Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wildflower Bride in Dry Creek - Janet Tronstad (LI #716 - July 2012)

Series: Dry Creek (Book 23) 

Marry a secure businessman, or become a bunkhouse cook for twenty hungry cowboys on a cattle ranch? When Angelina Brighton chooses the ranch, she runs from the wedding her billionaire father arranged. Angelina won't marry a man she doesn't love. Then along comes former special ops soldier Tyler Stone, barreling into Dry Creek to bring her back home. Or so she thinks.

But Big Sky country is full of surprises for everyone—especially for a faithful gal and rugged cowboy who discover what home really means. 

Liked the book.  It was a "gentle" romance, as the Love Inspired line is, so not my usual fare.  I really liked Angelina.  She had grown up and changed from the spoiled, flighty girl Tyler had known before.  She had come to Dry Creek to avoid the wedding her father had tried to arrange, and because Tyler had talked about it when she knew him before.  Tyler had come home to bring Angelina back to her father.  He didn't know that his mother and brothers were back, and that they hadn't been told he was actually alive after being wrongly listed as killed in action.  Everyone, including Angelina, got quite a surprise, but were very happy to have him home.  I loved the way that Angelina became so much a part of the town.  It was hard for Tyler to believe that she had changed that much.  He also still felt that he wasn't good enough for her, but she was doing her best to change his mind.  I liked the way they dealt with her father when he came, and how she reconciled with him.  The book had a very satisfying ending.

A Baby Between Them - Winnie Griggs (LIH #139 - June 2012)

Series: Irish Brides (Book 3) 

For two months, Nora Murphy has cared for the abandoned infant she found on their Boston-bound ship. Settled now in Faith Glen, Nora tells herself she's happy. She has little Grace, and a good job as housekeeper to Sheriff Cameron Long. She doesn't need anything more -- not the big family she always wanted, or Cam's love....

A traumatic childhood closed Cam off to any dreams of family life. Yet somehow his lovely housekeeper and her child have opened his heart again. When the unthinkable occurs, it will take all their faith to reach a new future together. 

Very good book.  Nora is settled in Faith Glen, taking care of Grace and working for the sheriff.  She has told herself that she will be happy as she is - she will not risk her heart again after having it broken back in Ireland.  Cam refuses to think of a family for himself after things that happened as a youth make him feel he is not able to take that risk.  Nora starts a bakery business for herself as a way to supplement her income.  She also finds herself spending more time with Cam.  After learning of his past, she feels she must convince him that he has a lot to give.  Cam also finds himself attracted to Nora, though he is often frustrated by her nearly obsessive independence.  I really liked the way they worked together, and how much they understood one another, even though it made them nervous to be known that well. The horse thief from book two makes another appearance, with two surprises about her identity.  One of them I suspected, the other was a complete surprise.  I loved the conclusion and the epilogue.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dylan - C.H. Admirand (Sourcebooks - Jan 2012)

Series: Secret Life of Cowboys (Book 2) 


Dylan Garahan might be an old hand at lassoing fillies, but one night at the Lucky Star club, and he ends up wrapping his rope around someone that even his formidable strength can't tame. She's wily and beautiful... and she's his new boss. Dylan's had his heart broken before, but even an honest cowpoke has to wrestle with temptation...


Ronnie DelVecchio might be fresh off the bus from New Jersey, but she's a hard-edged businesswoman and has had her fill of men she can't trust-although she might consider getting off her high horse for that big, handsome rancher with a Texas drawl. 

Very good book.  I really liked Dylan and how hard he worked to help keep their ranch going.  He filled in as a stripper at the Lucky Star when his brother Tyler was hurt.  He works as a carpenter to try to bring in some needed cash. Ronnie arranges to cook for Dylan and his brothers in exchange for him working on her shop. I liked Ronnie also.  She was determined not to let the people who destroyed her shop win.    They had an immediate attraction to each other, but Ronnie fought it.  She had a bad experience with her ex-husband and had no interest in repeating it.  Dylan was determined to get her into bed.  I really enjoyed their interactions, as he would kiss her, she would participate then back off.  I liked the way they had their attraction, but they also got to know each other.  Ronnie had quite a temper, and had a tendency to go off before getting the whole story.  Dylan was slower to anger and had a great sense of humor, so he balanced her very well.  There was lots of sexual tension, and when they finally gave in it was hot.  Ronnie and Dylan spent a fair amount of time having mental conversations with their grandparents - I loved some of the advice they got.  I loved the townspeople and the way they helped each other.  I especially loved Mavis - she knew that Dylan and Ronnie belonged together, and worked to make it happen.  I loved the conclusion, and the way that Mavis found for Dylan to rescue Ronnie. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Last Boyfriend - Nora Roberts (Berkley - May 2012)

Series: Inn Boonsboro (Book 2) 

Owen Montgomery is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family's construction business with an iron fist - and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers bust on his compulsive list-making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn't plan for was Avery McTavish... Avery's popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation - and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery's thoughts. But the attraction she's feeling for him now is far from innocent. As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of Boonsboro a reason to celebrate. But Owen's hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected - and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last... 

Excellent book.  I loved seeing Owen and Avery get together.  They've known each other all their lives as friends, but suddenly they are seeing each other in a whole new way.  Owen is a planner, always has his eye on the goal and the steps needed to get there.  This thing with Avery is way out of his comfort zone, but it feels right.  Avery has always had a thing for Owen, but never expected to feel this way.  Avery has spent a lot of time with Owen and the others getting the Inn ready to open. I loved seeing the way that Avery's fun attitude balanced out Owen's extreme planning tendencies.  Avery had some issues of trusting emotions, thanks to her mom, but Owen had the patience to deal with them. I loved seeing all the details of the Inn, as it gets decorated and prepped for opening.  I also loved seeing the ghost and how she was part of the Inn and interacted with various people.  I also thought that their search for her identity and story was a great addition to the story.  Her relationship to Hope was a nice touch, and I have a suspicion about the identity of her Bill - can't wait to see if I'm right.  There were some great humorous parts -- I loved the scene with Owen, his mom and Avery's dad in the kitchen.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Real Men Will - Victoria Dahl (HQN - Nov 2011)

Series: Donovan Brothers Brewery (Book 4) 

It was meant to be a one-night stand. One night of passion. Scorching-hot. Then Beth Cantrell and Eric Donovan were supposed to go their separate ways. That's the only reason he lied about his name, telling her he was really his wild younger brother. Hiding his identity as the conservative Donovan. The "good one."

But passion has its own logic, and Eric finds he can't forget the sable-haired beauty with whom he shared a night of love. When Beth discovers that Eric has lied, however, she knows he can't be trusted. Her mind tells her to forget the blue-eyed charmer. If only every fiber of her being didn't burn to call him back. 

Very good book.  This continued the story of Beth and Eric that was begun in the anthology "The Guy Next Door".  I was bummed at that time that they left the story hanging - it would have been better as the beginning of this book.  If you haven't read the story, you don't know the background.  This book was full of all kinds of angst.  There was conflict between Beth and Eric over his lying about his name.  There was conflict between Eric and Jamie for that, and other unresolved issues.  There was inner conflict with Beth's keeping what she does secret from her father.  And Eric's conflict with himself because he isn't happy and doesn't really know why.  Plus we are waiting for a resolution of the whole Kendall issue.  I did like both Eric and Beth.  Eric was determined to make the brewery everything his father would have wanted.  Unfortunately, he tends to be rather controlling which ticks off his brother.  When he meets up with Beth again she discovers his deception, and is understandably angry.  She is also still physically attracted to him.  I loved the way that they found that they couldn't stay away from each other.  And the more time they spent together, the more they actually liked each other.  Both of them had issues with trying to be something they weren't, which caused many of the problems they had with each other.  I wanted to smack Eric and Jamie a few times, to get them to actually talk and listen to each other, but things did work out for them in the end. The scene between them at the cemetery had me in tears.

High Noon - Debra Webb (HI #1354 - June 2012)

Series: Colby Agency: Texas (Book 2) 

With one of Texas's most heinous serial killers still on the loose, it's Colby agent Joel Hayden's sworn duty to protect single mom Laney Seagers. Getting a job at Laney's High Noon bar is easy for Joel...but gaining the trust of the fiercely independent beauty is considerably harder.

Amid escalating danger, Joel struggles to safeguard the shattering family secret that could destroy all Laney has ever known. As he witnesses her world starting to unravel, how can he protect her without revealing what he knows? A lifelong bachelor, Joel learns a new lesson on the job: protecting Laney from violence may be easier than protecting her heart. 

Very good book.  The hunt for Clare Barker is heating up, and Laney is the next one in danger.  Laney owns the High Noon bar where she makes a good living and is raising her son.  His father is trying to make trouble for Laney.  Joel has been assigned by the Colby Agency to keep Laney and her son safe.  When he steps in to protect her, he gets hired on as the new bouncer at the bar, and hopes to use that to stay undercover.  But when Clare gets too close, Joel has to come clean with Laney.  I really liked the way Laney was independent, but saw the sense of accepting help when their safety was threatened.  She was stunned by Joel's revelations, and couldn't think what it would mean for their future.  Joel couldn't believe how quickly Laney and Buddy had  become a part of his life, and that he didn't want to let them go.  I loved the way he related so well to Buddy, and how easily he was able to support Laney and her dreams.  I'm really looking forward to the next book and seeing how the situation is resolved.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Unraveling the Past - Beth Andrews (HS #1782 - June 2012)

Series: Truth About the Sullivans (Book 1) 

How do you work for a guy who took the job you wanted? Every time Captain Layne Sullivan runs into Chief Ross Taylor, she struggles with that issue. It doesn't help that he's a by-the-book cop who expects everything done his way. It also doesn't help that he's hot. Ignoring that little fact is impossible -- she's tried!

Then Layne's world is turned upside down when human remains are discovered...and the case has a personal connection. Suddenly she's glad Ross is so thorough, because he'll get to the truth. And his search brings them closer, fueling the attraction that's out of control. As secrets and lies from the past surface, Layne's biggest challenge is fighting for a future -- with Ross in it. 

Good book.  Layne is having a real problem working with Ross.  She really wanted the Chief's job, but he had gotten it instead.  Ross is new to town and doesn't know all the people and their backgrounds the way she does, but he is very good at what he does.  When Layne's mom's remains are found, she finds herself working very closely with Ross and fighting an attraction to him.  Ross came to Mystic Point to get his niece out of Boston and try to give her a fresh start.  What he finds is that she appears to be even more out of control.  Then he adds in a smart mouthed coworker who he is attracted to and his life seems to be crazier.  I could see how he was having trouble with his niece, as he appeared to have no idea how to deal with a teenager.  I liked the way that Layne would try to help out with her, and get Ross to see where he was going wrong.  I also enjoyed the way that Ross was also fighting the attraction.  Both of them had to face their demons at the end, and I enjoyed seeing the process.  We still don't know who killed Valerie Sullivan - I suspect that will come in the last book.

The Tycoon's Secret Daughter - Susan Meier (HR #4315 - June 2012)

Series: First Time Dads (Book 1) 

Max Montgomery had it all: charm, good looks and a career as CEO of the family business. Marriage to Kate Hunter was the icing on the cake. Until a devastating family secret sent his world -- and then his marriage -- crashing down around him.

Years later, Max is accidentally reunited with Kate, who also has a secret -- the daughter he's never met! Bonding with adorable Trisha may come naturally, but with the shadows of the past still haunting him, recapturing the heart of the woman he's never stopped loving is quite a different matter.... 

Very good book.  I thought the whole marriage breakup was handled very well.  Kate had fled their marriage after Max's drinking got out of hand and she feared for the safety of the baby she carried.  When they met again years later, Max had been sober for seven years.  He found out about his daughter and wanted to be part of her life.  Kate had been badly hurt by Max's actions during their marriage and was afraid to trust him again, but couldn't deny him the chance to know his daughter.  So she agreed that he could see Trisha, but only if she was there too.  As the weeks passed, both Kate and Max started to get to know the people they are now, though Kate still had problems separating Old Max from New Max.  I really liked the way Max's alcoholism was portrayed, and the battle both he and Kate had to let go of the past.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Navy Rules - Geri Krotow (HS #1786 - June 2012)

Series: Whidbey Island (Book 1) 

Wounded during a military rescue, Commander Max Ford returns to a naval base on Whidbey Island to recover. And part of his treatment involves working with a therapy dog. Max is surprised to learn that the dog's owner is Winnie Armstrong, widow of his closest friend. She and Max were close in those months following her husband's death. But they drifted apart, until that one night two years ago. The night friendship turned to passion...

Now he's even more shocked to learn that Winnie has been keeping a secret from him. A baby girl. His daughter. It's even more important he heal so he can be a part of his child's life -- and Winnie's. Because all the attraction that pulled them together that one night is still there...only stronger. 

Very good book.  I really liked both Max and Winnie.  Max was back on Whidbey Island, recovering from his injuries and PTSD.  The therapy dog belongs to Winnie, who he has been looking forward to seeing again.  He has been dealing with some of his issues well, but doesn't think he really needs any more therapy.  When he finds out that Winnie had his baby and didn't let him know, he feels hurt, betrayed and angry.  He is also still very attracted to her.  Winnie knows she should have told him, but didn't feel it was safe to hit him with news like that while he was at war, so put it off.  Now she has to deal with the emotions, and the fact that she is still attracted also.  She also is a big time control freak and stresses over many things.  She feels that having lost one man to an early death, she has no intention of getting involved with another man with a dangerous job.  I really enjoyed Max's patience with Winnie, even though I really wanted to shake her.  He sister did a great job of trying to get through to Winnie about how ridiculous she was being.  I did enjoy the ending very much, and can't wait for the next one.  Hopefully it will be about Max's friend Miles.

Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick - Deb Marlowe (HH #1093 - June 2012)

Adopting the guise of a buttoned-up spinster is nothing new for Chloe Hardwick. But under the watchful eye of her unnervingly handsome employer, the Marquess of Marland, for the first time Chloe yearns to be unbuttoned! Yet he sees her only as his assistant, the efficient Hardwick -- not as Chloe the woman.

Determined to escape Braedon's cold detachment, Chloe leaves. And when he pursues her to London, determined to entice her back, Braedon is utterly unprepared for what he finds there -- the real Chloe Hardwick.... 

Good book.  Chloe has done an excellent job as Braedon's assistant.  She has come to the point that she longs to find the real her, under the disguise of the so efficient Hardwick.  She also realizes that she has fallen for Braedon, and that he is unlikely to love her back.  So she goes to London with Braedon's sister, to assist that lady with the planning of a special party.  Braedon can't believe that Chloe has left.  She was there one day, in her shapeless clothing, doing her job.  Then she appeared one night wearing one of his sister's dresses, and leaves the next day.  He follows them to London, hoping to talk her into coming back, but ends up involving her in a search for a special artifact.  Braedon has always kept a tight lid on his emotions, but spending time with the new Chloe has put some cracks in the walls around his heart.  I love the way she keeps getting under his skin, He unwillingly opens up about something, then retreats.  When the confrontation with a bad guy occurs, she is badly shaken, but then leaves him.  I loved seeing him grovel at the end. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weddings Under a Western Sky - Lisa Plumley, Elizabeth Lane, Kate Welsh (HH #1091 - June 2012)

Three brides for three cowboys 

Something Borrowed, Something True by Lisa Plumley
When Everett Bannon's ranch hands order him a mail-order bride, he plans to send her on the first train back home. Until he sees his beautiful bride-to-be and his wits go walkin'! But Nellie Trent isn't in Morrow Creek for veils and vows - she's an undercover journalist with an exposé to write! 

The Hand-Me-Down Bride by Elizabeth Lane
Arabella Spencer's trip west was supposed to end in marriage to her longtime sweetheart - not with the discovery that he'd made someone else his wife! Can rancher Stewart McIntyre convince Arabella that Montana can still be her dream come true, with a new groom for this hand-me-down bride?

The Bride Wore Britches by Kate Welsh
Just for one night rancher Rhiannon Oliver longs to feel like a lady, so she ditches her britches for a ball gown! Cowboy Dylan Varga hardly recognizes the girl he used to tease - but then a tragedy throws them together in a way neither could have imagined...

I really liked all three stories.  In the first one, Everett doesn't want a bride, but as soon as he sees Nellie he is smitten.  But he was hurt before by a woman who decided she preferred city ways to a rancher.  So he tries to change and be more "citified" in order to keep the girl.  Meanwhile, Nellie has been told that she isn't ladylike enough to appeal to any man, so she tries to hide what she's really like to appeal more to Everett.  But in both cases, the real person keeps popping up, and that is what appeals to the other.  When they finally quit pretending, they are able to reach for the happiness they deserve.

In the second story. Arabella arrives to discover that the man she expects to marry has married someone else.  Though understandably upset, she quickly realized that he isn't the man she thought he was anyway.  When she is picked up in the town by Stewart, they don't make a good impression on each other.  Stewart's sister is the one that married Arabella's fiance, and he is worried that Arabella will wreck the marriage.  But as they spend some time together, they realize that they have quickly come to care for each other.

In the third story, Rhiannon has spent so much time hiding behind her shapeless men's clothing that Dylan is flabbergasted when he sees her as the woman she is.  Rhiannon has always been in love with Dylan, but he has never actually looked at her until now.  When circumstances cause them to marry, he tries to give her time to get to know him as a man, not realizing that she has always seen him that way. I really enjoyed his confusion over his changed viewpoint.  My only complaint in this story is not finding out who attacked the ranch - perhaps this is part of a continuing story.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Tangled Affair - Fiona Brand (HD #2166 - June 2012)

Series: Pearl House (Book 2) 

They'd been embroiled in a hot, secret affair. Until Lucas Atraeus's and Carla Ambrosi's feuding families were merged by marriage and business. Suddenly the situation was...complicated. Burned by the past, Lucas has never let his heart rule his head. Now, with Carla closer than he had ever imagined she would be, their affair must end.

Saying goodbye to such intense passion is not he's now Carla's boss.

But even as he sets out to choose an appropriate bride -- one who won't break down his guard -- Lucas fears he's fighting a losing battle. Sometimes temptation is meant to be seized. 

This was a good book, mostly.  I liked Carla.  She had been with Lucas, even though it was secretly, for two years.  She knew she was in love with him, and even though he had been rather reserved lately, she thought he loved her too.  Then he suddenly broke things off and was seen with another woman.  Lucas felt things were getting too serious with Carla, who reminded him of a bad experience with a woman several years earlier.  He felt fine with an affair, but when he started getting too emotionally involved he pulled back.  I liked the way that Carla tried to keep herself together, to hold on to her pride after Lucas dumped her in a very cruel way.  Unfortunately  for her, she still loved him.  Lucas found that even though he had broken things off, he was still obsessed with Carla.  He couldn't keep his hands off her, and he hated the idea of another man getting close to her.  I had a real problem with his obsessive, controlling behavior.  He just couldn't let go, but couldn't give her what she needed either.  I didn't like the way that he was constantly manipulating things to his advantage.  The only reason I rated this a four instead of a three was because I liked seeing Carla drive him nuts.  He came through in the end, but I think he needed to grovel a lot more than he did.

A Breathless Bride - Fiona Brand (HD #2154 - Apr 2012)

Series: Pearl House (Book 1) 

After becoming the reluctant owner of the company that had cost him his fiancee, Constantine Atraeus wants more. Controlling Ambrosi Pearls would not be complete without enticing Sienna Ambrosi back into his bed. His ex-lover, however, won't be won over with simple promises and elaborate seductions. A legally binding contract has to be made.

So Constantine proposes the ultimate marriage bargain. If Sienna becomes his wife, she'll retain shares in her family's precious company. But she'll be bound to him forever. It is a union potentially worth billions. And it is a price Constantine is more than willing to pay. 

Good book.  The conflict between Constantine and Sienna was very intense.  Their short-lived engagement two years before had not ended well.  Both had made mistakes, and now he was back in her life.  Sienna was stunned to find out that Constantine now owned a majority of her business, thanks to her late father's gambling losses.  Constantine wants Sienna back, and is willing to basically blackmail her to do it.  Sienna finds that she has never stopped loving Constantine, but has no idea how he really feels.  She is willing to take a chance and marry him in hopes that it will work out.  When he shows that it is just a business deal to him, she is hurt and furious.  I had some real problems with Constantine.  He knew he wanted Sienna, and was used to getting what he wanted.  But he seemed far more interested in controlling everything about her, including firing her from her job and telling her what she should wear to a couple of his parties. It took awhile for me to realize that it wasn't so much control, as his insecurity that he wouldn't be able to compete with her company.  I loved the way that she took his "suggestions" for her wardrobe and put her own twist on them.  In the final confrontation, he finally realized what he was doing and how badly he had messed up.

Instant Temptation - Jill Shalvis (Brava - Apr 2010)

Series: Wilder Adventures (Book 3) 

T.J. Wilder is the perfect package of breathtaking adventure and raw sex appeal. Even better, he's about to reconnect with the one woman he's never been able to forget...


To Harley, the landscape around Wishful, California, is exhilarating, untamed, and more than a little dangerous. The same could be said for T.J. Wilder, who's invited himself along on her trek to study a rare coyote. Harley's career is riding on this trip, and she doesn't need a stubborn, incredibly sexy distraction. But T.J. is a professional guide who knows when to stay back and when to provide invaluable expertise -- just like he's done since they were in high school. And Harley, as usual, is torn between throttling him and giving in to the raw attraction that's been smoldering all these years.

T.J. knows how proud and capable Harley is, but he's damned sure not letting her put herself at risk when there are illegal hunters in the area. She needs him, with the same soul-stirring urgency that he's always craved her. And here, in this beautiful place days from civilization, he'll finally have a chance to prove it -- over and over again... 

Very good book.  TJ is the last of the Wilder brothers to still be a bachelor.  He's back in town after leading another long-term trek, and is still attracted to Harley.  He hasn't been able to admit it, and doesn't know if Harley feels the same way.  He does know that he's always watched out for her, even though her sense of independence won't let her accept help.  When she heads out to study the coyotes, she goes alone.  TJ tracks her down and invites himself along so he can make sure she is ok.  They find their attraction harder and harder to resist, but neither one believes that love is a possibility for them.  I really liked the way that TJ goes along with Harley to help, but doesn't just take over.  He is very good at offering help without being overbearing about it.  I could see that her issues kept her blowing hot and cold - she wanted TJ and wanted more than a casual fling, but was afraid to go for it.  TJ also would find himself panicking when he thought he was getting in too deep.  I was glad to see that both of them were finally able to face their demons.  I loved the kayak trip with the coeds - TJ was so glad that Harley was along!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Instant Attraction - Jill Shalvis (Brava - Feb 2009)

Series: Wilder Adventures (Book 1) 

Get Wild...And Then Get Wilder...
Accountant Katie Kramer is a quintessential good girl--working hard, recycling diligently, all the while trying to ignore the feeling that she doesn't fit in anywhere. That's all she wants. Well, that--and amazing sex, and the kind of daredevil escapade she can look back on when she's crunching numbers in a dusty cubicle. Which explains why she just took a job in Wishful, California, working for Wilder Adventures and Expeditions. Waking up to find a magnificently built stranger towering over her bed--that part defies explanation... 

After wandering the planet for months following a life-changing accident, Cameron Wilder has come back to the only home he knows. Under other circumstances, he might be thrilled to find a gorgeous woman sleeping in his cabin, but now, while he'll risk his body taking clients on adrenaline-drenched excursions, his heart is off limits. Still, Katie's killer smile triggers something deep in his gut...among other places. Showing her how exhilarating it can be to stop balancing her life as if it was a checkbook is the biggest rush he's ever felt--and an adventure Katie's wishing would never end... 

Really good book.  I loved Katie.  After surviving a terrible accident, she is tired of living life in a safe way.  So she hops in her car and heads out looking for adventure.  She ends up in Wishful CA working as a temporary bookkeeper.  When Cam returns after a year away, they are instantly attracted to each other.  But Cam won't get involved as he is still trying to accept that his previous life in extreme sports is over.  However, he sees that Katie is trying to experience as much adventure as she can, so he decides to help.  As they spend time together, the attraction gets stronger, but neither wants to give in.  Katie is enjoying experiencing new things with Cam, and then decides that since she'll be leaving soon anyway, she'd go ahead and have a fling with Cam.  Both of them have no trouble seeing what the other needs, but just can't do anything about their own issues.  Katie is also good at telling Cam when he is being an idiot.  I loved seeing Katie's adventures, and the scene where she gets drunk with Serena and Harley was hysterical.  There were a lot of places that were laugh out loud funny, and a few places that made me cry for both Cam and Katie.  I also loved the way that everyone could see that they were in love, but they (especially Cam) refused to admit it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Wayward Son - Yvonne Lindsay (HD #2141 - Feb 2012)

Series: Master Vintners (Book 1) 

Judd Wilson finally has his chance for revenge. He will dismantle his estranged father's cherished business empire and -- the icing on the cake -- steal the man's ravishing mistress. Certainly the sizzling attraction Judd feels for Anna Garrick will only make his vengeance sweeter.

But as fascination becomes insatiable desire, Judd begins to question his intent. He'd believed the worst of his father, and of Anna. Now, when long-buried family deceits are uncovered, Anna's fierce loyalty to his father forces Judd to rethink his plans -- because destroying the man who hurt him will mean losing Anna, too.... 

Good book.  Judd had good reason to be angry with his father, but his plans were a case of overkill.  Thanks to his mother's actions, he was also very cynical and didn't trust Anna at all.  As a matter of fact, he was sure that Anna was sleeping with his father, and intended to steal her away as part of his revenge.  Anna felt an immediate attraction to Judd, but had no intention of doing anything about it.  As she worked with him, she saw that he was very good at what he did, but always had the feeling that there was something else going on.  When things came to a head, Anna was hurt and broke off their personal relationship.  When Judd finally had a chance to talk to both his father and his mother, he realized that everything he had believed was wrong.  It was very satisfying to see Judd realize that there are two sides to a story, and that he had very nearly lost the most important thing in his life.

Haunted Warrior - Allie MacKay (Signet - Jan 2012)

Kendra Chase is exhausted from her work as a ghost whisperer, so she's been looking forward to her vacation in Edinburgh. But work awaits her as the tiny fishing village is being excavated, and supernatural uprisings have been reported.

Graeme MacGrath knows the source of the psychic trouble. The excavation is disrupting the protective veil between this world and darker, more ancient ones. He hates to admit it but he will need the fetching Kendra and her paranormal abilities to save the town he loves from unspeakable evil. 

This book was okay.  I have read her other books and loved them all, but this one just didn't have the same appeal.  It started off pretty well, with Kendra's feel for and interaction with the local ghosts.  I had a bit of a hard time with her constant talking about wanting to kiss Graeme again.  I got it right off - she was attracted to him, she didn't have to keep saying it.  I would have liked to see more of her interactions with the ghosts, since that was why she was there.  I did really like Graeme.  He was trying to hold out against evil that threatened his town and his world.  I really liked seeing him work, and the way he cared for the people of the town.  The romance itself was ok, but that wasn't very interesting. My biggest disappointment was that the confrontation between Graeme and Ramsay.  It just didn't have the intensity of confrontations in her other books.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Montana Doctor - Ann Roth (HAR #1408 - June 2012)

Series: Saddlers Prairie (Book 2) 

To Mark Engle, it's simple. There's Los Angeles -- success, money, excitement -- and there's Montana. So when he finds himself stuck playing small-town M.D., Mark is less than pleased. The only appeal is clinic receptionist Stacy Andrews, a big-city escapee in love with Saddlers Prairie and its neighbors-are-family feel. Too bad rural and close-knit are exactly what Mark's looking to evade.

Stacy knows Mark's type too well. A career-driven man like that would never put a tiny community -- much less a wife and family -- first. So why is she hoping he'll stay? No one can overlook the chemistry between the pair, and soon the whole town conspires to push them together. But it'll take more than matchmaking for Mark to change his life plan, even if his heart truly belongs in Montana. 

Good book.  I really liked Stacy and the way she was so happy there.  She had come to Saddler's Prairie for the job and realized that it was just the life she wanted.  There was fresh air, people she liked and the chance to put down roots.  When Mark got talked into filling in as doctor, he wasn't happy.  He had a good job waiting for him in LA, that fit in with his plan to have everything he had wanted while he was growing up.  He found himself very attracted to Stacy, but knew he should do nothing about it since he wouldn't be staying.  I really liked the way that he fit right in with the town and his patients.  He had the perfect way of dealing with each one, and even though he wouldn't admit it, he was happy there.  I liked the way that Stacy refused to pressure him, but had no problem calling him on what she thought was behind his motivations.

How to Dance With a Duke - Manda Collins (St Martins - Feb 2012)

Series: The Ugly Ducklings (Book 1) 

What's a wallflower to do when she's suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants...

Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father's exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father's name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club -- and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.

Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He's a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily -- even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season's most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston's expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer's bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened...or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined.... 

Good book.  I really liked Lucas.  In spite of his first appearance, when he was truly rude to Cecily, he is a really nice guy who is currently under a lot of stress.  Once he has calmed down, he realizes he owes her an apology, and soon discovers he is very attracted to her.  He and Cecily decide to work together to find out what happened to Lucas's brother, and as a result spend a lot of time together.  Due some unforeseen circumstances they end up married, and continue their investigations.  I really liked Cecily's intelligence and the fact that she had no problem using it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions that she and Lucas had, especially when she was able to convince him of her point of view.  I really liked that he wasn't intimidated by her intelligence, but rather enjoyed it.  I could see them falling in love, though neither one wanted to admit it.  Cecily had been hurt in the past and was trying to protect herself and Lucas just didn't want to admit it.  The mystery itself was good, though I did figure out the bad guy fairly early.  There were parts of his infamy that were a surprise which did make for a nice bonus.  The romance was very good, and I liked the way that Lucas continued to woo Cecily even after they were married. My only complaint was that I found the story dragged a little in a few places.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Marriage at the Circle M - Donna Alward (HR #3978 - Sept 2007)

Series: Heart to Heart 

Secrets are hard to keep in a small town...
But Grace Lundquist is determined to hide her pain. Hardworking and always cheerful, she's the town's sweetheart. Everybody loves her.... 

Grace knows that one man isn't fooled. When Mike Gardner looks at her, she feels he can see right into her soul. But, try as she might to keep the strong, gorgeous cowboy out of her business, Grace can't douse the spark between them.... 

Very good book.  Grace had returned to her hometown after her divorce.  She held down several jobs to make ends meet and also to keep herself busy.  She was also running into Mike more often, now that he had left rodeoing and settled down.  She had been in love with him for years, but knew nothing could come of it now.  Mike had finally admitted his feelings for her to himself.  He found himself wanting to spend more time with her and to protect her.  But the more he did, the more he ran into her independent streak.  They spent a lot of time arguing with each other.  Mike was having trouble believing that she could love him, due to his childhood bouncing from foster home to foster home.  Grace was sure that even if Mike said he loved her, he would walk away when he knew her secret.  There was so much emotion at the end of the book that I was in tears for a good share of it.  I was glad to see how it all worked out.

There and Now - Linda Lael Miller (SSE #754 - July 1992)

Series:  Beyond the Threshold (Book 1) 

Heartsick from Seattle's rat race, Elisabeth McCartney sought her childhood haven, never suspecting the Pine River house harbored an escape hatch to an earlier era, its key the necklace she clutched to her chest ....

Tumbling over the threshold and back in time, T-shirt clad Elisabeth scandalized formidable single father Jonathan Fortner, the virile Victorian whose bedchamber she broached. Jonathan's daunting demeanor bid her flee to the future . . . but his timeless sensuality serenaded her soul with a love song that would echo throughout eternity .... 

Very good book - definitely different than what I am used to from Ms. Miller.  When Elisabeth arrived in Pine River she had come for a new job as a teacher and to recover from her divorce.  One night, while wearing a necklace from her aunt, she went through a door into the past.  The man she met there, Dr Jonathan Fortner, was understandably very suspicious of her and didn't believe her story.  She escaped from him and returned home.  She then went back, after finding out that he and his daughter would die tragically, and tried to convince him.  As a man of science, Jonathan thought that Elisabeth was imagining things, but found himself falling in love with her.  I really enjoyed seeing Elisabeth as she coped with the past, tried to convince Jonathan of the danger, and adored Jonathan's daughter.  The conclusion of the story was terrific, and I have ordered the second book in the series about Elisabeth's cousin Rue.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Rancher's Bride - Pamela Britton (HAR #1407 - June 2012)

Rude with a bad attitude -- that's Ryan Clayborne, all right. From the moment she meets her new boss's son, Jorie Peters vows to spend as little time as possible with the surly rancher. That she has to plan his wedding? Well, that's just bad luck. The sparks shooting between them? Those are a Texas-size disaster.

The last thing Ryan needs is some big-city wedding coordinator stomping her high heels all over his ranch. He has bigger things on his mind -- mainly a temporary marriage to a friend he doesn't love. But one look at Jorie turns the cowboy's life, and heart, upside down. Heated thoughts lead to cold feet, but Ryan's still determined to do the honorable thing. Even if doing right has never felt so wrong... 

Good book.  I really liked Jorie.  She was very good at her job and had lots of good ideas.  When she first met Ryan, she didn't like him - he was very rude and completely unwelcoming.  But she also couldn't deny the spark of attraction.  Then she found out that one of her tasks was to plan his wedding.  As she worked on that, she got the feeling that there was something very wrong.  Ryan also couldn't deny the attraction, but had committed to marry his friend Laurel to help her out.  But as the weeks went on, the deception was getting to both he and Laurel.  When things come to a head, Jorie ends up leaving the ranch.  It was a satisfying thing to see Ryan finally stand up to his mom and Laurel's father, though it certainly took him long enough.

Matchmaking by Moonlight - Teresa Hill (HSE #2189 - May 2012)

"I now pronounce thee man and...ex-wife?"

Family court judge Thomas Ashford had heard it all. But New Age teacher Lilah Ryan's loopy request for him to perform a "divorce ceremony" for women to heal from their bad breakups took the cake. In fact, divorce was the furthest thing from Ashe's mind whenever Lilah walked into a room. She was just too sexy, too smart...too much for the bachelor to handle! Add to the mix a trio of meddlesome octogenarian matchmakers trying their best to bring Ashe and Lilah together...and, well, the honorable judge had his hands full to say the least. Could the buttoned-up legal eagle let loose enough for this free spirit...or was this one for the star-crossed lovers record book? 

Very good book.  I wasn't sure at first if I was going to like it.  Ashe was just so uptight and disapproving of Lilah that I couldn't see how they were going to make it work.  He had been more relaxed when he was younger, but especially since becoming a judge, he had become very conscious of his actions and reputation.  But from the moment he met Lilah he was fighting a losing battle.  Lilah was a life coach who had made it her mission to help women recover from the traumas of divorce.  From experience, she knew that the process didn't stop when the divorce was final, and she wanted to help.  She gave classes on everything from finances to feeling good about yourself.  Some of the things she did really raised eyebrows, but they worked.  Ashe found that she was irresistible to him, not matter how hard he tried.  After getting caught in a couple of compromising situations, he tried to pull away but couldn't.  They finally gave in, and he discovered that Lilah just plain made him happy.  He decided to stop fighting it and they spent several weeks actually dating and getting to know each other.  The final scenes when Lilah was in danger woke Ashe up to just how much she meant to him.  There were several places in the book that had me laughing out loud.  Ashe was just so out of his depth and confused by Lilah that made him totally appealing to me.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Surprise of Her Life - Helen R. Myers (HSE #2190 - May 2012)

Eve Easton had had enough "neighbor" trauma to last a lifetime, seeing as how her now ex-husband had run off with the woman next door. So off Eve went, to a new state, a new city, a new everything -- only to find out her new next-door neighbor was her fellow dumpee, Derek Roland. The tall, dark and handsome former spouse of the woman Eve's ex left her for. Got it?

Well, she got it. And when it came to her neighborly policy, she was strictly "hands-off." Only she had a hard time resisting Derek, as did he, her. Seems as though both of them had traveled miles and miles just to find what they were looking for...right in their own backyard.... 

Terrific book.  I really liked Derek.  Besides being tall, dark and hunky, he is a truly nice guy.  I loved the way that he took care of Eve when they went out.  I could see how much he cared right away, and that he was doing his best not to rush Eve into more than she could handle.  Eve was great, too.  She started out fighting the relationship, thanks to the damage her ex-husband did to her self-esteem.  I loved the way that her boss was so good to her and helped her realize that she deserved to be happy.  I almost cried when Eve appeared ready to throw it all away, and was so glad when her boss helped Derek get together with her again.  Derek's superior's visit at the end of the book was great.  I loved the respect he showed to Derek.  I also loved the way that Eve and her boss coped with the wife's nasty attitude, and Eve's confrontation with her at the end was great.  When Derek and Eve were together I could feel the love between them.  I laughed at Eve's calling Derek "G-man", and the way they completed each other.

The Paternity Promise - Merline Lovelace (HD #2163 - June 2012)

Series: Billionaires and Babies 

"You're the father."

After leaving her late cousin's baby on the Dalton doorstep, Grace Templeton poses as a nanny to discover which of the billionaire twins is the father. Grace promised to protect the child, but she didn't plan to fall for the seductive brother she learns is the daddy.

For single dad Blake, there's only one priority -- protecting his daughter from whatever secrets Grace won't reveal. He'll get the truth from her -- any way he can. And until she talks, he'll keep the temptress at his side all day...all night.

Not as the nanny, but as his wife!

Loved the book.  It was a follow on to The Paternity Proposition  and confirms that Blake is Molly's father.  Blake is stunned, but thrilled to find out he is Molly's father.  Especially since he thought that the woman who was her mother had died well before Molly was born.  When he found out Grace's part in the deception, he was furious.  All Grace had wanted was to find out which man was Molly's father and make sure that Molly would be safe and loved.  Once that was assured, she left them and went home.  Blake showed up a short time later and proposed a marriage to give Molly the family she deserved. Grace was already half in love with him, and went along with the marriage to be close to Molly.  Blake knew that Grace was still keeping secrets, but wanted her in his life anyway.  I loved seeing them spend time together on their honeymoon in France, and watch them get to know each other.  I could see Blake falling under Grace's spell, and Grace fall the rest of the way in love.  When they returned to Oklahoma City, and Grace's attempts to protect her cousin Hope from her abusive husband came to light, both of them had to decide what they were willing to put into their marriage.  When Blake nearly lost Grace, he finally realized just how much he cared.