Friday, August 31, 2012

Within Reach - Sarah Mayberry (HS #1795 - Aug 2012)

Being a single dad was never on Michael Young's agenda. Yet with the sudden loss of his wife, that's exactly the role he has. On his best days, he thinks he can handle it. On his worst… Luckily, family friend Angie Bartlett has his back, easily stepping in to help out.

Lately, though, something has changed.

Michael is noticing exactly how gorgeous Angie is, and how single she is. She's constantly in his thoughts and he feels an attraction he never expected. Does he dare disrupt the very good thing they have going? If they have a fling that goes nowhere, he stands to lose everything -- including her. But if they make it work, he stands to gain everything! 

This was one of the best Supers that I have read in a long time.  The book starts with Angie at her best friend Billie's house with Billie's husband and two kids, celebrating Billie's birthday.   At the end of the evening Billie collapses and dies.  Ten months later, Angie is doing her best to help Michael.  Both of them are still reeling from Billie's death, but Michael is still walking around in a fog and his family is suffering for it.  Angie steps in and works to get Michael back to the land of the living.  She doesn't tell him to "get over it" she is just there to help him do what needs to be done to move forward.  When they start to notice each other as more than friends, both are filled with guilt and self disgust.  This was one incredibly emotional book.  The way that their grief was handled was very realistic to me.  The slow developing of their feelings for each other was natural.  They decided they would do nothing about it in hopes that it would just fade away.  They continued to behave as friends, but the underlying tension was there and just kept intensifying.  They finally gave in to the passion, but tried to convince themselves that it was physical only.  Unfortunately the guilt was still tearing Michael up, and he was still certain that he would never love another.  When Angie realized that she had fallen in love with Michael and knew that he would never be able to love her the same way she had to put distance between them.  I was so impressed with Angie's compassion for Michael and the kids.  She always seemed to know exactly what was needed.  Michael was a character that just kept tugging at my heartstrings.  He was so incredibly lost when Billie died that just making it through the days was a struggle.  When his daughter pointed out to him, and later Angie, just how many ways he'd dropped the ball, he realized he had to make changes.  He was furious at Angie's suggestions at first, but then realized that she was right.  He still considered himself Billie's husband, even though she was gone and his attraction to Angie made him crazy with guilt.  As the weeks went on, the guilt remained but he found himself happier than he'd been.  When they began to enjoy their physical relationship, he spent time trying to come to terms with it and ended up just taking it day by day.  When Angie broke things off, telling him that she'd fallen in love with him and knew it wouldn't go anywhere he was stunned.  It took him days to realize that he had fallen in love with her and to figure out what to do about it.  I loved the way they resolved their issues.  I shed a lot of tears in this book, especially in the last few chapters.  There were some great scenes with Michael's daughter and the way she opened her father's eyes.
 

A Better Man - Emilie Rose (HS #1797 - Aug 2012)

Series: Count on a Cop 

Roth Sterling is a straight shooter, a guy you want on your side. As a soldier, he defended his country. As a cop, he upholds the law. For a kid who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, he's done well for himself. Now he's back in his hometown, only this time, he's the new police chief.

He's in for a few surprises, however. Piper Hamilton -- the girl he loved -- still has the power to move him. And they are tied together thanks to the son he didn't know he had. Roth is determined to do right by Piper, whatever it takes. Even if it means becoming the one thing he never thought to be -- a family man. 

Very good book.  Roth has returned to Quincey, a town he swore he would never come back to.  He grew up with a physically abusive father who ended up in prison.  Now he's getting out and planning to move back with Roth's mother (who swears his dad has changed).  Roth has taken over as police chief (Piper's dad's job before his stroke) so that he can be there to protect his mother.  Roth had been in love with Piper when they were in high school.  Piper's dad forced Roth to leave town, but not before Roth found out that Piper was pregnant.  This terrified him because he never wanted children, thinking he could turn out like his dad, so he told Piper to take care of it and left.  He ended up joining the Marines, then becoming a cop before coming back.  He didn't know that Piper had had the baby.  Now he has to deal with a town that doesn't want him taking the old chief's job and Piper who is still angry at him and doesn't want her son to know that Roth is his father.  Their explosive attraction is still there, and now Roth feels that maybe he can have it all.  I really liked both Piper and Roth.  Piper has spent the last twelve years raising her son in her hometown.  She told people he was the son of her dead fiancee, never expecting Roth to show up in town again.  She doesn't want her son around Roth, but it's a small town and they end up spending a lot of time together, especially once Roth learns the truth.  Piper is sure that Roth will not stick around and doesn't want Josh getting attached then being hurt the way she was.  She does everything she can to keep them apart. But Josh gets attached anyway, and Piper comes to see that Roth is having a good influence.  I liked her protectiveness, but I had a hard time with her tunnel vision in regards to his work in the Marines.  She could not accept the fact that his missions during war did not indicate that he was a violent person.  I was glad to see that she finally saw the light by the end.  Roth was a terrific character.  Except for his stupidity in the way he left Piper, he did a fantastic job of turning his life around.  Even though he was blackmailed into enlisting by Piper's dad, his time in the Marines gave him the tools he needed to move past his beginnings, as did his move into law enforcement.  When he came to town he had to overcome his hellion reputation and deal with the people who resented him taking the job.  I liked the way that he went to various people from his youth and cleared the air.  The time he spends with Piper's dad was especially good since there was the most animosity there.  He was still not planning to stay in Quincey, but the closer he got to Piper and Josh the more the idea appealed.  I also liked the way that he made the police chief's job his own by doing the right thing for everyone, not playing favorites like some of the old timers did.  He also used the skills he learned as a Marine to come up with solutions for dealing with various problems.  His interactions with Josh were fantastic.  He had a great way of relating to Josh that showed what a terrific father he would be.  I also loved the way he was working so hard to let Piper know how much he regretted being such an idiot all those years ago.  He obviously wanted the full relationship with her, even if it took a long time for him to see it himself.  I liked the way that things worked out in the end, with even Piper's parents solving their problems.  I must say that Marines are at the top of my list as favorite heroes, and Emilie Rose did an outstanding job with this one.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making Her Way Home - Janice Kay Johnson (HS #1796 - Aug 2012)

A child is missing. The words chill Detective Mike Ryan and bring to mind memories of his own tragedy.

He'll dedicate every resource he has until the girl Sicily is found, safe…and alive. His investigation hits a snag with Sicily's aunt and guardian, Beth Greenway. Beth's cool demeanor is at odds with the situation, making him suspicious. She's definitely hiding something. But the more time he spends with her, the less he believes that something is about the missing niece. And with all that contact, Mike sees Beth's vulnerabilities. Suddenly, he wants to protect her, even while he wants to know her secrets.

As the search hits one roadblock after another, Mike's dedication intensifies. He needs to bring Sicily home for Beth…but also for the future he wants with them. 

Very good book and incredibly emotional.  Sicily disappeared while she and her aunt Beth were at the beach.  When Mike arrived to question her, he was disturbed by how cool and calm she seemed to be.  He senses that something isn't right and keeps pushing her with his questions. As he keeps coming back to her for more information he begins to feel that she isn't behind the disappearance.  He is also there as the mask starts to slip and sees the vulnerable woman underneath the control.   As he learns her secrets he wants to protect her as much as he wants to find Sicily.  I really liked both Beth and Mike.  Beth had overcome terrible abuse as a child, and as a result had learned to hold her emotions in rigid control, never getting close to anyone.  She was stunned to find herself with custody of her niece, not knowing if she was capable of raising the child.  Her terror at Sicily's disappearance caused her shell to begin to crack.  She was angry when she realized she was under suspicion, but eventually understood why.  She was also relieved when she discovered that Mike was determined to find Sicily.  Because of the intensity of the time they spent together, they got close very quickly.  She was able to tell Mike of the abuse she suffered which was a great relief to her. When she was able to confront her parents during the search, Mike stood by her.  Her pain over Sicily's disappearance, the reliving of her childhood, and the ups and downs of the search were so emotional it was at times exhausting just to read it.  I really liked Mike too.  He came off as really cold at first, but it was his job to find out if Beth was a suspect.  His gut said no, but he had to be sure so he kept pushing.  The other problem that he had was that as time went on he began to really admire her.  Then his feelings got even stronger.  This put him in a hard place, because he had to remain objective.  I loved the way that he wouldn't give up on either Beth or finding Sicily.  His compassion for Beth in helping her talk about her abuse, then just being there for her was very moving.  And the way that he was able to track down the guy that had taken Sicily said a lot about his persistence.  I loved the way that they admitted their feelings at the end, but admitted that they needed to take more time with each other. I also liked the scenes from Sicily's point of view and seeing how she was handling her abduction. I would have liked an epilogue that shows them a year or so later.  

The Doctor's Do-Over - Karen Templeton (HSE #2211 - Sept 2012)

Series: Summer Sisters (Book 1) 

All Ryder Caldwell wanted was to be Melanie Duncan's protector -- until those feelings turned into something stronger, forcing him to end their relationship before they made a mistake. But how could he have predicted that his rejection would send Melanie running into his brother's arms? And result in a baby?

Now, ten years later, Mel has come home -- and she's not alone. She was always the woman Ryder couldn't forget -- and now she's accompanied by the child he hadn't known existed. And suddenly the good doctor can see everything he's been searching his whole life to find…right in his own backyard…. 

Good book.  Ryder and Melanie had known each other as children.  He had taken on the role of protector, watching over her and being her friend.  When those feelings started turning into something stronger he ended their relationship (she was only 16).  Ten years later, her grandmother had left her house to Melanie and her two cousins, so she returned to St. Mary's.  Ryder was stunned to see that Melanie had a child, and more so to find out the child was his brother's.  He wanted to get to know her, and resume his friendship with Melanie.  But she was angry, and wanted nothing to do with him.  After talking they decided to try to repair their friendship and allow Ryder to get to know his niece Quinn without going into the fact they were related.  Melanie found that their adult friendship was turning into something deeper, but she still had trust issues with him and his parents.  I really liked both Melanie and Ryder.  Mel has been raising Quinn on her own, with only her mother as help.  Now her mom has passed away as has her grandmother.  She is stuck in town with her cousins, going through  years of stuff in the house.  When Ryder comes to her and she discovers he never knew about her daughter she is surprised.  She also realizes that she still has feelings for Ryder.  She is very angry at the way his parents treated her when they found out their other son had gotten her pregnant.  She also realizes that she is going to have to tell her daughter about her father sooner rather than later.  I like the way that she has matured and won't let anyone walk all over her again.  She and Ryder spend a lot of time together and their feelings grow, but Ryder has his own tragedy in his past that he hasn't gotten over.  Ryder really wants to get to know Mel again, and also be a true uncle to his niece. He is really good with her and you can see the love growing between them. He lost his fiancee in a tragic accident less than a year ago and still hasn't dealt with his feelings.  He is avoiding getting emotionally involved with Mel because of it.  Mel doesn't want to stay in St. Mary's because it is too painful to see Ryder every day, knowing that he won't love her.  It takes her leaving for him to realize that he had always loved her, and moving on with her was possible.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Surgeon Sheik's Rescue - Loreth Anne White (HRS #1721 - Sept 2012)

Series: Sahara Kings (Book 4) 

Off the cliffs of Brittany, danger awaits. To Bella DiCaprio, the windswept island offers hope. The story that cost her a prestigious reporting job has brought her here, where a mysterious recluse holds the key to a horrific bombing….

For Sheik Tariq Al Arif, the grief is still fresh. That tragedy took not only his career as a lifesaving surgeon but also his fiancée. Only here, walking the windswept cliffs by the haunted abbey, does he begin to feel alive again. And when the American beauty shows up on the storm-ravaged island off the coast of France, he knows their passion is dangerous.

To desire is to dare: can either take the risk to love again? 

Very good book.  Bella had come to the island researching a story.  She had been following the story of Tariq for a long time and thought that the reports of his death were untrue.  After a lot of research she thought he might be on the island and came to try to talk to him.  She had also discovered a link between his family and a man running for president and wanted to talk to him about that.  Tariq was on the island trying to recover from the injuries received during a bombing.  He was avoiding all contact with people when Bella was able to get his attention.  He felt the first stirrings of feelings since his fiancee's death in the explosion and it didn't make him happy.  When he found out who she was, he was furious and worried that information she knew would endanger his family.  The final confrontation was gripping and the conclusion was very satisfying.  I really liked both Bella and Tariq.  Bella had been an excellent reporter and had felt like she lost part of her identity when she lost her job.  Her determination to get this story was so she would feel worthwhile again.  She felt that she was on the right track when she was attacked in DC.  The immediate attraction she felt when she met Tariq seemed to be a continuation of the feelings she had when she was writing about him.  When those feelings grew stronger she knew she had to come clean to him about who she was and what she was doing.  Tariq had been hiding out on the island, basically wallowing in his grief.  He had lost his ability as a surgeon as well as his fiancee.  When he and Bella met, she called him on his withdrawal from the world.  His initial fury over Bella's deception began to fade as he found out more about what she knew and realized what it meant.  When he went after her he found that the bad guys were after her too and discovered that he wanted her in his life permanently.  I loved the way everything went down and the way Tariq supported Bella.  
 

Flash of Death - Cindy Dees (HRS #1726 - Oct 2012)

Series: Code X (Book 2) 

She was a target-and a job for a very special agent.
Trent Hollings has been secretly engineered to be the fastest man on earth. But when undercover forensics accountant Chloe Jordan walks into his life, with all her sexy reserve, time stands still for him. Not even the threat of retaliation from a powerful drug cartel can stop Trent from using his superhuman skills to keep her safe. 

Chloe takes one look at Trent and sees everything she's ever craved and avoided when it comes to men: adventure...and lies. Still, she knows that it's only a matter of time before she surrenders to this smoking-hot man. But when the enemy finds them, Chloe is confronted with a truth that could destroy her love for Trent forever.... 

Very good book. The suspense kept me turning the pages until it was finished in one sitting. Chloe and Trent meet when Chloe's sister marries one of Trent's teammates (see Breathless Encounter).  They are immediately attracted to each other.  Chloe is nearly killed by a hit and run driver and Trent saves her.  That night they act on their attraction, but Chloe pulls away afterwards and goes home to San Francisco.  Trent suspects foul play and his boss assigns him to watch over her until the can find out what is going on.  Meanwhile Chloe is working on her undercover accountant job for the FBI.  She is attacked again after a coworker gives her a flash drive of information.  Once again Trent is there to save her and this time insists on staying close to protect her.  More attempts are made as Chloe races to find the information that someone is trying to kill her for.  She is also fighting her attraction to Trent, and coping with his amazing speed.  I really liked both Chloe and Trent.  Chloe has led a very calm and orderly life until now.  After she is nearly killed she gives in to her attraction to Trent and has a passion filled night that is unlike anything she has ever done before.  The intensity and loss of control freaked her out and she vowed not to let it happen again.  When she is attacked again in San Francisco and saved by Trent, she refuses to believe that she is in danger.  Trent refuses to leave her side as she works on her assignment.  Her continued attraction bothers and distracts her.  Because of her childhood it is very important to her that she keep control of her life and her emotions.  Trent is also wildly attracted to her.  She has come to mean more to her than any other woman has.  He sees the passionate woman inside her and begins to understand after he learns of her childhood.   His method of helping her overcome those feelings was very interesting.  There were some very interesting twists to this plot that came out in the final confrontation.  I have really enjoyed this series so far and expect it will continue to be very good.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Moonshell Beach - JoAnn Ross (Signet - July 2012)

Series: Shelter Bay (Book 4) 

HOME IS WHERE YOUR STORY BEGINS...

J.T. Douchett has returned home to shut out the world and escape the memories from his final mission as a Marine that haunt him. When he reluctantly agrees to provide security for a town event, the last thing he expects is to experience unwanted feelings for Irish movie star Mary Joyce. 

 Mary has surprised everyone -- including herself -- by accepting an invitation to a film festival in Shelter Bay. The Oregon coastal town immediately charms her, and an even larger surprise is encountering the stoic man who could be everything she's dreamed of.

As J.T. struggles to keep her at arm's length, Mary reminds herself that she's never been attracted to the strong, silent type. And having known so much sorrow, he's wary of getting close to anyone. But in Shelter Bay, even the most guarded heart is no match for love.  

Excellent book.  JT is back home and still trying to escape the effects of his last job as a Marine.  He isn't thrilled when Kara asks him to provide security for Mary Joyce, but he does it.  He wasn't expecting to be attracted to her and did his best to ignore the feelings. Mary is in Shelter Bay, sister city to her Irish town, to participate in their film festival.  She has been seeing JT in her dreams for several nights, and is stunned to see him in the flesh.  As a writer she senses his inner turmoil, but has never before been attracted to his type.  Over the next several days they spend together they grow closer and closer.  I loved both JT and Mary.  JT was so burned out from his last mission as a Casualty Officer that he felt numb to everything.  The only things that made him feel better were running and drinking which helped him escape.  He was in that dark place when he first met Mary and didn't make the best impression on her.  I loved the way that she stood up to him and snarked back when he was being obnoxious.  She had accepted the invitation to Shelter Bay because she was feeling a bit burned out herself.  Once they get past their first impressions, they find that they actually like each other.  JT finds that Mary is not the spoiled Hollywood type that he expected and Mary sees the man behind the pain that JT is still carrying with him.  I really enjoyed the conversations between the two of them as they got to know each other.  I also liked the way that JT was there for Mary when she needed him.  I really liked the way that he got his life back on track before he went back to Mary in Ireland. I also loved seeing more of the previous characters, one of my favorite parts of ongoing series.  
 

Marriage of Mercy - Carla Kelly (HH #1092 - June 2012)

MARRYING THE WRONG GROOM...
From riches to rags, Grace has had to swallow her pride and get a job as a baker. But everything changes when she's the beneficiary of a surprise inheritance.

Her benefactor's deal comes with a catch: give up her life of toil and live in luxury only if she marries his illegitimate son, a prisoner of war. It's an offer she can't afford to refuse. But her husband-to-be is dying, and he begs her to take one of his men instead -- to marry purely out of mercy....

A marriage of convenience with a complete stranger... Could this arrangement ever work? 

First let me say that I enjoyed the book. However, Harlequin really messed up with the backcover blurb and the cover art.  There was no marriage required and the people on the front don't match the story at all.  Grace had befriended the local elderly Lord Thomson.  When he died he left her a small inheritance (not enough for the "luxury" stated) and asked that she assist in the paroling of his illegitimate son who is an American prisoner of war.  When she goes to the prison (a horrible place) the young man is dying and asks her to take one of the others instead.  So she takes Rob Inman instead, masquerading him as Captain Duncan.  He goes home with her where she nurses him back to health.  She has had a run in with the new Lord Thomson who is having her watched so he can attempt to catch her parolee trying to escape and kill him.  As Grace and Rob get to know each other a friendship develops.  Over the months that friendship starts to grow into stronger feelings.  Rob also helps Grace in the bakery where he and the townspeople get to know each other.  When their deception is discovered and Rob gets taken back to the prison, behind the scenes plots and twists come to light.  The ending was good, if a little different than what I expected.  An epilogue would have been nice - I'd like to see how they are doing a couple years down the line.  I liked both Grace and Rob.  I loved the way that she followed the request of the dying Captain Duncan.  She thought pretty well on her feet.  She took great care of Rob and was very careful to make sure they followed the rules.  I loved how she cared for him and got to know him.  Her interest in his life in America was neat, and she started to see how her life could be different if she lived there.  I liked the way she had taken control of her life and how happy she was working at the bakery.  Her desire to try new things showed some good spirit on her part.  Her love for Rob grew slowly out of their friendship which I really liked.  Rob was terrific too.  I loved the way he longed for home and the love for it that showed in the way he talked about it.  He wasn't happy about his circumstances, but he mostly accepted it for the way it had to be.  I liked the way he helped in the bakery and his introduction of donuts to the town.  His love for Grace also grew slowly out of their friendship, but he was very aware of the differences  in their backgrounds and felt that nothing could come of it.  He had great interactions with the townspeople, and I loved the way they warmed up to him.  The twists and turns of the plot kept me turning the pages, and there were definitely a couple surprises at the end.  I enjoyed the look at the War of 1812, a largely ignored war.  I will definitely keep reading her books.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Losing Control - Robyn Grady (HD #2189 - Oct 2012)

Series: Hunter Pact (Book 1) 

"You'll be working for me."
Taking charge comes naturally to workaholic media mogul Cole Hunter. That includes dealing with headstrong TV producer Taryn Quinn. Cole may not like her idea for a travel show, but Taryn intrigues him. Enough for Cole to join her on a location-scouting trip to an isolated Pacific island, despite the family drama at home.

Soon the tantalizing Taryn makes Cole forget about everything…except making love to her in the moonlight. But once reality intrudes, will he risk losing all he's worked for to keep this woman in his life? 

Good book.  Taryn has been hired as a producer and has an idea for a travel show.  Cole is not impressed with the idea, but he is attracted to her.  When they are on the scouting trip, their attraction escalates and they act on it.  After they return to Sydney they spend time together over the next week.  Taryn is working on the details of her show and Cole is dealing with many issues at work and with his family.  But they manage to be with each other and Cole enjoys their time, until reality intrudes.  He is overwhelmed with work and starts to pull back from their relationship.  He also makes doing her job impossible to the point where she quits.  I really liked Taryn.  She is smart and determined and has some great ideas.  She also has no trouble with telling Cole when he's being a pill.  I liked the way she stood by him when he was having problems with his family.  She had no trouble with balancing her life and her work.  Cole was a little harder to like.  He seemed to be very rigid when it came to his work.  He felt he was responsible for overseeing everything, and therefor kept work as his top priority.  I did like how good he was with his little brother.  It showed he did have a heart, even if he had trouble showing it.  I liked the way that Taryn was able to help him relax, but wanted to smack him when he was being such an ass about her show.  I loved the way that he finally saw where he had been going wrong with his life.  I thought his apology to Taryn at the end was fantastic, and his actions were so romantic.  The epilogue setting up the next book was good - I just wish I didn't have to wait so long for it!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Cowboy Soldier's Sons - Tina Leonard (HAR #1418 - Sept 2012)

Series: Callahan Cowboys (Book 8) 

Soldier. Cowboy. Father. Husband?

Hired to work the Callahan brothers' New Mexico spread, Shaman Phillips doesn't know what to do about the stunning blonde he finds on his porch…except haul her into his arms. Turns out Tempest Thornbury wants to share more than just the returning soldier's out-of-this-world kisses. She wants to have Shaman's baby!

Tempest came home to turn her not-so-hot past into a better future. The sexy, broody military man's bringing that dream one step closer to reality -- she's got twin boys on the way. At Shaman's insistence, she agrees to marry him…and remain his lawful wife for one year after their sons are born.

But once he's officially a father, Shaman can't let Tempest head back to Hollywood. It's time for this lonesome cowboy to join the ranks of those Callahan cowboys -- and open a new chapter in all their lives! 

Good book.  Tempest came back to visit a friend and try to make her future a better one than her past.  She was not expecting sexy cowboy Shaman Phillips.  They acted on their immediate attraction and enjoyed their nights together.  She thought that when she finally decided to have a baby, Shaman would make a great father.  She ended up pregnant with twin boys.  Shaman insisted on marriage.  When Tempest was threatened by her half brother, Shaman sent her away to keep her safe.  He didn't want her going back to Hollywood, but to keep her with him.  Shaman and Tempest were okay, but not my favorite characters of this series.  They seemed to spend a lot of time talking around each other. Shaman knew that being with Tempest made him happy, but never expected to fall in love and want to get married.  When she got pregnant, he was stunned at how happy that made him, and immediately got her to marry him.  He made it more of a business proposition instead of telling her that he loved her, so she didn't know how he really felt.  He sent her away to keep her safe without telling her why, which made her feel unwanted.  For being such a macho cowboy type, he also seemed to have some serious self esteem issues, and didn't believe someone like her would want to be with him.  Tempest was still trying to overcome her crappy childhood, and had trouble believing that Shaman actually wanted her.  She never seemed willing to stand up to him for what she really wanted until the end.  It seemed like she kept running away.  I was glad to see that they finally talked to each other and told each other how they felt.  The epilogue was good.
 

Scene of the Crime: Black Creek - Carla Cassidy (HI #1374 - Sept 2012)

Series: Scene of the Crime (Book 5) 

Baiting a serial killer is risky enough. But FBI Special Agent Mick McCane knows he's in real trouble when he and by-the-book Cassie Miller have to pose as loving newlyweds to do it. Ever since their one sizzling night together, she's determined to keep their relationship strictly business -- even as an undeniable attraction pulls them deeper into their undercover personas. Then their real identities are discovered and the hunters become the hunted. Now, the only way for Mick to protect the woman he can't live without is to sacrifice the life he was used to putting on the line -- and the badge he never thought he'd have to. 

Good book.  Mick and Cassie are assigned to work together undercover as newlyweds.  They had had one night of passion together before Cassie insisted everything be strictly business between them.  Now they have to act like newlyweds while trying to draw out a killer.  The attraction is still there, but Cassie doesn't want to do anything about it.  As they get deeper into their search, attempts are made on Cassie's life.  Their attraction also continues to grow and they must decide on whether to act on it.  I really liked both Mick and Cassie.  Both had some issues they had to overcome.  Mick was the youngest in his family and was constantly being mothered by his sisters.  As a result he never really had to be responsible for many things.  He tended to rely on his charm for many things, and was pretty casual about things like being on time.  This seemed odd to me for someone in such a job as an FBI special agent.  I did like the way that he was drawn to Cassie, even though they were so different.  He was sure that they could have a relationship if they just tried.  I also liked the way that he challenged her to step outside her comfort zone.  Cassie was a somewhat strange character.  I really liked her, but I don't understand how she became an FBI agent.  She was so rigid about schedules and lack of change that I don't see how she could handle being on an assignment that she might have to think on the run.  I did like the fact that she did work with Mick on being able to do her undercover assignment effectively.  She also started to relax a bit and realize that maybe she could do things that were different.  When the final confrontation with the killer came, she finally started to see what her life had been like and that maybe she could handle some change after all.  I loved the epilogue, especially the walk down the aisle.
 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Prodigal Cowboy - Kathleen Eagle (HSE #2209 - Sept 2012)

Series: Wild Horse Sanctuary (Book 7)


A brewing political scandal in her South Dakota hometown could make TV reporter Bella Primeaux's career and save her from the human interest beat. Then she uncovers a possible connection between her breaking story and Ethan Wolf Track. The rugged rebel with a cause she remembers has matured into a man with desires that match her own -- a passion primed and ready to ignite.

In high school Ethan was Bella's unrequited crush. Now he's reformed his wild ways and is ready to take control of his life, starting with winning the big mustang competition she's been sent to cover. If only she could keep her mind on work when the sexy cowboy's around! But Ethan's guarding some secrets of his own. Will digging up the past send Bella's career into overdrive but cost her a future with the man she loves? 

Very good book.  Bella had stumbled on a possible political scandal and was checking that out at the same time she was doing a story on the Wild Horse Sanctuary.  She also encountered her old high school crush Ethan Wolf Track, who has grown up to be a really sexy guy.  Ethan is training a horse for the big mustang competition that the Wild Horse is running.  As they spend time together their attraction grows stronger.  Ethan is also there for Bella as she works on her stories and Bella is there for him as Ethan confronts some of the demons from his own past.  I really liked both Ethan and Bella.  Bella had taken her opportunities and went after the career in journalism that she wanted.  Now she wants a chance to do something other than the human interest stories she's been stuck with, and the rumors of political misconduct are just what she needs.  When she meets Ethan again the attraction burns hot right away.  Ethan came to her rescue at the beginning and then again on a story he accompanied her on.  He was dismayed at the danger she had been in.  He also wanted to spend more time with her.  He liked her attitudes and the way she went after what she wanted.  He also found that she was a restful person to be around in their downtime.  When the story that she was working on turned up a connection to him it helped him put a nightmare to rest.  I liked the ending with the results of the contest, and seeing characters from past books.  I've enjoyed the Wild Horse books and hope there will be more of them. 
 

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Doctor's Calling - Stella Bagwell (HSE #2213 - Sept 2012)

Series: Men of the West (Book 24) 

She'd never thought she had a crush on her grumpy boss -- but when Russ Hollister announced he was leaving his vet practice, the thought of not seeing him every day struck Laurel Stanton hard. Then his next proposal -- that she move with him to a ranch and continue to be his assistant -- made her rethink everything….

For Russ, to focus on the horses and cattle on the Cantrell ranch was the chance of a lifetime. But suddenly, facing a day without lovely Laurel's patience, smile and soothing touch would be pure purgatory. He'd made her one offer -- but should he make her another? 

Very good book.  Laurel had been Russ's assistant for five years.  When he announced his move to the Cantrell ranch she was stunned, and stunned again when he asked her to go with him and stay on as his assistant.  She had noticed his sexiness before, but had no intention of getting involved with him.  Once they made the move to the ranch and started working Russ started paying more personal attention to Laurel.  It wasn't long before he made his intentions clear - he wanted a permanent relationship with her.  She fought against the idea because of her past, and refused to be convinced.  It took a couple eye opening experiences for her to realize she could love and be loved.  I liked both Russ and Laurel.  After being a workaholic for so long, he finally realized that he wanted a more balanced life with a wife and family.  When he made the decision to move to the ranch, he realized he didn't want to do it without Laurel by his side.  She had come to mean so much more to him than he expected, and he wanted to pursue a real relationship with her.  Laurel had been deserted by her mother when her twin sister got sick and her father and brother had emotionally withdrawn, leaving Laurel the only one to care for her sister.  This left Laurel deciding that there was no way she would ever open herself up to that kind of emotional pain again.  She also figured that she had used up everything she had and wouldn't be able to care for a husband and children the way they deserved.  Russ's love for her scared her because she didn't feel that she could be deserving of it.  Russ tried to show her how much love she had to give by pointing out the care she gave all the animals she helped treat.  It was a talking to by her friend Alexa and her care for a sick calf that finally opened her eyes to the possibilities.  I loved the epilogue also.  Can't wait to read the next book.
 

The Highlander's Stolen Touch - Terri Briisbin (HH #1106 - Sept 2012)

Series: MacLerie Clan (Book 1) 

Ciara Robertson has loved formidable Highlander Tavis MacLerie all her life. She watched, brokenhearted, while he married and lost another. Now, finally of marriageable age, Ciara throws her heart at his feet….

Tavis knows that innocent Ciara thinks she's in love with him -- but she deserves better. Painful experience has proved that he's a far better warrior than husband, and he's determined never to marry again.

Her dreams shattered, Ciara accepts another man's hand. Ordered to take Ciara to her husband-to-be, Tavis is tormented -- and tempted -- every step of the way…. 

Good book.  Ciara had known Tavis since she was a child and had loved him the whole time.  When she was a child he had been kind to her and as she got older they became friends.  Tavis fell in love and married another woman who later died.  He swore then that he would never marry again.  Ciara went to him and told him of her feelings but he told her they weren't possible between them.  She needed to marry so she accepted another man.  Tavis was assigned to lead the men taking her and a friend to visit the other man and his family.  On that trip he finally started to see her as a grown woman and to realize his feelings for her.  They arrived at the Murray's home, spent some time there where Ciara began to get to know James.  On the way back home Ciara realized her love had matured, but now she was committed to James.  I really liked both Tavis and Ciara.  Ciara's love for Tavis had been real for all those years, though it had changed from an innocent friend-like love to a true love.  When her love was rejected by Tavis she finally gave up and decided to try to find love elsewhere.  She consented to the match with James that would benefit her clan.  On the trip to his home she started to see changes in the way that Tavis looked at her, but he would do nothing about it.  Her time getting to know James made her realize that while she might be content with him she would never love him.  Tavis was wonderful too.  He had sworn never to marry again because he felt responsible for his wife's death.  He had always kept up his friendship with Ciara, even when he withdrew from other people.  The trip to James's home made him realize that his feelings for Ciara had changed, but he felt that she was far above him and therefore out of his reach.  She was wealthy and educated where he was not.  It was hard for him to see her with James, but he knew it had to be.  The more time they spent together on their travels the stronger their feelings grew.  By the time they got home for the wedding, Ciara was ready to experience the kind of love Tavis could give her, and begged him for the experience before she entered a loveless marriage.  I knew they would end up together, but how it happened was terrific.  I could see the result coming, but I really enjoyed the method.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of the MacLerie clan.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Intuition - Carol Ericson (HI #1373 - Sept 2012)

Series: Guardians of Coral Cove (Book 3) 

Two dark purposes prompted Kylie Grant's return to Coral Cove and its nefarious Victorian mansion: solve the mysterious disappearance of a young girl and find closure for her own complicated past. What her psychic abilities hadn't prepared her for was an encounter with sexy bad boy Matt Conner.

It was his first assignment as a P.I., and Matt needed this job to show he was nothing like his hometown reputation suggested. Mysterious and alluring, Kylie was a complication he didn't count on -- nor were the death threats against her. Working together, all day and all night, was testing every professional skill Matt was determined to prove. And challenging every private desire he was finding impossible to ignore. 

Very good book.  Kylie had come back to to Coral Cove to come to grips with her mom's death and to investigate the disappearance of a young girl.  She didn't expect to run into Matt, who had fascinated her when they were in high school.  She certainly didn't expect to end up working with him.  Matt was also investigating the disappearance, and didn't need the complication of being around Kylie.  It didn't take long to realize that someone didn't want them there, and that someone was out to get Kylie.  I liked both Kylie and Matt.  Kylie is very good with her psychic abilities and has used them before to solve crimes.  This one is personal because she also feels there is a connection between it and her mother's death.  I enjoyed seeing the way she worked and how she made the connections.  She also felt her attraction to Matt very quickly, but also felt that it was interfering with her psychic connection.  She had some trust issues with Matt because of his earlier reputation, and also because of the way her mom always used to warn her against people.  Matt was really terrific too.  He wanted to solve this first case as a PI to live down his teenage reputation and also to redeem himself from his problems as a cop.  I loved the way he was able to accept Kylie's abilities and work with her to solve the case.  I also liked the way he was protective of her.  His mistake in not telling her of his past came back to bite him, but he was able to redeem himself.  I'm really looking forward to the next book to see who is responsible for the main mystery.
 

Whirlwind Cowboy - Debra Cowan (HH #1103 - Sept 2012)

Series: Whirlwind (Book 8) 

When the woman he loved vanished without so much as a farewell, cowboy Bram Ross vowed to harden his heart. He doesn't want to trust beautiful Deborah Blue again -- and she's now suspected of being an accomplice to a treacherous outlaw.

Yet trauma has erased Deborah's memory of not just her supposed misdeeds, but also her passionate past with Bram. As the murky truth about Deborah's disappearance unravels, Bram must protect her -- by keeping her very close…. 

Very good book.  When Deborah left without even saying goodbye, Bram tried to just put their relationship behind him.  When he found her injured and without any memory of her past he knew he had to protect her.  He wasn't sure if she was involved in the bank robbery that she had the money from or if she was a victim, but he had to be sure.  As he kept her close to protect her and set a trap for the robber he found that his feelings for her were as strong as ever.  I liked Deborah very much.  She was a strong woman who knew what she wanted.  Before her departure she had told Bram yes to his proposal, but that she still wanted to teach the two terms she had been contracted for.  They fought about that and when she left that note he was sure he'd never see her again.  Deborah's memory loss was terrifying for her, but her rescue by Bram helped her.  Even with her memory loss, she was still attracted to him though she didn't know why.  I loved the way that she worked so hard to try to recover her memories. I also liked the way she was able to reevaluate what she wanted from life.  I also liked the way that she stood up to Bram at the end to make him see how she felt.  Bram was a good character too.  He loved Deborah, but because of his mother's desertion when he was young he didn't trust her to stick around.  Though he didn't see this as his motivation, that is why he was so set on her not taking the teaching job in Abilene.  When he found her again in the dust storm and discovered her memory loss, he didn't believe her at first.  As he stayed close to protect her, his feelings only grew stronger.  And as her memories returned he found that she had no problem confronting him about what he was doing and why.  It took his brother to explain some things to him and his realization of what he was doing for him to be able to get past those issues so they could have the future they wanted.  I loved the ending when they took down the bank robber.
 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Duke: Deputy Cowboy - Roz Denny Fox (HAR #1417 - Sept 2012)

Series: Harts of the Rodeo (Book 3) 

Deputy sheriff and aspiring rodeo star Dylan "Duke" Adams has his hands full with the recent string of burglaries in Roundup, Montana, especially when the thief strikes at his family's ranch. Duke is trying to focus on the case, but he can't stop thinking about a different thief -- the petite blonde who just stole his heart.

Angie Barrington can't stand the rodeo. Though she's seen plenty of abused rodeo animals at her rescue ranch, for Angie it runs even deeper. No matter how kind and compassionate Duke is, at the end of the day he's still a cowboy. Right?

When Duke makes it to the national finals, he finally has a chance to bring prestige -- and much-needed money -- to Thunder Ranch. But if competing means losing the woman of his dreams, how can he ever win? 

Very good book.  Duke is working hard to find the thieves and also to help with the local rodeo.  When he meets Angie he is immediately attracted to her and taken with her son.  Angie runs her own business and is a single mother to her son.  Luke's father had had no interest in being a husband and father and only wanted to pursue his rodeo career.  Angie also runs a rescue ranch for abused animals, many of whom came from rodeos, which has caused her to be very anti-rodeo.  When Duke befriends her son, that softens Angie's attitude some.  Duke works very hard to show Angie what they could have together.  I really liked Duke and Angie.  Duke was a real sweetheart with the way he stepped in to help Luke with his stuttering and to help him and his friends get ready for the kids' event at the rodeo.  I was impressed with how much patience he had and how he was able to relate to Luke.  I also loved the way he would step in to help Angie with her business whenever he had a free moment.  He didn't try to take over or tell her what to do, he was just there to help.  I really liked the way that Angie worked so hard to give Luke a good life.  You could see her worry over his stuttering.  I liked the way that she accepted Duke's help with him, even though she had reservations about his rodeo activities.  I could see why she had her attitude about rodeo, but I thought she could be a little more open minded.  I liked the way things worked out for them in the end.  I also enjoyed the closeness of the Hart family and the way they are there for each other. 
 

Rescued by a Ranger - Tanya Michaels (HAR #1419 - Sept 2012)

Series: Hill Country Heroes (Book 3) 

Alexandra Hunt is living a lie. In fact, that's not even her real name. But after the death of her estranged husband, Alex and her four-year-old daughter were at the mercy of ruthless people: her powerful, possibly crooked former in-laws. When they came after her child, Alex saw no choice but to flee. Small town Fredericksburg, Texas, offers unexpected sanctuary. Until she meets her next-door neighbor, by-the-book -- and devilishly handsome -- Texas Ranger Zane Winchester!

Single father Zane has to admit he has a thing for sweet, pretty Alex. Yet while the attraction is mutual, she's definitely hiding something. And Zane can't abide a liar. He needs to find out Alex's secrets before he can truly allow her into his and his teenage daughter's lives. But when he discovers the truth, will he help Alex -- or turn her in? 

Very good book.  Alex took her daughter and ran to protect her from her former in-laws.  She ended up In Fredericksburg, trying to live quietly and not draw attention to herself.  Everything was going great until she met Zane.  Her daughter thought he was terrific, and Alex was certainly attracted, but he's a Ranger and she doesn't dare let him get close.  Zane is trying to repair his relationship with his teenage daughter and not having a lot of luck with it.  He sees how well Eden relates to the little girl next door and asks Alex if she can help him.  It doesn't hurt that he is very attracted to Alex and wouldn't mind getting to know her better.  But as they get closer, he senses that she is hiding something and that bothers him.  He has no use for liars and he's afraid of what he might find out.  I really liked Alex and Zane and their girls.  Alex knew she wouldn't stand a chance against her in-laws which is why she ran.  She is very attracted to Zane and really likes his daughter.  She is terrified that Zane will discover the truth and turn her in.  Zane is a pretty straightforward guy.  He considers everything in right or wrong terms, with no room for gray areas.  But the more time he spends with Alex, and the more she helps him with his daughter, he sees that not everything is that straightforward.  When he discovers the truth about Alex he is furious, but doesn't want to cause her more problems.  I liked the way that he helped her see what had to be done, and helped her get the assistance she needed.  The conclusion of her fight was great.  I also loved how realistic the two girls were.  I could completely believe their actions and attitudes.
 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Seeking Shelter - Angel Smits (HS #1805 - Sept 2012)

For Amy Grey, home has always been Rattlesnake Bend, Arizona, population 423. It's a safe place to raise her daughter, Katie. Then free spirit Jace Holmes rides his motorcycle down Main Street, rumbling through Amy's carefully ordered life with news about the father she never knew and stirring up questions about her family's past. The best thing for all would be if Jace kept on riding.

Too bad Katie immediately tags Jace as a potential daddy. Sure, there's no denying the attraction between Amy and Jace, but her life is here and his, well, isn't. Yet the longer Jace is in town, the more her visions of tomorrow match Katie's. But can Amy open herself up again? Because opening herself to change is the one way to convince Jace to stay. 

Very good book.  Jace came to town to tell Amy about the father she didn't remember.  All she knows is that he left her and her mother.  After her mother's death, she was raised by a friend.  All she wants to do is raise her own daughter in a safe place.  But Katie has taken a liking to Jace and is campaigning for him to become her daddy.  And Jace isn't running too fast from the idea.  He had stuck around to see if there was anything he could do to make Amy's life better.  The more time they are together the more they develop feelings for each other.  I liked both Amy and Jace.  Amy was doing her best to give her daughter a safe and stable life.  She liked Rattlesnake Bend because it was small and everyone watched out for each other.  She did have trust issues because of Katie's father, and had not dated much because of it.  She did come to trust Jace very quickly which added to her developing feelings for him.  She also couldn't resist the way he was so wonderful with Katie.  Jace had some issues of his own.  He had met Amy's father when they were both living on the streets, after he had left home at sixteen.  Thanks to Mac, he was reconciled with his brother.  He has developed problems with claustrophobia thanks to both his father and brother having been in mine cave-ins.  He is also a very honorable man, which is what brought him to Rattlesnake Bend to see Amy.  I loved the way that he worked to find a way to help her without hurting her pride.  He was also there for her when she confronted the demons of her past, and stood ready to help her however she needed.  The biggest thing he did was to overcome his fears to rescue Katie from the old mine.  I really liked all the townspeople - there were some good characters there that helped make it come alive.
 

Mason - Delores Fossen (HI #1371 - Sept 2012)

Series: Lawmen of Silver Creek Ranch (Book 6) 

It wasn't the first time danger had come to his ranch, but for Deputy Mason Ryland it was the final straw. Someone had been targeting his family for too long and the brooding lawman now had a new person to protect: horse trainer Abbie Baker.

His newest employee's arrival suspiciously coincided with the latest attack, and it wasn't long before he uncovered a decades-old secret between Abbie and the Ryland clan. But as much as that connection rankled, Mason couldn't ignore the fact that someone wanted beautiful Abbie dead. As an upholder of the law, he'd keep her safely tucked by his side through the investigation. As a man, he'd offer his personal protection through the endless summer nights.… 

Very good book and conclusion to the series.  When Mason hired Abbie as a horse trainer he didn't expect her to be a target in the latest problem his family was having.  When he discovered that she had a long standing connection to his missing father he and his brothers were furious.  But that didn't stop him from doing his best to protect her.  There is also an intense attraction between them that he does not want to have, but he can't help himself.  Mason and his brothers worked to discover just who is behind the attacks and why they are happening.  Their father returns to Silver Creek to help stop the attacks.  The Rylands don't want anything to do with him, but he has information they need to solve the mystery.  The final showdown is tense and satisfying in its conclusion.  I liked both Abbie and Mason.  I loved Abbie's loyalty to Boone, even in the face of the Ryland's fury.  She was sure that there was a connection between his disappearance many years before and the trouble they are having now.  Her feelings for Mason develop quickly, but she is sure they won't go anywhere because of her connection to Boone.  I loved the way that she tried to protect Mason from her problems, and how she tried to show him the truth about Boone.  Mason was terrific too.  He was immediately attracted to Abbie, but her connection to his father made him furious.  Even with that, he couldn't stop the need to protect her.  I loved seeing how being with her, even in the midst of turmoil, lightened the darkness in him.  He smiled and even laughed around her, which is something I don't think I saw him do in the other books.  She was also able to open his eyes about his father and make him look at things in a different way.  I loved the final scene at the hospital. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Texas Ranger's Reward - Rebecca Winters (HAR #1422 - Oct 2012)

Series: Undercover Heroes (Book 3) 

Is He Seeing Double?
He can't believe his eyes. When Travis Stillman meets Melissa Dalton, it's as if he's seeing the ghost of his late wife. That explains why his young son warms to Melissa so quickly. The orthopedic therapist is working wonders to help Casey readjust after an accident-his boy has come alive again. But that's no reason for this former Texas Ranger to let his guard down as he settles into life as a P.I. and single dad. No woman can replace his wife-especially not one who could be her twin. 

And when Melissa hires him to investigate a break-in at her family's cabin, he's even more determined to ignore the growing attraction between them. Now he's got to protect both Melissa, and his heart. 

Very good book.  Travis is at his wit's end trying to help his son recover from a broken leg.  Casey refuses to walk on it or give up his crutches.  As soon as Travis took him to Melissa, he started to improve.  Travis was surprised to see Melissa's resemblance to his wife and was sure that Casey was reacting to that.  Melissa didn't want to be anyone's replacement and they decided they wouldn't be seeing each other again.  Then her family's cabin was broken in to, and they engaged Travis's firm to investigate.  During the investigation Travis and Melissa spend time together and discover that they are getting closer.  Melissa really likes Casey and has enjoyed being with him and Travis.  I liked both Melissa and Travis.  Melissa was really great with the kids she worked with.  Her biggest worry in being with Travis was that he wasn't seeing her but his dead wife.  I loved the way she was supportive of his job because she knew how much he loved it.  I thought Travis was really great too.  He was determined to give his son the best life he could.  I also enjoyed seeing him work and the way his mind worked.  The rescue of Melissa up at the cabin was fantastic.  I also loved seeing the guys from the previous stories and how well they were doing.  I also enjoyed the way they were able to help Travis see how he really felt about Melissa.

Falling for the Cowboy - Mary Leo (HAR #1423 - Oct 2012)

Series: Fatherhood 

This Cowboy's Off-Limits...
Single father Blake Granger-Doc Blake to his young patients-knows trouble when he sees it. But he needs a fill-in assistant pronto, and gorgeous Maggie Daniels is his only option. The big-city girl surprises him, though, when she takes to life in Briggs, Idaho, quicker than expected. And-more important-she's taken to him and his adorable tomboy daughter. 

Or Is He?
Maggie never pictured herself living in close proximity to cows. But her weak-kneed attraction to the heartthrob of every female within wooing distance is wreaking havoc with her future plans...especially with a dream job waiting back home in California. Is her destiny really to move to a small ranching town? Could she really be falling for the cowboy? 

Good book.  Maggie is in Briggs while she looks for a new job and to take care of her sister who is pregnant with twins.  She ends up working for Blake who needs someone to help in his dentist's office.  He doesn't know if Maggie will work out.  She is obviously a big city go getter and he can't see her sticking around for long.  He is also very attracted to her.  Maggie has no intention of staying in Briggs any longer than necessary.  But she needs a job while she waits to hear about her job applications.  She is also attracted to Blake.  She also finds herself getting involved in the small town and with Blake and his young daughter.  I really liked both Maggie and Blake.  I thought Blake was terrific with all the kids who were his patients.  He was also a terrific dad and I liked the way he was there for his daughter when she needed him.  His ex-wife had been a city girl who never wanted the small town life.  When he looked at Maggie he saw the same thing, but his attraction to her was even stronger than he'd had with his ex.  I really enjoyed the way he challenged Maggie to get involved with various aspects of the town.  I also loved the way he was there for Maggie when her sister ended up in the hospital.  That event also showed the benefits of living in a small town.  I could easily see how much he was coming to care for Maggie and how much he was hoping she would want to stay.  He also wanted to protect himself, so he never actually came out and asked her to stay.  I really liked the way that Maggie came to Briggs to help her sister.  She considered herself a city girl and couldn't see herself actually enjoying her time in Briggs.  As soon as she saw Blake she was attracted to him, but didn't want to pursue it.  She also was certain that children didn't like her, but quickly found that she related well to them and had a great time with Blake's little girl.  I also enjoyed seeing her get involved with town activities like the fair.  The tug of war scene was absolutely hysterical.  The more things she did, the more she discovered she really enjoyed the small town life, but she also didn't want to give up her dream job.  When she accepted that job and left for LA, it was a real eye opener for her.  I loved the way her sister made her think about what she really wanted, and the ending to the book was fantastic.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Storybook Dad - Laura Bradford (HAR #1424 - Oct 2012)

Real Life Is Not A Fairy Tale...Right?
When Mark Reynolds first meets Emily Todd, he's smitten. So is Seth, his son-which is why Mark has to nip this attraction in the bud. Emily's been honest about her diagnosis, and Mark can't put Seth through the heartbreak of another illness. Even though Emily is fit, sexy and oh-so-alive. 

Mark's as close as any man's come to being the prince Emily imagined when she was a girl, right down to the gorgeous, ocean-blue eyes. But that girl never imagined herself with MS. Emily doesn't want to be anyone's burden, and she doesn't want to hurt Mark's vulnerable son. So she'll harden her heart, stick to her work and forget about the magic of Mark's touch.  Can two grown-ups with their minds made up learn a lesson in love from a four-year-old boy? 

Very good book. Emily owns and runs a high adventure company. She met Mark when he took a compass class from her.  She then met his son Seth a little later and was drawn to the adorable little boy as much as she was his father.  Mark was also very attracted to her, but reluctant to get involved with anyone so soon after his wife's death from cancer.  When he finds out about Emily's illness he is even more reluctant to risk his son's heartbreak.  I loved Emily and her determination not to let her MS rule her life.  She was doing everything possible to make sure she stayed well for as long as possible.  The only issue she had was her decision to remain alone, rather than be open to a relationship.  She was afraid of being a burden if her disease got worse.  Mark's biggest issue was being overprotective of Seth.  When he finally realized his error, I loved the way he showed Emily she would never be a burden.  I also loved the way that Emily decided to expand her business.

Playing the Part - Kimberly van Meter (HS #1802 - Sept 2012)

Series:  A Family in Paradise (Book 2) 

If Lindy Bell had her way, she'd still be in L.A., partying and angling for her next acting job. But a crisis at the family's resort has surfaced, and who can ignore the call of duty? Still, duty would be easier to take if she didn't have a bratty kid making trouble. Too bad the dad, Gabe Weston, can't seem to put down his phone long enough to see his daughter needs his attention.

When Lindy points out to Gabe the error of his ways, sparks fly and she has his undivided attention. Unexpectedly, the three of them -- Lindy, Gabe and his daughter -- bond in a serious way. Such a serious way, in fact, that Lindy may be auditioning for a new role she never considered before… 

Very good book.  There was a lot going on in this book.  When they met, Lindy was dealing with a mess caused by Gabe's daughter.  She was furious at what she saw as bratty behavior, and disgusted at Gabe's apparent obliviousness.  When she finds out that his wife had passed away, she begins to understand Carys's actions.  Her understanding helps Carys, but Gabe doesn't really want Carys hanging around someone like Lindy.  They find that they have a serious attraction to each other, but try not to give in to it.  As Lindy points out that Carys's actions are a cry for attention, they start spending time together to help Carys and Gabe renew their bond.  Lindy and Gabe enjoy their time together, but feel that there is no future in it.  I liked Lindy, Gabe and Carys.  Lindy had come home to help at the resort, but resented being away from LA and it rather showed in her attitude.  She felt that being away would be detrimental to her career.  She also couldn't understand a dad who was so wrapped up in his business even on vacation that he couldn't spend some time with his child.  She also was dealing with worry over her grandfather, who was suffering from dementia, and the financial condition of the resort.  Her twin sister was also behaving oddly and Lindy was unable to get her to talk about it.  She found herself falling for Gabe, but couldn't see any way that a relationship between them would work out.  When he made unpleasant remarks about her career she was furious and hurt and walked away from their relationship.  Gabe was still trying to deal with the loss of his wife and becoming a single dad.  He couldn't understand how Carys had gone from a sweet child to a monster and didn't know how to fix it.  At first he resented Lindy's interference, but soon realized that she was having a good influence.  He didn't want to be attracted to Lindy.  He felt he had no time to have a relationship with a woman because of his business and taking care of Carys.  He also found that he couldn't stop wanting to be with her.  When their big fight happened he and Carys went home, but missed her terribly. It took a few weeks and some soul searching on their parts, but I liked the way things worked out and am really looking forward to Lilah's story. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

One Hot Cowboy Wedding - Carolyn Brown (Sourcebooks - April 2012)

Series: Spikes & Spurs (Book 4) 

A marriage made in Vegas...
Hunky cowboy Ace Riley wasn't planning on settling down, but his family had other plans for him...The only way to save his hide, and his playboy lifestyle, is to discreetly marry his best friend, Jasmine King.

Can't possibily last...
Fiesty city -- girl Jasmine as just helping out her friend -- that is, until their first kiss stirs up a whole mess of trouble, and suddenly discretion is thrown to the wind.

One hot cowboy, one riled up woman...
And they'll be married for a year, like it or not!
 

Very good book.  I love this series with its hot cowboys and spunky women.  Ace found out that, due to an unknown clause in his grandfather's will, he has to be married within two weeks or lose his ranch to an unpleasant cousin.  He's had no intention of settling down and hasn't been dating anyone he'd be willing to marry.  Then his best friend Jasmine offers to marry him.  They plan to marry quietly, and continue their lives as before.  Then their wedding ends up on the news and everyone in town knows about it.  Thanks to their first kiss at the wedding chapel, they're no longer thinking of each other as just friends.  The sparks between them are intense, and they don't quite know what to do about it.  They had intended to stay married for a year, then divorce and stay friends.  Now all they can think about is the next time they can give in to their passion.  Jasmine's mother is ticked that Jasmine didn't have a "real" wedding and is planning a blowout that neither of them want, and Jasmine can't tell her no.  Suddenly her folks is talking about buying Jasmine's cafe and running it themselves so she can have babies.  Both Ace and Jasmine are confused and trying to figure out what happened to their plan.  I loved the way that Ace and Jasmine were friends for a long time before they fell in love.  This made the initial decision very easy for them, but threw them for a loop when they suddenly discovered that friendship wasn't enough anymore.  I loved the mental conversations they had, trying to talk themselves out of doing what they really wanted to do.  I loved the other characters in the story, some from previous books and some new.  Jasmine's mother was a steamroller and I loved the scenes with her and Jasmine, especially when Jasmine finally put her foot down about the wedding.  Ace was a real sweetheart, and for all his playboy ways I loved the way he treated Jasmine.  I thought the ending was fantastic and I can't wait to read the next one.