Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sweet Restraint-Beth Kery

Sweet Restraint
Beth Kery
Berkley, Jul 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425227695

Thirteen years ago FBI Special Agent Shane Dominic fell in love with Laura Vasquez, but she married a Chicago cop Huey Mays instead. Their paths have not crossed until now; Shane has busted Huey. Soon after his arrest on international corruption charges Huey is found murdered.

Shane realizes Laura may be in danger from the same culprit who murdered Huey to insure silence and that same killer will not chance Laura knows something about her late husband’s operations. Shane abducts her in order to keep her safe and to learn what she actually knows so he can go after the lethal big shot. However, as they fall in love, he also knows she is his submissive, but she fears going back into a relationship with a dominant even if she loves him; as her late spouse crossed the line into abuse.

The story line starts off rather fast as Randall Moody warns Huey that Shane is coming for him; Huey knows his life is over, but regrets not killing Shane and his wife. The plot slows a bit in the middle as the lead couple turn away from the investigation to forge a BDSM relationship. Still SWEET RESTRAINT is a spanking fun police procedural erotic romantic suspense

Harriet Klausner

For the Earl's Pleasure-Ann Mallory

For the Earl's Pleasure
Ann Mallory
Avon, Jul 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061579141

Abigail Smart and Valerian “Raine” Danford were best friends as children, but social status separated them as he is heir to a duchy and she is the daughter of a merchant. Besides her paranormal “gift” makes her more unacceptable even as a companion. Her family thinks she is crazy and at times they feel she needed special treatments. Whenever they caught her talking to herself, they sent her to institutions; no one believed she talked with ghosts as it was easier to accept she was insane.

After her latest release, Abigail meets Raine. They want each other, bur she believes he is a rake who would never accept her gift and he shows with his eyes he desires her, but knows she is unacceptable beyond a fling. When he is attacked and knocked out, Raine somehow communicates with Abigail. As he remains comatose for several days, they begin to fall in love. However, though he plans to ignore family obligations that insist he marry acceptable Celeste; Raine knows when he returns to the living, he must confront his enemies while pretending not to care for the woman he loves though that will hurt her in order to keep her safe.

This is a terrific paranormal historical romance starring a unique lead female and a more typical male. The story line is fast-paced from the onset as Raine agrees with Abigail’s family that she is bedlam material and accelerates as they fall in love on an astral plane. Fans will enjoy Anne Mallory’s engaging numinous Regency romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Surrender to the Devil-Lorraine Heath

Surrender to the Devil
Lorraine Heath
Avon, Jul 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061733994

She and her two friends Earl Lucien “Luke” Langdon (see IN BED WITH THE DEVIL) and club owner Jack Dodger (see BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND DESIRE) escaped London's mean streets and Feagan’s den of child thieves and urchin con artists. Whereas the guys have become accustomed to Polite Society, Frannie Darling (as she calls herself because of her earliest memory of Feagan calling her that) hates the Ton; she prefers the slums of the rookeries rescuing orphans. She earns a living as Jack's bookkeeper.

Earl Sterling Mabry meets and falls in love with Frannie. She is attracted to him too, but prefers to pick his pocket instead. Haughty especially when he wants something and he WANTS her, he pursues her with due diligence, but has no idea she reciprocates though she loathes the idea of loving an arrogant aristocrat. As they fall in love, they get in trouble with vile criminal elements that leave them fighting to survive, but Frannie assumes she caused the assaults somehow when Sterling conceals from his beloved he is the prime source of their danger.

The latest Oliver Twist twist is a fantastic entry in a clever well written saga that stars the latest adult version of one of Feagan’s child thieves and the Earl who loves his Frannie Darling. The cast once again makes this fast paced tale super fun to read as Loraine Heath provides another excellent Victorian romantic suspense that hooks audience from the moment Frannie out-arrogance the super conceited Earl.

Harriet Klausner

Four Dukes and a Devil- Cathy Maxwell, Elaine Fox, Jeaniene Frost, Sophia Nash and Tracy Anne Warren

Four Dukes and a Devil
Cathy Maxwell, Elaine Fox, Jeaniene Frost, Sophia Nash and Tracy Anne Warren
Avon, Jul 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061787362

"The Irish Duke" by Cathy Maxwell. Having been jilted at the altar, Susan warns her younger friends to avoid rakes especially “The Irish Duke”, but when they meet neither can resist the lure of the wager.

"The Duke Who Came to Dinner" by Elaine Fox. On Cape Cod, Sam almost burns himself with his scalding coffee when he sees the naked woman on the bike. Humiliated Virginian Gray “Ghost” prays no one seen her. Sam pursues her with the help of his matchmaking roguish criminal canine.

"The Devil to Pay” by Jeaniene Frost. In DC Blake buys Crack hoping an overdose will kill him. However, thugs mug him but he kills them as the demon inside him insures he lives. Elise the vampire lives alone under a train station. When they meet they fall in love, but must remove the demon, which means the host dies.

"The Catch of the Century" by Sophia Nash. The new Duke John has become the latest catch among the Ton. He meets schoolmistress Victoria when his Coachman almost ran over her and her three young male students. He is attracted to her feistiness; he considers the teacher to be “The Catch of the Century”.

"Charmed by Her Smile" by Tracy Anne Warren. In 1809, Duke Quentin kisses India which leaves them both wanting more. However as she has problems especially with “Peter the Pest” he has doubts because he wants her to have more chances with life than a week of falling in love.

These are five terrific romances with four loosely connected by a lead duke while Jeaniene Frost’s entry is radically different as an urban fantasy. Still, fans will enjoy this fine collection as each contribution is well written starring solid lead characters. As a bonus, fans of Sophia Nash will recognize some of her protagonists from previous tales as support players.

Harriet Klausner

Don't Tempt Me-Loretta Chase

Don't Tempt Me
Loretta Chase
Avon, Jul 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780061632662

Twelve year old Zoe Lexham disappears while on a family trip to the Middle East. She spent years in a harem after her father foolishly took the family on a tour of the dangerous Eastern Mediterranean and was abducted in Egypt; there she learned to speak openly and honestly about sex. When she finds her way home in 1818, Zoe knows she has no prospects for marriage; being too old and worse ultra scandalous.

Lord Lucien de Grey may be a shallow rake, but as a Duke with money he can go anywhere in the Beau Monde and thus he could help his childhood friend become accepted by those in Polite Society. However, Lucien is attracted to Zoe and though she reciprocates, she fears his reaction to learning what happened to her years ago even as the danger that exiled her has returned to complete the job.

DON’T TEMPT ME is an enjoyable Regency romance starring two fascinating lead protagonists. The roguish Lucien learned never become deeply attached to anyone especially avoiding love and passion when his parents died when he was ten years old; he knows love hurts. Zoe realizes that scandal is her rightful name having spent years in a harem and learned (by osmosis) about sex; ironically the men want her because she is beautiful and assumed to be an expert in the boudoir, but has a secret that would stun any who ever found out though none except her beloved stand a chance. Fans will enjoy Lucien’s chase of Zoe whose reputation is to bolt into trouble.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, June 19, 2009

Intimate Seduction-Brenda Jackson

Intimate Seduction
Brenda Jackson
Kimani, Jul 2009, $5.99
ISBN: 9780373861200

Princeton Professor Natalie Ford returns home to take over temporarily her injured Aunt Earline’s cleaning business in Charlotte. She finds the work tiring and actually falls asleep in the bed of one of her aunt’s clients, playboy businessman Donovan Steele. He is shocked by how beautiful Sleeping Beauty is.

Natalie is attracted to Donovan, but also believes men are frightened by an intelligent woman. Although she vowed never to hide her intelligence, she conceals her brains and her profession behind the image of a cleaning lady. As they fall in love, he begins to believe she is damaging a business deal of his; his distrusts grows when he learns what she actually does for a living.

The latest Steele Family romance (see IRREVERSIBLE FORCES, RISKY PLEASURES and BEYOND TEMPTATION) is a fabulous contemporary romance starring two fabulous protagonists who fall in love. However their relationship foundation is cracked because Natalie hid the truth as to who she is leading to suspicion by him that she is sabotaging his business as he knows something is not quite right. The audience will fully relish the latest Steele. Brenda Jackson is an incredible storyteller.

Harriet Klausner

Tamed by a Laird-Amanda Scott

Tamed by a Laird
Amanda Scott
Forever, Jul 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446541374

In 1374 in Annandale, Scotland, her guardian Lord Dunwythie informs the Baroness of Easdale seventeen year old Janet, called Jennifer, that he will select a husband for her. Outraged as she believes he shouts nonsense that she no rights, except what he grants her, Jennifer decides a stranger would be a better choice; preferably one that does not stay. His selection Reid Douglas is not who the teen wants.

At her betrothal gala, after a drunken Reid pawed her, Jennifer enjoys a show of traveling minstrels and opts for a final fling before she is forced to say I do. Since her maid Peg's brother Bryan is a part of that performing troupe, Jennifer joins them. She surprises everyone with her singing skills and is joined on stage by Sir Hugh Douglas, her betrothed's older brother, who has hidden his identity while roaming with the minstrels. As they fall in love, they must trust each other with the truth while also preventing an odious scheme that will harm Scotland.

Once again, Amanda Scott provides her fans with a super Scottish medieval romance starring two terrific lead characters and a strong support cast who either bring out the essence of the era or the main players. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Dunwythie dispatches Sir Hugh to bring home the runaway Janet; only to fall in love while Reid was sleeping it off.

Harriet Klausner