Monday, April 30, 2012

A Perfect Storm - Lori Foster (HQN - Apr 2012)

Series: Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor (Book 4) 

He never saw her coming…

Spencer Lark already knows too many secrets about Arizona Storm, including the nightmare she survived and her resulting trust issues. But in order to expose a smuggling ring -- and continue avenging his own tragic past -- the bounty hunter reluctantly agrees to make Arizona a decoy. Yet nothing has equipped him for her hypnotic blend of fragility and bravery, or for the protective instincts she stirs in him.

 Arizona wants to reclaim her life, which means acting as bait to lure the enemy into a trap. Sure it's dangerous, especially with a partner as distractingly appealing as Spencer. But as their plan -- and their chemistry -- shifts into high gear, Arizona may discover there's an even greater risk in surrendering her heart to a hero…. 

Very good book.  I have loved the whole series, and I really looked forward to this one.  Arizona survived her own time as a victim of the human traffickers and is intent on stopping as many as she can.  To do that, she enlists the help of Spencer Lark, bounty hunter, who has been doing the same thing.  Arizona is an incredibly talented fighter who can be a bit reckless.  She is friends with the other three guys, but still has issues believing that she can be a part of the family.  She is attracted to Spencer, but doesn't know if she can do anything about it.  Spencer has worked with Arizona before, and has always been attracted to her.  He is also eleven years older than she is and feels it is too great a difference.  He is also still recovering from the death of his wife and doesn't expect to care for anyone else that way.  The give and take between the two of them is great.  I loved the way all the guys finally see her for the capable person she is.

Rodeo Daughter - Leigh Duncan (HAR #1406 - June 2012)

Series: Fatherhood 

Former rodeo star Amanda Markette is prepared to deal with anything her new job as a family law attorney can dish up. Until she learns her childhood sweetheart, Mitch Goodwin, is her client's ex-husband and opposing counsel.

Mitch wants nothing more than to win full custody of the daughter he's been raising on his own for the past four years. Until Amanda rides back into his life…

Amanda and Mitch know they shouldn't give in to the connection that still sparks between them after fifteen years, but can they resist? And will Mitch ever forgive her once he learns the secret she's been keeping—a secret that could change his life forever? 

Very good book, and very emotional.  Amanda took the job with Mitch's ex-wife not knowing that's who she was.  She had a hard time believing that Mitch was the person that Karen described, but her job was to watch out for the welfare of the child.  Mitch was stunned and furious when Amanda's efforts gave Karen visitation, then an accident gone wrong gave Karen temporary full custody, with supervised visitation for Mitch.  Amanda ended up being the one to do the supervising.  During these visitations, Amanda and Mitch got to know each other and came to care for each other.  But because of their roles, they couldn't do anything about it.  I really didn't like Karen at the beginning. She was a selfish person, only out to get what she could from Mitch, but she changed for the better thanks to Amanda's and Mitch's influence.  Mitch had to learn to create more balance in his life to give his daughter what she needed.  Amanda needed to realize that not everyone was as self-centered as her father, and judge people on their own merits.  I was happy to see the way things worked out at the end, but it was a close thing.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Once Upon a Matchmaker - Marie Ferrarella (HSE #2192 - June 2012)

Series: Matchmaking Mamas (Book 8) 


If there was one thing single dad Micah Muldare lacked, it was time! The busy widower didn't have enough hours in the day for his too-full to-do list-his high-profile job demanded focus, and the rest of his not-so-spare time was devoted to caring for his two little boys. He certainly had no room in his hectic schedule for romance...until Tracy Ryan walked through his door. 

The once-burned attorney had long ago given up on finding true love and a family of her own. She'd grown used to keeping her heart under guard. But resisting handsome Micah-and his adorable children-was proving difficult indeed! Maybe it was time Tracy reconsidered her no-nonsense approach to life and took the ultimate risk to win the family she'd always wanted! 

Good book.  I really liked Micah.  He had devoted his life to his sons and his work, because he didn't want to go through the devastating pain that he had gone through when he lost his wife.  When he needed a lawyer, he was given Tracy's name by a friend of his aunt's.  He didn't expect to be attracted to her.  Tracy had given up on the idea of a family of her own and now spent all her time working.  She hadn't had any trouble resisting the urge until she met Micah and his boys.  I loved Micah's devotion to his family, and his boys were simply adorable.  I liked the way he was so straight with Tracy about his legal problems and what it meant to him.  I loved the way that Tracy bonded with Micah's sons so quickly, and how well she fit into his life.  I also thought that the way she worked at proving Micah innocent of the charges was great.  And, as always, I love seeing people from previous books show up in later stories.

Fortune's Unexpected Groom - Nancy Robards Thompson (HSE #2185 - May 2012)

Series: Fortunes of Texas: Whirlwind Romance (Book 5)


Jordana Fortune never expected to be single at twenty-nine. She never expected to lose her virginity in the midst of a tornado. And she most certainly never expected to be expecting. But her impulsive encounter with gorgeous pilot Tanner Redmond left Jordana in a family way. How much longer could she keep her condition under wraps?

 Nothing stays secret in Red Rock for long. When Tanner learns the truth, he runs straight to Jordana's door, demanding matrimony. No child of his would grow up without a father! He offers wealth and protection, and a name for the baby. Yet his blushing bride is hesitating -- holding out for the one thing Tanner believes he can't give.... 

Very good book.  In previous books, we've seen Jordana as she copes with the unexpected pregnancy.  She also has been putting off telling Tanner.  When he found out and showed up in Atlanta to see her, she had no choice.  She wasn't expecting him to want to marry her just to give his name to the baby.  She had always had a picture in her mind of what she wanted and this wasn't it.  But after a few days with him, she decided to give it a chance and hope that love would come later.  I was glad to see her give up on the idea that everything had to be perfect. Tanner couldn't believe that Jordana hadn't told him about the baby.  He was also going to make sure that he was involved in the baby's life from the beginning.  He did find himself very intent on making sure that Jordana was happy with all the decisions.  I loved the fact that he didn't allow her parents to railroad them into the wedding that her mom was trying to plan, but let Jordana make the decisions.  His biggest problem was that he had no experience with love, and was scared to make himself vulnerable to those feelings.  I loved the ending, and seeing them as they opened themselves up to all the possibilities. 

No Ordinary Sheriff - Mary Sullivan (HS #1780 - May 2012)

Series: Count on a Cop 

Shannon Wilson is on the fast track to the top. A DEA agent from the big city, she's simply passing through Ordinary, Montana, to settle a score. And no small-town sheriff will derail her plans simply because he flashes a badge and a great matter how sexy he looks in that cowboy hat.

After all, Sheriff Cash Kavenagh is ready to settle into that white-picket-fence ideal. And Shannon isn't about to swap her fast-paced lifestyle for such an ordinary existence. Only problem is -- wrapped in those big masculine arms of his, Shannon can't seem to shake the feeling that life with Cash may just be the most extraordinary thing that's ever happened to her. 

Good book.  I really liked both Cash and Shannon.  This book was a little different, with Cash and Shannon seeming to have reversed the usual roles.  Shannon is a driven DEA agent.  She has come to Ordinary to visit her sister, but also to find out where the meth came from that her brother overdosed on.  She is very independent and doesn't allow herself to depend on anyone else, or to have someone need her, having had some bad experiences with weak and needy men.  She finds herself drawn to Cash, who is strong himself, but has no interest in leaving his town behind.  Cash is unusual himself, in that he makes no secret of the fact that he is looking for a relationship that would lead to marriage and family.  He is sure that someone could be Shannon, but she is intent on furthering her career.  I loved the caring and compassion that Cash shows everyone.  He is a terrific role model for Austin, works great with the kids in the town, and helps out with Austin's mother.  I loved the way that Austin helped Cash work out his feelings for Shannon, and the conclusion of the story was terrific.

Rake With a Frozen Heart - Marguerite Kaye (HH #1085 - May 2012)

Waking up in a stranger's bed, Henrietta Markham encounters the most darkly sensual man she has ever met. The last thing she remembers is being attacked by a housebreaker -- yet being rescued by the notorious Earl of Pentland feels much more dangerous!

Since the cataclysmic failure of his marriage, ice has flowed in Rafe St. Alban's veins. But meeting impetuous, all-too-distracting governess Henrietta heats his blood to the boiling point.

 When she's accused of theft, Rafe finds himself offering to clear her name. Can Henrietta's innocence bring this hardened rake to his knees? 

Good book.  Rafe made an incredibly tortured hero.  He did a great job of rescuing Henrietta the first time, even though he didn't want to.  Then he stepped up to clear her name of the charges of theft.  He had a terrible habit of going back and forth between cold and kind.  I really liked Henrietta.  She was a bit on the naive side, but she was a good person.  She could see that Rafe had his issues, but she came to see that he was a good person under that rake-like exterior.  I loved the way that she said what she thought, without any thought of lying. I also respected the fact that she stood up to Rafe and declined his offer, rather than settle for less than she felt deserved.  I loved the concluding scenes.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Long Shot - Ellen Hartman (HS #1777 - May 2012)

Series: Going Back 

Deacon Fallon has made something of himself. Yeah, it wasn't easy becoming a successful -- now retired -- pro basketball player, but he did it. In the process, he made his brother's life better. That's always been Deacon's goal.

This latest effort to help, however, may push Deacon too far. He's been roped into coaching the high school girls' team! Worse, there's a little offside action brewing between him and his hot assistant coach, Julia Bradley. Definitely not in his plans, but he can't resist her. And for the first time, Deacon wants something that has nothing to do with his brother and everything to do with Julia! 

Very good book.  I liked the way that Julia worked to keep her girls' basketball team going.  She was somewhat devious in the way that she got Deacon to help out, but I was glad to see that he kept his word and stayed to help.  It was pretty obvious from the beginning that Julia is a "fixer" and has a tendency to go for what she feels is right without always listening to the "fixee".  I really enjoyed the interactions between Wes and Deacon and Wes and the team.  I liked the way that Wes was trying to get through to Deacon that he's an adult now and doesn't want to be "taken care of".  I ached for Deacon and his feelings of inadequacy because of his reading issues.  I also liked the way that Deacon stood up for Julia and the girls' team against the "old boy" network of the boys' team booster club.  I loved the concluding rally and the way that the kids took ownership of their teams.  I also liked the way that both Julia and Deacon came to see their weaknesses and resolved to take care of them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Sin - Kasey Michaels (HQN - Nov 2011)

Series: Blackthorn Brothers (Book 2) 

Meet the Blackthorn Brothers -- three unrepentant scoundrels infamous for being mad, bad and perilous to love.

Handsome as the devil and twice as tempting, Robin "Puck" Blackthorn lives for the pleasures of the moment. His only rule -- never dally with an innocent woman. But when an encounter at a masquerade ball leaves him coveting the one woman who refuses to succumb to his charms, Puck realizes that some rules were made to be broken….

 Scandalized to discover that the masked man with whom she'd shared a dance -- and a forbidden embrace -- is in fact the ton's most celebrated rake, Regina Hackett vows to keep her distance. Yet when her cousin vanishes, it is to Puck that Regina must turn. And as they embark on a dangerous journey through London's darkest alleys, Regina will discover that beneath Puck's roguish facade lies a man who will stop at nothing to protect her -- or to convince her to take a chance on an unrepentant sinner.  

Great book.   I could tell immediately that Puck may be a cheerful rogue, but he is also a very intelligent one.  I loved the way he put the moves on Regina at the ball, then backed off when he realized she was an innocent.  Then he immediately jumped in to help when Miranda went missing.  His creativity was amazing.  I really liked the way that Regina was able to keep her head at the beginning and help Puck come up with the story they used.  I also liked the strength she showed in insisting on helping, not just staying behind.  I enjoyed the detective work they did, and seeing Jack and his friends helping along the way.  The chemistry between Puck and Regina was pretty intense, and I loved the caring that was there from the beginning. 

The Marine Next Door - Julie Miller (HI #1360 - May 2012)

Series: Precinct: Task Force (Book 1) 

Maggie Wheeler never stopped looking over her shoulder. It was a habit she'd learned from being a cop...and from a devastating event in her past. So when John Murdock moved in next door, Maggie didn't know what to make of the sexy Marine. But once her son formed a bond with the mysterious stranger, Maggie knew that past might not remain hidden much longer....

With his unwavering sense of duty, John would never let a call for help go unanswered. Especially from the beautiful wounded warrior who refused to give up her secrets. Although she likely knew more about who was after her than she'd ever let on, John vowed to protect those in need. Only then could he find peace, maybe even a door away.... 

I loved this book.  First, I'm a sucker for a story with a military hero, especially a Marine.  Second, it was a great book.  There's a serial rapist in Kansas City and Maggie is on the task force to help find this guy.  Maggie is also a single mother of a 9 year old son and a survivor herself.  John has just returned to KC and is returning to work at the fire department, this time as an arson investigator.  He and Maggie meet as he is moving into the apartment next door to her.  He is there when strange accidents start happening in the apartment building, and steps up to help protect Maggie and Travis.  I really liked the way that John bonded so quickly with Travis.  He also found himself enjoying the time he spent with them, and discovered that being around them made him happy - something he hadn't been in awhile.  I also liked the way that while he was available to help, he didn't take over but supported Maggie in what she needed to do.  Maggie hadn't been this close to a man since her ex-husband and was amazed at how quickly she developed feelings for John.  I really liked seeing the way she opened up with him.  I also liked the fact that she simply accepted his war injuries for what they were and didn't make a big deal about them.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Texas Manhunt - Linda Conrad (HRS #1705 - May 2012)

Series: Chance Texas (Book 2) 

"You might be just what I need."

Rancher Travis Chance has a soft spot for lost souls. Stranded and broke in Chance, Texas, Summer Wheeler ignites in him a fierce desire to protect her. Clearly the fragile beauty is hiding something. But despite his disastrous romantic history, Travis knows in his gut he can trust her.

Summer comes to Chance looking for one of the men who devastated her life. Though she hates lying to him, Travis's job offer provides a means to her end. But she never counted on falling for the sexy rancher and his troubled little girl. Then "accidents" start happening at the family homestead. Has Summer brought danger to the two people who are teaching her to love again? 

Good book.  I liked Travis, even though he was a little too prone to simply taking over and doing what he thought was best for people, even if that's not what they want.  Summer did want the job, but she wanted to be sure she was actually doing something that was needed.  She was very independent and didn't want to depend on anyone because she had already lost so much.  She did find herself wanting to help Travis's daughter Jenna, who seemed to be very unhappy.  She and Travis also quickly found themselves falling in love with each other.  They did have to deal with the "accidents" that were happening around the ranch, which Summer blamed on the man she was searching for.  I enjoyed the final showdown and the way things turned out.  I also liked Travis's brother Gage -- I hope his story is next.

Colby Law - Debra Webb (HI #1347 - May 2012)

Series: Colby Agency: Texas (Book 1) 

To solve the most heinous murder in Texas history, Colby investigator Lyle McCaleb has an unusual mission: find and protect the killer's long-lost daughter. The complication: she's tough, gorgeous rancher Sadie Gilmore -- Lyle's first and only love. And now the mysterious past she barely remembers is threatening her very existence.

Lyle regrets leaving Sadie broken-hearted seven years ago. And as he investigates and gets deeper into danger, he finds it almost impossible to maintain his professionalism around her. But another dilemma threatens their newly rekindled relationship. Can Lyle regain Sadie's trust while concealing the secret that may devastate her? 

Excellent start to the new Colby series.  It was obvious from the beginning that Lyle still loved Sadie.  He knew that leaving her seven years earlier had been best for her, but he had never forgotten her.  Now he was responsible for keeping her safe.  Sadie was stunned to see him when he showed up at her ranch.  She didn't want him there, as she had never really gotten over her broken heart, but it became obvious pretty quickly that she needed his help.  I liked the way that she realized that she trusted him, and was willing to listen to reason when it was important.  I also liked the way that Lyle helped Sadie with her relationship with her dad.  The conclusion was satisfying for the book, but we obviously still have a ways to go for the conclusion of the main story.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Don't Mess With Texas - Christie Craig (Forever - Sept 2011)

Series: Hotter in Texas (Book 1) 


Nikki Hunt thought her night couldn't get worse when her no-good, cheating ex ditched her at dinner, sticking her with the bill. Then she found his body stuffed in the trunk of her car and lost her two-hundred-dollar meal all over his three-thousand-dollar suit. Now not only is Nikki nearly broke, she's a murder suspect.

 Former cop turned PI, Dallas O'Connor knows what it's like to be unjustly accused. But one look at the sexy -- though skittish -- suspect tells him she couldn't hurt anyone. The lead detective, Dallas's own brother, has the wrong woman and Dallas hopes a little late-night "undercover" work will help him prove it.... 

Very fun book.  I really liked both Nikki and Dallas, though each had their relationship issues.  The mystery of who killed her ex was delightfully complicated.  I really enjoyed seeing how Dallas and his partners went about their investigations of both Nikki's case and that of the teenager.  Their methods were a bit unorthodox at times, but very effective.  There were a couple times when I thought I knew who did it, but then I wasn't sure.  As far as the romance went, there were definitely a fair number of bumps in the road.  Dallas had been burned by his ex-wife's attitude and refused to think about anything permanent.  Nikki's ex had done a number on her self-esteem, and she also had issues of abandonment from her parents, so she didn't trust that any relationship would last.  There were a bunch of really funny predicaments that both of them got caught in, both together and apart.  I also enjoyed seeing the interactions of Dallas's brother Tony and his wife as they tried to repair their marriage.  I'm really looking forward to the next book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby's First Homecoming - Cathy McDavid (HAR #1397 - Apr 2012)

Series: Mustang Valley (Book 3) 

Giving away her baby for adoption was the second biggest mistake of Sierra Powell's life. But after a miraculous turn of events, she is reunited with her toddler son and they return to Arizona. Too bad Sierra's first mistake is waiting for her there -- Clay Duvall, a much too charming cowboy. And onetime love of her life.

Clay is not about to let go of the opportunity to raise his flesh and blood. He proposes co-parenting -- meaning Sierra and Jamie have to move close to him. Real close, as in onto his property. As far as Sierra's concerned, he has no say in her son's life; Clay was the one who walked out on their relationship.

 Will the sparks between Clay and Sierra set off the formerly feuding Powell and Duvall clans...or will they rekindle an old passion? 

Good book.  Now that Sierra had her son back, she realized she needed help, so she went home to Mustang Valley.  She did not expect to see that Clay, the father of her son, had also returned.  He took one look at Jamie and realized that he was the father, and there was no way he was going to lose any more time with him.  He offered Sierra a job and a place to live on his property to make sure of it.  Both he and Sierra had some major issues to overcome.  Sierra, having lost her son once, was paranoid about letting him out of her sight.  She also wasn't sure she could trust Clay not to break her heart again.  At the same time, Clay couldn't get past the fact that she hadn't told him she was pregnant.  I was glad to see that there was counseling involved, as it was obvious both needed the help.  I was also glad to see that more information came out and was resolved about the sale of Powell land by Clay's father. 

Protecting Her Son - Joan Kilby (HS #1772 - Apr 2012)

Series: Count on a Cop 

Paula Drummond is finally back on a police force. And with so much at stake -- she's a single mom atoning for an almost career-ending mistake -- she's not risking anything but stellar performance. That means, regardless of whatever attraction is brewing between her and her partner, Officer Riley Henning, she will not get involved.

Still, working side by side with a man as hot as Riley and not giving in to temptation isn't easy. Especially when he goes above and beyond to help keep her son safe. With all that evidence piling up, it seems as though her partner on the job is destined to become her partner in bed...and maybe even in life. 

I really liked this book.  There was a good balance between the romance and the tension of the danger around her son's father.   I liked Paula's determination to overcome her past and get back to what she did best - be a police detective.  When she was paired with Riley, she could feel an instant attraction, as could he.  She was also determined to do nothing about it that would risk getting into trouble again.  When Nick started pestering her to have access to her son, she was worried.  She was also sure that he was behind the appearance of drugs in her town.  I liked the way that Riley related so well to her son.  I also liked his protectiveness toward Paula, even in the face of his own issues.  I liked the way the book dealt with his PTSD, that it wasn't easily cured but could be treated.  I also liked that Paula wanted to help him.  Overall, an excellent read.

Son of a Gun - Joanna Wayne (HI #1341 - Apr 2012)

Series: Big D Dads (Book 1) 

Amid a freak snowstorm, Texas rancher Damien Lambert made the unlikeliest find on his Bent Pine Ranch -- a bloodied woman and her infant daughter in hiding. Though her story was transparent as ice, the heat he saw in her eyes made him offer her refuge.

After a ruthless kidnapping and a harrowing escape, Emma Muran needed a hero...and the baby needed a home. She'd found both in Damien -- the perfect man with a cowboy's swagger and a lover's touch -- until he learned about the incredible danger they faced. After that, Emma knew it would take all the cowboy Damien had to keep her and the child alive. 

Very good book.  I thought Emma was very resourceful in getting away from her kidnapper and rescuing the baby along the way.  Her rescue by Damien was just what she needed, though she didn't want to draw him into her problems, and intended to leave the next day.  When she finally trusted him enough to tell him the whole story Damien went into full protector mode.  He had known she was lying with the first story, but still felt that she needed his help.  I liked the way that they worked together to get Caudillo.  I also liked the fact that they didn't act on their attraction until the problem was solved.  I loved Damien's family and the way that they cared for each other.  I'm looking forward to stories for the other two brothers.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Cowboy - Jayne Ann Krentz (HT #302 - June 1990)

Series: Ladies and Legends (Book 3) 

High noon drama was cowboy fare

Romance writer Margaret Lark knew all about tough cowboys in pin-striped suits: they were the heroes in her books. She wouldn't admit fantasizing about that type of man, though, much less acknowledge the fact that she'd walked out on one not long ago. But corporate executive Rafe Cassidy was quick to refresh her memory.

 Rafe had power, money, sex appeal aplenty. Losing a major deal and Margaret in one stroke had riled him. It was time for a showdown. Time to show her what stuff real cowboys were made of .... 

Good book.  Rafe was definitely an alpha male.  When he and Margaret split the year before, he spent the first six months being angry, then the next setting up a way to get her back.  Margaret had been angered and hurt by what she saw as Rafe's using her as a pawn in a business deal.  She did her best to forget about him.  When he showed up at her apartment to lure her back, she had no intention of agreeing.  Then he told her what was waiting at his ranch and she had to agree.  She realized on her first day there that she still loved him, and he swore that he loved her and had changed from the business first jerk he had been.  She wasn't sure she believed him but decided to give him a chance to prove it.  I enjoyed watching Margaret and Rafe as they actually got to know each other.  There was another great scene with Margaret and Rafe and his sister and her fiance that had me laughing at Rafe's reactions.  I also really liked the final showdown with the original opponent from the beginning of the book.

An Intimate Bargain - Barbara Dunlop (HD #2158 - May 2012)

Series: Colorado Cattle Barons (Book 3) 

The one person who can help Zach Rainer close a life-changing deal turns out to be the very woman he just slept with. He knows Abigail Jacobs is attracted to him...but is that enough incentive for her to betray those she loves?

Desperate to leave her family's ranch, Abigail believes Zach might be her perfect hero...until his true motives are revealed. What was once a simple affair has become a complicated that has her battling her own heart. How can she possibly love a man who wants her to choose between him and her family? 

Very good book.  When Zach and Abigail had their one night stand, they never expected to see each other again.  When he comes to her for help getting the permits to expand his business he doesn't know it would go against everything her family believes in.  Because he desperately needs that help, he uses what he knows of her to blackmail her into helping him.  As they spend time together working on those permits, they get to know each other better.  Zach has no knowledge of how a family works, having grown up in foster care, but his business is his family so he'll do what he needs to.  Abigail hates working on the ranch and longs to do the work that makes her happy, but loves her family too much to tell them so.  I love the way that Abigail comes to love Zach and will do anything to help him.  And Zach's love for Abigail is so strong that he will do anything to protect her and help her realize her dreams.  I loved the conclusion to this story and can't wait to see Seth and Travis get their stories.

Obsession - Carol Ericson (HI #1349 - May 2012)

Series: Guardians of Coral Cove (Book 1) 

Michelle Girard never expected three of her former classmates to wind up dead just before their high school reunion. But thanks to the sharp eye of her former crush, FBI Agent Colin Roarke, the scattered rose petals found at the scenes prove the "Reunion Killer" has struck again.

Colin, an uneasy war hero, feels a need to protect Michelle, especially when she becomes the killer's latest obsession. Staying one step ahead has always been Colin's specialty, but as his frustration intensifies, so do the very real complications of long-buried feelings. Then Michelle is kidnapped, and clues lead Colin to the foreboding Columbella House, an abandoned Victorian mansion where shrouds of fog conceal dark secrets -- and dangerous, hidden desires. 

Good book.  I really liked Colin.  He had been kind to Michelle when they were teenagers, and when he came back to Coral Cove he was drawn to her again.  When the murders began happening, he knew there was a connection between them.  As strange things and accidents began happening he vowed to keep her safe.  Michelle had never been so happy to see someone in her life as she was when Colin arrived on the heels of her friend's murder.  As the days went on, they worked together to figure out who the murderer was.  Besides his growing feelings for Michelle, Colin's need to protect was a result of things that happened during his military service.  I liked the way that Michelle was able to help him with those feelings.  I'm looking forward to the next story in the series.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Rancher's Runaway Princess - Donna Alward (HR #4074 - Jan 2009)

Series: Western Weddings 

By royal decree -- she'll exchange her tiara for a rancher's ring!

Brooding ranch owner Brody Hamilton keeps his heart out of reach. But there's something about vivacious stable manager Lucy that brings joy to his hardened soul.

Lucy Farnsworth has just discovered she's of royal blood. She should be glad, but it has blown her world apart, and she finds herself just wanting to be the old Lucy again. At Prairie Rose Ranch, Lucy's found the man who makes her feel she belongs. Only, she hasn't told him she's a princess....

Very good book.  Lucy arrived at Prairie Rose Ranch to work out a deal with Brody for the king of Marazur.  As far as Brody knew, she is simply the king's stable manager.  Brody was drawn to her, but had had a bad experience with a woman and kept comparing Lucy to her.  This caused him to be nice one minute, then cold the next.  Meanwhile, Lucy was happy being on the ranch, around the horses and getting to know Brody.  She had a chance to be the old Lucy, before she found out that she was a princess.  When she and Brody grew closer, and he told her things about himself that he normally didn't share, she began to feel guilty about hiding her identity.  She was afraid to tell him for fear of losing their friendship and budding relationship.  When he did find out, the blow-up was painful and made me cry in several places.. The ending was very satisfying.

The Last Real Cowboy - Donna Alward (HR #4311 - May 2012)

Series: Cadence Creek Cowboys (Book 1) 

From the moment he turned up late to her charity's meeting, placating everyone with a tip of his Stetson and a lazy smile, Angela Beck knew that Sam Diamond was going to be Trouble with a capital T.

Angela is the prickliest woman Sam's ever met -- let alone had to work with! He'd love to still her sharp tongue with a kiss, but first he has to get close enough to awaken the complex woman beneath the deliberately cool exterior. And that's something only a real cowboy can do....

Good book.  Angela was determined to make Butterfly House a success.  The home for abused women is very important and very personal for her.  When Sam takes over for his mother on the board they immediately rub each other the wrong way.  Angela confronts Sam about his attitude, and he sees her point.  As he helps her get Butterfly House ready to open, they become closer.  But she still has issues with trusting any man, and is reluctant to get involved.  Sam has been having his own issues with his father and the ranch, but thanks to Angela, begins to get a handle on those.  I liked the way that Sam ended up being there for Angela when she needed him.

One Magic Moment - Lynn Kurland (Jove - May 2011)

Series: de Piaget (Book 13) 

There’s no time like the present . . .
if you’re running away from the past.

Tess Alexander has it all: family within reach, work she loves, and the chance to live in a perfectly restored medieval castle. But then a trip to the village brings her face-to-face with the new owner of the local garage, who looks a great deal like the man who married her sister . . . eight hundred years in the past. She’s determined to remain objective about magic and destiny, yet she can’t help but wonder about the mysterious, sword-wielding mechanic . . .

 As far as John de Piaget is concerned, he has no past; it’s safer that way. The last thing he needs is the nosey medieval studies scholar from the nearby castle dredging up ancient history -- his ancient history. But from the moment he lays eyes on Tess, John can’t help but wonder how he ever took a decent breath without her . . . or how he’s going to protect her from the treachery that threatens both their futures. 

Loved the book.  Tess is desperately missing her sister Pippa, who has gone off to the 13th century with her new husband.  She tries to keep busy with her studies and the medieval events she puts on in her home at Sedgewick Castle.  When she takes her car in to the local garage for repairs she is stunned to see the new owner - who looks so much like her new brother-in-law it's spooky.  Meanwhile, John is trying to keep a low profile, and discourages any interest in his personal life.  He finds he can't keep away from Tess, no matter how hard he tries.  I loved the way she rapidly became certain that John is indeed Montgomery's brother.  Since she knows about the time gates, but he doesn't know that she knows, there are some really fun parts in the book.  She doesn't say anything to him about them, as she doesn't want to send him running (he has a habit of bolting when things get uncomfortable for him).  The way he finds out is really great, and it's fun to see how Tess copes with those events.  I love this series and the MacLeod series.  I'm looking forward to the next one.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Pleasure of Your Kiss - Teresa Medeiros (Pocket - Jan 2012)

Some pleasures are worth any price...

 Legendary adventurer Ashton Burke has roamed the globe for ten years trying to forget the spirited woman he left behind in England. His devil-may-care pursuits are interrupted, though, when he reluctantly agrees to retrieve his brother's kidnapped fiancée. Too late, he discovers his quarry is none other than Clarinda Cardew, the very same girl who made off with his jaded heart. 

 The last thing Clarinda wants is to be trapped in a palace of sensual delights with the man whose irresistible kisses still haunt her sleepless nights. She quickly realizes that allowing Ashton to rescue her may put her yearning heart in even greater peril. In a journey both tantalizing and treacherous, Ashton and Clarinda resume the impetuous steps of their dangerous dance only to discover the most seductive pleasure of all may be love itself. 

Good book.  It was interesting reading a book from that time period that didn't take place in London.   Ash wasn't very happy to be stuck going to rescue Clarinda.  He had left her behind, but had never forgotten her.  When he arrived at the palace where she was being held, he was able to gain entrance, but was not able to see her alone to manage the rescue.  Clarinda was sure he had come to rescue her, but had to maintain the facade that she was there willingly until they could escape. She still wasn't sure if he still had any feelings for her, but she knew she had never stopped loving him, even when she hated him for leaving. There was a lot of intrigue, and a couple of very interesting surprises. Overall, a satisfying read.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spellbound Falls - Janet Chapman (Jove - Mar 2012)

Series: Spellbound Falls (Book 1) 

New York Times bestselling author Janet Chapman takes us to charming Spellbound Falls, where strange things have started happening ever since Maximilian Oceanus came to town…

Maximilian Oceanus arrives in Spellbound Falls just in time to save Olivia Baldwin from an overly aggressive suitor, only to find himself attracted to the beautiful, if rather aloof, widow. And although Mac has come to Inglenook to get a handle on fatherhood, his newly discovered six-year-old son has set his sights on finding his father a wife.

Olivia, however, is busy getting Inglenook ready for its new season, so she doesn’t have time to deal with her growing attraction to the dangerously seductive Mac. Besides, weird stuff seems to happen all around him. Take the fact that her seatbelt keeps getting stuck in his presence, or locks magically open for him without keys, and that he seems to have a talent for sensing things. Never mind the three lost albatrosses walking down the road in the middle of the night. Since when are there albatrosses in Maine?

But despite Olivia’s resistance to falling under the sexy man’s spell, Olivia is having trouble fighting her longing. Because she knows Mac is just the man to unlock the powerful passion deep within her….

Fantastic book.  I loved Mac and Henry from when they showed up in Mystical Warrior.  Mac was so very lost in his role as a father, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him.  Henry is adorable in his seriousness, and I loved seeing him begin to relax and become more like a kid in this book.  Olivia is a terrific character, and I love her independence.  She does have issues with standing up for herself, and I enjoyed seeing the effect that Mac had on her self-confidence.  Olivia is trying to get the camp ready for a new season of campers, plus dealing with unwanted suitors and a mother-in-law who is a pain in the butt.  When Mac comes early for some intense individual fatherhood coaching, he finds himself offering to help.  He is immediately attracted to Olivia, and must find a way to convince her of his love and break it to her who and what he is.  Olivia has been doing a great job of teaching Mac to be a dad and Henry how to be a kid.  She also finds herself dealing with Mac's sister and near the end with Mac's parents.  She also realizes that strange things have been happening since Mac's arrival, and must figure out what it is and if she can handle it.  I thought the culminating scenes were terrific, and loved the way that Olivia stands up to Mac and also the rest of the people at Inglenook.  Janet Chapman's trademark humor with the interaction between alpha male and the woman he loves is definitely present and had me frequently laughing out loud.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Holding Out for Doctor Perfect - Teresa Southwick (HSE #2187 - May 2012)

Series: Men of Mercy Medical (Book 8) 

No-nonsense Avery O'Neill was as by-the-numbers about her love life as she was about the hospital budget she managed. So she vowed to ignore any electricity that sparked between her and hotshot surgeon Spencer Stone -- even if sparks buckled her knees at every turn.

Until the business trip that changed everything.

Dr. Stone had his eye on the prize -- a state-of-the-art medical system that could save patients' lives. But he couldn't stop thinking about the controller whose cool demeanor hid a life-defining secret. After insatiable passion swept them into an unexpected predicament, could Mercy General's most eligible bachelor convince Avery that his feelings were matter what surprises awaited them?

Very good book.  I liked Spencer from the beginning.  He was extra charming, but he didn't use it in a mean way.  He was also very focused on getting the medical equipment he wanted.  Avery wasn't convinced it was needed, and also didn't trust the man who was known for not committing to anyone.  One thing they had in common was a mutual attraction.  While on a business trip together, they gave in to that attraction.  Shortly after that, Avery discovered that she was pregnant.  Thanks to her past, she had no expectation that he would stick around and was stunned when he didn't desert her.  Spencer also had issues of his own, not the least of which was a bad romantic experience in his past that made him reluctant to trust his heart.  I loved the way everything worked out.  I hope to see a story for Spencer's brother Adam soon.

The Husband Hunt - Lynsay Sands (Avon - Mar 2012)

Series: Madison Sisters (Book 3) 

Let the hunt begin ...

Lisa Madison wants a husband, and she has just the candidate in mind: Robert Langley. Trouble is, the infuriating man insists on seeing her as the impish girl she once was -- even as every other gentleman in London has taken notice of her womanly . . . charms. When her beauty lands her in danger, it's Robert who comes to the rescue, only to announce his affections are not of the romantic kind!

Robert saw enough sorrow in his parents' union to know he wants nothing to do with marriage, which is exactly what he'll be trapped into if he acts on his desire for the irksome siren. And then Lisa does what Robert least expects: gives up on him! As feigned indifference gives way, blistering passion burns at last. But just before the pair can succumb to hard-won bliss, an enemy with unfinished business lurks, threatening to destroy them both.

Loved this book.  Lisa has been in love with Robert for years, but can't get him to see her as a woman, not the child he remembers. When he tells her he doesn't feel that way about her, she gives up and starts looking elsewhere, even though she still loves him.  I loved watching him as he tried to convince himself that he saw her as a sister.  His issues with marriage have him planning to not marry for many years yet.  However, he finds him in the position of having to guard her, which causes him to realize that he wants her but doesn't want to risk the family curse.  He also realizes that he doesn't want anyone else to have her.  When his actions make Lisa realize that he does care, she takes things into her own hands to try to get him to admit it.  I loved the interaction between the two, and watching Robert fight the inevitable.  The final rescues are great.  I loved the humor in some of the situations.