Archive for November, 2013

A Texas Child-Linda Warren

November 30, 2013

A Texas Child
Linda Warren
Harlequin SuperRomance, Dec 3 2013, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373718917

Seven years have passed since Myra Delgado betrayed her then lover Levi Coyote, but though she has become a Houston Assistant District Attorney her life remains filled with guilt and regrets. Swallowing her pride and using GPS, Myra heads to his grandfather’s ranch in Willow Creek where she waits for him to come home after spending time with his girlfriend.

Myra plans to beg Levi, as Texas’ top private investigator, to help their distraught friend Stu. Ignoring his no, Myra explains that Stu’s daughter Natalie lies in a coma after a beating from her former lover Marco Mortez who also took their nine month old son Daniel with him. The vicious brute most likely went either to Mexico where he may have cartel connections or Brownsville where his parents live. Levi has no problem refusing Myra, but not the baby. As the pair follows the trail into Mexico, both realize they remain in love with each other.

This strong second chance at love is a tense romantic suspense that hooks the audience the moment Myra comes to Willow Creek (see A Texas Hero and A Texas Family) and never slows down until the final confrontation. Action-packed, the rescue mission takes the lead as the couple’s re-evolving relationship rightfully mostly supports saving the infant.

Harriet Klausner

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A Valley Ridge Christmas-Holly Jacobs

November 30, 2013

A Valley Ridge Christmas
Holly Jacobs
Harlequin SuperRomance, Dec 3 2013, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373718948

In Valley Ridge, New York, Maeve Buchanan is elated with so many wedding bells (see You Are Invited… and April Showers) but the town librarian also feels a tad jealous that she has not found her one and only. Caring Maeve invites the Holder family (Boyd, pregnant Josie and their son Carl) living in a frozen trailer with no propane to stay in her warm home.

As cold snowy November weather freezes his butt, Floridian Aaron Holder wishes he said no to his Uncle Jerry’s “Family is Family” request to oversee his Valley Ridge Farm and House Supplies store. Lake Erie is a tad colder than Aaron’s Orlando and Arizona where Jerry enjoys the sun. Maeve comes to the store to fill the tank where she meets Jerry and finds him obnoxious. However when Aaron goes out of his way to help the Holder family and others, she revises her opinion of him. As they fall in love, she is Lake Erie and he is Orlando.

The latest Valley Ridge romance is a wonderful romance made fresh by the witty banter between fiery Red and the frozen Floridian, and the wintry locale; as no one does the Lake Erie region better than terrific tour guide Holly Jacobs does. The support cast, especially the family in need of a holiday miracle, enhances this cheerful Christmas contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Second Chance With Her Soldier-Barbara Hannay

November 29, 2013

Second Chance With Her Soldier
Barbara Hannay
Harlequin Romance, Dec 3 2013, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373742684

In Tarin Kot, Afghanistan Australian Commando Corporal Joe Madden delays opening his wife Ellie’s Crunch Time email that he assumes demand he sign their divorce papers ending their troubled marriage. It was his idea, but both know signing the document will not allow either to move on passed their stormy relationship. In Karinya Station in Far North Queensland, Ellie wonders why Joe never responded to her email that explains she changed her mind about donating their “sproglets” embryos as she decided on one last try for pregnancy though agreed to continue with the divorce.

Three years later in Sydney, Joe is home but never told his wife his deployment ended as has his military career. He struggles with a lack of purpose and detachment from civilian society. When she calls having seen him on the news, he asks about two years old Jacko but Ellie guts him by inviting him to stay with them. He insists that is a bad idea. Still Joe knows he no longer can avoid coming home to see his family in order to end his marriage. In Karinya Station, the torrent leaves Joe trapped with his wife and son for Christmas.

This dynamic contemporary looks deep into military marriages and the mind of a combat solder adjusting to civilian that star Aussies but could be any nationality. The storyline goes the expected second chance course (duh – it is a romance), but the fascinating relationship between the disturbed vet and his concerned wife and their precocious toddler make for an insightful family drama.

Harriet Klausner

The Devil Wears Kilts-Suzanne Enoch

November 28, 2013

The Devil Wears Kilts
Suzanne Enoch
St. Martin’s, Nov 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250041609

In Glengask, Scotland, a servant tells Marquis Ranulf MacLawry that the laird’s eighteen year old sister Rowena fled to London. Rowena left home because she wants her Season that he as her guardian denied her; his reason being he wants her safe from the dandies and already selected her mate. Ranulf informs his two other siblings to stay home to reduce the potential of scandal while he chases after his runaway sister.

Following clues, Ranulf invades the home of Lady Charlotte Hanover demanding she turn over his sister to him. Charlotte ignores his Highlander blustery insisting she has given her vow to provide a safe house for Rowena. Admiring the host’s grit, to his chagrin, Ranulf agrees to escort Rowena to the galas. Worse in his mind is his attraction to Charlotte; who shares his feelings but wants nothing to do with this berserker brute. She quickly changes her mind when she sees how caring her beloved is to his sister and to her.

The first Scandalous Highlanders Regency romance is a delightful amusing ethnic-gender war starring two engaging polar opposites supported by characters from their families and the Scandalous Brides series. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate this jocular ballroom as the English flower could have authored The Handbook to Handling His Lordship.

Harriet Klausner

Dangerous Seduction-Zoe Archer

November 28, 2013

Dangerous Seduction
Zoe Archer
St. Martin’s, Nov 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250015600

In 1886, Nemesis, Unlimited headquarters in London receives a pleading letter asking for help as the anonymous writer claims the workers at the Wheat Prosperity Copper Mine in Trewyn, Cornwall are treated as abused slaves and their families left in horrid conditions. NU operative Simon Addison-Shawe decides to go undercover as a machinist employed by Wheat Prosperity in order to ascertain working conditions.

The locals especially those in the mines and their families distrust the stranger. He meets passionate defender of the workers Alyce Carr, who though attracted to Simon, refuses to have anything to do with the newcomer while he wants her too. However Simon restrains his desire because he realizes he needs her help if he is to accomplish his mission. To prove he is on her side, Simon trusts Alyce with the potentially lethal information that he is from Nemesis. As they team up on the mining operation, they fall in love but he is an aristocrat and she is working class.

The latest Nemesis Unlimited Victorian romantic suspense (see Sweet Revenge) is a powerful Dickensian thriller in which the dangerous working conditions and the impoverished company town are front and center while the romantic subplot plays an important second fiddle. Each of the lead couple is dedicated, diligent and brutally honest; as both accept the mission supersedes their class taboo attraction.

Harriet Klausner

The Diplomat’s Pregnant Bride-Merline Lovelace

November 27, 2013

The Diplomat’s Pregnant Bride
Merline Lovelace
Harlequin Desire, Dec 1 2013, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373732876

At her sister’s wedding (see Business Engagement), pregnant Gina St. Sebastian rejects career diplomat Jack Mason’s proposal as he demands a marriage of convenience so their child is legitimate. Gina is deeply attracted to the widower, but knows the love of Jack’s life is his late first wife and she refuses to play second banana.

Jack proves as obstinate as Gina is as he vows to marry her even knowing her antics will nuke his career . As he campaigns with the fervor he displays when discussing field diplomatic safety and local interaction at the State Department, Jack revises his goal because he loves the mother of his unborn; she realizes she loves her persistent suitor when a life-threatening incident occurs.

The latest Duchess Diaries contemporary is an interesting romance due to the strong changing relationship between the stubborn lead couple. Readers will appreciate the answer to the paradox of what happens when an immovable couple and the irresistible force of love collide.

Harriet Klausner

The Cowboy’s Christmas Surprise-Marie Ferrarella

November 27, 2013

The Cowboy’s Christmas Surprise
Marie Ferrarella
Harlequin American, Dec 3 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373754823

In Forever, Texas, with his four siblings finding love (see His Forever Valentine), Ramon Rodriguez feels good for them, but enjoys his last bachelor standing status. Holly Johnson fell in love with Ray in elementary school, but refuses to believe her feelings for her close friend remain unrequited though she patiently conceals her attraction.

At a gala, Ray is stunned by his sudden wanting to be the only one dancing with Holly who looks incredible in her dress. When they kiss, Ray no longer cares about being single as he now needs to make up forever for the years he failed to heed his heart.

The fifth Forever Rodriguez romance is an engaging BFFs falling in love contemporary. The lead couple is a delightful pairing as she has known forever he is her one while he has known just as long she is his buddy until the dance. Readers will enjoy Ray’s conversion from pal to soul mate as Marie Ferrarella provides a wonderful Cowboy’s Christmas Surprise.

Harriet Klausner

Covert Attraction-Linda O. Johnston

November 26, 2013

Covert Attraction
Linda O. Johnston
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Dec 3 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278527

In Moravo Beach, Beth Jones turned whistleblower claiming that her employer Corcoris Pharmaceuticals committed dangerous practices. When the firm’s CEO Preston Corcoris warns her to back off or else her family will suffer; Beth believes him. Instead of cowering and also distrusting the law to protect her and her loved ones; using an alias Beth obtains work on the custodial crew in order to find incriminating evidence to take down Preston.

U.S. Marshals Service’s Covert Investigation Unit agent Daniel McManus works undercover at Corcoris as a lab technician. While on overtime, he and Beth meet. Attracted to each other, she thinks she can use his flirting to her advantage while he fears she will expose him before he completes his mission; thus each rationalizes a reason for keeping the other nearby.

The key to this entertaining though leisurely-paced tale is the likable lead couple coming together seems reasonably plausible. Readers will root for the pair as whistleblowing proves as dangerous a vocation as going undercover.

Harriet Klausner

Cold Case, Hot Accomplice-Carla Cassidy

November 26, 2013

Cold Case, Hot Accomplice
Carla Cassidy
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Dec 3 2013, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278497

In Wolf Creek, Pennsylvania Dollhouse owner Roxy Marcoli becomes worried when her beloved Aunt Liz fails to deliver baked goods to the restaurant for the first time in three and a half years. Roxy tried Liz’s landline but her aunt fails to pick up and the cell phone went to voice mail. Known by her aunt and her two sisters (Sheri and Marlene) for being the ultimate pessimist, she asks her Marlene to check on Liz. Meanwhile she opens up for breakfast with one of the patrons WCPD detective Steve Kincaid turning her stomach in knots with desire while also angering her by calling her “Foxy Roxy”.

Marlene reports Liz missing so Roxy asks Steve and his police force peers (Jim Carmani and Frank Delaney) for their help in finding Liz. Jim and Frank says Liz is an adult missing for only two hours, but Steve stuns them and himself when he offers to search for her aunt. As the cop and the restaurateur search for her missing aunt, their attraction turns to love. However, the detective wants nothing to do with that dangerous emotion as he still misses his abducted son Tommy gone for two years in spite of his search. Everything changes when he realizes that Liz’s predator targets his Roxy.

This Men of Wolf Creek romantic investigative tale stars two wonderful protagonists flirting and challenging each other. Although the engaging storyline never twists from the expected path, sub-genre fans will enjoy the first journey.

Harriet Klausner

Crash Into You-Katie McGarry

November 24, 2013

Crash Into You
Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen, Nov 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN 9780373210992

Private school student Rachel Young comes from an affluent family who expect her to behave in a certain manner belying their status. Besides her parents’ expectations, her four older brothers allow Rachel no breathing room. In her expensive designer clothing and high grades, Rachel conceals from her overly protective relatives her passion of racing strangers on the slummy Southside streets and her debilitating panic attacks.

A decade ago Isaiah Walker’s mother went to prison while he went into foster care. He respects his social worker who looks him in the eye but refuses any contact with his mom, recently released early from prison. Isaiah looks like a tattooed neighborhood hood with a passion for fixing cars, which he hopes to turn into a job when he is booted from the system in a year.

Isaiah and Rachel meet due to street car racing. They are attracted to each other, but he hides behind a not caring tough guy facade from the slumming rich girl where he lives, who his mother is and how he feels about Rachel. Pushing The Limits, Rachel makes it clear she wants Isiah. Besides being in love with each other and with racing, they must depend on one another to find a way out of a life threatening situation.

The latest Katie McGarry teen drama (see Dare You To) rotates perspective mostly between the star-crossed protagonists, who live on polar opposite sides of the social spectrum. Character-driven, young adult fans will enjoy this speed racing romance that opens in first gear and never brakes until the finish line is crossed.

Harriet Klausner