Monday, November 2, 2009

Power Play-Nancy Warren

Power Play
Nancy Warren
Harlequin Blaze, Nov 2009, $4.99
ISBN: 9780373795062

Regretting saying yes to being a bridesmaid at Cousin Leanne’s wedding, massage therapist Emily Saunders returns home to Elk Crossing, Idaho. She is staying at the Elk Crossing Lodge along with the ugliest dress in creation, pumpkin colored and shaped like it was grown in the field. Bed bugs attack her.

Cop Jonah Betts is in Elk Crossing for the over thirties Old Timers Hockey League tournament. He and his horde of players have left no rooms available for Emily and others forced out of theirs. Due to further incompetence, Emily and Jonah share a room. They are attracted to one another, but he promised her he would not make the first pass while they share a room; however if she makes that first pass, he will shoot for the hat trick with her. Instead she places him in the penalty box. Neither expected a Power Play by an unknown killer.

This is a super contemporary romance with hockey and homicide to round out the amusing comedy of errors. The story line is a fast-paced lighthearted frolic that readers will enjoy unless they recently purchased a bridesmaid dress. Readers will enjoy this fine Idaho caper especially the final resolution of what to do with Big Orange (except for fans in Syracuse or Denver) in a state rooting for blue as in the Boise State field.

Harriet Klausner

Untamed-Crystal Jordan

Crystal Jordan
Kensington Aphrodisia, Nov 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758238290

“Stolen Temptation”. The Great Third World War was fought with biological weapons that devastated much of the planet. To survive, humanity adjusted on a cellular level. In New Chicago, hybrid human-lynx, Delilah Chase is a jewel thief. However, her current robbery of a valuable ruby goes wrong when half-human-half-hawk Hunter Avery catches her. He offers her a Faustian deal of going to jail or spending a week in his bed.

“Deadly Temptation”. In New Chicago, Delilah’s human-mink shifter sister Lorelei Chase owns The Tail techno brothel that handles any fantasy a client might request. She refuses to sample what her employees offer or her customers want but her worker jaguar-shifter Nolan Angelo and Fed wolf-shifter Pierce Vaughn have her ready to break her golden rule.

These two interrelated erotic urban romantic fantasies are fun to read as the cast heats up the Windy City from the moment the Avery flies to his penthouse and never slow down until Lorelei brings out the shivers in her two mates. The novella format limits the background even with two entries; this especially makes it difficult for fans to understand the true differences between the diverse hybrids (to include the villain Tarak the viper who gets the short straw) besides the obvious physical beastly attributes. Still fans will relish Crystal Jordon’s erotic take on half breed shapeshifters.

Harriet Klausner

Sexual Secrets-Melissa MacNeal

Sexual Secrets
Melissa MacNeal
Kensington Aphrodisia, Nov 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758234490

In 1898 wealthy Englishman Rutledge Bentley finds the identical twin beauties Colette and Camille on the streets of Paris. He brings them home with him to London where he marries Camille and his son Heath weds Colette.

Colette finds Heath quite the lover yet leaves her unfulfilled while Camille is left wanting by her much older spouse. As they did on the streets of Paris, Camille persuades her twin to switch places so each can taste some alternate lovemaking accompanied by the adrenalin rush of the swap. Now Camille and Colette know how to make and keep father and son coming. However, the siblings are caught with their respective garments down by a stranger who seems to intimately know both of them as he can tell them apart with one look or kiss.

Sexual Secrets is an intriguing late Victorian erotic romance that has double the fun, but also is a double edged blade as the family swapping is fascinating but never quite gels into a cohesive plot beyond the sexcapades. Older fans will keep thinking of the 1973 Yankees with the wife swapping of pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson. Still this is an interesting premise that will have the audience wondering whom will end up in whose bed.

Harriet Klausner

Seduction Island-Lorie O'Clare

Seduction Island
Lorie O'Clare
Kensington Aphrodisia, Nov 2009, $13.95
ISBN: 9780758234483

His grandfather wants his heir Jordan Anton to embrace his affluence, but the youngster wants nothing to do with the idle wealthy as he loves managing his Aunt Penelope’s Big Sky ranch. To tempt him, his grandfather sends him to Seduction Island accompanied by Sicilian Princess Tory Alixandre so that he can taste what he is ignoring.

However, he feels like he has been sentenced to hard time in spite of the pristine sea and coral reef until Jordon meets and is attracted to event planner Amber Stone. She reciprocates but conceals two damning secrets from him. First her true social status and second her lack of experience. As she falls in love she owes him the truth, but fears he will end their relationship; beside which he has the lovely Tory to occupy him on the island paradise that to Jordan is an island prison.

This is an interesting romantic triangle although none of the participants garner empathy from the reader. Still fans will enjoy Jordan’s issues as he is expected to marry Tory who loathes being forced into a marriage, but he loves Amber who is on the island seeking a wealthy husband to bail out her bankrupt family. Fans will enjoy untangling the convoluted webs of marital deception.

Harriet Klausner

Men on Fire-Susan Lyons, Rachelle Chase, Jodi Lynn Copeland

Men on Fire
Susan Lyons, Rachelle Chase, Jodi Lynn Copeland
Kensington Aphrodisia, Nov 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780758238016

“Too Hot to Handle” by Susan Lyons. Jade Rousseau needs a fiancé to escort her to her company’s social events. She may have found her man when she outbids her friends for firefighter Quinn O’Malley at a benefit event.

“The Firefighter Wears Prada” by Rachelle Chase. Fashion designer Delta Ballantyne asks firefighter Evan Marshall to model her line of men’s underwear although she would not mind personally modeling him.

“Playing With Fire” by Jodi Lynn Copeland. Firefighter Lincoln Gabriel has helped Erica Donelson ever since her husband, his best friend, dumped her, but now wants more than friendship from her.

Though resolutions are too quick, these are three enjoyable erotic romances starring women who know how to bring the heat from the firefighters in their professional and personal lives.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shadows From the Past-Lindsay McKenna

Shadows From the Past
Lindsay McKenna
Harlequin HQN, Dec 1 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774074

Following the death of her mom in a Los Angeles earthquake, the baby Kamaria found alive in apartment rubble was adopted by Morgan and Laura Trayhern, who raised her as theirs with love in Montana. Everything was terrific, but the photojournalist always wanted to know more about her roots especially her patriarchal side. She has one clue as to who her biological father might be; three men in a photo with Morgan insisting Rudd Mason, owner of the Elkhorn Ranch in Wyoming, is her sire.

Kam learns Rudd is advertising for a caregiver to help his octogenarian mother, Iris. She applies and is hired. She easily becomes friends with the rancher and his mom, but his wife, Allison, and her younger half-siblings Zach and Regan loathe her. Worse she is attracted to ranch hand Wes Sheridan even as someone wants to insure the family estate remains as is and murder is a viable option.

This is an exciting ranch romantic suspense starring a likeable heroine. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Kam decides to uncover the identity of her biological dad with the help of her wonderful adopted father. Although the villain is too easily discarded, fans will enjoy the last Trayhern next generation tale (see Dangerous Prey and heart of the Storm) and hopefully persuade Lindsay McKenna to provide a futuristic follow up involving Zach and Regan.

Harriet Klausner

Bound by Dreams-

Bound by Dreams
Christina Skye
Harlequin HQN, Dec 1 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774067

Kiera Morrissey promised her dying mom she would return to Draycott Abbey, which she does, but hell literally breaks out when she sneaks on to the grounds of the estate. Two goons attack her, but she shocks them when she fights back. They are followed by the biggest canine she has ever seen. She manages to escape the human thugs mostly because of the wolf.

Calan MacKay awakens the next day knowing he was drugged but that he saved the female’s life. He has come back to Draycott Abbey because his friend Nicholas Draycott needs his help to keep his family safe during some political dealings. He wonders why Kiera apparently loathes the Draycott brood and whether she is the threat and why he believes she is the answer to controlling his curse, but allied as his enemy.

This is a super entry in the Draycott Scottish Highland fantasy as DNA haunts the lead couple. Like Calan, readers will want to know why Kiera hates all things and people Draycott while also wondering will she accept his other the wolf. Fans will enjoy this terrific suspense thriller as each is Bound by Dreams to each other, but is love enough to overcome their respective heritage especially with someone willing to answer with a lethal negative.

Harriet Klausner