Archive for the ‘Contemprary Romance’ Category

The Bodyguard-Lena Diaz

April 16, 2014

The Bodyguard
Lena Diaz
Harlequin Intrigue, Apr 15 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373697632

Suffering physical and mental spousal abuse from the moment she married financier Richard Ashton III, Caroline plans to flee her cruel husband who throughout Georgia has been anointed a saint and her pathetically needy. Fearing Richard’s reaction and knowing he uses Stellar Security, Caroline hires rival firm Savannah-based Dawson’s Personal Security Services owner Luke Dawson as her bodyguard when she runs away.

When Caroline and Luke arrive at the safe cottage she leased, they find Richard’s murdered corpse there. Chatham County Police Detective Cornell considers the victim’s siblings Daniel and Grant as persons of interest, but his main focus is on the wife who discovered the body and her bodyguard. Luke believes in his heart his client is innocent especially when someone makes several attempts to kill Caroline. He vows to keep her safe from her unknown lethal adversary while also investigating the identity of her attacker who he assumes killed Richard and soon afterward others.

The Bodyguard is an exciting action-packed thriller in which keeping the heroine safe and uncovering who the deadly enemy is supersedes the frequently used romantic premise of love between a bodyguard and a client. Filled with red herrings and several surprising twists, readers will enjoy Lena Diaz’s strong intrigue.

Harriet Klausner

For The Right Reasons-Kara Lenox

April 9, 2014

For The Right Reasons
Kara Lenox
Harlequin SuperRomance, Apr 1 2014, $6.75
ISBN: 9780373608409

Knowing her ex-boyfriend Kelly Ralston is innocent of the rape and attempted murder conviction he received seven years ago, Dr. Bree Johnson asks Project Justice to take on his case. Project Justice Attorney Eric Riggs knows firsthand how violent and feral Ralston is after they spent time incarcerated in the same Huntsville cellblock (see In This Together) and the psychopath threatened to slice up his six year old daughter MacKenzie. In a team meeting headed by CEO Daniel Logan, Eric claims Ralston is a monster who tried to kill him, bragged about murdering others and raped the victim Philomene Switzer who testified against him. Logan accepts Eric’s claim and deep-sixes this case unaware his new employee lied to them.

Eric explains to Bree why they decided to refuse to work the Ralston appeal. She turns livid as she insists the gentle Ralston would not do this. Accompanied by his daughter, Eric meets Bree at a restaurant but Philomene, expected to join them to tell him she wants to recant her testimony, fails to arrive. Soon they learn she is dead. Feeling guilt Eric vows to protect the two females he loves from an unknown adversary targeting them.

The latest Project Justice romantic suspense (see One Night Alibi) is a fabulous tale due to the contrasting yet deftly interwoven subplots as the romance and the viable threat hook the audience. MacKenzie is a terrific child who suffers from loss but cannot hide her feelings (her reaction to meeting a doctor is priceless); thus she enhances the lead couple’s changing relationship. Readers will appreciate this enjoyable contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

The Soldier’s Promise-Patricia Potter

April 8, 2014

The Soldier’s Promise
Patricia Potter
Harlequin SuperRomance, Apr 1 2014, $6.75
ISBN: 9780373608416

The Taliban ambushed the Ranger unit leaving Dave Hannity dead from a bomb blast. Dave leaves behind his cabin in Covenant Falls, Colorado to his BFF Josh Manning, who survived the deadly attack but suffers from severe PTSD. Accompanied by his fallen comrade’s retired bomb detecting K9 Amos who the veterinarians at Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dogs Hospital diagnosed with PTSD also, Josh heads to Dave’s cabin with plans to renovate and sell.

Covenant Falls Herald columnist Marilyn Evans complains to Mayor Eve Douglas about the stranger in the Hannity cabin while rumors abound about the man and his unleashed big dog. Eve visits Josh at the rundown cabin. He marvels that she is not afraid of him like yesterday’s visitor, but also dislikes he cannot intimidate her. Later Deputy Sam accosts Josh over a robbery that occurred yesterday. Attracted to one another from that first meeting, the mayor and the reclusive veteran fall in love; while he also enjoys time with her Little League aged son Nick and their menagerie, as Josh recognizes this crew brings Amos back to life.

The Soldier’s Promise is a delightful family drama filled with romance, a cold case drowning, suspense and PTSD. Insight into the real issue of canine PTSD brings freshness as Amos never received closure since he was not on the mission in which his beloved handler died. Readers will appreciate Patricia Potter’s engaging contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Her Soldier Protector-Soraya Lane

April 5, 2014

Her Soldier Protector
Soraya Lane
Harlequin Romance, Apr 1 2014, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373742851

American singing superstar Candace Evans loves performing. She is currently in Australia where the government assigns active duty SAS Logan Murdoch (and his K9 partner Ranger) to protect Candace especially since she has received viable threats.

Though wary of anything but singing and of just about everyone, Candace feels relaxed for the first time in a long time once she meets Logan and Ranger. As they begin to fall in love, she must overcome her distrust of people especially men and he must move past his recent haunting Middle East assignment in which his friend Australian SAS soldier Sam Matheson died; if they are to achieve the permanency that Ranger desires for the three of them.

Her Soldier Protector is an entertaining Australian military romance starring two wonderful seemingly PTSD suffering protagonists. Readers will relish Logan’s return as the male lead after a key support role in The Returning Hero. In this sequel, Soraya Lane once again pays tribute to the soldiers and their family members who sacrifice so much.

Harriet Klausner

Deadly Liaisons-Elle James

April 2, 2014

Deadly Liaisons
Elle James
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Apr 1 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373278671

In Cape Churn, Oregon, Molly McGregor owns and operates McGregor’s Bed and Breakfast where several strange deaths occurred over the years and rumors abound of ghosts residing there. Staying at the B&B are several Feds who prevented a potentially deadly terrorist assault (see Deadly Engagement). One of them Casanova Valdez and Molly are attracted to one another.

Someone tampers with the brakes of a car driven by Nova, but he and operative Tazer survive though she broke her nails. Molly and Nova share a wonderful night, but soon afterward she is hurt in an odd accident. Nova insists on staying with Molly especially as more and increasingly dangerous events occur as the rest of the team head home. As they fall in love, Nova vows to take down the vile thug targeting his woman before the pair becomes part of the deadly legend of McGregor Manor.

Returning to the picturesque (except in fog) Oregon coast (see Deadly Reckoning), Elle James provides another wonderful romantic suspense with hints of ghostly happenings. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of a local innkeeper and a Stealth Operations Specialist while the villain (spirit as the heroine thinks or human as the hero believes) lurks nearby.

In A Cowboy’s Arms-Rebecca Winters

April 1, 2014

In A Cowboy’s Arms
Rebecca Winters
Harlequin American Romance, Apr 1 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373755158

Eight years ago, Sadie Corkin fled from her father Daniel’s Farfields Ranch in Montana when she was eighteen out of fear for the safety of her beloved Jarod Bannock; as she believed her violent alcoholic dad when he swore to kill her fiancé. She never told the love of her life why she left town abruptly though he assumed her monstrous father was the prime cause. Sadie moved in with her mom Eileen in San Francisco and obtained a job working at Tim Lawson’s software store. Eileen and Tim fell in love, but he died in an accident and she giving birth to their child, now two year old Ryan raised by his half-sister.

With Daniel’s death from liver failure, Sadie, accompanied by Tim’s younger brother Zane and Ryan, returns to the family Montana spread to make decisions about her late father’s estate. Upon seeing her, Jarod knows he still feels anger-fueled betrayal by the woman he cherished and to his chagrin still loves.

The first Hitting Rocks Cowboys romance is a delightful second chance at love tale due to a strong support cast who bring out the best in the protagonists and in Big Sky country. Although there is exciting unnecessary suspense that feels somewhat a subgenre requirement, readers will root for the deserving lead couple to find happiness together and look forward to future series entries.

Harriet Klausner

A Match Made In Texas-Katie Lane

March 31, 2014

A Match Made In Texas
Katie Lane
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 978145557580

Tired of her four pain-in-the-butt brothers and fleeing from a naked internet scandal, Brianne Cates speeds through Bramble, Texas. Rigid law enforcer Sherriff Dusty Hicks pursues the dangerous speeder, demanding she pull over, which she reacts to by accelerating. When he gets her to stop, she sprays him with mace. Brianne mentions he will be sorry as her daddy and siblings are wealthy and used to getting their demands met. Her threat triggers an angry reaction from Dusty who arrests her though he knows it is because she behaved like his ex who used her daddy’s affluence to win full custody of their child.

Due to a mutual love of Elvis, Judge Seeley sentences Brianne to two weeks of community service as the sheriff’s housekeeper. Both are irate with the situation but soon their anger begins to turn to desire and attraction abetted by the Bed and Breakfast “Hens” who demand nothing less than love between the criminal and the sheriff.

This Deep In The Heart Of Texas romance (see Going Cowboy Crazy, Catch Me A Cowboy and Flirting With Texas) is an amusing heated contemporary. Fans will enjoy the lead couple, encouraged by caring town eccentrics, landing in one mess after another mostly due to the “Runaway Child, Running Wild” (Temptations). Although the fiery avenging Reverend Josiah Jessup subplot feels out of place, fans will enjoy this fast-paced, zany tale.

Harriet Klausner

Fire Inside-Kristen Ashley

March 30, 2014

Fire Inside
Kristen Ashley
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 9781455599271

Near Denver, Chaos Motorcycle Club member single father Hop Kincaid considers advertising exec Lanie Heron crazy for ironically standing by her fiancé Elliot Belova. Hop thinks the late Belova must have been even more certifiable for getting involved with the Russian mob over the purchase of out of season flowers for their wedding. The Russians killed Belova and left Heron scarred physically and emotionally.

Seeking a one-nighter, Lanie propositions Hop and he euphorically accepts her no strings stipulation. However, as one night becomes another one night and another one night, Hop and Lanie struggle with accepting that each wants a more permanent relationship, but he doubts she can fit in with the danger of being part of Chaos and she hesitates after what happened to her Elliot.

With a nod to the Sons of Anarchy, the second Chaos romance (see Own the Wind) is an engaging tale due to the unique insanity of Lanie, whose crazy poor choices bring briskness to the storyline; while Hop is more of a traditional Kristen Ashley bad boy lead. Faster than a speeding bike (except for the plenty of sex encounters), readers will appreciate this second chance at hog-tied heaven.

Harriet Klausner

A Plain Man-Mary Ellis

March 29, 2014

A Plain Man
Mary Ellis
Harvest House, Apr 1 2014, $13.99
ISBN: 9780736949804

For five years, Caleb Beachy tried to assimilate into the Englisher world. Recently realizing his effort was doomed from the start, Caleb finally accepts that he is simply A Plain Man. Thus Caleb leaves Cleveland to move back home in Fredericksburg, Ohio where he works for his still disappointed dad Eli; who has not forgiven his son for deserting his Amish heritage and distrusts him not to leave again when he becomes bored.

When Caleb ditched his faith and family, Josie Yoder was a young teenager. Now an adult she and Caleb begin seeing each other. She keeps him calm when he becomes irate especially with his unmerciful obstinate father; and Josie reminds him that he temporarily may have turned from the Lord but the Lord never left him. As they fall in love, Caleb’s remorse for deserting his people and God leave him believing he is unworthy of Josie.

A Plain Man is a delightful Amish romance with a strong second chance at life subplot. Josie is typical of the subgenre women; while freshness come from Eli with his inability to accept the return of his prodigal son, and Caleb with his guilt for what he perceives is a betrayal to God, his family and his community. Readers will enjoy the Caleb’s tribulations (mostly self-flagellation); as he thinks his beloved Josie deserves someone better than him.

Harriet Klausner

Come Home To Me-Brenda Novak

March 28, 2014

Come Home To Me
Brenda Novak
Mira, Mar 25 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778315919

Two years ago, just after her mom died, pregnant Presley Christensen fled Whiskey Creek leaving behind her true love Aaron Amos. She went for drug rehab and to have an abortion in Arizona (see When Summer Comes). However, instead of ending the life growing inside her, Presley decided to raise her baby Wyatt. Expecting Aaron to leave town to manage a new family auto body repair franchise and encouraged by her married sister Cheyenne and her brother-in-law (Aaron’s sibling) Dylan (see When Snow Falls), Presley, accompanied by her child, comes home to open up a yoga studio.

Aaron has come a long way from when he used drugs while having a heated affair with Presley. He still wants her, but fears he will revert back to being an addict again. However, when he sees the child with her, a fuming Aaron wants to know who the dad is. Meanwhile Cheyenne offers her sister a plan re Wyatt.

This Whiskey Creek second chance at love romance is an enjoyable contemporary though the premise is not new and some behavior unethical. The lead couple is a delightful pairing of two recovering addicts still in love with each fearing a return engagement could lead them back to using while cherished Wyatt adds a fascinating dilemma. The series’ audience will appreciate Come Home To Me that closes an intriguing relationship thread.

Harriet Klausner