Monday, April 12, 2010

In Pursuit of a Scandalous Lady-Gayle Callen

In Pursuit of a Scandalous Lady
Gayle Callen
Avon, May 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783418

In 1846 London, everyone wonders who posed nude for artist Roger Eastland when he painted the Scandalous Lady portrait hanging in a gentleman’s club. Julian Delane has a personal interest in locating the model as she stole a gem from his family ten years ago leading to his father’s disgrace and death.

The Leland sisters, Rebecca and Susanna, and their cousin Elizabeth Cabot hope to keep their family from another disgraceful scandal that even having a duke to help would not stop the disaster. When Julian and his two friends Leo Wade and Peter Derby meet the three females, each claims to be the model. The three men bet they can prove who the real Scandalous Lady is. Julian believes Rebecca is the one and pursues her as brazenly wears his family’s gem in public.

The first tale of a Victorian romantic trilogy is a wonderful story starring two strong protagonists and a solid support cast. Fast-paced throughout, sub-genre fans will relish the battling to love antics of Rebecca and Julian; and look forward to how well Leo and Peter do when they go up against the formidable Susana and equally kick butt Elizabeth.

Harriet Klausner

Vampire Mistress-Joey Hill

Vampire Mistress
Joey Hill
Berkley, May 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425234181

Gideon killed the vampire who had just killed a human. However, he has no joy in the hunt or the slaying ever since his brother Jacob became a third mark servant giving up his soul to vampire Lady Elyssa. Filled with rage he goes to Club Atlantis a hangout for the BDSM crowd. He rejects a mocking, physical and psychological mistresses; each time destroying the room. Finally club manager Anwyn Naime decides to tame the beast personally.

Anwyn tells him to surrender to her as Daegan the vampire arrives to watch. She says to the hunter three women will strip and restrain him with straps. Gideon explodes and breaks furniture, but makes sure his mistress is safe. Anwyn orders him to keep her women safe while they strap him up. He obeys as they chain him and will play with him until he comes. When he says no more, she frees him. He knows she is the one, but goes berserk when he sees the vampire mark on her. She tells him to leave and hopes he gets what he wants, death. As he leaves, three visitors led by Barnabas demand to see Daegan informing Anwyn they have a message for the vampire. Gideon realizes what Barnabas meant. He finds Anwyn in the alley raped and bitten by Barnabas; she will need her sire’s blood or go insane. Daegan takes her inside and gives orders but allows Gideon to come because Anwyn asked for him.

This is a heated paranormal romance with a strong lead triangle deftly handled as a key plot element. The threat of the heroine to suicide is fascinating yet repetitive as she struggles with the unwanted change. Readers will enjoy Joey Hill’s entertaining urban fantasy erotica with pleasing BDSM scenes starring three lead characters refreshingly different especially having a dominatrix becoming a vampiress.

Harriet Klausner

Impulsive-Cathryn Fox

Cathryn Fox
Heat, May 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451229960

Sunray accompanied by other shapeshifters wanting to be free wolves moves from her Alpha and the pack in Serene, New Hampshire to Chicago. They settle near where she was viciously assaulted and changed while her lover Ray was murdered one hundred years ago.

Ray has returned having been reincarnated as Kane. When they meet, Sunray knows he is her soulmate. However she also realizes they cannot be united as fate proves cruel since he is a lycan hunter who thrives on killing her kind. Still they team up to end the deadly spree of a rogue shifter, but though he wants her, he cannot get pass the concept that she a member of a species his Instinctive impulsiveness loathes.

The latest Eternal Pleasure shapeshifter romance is a terrific reincarnation second chance at love erotic thriller. The lead couple is a creative pairing as they have a tragic history and apparently an even more tragic future once the case is over. Filled with suspense, readers will appreciate the dangerous Chicago joy ride between Sunray and Kane as love seems not enough to prevent the hunter stalking the she-Lycan.

Harriet Klausner

Hers For The Evening-Jasmine Haynes

Hers For The Evening
Jasmine Haynes
Heat, May 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425234174

"Three's a Crowd." Her best friend Devon hires Robyn the courtesan in order to bring life back into the marriage of Courtney and Seth.

"The Stand-In." Meanwhile Devon has dreamed of sex with her co-worker Hunter for years, but until now had no idea there ain't nothing like the real thing.

"Surrender to Me." Simon wants Haley so he sends her an e-mail telling her that she belongs to him so she needs to surrender her heart and body.

The three tales, somewhat linked through Courtesans, are fun erotic novellas although the plots are somewhat thin. Still entertaining and heated, fans will enjoy the sexual escapades between the clients and the Courtesans (see Yours for the Night).

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blood Born-Linda Howard and Linda Jones

Blood Born
Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Ballantine, Apr 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345520760

In Los Angeles Chloe Fallon keeps having an odd dream in which a warrior from somewhere not of this earth apparently seeks her out. What she is unaware of is her recurring dream is a real contact from another dimension as she is a conduit channel able to bring the warrior of her blood to Earth.

Vampire Council warrior Luca Ambrus is the rarest of his species being the offspring of two vampires, which gives him the unique skill that no human and few vampires remember him. His friend Hector warns him that a rogue vampire is killing conduits and a council member is assassinated; so he has been transmitting to Chloe in her dreams. When he saves her life, he is stunned because she not just remembers him she knows he is the star of her dreams. As he keeps her safe and they fall in love, Luca discovers an insidious plot to overthrown the Council and to use humans as expendable food.

Blood Born is an exciting romantic urban fantasy starring two strong lead characters and a deep support cast who not only enhance the story line, but in several cases look like they could lead to future paranormal romantic thrillers. Although dreams as a first meeting conduit has been used before, the sub-genre audience will enjoy biting into the two Linda’s fast-paced tale.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sing-Lisa Bergren

Lisa Bergren
David C. Cook, Apr 28 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9781434767073

After leaving her sister Odessa and new brother-in-law Bryce to Breathe together, in 1886 Moira St. Clair is stunned to learn her manager Max Foster has been embezzling her funds. She is near broke and Paris is not a cheap city for an American singer to live in. Heartbroken and distrustful, Moira heads home to Colorado while two men display interest in her on her journey.

Back in Colorado, Odessa and Bryce struggle to make a success of their horse ranch. However, the fierce winter is taken its toll on their livestock with many of their horses dying.

The third St. Clair sibling Dominic is known for his fierce brawling. With one sister married and the other in France singing, he goes to fulfill his dream of seeing the world, but instead has been taken captive on a ship with little hope of escape.

The second Homeward Trilogy (see Breathe) is a superb historical tale that continues to follow the adventures of the three St Clair siblings who have gone their separate ways after traveling together to Colorado due to Odessa’s consumption. The story line contains three obvious subplots with eventually the sister’s tales intertwining. Although lacking the intensity of Breathe, Sing is a strong late nineteenth century tale as each sibling’s saga is exhilarating while bringing alive the era.

Harriet Klausner

Wicked Becomes You-Meredith Duran

Wicked Becomes You
Meredith Duran
Pocket, Apr 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416593126

In 1890 Gwen Maudsley has everything going for her except a husband. Wealthy, she is a nice person and very pretty; yet she has been jilted on two occasions by gentlemen. She has decided being sweet does not work amongst the males of the Ton.

Gwen chooses her late brother Richard's best friend Alexander Ramsey to teach her how to be sinfully wicked. Alex has known Gwen all his life and has loved her from afar. However, he also believes he is unworthy of her. Reluctantly, he agrees though he fears once they start he will not be able to let go of the woman he loves who deserves better than someone like him. They cross the Channel to Paris and beyond, but his past and their attraction collide.

This is an entertaining late Victorian romance starring two people who share the tragic death of her brother four years earlier and a feeling that they are undeserving of love. Although the plot is thin, readers will root for the lead couple as each must face their own demons if they want to embrace their love for one another.

Harriet Klausner