Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Love Finds You in Lahaina Hawaii - Bodie Thoene (Summerside Press - May 2010)

Series: Love Finds You


1973. For four-and-a-half lonely years, Sandi Smith has wondered if her husband, a soldier missing in action in Viet Nam, is alive or dead. A research trip to Hawaii provides a welcome diversion. As Sandi interviews the oldest woman in Lahaina, she is swept into the life of a princess born nearly a century before...and a surprising love greater than she could ever dream.

1889. Greed and danger abound in the changing politics of Hawaii. The beautiful Victoria Kaiulani Cleghorn, Crown Princess of Hawaii and the next royal heir of the kingdom, is sent to England with her best friend, Hannah, to guarantee her safety. Two men vie for Princess Kaiulani's hand -- Clive, the handsome son of her English guardian, and the dashingly cocky Andrew Adams. But all is not as it seems. Betrayal swirls around her. With her kingdom in jeopardy and her own life in danger, whom can Kaiulani trust?

For a fictional book about the life of Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii I thought this was very well done.  I have read a few that were so bad I couldn't finish them.  It starts out with the story of Sandi, who has come to Hawaii to interview Hannah who had been a good friend of the Princess.  She has been in kind of a limbo as her husband has been missing in Vietnam for almost five years.  She has come to Lahaina for a school project.  I loved the way that she is absorbed into the Hawaiian community and becomes so comfortable with the people.  She has an immediate connection with Hannah and is fascinated by all the information that Hannah has given her for her research.  She also gets to know Hannah's great grandson, a wounded Vietnam vet.  There are feelings that develop between them though Sandi doesn't feel free to pursue them since she doesn't know if her husband is alive.  The conflict between those feelings and the love she still feels for her husband creates some interesting scenes in the book.  I liked the way it turned out.

The majority of the book deals with the life of Princess Kaiulani as she leaves Hawaii to go to school in England.  She is accompanied by her half-sister Annie and her friend Hannah.  On the voyage they meet Andrew Adams who is rather full of himself.  He wants an interview with Kaiulani, but is a bit obnoxious when he speaks to her, thinking he is talking to Hannah.  This sets the scene for a prank that will have long term effects during the book.  On arrival in England they also meet Clive Davies who is smitten by Kaiulani.  Over the next few years both men make a play for Kaiulani's heart.

Kaiulani, as a royal princess, has been sent to England for two reasons.  First, to be educated in the ways of a world larger than that of the Islands.  Should she become Queen there is a lot she needs to know.  She is very young when she first arrives in England and seems to spend a lot of time in lighthearted pursuits.  As she gets older she is called upon to represent her country in various appearances.  In this book she meets a young Winston Churchill, who inspires her to become more serious about her studies.  The second reason she is sent to England is for protection.  There is a lot of unrest in Hawaii as King David Kalakaua deals with a group of American businessmen who wish to do away with the monarchy and run the Islands for their own benefit.  After his death and Queen Liliuokalani took the throne but was quickly deposed by those businessmen and their provisional government and placed under house arrest.  She refused to let Kaiulani return to Hawaii for fear of Kaiulani's life.  Eventually she does return to a Hawaii far different than the one she left.

The author did an excellent job of portraying the upheaval going on in Hawaii at the time.  She also showed Kaiulani's homesickness and love of her homeland. She is also shown as a real person who makes mistakes and isn't always perfect.  Her descriptions of the settings were vivid. I enjoyed the glimpses of her friendship with Robert Louis Stevenson. While she played with the history of what really happened it was an excellent story.  The ending was an interesting "what if" twist.

Forth from her land to mine she goes,
The island maid, the island rose,
Light of heart and bright of face:
The daughter of a double race.

Her islands here, in Southern sun,
Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone,
And I, in her dear banyan shade,
Look vainly for my little maid.

But our Scots islands far away
Shall glitter with unwonted day,
And cast for once their tempests by
To smile in Kaiulani's eye.

- Robert Louis Stevenson written to Princess Kaiulani to mark her journey to Britain.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Return of the Sheikh - Kristi Gold (HD #2230 - May 2013)

Series: Bajul (Book 1)

His Latest, Greatest Conquest

After a seven-year absence, Crown Prince Zain Mehdi returns to his throne with a tarnished reputation and finds a fiery, blue-eyed political consultant named Madison Foster to help him repair it. But Madison isn't just another plaything for the sheikh....

A romance between a royal and a commoner is forbidden, yet Madison can't resist the passionate nights in Zain's bed, lying spent in his strong arms. Loving the crown prince is dangerous enough, but would Madison's latest secret-a royal baby of her own-derail Zain's reign for good...or end in happily ever after? 

Good book.  Zain has returned to Bajul to take his place as king.  He had left seven years before after arguing with his father about bringing the country into the modern era.  Since leaving he has acquired the reputation of a playboy and now has to repair that image in order to go forward with his plans.  He is not happy that his brother has hired Madison to provide that help.  He's more interested in luring Madison to his bed than in talking business with her.  Her independence and attitude draws him as much as her beauty and he soon finds himself hooked on her.  But there is one thing he can't change about his country and that is its need for him to choose a royal bride.  I liked Zain's attitude toward modernization and the information that came out about his activities while he was gone.  He gave his brother Rafiq a hard time about marrying for duty, but was willing to give up Madison for the same reason.  I enjoyed seeing Zain open up to Madison about his past and his hopes for the future of his country.  He also got emotionally closer to her and was torn about what to do.  His solution was both a surprise and expected.

Madison is an independent woman who is very good at what she does.  She knows she can help Zain if he will just give her a chance.  She has good ideas to help him but she is also fighting a losing battle with her attraction to him.  I really enjoyed the way that she didn't back down when she had something to say to him.  Their conversations were a lot of fun and really did a lot to increase the connection between them.  She knew that there was no chance of a future between them but still found herself hoping.  When she found out she was pregnant she refused to bring a new scandal to him and tried to sneak away.  I loved the conclusion and the epilogue set up the next book (Rafiq's story) very nicely.

The Texan's Contract Marriage - Sara Orwig (HD #2229 - May 2013)

Series: Rich Rugged Ranchers (Book 5)

"Marry me...for the baby's sake."

With a fortune at his disposal, there is little Marek Rangel can't buy. Now, he has put a price on something priceless: his late brother's child. He will stop at nothing to ensure the baby's birthright...even if it means marrying a complete stranger.

A rising opera star, Camille Avanole relishes her independence, but she loves her child more. The billionaire rancher will give her son security and a chance to know his Texan heritage. So she agrees to Marek's demands, telling herself she won't fall in love-because if she does, he will only break her heart....

Good book with plenty of heat though not much in the way of conflict.  Camille had spent a weekend with Marek's brother Kern and ended up pregnant.  Kern was killed in an airplane crash right after Camille told him about the baby.  Marek's fiancee was killed in the same crash. After the baby was born Camille went to Marek to tell him about the baby and let him know that she wanted Kern's family involved in Noah's life so that he would know that side of his heritage.  She did not expect Marek to offer a marriage of convenience in order to give Noah a better life.

I really liked both Marek and Camille.  I liked the way that Camille didn't try to hide Noah's existence or deny Marek and his family a chance to get to know him.  She was a little worried that they would try to take Noah from her.  When Marek offered her a marriage of convenience so that they could both spend the maximum amount of time with him she wasn't sure at first if it would be a good idea.  She is attracted to him and doesn't want to take a chance on falling in love with him.  She is just getting started in her career as an opera singer and doesn't want the distraction or the risk.  But she knows the advantages that it will give to Noah so she says yes.  As they spend time together, alone and with Noah, Camille finds her feelings for him growing stronger and soon realizes she has fallen in love with him anyway.  

Marek is still grieving the loss of his fiancee and his brother.  He says he will never love again as his love for her was too strong to ever want another or to want to risk that kind of pain again.  When Camille comes to him about Noah he is leery at first but quickly realizes she is telling the truth.  I love the way that he wants to be part of Noah's life but insists that he will not try to take him away from Camille.  He tries very hard to find a way that will satisfy them both until he hits on the marriage idea.  He is honest with her about his feelings that he will not love again, but that he would like them to be comfortable enough with each other to make the marriage a real one.  I loved his immediate connection with Noah and how good he is with the little boy.  His love for Noah starts to melt the ice that had wrapped around his heart.  He also found himself think more and more about Camille and wanting to take their marriage to the next level.  He also discovered that his grief was lessening and that he was actually happy more often.  He attributed that to Camille and wanted her to cut back on her work to spend more time at home.  Once he heard her sing he realized that he couldn't ask her to do that and made the decision to suck it up and take what he could get.  I really liked the way that he appreciated her talent.  He also finally accepted that he had fallen in love with her.

Both Marek and Camille wanted what was best for Noah and did an excellent job of working together to decide what that would be.  They did well at making sure the other one knew what they wanted and expected.  I also loved the ending and the way they came up with a solution that would make them all happy.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Guy to be Seen With - Fiona Harper (HK #7 - Mar 2013)

Series: Valentine's Day Survival Guide (Book 2)

London's most eligible guy-finally snared?

Who can forget gorgeous adventurer Daniel Bradford? Especially after this commitment-phobe's on-air rejection of his girlfriend's marriage proposal sparked a scandal! But some people love a challenge. With Daniel suddenly back on the market, all of London's single ladies are on the lookout. Yet he's shown no inclination to get caught by anyone...until now.

So just who is special enough to catch his attention? Our sources reveal she's strong-willed blonde bombshell Chloe Michaels, orchid specialist and Daniel's new colleague. And rumor has it that with this tough cookie, London's very own Indiana Jones is in for the-romantic-adventure of a lifetime! 

Very good book. There was a lot of emotion flying around that did much to counteract my feelings about Daniel.  Daniel has had to cope with unwanted fame after he rejected his girlfriend's proposal.  The single women are stalking him and he wants nothing to do with them.  When he meets Chloe there is an immediate attraction between them and he starts to pursue her.  She really doesn't want to get involved with him but he doesn't give up.

I thought Daniel was a jerk through most of the book.  Even though Chloe had told him she didn't want to get involved with him he kept pushing.  There was a lot about her that appealed to him but it all appeared to be superficial - he never really seemed interested in what was beneath the surface.  Even when he finally got her to go out with him he was still only interested in the physical.  His reaction when he found out about her past acquaintanceship with him was harsh and cruel and totally unfair.   I thought he was unreasonably angry for too long.  He eventually told her why he doesn't intend to fall in love ever again and I understood his reasoning, but that was still no excuse for the way he treated her.  I liked the fact that he eventually saw what a jerk he had been and apologized and wanted to be friends again, but I was glad that Chloe didn't cave in.  It took a long while for him to realize just what he had done and accept what an idiot he had been.  I loved seeing him on the receiving end of the embarrassment at the end.  I loved the ending but still feel that Daniel has more changing to do.

I liked Chloe better.  She had been a geeky student with a huge crush on Daniel ten years earlier.  When she made a fool of herself with him he rejected her bluntly, with no kindness at all.  She took that event as a catalyst to change some things about herself and became much more confident as a woman.  When she met Daniel again she discovered that he didn't recognize her and decided to leave the past where it was.  She realized she was still attracted to him but didn't want to risk her heart again and tried t discourage him.  When they got thrown together while trying to counteract some of the negative publicity from his rejection of his former girlfriend they started to develop a friendship that grew to be more on her part.  She was devastated by his accusations when he discovered their previous connection, but had no problem letting him know that he had it wrong and why.  I loved seeing her stand up for herself.  When he finally apologized she accepted it but told him to leave her alone.  I liked the way that Chloe looked at her own actions and realized that the "New Chloe" still hadn't been the real her and made the effort to find her real self.  Their tentative return to friendship while they worked on the exhibit was good.  I completely understood her actions at the ceremony, but also liked what she did after.  I did like the ending.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The McKettrick Way - Linda Lael Miller (SSE #1867 - Dec 2007)

Series: McKettrick Cowboys (Book 9)

She wanted his baby... and he wanted her!

Meg McKettrick longs for a baby--husband optional. Perfect father material is gorgeous Brad O'Ballivan, old flame and new owner of his family's ranch in Stone Creek. But Meg--as strong, proud and stubborn as her ancestors on Indian Rock's Triple M ranch--wants to do things her way...the McKettrick way. And Brad feels just as strongly about the O'Ballivan way...

Love, marriage, babies and a lifetime to share--that's what Brad wants. Not a single night of passion, an unexpected pregnancy and a woman who won't budge. For a rugged rodeo cowboy who never gives up, it's a battle of wills he intends to win...and nothing matters more than claiming Meg's wild McKettrick heart.

Good book.  This was a fairly calm, sweet reunion romance.  Brad had come back to Stone Creek tired of his life on the road as a country music star.  Now he plans to get back to his ranching roots and spend time with his sisters.  He also hopes to see Meg McKettrick again and make amends for the way he left so many years ago.  I liked Brad a lot.  He is a nice guy, not one of those stuck up type of stars.  I liked his initial meeting with Meg and the sense of humor that he showed at all of her comments.  He knew he had messed up when he left, but he had never forgotten her and now realized that the feelings were still there too.  There were some things in their past that he hadn't known about that he had to come to terms with and his time with Meg's family helped with that.  I enjoyed seeing his resistance to the efforts of his manager to get him reinvolved in the business and how his sister nagged him too.  I also liked the way that he and Meg didn't rush things at the end.

Meg was back on the ranch and sort of enjoying the time after being so busy with the family business.  She is surprised to hear that Brad is back, supposedly to stay.  There is still a connection between them that she can't deny.  I really enjoyed their conversations and the way she constantly gives him a hard time.  One thing that she has realized lately is that she really wants is a baby and Brad would be exactly the father she wants, but she is also afraid to trust him with her heart again.  She found that she couldn't stay away from him and also that her love for him had never gone away.  Just when things were starting to look out he finds out about her secret and she has to deal with his feelings over that.  I thought she dealt pretty well with the appearance of her father and an unknown 12 year old sister.  She was wonderful with Carly and handled her attitude in a realistic way.  I really enjoyed her interactions with Angus's ghost, she gave him a real taste of what modern women are like.  I would have liked to see a bit more of Brad and Meg together and how they were overcoming their issues, but overall a good story.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Wanderer - Robyn Carr (Mira - Apr 2013)

Series: Thunder Point (Book 1)

Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands.

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.

With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

Very good book and introduction to a brand new cast of characters.  It starts with Cooper's arrival in Thunder Point and progresses through several chapters of getting to know the various people of the town.  It's a close-knit community much like Virgin River with people you like and some you don't. 

Cooper has come to Thunder Point because of the death of his Army buddy Ben.  Once there he finds out that there may be some questions about Ben's death and also that he has inherited Ben's property.  Since getting out of the army he has been a bit of a rolling stone, taking jobs for as long as they appeal and then moving on to another, living out of his trailer.  Now that he is in Thunder Point he needs to make some decisions about the property.  Cooper decides that until he feels like he knows what Ben would have wanted he'll stay around and fix it up.  He is a bit of a loner thanks to his lifestyle but makes friends with the local deputy Mac pretty quickly.  Through Mac he gets to know others and is soon pretty comfortable with his situation.  He makes friends with teenager Landon, who he has rescued from a bully, and through Landon meets his sister Sarah.  He is attracted to Sarah right away but makes it clear that he is not a commitment kind of guy.  As the weeks go on Cooper finds himself getting more involved with the town and its people and doesn't experience the restlessness he usually does.  I loved his final decision on the property and can't wait to see how it all works out.

Sarah moved to Thunder Point a few months ago with her 16 year old brother Landon after an unpleasant divorce.  Because of her ex's cheating she is wary of trusting another man.  She plans to concentrate on her job as a Coast Guard pilot and taking care of her brother.  She is suspicious of Cooper and his friendship with Landon when they first meet but soon comes to trust him.  I really liked Sarah's devotion to caring for her brother and what a good job she has done with him.  Even in her developing relationship with Cooper she is very aware of the effect it could have on Landon.

I also enjoyed all the secondary stories in this book.  Mac is the nice guy deputy who doesn't realize that his long time friendship with Gina has grown into something more until he is forced to look at his feelings.  Sarah's brother Landon is the new kid in town who is making a splash on the football team and running afoul of the kid who thought he should be the star.  Landon also discovers that the good guy can get the girl. I really liked the way that bullying was dealt with and the way it felt so real. I also loved Mac's Aunt Lou who provides her family with a surprise of her own.  

It's Never Too Late - Tara Taylor Quinn (HS #1853 - May 2013)

Series: Shelter Valley Stories (Book 13)

In the shelter of this town...

Mark Heber accepts a mysterious scholarship to a prominent college in Shelter Valley, Arizona. Being a mature student is a big change from his hardscrabble life in the mountains of West Virginia, one that could transform his whole future.

For attorney Adrianna Keller, Shelter Valley is the scene of a childhood tragedy and she returns for one reason only-her loyalty to college president Will Parsons. Somebody's blackmailing him. Adrianna agrees to investigate discreetly, posing as a student named Adele Kennedy.

"Adele" and newcomer Mark become neighbors and develop a friendship that quickly becomes something more. In fact, Adrianna begins to envision a life with him. But maybe it's too late. Because her secret-and the shocking discovery she makes-could destroy Mark's future. And her own....

Good book.  I liked the underlying story of an older student going to college.  Mark had grown up in a small town in West Virginia, raised by his grandmother.  When she became ill he dropped out of school and got a job so he could take care of her.  He was content with his job and had no intention of moving across the country to accept a scholarship but his grandmother outargued him into it.  I loved his devotion to his grandmother and the excellent care he took of her.  I also liked the way that he had such a sense of responsibility that he also held down two jobs as he was going to school in order to keep caring for her. When he met Addy he was immediately drawn to her, partly because she was older than the average student and they seemed to have things in common.  As they spent time together he started to develop stronger feelings and made sure she knew it.  Both felt that the timing was off so they didn't want to take it too far, but Mark soon realized he didn't want to wait that long. He did have some self esteem problems stemming from some bad decisions he made as a teenager that made him question whether he was doing the right thing at times, especially when he was contacted by his old girlfriend from West Virginia.  He had a great straightforward personality that really showed the type of person he was.  

Addy had come back to Shelter Valley to help out an old friend.  It was hard for her to be there because of the fire that had killed the rest of her family but she wanted to help Will.  The more she looked into Will's possible troubles the worse things looked for him.  When she met Mark she was attracted to him but knew she should keep her distance because of what she was doing.  She felt really guilty about her deception especially as she got to know Mark better. She also trusted him with a lot more of her feelings than she had trusted anyone before. I really enjoyed seeing the way she did her research.  The things she found out worried her both for Will and for Mark.  I also liked the way that even though the things she found looked bad she didn't consider doing the wrong thing.  Another thing I really liked about her was the way she cared for Mark's grandmother.  It was obvious that she really liked the woman and enjoyed being with her, even with Nonnie's outspokenness and interference.  I loved the solving of the mystery and the information that came out about Mark's education.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Temporarily His Princess - Olivia Gates (HD #2231 - May 2013)

Series: Married by Royal Decree (Book 1)

"Get a wife. ASAP."

When his king says Prince Vincenzo D'Agostino must marry, the confirmed bachelor knows only one woman will do: Glory Monaghan, the lover who betrayed him six years ago. By forcing her hand, he'll appease his ruler-and get the woman he can't forget out of his system forever.

But Vincenzo's proposal is the last thing Glory expects. His long-ago rejection nearly destroyed her-how can she say yes now, even for show? Yet she has no choice. Becoming Vincenzo's temporary wife will save her family-even if giving in to the prince's passion will surely leave her yearning for more....

Very good book with some very intense emotions.  Six years earlier Vincenzo and Glory had been in the middle of an intense relationship as well as working together.  Then Vincenzo broke things off saying such cruel things to her that they nearly destroyed her.  Now he is back with a proposition that would have her married to him for a year in order to keep her family out of prison.  She doesn't know if she'll survive being that close to him again, but how can she resist?

I really liked both Vincenzo and Glory though both had moments that made me angry at them too.  Glory had been so in love with Vincenzo six years earlier that she was willing to do anything for him.  Besides their intense physical attraction she was also instrumental in helping him with his business.  She was devastated when he broke things off, saying truly nasty things to her.  In the six years since then she has never gotten involved with another man.  She is stunned by his arrival with the proposal that she marry him for a year or he will expose her family's crimes and make sure that they go to prison.  I loved the way that even though she says yes she doesn't give in to his demands easily.  She has a terrific way of snarkiness that just doesn't quit.  I loved her comebacks to his demands.  She doesn't understand his amusement as the Vincenzo she remembers had no sense of humor.  She is also fighting against the sizzling attraction that has not gone away but that is a losing battle.  When she gives herself permission to just enjoy the time they have together the passion they have is off the charts.  As she fulfills her duties as his wife and princess her heart becomes completely his once again.  When she discovers what had driven them apart all those years ago was happening again she was devastated and convinced she's lost him again.  

Vincenzo had cared for Glory so much that when he received evidence of her betrayal he was unable to even think of prosecuting her.  So he drove her away and tried to move on with his life and business.  When the king ordered him to marry before taking his government position Glory was the only one he would even consider.  So he decided to blackmail her into doing it never expecting that the attraction he still felt was only the surface of the deeper feelings that had never gone away.  Six years have changed her and she is not making it easy on him.  I loved his reactions to her comments and his delight in her attitude.  He doesn't understand how he never saw this side of her until he thinks back to his actions and sees that he had never shown her either.  He is determined to have her in his bed again and is blown away by the passion between them when he succeeds. His attitude toward her begins to change almost immediately as he accepts that she would not have willingly done the things he thought she did. When the same problems as before begin to happen, this time he is unwilling to believe that Glory is behind it.  As the truth comes out he realizes that she had been innocent all along and now he has to find a way to bring them back together.

Expecting Fortune's Heir - Cindy Kirk (HSE #2258 - May 2013)

Series: Fortunes of Texas: Southern Invasion (Book 5)


That was all Natalia Serrano had intended. She couldn't believe she had slept with a complete stranger! Lia had never done anything so out of character in her life. Now, against all odds, she was pregnant-and she had no idea how to find her mysterious, memorable lover.

It had been months since Shane Fortune had been in Red Rock. But no amount of time could have prepared him for the revelation that Lia was expecting. His child, she said. The distrustful Fortune executive vowed to take control of the situation. What he couldn't control, however, was the hold the beautiful Latina and her unborn baby were quickly taking over his heart.... 

Very good book.  Shane and Lia had connected on New Year's Eve, when neither wanted to be alone.  They didn't share any information about themselves and when Shane was called away the next morning he was a bit of a jerk and didn't even exchange phone numbers.  When Lia ended up pregnant she had no way to reach him to let him know.  After losing her job, then getting hired by Shane's brother Sawyer, she was surprised to see him when he showed up one day.  And he was equally surprised by her news.

I liked both Lia and Shane, though he spent a good share of the book fighting his feelings and being the occasional jerk.  Lia had never been one to have one night stands and to end up pregnant was just the icing on the cake.  She and her brother had been raised by a single mother and she always swore that she would not do that to any child of hers.  When she reconnected with Shane, she made sure to tell him about the baby right away.  She was angry and hurt when he accused her of trying to scam him.  She was determined that he would accept it and did her best to keep him connected.  She was pleased when he started spending more time with her and they decided to try to get to know each other properly.  As the weeks went on they grew closer and began to deepen their growing friendship.  Lia began to hope that they had a chance at a future together even though she sometimes had the feeling that he was hiding something from her.  I really liked her openness and honesty and how she didn't try to hide anything from him.  This made his actions later in the book even more hurtful to her.

Shane was stunned at the news of Lia's pregnancy.  Having been burned before by women trying to take advantage of who he was, he was very distrustful of her claim and didn't bother to hide it.  He was supported in those feelings by his brothers, especially Sawyer, who didn't want to see him get hurt.  They encouraged him to get close to her in an attempt to find out if there was anything that could be used against her.  That way Shane could go for full custody and keep the baby away from her.  But the more time he spent with Lia the more he came to believe that she was being completely honest with him.  His feelings for her began to grow past friendship but he was still leery of trusting her completely.  There were some things he did when he first learned about the baby that came back later and got him in major trouble with Lia.  At that point he realized what an idiot he had been and had to figure out a way to get her to forgive him and let him back into her life.

We also get to learn a little more about the mystery of the woman that the Fortunes' father has given all that stock to.  They are stunned by the information that they found out, but now have to wait on seeing their father again to get the rest of the story.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Marry Me, Mendoza! - Judy Duarte (HSE #2253 - Apr 2013)

Series: Fortunes of Texas: Southern Invasion (Book 4)


Nicole Castleton was a shrewd businesswoman with a Texas-sized stubborn streak. She needed a husband in a hurry, and no one but her ex, Miguel Mendoza, would do Yet she had her doubts-sweet, sexy Miguel still shook her to the core of her expensive Castleton boots. And when it came right down to it, she still desired the man beyond words.

Was it a ghost standing on his doorstep? Or could this really be "his" Nicole? The girl who broke Miguel's heart ten years ago was back-with a "crazy" proposal for a strictly business marriage A desire for payback-and one last round of romance with the one who'd gotten away-tempted Miguel beyond any dollar amount. But this time, he wasn't so sure he'd be able to walk away from the woman of his dreams.... 

Good book.  Nicole and Miguel had been high school sweethearts, broken up by her parents' disapproval.  Now she is vice president of the family business and has learned that her father won't turn the leadership of the company over to her unless she is married.  Unfortunately she isn't currently dating anyone, and is at a loss about what to do until she remembers her long ago romance with Miguel.  She decides to head off to New York and see if Miguel would be interested in a temporary marriage of convenience.  

I thought it was pretty obvious from the beginning that she still had feelings for Miguel, though she tried to convince herself otherwise.  She certainly still felt a strong attraction to him.  Though I certainly understood her reaction to her father's ultimatum, I didn't feel like she had really argued very hard against him.  When Miguel agreed to the proposition she was very relieved, but soon realized that she hadn't really thought about all the problems that could crop up.  Having him live with her just made fighting the attraction that much harder. She also began to feel very guilty about deceiving his family, especially since they had been so welcoming to her.  Once the wedding took place and they went on their honeymoon she realized that she still loved him and wanted the marriage to be a real one.  I loved the way that he confronted her that first morning they were back and made her realize she was still letting her parents control her life.  I liked her actions at the end and how she finally took control.

Miguel hadn't seen Nicole since their breakup and was stunned to see her show up in New York and more so at her proposal.  He had never forgotten her and saw this as a chance to get her out of his system.  Her offer of payment would also allow him to finally realize his dream of owning his own nightclub, so he accepted.  The more time he spent with her the more he realized that his old feelings weren't fading, they were growing stronger.  I did like the way that he seemed to know her well even after all those years and was able to do some really sweet things for her.  He also started to feel guilty about his intentions because he realized that he was also using their marriage as a bit of revenge against her and her parents for their breakup.  He made the decision that any steps to make their relationship physical were going to have to come from her, and it was killing him because he wanted her so badly.  When he confronted her the morning after they made love he was frustrated by the continuing deception and his wish to make their marriage a real one.  I was glad to see that he did a little growing also.

Special Ops Exclusive - Elle Kennedy (HRS #1753 - May 2013)

Series: The Hunted (Book 3)


In the midst of revolution, about to be trampled by a rioting mob, star journalist Rebecca Parker won't give up on a story-even when a sexy military man literally sweeps her off her feet to safety. Nick Prescott is a hot number, hot copy and a bad liar. Who is he? Who needs him dead? How is he tied to a sinister government plot? By teaming up with Nick to uncover the truth, the red-haired spitfire puts her own life in danger. Ignoring his warnings to walk away, Rebecca proves she does what she wants...but does she get the love that she needs? 

Excellent book and conclusion to the trilogy.  Rebecca is a hot shot journalist covering a Central American election.  When she gets caught in a riot Nick comes to her rescue.  Her journalistic curiosity gets the better of her when she recognizes him and she starts looking for answers about why he is there.  This puts him back in the crosshairs of the people looking for him and gets her in trouble with them also.  Soon they are both on the run as they get closer to the mastermind behind the conspiracy.

I really liked both Rebecca and Nick.  Rebecca loves her work as a tv journalist.  She thrives on getting into the heart of a story no matter how dangerous it is.  I loved her intensity and how determined she was to do her job.  When she met Nick there was an attraction between them that was like nothing she had ever felt before and she was very willing to pursue it.  When she recognized Nick and started asking questions about why he was there she didn't expect it to put her and everyone she worked with in danger, even though Nick had told her to walk away and forget she'd ever seen him.  When he saved her again from those who tried to kill her because of him she insisted on sticking with him and helping him find out who is behind it all.  Her ability to adapt to any circumstances and her unwillingness to be left behind where it was safe ended up being a big asset to Nick and his search.  I really enjoyed the way she stood up to him and went after what she wanted, whether it was the story or Nick himself.  One of the things I loved most about her was the way that she understood Nick and his motivations.  The more she got to know him the more her feelings changed from just physical to a deep emotional attachment.  She also listened to him talk about his dreams for the future and realized that what he was talking about wasn't her style.  This caused her to pull away from him emotionally but she still stuck with him to pull off the final confrontation.  I loved the way she refused to compromise her own dreams just to keep him with her.

I loved Nick from the first book on.  He was the one who seemed to be the most laid back and easy to deal with.  There was also the feeling, however, that you really didn't want to get on his bad side.  The first time he saw Rebecca doing her reporting from the middle of that rioting crowd he was drawn to her.  He has always kept a tight hold on his emotions and as much as he wanted her he told her flat out it wasn't going to happen.  He doesn't do casual hookups and there was no way he was going to have a relationship with someone who constantly put herself in danger.  His dreams center around a relationship like his parents had, with his mom being the calm port in the storm of their lives.  When Rebecca's curiosity about him puts her in danger his protectiveness comes out.  He keeps trying to keep her safe and she insists on being right there with him.  It drives him nuts that she won't cooperate but the intensity of their growing attraction keeps her on his mind constantly.  I loved the way that they were able to work together and how well their abilities complemented each other.  As they got closer to solving the mystery Nick got more worried about the identity of the person behind it all.  Rebecca was able to help him deal with those worries.  He was still being blind about what it was he really wanted in life until a discussion with his father made him open his eyes.  The resolution of the conspiracy finally showed him that he could have it all.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Millionaire Cowboy's Secret - Karen Whiddon (HRS #1752 - May 2013)


Undercover ATF agent Skylar McClain dreams of justice and lives by the law. She "always" gets her man. Armed with a killer smile and an undercover identity as a photojournalist, she should have no problem bringing down any criminal-even a sexy millionaire horse breeder. But no assignment has ever tested her boundaries like Matt Landeta. His connection to Mexican drug cartels makes him dangerous. Only, what if there's more to this case than right and wrong?

All Matt wants is revenge. Not a gorgeous distraction like Skylar, whose hunt for answers will complicate things. Yet an unexpected enemy is about to bring Skylar closer to the truth...and to Matt. And letting go of his darkest secrets might be the only way to protect her. 

Good book.  Skylar has been sent undercover to Matt's ranch to find out the location of the large stash of ammunition that Matt is supposedly selling to a Mexican drug cartel.  She is devoted to her job and is known for bringing her cases to a successful conclusion.  Five years earlier her husband and son were killed during a bank robbery and she feels guilty about it.  Going after the bad guys is her way of dealing with her loss.  She was not expecting an immediate and intense attraction to Matt - the first she'd felt since her husband's death.  She certainly didn't want to be attracted to a man she considered to be a criminal.  As she tries to track down the location of the ammo she is also fighting the attraction.  She also becomes more certain that Matt is not the criminal that she thought he was.  When she finds out that her cover was blown she and Matt come to an agreement to continue his plans to trap one of the cartel members.  As they work together Skylar realizes that she has fallen for Matt and is willing to risk her job to help him.  There is a lot of confusion during and after the final confrontation and it takes some major soul searching on Skylar's part for her to be willing to risk her heart on Matt.

Matt's parents and brother had been murdered by a member of the cartel when he was away from home.  He felt as though they would still be alive if he had been there.  Now he wants revenge and is willing to do whatever he can to achieve it.  He has even gone so far as to change his name.  He has acquired a lot of ammunition and is hinting that he would be willing to sell it to the cartel member that killed his family.  When Skylar arrives on his ranch in her cover identity he is already aware of who she is and why she is there.  He is not happy about his attraction to her and the distraction she causes.  He tries to continue with his plans but ends up bringing her into it when she gets involved in an attack on him.  I liked the way that he respected her abilities enough to include her in the planning even as he wanted to keep her safe.  I loved the way that being with Skylar helped Matt come to terms with his own losses.  The events that happened after the final confrontation showed him just how much he wanted Skylar in his life.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hollywood House Call - Jules Bennett (HD #2237 - June 2013)

Calling L.A.'s most eligible M.D.!

Brilliant Hollywood cosmetic surgeon Noah Foster has perfection at his fingertips. Even so, he knows better than any man that losing someone you love comes at a cost. Which is why he can't walk away from Callie Matthews. When an accident shatters her dreams of stardom, he vows to heal her, inside and out.

Yet living in close quarters makes their red-hot attraction impossible to ignore. Being at Callie's bedside is one thing-and being in her bed is something Noah can't resist. He doesn't do commitment...but letting Callie go is impossible....

Very good book.  Callie has come to Hollywood to be an actress, but while waiting for an acting job she is working as a receptionist for Noah.  She is a cheerful person always having something good to say to people.   She is attracted to Noah but is more interested in her acting career.  He offers her a job doing the modelling for his new location's website and then she gets accepted for an acting job.  Before that can happen she is hurt in an accident.  Noah insists that he is the one to care for her and takes her to his home.  Callie is uncomfortable at first as she doesn't like to think she is being a burden to Noah.  She feels like his only reason is that he feels sorry for her and she doesn't like feeling like an object of pity, especially when she is still attracted to him.  She seems to spend a lot of time at first feeling sorry for herself, that her dreams of becoming an actress are over now.  While she did get a degree, she never made any kind of backup plans and now feels at a loss as she tries to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.  Staying with Noah gave her the opportunity to know him better.  She found a lot about him that she really liked and knew she could fall for him very easily, especially after he followed her to her parents' house and fit in so well with them. I loved the playful side that the two of them had together at the pizza place the night before her accident. She could also see that there was something in his past that was causing him to hold back from any commitment to her.  She wanted to help him with that pain but he wouldn't let her get that close to him.  

Noah is an excellent cosmetic surgeon.  I liked the way that he is confident but not arrogant.  I also liked the fact that he also did work on non celebrities that he wanted to help return to a normal life.  He was attracted to Callie and they had just started to explore that attraction when she had her accident.  He was certain enough of his abilities that he knew he was the only one who would be able to help her.  He also wanted to protect her. He had been engaged to a woman who wanted to be an actress and when she got her dream she also became a drug addict who died from an overdose.  He felt guilty about not being able to save her and that guilt has pretty much consumed his life.  I liked the way that he insisted on being the one to care for Callie.  He was understandably a little intense about the painkillers but he was wonderfully understanding with her and her fears.  I loved the way that he kept telling her that she was more than just a pretty face.  I also enjoyed seeing him show up at her parents' home and help out just because he could.  It also gave him some insight into Callie and why she was so intense about her career.  He was still attracted to her but was trying to keep things professional. He was still having trouble letting go of his past which made trying to have any kind of real relationship with Callie impossible.  I loved seeing him finally realize that Callie meant more to him than hanging on to his past.  I loved his silliness at the end and how much it meant to Callie.

Straddling the Line - Sarah M. Anderson (HD #2232 - May 2013)

Series: Bolton Brothers (Book 1)

She Only Wants to Belong

CFO Ben Bolton has enough on his plate running his family business. But when lovely Josey White Plume enters his office, his priorities shift. He refuses to let such a compelling woman walk away. The chase is on.

All her life, Josey has sought one thing: to fit in with her Lakota family. She has no time for some sexy rich guy's pursuit. But she can't stop thinking about Ben-wanting him...kissing him. Yet falling for a wealthy outsider will destroy everything she's worked for-unless she can find a way to straddle the line between his world and hers.

Very good book.  I liked both Josey and Ben.  Both of them are trying to find their places in the world.  Josey has returned to South Dakota from New York after breaking up with her boyfriend who tells her she doesn't "fit in" with his world.  Unfortunately she also feels like she doesn't fit in here either.  Because she and her mother both have white heritage along with their Lakota they are looked down on by their fellow tribe members.  They are trying to start a charter school to help some of the youth with education and job training but are having a hard time supplying the school with enough to get it open.  Josey goes to the Bolton's motorcycle business to ask for a donation of tools.  She doesn't expect to get turned down flat and tries to convince Ben of the need.  She also doesn't expect the intense and unwelcome attraction to him.  The last thing she wants is a relationship to a white man when she's trying to fit in with her mother's people.  But as she and Ben spend more time together it becomes obvious that he understands her and likes her just the way she is.  She spends a lot of time and effort trying to get the people of the reservation to accept her before she realizes that Ben's statement that you have to know yourself first is very true.  

Ben is another one who is looking for his place in the world.  He is the middle son and the one who runs the financial side of the family business.  He gets no respect from his father who doesn't believe in the money management ideas that Ben has.  He is also the peacemaker among his brothers and father, trying to keep his promise to his mother to "keep the family together".  When he meets Josey he is immediately attracted to her, but turns her request down, knowing that he'd never get his father to agree.  He sees her again in his other world as the drummer in a rock band and the attraction is even stronger.  He really wants to get to know her better but realizes it might be a bad idea.  I loved the way that a conversation with his brother Billy makes him realize how important a thing it is that Josey is doing and causes him to rethink helping out the school.  I loved his visit to the powwow and the way he was able to relate to the kids he saw there.  I also loved the respect he had for Josey and her mother and the way it showed in his actions.  His confrontation with his family at the end was fantastic and I loved the solution that they finally came up with.

It took a lot for both Josey and Ben to finally see that they didn't have to pick one part of their lives over another.  They just had to find a way to make those worlds work together.

She's Having the Boss's Baby - Kate Carlisle (HD #2227 - May 2013)

All Systems Are Go!

Ovulation cycle? Check. Estrogen level? Check. Nothing can stop Ellie Sterling's baby-making attempt at the fertility clinic. Nothing but her CEO boss-and good friend-who offers her an alternative to leaving their island headquarters: let's make a baby the old-fashioned way.

It isn't that Aidan Sutherland wants to be a baby daddy; he just doesn't want to lose his senior VP. But Aidan's plans for romance and candlelight quickly turn business into pleasure. After one night with his pal Ellie, the bikini-chasing billionaire is dazed, confused and-could it be-in love?

Good book.  Ellie wants a baby of her own.  She hasn't had any luck finding a husband.  The island of Alleria is a great place to live and work, but the men who come there are mainly tourists, so she has decided to have a baby on her own.  When she asks for the time off to make it happen her boss offers to give her a baby so that she doesn't have to leave the island.  

I liked both Ellie and Aidan.  Ellie had had a rough time as a child and teenager with an alcoholic drug addicted mother.  She and her older sister took care of each other and when their mother died they continued to do so.  Ellie is extremely intelligent and once she got her degree she was determined to be the absolute best so that her life wouldn't be uncertain again.  Working for Aidan and his brother is the perfect job for her and she has become indispensable to them.  She also has a bit of a crush on Aidan though she wouldn't do anything about it and risk her job.  So she is stunned when he offers to help her become pregnant so that she doesn't have to leave the island for an extended period.   She worries that the lines between them will get confused and that she will fall in love with him.  The more time they spend together outside of business the more she finds she was right.  She wants more from him than just sex and friendship but she doesn't know how he feels about that idea.

Aidan is all about the fun and no commitment when it comes to relationships.  He appreciates Ellie for her abilities and doesn't want to lose her for the weeks she would be away.  He knows that everything runs better when she is there to oversee it.  He has no desire to be a father but is willing to make the sacrifice to keep Ellie on Alleria.  He doesn't expect to suddenly notice how beautiful Ellie is and experience an attraction unlike anything he's felt before.  I loved seeing how he starts seeing her as a woman and can't get her out of his mind even when he is working.  His jealousy when other men pay attention to her is fun to watch because he doesn't know how to deal with it.  He keeps denying his feelings to himself even as his brother tries to make him see the truth.  I loved the way that he finally went after her and admitted the truth.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boardroom Bride and Groom - Shirley Jump (HR #4038 - July 2008)

Series: Nine to Five

Out of the office and into his arms....

For gorgeous lawyer Nick Gilbert, an after--hours rendezvous with a woman usually means a romantic dinner, not a children's charity picnic. But he's game! Especially as his date is his rather prim but intriguing colleague, Carolyn Duff....

Watching her with the little kids, Nick sees a new side of Carolyn. He starts to understand the glimmer of sadness behind her dazzling green gaze. When the real woman behind the all--business facade is laid bare, Nick has never seen anyone more beautiful....

Good book.  Nick and Carolyn had gone to law school together and been friends.  They decided on a whim to marry and shortly after decided it was a mistake and divorced.  Though they live in the same town they rarely see each other until both get involved with a children's charity picnic.  Now they have to figure out how to deal with their pasts and their renewed attraction.

I really liked both characters.  Carolyn's mother had died when she was small and then her father was murdered right in front of her.  She ended up living with an elderly aunt who had no emotional warmth so she had no exposure during those years to any kind of love.  Because of that she kept her emotions inside.  Her biggest focus in her life was to become a lawyer and help put criminals like the one who killed her father in jail.  Now she is a workaholic who puts her job ahead of everything else.  When her lawyers group gets involved with a charity working with foster kids she comes in contact with Nick again.  What she remembers most from her time with him was that they had passion and fun but when she needed his support he wasn't there for her.  Seeing him again brings it all back, including the attraction that is so hard to resist.  Carolyn has never really had anything to do with children and she feels completely overwhelmed at the picnic when she is paired with a young boy whose father was also killed.  It was so hard to see how much trouble she had relating to the children there and how unhappy and inadequate it made her feel.  With Nick's help it got a little easier to do and I loved when the two of them paired up to help him even more.  I liked the way that helping Bobby also helped her to deal with her past.  She also began to see that both she and Nick held responsibility for the problems in their marriage.  I loved that they were able to talk about things without arguing, though she did have a tendency to avoid confrontation when she could.  

Nick had always been a fun loving guy.  He had been the one to suggest their marriage, but then didn't really know how to deal with Carolyn's intensity.  When their marriage ended he accepted it and moved on.  His law firm was also involved with the charity picnic and he ended up paired with Carolyn.  He was still attracted to her and found he still cared about her too.  Seeing her struggle to connect with the kids made him look a little deeper and remember some of the things she had told him about her past.  He begins to actually understand her issues and jumps in  to help her.  I liked the way that his memories make him realize that he had been pretty insensitive back during their marriage and how he now wants to try to make amends.  I love the way that he talks Carolyn into helping him with Bobby.  Nick also realizes that part of the reason he isn't that intense about his job is that it doesn't really excite him.  Working with Bobby gave him an idea he could get passionate about and I loved the way he got his law firm involved.

Both characters had some issues they had to overcome before they could be happy together.  Carolyn finally realized that she couldn't save the world and became open to some new ideas.  Nick finally grew up and was able to put his abilities to work in a way that satisfied him.  I loved the conclusion and Nick's "treasure hunt."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Matchmaker's Happy Ending - Shirley Jump (HAR #4376 - May 2013)

Series: Mothers in a Million 

Professional matchmaker Marnie Franklin is delighted when she finally finds a great guy for her widowed mom--until she discovers that the man's son is none other than Jack Knight. Successful and dreamy-looking he may be, but she blames Jack for destroying her father's business. With her mother totally smitten with his dad, Marnie can't avoid Jack.... Well, not without destroying her mom's well-deserved happiness.

Soon Jack is forcing her to reconsider what really happened all those years ago. He's determined to show her that her own Mr. Right is indeed right under her nose.

Very good book.  Marnie has great instincts as a matchmaker and has made many successful matches.  Her mom has been alone for a couple years and is thrilled to have found a man that her mother really likes.  When she finds out that his stepson is Jack Knight, the man she holds responsible for the loss of her father's business she is not happy.  Her mom is head over heels which means Marnie will see a lot of Jack.  One thing she is having trouble dealing with is her attraction to him.  Every time they are together she can feel the pull of her emotions but her mind just can't forget what happened to her father.  The more she sees of him the more he appeals to her but she just can't let go of the past.  I loved her closeness with her family and how much she wanted to protect them from hurt.  It took awhile for her to realize that events from her childhood had made her want to control everything possible in her life and also made her avoid spontaneity and risk.  I loved the scene at the end with the ducklings sculpture.

Jack is a great guy.  He had started in business with his father, a ruthless corporate raider.  Because he was still trying to get approval from his father he was following in his footsteps.  When he was assigned to Marnie's father's account, Jack started questioning what he had become and made the decision to leave his father's business and change his ways.  Shortly after that his father died and Jack returned to the business and started trying to make amends with the people his father affected.  When he first met Marnie he didn't know who she was but was immediately attracted to her.  Even after he did he still wanted to get to know her better.  I loved his persistence and the way he tried to show her how things had changed.  I loved seeing the way he was changing things.  I loved his presentation at the shelter and Marnie's reaction to it.  I also loved his understanding of the way Marnie feels and how he wants to help her get past it so they can have a future together.

Her Pregnancy Surprise - Susan Meier (HR #3981 - Oct 2007)

Series: Baby on Board

From playboy to parent!

Watching her tiny daughter sleeping cradled in her arms, Grace knows she would do anything for her. Even if it means meeting with the man who broke Grace's heart--the man who doesn't even know he has a child....

Danny Carson is Grace's former boss, and he's as gorgeous and brooding as ever. Little does he realize a business trip that turned into a whirlwind affair had a surprising consequence!

Playboy Danny is about to discover he's a father....

Good book, though the blurb isn't entirely accurate.   Grace was away on a business trip with Danny and did very well on her first efforts with a new account for the investment firm.  She liked what she was doing and found herself attracted to Danny who is also the CEO of the business.  On that last night, after admitting that they liked each other, they gave into the attraction.  Danny had to go off on a week of travel and while he was gone began to have second thoughts and worry that he had been played.  When he came back he broke things off with Grace.  A couple weeks later when she told him she was pregnant he refused to believe her and accused her of trying to use him.  Devastated, she walked out and left her job.

I really liked Grace from the very beginning.  She may have been a little quick to fall for Danny but she felt that he could be the one.  She ended that weekend with Danny in a happy mood, looking forward to spending more time with Danny and getting to know him better.  She was puzzled when he stopped returning her calls and upset when he broke things off when he returned.  Two weeks later she discovered she was pregnant and went to tell him.  She was stunned when he refused to believe her and at the accusations he hurled at her.  She left her job and returned home to wait out her pregnancy.  After the baby was born she decided to confront Danny one more time, feeling it was important that he know about Sarah and that she knows her father.  After accepting that he is the father she is surprised when he tells her he wants full custody.  I loved the way that she countered with the proposal that they share custody and that he move in with her for two weeks while he gets to know Sarah and Grace decides if he's capable of giving Sarah what she needs.  I loved her calm personality and the way she was able to look behind Danny's surface attitude.  She also tried very hard to make sure that Danny had the time with Sarah to form that bond.  Though she tried to keep her own emotions out of the mix she discovered that she still cared for him.  I liked the way that she tried to be there for him and show him that she could be trusted.  I loved her method of reaching him at the end.

Danny was a little harder to like at the beginning.  He knew it was a bad idea to get involved with an employee but he did it anyway.  Then when he was away from her he allowed his doubts to take over.  I didn't like his attitude when he came back, and when Grace told him about her pregnancy his coldness and cruelty were terrible.  I understood that he had some issues he was dealing with but he was pretty over the top in the mean department.  When Grace showed up after Sarah was born, one look at the baby and he knew she hadn't been lying to him.  I didn't like the way he only seemed to see Sarah as his heir and wanted to start indoctrinating her into the business right away by taking full custody.  I loved that Grace stood up to him and gave him that counter proposal.  When he showed up at her house to start his two weeks he was still convinced she had still been deceptive about some things.  As he spent time with Grace and Sarah he started to realize that he had been wrong about Grace.  He finally opened up to her about his marriage and his son and how he felt responsible for the boy's death.  He couldn't accept Grace's position that it hadn't been his fault and felt that he didn't deserve to be happy.  I loved seeing him with Sarah and the way that he bonded with her and grew to love her.  He also realized that he had fallen for Grace but those feelings scared him with their strength so he ran.  He was still sure that she would use the information about his son to keep Sarah from hm and was stunned when she didn't.  I loved the way that he finally accepted his feelings and was able to let go of the past.  There was a lot of pain that Danny had to overcome and I loved the way that Grace was there for him throughout his stupidity.

This book was included in the same volume as A Father for Her Triplets - Susan Meier (HR #4375 - May2013)

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Father for Her Triplets - Susan Meier (HR #4375 - May 2013)

Series: Mothers in a Million 

Single mom Missy Johnson has worked hard to provide her adorable triplets with the secure childhood she never had. But now that her baking business has taken off, Missy's left struggling to juggle cupcakes and kid.

That is until gorgeous Wyatt McKenzie comes back to town, bringing memories she'd prefer stayed locked away... But when she sees him bonding with her mischievous trio, Missy realizes five might just be the perfect number.

Good book.  Missy's life is finally looking up.  After her husband deserted her and her triplets she had a real struggle to make ends meet.  Now her baking business is taking off and she has to figure out how to juggle her business and three four year olds.  She wasn't expecting Wyatt to come back to town along with some memories she'd rather forget.

I really liked both Missy and Wyatt.  Missy had overcome a lot so far in her life.  Though her childhood and teen years looked ideal from the outside, her father was a drunk and abusive.  Then she was abandoned by her husband with three babies and no money.  I loved her strength of will that allowed her to carry on and dream of a better life.  She was determined that all her focus would be on her kids and her business until she felt stable enough to get involved in another relationship.  She never wanted to be dependent on another man again.  When Wyatt arrived next door to go through some things at his grandmother's she couldn't believe the changes in him.  Gone was the skinny nerd who was her math tutor, replaced by a gorgeous sexy man.  To add to the package he hits it off with her kids, especially her son.  That alone is enough to get her heart's attention, but there is also an undeniable attraction between them.  Missy is still wary and insists that they don't pursue it but just be friends.  The more time they spend together the closer they get.  I loved the way that she trusted him enough to tell him about her father.  I also liked the way that she understood his fears and was able to relieve them.

I thought Wyatt was a real sweetheart of a guy.  I love a nerd gone sexy type of story and this had it all.  Wyatt had taken some time off from his business to go through his grandmother's house.  He's also trying to get his personal life back together after being screwed over by his ex-wife.  Seeing Missy brings back the memories of the crush he'd had on her and then the way she'd stood him up on graduation night.  He doesn't expect to still be attracted to her, and has no intention of ever being in another relationship.  She makes it clear to him that she doesn't have room in her life for that either, but neither is she interested in a fling.  So Wyatt has to make do with friendship and finds that he is enjoying it.  I loved the way that he gets so involved with the kids, especially Owen.  He identifies a lot with Owen because the kid is the only boy in the family and therefore something of an outsider, just the way the Wyatt always felt growing up.  I also loved the way that Wyatt stepped in to help Missy with her cake business, though he made her mad when he first offered her money.  The compromise he worked out with her was great and the confidence he showed in her was just what she needed. One of my favorite scenes was when he took the kids to get flowers for Mother's Day. I felt so bad for him because of the way he was so down on himself.  He really thought he was a bad person who wasn't worth wasting love on.  He was so sure that he would hurt Missy if he tried to have a relationship with her that he didn't see that he was hurting her anyway.  I loved his "aha!" moment and the difference it made to his whole outlook.

Little Cowgirl on His Doorstep - Donna Alward (HR #4368 - Mar 2013)

Series: Cadence Creek Cowboys (Book 3)

Little cowgirl makes three

For Avery Spencer, the sight of rugged, sullen and dangerously sexy Callum Shepard is enough to set her pulse racing. Too bad she's only on his ranch to tell him that her adorable baby niece is his daughter!

Reclusive rancher Callum is shocked to discover he's a father. But now Callum must learn to believe he does have what it takes to become a dad, and convince Avery that both she and baby Nell belong on the ranch-with him!

Very good book.  Avery has come to Cadence Creek to tell Callum he is a father.  Her sister had a one night stand with him at a wedding a year earlier, but never told him she was pregnant.  Her sister left her as guardian but Avery doesn't feel right keeping Nell's existence from him.  She is shocked to see how much he has changed from the man she met at the wedding.  She wants nothing more than to take Nell back home with her but having grown up without a father herself she doesn't want that to happen to Nell.  But Callum's initial reaction isn't promising so she prepares to take Nell back home with her.  Then Callum has a change of heart and asks her to stay a couple weeks so he can get to know Nell.  When she and the baby move in with him she starts to see signs of the man she first met and her feelings for him start to grow even though she fights it knowing that she'll be going home soon.  She also doesn't believe he could care for her as she has always been overlooked because of her sister's more flamboyant looks and personality.  She is also very cautious and likes to plan and know what will happen before she takes an action.  Although she has a very sweet and shy personality she is also a lot stronger than she thinks she is.  I loved the way that she stood up to him at the beginning to make sure that he understood that Nell was his.  I also loved the way that she took to life in Cadence Creek during her visit and how she made friends so easily.  I also loved the way that she had the strength to take charge of her feelings and her future at the end.

Callum had returned to Cadence Creek after getting out of the military.  He was carrying a lot of guilt over the loss of several of his friends and was pretty much hiding out on his dairy farm.  When Avery arrived to tell him about Nell he didn't believe her at first.  He had been deceived and badly hurt by another woman which made him very slow to trust Avery.  Once he accepted that she was telling the truth he invited her to stay a couple weeks so he could get to know Nell.  He still didn't feel that he would be the right person to raise her because of the way he felt about his actions.  But the longer that they stayed with him the closer he got to Nell.  He also was more and more drawn to Avery's quiet beauty though he had a hard time convincing her.  I liked the way that being around them started to overcome his need to hide out and how he started to open himself up to the more positive feelings.  I loved watching him grow closer to Nell and become the father that Avery knew he could be.  He wanted to ask Avery to stay but he was afraid to open himself up to more hurt. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cavanaugh on Duty - Marie Ferrarella (HRS #1751 - May 2013)

Series: Cavanaugh Justice (Book 24)


Esteban Fernandez only has one reason to live-and that reason vanishes when his cover is blown. As an undercover narcotics detective, Esteban wants to hunt the scum who killed his brother-and put his stepfather in prison for life. Reassigned and rootless, the brooding detective couldn't care less about the sexy cop he's now paired with...until they start finding bodies.

Kari Cavanaugh never asks for a new partner. Competent and self-contained, Kari makes the best of any situation-by herself. But when a series of murders points toward a serial killer, her scruffy new sidekick may have insights into the case. If only the heat rising between them doesn't spark its own danger. 

Excellent book.  When his cover was blown Esteban was pulled off the undercover job he'd been working for three years.  He's not happy to be working the streets again instead of going after the drug cartel and even less happy to be paired with the cheerful Kari.  The attraction that leaps between them is even less welcome.  He has spent the last three years keeping all hint of his emotions buried deep and he doesn't welcome their reappearance.  He can't stop them and as he and Kari work on a case involving a serial killer she continues to chip away at his walls.  He has been undercover for so long that he isn't familiar with the Cavanaugh way of doing things and doesn't know what to make of her attempts to get close.  When she came to him the day they met to make sure he was going to stay on with the department he couldn't understand why it mattered to her.  I loved his attempts to chase her off and his stunned surprise when she took him down.  It didn't seem to matter what he did he couldn't chase her off.  I loved his confusion about being dragged into the Cavanaugh activities and how he ended up having a good time in spite of himself.  It began to open his eyes to the things he had denied himself for so long and how much he wanted her in his life.  

Kari was a terrific heroine.  She was very good at her job and able to work alone or with a partner.  When she got paired with Esteban she could feel his reluctance immediately.  She also recognized him as the guy she'd had a crush on in high school.  I loved the way that she cornered him at home and challenged him to take a chance on their partnership.  She felt their attraction immediately and was blown away by the kiss he gave her while trying to intimidate her into leaving.  Their work together on the serial killer case put them together a lot and the attraction kept growing.  When it reached the boiling point they were pretty darn hot together.  I also loved the way that she wouldn't let him continue his loner ways but kept pulling him into the Cavanaugh circle. 

The suspense in the book was fantastic as they raced to find the killer.  I loved seeing the way that they tried to work out who he was and what led to their final decision.  The intensity of the takedown was great and definitely kept me riveted.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Inheriting a Bride - Lauri Robinson (HH #1127 - Mar 2013)

He'll get beneath every delicious layer of her disguises...

When Kit Becker travels to Nevadaville she's prepared to use any pretense necessary to discover why she must share her inheritance.

Clay Hoffman knows a thing or two about money-grabbing females, so when he finds one posing as his new ward he's determined to get beneath every delicious layer of her disguises. Discovering she's telling the truth, Clay is torn-he should be protecting her, not thinking about making her his bride! All he knows for sure is that he's inherited a whole heap of trouble!

Good book.  Kit has come to Nevadaville from Chicago for two reasons.  To find out why she is sharing her inheritance and to see if the other person is a family member.  Since the death of her grandparents the year before she has been alone - and lonely.  To protect herself from being sent back immediately by her guardian she arrives under an assumed name.  Running into Clay almost immediately she is even more determined to find this other person before Clay can interfere.  Her attraction to him only complicates things.  I really liked her sense of adventure and the way she went after what she wanted.  She was pretty clever with a couple of her disguises.  When Clay finally figured out who she was she made sure he understood why she was there and that she wouldn't be put off.  I also liked the way that she immediately felt at home there in a way she didn't back in Chicago.  When she found out who Sam was and the story behind his relationship to her she was stunned at first and then very happy.  She also found that she was so happy in Colorado that she wanted to stay there.  Her growing feelings for Clay only added to that desire.  I loved the way that she knew what she wanted and wasn't going to let Clay talk her out of it.  She had also gotten confident enough in herself that she was able to stand up for herself against his fears.

Clay was a great guy.  He had been named guardian for both Sam and Kit.  He had known Sam for several years and knew what he had to do for him.  He only knew Kit from the way her grandfather talked about her.  When she showed up in Nevadaville he wasn't expecting the attractive young woman she was and it really threw him for a loop.  Because he had been in love with a woman who decided that she didn't want to stay in such a remote place he had decided that he would avoid getting involved with another city woman.  Kit made him crazy because he found her both desirable and frustrating.  As her guardian he was supposed to be watching out for her not wanting to kiss her and keep her for his own.  I loved watching him go back and forth about what he thought would be best for her and what he wanted.  His resistance was growing weaker and she was taking full advantage of it.  The ending was fantastic with the way that she figured out the solution to their problem before he did.  I hope that we will see a story for Sam.