Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Big Shot - Joanna Wayne (HI #1383 - Nov 2012)

Series:  Big D Dads (Book 3) 

Fate brought Texas rancher Durk Lambert face-to-face with his ex-lover, Meghan Sinclair. The reckless but gorgeous P.I. had been beaten and left for dead, with no memory of her attacker, of Durk…or herself. Years ago she'd broken his heart, but no cowboy walked away from a woman in need.

While Durk kept her safe on his Bent Pine Ranch, his own memories threatened him -- laughing with Meghan, making love. He still wanted her, but he feared Meghan was the one woman he could never have -- and the one he'd lay down his life to protect. Because while Durk wanted her to remember, a killer needed her to forget.… 

Good book.  I liked both Durk and Meghan.  Durk was at the hospital with his aunt when Meghan was brought in after being beaten.  They had broken up two years before, but Durk still cared and made sure he was there for her.   In order to protect her while she was trying to recover her memory he took her home with him.  As they spent time together he was reminded of all the things he loved about her, but also of what had torn them apart.  I really liked his protectiveness and how he tried to keep her safe.  I also liked the way he tried to make her see how her activities tore him up with worry about her.  Meghan was a very determined woman.  She was very good at her job and never let anything stop her from doing what she felt was needed to get it done.  Her loss of memory was frustrating for her because she was sure that if she could remember the events she would be able to solve the case.  She also wished she could remember her relationship with Durk.  She was still attracted to him and would like to see where it might go, but can't think about it until she can remember.  When the final showdown occurs and she regains her memory she finally realizes what is most important.

A Forever Christmas - Marie Ferrarella (HAR #1426 - Nov 2012)

Series: Forever Texas (book 6) 

Her Gift Is Her Present
When Gabe Rodriguez took the job of deputy sheriff in the small town of Forever, Texas, he thought he'd be bored. So he's shocked the morning he discovers a car teetering on the edge of a deep ravine with an unconscious woman at the wheel. Gabe makes a daring rescue, but when the woman awakes, her memory is wiped clean.

Gabe may call her his Christmas "Angel," but in her eyes, he's the one who is truly heaven-sent. Gabe's given her a whole new life, and she is haunted by the feeling that this is the happiest she's ever been. Though Gabe is trying to help Angel recover her memory, she's willing to leave it all behind her and start fresh with him at her side. But when her past finally catches up to her, Angel could lose everything, including Gabe.

Very good book.  Angel is on the run from a man who is trying to kill her.  While fleeing she has an accident and is rescued by Gabe.  When she regains consciousness she can't remember anything, but is healthy otherwise.  I really liked both Gabe and Angel.  Gabe is serving as a temporary deputy while coping with a broken heart.  After rescuing Angel he feels responsible for her, so while the sheriff's department tries to find out who she is, Gabe takes her home with him.  He is attracted to her but has no intention of taking advantage of her that way.  He enjoys being with her and finds that her presence makes his house feel like a home.  He soon realizes that he has fallen in love with her and wants to keep her in his life.  Angel flees in terror from the man trying to kill her, but has fear of another type when she awakens with no memory.  She feels that there is something she should be afraid of, but the memory isn't there.  She quickly comes to trust Gabe and the other people of Forever and is happy working in Miss Joan's diner.  She is attracted to Gabe and it isn't long before she is able to show him that he wouldn't be taking advantage of her, but making her happy.  Despite her still missing memory she is very happy there.  I really liked the way that she was such a people person and how much everyone liked her.  I also loved the way she was able to stand up to the bad guy at the end and make her happy ending with Gabe possible.

Baby It's Cold Outside - Addison Fox (Signet - Nov 2011)

Series: Alaskan Nights (Book 1) 

After a frantic call, Sloan McKinley travels to the heart of the Alaskan wilderness to be there for her best friend, who's just inherited property in the small town of Indigo. The last thing she expects is to be lured by the town's matriarchs into their annual contest to get their grandsons married off.

But Sloan can't deny the appeal of the rugged local men-Walker Montgomery in particular. Soon she finds herself falling in love with the wild outdoors...and with one of Indigo's most beloved residents. There's just one question that remains: is the town's most confirmed bachelor ready to get caught? 

What a fun book.  I really like romances that take place in Alaska (something about long cold nights and rugged men) and this was one of the best ones I've read.  Sloan got a call from her friend Grier and headed up to Alaska for some moral support.  Pretty soon she found herself involved in the local bachelor contest while writing an article about it.  She was especially interested in Walker, who was interested in her on a purely temporary basis - or so he thought.   Sloan was a very independent modern woman who was being driven nuts by her mother.  Mom is determined to marry her off and keeps throwing different men her way.  When Grier called Sloan was only too happy to head for Alaska.  When she gets there she jumps right in to helping Grier deal with a hostile half-sister and seemingly unwelcoming town.  She also finds herself attracted to hot bachelor Walker, but sees no sense in getting involved since she won't be in town for long.  But they really strike sparks off each other and bait each other into participating in the grandmothers' contest.  Sloan discovers that Alaska isn't what she expected and finds her attitudes changing.  She falls in love with the town, but still expects to leave when she is done writing her article.  She also falls in love with Walker but can't seem to get him to see the possibilities.  Walker is a good looking guy who is a confirmed bachelor.  He doesn't believe in love and happily-ever-after thanks to his father's philandering.  He does care about his grandmother in spite of her matchmaking attempts.  He is immediately attracted to Sloan, but knows she'll be leaving to tries to avoid starting anything.  But with Alaska's woman shortage there are a lot of men in town who are very interested in her too and he soon finds himself unwillingly jealous.  He keeps trying to convince himself that he's just having a fling with her, but soon has to admit his feelings to himself.  He very nearly loses her, but has a fantastic "go big or go home" moment at the end.  Besides Sloan and Walker, there is a town full of fantastic other characters.  Most notable are his two friends and fellow bachelors Mick and Roman, who will star in the next two stories.  Sloan's friend Grier has her own troubles that Sloan tries to help her with, and they make friends with local woman Avery.  There are some wonderfully funny times, including a townwide snowball fight.  Sloan's interviews with townspeople and bachelorettes highlight some of the best things about the town and help open her eyes to the possibilities.  There are also some very heartfelt moments when the ladies and men are dealing with their issues.  I can't wait to read Grier and Mick's story.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Texas Christmas - Nancy Robards Thompson (HSE #2224 - Nov 2012)

Series: Celebrations Inc. (Book 3) 

Busted! When Pepper Merriweather's superwealthy daddy is arrested for fraud -- and the family fortune is kaput -- just before the holidays, Pepper suddenly finds herself in need of a job. Despite her high-society connections, no one wants to give her a chance -- no one except gorgeous billionaire recluse Robert Macintyre.

When he proposes a position that comes with more strings attached than a symphony orchestra, Pepper knows it's an offer she should refuse. But beggars can't be choosers. Besides, Pepper knows she has what it takes to rise to the challenge -- but does she have what it takes to keep her hands off her irresistible new boss? 

Very good book.  Pepper needs a job, and a friend gets her an interview with Rob MacIntyre.  She briefly met him on a plane and they connected, but if she works for him it's hand off.  Their attraction won't go away and soon they aren't able to resist.  I really liked both Rob and Pepper.  Pepper has been a favorite of mine during this series.  For all she was rich, she was very down to earth and a great friend to the others.  Her strength was in being able to talk to people, make connections and get donations for the causes she worked for.  I loved the way that she became good friends with Rob's sister.  I also thought that she was terrific with Rob's son.  She was able to relate well with him and was a great help with his care.  She carried a lot of guilt over the death of her twin brother when they were kids, but being with Rob and Cody helped her deal with those feelings.  I really liked her strength of character also when dealing with paparazzi and people who were nasty to her because of her father.  Rob was a great hero.  After his son's accident and his divorce, Rob had become something of a hermit.  He avoided most social events, preferring to spend his time with Cody.  When he met Pepper he couldn't get her off his mind.  He hired her to work with him on the fundraising for a local hospital and the more time he spent with her the more he came to care.  Her loving attitude toward Cody was the icing on the cake.  I really loved the way that he saw Pepper for who she was, not who her father had been.  I'm looking forward to Sydney's story.   

A Maverick for the Holidays - Leanne Banks (HSE #2222 - Nov 2012)

Series: Montana Mavericks: Back in the Saddle (Book 5) 


Next time you pass Major Forrest Traub on the street, make sure you give him a real Thunder Canyon- style welcome. The handsome soldier hasn't smiled much since moving here from Rust Creek Falls, but this hasn't deterred our favorite do-gooder, Angie Anderson. Angie's convinced she's met the man she's going to marry. 

Forrest sees Angie as a rosy-eyed optimist, too young and innocent for a man who's lived through Iraq. Yet her irresistible warmth may actually be thawing his hardened heart. Suddenly she's got him volunteering with teens, arranging holiday events, even-"gasp"-smiling. Can Angie's unwavering faith rescue Forrest from himself? Give thanks, loyal readers, for your many blessings-and hope that Angie and Forrest can find theirs. 

Very good book.  I really liked both Forrest and Angie.  Forrest had come to Thunder Canyon because of a doctor there that is helping with the leg wound Forrest got in Iraq.  Because of the wound and his nightmares, he has been pretty much a loner feeling that he is too "damaged" to be any good in a relationship.  He has started coming out of his shell a little bit while working with a therapy dog and has started a support group for veterans.  When he meets Angie he sees her as a very young Pollyanna type.  But he is attracted to her and doesn't want to be.  He soon finds that she has talked him into helping out with her teens and other projects.  He also discovers that being around her has made him feel better.  I loved the way that he keeps trying to pull back but Angie won't let him.  They work together very well with the projects she involves him in.  I loved the way that talking to other veterans about relationships helped him realize he could have it all.  Angie was a force all by herself.  She is great at getting people involved in things and is so positive that they can't help but agree. She does have some self-esteem issues with not knowing what she wants to do with her life. She was attracted to Forrest from the time she met him and went after him with a single minded focus.  Even though he tried to keep her at a distance, she just wouldn't stay away.  I loved her tactics when she took care of him when he was sick.  I also liked the way she didn't give up on him at the end.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in later books.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thunder Horse Redemption - Elle James (HI #1382 - Oct 2012)

Series: Thunder Horse (Book 3) 

Life in the North Dakota badlands always has its dangers...but the shooter who attacks Roxanne Carmichael has definitely raised the stakes. Already struggling to keep her ranch from bankruptcy, Roxy is now faced with new threats around every corner. To make matters even worse, her ex-fiance, FBI agent Pierce Thunder Horse, is visiting his family's ranch-and once the Lakota lawman learns Roxy's at risk, nothing will shake him from her side. 

When she threw his ring back in his face two months ago, Pierce promised Roxy that he'd keep his distance. But leaving her without protection is not an option. Pierce is determined to stick close, mend old wounds...and strengthen the unrelenting desire that still rages between them. 

Very good book.  Pierce is back on his family's ranch for his brother's wedding when he finds Roxy being attacked.  Roxy had called off their engagement two months earlier after holding him responsible for her brother's death.  She doesn't want him anywhere near her, but he's not about to leave her unprotected.  I really liked both Pierce and Roxy.  Pierce is very good at his job, but holds himself to very high standards.  When a raid went bad two months earlier, killing several agents, he felt he should have known it was a trap.  His sense of responsibility added to Roxy's grief and she ended their engagement.  But Pierce still loves her and refuses to leave her without protection.  He also finds that the more they are thrown together the more he wants to try to get her back.  Roxy's grief and fury caused her to pull away from Pierce.  Now she doesn't want him near her - mostly because the attraction is still there and so is the love.  She doesn't want to depend on him but she's feeling overwhelmed by the attacks and the other ranch troubles.  I really liked the way that, by the end of the book, she started to see that she hadn't been fair to him.  The suspense was good with some very tense moments at the end. 

An Outrageous Proposal - Maureen Child (HD #2190 - Nov 2012)

When Georgia Page accepts Sean Connolly's proposal, she knows it's crazy. But surely she can pretend to be a self-made billionaire's fiancée for a little while, just until his mother regains her health. Surely she can keep her heart out of this affair, no matter how sexy he is -- or how well he plays the devoted lover.

It all seems so simple -- until their pretend kisses and fake embraces lead to something all too real, something neither of them expected. Something that could turn an outrageous proposal into wedding bells… 

Oh what a fun book. Sean and Georgia have become friends now that her sister is married to his cousin.  What they didn't expect was a growing attraction between them.  When they finally gave in, it was explosive and they began a planned no strings affair.  Then Sean's mom had a heart attack and laid a guilt trip on him about wanting him settled.  So he asked Georgia to pretend to be engaged to him until his mom was feeling better.  The more time they spent together the more real it seemed. Sean is a lot like his cousin Ronan (Up Close and Personal).  He didn't want to have to worry about love.  All he could see of it was that people lost control and acted like idiots.  He really enjoyed his affair with Georgia and found more and more that he just liked spending time with her.  He also noticed that he was spending a lot of time thinking about her when they were apart.  I liked the way that he was so supportive of her business and helped her get it set up.  He was surprised by her ideas for his planes and intrigued by what he saw in her as she described them.  When he decided that he would like to make their engagement real and went to her with his plan for them to marry he was stunned when she refused him.  I loved his total cluelessness and the way he didn't believe Ronan when he told Sean what a bad idea it was.  His loss of control at the end was perfect.  Georgia was a lot of fun.  I liked her independence and the way she went after what she wanted when she made her decision to move to Ireland.  Her attraction to Sean was intense and she worried that she would end up falling in love with him.  She thought she would be able to control her feelings but ended up falling anyway.  I loved seeing her at her ex's wedding and the way she stomped on him.  When Sean first proposed making their engagement real she had high hopes, but then he kept talking about anything but love.  She was hurt and furious and let him have it.  The final scene in the wine cellar was great.  I also loved Sean's mom and the way she conspired with Georgia's sister to keep them together.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Rogue's Fortune - Cat Schield (HD #2192 - Nov 2012)

Series: The Highest Bidder (Book 5) 

Elizabeth Minerva tries to steer clear of legendary adventurer Roark Black and focus on her career and her attempts at motherhood. But the rakish treasure hunter can help her in her quest to be a single mom, if she'll do him one tiny favor....

To save his beloved auction house and his own reputation from ruin, Roark needs to settle down fast -- with a sensible woman. After a six-month "engagement," he and Elizabeth can go their separate ways.

But Roark knows priceless objects, and Elizabeth is the real deal. Now he intends to keep any means necessary. 

Very good book.  I have been looking forward to Roark's book and it was just as good as I expected.  Roark needs help to rescue the auction house and preserve his reputation.  It was suggested to him that it would help if he were seen to be settling down.  He had met Elizabeth and was attracted to her, so he offered to help her if she would help him.  I really liked both Elizabeth and Roark.  Elizabeth has made the decision that she wants a family of her own.  She has had bad luck with men, ending up with losers who end up hurting her.  So she has tried in vitro, but has been unsuccessful and is out of money.  By helping Roark she will get enough to try again.  She finds that her attraction to him is interfering with her ability to keep her distance.  When she decides to just give in and enjoy it, she finds that she is also falling for him.  I enjoyed the way that, even though she was falling for him, she still managed to stand up to him when she needed to.  I also liked the way that she began to see the Roark that he worked so hard to keep hidden.  I also loved the way she got what she wanted in the most unexpected way.  I've liked Roark from the beginning of the series.  I love the way that he works so hard to find the artifacts and that he gets them in an honest way.  I could see that his travels were a way for him to escape the guilt he felt over leaving his mother.  He wants to help save the auction house so he goes to Elizabeth with his proposal.  This serves two purposes.  It makes him appear to be settling down and it also allows him to get closer to her.  He has been drawn to her from the moment he met her.  What he doesn't expect is that being with Elizabeth makes him feel more content than he ever has before.  When he is away from her she is never far from his mind.  When he finds out the truth about his parents it frees him from some of his guilt and enables him to offer all of himself to Elizabeth.  I'm really looking forward to the next book and the resolution of the mystery.

Secrets, Lies and Lullabies - Heidi Betts (HD #2193 - Nov 2012)

Series: Billionaires and Babies 

Rock-a-Bye Billionaire
No problem's too big for CEO Alexander Bajoran...until a baby is left in his boardroom with a note stating he's the daddy. The mother must be Jessica Taylor, an unforgettable though regrettable one-night stand. Why would she do such a thing? 

When Jessica returns, desperate and remorseful, there's no way Alex will let her walk away with his son. And after discovering that she's connected to his jewelry empire's biggest rival, the mogul wonders if the pregnancy really was an accident. What will he gamble to keep his heir...and the woman who still has a stranglehold on his heart? 

Very good book. I really liked both Alex and Jessica.  Jessica and Alex had had a one night stand and she never expected to see him again. She had been incredibly attracted to him from the beginning, but she recognized him as the man whose company had ruined her family.  Her cousin had convinced her to see if she could find anything with which to get revenge and she had.  Before she could return it, he had left and she hid it away.  When she discovered she was pregnant she left her job at the hotel and tried to find work elsewhere.  By the time the baby was three months old she was desperate and left the baby at his office.  She couldn't just walk away and showed up that night.  Alex wasn't going to just let her walk away, so he convinced her to stay.  I loved Jessica's attitude.  She didn't really mind the loss of her former socialite lifestyle and had been happy with her hotel life.  She knew she shouldn't get involved with Alex but the attraction was too strong to resist.  When she showed up a year later I loved the way she owned up to what she did, but also stood up to him over the things she hadn't done.  I liked the fact that she didn't try to keep the baby away from Alex once he knew.  I also loved the way she surprised him at the fundraiser and how it worked for them.  Alex was also a really great hero.  I liked the fact that even after the one night stand he tried to find her so they could be together.  He was furious over what he saw as her deception and the way she didn't tell him about the baby.  But he did listen to what she told him about her family and investigated.  I loved the way he took to Henry almost right away and how good he was with him.  I really love seeing these tough guys turn to goo over a baby.  It took him a little while to realize what he felt for Jessica was love, but when he did it was fantastic.  I loved seeing what he did about the mess with her family and the epilogue was great.  I do wish I knew what happened with her cousin.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Safe Place - Margaret Watson (HS #1768 - Mar 2012)

Cal Stewart has it all. Tall, blond and built, the football star is a smooth-talking charmer. But there's one situation he can't talk himself out of -- and now he's stuck doing community service at Frankie Devereux's after-school center for troubled teens.

Six weeks and he's out of there. End of story. Except, from the start, Frankie gets under his skin. She's tough and vulnerable, passionate and guarded all at the same time. She makes Cal want to unravel her. Protect her with everything he's got. But he's no shining knight. What he should do is focus on his career and forget all about her. Too bad that's easier said than done. 

I loved this book.  Cal goes into his community service with one goal - find a way to get out of it and get back to preparing for the upcoming football season.  He didn't expect to be attracted to Frankie and want to get to know her better.  And he sure didn't expect to be drawn into the lives of the teenagers at the center.  I really liked both Cal and Frankie.  Cal was irritating at first.  He went into his community service planning to buy his way out of it.  All he was interested in was trying to get his knee back in shape so he can play again.  She wouldn't do it, and he was stuck doing the service or going to jail.  He started out not trusting any of the kids, but soon found himself getting interested in their stories and their lives.  He also found himself more interested in Frankie herself and noticing that there was more to her than the tough exterior.  I liked the way he got involved with the center and the kids and the way he tried to protect Frankie.  His tunnel vision about his career almost lost her, but he saw the light in time.  Frankie had her own issues to deal with, but I loved the work she did with the kids.  Because of her own past she had a great way of being able to relate to the teens she worked with.  She really didn't like him at first because of his attitude and would have loved to refuse to work with him but couldn't.  She did have an obsessive deal with rules, but that went back to her problems as a teen.  I really liked the way that she stood up to the Child Services guy.  She had a lot of courage to do what she did.  I also liked the fact that she stood up for herself to Cal also.  I loved the ending and the way that Cal finally came to understand himself.

The Mighty Quinns: Cameron - Kate Hoffmann (HB #712 - Oct 2012)

Series: The Mighty Quinns (Book 20) 

Will she change his world…or rock it? Yacht designer Cameron Quinn knows life can shift in a moment. But when he accepts his grandfather's quest -- six weeks to start over from scratch -- he certainly isn't expecting to be stranded in a dusty town in New Mexico. The upside? He's found himself working for a stunning private investigator…and the heat between them is hotter than the desert!

As far as P.I. Sofie Reyes is concerned, Cam's desperation is her salvation. She needs all the help she can get with the case she's working on. And despite the serious chemistry between them, romance is definitely not on Sofie's agenda. But with six weeks of Cam all to herself, there's nothing wrong with getting a little naughty… All she has to do is figure out how to keep this drop-dead-sexy man in her bed -- and out of her life! 

Very good book.  It is Cam's turn to go out and spend six weeks deciding what he wants from his life.  When he arrives in Vulture Creek it is imperative that he find a job.  When gorgeous PI Sofie offers him a job with her, he takes it.  I really liked both Cam and Sofie.  Cam has kept tight control on his emotions ever since his parents' deaths when he was a boy.  He has spent his entire adult life working for the family business and not doing much else.  He is immediately attracted to Sofie and welcomes the chance to work with her.  During the time they spend together their attraction grows.  He also discovers that he likes the area and enjoys the new things he is being exposed to through Sofie.  I loved seeing his interactions with her brothers and the rest of the family.  I also loved seeing him realize how much Sofie has come to mean to him and how far he is willing to go to make sure she is happy.  Sofie is working as a PI until she recovers from injuries she received on the job as a police officer.  She is bitter about her lack of progress and feels the loss of her identity as she sees it.  She is very attracted to Cam and wants to pursue the attraction but doesn't feel that there is a chance of any future in it.  She and Cam have some pretty deep conversations about needs and their views of their lives and so on.  I loved the way that she did the same thing he had done and took six weeks to go find her own future.  The conclusion was great and now I can't wait for Ronan's story and to see how the series winds up.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seduction Under Fire - Melissa Cutler (HRS #1730 - Nov 2012)

Sworn enemies, too close for comfort
What's worse? Being held hostage by a Mexican drug cartel or being held hostage by that cartel with the one man you passionately hate? Camille Fisher, a brainy, tough-as-they-come cop, can't believe she's daring to escape with her too-hot nemesis, Aaron Montgomery. But once she outsmarts their brutal captors, the danger's just beginning.

Racing across the Mexican desert, Camille begins to glimpse the surprisingly decent man behind the boorish cad. With cartel hit men closing in, she tries hard to ignore her needful heart -- and harder to resist the temptation threatening to do them both in…. 

Very good book.  Camille and Aaron have been at each other's throats for two years.  She considers him to be a too charming, always gets what he wants waste and he thinks she's an uptight pain in the butt.  When they get kidnapped by a Mexican cartel it's up to them to save themselves.  I loved both Camille and Aaron.  I could tell that those sparks that were flying weren't just about dislike, they were about an attraction that neither wanted to admit.  I loved the description of when they first met and how Aaron tried to put his usual moves on her and she shot him down.  I enjoyed seeing the way that Camille was the one that engineered their escape from captivity.  She has incredible ingenuity and strength of will to be able to do the things she does.  Her biggest problem is her inability to believe that Aaron is actually interested in her the way she is.  I really enjoyed seeing her as she started to open up to Aaron and when she finally admitted to herself that she loved him.  Aaron was a pretty cool character too.  At first I could see the lighthearted playboy in him.  He seems to really enjoy jerking her chain.  I loved the way that he was so surprised at the way that she got them out of the place they were being held, and also that he freely admitted that she was the one who did it.  I also liked the way he watched out for her and tried to take care of her when she needed it.  He came to realize that her independence hid her insecurities and he did his best to help her overcome those.  When they finally gave in to their attraction the passion between them was really intense.  I really enjoyed the ending and the way that they surprised everyone.  I'd love to know what Camille ends up doing. 

Montana Midwife - Cassie Miles (HI #1384 - Nov 2012)

Series: Midwife (Book 4) 

Rushing to the aid of a pregnant woman, midwife Tab Willows arrives at the grisly scene of a murder. Then sexy Aiden Gabriel lands his rescue chopper and Tab comes face-to-face with her secret teenage crush-and he's gotten only better with age. 

Aiden had been unaware that Tab was back in town...and more stunning than ever. The half-Crow beauty has always been a mystery, but she can't hide her fear upon learning a serial killer is loose in the mountains of Montana. Insisting she move to his ranch while the investigation intensifies, Aiden suddenly finds his home isn't big enough. He could swear protecting her was why he wanted her by his side. Now imagining a life without her is why he wants her to stay. 

Good book.  Tab is working with Aiden's sister as her midwife when she comes onto the scene of a murder.  She calls Aiden to bring his chopper so they can get Misty away from there.  She'd had quite a crush on him as a teenager and it doesn't seem to have gone away.  As they work together to find out who is killing young women they grow closer.  I really liked both Aiden and Tab.  Tab works as a midwife in her community and has become a beautiful woman.  She likes what she does.  Throughout the entire book she maintains a calm and steady state of mind.  I liked the way she was able to think things through to help with the investigation.  Her feelings for Aiden grow steadily.  She is able to maintain her independence when he tries to overrule her participation without being obnoxious about it.  Aiden is a great hero.  He is strong enough to do what needs to be done without being arrogant and overbearing about it.  He appreciates Tab's intelligence as well as her beauty.  It didn't take him long to realize that he wanted to keep Tab in his life forever.  Their romance was a good steady one with excellent attraction and no bad drama between them.  The mystery was pretty good, too, though I did have a pretty good suspicion of who the bad guy was.

Rancher's Deadly Risk - Rachel Lee (HRS #1727 - Nov 2012)

Series:  Conard County: The Next Generation (Book 13) 

He's her only refuge. In these rugged mountains, Cassie thought she'd finally found the small-town welcome she's been looking for her whole life. But after she stops some school bullies, suddenly the rest of this close-knit community isn't acting so friendly. The threats begin, and this schoolteacher has nowhere to turn for help -- until a rugged, mysterious rancher steps in.

Lincoln Blair has been drawn to Cassie from day one. That's why he's avoiding the too-tempting new teacher -- he knows from experience that outsiders get bored and leave. Still, he just can't help wanting to protect Cassie when trouble starts. As her danger grows, Linc realizes it's his heart he's forgotten to safeguard…. 

Very good book dealing with the tough subject of bullying.  Cassie is a new teacher and is really enjoying life in the small town.  But she finds things are a little less friendly after she stops some bullies.  The school principal assigns her and Lincoln to work out a program for dealing with the subject.  Suddenly there is an attraction between the two that is hard to deny.  But both have issues from their pasts that have them misinterpreting things.  I really liked both Lincoln and Cassie.  Cassie had been bullied herself and had no intention of stepping back and ignoring the problem.  She knew the long lasting effects that bullying can have and didn't want anyone else to suffer them.  She was surprised to be working with Lincoln who she thought didn't like her at all since he pretty much ignored her.  She is surprised to find out that he is attracted to her, but doesn't expect it to last since her relationships never do.  I loved the way that she was so enthusiastic about the area and especially his ranch.  It was obvious that she really felt that she belonged.  She was confused by Lincoln's frequent hot and cold changes, but was finally able to show him that she wasn't going anywhere.  Lincoln had tried to keep his distance from Cassie.  He had been attracted to her from the beginning, but didn't trust that, as an outsider, she would stick it out.  He had been hurt by another woman who cut and ran and didn't want to go through that again.  He kept trying to stay away but found himself coming back to her every time.  When the attacks on her got dangerous he stepped in to protect her, and ended up being just in time in that final attack.  I loved watching him introduce her to life on his ranch.  I also liked the way he tried so hard to make her see how beautiful she is to him.  When they finally stopped talking past each other things finally came together for them.  I hope to see more of them in future books. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Christmas Inn - Stella MacLean (HS #1817 - Nov 2012)

There's room at the inn...but maybe not for long!

As a favor to her brother, Marnie McLaughlan has agreed to spend Christmas at the lovely Mirabel Inn -- as a mystery guest. But Marnie knows this favor is bound to be complicated because the owners need a confidential report immediately. Marnie's impressions could affect their decision to sell.

From the outset, the inn is not what she expects...and neither is the manager, Luke Harrison. She quickly develops a rapport with this very attractive widower and his adorable little boy. He knows something is up, yet she can't tell him that the inn -- which is home to Luke and his son -- is in danger. Marnie's torn between her obligation to her brother and her growing love for Luke. Fortunately, things have a way of working out at Christmas! 

Very good book.  I really liked both Luke and Marnie.  Luke is a single father who manages the Mirabel Inn.  He works very hard to make it the best place possible, with little to no contact with the owners.  He is immediately drawn to Marnie, even though at first he thinks she's married.  When he finds out she's single, he asks for her help with the couples' Christmas event he is doing at the Inn.  He is amazed at how good she is at everything she is doing for him.  I loved the way that all the members of the staff are like part of his family.  When the inn is hit by a blizzard he does a great job keeping everyone safe.  I liked the way he had growing feelings for Marnie.  He still had issues with the way his wife died and this is preventing him from moving on and fully giving in to his feelings for Marnie.  When he finds out about the mystery guest thing he is furious and hurt and lashes out.  He eventually sees the truth of his feelings and he and Marnie are able to work things out.  I loved his support of her in her efforts with her family.  Marnie was a great character.  She has been fighting her family for the right to run her own life.  When she made the decision to sell her half of her business she worked very hard to keep it from her family.  Then she had to decide what she wanted to do next.  She took a few days to do a favor for her brother by checking out the inn.  Soon after she arrived she realized that she didn't want to do the evaluation because of the effect it would have on Luke and the others.  She didn't know how to tell him about it, especially since she knew she was falling for him.  When it all came out she was hurt by his reaction, but soon realized that she had to make him understand.  I loved the way that she made him listen and then came up with an alternative.  I really enjoyed seeing the way that she fit in to the world of the inn and how much she liked it.  I also liked seeing her finally stand up to her family and go after what she wanted.  I really loved their solution to the problem with the inn.  My only complaint is some confusion about the location of the inn.  At the beginning her brother says it is in the Berkshires which are in western Massachusetts and Connecticut, but later Marnie says it's in upstate New York.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

About the Baby - Tracy Wolff (HS #1816 - Nov 2012)

After this, nothing is the same!

Kara Steward and Lucas Montgomery have always been the best of friends. As doctors, they're too busy saving the world to commit to anything more. Still, Kara knows exactly who to go to when she needs a little support. But one night she turns to Lucas and…everything changes. And once they've crossed that line to more than friends, it's impossible to go back.

Their situation is even more tangled when Kara's job calls her away for several weeks. How can they talk about the new "them" when she's half a world away? She can't put off this discussion too long, however. Not after she discovers there's a baby to consider…. 

Very good book.  Kara and Lucas have been friends for seventeen years.  When Kara comes back from one of her overseas jobs she is feeling burned out and goes to Lucas for some downtime and support.  But that support morphs into passion and then she's called away again.  While she's away she gets very sick and then discovers that she's pregnant.  She comes back to Atlanta to recover and tell Lucas about the baby.  He is flabbergasted by the news, but also very worried about Kara's health. I really liked both Kara and Lucas.  He is a terrific doctor who works with the poor of Atlanta.  He also takes care of his mother and sisters who are terribly flighty and irresponsible. He is worried about how his relationship with Kara will change now, but quickly realizes that she has always been the person that has grounded him.  When he accepts the fact that he loves her he knows he has to convince her that he doesn't see her as just another responsibility.  Kara has always been very independent.  She is always there for Lucas, but never asks him for help.  Because of her past she has never been able to trust that someone will be there for her whenever needed, so she refuses to lean on anyone, even Lucas.  When she tells him about the baby she wants to maintain her independence and not be a burden he has to bear.  She finally admits to herself that she loves him, but doesn't know what to do about it.  I loved seeing them finally come together.  I would like to know what happens when the baby is born and if it is healthy, and also what happens with Lucas's sister. 

Beau: Cowboy Protector - Marin Thomas (HAR #1425 - Nov 2012)

Series: Harts of the Rodeo (Book 5) 

Beau Adams can't stop thinking about Sierra Byrne. Her feisty spirit and ample curves dominate his thoughts, while he should be focused on getting himself and Midnight, the Harts' prized stallion, to the National Finals Rodeo. When Beau and Sierra's electric connection finally leads to a steamy night together, Beau hopes it's the beginning of something more.

As much as Sierra wants to be with Beau, anything long-term is out of the question. A recently diagnosed eye disease will soon leave her blind, and she can't ask a rising rodeo star like Beau to take on that responsibility. Though she tries to pretend their tryst was just another item on her bucket list, Sierra's true feelings run a lot deeper. Will she let her affliction steal not only her sight, but her dreams of happiness, as well? 

Good book.  I liked both Beau and Sierra.  Beau is intent on getting his rodeo career back on track and training Midnight.  He's been attracted to Sierra for months and trying to get a date with her for just as long.  He finally gets her to go out with him one time and shares a hot kiss with her, but then she pulls back.  He is a guy who watches out for other people, and Sierra is starting to worry him.  She is doing a lot of crazy things like drag racing and bungee jumping.  He is distracted by her and starting to feel like she belongs in his life forever.   When he finds out about her eyes, his protective instincts come out, but she keeps pushing him away.  I loved the way that it took a couple people pointing out his overprotective tendencies for him to understand the problem.  Sierra is a very independent person.  She knows she is losing her sight and she is afraid of becoming dependent on someone and then having that person walk away.  She has decided that she wants to do the things she has dreamed about while she still can.  She is very attracted to Beau and can easily see him in her life, but doesn't want to be a burden to him.  He starts to make her mad with his watchfulness and she pushes him away even harder.  I liked the way they worked things out in the end.  I'm really looking forward to Tuf's story and seeing how the story ends. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Holiday to Remember - Helen R. Myers (HSE #2225 - Nov 2012)

Alana Anders had lost enough in life to recognize a kindred soul. So when fate led her to a lonely cowboy -- with a battle-scarred heart to match her own -- she should have given him a nod and moved on. Because the holidays were upon her…and the last thing she needed was someone else's problems….

But what she wanted was another story. And she wanted Mack Graves, reluctant war hero and heir to the Last Call Ranch -- badly. She knew that Nowheresville, Texas, was the last place he longed to be -- at Christmas, no less! -- but Alana just knew that she and Mack were meant to be together. And that in each other's arms they could forge a new kind of home…. 

Very good book.   I really liked both Alana and Mack.  He was back in Oak Grove to try to reconnect with his estranged father, not knowing that he had recently died, leaving the ranch to Mack.  He had no plans to stick around, but meeting Alana changed his mind.  There was something about her that soothed his soul, aching from the losses he experienced in the war.  He also found that he connected with her on a far deeper level than he had anyone else and that connection soon turned to love.  I really enjoyed seeing the way that Mack took care of her, even when her independence tried to chase him away.  The way that he was able to help her after the plane crash was very moving and showed what a good man he was.  Alana was terrific also.  After losing her family in a plane crash when she was a teenager, she didn't seem willing to believe that she was allowed to be happy.  I really liked the way that she connected with Mack right away.  From the moment she met him she could sense his pain but also felt that she could help him.  She seemed to know just what to do from bandaging his wounds to being with him when he accepted his award.  I loved their obvious love for each other and their friends.  My only issue with the book had nothing to do with the story but with the horrible editing.  Harlequin needs to hire some American editors who know that when written members of the United States Marine Corps are Marines not marines.  Marine Corps is always capitalized, and the Secretary of the Navy is a proper noun and therefore capitalized.  This happened throughout the book and constantly pulled me out of the story.

Marriage Under the Mistletoe - Helen Lacey (HSE #2226 - Nov 2012)

Series: Crystal Point (Book 2) 

Strong. Sensible. Dependable. That was Evie Dunn's type. Certainly not young, fearless gorgeous firefighter Scott Jones. She knew the wisest course was to keep her distance, but she couldn't resist the allure of a holiday fling. Now the widowed single mom found herself with an unexpected post-Christmas gift -- she was having Scott's baby!

Scott came to Crystal Point to see his sister tie the knot, not fall for the alluring owner of the town's oceanfront B and B. He knew he was all wrong for Evie, but he would do anything to win her heart and build the family he'd always wanted. All he had to do was persuade Evie to take the biggest risk of her life…on love. 

Good book.  I liked both Evie and Scott. Evie has led a pretty quiet life since her husband's death ten years ago.  She doesn't date, just runs her B & B and takes care of her son.  She is the one everyone goes to for help.  When she met her new sister-in-law's younger brother she didn't expect to be attracted to him. She felt it was terribly inappropriate, given his status as a member of the family and the fact that he is nine years younger than she is.  He is also a firefighter like her late husband was.  She is afraid to get involved with anyone who has such a risky job, having already lost one loved one.  She finally gave in to the attraction, planning to indulge in a short affair before he went back to LA.  What she didn't expect was to fall in love with him.  When she discovered she was pregnant she really didn't expect for him to propose marriage, but she was still too afraid to accept.  I really liked Scott.  He had lost his best friend in a fire a few months earlier and had made the decision that as long as he was a firefighter he would not have any serious relationships.  His immediate attraction to Evie worried him because it was stronger than anything he'd ever felt before.  He also discovered that he really liked spending time with her and her son.  As they gave in to their physical attraction he found that he was thinking more and more about something permanent with her.  After he went back to LA he felt that the life he had there was pretty empty.  When he found out she was pregnant he rushed back to Australia.  He had realized that he was in love with Evie and tried to convince her to marry him, but nothing he did could get past her fear. I really loved seeing how intense his feelings were for her. I loved the way everything came together at the end.  The age difference wasn't as big a deal as she thought it would be, and she finally accepted his choice of a career.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Christmas in Texas - Tina Leonard, Rebecca Winters (HAR #1427 - Nov 2012)

Texas Tough...And Christmas Tender

Christmas Baby Blessings - Tina Leonard
Ranger Seagal West is back in Bridesmaids Creek, Texas, on bodyguard duty with his soon-to-be ex, Capri Snow. And what a body to guard: to his surprise, she's carrying twin babies. His babies. Capri is as irresistible and stubborn as ever. So how can Seagal convince Capri they all belong together - and not just for Christmas?

Very good story.  Seagal has come to town for two reasons.  First, to protect his wife and find out who is moving drugs through her flower shop.  Second, to convince her that she wants to stay married to him and raise their babies together.  I really liked Seagal and Capri.  Seagal didn't want a divorce.  He knew he was still in love with her, but he had to find a way to convince her.  I really liked the way he took care of her when she was put on bedrest and after the babies were born.  He was a little heavy handed, but his heart was in the right place.  I enjoyed his conversation with his friend, who tried to tell him that he had to actually talk and tell Capri his feelings.  I liked Capri also, but had a slightly harder time having sympathy for her.  She was convinced that he regretted marrying her and kept pushing him away.  But she was good about doing what she needed to for the babies.  She also realized that she still loved him and eventually did see that it had always been her that he loved. 

The Christmas Rescue - Rebecca Winters
A slippery road, a speeding car - and Texas Ranger Flynn Patterson finds a baby lying helpless in the wreck. As he comforts the boy, Flynn's heart turns over. He'll never stop grieving his own lost family. But he can take care of this little guy, and his desperate mother. No matter how Andrea Sinclair pushes him away, Flynn knows the safest place for the fugitives this Christmas is his own lonely home. But will they stay?

I loved Flynn and Andrea.  Flynn was still hurting over the deaths of his wife and child and hated the Christmas season because of it.  When he came across the car accident and rescued baby Jack, he was immediately touched by the baby and his trust of Flynn.  When he was able to reunite Jack with Andrea it made him feel really good.  After he found that there was still a chance that her ex could come after her, he took Andrea and Jack home with him to protect them.  Flynn found that having Andrea and Jack there relieved some of the grief he had been feeling.  He also discovered that he was attracted to her.  He felt good about trying to make the holiday and good one for them and actually enjoyed doing Christmas things again.  When the threat ended he didn't want them to leave yet, so he found a way to keep Andrea around by asking her to work for him.  Andrea had run from her home after threats from her ex-husband.  When she was attacked and her baby kidnapped she was terrified.  She was immensely grateful to him, and even more so when he took it upon himself to take them home with him.  What she didn't expect was her attraction to him.  She also found her heart melting every time that Flynn took care of Jack.  The more time she spent with Flynn the more she fell for him.  When she had the opportunity to help him with his work, she took it and ended up helping him solve two murders.  When he was injured it brought home to her how much she had come to love him.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Texas Rancher's Marriage - Cathy Gillen Thacker (HAR #1428 - Nov 2012)

Series: Legends of Laramie County (Book 3) 

Few people in Laramie, Texas, know that Merri Duncan is actually the biological mother of her late sister's twins. Even fewer know that Chase Armstrong, and not his late brother, is their biological father. It's even news to Chase -- and when he returns from military duty, he's determined to do the right thing by Merri, who's been raising the twins alone on the Broken Arrow ranch. It's time for a walk to the altar, for the sake of the children. 

There's just one problem. Merri and Chase are, as they always have been, just friends -- nothing more. Without love, their marriage can never be truly complete. Sticking it out may mean sacrificing their chances for future happiness. But maybe faith, hope and desire can bring these two newlyweds what they truly need. After all, it is the season of miracles. 

Very good book.  Chase got quite a surprise when he got home and found out that he was actually the twins' father, not their uncle.  Because he and Merri felt it was important that the children had a stable home, they got married.  They had always been friends, so they figured it would be no problem.  They soon discovered that their friendship was becoming something else, but what was it really?  I liked both Chase and Merri.  Merri had been named the twins' guardian when her sister and Brother-in-law died.  Chase had been overseas for most of the time and had not been around the kids much.  When he returned she felt it was only right that he be involved in their lives.  She didn't know that his brother had forged Chase's signature on the sperm donor form and that Chase didn't know he was the father.  When he did, he proposed marriage to give the kids two parents.  Merri wasn't sure about getting married having been burned once by a man she had lived with and thought she loved.  So she tried to keep Chase at a distance even after they were married.  She wasn't expecting the intense attraction they had, and also that they would grow closer.  She was always afraid that it wouldn't last and didn't want to have her heart broken again.  She soon discovered that she had fallen in love with him, but thought that it was hopeless.  I liked the way that she worked so hard to help Chase and the twins get closer.  She seemed to know what to do and also was very sensitive to his feelings.  I also liked the way that she finally decided he was worth fighting for.  Chase was a great guy.  He had worked well with his nurses overseas, to the point where a group came to visit him when they came back, not knowing that he had gotten married.  One of the nurses had a huge crush on him and kept making advances that he would shut down, but bothered Merri.  I loved the way that he really wanted to connect with the kids.  It was very hard for him to be patient, but it finally paid off when he quit trying so hard.  I also loved the way that he realized his feelings for Merri before she did and was determined to win her over.  I loved the thought that went into his Christmas gifts for her.  Their final attempts to connect with each other got them the happy ending they wanted.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Passion to Protect - Colleen Thompson (HRS #1729 - Nov 2012)

She loved him once--can he be trusted now? 

Hotshot wilderness firefighter Jake Whitaker had been lucky to escape a massive blaze with his life. Now, with a body as scarred as his heart, the last thing he needs--much less wants--is to see his first love walk back into his life. 

With her abusive marriage behind her, Liane Mason brought her children home to Wolf River Lodge in a search for peace...a peace she can maintain only by keeping a cool distance from Jake. But when her children become hostages in a murderous plan, Jake is the only one she can turn to. And while love may never die, a passionate hatred can kill. In a battle of love versus vengeance, which side will win? 

Good book.  Liane and her kids were back as she recovers from her disastrous marriage.  The book opens as her ex-husband breaks out of prison and with three other escapees comes looking for the stolen money he hid.  Liane's dad and her two kids have been on a camping trip and are late coming back and forest fires have been spotted.  As she heads out to search for them she is joined by ex-boyfriend Jake.  There was a lot of suspense while the search for the kids happened.  After they are all rescued there is more as they look for the money and evade the bad guys.  I liked both Jake and Liane.  Liane is still trying to get back the trust in people that she had before her marriage.  She also feels guilty about the way she left Jake when they were younger, so she tends to avoid him when she can.  She has to depend on his expertise as they search for her family in the fire, and her trust in him starts to come back.  There is still a strong attraction between them that makes her nervous.  I liked the way that she was able to work on her own rescues at the end.  Jake was great too.  After recovering from severe injuries the year before he is trying to get back in shape for firefighting.  He still feels a strong attraction for Liane, but can't get her to spend any time with him.  I loved the way that he was so determined to make it through the forest fire.  He did a wonderful job overcoming his handicap to help their escape.  I also liked the way he protected Liane and the kids from the escapees and how he wanted to comfort Liane afterward.  He was also wanted to shield Liane from the money search later on.  I love the way he is so patient with her and good with the kids.    I really liked their solution for the ranch and their lives at the end of the book.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The New Hope Cafe - Dawn Atkins (HS #1809 - Oct 2012)

Welcome to New Hope, AZ

New Hope? Not from where Cara Price is standing. Miles from her destination, a car that won't run and a daughter she can protect only by moving, lingering in this town is not on Cara's plan. And the harder she pushes to leave, the more things conspire to prevent that. There's the slow mechanic…there's the café in need of a waitress…there's its owner in need of a friend….

There's also the very tempting Jonah Gold. Cara's plan is all about survival with no room for romance. Yet, Jonah's charm and the easy way they work together has her wanting to make space for him. The promise of what they share is so different from the life she's escaping. Maybe this café, this town and Jonah are all the hope she needs!  

Good book.  Cara was on the run with her daughter.  Her ex-husband was scheduled to get out of prison for attacking her and she knew he would come after her.  When her car died in New Hope she was stuck until it could be repaired.  The cafe owner talked her into working there until her car was repaired.  She soon found herself feeling at home there, with a job she was enjoying and people who seemed to care about her and her daughter.  She was also drawn to Jonah, cook and furniture builder.  I liked both Jonah and Cara.  She was desperate to keep her daughter safe and felt the only way to do it was to keep moving.  She was headed for a crisis center in Phoenix when her car died.  I liked the way she jumped in to help at the cafe when the were shorthanded.  She accepted the job offer when it became obvious she needed the work.  I enjoyed seeing her happiness in the work she was doing and the way it helped bring back her self confidence.  I liked the banter between her and Jonah and the chemistry between them.  She was understandably very skittish, but Jonah made her feel safe.  Her past made her very wary of depending on anyone else and she clung to her independence.  I loved the way that she tried so hard to take care of other people, especially the way she helped Rosie.  I liked the way that she admitted to her feelings for Jonah, but felt that she should have worked harder to work things out with him.  His confidence in her did help her at the end and that was a good thing.  Jonah had his own demons to vanquish.  His father had been an alcoholic with a short temper and Jonah felt that he was a bad bet.  He had tried marriage once and it hadn't worked out, so had decided that he wouldn't try again.  He was a very caring man though which showed in the way he tried to help his brother.  He tended to be rather intense in his care, which irritated his brother.  Jonah's time with Cara showed him how to let go which helped his relationship with his brother.  I also loved the way that Jonah made time for Cara's daughter which gave her the outlet she needed for some of her problems.  I didn't like the way he minimized the danger Cara tried to make him see, but he came through in the end.  The story was good, though it did drag a little at times.

The Count's Christmas Baby - Rebecca Winters (HR #4345 - Nov 2012)

The hours that Sami Argyle spent in the arms of Italian stranger Ric Degenoli were the most amazing of her life. Until tragedy ripped him from her embrace, leaving her grieving and expecting his child….

Ric is thrilled to discover he's a father -- the perfect Christmas present! But he has news for Sami, too: he's now a Count…and locked into a convenient, loveless engagement.

Against the odds, can Sami and Ric become a family -- in time for Christmas?  

Very good book.  Ric and Sami met when they were trapped together in an avalanche.  Caught together in the dark, not sure if they would live, they gave in to passion.  When Ric was struck in the head and Sami couldn't find a pulse, she grieved his death.  When she found herself pregnant with his child, she was thrilled and determined to go to Italy and find his family so they could meet the baby.  She was stunned to find out that he was alive.  He was also thrilled to find out that he was a father and took to it right away.  The attraction is still there, but he is engaged to another woman and is also a Count.  Now they have to find a way to deal with their new reality.  I really liked both Ric and Sami.  I loved the way she was so determined to find Ric's father so that he could get to know his grandson.  She knew she was taking a risk but felt it was the right thing to do.  When she discovered that Ric was alive, she couldn't believe it.  She was very happy to see how quickly he fell in love with his son and how good he was with the baby.  She agreed to go to Cyprus with him so that he could get to know the baby.  She also knew that he had to find a way to tell his fiancee.  She hurt for him when his fiancee was less than accepting.  As they spent more time together getting to know each other she fell more in love with him, though she knew nothing could come of it.  Ric had spent months looking for Sami after the avalanche.  He finally gave up and contracted an arranged marriage to save his family's business.  When she showed up and he learned about his son he was amazed.  His heart was stolen by the baby immediately and he couldn't bear to let him out of his sight.  He convinced Sami to go with him so they could spend time together.  He wasn't looking forward to dealing with his fiancee, as he was sure she wouldn't take the news well.  He also knew she wouldn't be happy that he was giving up his title forever.  I loved the way that he was so hands on with the baby and the way that he was so intent on making sure that Sami and the baby stayed close no matter what happened.  When the whole story of the engagement came out, it was interesting to see how he was going to deal with it.  I loved the ending of course - a perfect fairytale.  I also really liked Ric's brother and sister. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Everything But a Bride - Holly Jacobs (Avalon - Sept 2008)

Series: Everything But (Book 2) 

Every Hungarian grandma knows that words have power. Nana Salo never meant the words she said in anger to become a family curse, but that's just what happened. She thought she had a good chance of undoing it at her granddaughter's wedding, but when things went awry, she pinned her hopes on her grandson Noah's wedding. Noah's fiance called things off at the stag, but when his ex's younger step-sister and long time friend, Callie, tries to cheer him up, Noah finds the lines between friendship and love blurring. A shared non-honeymoon, some secret dating, and a crazy Hungarian family might not sound like the normal way to start a relationship, but Callie and Noah learn that love tends to find its own way. 

Another fun entry in this series.  This time it's Noah's wedding that falls apart.  We met Julianna in Everything But a Groom.  It was obvious that she didn't really fit in with the rest of the family, staying apart and not joining in with the fun.  Finally, at the stag party, she admits that it isn't working and tells Noah that the wedding is off.  He is stunned, as he hadn't realized that anything was wrong.  Nana feels that her curse has struck again.  Once again the reporters are circling and Noah feels like he is being smothered by his family.  So he decides to use the honeymoon package to get away from it all.  His ex-fiancee's stepsister has just broken up with her boyfriend, and since he and Callie have always been friends he invites her to go along.  Things start to change, and that's when life gets interesting.  I really liked both Noah and Callie.  I love a friends to lovers story and this one was great.  Noah was hiding out from his family because they seemed to feel that he was much worse off than he really felt.  He asked Callie to go along on his getaway to help her cheer up just as she was trying to help him.  They had always been friends, with Callie going along on many of the activities that Noah and Julianna did.  While on the trip, Noah started looking at Callie differently and seeing that she was her own woman.  He also noticed that he and Callie had a lot more in common that he and Julianna ever had, and soon realized that he and Julianna had loved but not been in love.  By the time they got back home, Noah had figured out that Callie meant a lot more to him that he had thought possible, but also that the thought of them as a couple had her really spooked.   He first tried getting friends and family to vouch for him, but she didn't want to risk their friendship.  So he decided on a course of "stealth dating".  He shared meals with her, did movies and visits with her, helped her with her projects, using that time to get to know her even better.  Then he informed her that they'd been dating all along.  Callie liked Noah a lot and considered him to be her best friend.  When she suddenly started seeing him as a man it made her really nervous.  All her experiences showed her that love didn't last, but friendship did.  When Noah kissed her a few times the attraction was fantastic but she was afraid to pursue it.  She insisted that there was no way she would date him.  When he went back to treating her like a friend, she was mostly relieved, though there was a small part of her that wished he had pursued it.  The scene at the end, when she finally admitted that she loved him was so much fun.  I loved seeing the family there to support him, even though he kept trying to tell them he was fine.  This has been a really fun series and a great showcase for Holly Jacobs' talents with characters and situations that are just plain fun.