Thursday, October 8, 2015

Second Chance Colton - Marie Ferrarella

Second Chance Colton
Marie Ferrarella
Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Oct 1 2015, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373279371

After a stint with the Marines, Ryan Colton returned home to become a homicide detective with the Tulsa Police Department.  He becomes very concerned when a vandal commits several acts at his family’s Lucky C Ranch that recently escalated to dangerous levels with a fire and a house invasion that led to the beating of his still in a coma mom. 

TPD Forensic Lab Chief Susie Howard informs Ryan that a stable break-in contained DNA evidence that points to his sister Greta as the culprit.  Angry and disbelieving of Susie’s assertion, Ryan challenges her contention, but retesting affirms her initial finding.  Recalling a decade ago to when he and Susie were in love, but Ryan abandoned her when he deployed.  Still believing he did the honorable thing by the woman he will always love, Ryan and Susie were stunned when she joined TPD four years ago.  Forensics at the bunkhouse murder scene of ranch hand Kurt Rodgers also names Greta as the only suspect.  As the former lovers investigate the homicide and vandalism that increasingly means arresting Greta; each realizes they remain in love with the other.

The fifth Coltons of Oklahoma (see The Temptation of Dr. Colton by Karen Whiddon and Protecting the Colton Bride by Elle James) is a gripping second chance at love police procedural.  Although Ryan’s failure to recuse himself from a case involving his sibling seems unlikely especially in a big city police department and readers will suspect early on what truly happened; Marie Ferrarella provides a tense romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Falling For Her Fake Fiancé - Sarah M. Anderson

Falling For Her Fake Fiancé
Sarah M. Anderson
Harlequin Desire, Oct 1 2015, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373734184

In Denver, Ethan Logan takes over modernizing the over century and a half old Beaumont Brewery starting with bringing interoffice communications out of the 1970s.  However, Ethan never expected the pushback from the frightened staff who overtly opposes the needed reengineering changes to save the business and their jobs.

Ethan realizes he needs a family member to help him win over the employees.  Thus he turns to the fifth heir Frances Beaumont for assistance with a whacky concept of a marriage of convenience between them.  Frances agrees to marry him if he meets her stipulations.  Neither the businessman nor the first daughter debutant expected to fall in love; but who will risk their heart first to renegotiate a permanent deal.

The fifth Beaumont Heirs romance (see His Son, Her Secret) is an enjoyable boardroom contemporary that ironically uses the overused, typically historical marriage of convenience premise to modernize a Colorado brewery.  The protagonists are a nice pairing of a married couple preparing for their divorce even before they exchange I do; until each wants to modify the contract, but fears confessing how they feel. 

Harriet Klausner

The Immortal’s Redemption - Kelli Ireland

The Immortal’s Redemption
Kelli Ireland
Harlequin Nocturne, Oct 1 2015, $5.75
ISBN: 9780263917994

In 1718 Scotland, as he waits in ambush for the fat genocidal Laird of Clan McKay, Dylan knows he lacks a key trait that successful assassins require: patience.  Still he somewhat controls his anxiety to kill the abomination for mass murdering of Druids.  However, before he can complete his task, Danu the Mother of All visits him with a vision of a beautiful woman who along with mankind will need his help three centuries in the future when a Shadow Realm god escapes bondage.

Three hundred years later Danu returns; she informs Dylan the time is now for him to find the woman who will lead him to the truth or his death as he must kill this Kennedy Jefferson to prevent the end of the world.  When she awakens in a hospital, Kennedy has amnesia and fears she suffers from mental illness apparently common in her family.  Only her best friend Ethan keeps her stable.  When Dylan and Kennedy meet, they are attracted to each other, but his mission must come before his heart. 

The Immortal’s Redemption is an entertaining romantic urban fantasy with an intriguing dilemma faced by the lead male.  The support cast and Dylan are fully developed, but Kennedy acts irresponsibly foolish and feels for the most part incomplete as perhaps more insight on her memory loss and sudden moments of recall would have helped readers to understand her better. 

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

An American Duchess - Sharon Page

An American Duchess
Sharon Page
Harlequin HQN, Sep 29 2015, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373789382

In 1922, accompanied by her Mother, twentyish Zoe Gifford drives her car on the Brideswell Abbey Estate in Hertforshire to visit the aristocrat she plans to marry in haste Lord Sebastian Hazelton.  The marriage will enable Zoe to use her trust fund to pay off Mother’s disastrous debts and also her husband for cooperating before they divorce.  A blown tire forces the two women to start walking.

When Zoe and Sebastian's older brother Nigel, Duke of Langford, meet, both are attracted to one another.  However, Nigel suffers from war-related PTSD and hates the monstrous changes wrought by the Roaring Twenties as epitomized by the upstart American female who does not know her proper place.  She, in turn, rejects his antiquated beliefs.  Love has blossomed in Hertforshire, but seems unable to overcome the vastly different philosophies.

An American Duchess is a pleasant post World War I romance starring a Thoroughly Modern Millie and a Brontosaurus in love.  Though the angst loses its edge in the last quarter of the historical, Sharon Page captures the essence of a radically changing world (see the early episodes of the People’s Century) as epitomized by this lead couple, Mother and other family members and servants.

Harriet Klausner

If Not For A Bee - Carol Ross

If Not For A Bee
Carol Ross
Harlequin Heartwarming, Oct 1 2015, $6.50
ISBN: 9780373367436

In the bakery in Rankins, Alaska, thirteen year old Gareth Everett holds the specially made birthday cake when a bee lands on the box, panicking the teen.  His widow mom Janie rolls up a newspaper to swat the insect, but a beach bum interferes protecting the bumblebee.  Gareth drops the box.  She realizes the bee patrol protector is renowned scientist Dr. Aidan Hollings AKA as brother-in-law to her sister Emily (see Mountains Apart).  The baker Lilah cannot make a timely replacement because another of Janie’s four children Reagan is lactose intolerant.  Gareth watches mother and son walk away as if part of a funeral march.

Aidan uses the small town as his temporary home base while leading the state study of bumblebees.  However, he likes the feisty Janie the journalist and enjoys the enthusiasm of her two oldest sons (Gareth and Reagan) who still struggle with the death of their dad; though he admits he is not very comfortable with their two year old twin brothers.   As the two adults fall in love, she must overcome her doubts that a famous hunk would want a ready-made family of five; and he must overcome his doubts that a widow with four children would believe a globetrotting scientist would want a ready-made family in the middle of nowhere.

Deftly combining jocularity with anxiety, the latest Seasons of Alaska (see A Case for Forgiveness) contemporary is a delightful family drama romance in which the two oldest boys play significant roles in this love fest.  Readers will relish the tale of the matchmaking bumblebee as love thrives in Rankins, Alaska.

Harriet Klausner

Enchanted by the Wolf - Michele Hauf

Enchanted by the Wolf
Michele Hauf
Harlequin Nocturne, Oct 1 2015, $5.75
ISBN: 9780263917987

In Paris Valoir Pack Principal Etienne Montfort negotiates with an emissary from the Unseelie Fairy that as part of the deal allow the werewolves to hunt in the latter’s kingdom.  To seal the deal, Valoir werewolf Kirnan Savauterre and Fairy Princess Beatrice the undesirable half-breed will wed. 

Whereas Kir has enormous doubts but even stronger loyalty to his pack; Bea welcomes a chance to leave her always disappointed in her father in search of her mother.  Neither the purebred werewolf nor the hybrid princess expected to fall in love.  Still both must come together based on mutual trust to deal with prejudicial prenotions, interspecies interference and animosity especially towards Bea living with his pack.  To prove his love, Kir seeks the truth re his wife’s maternal DNA.

Readers will feel Enchanted by the Wolf and Unseelie Princess as the mixed couple navigates the issues caused by their mutual races’ distrust and misconceptions of each other.  The protagonists are terrific as Michele Hauf uses real world problems a society causes (though radically changing in the last few decades) towards a mixed race couple as the springboard to a magnificent urban fantasy romance.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Baby Who Saved Christmas - Alison Roberts

The Baby Who Saved Christmas
Alison Roberts
Harlequin Romance, Oct 1 2015, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373743582

Though knowing her late mom Jeannette would be horrified by what she was doing, twenty-eight years old Scotswoman Alice McMillan’s search for her family takes her from Edinburgh to Nice and by bus to Villefranche-sur-Mer.  The Kindercare Nursery School teacher walks along a beach to St Jean Cap Ferat where she plans to meet for the first time her famous racing car father André Laurent.

When she arrives at her destination, a stunned Alice observes paparazzi and security guards stationed at a luxurious chateau.  A guard notifies celebrity chef Julien Dubois that Alice claims André is her father and seems unware that he just died.  Expecting a con artist, Julien invites Alice inside where he challenges her contention that she did not know Lauren crashed his car three days ago and was buried today; three months ago his wife (Julien’s sister) Colette died in childbirth.  Alice meets her half-brother Jacques who suffers from the measles.  Julien explains his sister named him guardian while Jacques paternal grandmother files a lawsuit in Paris to claim the baby belongs with her.  When the local doctor quarantines everyone inside the chateau, Alice and Julien spend time together and fall in love; but each distrusts the other and besides Jacques comes first.

More an extended family drama as the romance arrives late and never quite gels; The Baby Who Saved Christmas is a fresh endearing Joyeaux Noel European contemporary.  Character-driven, fans will enjoy this warm holiday story.

Harriet Klausner