Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Devilish Montague-Patricia Rice

The Devilish Montague
Patricia Rice
Signet, Jul 5 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 978-0451234056

Still recovering from war injuries suffered on the Peninsular, Lord Blake Montague applies for a position as a cryptologist in the War Office, but is rejected. Instead War Secretary Lord Castlereagh advises Blake to marry wealth as his family cannot afford to waste money on the spare to buy his colors; only a moneyed bride could as the stunned Blake sarcastically states: “I should marry to save England?”

Blake meets Miss Jocelyn Byrd-Carrington and the prince of profanity Percy the Parrot who she just bird-napped from the Duke of Fortham. She explains to Blake Percy belongs to her brother Richard so she is justified in rescuing the foul mouthed fowl. Meanwhile, Blake finds life with Jocelyn, her family and the animal kingdom invigorating though life changing. However, a series of accidents has Blake conclude someone has tried to kill him. With Richard, French cursing Percy and the parrot’s soul mate assisting him, Blake breaks a secret code in which he realizes his country is in peril from inside and out.

The second Rebellious Sons Regency romance (see The Wicked Wyckerly) is an amusing marriage of convenience twisted tale. The jocular story line is fun as the extended Bird-Carrington brood (pets are included) is a Regency version of You can’t take it With You as Blake and his fowl comrades brilliantly break the French code but he struggles to break the code of betting on love.

Harriet Klausner

Temptress in Training-Susan Gee Heino

Temptress in Training
Susan Gee Heino
Berkley, Jul 5 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425242117

In 1812 Sophie Darshaw’s father vanished. Four years later, although she has not given up on finding her father, Sophie Knows she was fortunate to obtain work as a seamstress in Madame Eudora’s upper class brothel when the Madame abruptly sends a stunned Sophie to the estate of Lord Fitzgelder, a rake known for his wild orgies. Sophie is unsure why.

The Earl of Lindley seeks those traitors who killed his family. He feels Fitzgelder is his best source for information so he is at the pervert’s estate. There he meets and rescues Sophie from Fitzgelder. She goes to a nearby inn with him right behind her. Both seduce the other expecting to obtain information, but instead find love. However, neither has time to understand their feelings as they are almost killed by rogues; and soon after she encounters her amoral father. Yet it is a locket she wears that may provide Lindley with the lead he seeks to locating his family’s killers.

The latest Fitzgelder Regency romance is an exciting amateur sleuth espionage thriller starring an Earl on a mission of revenge and a seamstress who was a support character in the previous historical tales (see Damsel in Disguise and Mistress by Mistake). The story line initially feels convoluted as so much happens so fast, readers need a flowchart to follow. However, all converge into a terrific romantic suspense as love and danger collide.

Harriet Klausner

Darkness At Dawn-Elizabeth Jennings

Darkness At Dawn
Elizabeth Jennings
Berkley, Jul 5 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425242124

When Lucy Merritt was fourteen years old, her CIA operative parents died on a mission in the Himalayan kingdom of Nhala. She watched both of them get killed and chose a quieter and safer lifestyle, that of a book restorer.

However, the monarch is under attack by terrorists. As her father the king is dying, Princess Paso asks America for help specifically requesting her friend Lucy. The CIA recruits Dr. Lucy Merritt who would do almost anything for her friend although she has gigantic doubts about this request. The Feds sweeten the pot by enabling her to look at an ancient document when in the Himalayas. Accompanying her on her ‘pilgrimage” to where her parents died in the line of duty is her fake fiancé U.S. Army Captain Mike Shafer; whose mission is to keep Lucy safe and obtain a flash drive allegedly containing information on the terrorist scheme that threatens millions. However, her courage under fire forces him to reassess his partner as she takes one for the cause.

This is an exhilarating romantic suspense in which readers will feel they are at the top of the world. The lead couple are a wonderful pairing as each is brave, intelligent, caring and knows frozen tundra (he is 10th Mountain); their attraction does not overwhelm the mission. Although the changing viewpoints provide a 360 story line that is two edged as readers understand what is going on from the perspective of the key players but also makes a choppy flow to the action-packed story line. Still fans will feel the biting cold while trekking mountainous Nhala alongside Mike and Lucy.

Harriet Klausner

Cold Touch-Leslie Parrish

Cold Touch
Leslie Parrish
Signet, Jul 5 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451233004

Twelve years ago, tweener Jack informs fifteen year old Olivia Wainwright the man was going to kill her after he receives the ransom from her parents. He drowns her, but, Jack who condemned her to die brought her back to life. Her return to the living gave her a unique skill of seeing and hearing the death of people she touches.

Following an arson burning down Fast Eddie’s Savannah bar, bones are found in a wall. Now an eXtreme Investigator Olivia realizes this is the remains of the young Jack who saved her life from a psychopath who she believes kidnapped both of them. One touch and she will see the lunatic. Skeptical Homicide Detective Gabe Cooper wants the killer of the child found so he takes a chance on Olivia’s alleged paranormal abilities. However, as he begins to fall in love with her and knows other kids are at risk, the cop fears for the psychic’s life from this insane predator and from her emotional turmoil that is driving her over the edge.

The second Extrasensory Agents romantic suspense (see Cold Sight) is a great thriller that hooks the reader from the onset with the Olivia abduction and never slows down until the final confrontation. The romance is cleverly used to enhance the emotional turmoil of the lead couple while the super investigation remains the prime focus of the story line. With stunning twists, strong lead couple and a predatory psychopath, readers will enjoy Leslie Parrish’s powerful paranormal police procedural.

Harriet Klausner

Spirit of Seduction-Olivia Quincy

Spirit of Seduction
Olivia Quincy
Signet, Jul 5 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451233332

When she was a child, Zoe Bell spent two weeks each summer in the shadows of Chapin House on Chapin Point in Danmouth overlooking Cape Cod Bay. As an adult, due to her successful business ventures on Amazon Zoe can afford to buy Chapin House. Thinking the Cape Cod abode might be the impetus to drive her boyfriend Sam Stafford and her to the next level in their relationship and always dreaming of owning the place, Zoe impetuously buys it.

The purchase works the opposite of what Zoe intended as it becomes a pointed wedge issue between her and Sam who loathes the slow pace of the island compared with his Manhattan lifestyle where he still works while she remains on the Cape for the summer. Meanwhile Zoe becomes aware that Chapin House has a resident of sorts in Robert Chapin. When a homicide of her cantankerous fiftyish neighbor Curtis Nickerson occurs, State Police Detective Andrew DuBois suspects Zoe as much as the ex wife and other locals as the killer; even as she and Ethan, the nephew of the victim, fall in love.

This is an engaging paranormal mystery that is at its best when the focus is on the lead protagonist Zoe. The ensemble support cast includes unnecessary sexual coupling that detracts from prime twin subplots of who killed Nickerson and Zoe’s troubling relationships with Sam, Robert and Ethan. Still, sub-genre readers will enjoy Zoe’s summer of discontent when she learns the hard way that you can’t go home.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, June 13, 2011

Can’t Hurry Love-Christie Ridgway

Can’t Hurry Love
Christie Ridgway
Berkley, Jul 5 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425242100

Almost a year ago the three Baci sisters said they will diligently work for the next twelve months to save the family century old Napa Valley vineyard that was failing. A lot has happened since the trio inherited Baci from their late dad. Two of the sisters have since found love and marriage (see Then He Kissed Me and Can’t Hurry Love). They are committed to stay and work at the vine yard.

The oldest sibling Guiliana remains adamant that she will leave once the year is up in one month even as her apartment has been burned down and her car destroyed. Jules is forced to move to the neighboring vineyard owned by Liam Bennett though they are uncivil with each other as they have been for a long time. However, with a gala planned to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the vineyard, the couple agree to a one month truce, which will end when she leaves. Their attraction remains hotter than the inferno that destroyed her apartment, but someone stalks Jules with bad intent.

The final Three Kisses contemporary vineyard romance is an engaging tale starring two enemies in love. Although the story line is somewhat typical of the sub-genre and the villain over the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, fans will relish this fun frothy frolic as the lighthearted heated banter between the oldest Baci and her childhood friend and nemesis former lover make for a wonderful read.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Angel In My Arms-Stefanie Sloane

The Angel In My Arms
Stefanie Sloane
Ballantine, Jun 28 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345517401

In 1811 the injured Earl Marcus MacInnes is unhappy with his current Young Corinthians assignment in rustic Dorset near his home as he knows the locals detest his family with good cause. He is to investigate smuggling activity, but not by locals; instead there is evidence that Napoleonic agents are at work.

Marcus meets Sarah Elizabeth Tisdale, a klutzy daughter of the baron. He thinks her family is in cahoots with the dangerous smugglers so he keeps an eye on her, which even in male garb he finds appealing. Soon his inquiry grows deadlier as he deals with homicides, a kidnapping and stolen emeralds as traitors are involved; but it is his heart that he has lost to Sarah that has him concerned.

The latest Regency Rogues Young Corinthian romantic suspense (see The Devil in Disguise) is a fun historical starring a fabulous lead couple and an engaging support cast. The investigation and romance are engaging mostly due to the improbable over the top of Lewesdon Hill Sarah; who brings compassion, courage and clumsiness as she climbs into one caper after another; Marcus will have his hands full with her if he survives the mission.

Harriet Klausner