The Heat-Joss Wood

August 22, 2013

If You Can’t Stand The Heat
Joss Wood
Harlequin Kiss, Aug 20 2013, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373207299

Pari’s Bakery and Coffee Shop has been at the same locale in St. James and False Bay for forty years, but owner Ellie Evans tells her BFF and maternity leave employee Merri that the septuagenarian owners of the building sold the property. They have six months to vacate with no prospect of opening the bakery anywhere in the area.

Jack Chapman stands outside the closed for the night bakery when Ellie calls her dad Mitchell to ask why the war correspondent her father considers his son is here. Mitchell explains a Somalian warlord battered Jack and took his cash and credit cards before dumping him on a U.N. plane leaving Cape Town. The reporter needs a bed to recuperate while also interviewing Mitchell’s family for an article on life with him; Ellie resentfully thinks what life with Mitchell as he always covered all the hot spots but none of her highlight film. El and Jack feel the attraction between them, but he regains his mojo and she rejects her heart as she does not need another neglectful male in her life.

If You Can’t Stand The Heat is a warm contemporary romance as love may not be enough to forge a permanent relationship between the protagonists. Readers will appreciate this entertaining tale that focuses on how much a person loses when they must choose between their vocation and their family.

Harriet Klausner

Wake the Dawn-Lauraine Snelling

August 22, 2013

Wake the Dawn
Lauraine Snelling
FaithWords, Aug 20 2013, $15.00
ISBN 9780892969012

In Pineville, Minnesota, Widower Ben James struggles with grief and alcoholism ever since his pregnant wife Allie and their unborn died, but he always performs his border patrol duty diligently. Physician Assistant Esther Hanson runs the local clinic diligently though she is not a doctor and there is none at the facility.

A horrific hurricane like storm hammers the Northern Plains, devastating the small border town while also isolating Pineville. Ben and Esther team up along with others to save lives though she is one incident from a full scale panic attack at a time everyone needs her calmness instead of PTSD. When Bo the K9 border patrol guard finds a baby alive, the pair and the EMTs rejoice even as the clinic is overwhelmed by the townsfolk’s need. Yet two emotionally crippled warriors begin to heal as they help their injured neighbors.

The key to this warm inspirational romance is the clinic’s frantic desperate activity takes center stage during and after the storm while the romance between the protagonists supports the overall town (and leads) in trouble theme. Character-driven by a fabulous support cast and two wounded warriors in a vivid location (think of Under The Dome but instead isolation caused by a storm), readers will enjoy this engaging tale.

Harriet Klausner

Home On The Range-Susan Fox

August 21, 2013

Home On The Range
Susan Fox
Zebra, Aug 6 2013, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420131901

“Home On The Range.” Evan Kincaid fled Caribou Crossing, Canada for Cornell and ultimately Manhattan. A decade later he is a wealthy investment counselor, who loves his job and Cynthia his attorney girlfriend. His most loyal client Gianni Vitale pulls out the friend card to persuade Evan to look into the Crazy Horse Dude Ranch in British Columbia as a possible investment venture since owner TJ Cousins plans an expansion. To his chagrin though he lived in horse country, Evan never rode a horse and now he is going to a ranch as an undercover guest. Worse Evan hates returning to Caribou Crossing site of the ranch, but plans to avoid his mother Brooke and his BFF Jess Bly who he left after their only sexual encounter. Hard to do when TJ is Jess, married and divorced from Dave Cousins; but she never told Evan about Robin.

“Caribou Crossing.” In 1995, Miriam Bly lies in a coma while her husband Wade, their seven years old daughter Jess, and her mother Rose the school teacher, worry. He fears his decision to take over the family ranch proved too much for his beloved wife, a townie daughter of a banker. He vows if she returns to him, he will give up Bly Ranch though he and Jess love living there.

Although Cynthia is stereotyped as urban shallowness and Jess is a caring nature mother, Home On The Range is an engaging somewhat thin Canadian second chance love ranch romance that brings to life picturesque British Columbia. Caribou Crossing is an enjoyable reprint of an e-book novella that focuses on the love between Jess’ parents when they first moved to the ranch.

Harriet Klausner

Night’s Mistress-Amanda Ashley

August 21, 2013

Night’s Mistress
Amanda Ashley
Zebra, Jul 30 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420130416

For centuries, males whether they are mundane mortal, vampire or even vampire hunter, coveted Mara (see Night’s Kiss) though their agendas vary. She kept her distance emotionally until recently as she has not gotten over the rejection from human Kyle Bowden the passionate artist who dumped her horrified by her confession that she is a vampire. Adding fear to her despondency is her incredible dark powers rapidly are waning as she apparently begins a conversion back to human making her vulnerable to enemies.

Former creation and lover from hundreds of years ago, Logan Blackwood offers Mara sanctuary in his luxurious Hollywood abode. Desperate she accepts. However, as Logan and Mara reignite their ancient attraction, she learns she miraculously carries Kyle’s offspring who seeks her out to tell her he still offers to her his soul.

The fifth Children of the Night romantic urban fantasy (see Night’s Touch and Night’s Pleasure) is the strongest entry in a terrific series due to the angst choices confronting the emotionally tormented lead female. Mara holds the stunning storyline together as she mentally struggles with acceptance of her unwanted changes, her need to make up her mind between the two caring hunks and what is best for her baby who comes first over her needs and that of her lovers.

Harriet Klausner

The Bookstore-Deborah Meyler

August 19, 2013

The Bookstore
Deborah Meyler
Gallery, Aug 20 2013, $16.00
ISBN: 9781476714240

Receiving a scholarship to attend Columbia University as an art history Ph.D. candidate Esme Garland moves to Manhattan. While working on her thesis re artist Wayne Thiebaud, Esme meets old money native Mitchell van Leuven. They become an entry until the commitment phobic Mitchell abruptly ends their relationship insisting the sex is stale before Esme can tell him she is pregnant.

Needing money, Esme finds work at the laconic but financially failing The Owl bookstore on West Side while continuing her studies in Morningside Heights. She enjoys helping the eccentric customers and reading the books, but especially appreciates George the owner and Luke the guitarist manager. Mitchell returns asking for a second chance, but though Esme wants to say yes she fears he will find her as lacking as a used teabag.

The Bookstore is a magical Manhattan drama as the idealistic Esme loves the city, the school, the bookstore and especially cynical Mitchell. The character driven storyline encourages bibliophiles to go for the gold but also not to bury your head in the sand as others may not want to share your desires.

Harriet Klausner