Sunday, June 30, 2013

Roses in Moonlight - Lynn Kurland (Jove - May 2013)

Series: MacLeod (Book 13)


Derrick Cameron, antiquities dealer and adventurer, is furious when the priceless piece of Elizabethan lace he's been pursuing slips right by him, in the improbable custody of a mousy textile historian! But he will retrieve it, even if it means dragging a very skeptical, albeit adorable, Samantha back in time with him. After all, he is used to living dangerously -- in whatever century he finds himself.

Conscientious Samantha Drummond never dreamed the package her British employer gave her would lead her into places an ordinary gal should never go -- like Elizabethan England! -- or throw her into the company of one extremely attractive, but highly suspect Highlander who not only thinks she's a thief, but insists on involving her in his mad schemes to retrieve his stolen treasure.


Trapped first in Elizabethan England, then caught in a web of modern-day intrigues, Samantha and Derrick are forced into an unlikely alliance by peril, never imagining that what they're forging is a timeless love....

Another great story by Lynn Kurland.  Samantha has come to England for the summer to housesit for friends of her brother.  When she is asked to run an errand for one of them she doesn't expect to be caught in the middle of a search for stolen goods.  Derrick's job is to find the piece of stolen lace and get it back to its rightful owner.  He doesn't expect to be intrigued by the woman he thinks is the thief and then fall for her too.

I really liked both Samantha and Derrick.  Samantha is the youngest of the family and has been stuck in her life with her parents.  They are both pretty controlling, especially her mother, and Samantha longs to break free.  When she is offered the chance to housesit in England she leaps at the chance, planning to squeeze in as much living as she can before going home.  Shortly after her arrival in England her boss asks her to deliver a package to London.  On the trip she is followed and while trying to escape briefly ends up in Elizabethan England, though she doesn't realize it at the time.  She is rescued by Derrick, who thinks she is one of the thieves.  She is attracted to him but doesn't trust him at first.  When she hears his time travel story she thinks he is nuts, but goes along with him because he seems more trustworthy than her other options.  She finds herself caught up in the chase for the lace, then trying to figure out why someone is still after her.  I loved seeing Samantha bloom now that she is out from under her parents' thumbs.  She is pretty naive at the beginning, not expecting the trouble that comes her way.  She is basically a nice person so doesn't get into making scenes when weird things start happening to her.  I loved her interactions with Derrick right from the beginning.  While she is naive she isn't stupid and her questions and statements to Derrick show that.  She doubts his sanity at the beginning when he talks about the time travel, but soon becomes a believer. As she deals with these events she begins to grow as a person and soon learns to stand up for herself and her own needs and wants.  She also begins to care for Derrick and gets closer to him as she nurses him after he is wounded helping her.  I loved seeing her care about him in ways that no one else has and the way that it aids in her own maturity.  I loved the ending and seeing her really become the woman she was meant to be.

Derrick was a bit obnoxious at first but quickly turned around.  He has been doing a lot of time travel over the last year as he goes on adventures with Jamie, but also works at his business of retrieving stole goods.  He's feeling a bit jaded at the start of this one and doesn't so his usual research and as a result doesn't realize that Samantha isn't the thief but just an unknowing courier.  He begins to think that some things just aren't adding up as he saves and then confronts Samantha.  Once he understands the truth he gets Samantha to join forces with him to recover and return the lace.  The more time they spend together, the more she gets under his skin.  He doesn't want to be attracted to her or like her that much but he can't help it.  I loved the way that he watches out for her after the lace recovery and discovers that she's still in danger.  I also loved the way that he helped her gain confidence during their time together and didn't try to control her the way her parents did. I especially loved the ending when he gave her the gift of the experiences she had missed out on. I also loved learning more about Derrick and his secrets and the way they influenced his life.  I really enjoyed seeing him thumb his nose at his brother.  I loved the interactions with various members of his family and how they all were there for each other even while trading insults.

I really liked the appearances of the ghosts and characters from earlier books such at Robert and Sunny.  I loved Derrick's coworkers, Oliver, Rufus and Peter and how totally unflappable they seemed to be.  The romance itself was sweet and gentle and perfect for Derrick and Samantha.  I'm looking forward to seeing who gets the next story.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Widow of Conard County - Rachel Lee (HSE #2270 - July 2013)

Series: Conard County (Book 33)


For wounded army vet Liam O'Connor, trekking across the country is something he has to do for his best friend -- he promised Chet he'd deliver one last letter to his wife if he didn't make it home. Fresh out of rehab for a traumatic brain injury that robbed him of his former life, Liam maintains one thought to keep him focused: make it to Sharon Majors.

Even in her grief, Sharon is incredibly beautiful, and her heart boundless. She offers Liam a deal: stay and work on her fledgling ranch and they'll help each other heal. But too soon the former soldier realizes he's facing his most dangerous mission of all: he's falling for his best friend's wife.

Very good book.  I really liked both Sharon and Liam.  Sharon was finally starting to pull herself together after the death of her husband.  As she is trying to decide what to do next, Liam arrives with a letter from her husband.  He is familiar to her because of how much Chet used to talk and write about him.  Something about him makes her offer him a place at the ranch where they can help each other.  I really liked her attitude toward Liam's problems.  She wanted to help but she also knew to give him the space he needed to work some things out on his own.  She would help him figure out how to do something but then leave him to it instead of hovering over him. She also had no trouble losing her temper with him if she needed too. She had a harder time at first dealing with her attraction to him.  There were some guilty feelings but she soon realized that Chet would have wanted her to move on.  I loved the way that their love grew slowly.

Liam was fantastic.  I really enjoyed the realistic look at the way TBI affects people, especially the veterans.  It showed his very real and believable feelings of frustration and anger over what had happened and what he has to deal with.  When he arrived at Sharon's ranch I was very impressed with the way that he had followed through on his promise.  I also liked the way that he wanted to do the work that Sharon needed done.  It was really hard seeing how down on himself he was because of the problems that he now has.  When he met Sharon he was immediately attracted to her but felt immense guilt over feeling that way for his "best friend's wife."  He worked very hard to suppress those feelings until he discovered that she had them too.  Even then he had to fight the doubts he had about himself and whether he would be good for anyone but especially for Sharon.  I loved seeing the way that his feelings grew.  I liked the fact that even though they have their happy ending they didn't have a miraculous recovery for Liam.  They still have the same issues that they will have to deal with but they will be doing it together.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Too Hot to Handle - Victoria Dahl (HQN - Apr 2013)

Series: Jackson Hole (Book 4)

This good girl's going bad….

Merry Kade has always been the good girl. The best friend. The one who patiently waits for the guy to notice her. Well, no more. Merry has just scored her dream job, and it's time for her life to change. As the new curator of a museum in Wyoming, she'll supervise a lot of restoration work. Luckily she's found the perfect contractor for the job.

Shane Harcourt can't believe that someone wants to turn a beat-up ghost town into a museum attraction. After all, the last thing he needs is the site of his dream ranch turning into a tourist trap. He'll work on the project, if only to hasten its failure…until the beautiful, quirky woman in charge starts to change his mind.

For the first time ever, Merry has a gorgeous stud hot on her heels. But can she trust this strong, silent man, even if he is a force of nature in bed? When Shane's ulterior motives come out, he'll need to prove to Merry that a love like theirs may be too hot to handle, but it's impossible to resist.

Fun book.  Merry has come to Jackson Hole where she has found a job at a new ghost town museum.  The ghost town is in need of restoration work so she is looking for a carpenter to do the job.  She finds Shane Harcourt who came highly recommended and hires him to do the work.  What she doesn't know is that Shane actually inherited all the land around it, but his grandfather left the ghost town and all the money to someone else.  He is furious and suing to get the money back, which will put her out of a job.

I liked Merry.  She hasn't had an easy life, growing up poor and fatherless, but she works at keeping a positive attitude.  She is really excited about the museum job and falls in love with the ghost town.  She has a great time researching the town and the stories of the people who lived there.  She doesn't know about the lawsuit at first and is frustrated by the lack of progress she is allowed to make.  She goes ahead and hires Shane to start the repair work.  Besides being impressed with his work, she is really attracted to him.  But she has a dismal track record with men, who seem to treat her more as a friend or little sister than a love interest.  When her attraction is reciprocated she is thrilled - until she finds out who Shane really is.  I loved the time they spent together and how his attention is so good for her self confidence.  I can see the way she starts to change and become happier with who she is.  When the truth comes out she is devastated and her hopes take a nose dive.  I loved seeing the way things worked out for her.

I liked Shane in spite of his deception.  He, too, had had a rough childhood.  The men in his family have a tendency of shirking their responsibilities by running away.  He compensates by not allowing himself to have a relationship with anyone.  He loved inheriting the land, but was furious about the way his grandfather punished him by withholding the money.  When he found out about Merry, he started out by using her to find out what was going on with the ghost town.  But he soon found himself fascinated by Merry and her enthusiasm for the ghost town, and being sucked into her vision.  He also discovered that he was having feelings for her that he had not felt for anyone else.  This worried him because of what he feels is his family curse.  When Merry found out his connection to the ghost town he was stunned by her fury and realized that he had to do some real soul searching about his motivations and intentions.  I loved what he finally did and seeing him and Merry work out their differences. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Her Royal Wedding Wish - Cara Colter (HR #4030 - June 2008)

Series: By Royal Appointment (Book 6)

Princess Shoshauna of B'Ranasha has followed royal convention all her life. Her greatest wish is freedom--and to marry for love, not duty.

A royal assignment: Suddenly in danger, Shoshauna is whisked to an exotic island by soldier Jake Ronan. He's been hired to protect her, and despite the attraction makes it clear he's here for duty, not love....

Her wedding wish: Being with Jake, Shoshauna feels truly happy and free for the first time. But can she dream of herself, a royal, marrying this hardened soldier?

I loved this book.  Shoshauna has been ruled by royal convention all her life.  She has had every material things she could wish for, but she has also been incredibly lonely.  She is all set to marry a man she doesn't love when gunfire erupts at her wedding.  Jake, there as part of the security team, takes her away to keep her safe.  He fights hard to keep things professional and she fights just as hard to experience the things she never has.

I loved Shoshauna.  She had been a good little princess all her life but she's also been aware that something is missing.  She had hoped getting married would fill that void but the closer the wedding came the more she was sure she was making a mistake.  When her wedding was stopped and she was taken away she was excited to finally have a chance to be ordinary.  I really enjoyed the way she so quickly figured out how to get Jake to help her.  I loved how she got so much enjoyment out of doing simple things like trying to cook and make beds.  I felt so bad for her when she was telling Jake about why she ended up engaged.  It was great to see how being around Jake gave her the chance to see what she was capable of and that she had the strength to go after what she really wanted.  

Jake was a soldier first and foremost.  As a special operations soldier he knew that being in any kind of relationship was not fair to the one left behind.  He also didn't really believe in love after watching his mother chase it for years after his father's death.  He was captivated by Shoshauna the first time he saw her, but his duty was always at the front of his mind.  As they escape he is surprised by the fact that she seems happy about all of it.  As the days go on he finds that the lines between duty and desire are blurring.  He wants to give her the experiences she desires but keeping his emotions out of it is getting harder each day.  I really loved seeing him help her spread her wings and loved his quiet happiness that she was gaining the confidence to stand up for herself.  When they had to part he realized that she had broken through the walls around his heart and that his life was forever changed.  I also liked the way that something Shoshauna said helped him patch things up with his mother.

I absolutely loved seeing what happened to them six months after their adventure.  Shoshauna had finally become the person she wanted to be and Jake had accepted his own changes.  I loved his whole persona and how it really made his part in the story so special.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Second Chance with the Rebel - Cara Colter (HR #4377 - May 2013)

Series: Mothers in a Million

Everyone in the town could see they didn't belong together. Mac was the adventurous outsider with a mysterious past, and Lucy was the wholesome doctor's daughter. And Mac's sudden departure just proved the rest of the town right.…

Seven years later a Mother's Day Gala brings Mac back into Lucy's life, and once again she finds herself charmed by him. Everything feels different, but the risk of heartbreak is just as strong. But doesn't everyone deserve a second chance at happiness -- even her…?

Very good reunion story.  Lucy had been the local good girl and Mac was the bad boy teenager when they were younger.  Lucy had loved being with Mac who showed her a side of herself she never knew she had.  There had been something about Lucy that made Mac want to be a better person.  When Lucy's father found out he threatened Mac with arrest if he didn't leave.  Mac felt he had no choice but to protect her so he left.  Now Lucy is planning a celebration to honor his foster mother and she needs him to come back.  She doesn't expect the boy who broke her heart to still have a hold on that heart and fears getting it broken all over again.

I really liked Lucy.  She had never been a mean person like some of her friends and she had really cared for Mac.  She was terribly hurt when he left without asking her to go with him and said some things that she didn't mean.  Now she is living a different sort of life and spending a lot of time looking after his foster mother.  When she gets concerned about the woman's health she forces herself to contact Mac even though she really doesn't want to see him again.  I loved the way that Lucy had changed into someone who obviously cared so much about other people.  She put her own fears aside to contact Mac.  When he arrived she realized that she had never gotten over her love for him.  She tried fighting her feelings for him but the more he tried to get involved in her life the less she was able to resist him.  I also liked the way that she tried to get him to open up to her in ways he never had before knowing that she wanted to get to know the real Mac.  When they were finally able to trust each other with their deepest secrets they had a chance at a wonderful future.

Mac had come to Mama's as a troubled teenager.  He was fighting a guilt that made him rebel against anything that might be good in his life.  Being with Lucy touched something deep inside him and filled a hole in his soul.  He left her behind when it became obvious to him that they had no future together.  Now that she has forced him to come back he has to face the fact that he has never forgotten her.  He also sees that Lucy is not the same girl that he left behind.  He doesn't know what has caused the changes but he is determined to put some fun back in her life.  But as much as he wants to know the new Lucy he is still wary of sharing anything about his own past and opening himself up to possible rejection.  When he finally did tell her he was truly stunned to find that it didn't change her opinion of him and that it actually relieved a lot of his feelings of guilt.  I loved the way he was there for Lucy at the Mothers Day Gala and how he learned of the cause of all her changes.  There was a lot of heart that showed through that bad boy exterior.

The Loner's Guarded Heart - Michelle Douglas (HR #4020 - Apr 2008)

Series: Heart to Heart

Breaking down the kiss at a time

Josie was touched that her brothers had arranged a holiday for her--she certainly needed one. Only, the location isn't the lively resort she'd expected, but a rustic cabin in a beautiful but isolated Australian idyll....

Her only neighbor for miles is the taciturn, if incredibly attractive, Kent Black. Following a family tragedy, Kent cut himself off from the world. Josie can't help but be intrigued by this solitary man, and with her bubbly, warm personality, she's determined to pick away at the iron padlock around his heart.

Very good book.  Josie's brothers had sent her on vacation after the death of their father.  She had been caring for him for two years and now she needs to decide what she's going to do with the rest of her life.  She wasn't expecting a place quite so isolated.  Her landlord is Kent Black, a man who is very unfriendly but also very attractive.  I really enjoyed the way that, once she stopped feeling sorry for herself, Josie started making the best of her circumstances.  She loves to bake so she started baking things and taking them to Kent, just to have another person to talk to.  Then he sent her to town to talk to one of the ladies about baking for their store.  Her cheerful personality enabled her to make friends easily with some of the town people.  She also started spending more time with Kent and was able to get him to open up a little with her about his family.  Getting to know him also made her feelings for him grow stronger. She was also very attracted to him but on the couple of occasions they kissed he retreated so fast she couldn't figure out his feelings. He also enabled her to start thinking more of her future and having the courage to go after what she wanted.  I loved her confrontation with her brothers at the end.

Kent was hiding out in Martins Gully trying to escape from his feelings of guilt over the loss of his mother and sister.  His attitude kept everyone at arm's length so he could avoid having feelings for anyone.  When Josie arrived she destroyed all his barriers.  He tried really hard to keep her away from him but he just couldn't do it.  First he succumbed to her chocolate cake, then he found that he was starting to care about her feelings and what she was doing.  He was attracted to her but felt that it would be wrong to follow through on that attraction when he has no intention of getting involved in a relationship.  But he couldn't stay away from her and when she got sick he was the one who cared for her.  I loved his disgust of her brothers and how he felt that there was something going on there.  When she left to go home he soon realized what he was missing and went after her.  I loved his big moment at the end, it was really sweet.

There were also some great secondary characters who showed more about Josie's personality and how she cares so much about people.  Her caring is beautifully returned when these people help her at the end.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Comes Baby... - Michelle Douglas (HR #4378 - May 2013)

Series: Mothers in a Million

Meg has always dreamed of having the perfect family, and when she learns her baby window is closing there's only one person who can help.…

Ben has been Meg's best friend since childhood. Their relationship is strictly platonic -- except for that one unforgettable kiss. Helping her to become a mother is the easiest decision Ben has ever made. Only, soon he wants to be more than just their baby's "uncle." Can he convince Meg that he's ready to do the unthinkable and settle down to be a real father?

Very good friends to lovers story.  Meg and Ben have been friends since they were children, there for each other when their families weren't.  Meg has always wanted to be a mother and when health problems cause her to go for single motherhood she knows that she wants Ben to be the baby's father.  He has all the qualities she wants plus she knows that he isn't interested in settling down so the baby would pretty much be all hers. With Ben's footloose lifestyle he can be the fun "uncle".   The only thing she worries about is that it might change their friendship.  She doesn't expect Ben to suddenly decide that he wants to be a father to the baby and it is freaking her out.  She also doesn't expect to suddenly start seeing him as more than just her best friend.  They had kissed once but decided they didn't want to risk their friendship, but now that's all she can think about.  She is also fighting the worry that Ben will suddenly decide that he no longer wants to be a father and will abandon her and the baby, a feeling she is familiar with from her issues with her own father.  I really had a problem with her lack of confidence in Ben's commitment to the baby and the way she kept throwing obstacles and tests at him.  I was glad to see her finally realize what she had been doing and why.

Ben had been running from any kind of commitment all his life.  He refused to believe in love because of the intensity of the emotion.  It brought back way too many bad memories of his parents and the way that they treated each other and him.  He has an exciting life as a high adventure tour guide and his friendship with Meg to make him happy.  He is stunned when she asks for his help and only too happy to give it.  At first he is happy with the "uncle" option, but then realizes that he doesn't want his child to miss out on having a father the way he did.  He doesn't expect Meg's resistance to the idea but is determined to prove to her that he can do it.  I really liked the growth shown by Ben as he changes from the rather selfish traveler that he had been to a man who can be there for the people he loves.  I had fun watching him learn to deal with being an adult.  It was really interesting to see the way that he fought his attraction to Meg, trying to convince himself that it would ruin his friendship with her.  He tried really hard to convince himself that it was just lust until his friend pointed out the truth to him.  His big moment at the end was incredibly sweet.

I also enjoyed the relationship of Meg's dad and Ben's grandmother.  The two of them were adorable together, especially once they started to open up with Meg and Ben.

Close Enough to Touch - Victoria Dahl (HQN - Sept 2012)

Series: Jackson Hole (Book 1)

Can a city girl make it in the wild, wild West?

For makeup artist Grace Barrett, Hollywood isn't the land of golden opportunity. It's the land of difficult divas, cheating boyfriends and unemployment. So when her great-aunt offers her a free place to stay in Jackson Hole, Grace thinks she'll spend a little time in the sticks to figure out her life, and then move somewhere exciting to live out her dreams. But it turns out that there are a few more thrills in this small town than Grace was expecting....

Cole Rawlins is a rugged Wyoming cowboy born and bred. Yet he can't help but be drawn to the fascinating big-city girl who moves in across from him. He wants to get close enough to Grace to see past her tough facade, but if he does, she might see the real Cole. The one with a Hollywood history gone bad. As they discover a sizzling attraction, it becomes harder for him to keep his demons at bay-and those fires from long ago may burn them both.

They'll need more than scorching-hot passion to make this opposites-attract affair work. But if they can learn to trust one another enough to reveal their secrets, they just might have a chance at forever.

This was an okay read.  Overall I enjoyed it but I did have a few issues.  Grace had ended up in Jackson Hole after running from Hollywood.  She will use the time to try to put her life back together before moving on to a possible new job.   Grace is a city girl who has never been to a small town like this.  She is also blunt and not very friendly.  She spent her childhood with a mother who was constantly looking for a man to take care of her and doing whatever she had to to keep one.  This created a need in Grace to be totally independent, refusing to need anyone for anything.  When she met Cole there were sparks between them right away.  She had no problem giving in to her attraction to him but she wanted no part of an actual relationship.  When things with Cole start to change it scares her to think that she may be losing her independence.  I like the way that Grace sticks up for what is right which has gotten her into trouble in the past.  I enjoyed seeing the way she took to the job with Eve and the pleasure she got in doing it well.  The thing I didn't like so much was that Grace was always so angry.  It seemed like she spent way more time angry than happy or content.  I also got frustrated with the way that she never wanted Cole to treat her gently, yet later she seemed to be bummed because he didn't.  I was happy to see her begin to see the similarities between herself and her Aunt Rayleen and want to change, but I feel like it is going to be harder than she thinks.

Cole had come back home to Jackson Hole after a brief trip to Hollywood thirteen years ago.  His memories from that time are not pleasant and he harbors a lot of guilty feelings.  He's been working on the ranch that he plans to buy when the owner retires but he's hit a snag.  He was injured badly a few months earlier and is still in a lot of pain.  He also wonders if he will ever be able to ride again which puts his future plans at risk.  When he meets Grace he is fascinated by her.  He's told himself to stay away from her, especially because of her Hollywood connections but he can't do it.  He would love to get past that tough girl attitude and finds that he sees more and more of what it hides. Even though he had not started out wanting a relationship he finds himself more interested in having her stick around.  When his own Hollywood past causes him problems with Grace he starts to see that he's been guilty of hiding from his own fears also.  I liked Cole somewhat better than Grace, but he also spent a lot of time angry.  While the two of them were pretty explosive together I didn't get much of a feeling of real romance there.  Maybe once they have dealt with their anger issues the softer emotions will come easier.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Unwrapped - Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell (Kensington - Oct 2012)

From the streets of Chicago to the back roads of Kentucky to the wild dunes of a Scottish isle, mistletoe and mischief are this season's hottest gifts...

Blue Christmas - Erin McCarthy
While a blizzard blankets the world outside, Blue Farrow burrows into the arms of her highway hunk at the No Tell Motel. The road might be closed for dangerous conditions, but the couple navigates their own Kentucky Christmas curves. Nice and oh-so-naughty, Blue and her man open up to each other as they keep the Yule log burning.

Definitely a fun story.  Blue is on the way to Miami for a cruise when she gets caught in a blizzard.  She is rescued by Christian and they get snowed in.  Blue is a slightly snarky free spirit who hates Christmas because of a crappy childhood.  Christian is a laid back, cheerful toy engineer who loves Christmas and everything to do with it.   Blue finds herself opening up to Christian in ways she never had with anyone else, but really expects that things will end badly the way they always do for her.  Christian finds her immensely amusing and appealing and would really like to get to know her even better.  I loved the way that he listened to her when she talked about her past and didn't try to blow her off as whiney.  He had a lot of fun fulfilling some of the dreams she'd had as a kid.  By the time the blizzard was over Blue had to decide if she was willing to take a chance on Christian and a future.  I really loved the ending of the story.

Santa in a Kilt - Donna Kauffman
The wind-whipped December sands of the isle of Kinloch invigorate Kira McLeod as she sets out to tame rugged Shay Callaghan, a Scottish bachelor as wary of a wedding ring as a snowman is of the hot sun. It'll take all the wiles of the canny islanders to weave a perfect Celtic Christmas for all....

Good story.  Shay is a lawyer who specializes in divorce cases.  As a result he sees the worst of what can happen to a relationship and has sworn that he will not succumb to one himself.  The difficulty is that he has been attracted to Kira for awhile and knows that she isn't the fling type of woman.  When the attraction becomes mutual and overwhelming Shay's thoughts begin to contemplate the future but he is still scared of what could happen.  I loved Kira's acceptance of his feelings and the way she was able to wait so patiently for him to come to terms with his love for her and what it means to him.

Snow Angel - Kate Angell
Snowed under in Chicago, free spirit Allie is trapped in Dutton's department store on Christmas Eve when the lights go off and the holiday romance heats up. Our snow angel finds herself face to face with the dashing Aiden, the heir to the retail riches and her host for a night of winter wonder...

Trapped in Dutton's department store by a Christmas Eve blizzard, Allie came face to face with Aiden, the man she'd had one incredible night with three years earlier.  Scared by the intensity of her feelings for him, she left while he was sleeping and before she found out his name.  Now he wants to know why and to get to know her better.  He still hasn't told her who he is, as he likes the idea of her learning about the real man, not the store owner.  Allie is trying to cope with her feelings and overcome the issues that sent her running in the first place.  I loved the other people who were trapped in the store with them and the way that Aiden took care of them all.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Outlaw Lawman - Delores Fossen (HI #1431 - July 2013)

Series: Marshals of Maverick County (Book 3)

"In Maverick County, he was the law"
When Caitlyn Barnes unexpectedly shows up at his ranch, Texas marshal Harlan McKinney has no idea his ex-lover is trailing a heaping pile of danger. The death threats against the investigative journalist are just the tip of the iceberg. Soon Caitlyn and Harlan are on the run out of Maverick County.

Enmeshed in a web of escalating violence, they know their only hope of surviving is to trust each other. But Harlan doesn't know if he can trust himself--and the feelings Caitlyn is awakening. With the noose tightening, tracked by a killer who's always one step ahead, Harlan is blindsided by an explosive secret from the past--and a passion that's even more dangerous....

Very good book with lots of action going on.  Caitlyn and Harlan had known each other as teenagers at the children's home.  Now she's running scared.  She has been receiving death threats that lead her back to Harlan.  When she shows up at his house looking for answers they are both attacked and kidnapped and barely escaped with their lives. They find out they are suspects in a murder and go on the run as they look for answers.  As they are cleared of that suspicion other attacks happen that appear to lead back to the unsolved murder of the director of the children's home, but also could have a connection to a stalker in Caitlyn's past.  Besides fighting for her life, Caitlyn is also fighting her attraction to Harlan.  She has never forgotten him and the intensity of these days is just ramping up her feelings. 

Meanwhile Harlan was surprised at Caitlyn's reappearance in his life.  He hadn't heard anything from her except for one less than flattering news story she wrote on the marshal's service since they were teens.  As they try to stay ahead of the killer he finds himself frequently distracted by the chemistry between the two of them.  I really liked his protectiveness toward Caitlyn even when he wasn't sure he could trust her.  As the attacks escalate he is more determined to keep her safe and see where their attraction takes them.

The action and intrigue were very good.  There was plenty of action to keep the characters on their toes.  The mystery of who was behind it all was pretty convoluted.  Sometimes I was sure who it was and other times I began to doubt.  The way it ended up was pretty intense.  I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.

A Jackson Hole Homecoming - Cindy Kirk (HSE #2267 - June 2013)

Series: Rx for Love (Book 9)


From the moment teenagers Adrianna Lee and Tripp Randall locked eyes, she knew they were soul mates. Now, fifteen years later, Anna's teenage dream is coming true: they're holding hands. They're going to the movies. They're even kissing! Too bad it's a complete charade that ends in thirty days.

When Anna agrees to be best friend Tripp's pretend girlfriend, she knows it's to comfort his ailing father, who yearns to see his son happily settled. Besides, Tripp is still grieving for his late wife. But his touch is so electrifying and his kisses are so...convincing. Anna has loved Tripp for such a long time. Is it possible that one month will be enough to open her soul mate's eyes to true love? 

Good book.  Anna had loved Tripp since they were teenagers but she saw him marry her friend Gayle instead.  They moved away from Jackson Hole as Tripp started his career in hospital management.  Now Tripp is back and still recovering from Gayle's death.  They have continued their friendship though Anna would really like it to become more.  Tripp's parents really want him to settle down and see his friendship with Anna as a stepping stone.  With Tripp's dad fighting cancer, he asks Anna to pretend to be his girlfriend for awhile in order to give his dad some motivation to fight.

Anna was reluctant to participate in the deception at first, not liking the idea of lying to their friends and families.  But she also wants to be there for him so she goes along with it.  While she is quite aware of her feelings for Tripp she is sure that he only feels friendship toward her - until his pretend kisses and touches start to feel real.  Then she starts to dream about a future where they are together.  Anna had a bit of a hard time with her relationship with Tripp.  She loved him but felt that he was not truly interested in her, until things started to heat up.  She was hopeful, but also confused because he seemed to blow hot and cold.  This led her to believe that he might care for her but that Gayle would always hold first place in his heart.  As much as she loved him I really liked it when she told him that she deserved more and broke things off with him.  

Tripp was very glad to be back in Jackson Hole.  He had missed his hometown while he was gone but Gayle had not wanted to move back.  After her death he had renewed his friendship with Anna, which had faded while he was married because Gayle was jealous.  Now he finds that he enjoys spending time with her and is seeing her as more than a friend.  This makes him feel guilty, as if Gayle had been right in her accusations, even though he hadn't thought of Anna that way while he was married.  After he asked Anna's help with the whole girlfriend thing he discovered that he wanted to make it real.  Unfortunately he also found that those guilty feelings would pop up at inconvenient times causing him to pull back from Anna.  I felt really bad for Tripp because he seemed to be in a no-win situation, at least in his own mind.  He was also afraid of the strength of his feelings for Anna and that he would be even more devastated if something happened to her.  He had to get past the fear and realize that being together was more important.  I loved his big scene at the end -- so romantic!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Her McKnight in Shining Armor - Teresa Southwick (HSE #2271 - July 2013)

Series: Mercy Medical Montana (Book 2)

"A deal made to be broken"
Everything about Alex McKnight was hard--hard body, hard heart and damn hard to ignore. Yet architect Ellie Hart couldn't deny her immediate attraction to the dark-haired, handsome contractor assigned to complete the Mercy Medical Center with her. Ellie traveled with her own emotional baggage and there was no way she was going to fall so fast for a man like Alex. But when she actually "did" fall fast--by tripping and injuring her foot--Alex came to the rescue by offering her a place to stay while she recovered.

Then Alex suggested the unthinkable: a no-strings-attached, passion-unleashed least until their project was finished and Ellie could walk again. But as restless days became tender, sleepless nights, could Ellie keep her heart safe? And more, could Alex?

Very good book.  Ellie has come to Blackwater Lake as the architect for the new Mercy Medical expansion.  She is trying to restart her career after falling for a coworker who turned out to be married.  While she is attracted to Alex she makes it clear that she won't get involved with him.  When she falls and breaks her ankle she finds that she is dependent on him for a place to stay while she recovers and their mutual attraction only gets stronger.  When Alex proposes a short term fling she figures she can enjoy being with him and move on when the job finishes.  I loved Ellie's independence and determination to focus on her job.  Her attraction to Alex was a surprise and she fought it as hard as she could.  When she broke her ankle she really wanted to handle it all on her own, but soon realized that she couldn't.  Moving in with Alex put a real strain on her willpower.  I loved seeing the way that she fit into his life even though she knew it wasn't permanent.  Ellie's growing love for the area made her want to stay but Alex's frequent reminders of the terms of their fling made her think that he was ready for her to go.

Alex had been terribly hurt by his ex-wife's actions and he vowed that he would not give another woman the chance to destroy him like that.  He is very careful not to get involved with anyone local and makes sure that he doesn't risk his heart.  His immediate attraction to Ellie puts those rules at risk.  When he offers her a place to stay while her foot heals he realizes that he has just made his life a lot harder.  As she becomes more and more a part of his life Alex gets more worried about what is going to happen in the future.  Ellie's growing love for Blackwater Lake makes him wonder if she would stay but he is afraid to risk himself and starts to withdraw.  It's not until after she leaves that he truly understands what he is losing and what he has to do about it.  I loved his confrontation with one of her brothers and then later when he faces all three of them.  It really showed the depth of his feelings and how much he really wanted to get it right.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Marooned With the Maverick - Christine Rimmer (HSE #2269 - July 2013)

Series: Montana Mavericks: Rust Creek Cowboys (Book 1)

"Rust Creek Ramblings
Seducing the Schoolteacher?"
We apologize, dear readers, for our brief hiatus in publication. The offices of the "Rust Creek Rambler" were damaged in the Great Flood, but we are now filing our reports from a bar stool at the Ace in the Hole. And do we have scandalous news for you 

We have it on good authority that during the storm, gorgeous rapscallion Collin Traub was stranded with our beloved kindergarten teacher Willa Christensen--alone. In a barn. "Overnight." No one knows why, but Willa could barely stand the sight of Collin before. And now? Oh, readers--we don't like to kiss and tell. But our sources tell us that the sexy Rust Creek cowboy has set his sights on lassoing the sweet schoolmarm...for good

Very good book.  It starts out with the river flooding out half the town.  Willa is trapped in her car and Collin is the one who rescues her.  Willa is glad to be safe but not real happy that it was Collin who did it.  Four years ago she had made advances to him and been rejected.  Hurt and humiliated she does her best to avoid him now.  Being trapped together makes her realize that she was being silly and she and Collin decide to let the past be and become friends.  Over the next few days she sees a side of Collin that she never expected.  The man with the reputation of the town troublemaker has become one who is calm in a crisis and able to get things done.  The more time she spends with him the more she realizes that she is falling for him.  I love the way that Willa can see the good in him and tries so hard to make him see it too.   I really liked the fact that she admitted that she had misjudged him.  I also enjoyed seeing her stand up to her brother and make him understand that he didn't need to worry about her love life.

Collin is the youngest of the six Traub boys and as such had managed to escape a lot of the supervision that his brothers had received.  As a result he grew up being pretty wild and good at getting into trouble.  He had a reputation as a bit of a heartbreaker because he doesn't get serious about any woman.  He feels that because of that reputation he isn't really good enough for anything permanent with a woman so he doesn't try.  This was the main reason he had rejected Willa all those years ago.  He's always liked her and has been amused by her avoidance techniques, but he's ready to end that silliness.  Getting trapped with Willa gave him that chance, but created another problem.  He discovered that he was also very attracted to her.  As they spend time together working on the flood cleanup he tries very hard to fight his growing feelings.  I loved the way that he finally gave up the fight, but he still didn't believe that he was someone that would be good for her.  As many times as she told him just how wonderful her was he still couldn't believe in himself.  It took awhile for him to realize just how much he loved her, but his big moment at the end was fantastic.

I really enjoyed the background story of the flood and how people are coping with it.  This book shows some of the devastation and the emotions that go with it.  I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series and how the people of Rust Creek Falls repair their town and their lives.

The Rancher's Homecoming - Cathy McDavid (HAR #1458 - July 2013)

Series: Sweetheart Nevada (Book 1)

"A Time To Rebuild"
It's gone--everything Annie Hennessey, and two generations of Hennesseys before her, had worked so hard to build. The devastating forest fire didn't just claim her family's Sweetheart Inn--it also burned half a town whose livelihood is wedding tourism. Now the struggle to rebuild is just beginning, and Sam Wyler's sudden reappearance isn't going to make things any easier on Annie.

Nine years ago, Annie and Sam were deeply in love. When he left to seek his fortune, Annie couldn't forgive him. Now Sam, widowed with a young daughter, is back and eager to help the town recover. But Annie needs more than bricks and builders to heal her proud and wounded heart. Could the love they once shared hold the key?

Good book.  After the fire that destroyed half the town, Annie is struggling to rebuild her life and that of her family.  She is focused on trying to get the Inn rebuilt when she discovers that Sam is back in town.  They had been in love nine years ago but split up when he left Sweetheart for a new job.  She was devastated and wants nothing to do with him now.

While I really enjoyed the story I had some problems with Annie.  Sam had asked her to go with him all those years ago but she refused to leave her hometown even for a short time.  She was so sure that Sam would never be back that she immediately moved on to another guy that she settled for.  Now that he's back she wants nothing to do with him and the memories he stirs up.  She doesn't understand why he came back and why he is so intent on helping the town recover.  Even when she finds out his reasons she refuses his assistance.  She gets angry at him when he steps in to help her mom and grandmother.  Because of their daughters and other events they end up spending some time together and it becomes obvious that their feelings are still there, but Annie still lets her pride interfere with her future.  I really wanted to shake her a few times and make her see what she was doing to herself and Sam.  She was too unwilling to bend or compromise.  I was glad when she finally got it together but she made it way too hard on herself and Sam.

I liked Sam.  Even though he had made his mistakes in their relationship, he was willing to try again.  I liked the way that he came back to Sweetheart to help even though he did it out of misplaced guilt.  I really enjoyed seeing him with his daughter and how he was determined to reconnect with her.  I loved what he was doing with the ranch and how he was using his windfall to help the people of Sweetheart get back on their feet.  He really wanted to get back together with Annie but was frustrated by her stubbornness.  I liked the way he was so good with her grandmother and how he helped her without being nasty to Annie about it. There were some great scenes with him and the various animals.  The animals were one of the ways he used to spend more time with Annie.  I felt so bad for him as he tried so hard with Annie and she kept pulling away from him.  I didn't blame him at all for nearly giving up.

I liked the town of Sweetheart and the way the story shows the devastation following a fire like that.  It looks like there are a lot of good people there.  I'm looking forward to more stories about the way they recover from and move on after the fire.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tempted Into Danger - Melissa Cutler (HRS #1758 - June 2013)

Series: ICE: Black Ops Defenders (Book 1)

""Keep the asset safe or die trying.""
When a simple mission to deliver the beautiful and brilliant Vanessa Crosby to a safe house goes horribly wrong, ICE agent Diego Santero's life gets complicated. Keeping the anti-crime analyst safe from the notorious mercenaries after her program will put everything he's worked for at risk.

Relentlessly hunted and not knowing whom to trust, Diego takes Vanessa on the run, deep into the heart of the deadly Panamanian rain forest. Vanessa reminds herself that she's just another asset to the ruggedly handsome black ops agent...until their intense situation leads to a release of passion neither expected. But even if they make it out alive, how can they ever have a future together?

Excellent book.  It starts out with Diego and his crew being tasked to get Vanessa to a safe house.  He's not happy about being a "chauffeur" but ends up glad he was.  When they are attacked it is up to him to keep her safe.  Vanessa had no idea that the program she wrote would put her in such danger.  Now she's on the run with Diego and has to trust him.  This is hard for her to do at first.  Vanessa's mom died when she was little and her busy father rarely paid any attention to her.  She had a hard time believing that anyone would be there for her.  She was also intensely attracted to Diego, but knew that because of his job there was no future for them.  I really liked the way that her growing trust of Diego also helped her grow in other ways.  She went from being pretty insulated and focused on her work for the bank to someone who could see that her brains and abilities could be used for a much greater good.  She also went from a woman who couldn't see herself doing anything dangerous to one who was willing to put herself out there to save someone she cared about. I loved some of the things that she said to him that would surprise him or confuse him.  I especially loved the discussion they had on what to do when a woman cried - had to laugh at him on that one.

Diego has lived for his job ever since his brother died on 9/11.  He prides himself on never having failed a mission.  When his mission with Vanessa goes wrong all he can think of is keeping her safe.  As things continually go wrong he worries that there is a leak in the department that makes his job impossible.  He feels a growing attraction for Vanessa but his work and relationships just don't mix.  I loved his fascination with the way her mind works.  I thought it was really cute the way that listening to her solve math problems turns him on.  He sometimes gets frustrated with her when her insecurities make her doubt that he will stay with her, but he works really hard to show her that he can be trusted. Diego went through his own growth as he learned that love could make him stronger. I also loved his close relationship with his team and the way they could almost read each other's minds.  I loved their reactions as Diego's feelings for Vanessa become apparent.

The action itself is a wild ride of explosions, gun fights, car chases, and betrayals on the way to a happy ending.  I loved seeing the part that Aaron Montgomery (Seduction Under Fire) played in this book, especially at the end.  I can't wait for the next book - I really hope it is about Ryan.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Medic's Homecoming - Lynne Marshall (HSE #2274 - July 2013)

Series: Whispering Oaks (Book 2)

"The Girl Next Door...All Grown Up "
Lucas Grady never planned to return to Whispering Oaks. But when family duty called, the prodigal son arrived like the good soldier he'd been for years. And with him came the unfulfilled expectations of the past--expectations his neighbor, Jocelyn Howard, knew all too well.

Jocelyn had been in love with the rebel next door since she was a little girl. But she couldn't shake those old insecurities that she'd never be good enough, for Lucas or for anyone else. Still, the newly discharged army medic had scars that could never be truly healed--or so he thought. Maybe together, they could mend their wounds...and make each other whole again....

Very good book.  Lucas came back to Whispering Oaks to help take care of his parents as they recover from an accident.  While he's there he needs to decide what he wants to do with the rest of his life.  He just spent the last eight years as an army medic.  He doesn't  know what he wants to pursue as a career.  He is also suffering from the effects of PTSD which causes him to keep a distance between himself and others.  One person he can't seem to stay away from is Josslyn.  She's all grown up from his high school friend and his attraction to her is strong.  She is also someone he can talk to and who he likes being around.  His feelings for her are growing and changing but he feels that he has nothing to offer her until he can get his life in order.  I really liked the way that Lucas was there for Josslyn and gave her the boost in confidence that she needed to take on the coaching job.  I also really liked the way that his confusion about his future options was so realistic.  He had several things to consider and his worries were shown in a logical manner.  I liked the way he was able to talk to Josslyn about his PTSD but he also didn't take it far enough and nearly lost her because of it.

Josslyn had lived next door to Lucas all of her life.  She had loved him for almost that long.  She was very happy to have her friend back in town.  Josslyn started out with renewing their friendship and was able to talk to him the way she used to.  She was able to share what happened with her brief engagement and show how it had affected her confidence in herself.  She was also very nervous about filling in for Lucas's dad as the track coach.  The way that Lucas spent time with her backing her up gave her a big boost.  She was also happy to find that her attraction to him finally was being returned. It wasn't long before she admitted that her love for him had only gotten stronger.  I loved the way that she made her point to him at the end. 

Lassoed Into Marriage - Christine Wenger (HSE #2268 - June 2013)

Series: Gold Buckle Cowboys (Book 3)


When pilot Lisa Phillips was named coguardian of her niece she did everything by the book: clipped her wings, took cooking classes and settled down to be a stand-in mom. But she hadn't planned on playing house with her "frenemy"-free-wheeling rodeo rider and good-time cowboy Brett Sullivan.

Sully stared down one-ton bulls on a daily basis, but a three-year-old girl struck terror into his heart. And so did the type A "Ice Queen" Lisa. She was too tempting...too dangerous. More than anything Sully wanted to melt her heart...and for the first time he wanted what he couldn't have-a real family with her and their little girl.

Good book.  Lisa and Sully were total opposites but had to find a way to work together to care for their niece Rose.  One thing they had in common is a footloose lifestyle.  Lisa is an airline pilot who has an apartment she barely uses.  Sully is a bull rider who lives out of his motorhome while traveling from rodeo to rodeo.  They both agree that they have to make some changes to give Rose the home she needs.  They also have to get over their dislike of each other, which turns out to be a lot easier than they expected.

Lisa and her sister were raised in a commune by their hippie parents.  Lisa had hated the unstructured lifestyle and compensated by rules and goals for herself until she could get out on her own.  When her sister married Sully's brother she was disgusted by his playboy ways.  It seemed that whenever she saw him he was partying hard and flitting from woman to woman.  When they became coguardians for Rose she had to find a way to work with him.  She had very definite ideas of what she wanted for Rose and Sully had his own ideas.  Also, as they spent more than just a few hours together, she could no longer deny her attraction to him.  I really liked seeing Lisa start to loosen up and enjoy the new things she was experiencing.  She discovered that she had misjudged Sully over many things and started to fall for the man she was beginning to know.

Sully's dad is retired military and had always been very strict with Sully and his brother.  Rick had managed okay, but Sully had rebelled early and often.  He loved his life as a bull rider and traveling from rodeo to rodeo.  Becoming a father to little Rose terrified him but he was determined to do his best.  Thanks to his strict upbringing, Sully tends to be laid back in his attitudes toward almost everything.  Lisa's insistence on rules and schedules drives him nuts and her really wants to get her to loosen up a bit.  I really loved the way he introduced her to his rodeo friends and showed her how wrong her preconceived ideas were.  I also liked the way that once he started to get to know her his feelings changed and grew. 

This was definitely a story of compromises and learning to let go of old prejudices.  I loved the way that both Lisa and Sully learned that there was more to the other one than they had thought.  Both got to experience new things thanks to the other one and their lives were changed because of it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover - Sarah MacLean (Avon - Feb 2013)

Series: Rules of Scoundrels (Book 2)

Lady Philippa Marbury is . . . odd

The brilliant, bespectacled daughter of a double marquess cares more for books than balls, for science than the season, and for laboratories than love. She's looking forward to marrying her simple fiancé and living out her days quietly with her dogs and her scientific experiments. But before that, Pippa has two weeks to experience all the rest -- fourteen days to research the exciting parts of life. It's not much time, and to do it right she needs a guide familiar with London's darker corners.

She needs . . . a Scoundrel

She needs Cross, the clever, controlled partner in London's most exclusive gaming hell, with a carefully crafted reputation for wickedness. But reputations often hide the darkest secrets, and when the unconventional Pippa boldly propositions him, seeking science without emotion, she threatens all he works to protect. He is tempted to give Pippa precisely what she wants . . . but the scoundrel is more than he seems, and it will take every ounce of his willpower to resist giving the lady more than she ever imagined.

Excellent book.   I loved Pippa so much.  She is different than her four sisters.  She doesn't care about the usual things that  appeal to young ladies.  She is a scientist who believes in what she can see and isn't convinced that love exists.  She is due to get married in two weeks and wants to know about the physical side of marriage that no one will talk about to her.  She decides to go to Cross, co-owner of the gaming hell that her brother-in-law is part of.  He turns her down in a unique way, but she finds a loophole and comes back.  There is something about Cross that makes her feel things that don't make sense to her scientific mind.  The more time she spends with him the more she realizes that her safe fiance just isn't what she wants anymore.  She wants Cross, who makes her feel things and also understands her and likes who she is.  The biggest the she has to do is help him overcome his feelings about his past.  She does things in a big way at the end.  I loved seeing the heroine doing the "go big or go home" for a change.

Cross was great.  He's been a big part of the gaming hell for several years as a way to flee his past.  He has terribly guilty feelings about the death of his brother.  These feelings have affected everything about the way he lives his life now.  He is stunned by Pippa's proposition and as much as he is attracted to her he knows he can't do anything about it.  He tries very hard to keep her away, but she is relentless in her quest and he finally gives in.  The scene where he teaches her about temptation is fantastic, with Cross's self control being strained to its limits.  I loved the way that Pippa's intelligence and unique way of looking at life fascinates him.  He understands her the way no one else does and he would love nothing more than to have her in his life permanently.  But he feels that his past makes her out of reach for him.  When that past is used against him he tries to do what he must to protect her.  I completely loved the ending and his surprise at how it came about. 

I liked seeing more of Temple and Chase, the other two owners.  A little more has been revealed about their stories and I can't wait to see what happens to them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Baby Between Friends - Kathie DeNosky (HD #2242 - July 2013)

Series: The Good the Bad and the Texan (Book 2)

"What Are Best Friends For?"
More than anything, Summer Patterson wants a baby. What she doesn't want is a husband. Thankfully, her best friend, Ryder McClain, makes the perfect sperm donor. Ryder is loyal, undeniably sexy and the one man she trusts--the only reason she agrees to conceive their baby naturally.

When baby-making nights with Summer blaze like the West Texas sun, Ryder feels the heat. He never expected Summer to say yes to sharing his bed. Now he's falling for her--and the prospect of fatherhood--while hiding a secret that could destroy her faith in him forever.

Very good book.   I like friends to lovers stories and this one was pretty sweet.  Summer and Ryder have been friends for several years and she is very comfortable with him.  She doesn't think she will ever marry but she wants a child of her own, so she asks Ryder to help her out.  Ryder is surprised but ends up willing to do it.  Neither one expects their friendship to heat up to something more.

I liked both Summer and Ryder.  Summer had been alone for several years after the deaths of her parents.  She wants a family of her own but because of an incident in her past feels that she will never be able to marry.  She has given it a great deal of thought and asks Ryder to be the donor for her to have that baby.  She is surprised by his conditions but is willing to try it his way.  She is nervous about the physical intimacy but discovers that she welcomes it from Ryder.  Her feelings for Ryder start to change from friendship to love but she's afraid that he will never feel anything but friendship for her.  I really enjoyed seeing the way that Summer was able to overcome her past with Ryder's help.  I also liked the way that she had the courage to go to Ryder at the end and show him that he was always the man she thought he was in spite of his own past. 

Ryder had been friends with Summer for several years.  Suddenly he started seeing her as more than just a friend, and it was freaking him out a bit.  When she came to him with her plan, his first reaction was to turn her down flat, but he didn't want to hurt her feelings either.  So he came up with the idea to require that it be done naturally.  He was stunned when she agreed and wasn't quite sure how to deal with it.  When he found out about what had happened to her I loved his reaction.  I especially loved the way that he was so determined to help her overcome her fears.  His total control over himself and his willingness to let her set the pace were just what she needed.  His feelings for her were growing stronger but he felt he didn't deserve the high regard she had for him.  When his past rises up to haunt him he breaks things off with her and tries to hide from his feelings.  I loved the intervention by his brothers and how they tried to make him see sense.  But the best part was when Summer came to confront him and showed him that he had nothing to fear.

The Santana Heir - Elizabeth Lane (HD # 2241 - July 2013)

Series: Billionaires and Babies

""I'm Trying to Be Honorable, Grace. I Advise You Not to Push Me.""
He has money, power and a blood connection. How on earth did Grace Chandler think she could fight Emilio Santana for custody of her stepsister's baby? As Emilio's orphaned nephew, the boy is, after all, the last Santana heir.

Grace isn't about to let the child travel overseas without her and accepts the billionaire's offer to act as nanny. Soon they are in a more...comfortable relationship than either had imagined. There is definite passion pulsing between them, but desire without trust is a dangerous mix....

Good book.  After the death of his brother Emilio discovers that he had a son living in Arizona with his aunt.  Emilio felt it was important that the little boy be raised as a Santana so he went to Arizona to take custody of the little boy.  When he arrived there he realized that he couldn't just take Zac away from Grace and offered her the opportunity to come with him and be part of Zac's life.  The attraction he feels for her adds to his desire to have her there.

I liked Emilio.  He came across at first as not so nice, telling Grace she couldn't win in a custody battle.  It soon became obvious that he really wanted her to come along and not just because of his attraction to her.  He realized that he had no idea how to be a father and didn't want to mess things up the way that his parents had.  I found his nervousness around Zac to be pretty sweet.  It took him awhile but I loved seeing the way he really wanted to be a better father.  His attraction to Grace was something he really wanted to pursue, but he was also a little worried about what would happen when it ended.  He had never had a relationship last so didn't have any expectation that this one would.  He didn't expect to find himself wanting more than just sex, but soon realized that his feelings for Grace were different than anything he'd had before.  I also liked the way that he showed some real growth going from "The Peruvian Playboy" to a man who was comfortable as the head of his businesses and a husband and father.

Grace had started taking care of Zac from the moment he was born and her stepsister had died.  She was fully invested in being the best mother she could and had already started adoption proceedings when Emilio showed up.  She knew she couldn't win against him but wasn't going to give up on being part of Zac's life.  She wasn't happy about the attraction between her and Emilio and made it clear that she didn't want that to affect her stay there.  It quickly became obvious that she wasn't going to be able to resist him.  Grace had some serious issues with being able to trust Emilio having been burned once in a relationship.  I liked the way that she was determined to teach him how to be a real father to Zac, not just one who was there occasionally.  She soon saw that his issues were more about not having confidence in what he was doing rather than not wanting to do it.  It wasn't long before she realized that she had fallen in love with him. There was an interesting twist at the end that separated them for awhile, but Emilio came through in the end.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

One Night With the Sheikh - Kristi Gold (HD #2244 - July 2013)

Series: Bajul (Book 2)

""I Have Never Forgotten That Night.""
Once, he'd chosen duty over love. Now, to escape his guilt and grief, widower King Rafiq Mehdi searches out the comfort of his old flame Dr. Maysa Barad. Her passionate surrender makes him realize that Maysa is the woman he "should" have married. Instead, his marriage of convenience brought nothing but pain and heartbreak. Maysa--beautiful, devoted, compassionate--is now considered too independent to be a sheikh's bride. Rafiq may be ready to defy his kingdom to have Maysa this time, but the truth about Maysa could turn Rafiq's world upside down....

Good book.  Rafiq is dealing with a lot of guilt over his wife's death.  He ends up going to see Maysa, the woman he gave up because of his duty to marry another.  She had been forced to marry another man who abused her until she escaped and fulfilled her dream of becoming a doctor.  She is back in Bajul, but looked down own by many because of that divorce.  They are still attracted to each other but still must hide their relationship.  Rafiq really irritated me through most of the book.  He shouldn't have felt guilty over his wife's death because it was caused by her own choices.  There were other things also that would come out later.  He also was far more worried about appearances than he should have been.  As the king he should be able to influence attitudes and he didn't even seem interested in trying.  I did like the respect he had for Maysa and all that she had accomplished.  By the end his attitude seemed to have changed enough that he was worried about how a revelation would affect her rather than himself.  I loved his final solution and the way he went about it.  It was definitely worth doing.

I liked Maysa much better.  I loved her explanation of her life after her marriage, how she escaped and the way she made her dream come true.  I loved her strength in coming back to Bajul and devoting her time to caring for the poor.  Her insistence on Rafiq going with her so he could see what was happening was her way of forcing him to look outside the box.  She was still attracted to Rafiq but had issues from her marriage that made things more difficult for her.  I appreciated the way that he had the patience to help her through those issues.  As much as she loved him she knew he wasn't going to risk the backlash of a public relationship.  I really liked the way that she had the backbone to stand up to him and let him know she wanted it all or nothing and then to stick to her guns.  Her surprise at the end was fantastic and I loved her reaction.

Temptation on His Terms - Robyn Grady (HD #2243 - July 2013)

Series: The Hunter Pact (Book 2)

"The Nanny's Starring Role"
Amid growing threats to their high-profile family, studio boss Dex Hunter takes custody of his little brother--and tries to put his routine as a Hollywood player on hold. Too bad his brother's new nanny, Shelby Scott, is so easy on the eyes. Soon Dex will do anything to keep Shelby by his side. But when it comes to men, Shelby made a pretty big mistake back home, one that she isn't about to repeat. Now Dex needs to prove he's ready to settle down if he wants to heat things up.

Good book.  Dex needs a nanny for his little brother who is coming to visit.  He settles on Shelby who is great with kids, but he is also attracted to.  Shelby is down on men after a bad experience at home, but she's looking forward to taking care of Tate.  Dex is dealing with threats of blackmail and other attacks and wants everyone to be safe.

Dex is basically a nice guy.  I really like his closeness with his family and the obvious love he has for his little brother.  He wants what is best for his brother and when he meets Shelby discovers that she is great with kids.  He is also attracted to her but agrees with her decision to keep things professional between them.  When threats start happening he sends his brother to stay with his sister for a few days until he can get a handle on things.  Even without his brother Dex wants to keep Shelby close.  He likes the way she makes him feel.  He also admires her strength of character even as it sometimes frustrates him.  I really liked the way he stood up for her against her ex when they visited her hometown.  He didn't realize how much he had come to care for her until she left him over a difference in the way they saw the threats against him.

Shelby had fled to LA after what she saw as making a fool of herself back home.  She was hesitant to accept Dex's offer of employment because of his reputation as a player.  She made it clear to him that, in spite of their attraction, it was hands off.  It wasn't long before she discovered that he wasn't as bad as she had thought and that there was a lot about him she could like.  She still didn't want to give in to the attraction but it got pretty hard to resist.  She liked having Dex and Tate visit her hometown with her as they got to know each other better.  She didn't like the way he was dealing with the threats against him and had no trouble telling him so.  As she realized that she had fallen in love with him, she felt there was so future because of their lifestyles. 

There wasn't really any progress on the question of who is making the threats on their father, but I enjoyed Dex's story.  I also liked seeing Cole again and seeing how his comments on his new life have an effect of Dex.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rumor Has It - Maureen Child (HD #2240 - July 2013)

Series: Texas Cattleman's Club: The Missing Mogul (Book 1)

"Something to Hide?"
Seven years ago, wealthy sheriff Nathan Battle proposed to his pregnant girlfriend. But Amanda Altman ripped out his heart, left town--and suffered a miscarriage. Now she's back and Nathan has to get over her once and for all. But his plan to seduce her, say goodbye forever and focus on his job isn't working too well.

Upon returning to gossipy Royal, Texas, Amanda's determined not to show Nathan how much she still loves him. Yet resisting the gorgeous lawman is impossible. Especially when she discovers she's pregnant with his child...again.

Very good book with plenty of heat.  Seven years ago Nathan had proposed to Amanda when he found out she was pregnant.  While he was away at the police academy she suffered a miscarriage.  Rumors had the reason as something else and Nathan believed them.  Amanda broke their engagement and left town.  Now she's back and the attraction between them is just as intense as it ever was.

Okay, let me start out by saying that, as nice a guy as he basically was, Nathan was an idiot when it came to Amanda. When she got pregnant he proposed because it was the right thing to do.  He never told her if he loved her, he just told her the way it was going to be. When she lost the baby all those years ago he believed the rumors and didn't even bother to ask her about them.  He just accepted the end of the engagement and walked away.  He's never really forgotten her and now that she's back he can't get her off his mind.  So he decides to sleep with her one more time to get her out of his system.  Instead, she's just getting deeper under his skin.  Nathan is the kind of guy who makes plans, and when things don't go according to that plan he gets a bit testy.  He doesn't like not being in control.  I really enjoyed seeing the effect that Amanda had on his life and how it blew his control all to pieces.  I also loved seeing the way he had to deal with the gossip and realize that there was nothing he could do about it.  It took a long time for him to accept the fact that he still loved her and he still had trouble actually saying the words. I did like the scene at the Fourth of July celebration when he was winning teddy bears for the little kids.  It showed that there really was a nice guy there, even with all his idiocy.

Amanda had come home to help her sister run the diner. She missed the small town while she was off in the city and is glad to be back.  The gossip is an irritation but she can live with it.  It's a small town and she knows she's going to run into Nathan sooner or later.  When they do, sparks start flying again.  At first she wants nothing to do with him, but when he comes to her and invites her out so they can talk she gives in.  She doesn't expect to enjoy their dinner out so much and is reminded of why she loved him so long ago.  She also doesn't expect to end up in bed with him again.  She is dismayed to discover that she still loves him and once again has no idea if he loves her too.  When she ends up pregnant and he proposes again, just like the last time, she has to decide if she can trust him with her heart again.

I kept waiting for the "Missing Mogul" part of the book to come up, which didn't happen until near the end.  I like what I saw of Alex and am looking forward to seeing how this storyline plays out.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Secrets of the Lynx - Aimee Thurlo (HI #1394 - Dec 2012)

Series: Copper Canyon (Book 3)

For P.I. Paul Grayhorse, there were no secrets-thanks to his special Navajo gift. He knew why U.S. Deputy Marshal Kendra Armstrong found him in the canyons of New Mexico. Reopening the case that ended his marshal career and killed his partner did more than haunt Paul; it put him in the crosshairs.

Using Paul to flush out her fugitive was risky, but teaming with him was downright dangerous. In his arms, Kendra felt like a woman, with a woman's desires. But with his powers, could she hide her biggest secret-that she'd fallen for him? And that for the first time in her career, she was afraid...afraid to live without him if she couldn't get her man? 

Very good book.  Paul left the marshal's service after his injury and the attack that left his partner dead.  The unsolved murder haunts him and he would like nothing better than to catch the man who did it.  When Kendra comes to him for his help in catching the suspect he is only too glad to help.  It doesn't hurt that she is a beautiful woman that he is attracted to.  Kendra finds Paul very sexy but she is focused on her job.  She is willing to take Paul on as a partner but she doesn't want anything else distracting her.  But the more time she spends with him the more she wants to indulge the woman behind the badge.

I loved Paul.  He had a terrific ability to be able to tell when people are lying or evading the truth which came in handy as a marshal and as a PI.  He was very glad to have a chance to work with Kendra to find the person who killed his partner.  He worked very well with her and I really liked the way he had no trouble with her being the boss.  He was also very attracted to her and would have liked to pursue that attraction but both of them knew that the job had to come first.  He also knew that she was the type that was looking for a permanent relationship and he avoids that kind feeling that he is a bad bet.  But the more time he spent with her the more he discovered that she added a warmth to his life that he had never felt before and the more he thought about a future he had never considered possible. He just needed to be able to put the past behind him. I also enjoyed the closeness Paul had with his brothers and the way that they always had each other's backs.  

Kendra was a strong and independent woman.  She knew that Paul was the key to finding her quarry and was willing to work with him to make it happen.  Her attraction to him was an unwelcome distraction but she did her best to ignore it.  I loved the way that she made sure that he knew that she was in charge, but also that she saw the sense in having him take the lead when it was more practical.  She found the man himself fascinating and enjoyed learning about his heritage.  The more she learned about him and spent time with him the more she came to care about him.  She was prepared to say goodbye to him when the case was solved and knew that there would never be another for her.  

The mystery itself was very well done and kept things moving throughout the book.  It became obvious that there was a leak inside the marshal's office that enabled the bad guy to be one step ahead of Kendra and Paul at all times.  I loved the way that they worked together with Paul's brothers to finally bring the bad guys down.  The leak wasn't really a surprise but the lead up was very good and really kept the story moving.  The epilogue was fantastic and really put a nice cap on their story.