Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Immortal Heart - Julie Miller (Love Spell - Feb 1997)

Series: Lady Tech (Book 1)

BJ Kincaid was woman of contrasts. She was a computer wiz who sought comfort from teddy bears and her poodle, a child genius who'd never known adult love, a loner who secretly yearned for acceptance. Then a security leak threatened her job at LadyTech-and unexplained blackouts threatened her sanity-until the very mysterious Brodie Maxwell came to investigate.

With each new encounter, BJ discovered a man who matched her, paradox for paradox. Beneath his scarred exterior and his brusque, distant manner lay a warm and tender lover, and behind his unwillingness to open up was a man who longed for intimate contact. Most baffling of all, Brodie seemed a crusader, yet he claimed that the woman who loved him was fated to meet an evil end.

Doomed by an ancient curse or blessed by timeless love, BJ knew this was the man for her, and she vowed nothing would stop her from freeing his...Immortal Heart

Very good book.  I have had this one on my TBR for a long time and finally decided it was time to read it.  Brodie is a medieval knight who pissed off a sorcerer.  This sorcerer condemned Brodie to immortality, never being able to marry and have children and fated to tragically lose anyone he came to love.  Fast forward 800 years.  Brodie had served in the Marines with the late husband of one of BJ's coworkers.  When BJ started having problems with blackouts and stolen computer problems Emma asked Brodie to come and investigate.  Brodie is a big man, scarred from all the battles he has fought in.  He can be very intimidating, but he is also a true knight - chivalrous and caring.  He immediately senses that there is true evil at work and has to find a way to protect BJ while he investigates.  I loved the way that he was always there with what she needed, whether it was comfort or a boot in the rear.  He also found that he cared for her far more than any other woman he had ever known which terrified him for her safety.  BJ was a genius who had been isolated since she was a small child.  She was never given the chance to make friends or have boyfriends.  Her people skills are not the greatest but she would really like a chance to be normal.  When she started having the blackouts she feared for her sanity.  At first she wasn't happy to have Brodie with her 24/7 but soon came to realize that he was completely on her side.  She also trusted him quickly when he was able to pull her from the blackouts.  I loved their interactions as they got to know each other.  I liked the way that BJ was able to see the man under the scarred warrior and the way that Brodie was able to open up to BJ.  There were some interesting twists to the plot, but I was right about the identity of the bad guy.  I absolutely LOVED the final chapter.  I will have to find and read the other two related books. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bridal Op - Dana Marton (HI #933 - Aug 2006)

Series: Miami Confidential (Book 4)


As a Confidential agent, Isabelle Rush's assignment included tracking down and rescuing a kidnapped heiress in South America -- not encouraging the attention of her infuriatingly gorgeous and highly skilled partner, Rafe Montoya. Between the stray bullets surrounding them and the local cops arresting them, remaining focused was key to their survival.

But time was running out and their high-stakes mission was putting Isabelle's undercover training to the ultimate test. Now, she would do all she could not to fall prey to an elusive enemy...or to Rafe's playboy charms.

Good book.  The action starts from the first page and doesn't let up through the book.  Rafe and Isabelle have worked together for three years but this is the first time they have spent this much time together.  Rafe has a reputation of being something of a playboy, never dating the same woman for long.  But there has always been something about Isabella that has always appealed to him and now he is finding more about her that he likes.  I loved the way that his mind kept going to the idea of an actual relationship with her, which freaked him out a bit at first, but the idea grew on him.  I really liked the way that he was so protective at the beginning but then realized how good she was and began to really appreciate her abilities.   Isabelle has noticed Rafe for a long time, but was irritated by his playboy ways.  During this mission she gets a chance to see another side of him. I really enjoyed seeing Rafe's surprise as the time passed and she showed that she understood him and how his past affected him.  I loved their visit with his family and the effects it had on both of them.   I really liked how well they worked together on rescuing Sonya.  There were plenty of tense moments of danger that kept the story moving.  I loved the ending - Rafe was such a romantic!

Internal Affairs - Alana Matthews (HI #1399 - Jan 2013)


When the call came in over the radio, Sheriff's Deputy Rafe Franco thought he would be responding to a typical domestic dispute. But he didn't know that the perp was St. Louis's most notorious mobster - or that the victim was his college sweetheart, Lisa Tobin.

Now, as Rafe is drawn into a web of crime and danger, he discovers that his feelings for Lisa are stronger than ever. And her three-year-old daughter, Chloe, is melting his heart in ways he'd never imagined possible. But Lisa's ex is a powerful sociopath who will stop at nothing to get her back-or destroy her. As Rafe's instincts as a man battle with his duty as a cop, he'll do anything to ensure their survival...and their future as a family. 

Good book.  I liked both Rafe and Lisa.  Lisa hadn't known what her husband was really like when she married him, but when it became obvious what a monster he was she divorced him.  Unfortunately, He is obsessed with her and attacks her in her own home.  Rafe is the responding officer and is thrilled to be reunited with her, but not so happy when he finds out who her ex is.  When he takes it upon himself to warn Oliver to stay away from Lisa, he becomes a target.  Lisa knows immediately that she still loves Rafe, and feels guilty for not telling him about their daughter.  I did like the fact that she didn't put it off too long even though she was worried about his reaction.  I also liked the way that she had the courage to stand up for herself against her ex.  I liked the way that Rafe took to Chloe right away, even before he knew she was his.  I also really liked his protective instincts.  Unfortunately he had a bad habit of acting before really thinking things through which got him in some hot water.  I liked the way the whole family pulled together and hope to see more of them in future books.  I also loved Rafe's grandmother - she was fun.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Groom Unknown - Kathy Clark (HAR #536 - May 1994)


Abby Harris had never been impetuous -- until she escaped to Antarctica to marry a man whose words had won her heart, but whose face she'd never seen and whose voice she'd never heard.

A sight-unseen love affair had its surprises, though. Abby got one when she and her wilting wedding bouquet deplaned in the frozen tundra and fell into the arms of Prescott Roberts, the egotistical scientist from her office -- powerfully transformed into an officer and a gentlemen.

She'd never cared for his arrogant manner. He'd never cared for her ice-princess coolness. Neither believed in destiny -- but they believed in a deal. Dealmaking was a risky business, though, when the bargaining table was the marriage bed.

Very good book.  Abby is the quiet and smart one of her three sisters.  She considers herself to be plain and unremarkable.  When she starts on online correspondence with a fellow scientist she doesn't expect anything more than friendship.  When he finds out that he is going to be spending four months in Antarctica he asks her to marry him and join him there.  Even though she'd never done anything like this before, she said yes.  She was stunned to find out that he was a coworker whom she never gotten along with, and he was just as surprised by her.  However, he had been drawn to her from the beginning and now had to decide how to handle this marriage.  I really liked both Abby and Prescott.  Abby had a chance to break out of her shell and be a different person.  I liked the way that she made an effort to do more than just work and got to know the people she was with.  I also liked the way that she was trying to give her relationship a chance.  As she and Prescott took the time to actually get to know each other as people she found there was a lot about him that she really liked.  She also realized that she had fallen in love with him, but didn't have the courage to tell him so.  Prescott was angry at the deception at first, but as he got to know Abby better he discovered there was more to her than he had realized before they got to Antarctica.  I loved the way that he appreciated all of her layers and how he came to love the whole woman. Both of them did a lot of growing while they were there. I thought the ending was really neat.

The Marriage Campaign - Karen Templeton (HSE #2242 - Feb 2013)

Series: Summer Sisters (Book 3)


Maid of honor at her cousins' double wedding is as close as Blythe Broussard plans to get to tying the knot again. But Wes Phillips refuses to take "I won't" for an answer. The widowed Maryland congressman is passionately campaigning for a date with the once-burned D.C. designer. And Wes's eleven-year-old son just joined the race.

Getting reelected isn't as important as winning Blythe's trust and convincing the guarded beauty to take a shot at love...even if her scandalous past threatens to derail Wes's political future. His future with Blythe comes first-if they're both willing to risk their hearts for a second chance that's worth fighting for. 

Excellent book.  I really liked both Blythe and Wes and was rooting for them to get their happy ending.  Blythe is helping her cousins plan their weddings and spending time with her youngest cousin, who is best friends with Wes's son Jack.  Therefore, Wes and Blythe find themselves together fairly often.  Wes doesn't see himself wanting to remarry any time soon as he and Jack are still grieving for his late wife.  So he is surprised by his sudden attraction to Blythe, but that attraction grows stronger very quickly.  Blythe was married once and it didn't turn out well.  She has convinced herself that she will be quite happy as the "aunt" to her cousins' children, but realizes that it also means she is going to be rather lonely.  Blythe also recognizes that Jack is having some serious issues because his dad's work as a congressman keeps him away from home a lot.  She had problems of a similar kind when she was Jack's age and knows what kind of trouble it can lead to so she tries to help.  But Jack also is resisting the idea that his father might be interested in a woman other than his mother and makes his unhappiness known.  Wes is a terrific guy and really nice on top of that.  He recognizes that he is falling hard for Blythe, but she is also resisting.  She doesn't want to cause more problems for Jack, plus her problems as a teen could create problems for Wes's political career.  I could see how she was sacrificing her happiness for what she saw was the greater good of Wes and Jack's lives, because she just didn't see herself as worth the hassle.  I loved his persistence and how hard he worked to show Blythe that it was possible for them to be happy together.  I loved the friendship between Quinn and Jack.  She was understanding of his problems but also had no trouble telling him when he was being an idiot.  They both seemed like pretty typical eleven year olds.  I also liked the continuing story of the relationship between the three cousins and how they were always available for each other.  I thought that the way that Wes finally convinced Blythe was great, especially how he figured out how to deal with her past.  The epilogue was the perfect wrap-up. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Manhunt - Carla Cassidy (SIM #1294 - May 2004)

Series: Cherokee Corners (Book 4)


Something that could help catch a dangerous serial killer. FBI agent Nick Mead had precious little time to convince the troubled Native American beauty that she could trust him with anything and that he would safeguard her no matter the cost.

How could Alyssa Whitefeather tell this sexy agent that she'd been making love to him in her mind long before he ever walked into her bed-and- breakfast and asked for a room? How could she tell him that she'd been having visions of the serial killer's next victim? But then, how could she not -- when instinct told her it was him?

Excellent book.  Nick had come to Cherokee Corners to help catch a serial killer.  As a profiler he had a lot of experience with serial killers - including the one that had killed his wife and was still at large.  When he met Alyssa he was immediately drawn to her, but she looked at him with fear in her eyes.  Alyssa didn't know how to tell him about her visions.  Most people either thought she was strange or were afraid of her because of them.  I really liked Nick.  He was very intense about his job, but he had also learned how to remove himself from the stresses that went with it.  I loved the way that he was so accepting of Alyssa's visions and how he worked so hard to help her through them.  I also liked the way that he was so comfortable talking about his late wife, and that her death hadn't made him want to avoid falling in love again.  Alyssa had been dreaming of Nick for a month before he showed up.  She saw herself loving him and killing him which terrified her.  She hesitated telling him about her visions because so many people gave her a hard time about them.  She has spent her whole life not getting too close to people because she felt that her visions would cause her to spend her life alone.  As she and Nick got closer physically and emotionally she knew she would have to make a decision.  I also enjoyed the suspense.  As the task force worked to figure out who was doing the killing I enjoyed seeing the relationships among all the people.  I actually figured out the killer before the end of the book, but there were a couple of twists that made me wonder if I was right.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Deadly Sight - Cindy Dees (HRS #1737 - Jan 2013)

Series: Code X (Book 3)

"I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with you."

Since Grayson Pierce's family was murdered, loyalty to Code X -- and a death wish -- is all that keeps him going. But now the hardened agent is facing his riskiest assignment yet.

"Sam," a distractingly sexy operative with supersensitive vision, will need Gray's nearness more than she's willing to admit. But will their combustible chemistry compromise their mission?

It will take all of Grayson's training to stay focused as he and Sam uncover a dangerous high-tech conspiracy. Because he can't risk the consequences to national security…or the woman who's jump-started his will to live.

Very good book and pretty spooky with the story line.  Gray is asked to help out his friend Jeff Winston by investigating some odd things that are happening in West Virginia.  To help him out Jeff sends Sam Jessup.  Gray is expecting a man, not a gorgeous woman with freakishly good eyesight.  Because they are in an area where cellphones, computers and other modern electronic devices can't be used Sam's eyesight is what will further their mission.  They are also dealing with an intense attraction between the two of them.  Gray has been emotionally empty for five years, ever since his wife and kids were brutally murdered.   He doesn't want to feel anything but Sam has blasted her way through his walls.  From being a loner who doesn't want anyone to depend on him he finds himself wanting to make sure she's safe and cared for.  He still refuses to open up to her though and fights his growing feelings.  He also feels guilty for having those feelings.  Sam has her own issues from the past that she has to deal with.  While she hasn't completely opened up her past to him she is a lot more comfortable with their chemistry than he is.  I really liked her kick ass attitude and the way she refused to be sidelined by Gray's need to protect her.  I also enjoyed their cover story and the way they were "playing house" together.  It really showed more about the issues they were both facing and how each was dealing with them.  I enjoyed the mystery that brought them there and thought that it was pretty intense.  There were a couple interesting twists that kept the suspense going for me.  I liked the way that they agreed to continue their relationship to see where it would go rather than moving immediately into marriage.  I'd also like to know if Gray is going back to his job or is going to work for Jeff instead.  I also had some questions about his boss that weren't answered, but maybe they weren't that important to the story.

Friday, January 25, 2013

One More Kiss - Katherine Garbera (HB #732 - Jan 2013)

One taste isn't enough…

Since her divorce, cupcake queen Alysse Dresden prefers baking over boys…until a phone order from a sexy-voiced stranger melts her insides like butter. It isn't until Alysse makes the delivery in person that she realizes -- too late -- that the only man who can do that is her ex-husband….

After Marine Corps ace Jay Michener walked out on his weeklong marriage, he never stopped thinking of Alysse. Wanting her. And with his reenlistment only weeks away, he wants a second chance.

But Alysse has plans of her own -- and if the way into a guy's heart is through his stomach, maybe the way out of it is through his bed! 

Pretty good book and second chance story.  Aly and Jay haven't seen each other in four years.  Jay is coming up on decision time as to whether he continues in the Marines or gets out.  He hasn't been able to forget Aly and regrets the way he left her.  He would like a second chance to win her back.  Aly has been working hard to get her bakery off the ground and hasn't dated much.  She doesn't seem to be able to connect with any of the men she has gone out with.  When he reappears in her life she realizes she has never gotten over him.  He is trying to win her back and she is trying to use their attraction to get over him once and for all.  Both of them had some serious issues to overcome.  Aly quickly realizes she still cares for him but feels that she cannot trust him to stay.  She knows that he has problems opening up, that he is very much a loner.  She keeps trying to make him fit into her life the way it is rather than trying to find a compromise between their two worlds.  She eventually figures out that's what she is doing, but still has those trust issues.  Jay has had a couple close calls while he was deployed and realizes that he doesn't really want to live the rest of his life alone.  He has thought about her constantly over the last four years and would like to see if they can work things out.  He hadn't had much love in his life as a kid and as a sniper was also very much a loner.  He has never learned how to open himself up to his feelings and keeps trying to protect himself.  They both keep repeating past mistakes and I wondered if they were ever going to get it right.  I was glad to see that they were both able to exhibit some character growth and work out their problems.  On a side not, this is the second book I've read lately where the Harlequin editors have properly capitalized Marine and Marine Corps.  After years of complaining, maybe they have finally learned...

Ultimate Cowboy - Rita Herron (HI #1401 - Feb 2013)

Series: Bucking Bronc Lodge (Book 6)


Rancher Brody Bloodworth has spent years blaming himself for his brother's disappearance. If he hadn't snuck off to be with Julie Whitehead, everything would have been different-and he wouldn't have pushed her away. Now Julie is back, as an FBI agent with a solid lead on his brother. Although the past makes Brody reluctant to fall for Julie again, he admires her for being unable to keep her hands off the case. Before long he finds himself unable to keep his hands off her. As he prepares for a showdown with the ruthless kidnappers, Brody knows what's at stake if he wins. And just how much he'll lose if he doesn't.... 

Very good book.  Brody has spent years dealing with the guilt of his brother Will's disappearance.  He started the Bucking Bronc Lodge as a way to help other boys in a way he hasn't been able to do for Will.  He has also never given up the hope of finding him.  When he gets a call from Julie telling him that they finally have a promising lead he can't wait to jump in.  He has also felt guilty for the way he treated her after the kidnapping, but doesn't want to take the risk of falling for her again.  Julie has also spent the last years dealing with her own guilty feelings.  She gave up her dreams of working with animals and went into law enforcement working mostly on cases involving women and children.  She has never given up hope of finding Will and is happy to have this promising lead.  As she and Brody work together to find the man who has kidnapped many boys over the years they learn to accept the events of the past and to try to let go of the guilt.  I loved Brody and his never give up attitude.  I also loved the patience and caring he showed to all the boys on the ranch.  I also liked seeing the people from the previous books and how they all came together to help Brody when he needed it. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Date With Fortune - Susan Crosby (HSE #2239 - Feb 2013)

Series: Fortunes of Texas: Southern Invasion (Book 2)


With her luscious chocolate truffles, Red Rock's favorite confectioner, Felicity Thomas, has won the hearts of many customers, but she's never been tempted to give away her own. Until the notorious Michael Fortune saunters into her life. "I've met the man I'm going to marry," she insists that very day. And with Valentine's Day just around the corner, who could blame the innocent beauty for waxing romantic about the sexy Southern tycoon?

"Stay away from her, " everyone warns Michael-but there's nothing the COO hates more than being told what to do. Captivated by the small-town sweetheart, he pulls out all the stops to romance her. Fancy dinners. A limo. A helicopter tour. A private jet to the Caribbean...where Michael gets the surprise of his life...and a whirlwind wedding might just deliver virginal Felicity into his waiting arms!

Very good book.  Michael had come to Red Rock to try to talk his cousins into coming back to Atlanta and the family business.  He met Felicity the first day he was there and felt an immediate connection to her.  It really threw him because he'd never felt anything like it before.  But he doesn't believe in romantic love and thinks it is a myth.  He believes successful relationships are built on respect and friendship and having things in common.  All his family members told him to leave her alone, that he was the type to break her heart. He hates being told he can't do something so he ignores them.  Michael finds himself thinking about her constantly and wanting to do things for her.  At first he does things like he would in Atlanta, but soon finds that those are not the type of things that appeal to Felicity.  I loved seeing Michael as he starts thinking more about her than himself.  Felicity is a successful businesswoman who knows what she wants.  She is also a great believer in love.  She felt the connection with Michael right away also and was convinced she had met "the one".  She couldn't understand why everyone was warning her against him because she saw a caring thoughtful man.  Both she and Michael end up with some issues they have to face before they can reach their happy ending.  I really liked the way that Felicity stood up for herself and her needs.  I also enjoyed seeing Michael as he came to realize that his cousins had no intention of returning to Atlanta and how he applied their feelings to his own life.  I'm looking forward to finding out more about the reason that sent them all running.

My Cowboy Valentine - Jane Porter & Tanya Michaels (HAR #1438 - Feb 2013)

A kiss from a cowboy?

Be Mine, Cowboy by Jane Porter
Years ago, Rachel James gave Cade King an ultimatum, and he walked. Heartbroken, Rachel moved on. Life is tough as a single mom, but Rachel is doing just fine.

Now Cade's back after burning up the rodeo circuit, and things are different. He's sober, but with one burning regret. He has some work to do to show Rachel he's changed - but he's up to the challenge.

Cade has come back to Mineral Wells to try to renew his relationship with Rachel.  They had been in love years earlier, but Rachel couldn't handle his drinking and gave him a choice - straighten up or leave.  He left and has regretted it ever since.  He eventually straightened himself out and now he wants to show her that he's changed.  I loved the way that he knew he had a lot of work to do to show Rachel that he wasn't the same irresponsible jerk.  I also loved the way that he was so good with her son and had the patience that was needed to help her with his special needs.  Rachel had been heartbroken by Cade's departure, but was fantastic as a mother.  Her greatest problem was an over abundance of pride which kept her from accepting help when it was offered.  I really liked the way that he refused to give up.

Hill Country Cupid by Tanya Michaels 
Series: Hill Country Heroes (Book 3.5)
Tess knows what young Bailey Calhoun wants: a mom. So when she sees shy cowboy Nick Calhoun giving someone the eye, Tess goes into full matchmaking mode.

Nick is happy to have Tess's help - but her matchmaking backfires. How can he convince his cupid that she's the one he wants?

Tess is known in town as a pretty successful matchmaker.  She has known Nick for most of her life and can't understand why the ladies in town keep overlooking him.  She makes it her mission to help him overcome his shyness so he can find his soulmate.  Nick is happy to accept her help, but soon realizes that the only woman he is interested in is Tess.  Both of them have some real self esteem issues.  Nick has always been shy and quiet because of his stuttering when he was younger.  His older brothers are very outgoing, so he tends to get overlooked.  Tess is shorter and curvier than her older sister and always seemed to lose out on everything to her.  This also causes her to think that no man will ever be interested in her.  When Nick starts pursuing her she can't believe that he really wants her and it takes some hard work on his part to convince her. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hostage Midwife - Cassie Miles (HI #1402 - Feb 2013)

Series: Midwife (Book 5)


In a twist of fate, midwife Kelly Evans is the only person to hear the last words of a dying man. Although the words make no sense, someone thinks she knows more than she should. And millionaire playboy Nick Spencer may just be her fiercest protector. If his uncle was murdered, Nick fears the Spencer fortune is at risk. And worse, that Kelly, an innocent bystander, may be in danger. When a hostage situation traps Kelly within the killer's grasp, Nick knows he holds the key to her release. He'll do anything to save her life-even if it costs him his own. 

Good book.  It started in the middle of the action, then went back to a week previously to set it up.  Kelly is a midwife who meets Nick, the brother-in-law of one of her patients, during one of her classes.  They are immediately attracted to each other.  She is with Nick when his uncle is shot in an apparent suicide and as a nurse is the one to help him while waiting for the ambulance.  He mutters a few things that make no sense, but someone thinks she knows something.  She and Nick soon suspect that it was murder and not suicide and they start trying to find out why and who.  This book was much more about the search for why and who and didn't have the intense action scenes that I am used to in the Intrigues.  The hostage scene at the end was good.  I enjoyed seeing how both Nick and Kelly dealt with the situation.  I liked the way that both Nick and Kelly were able to do the creative thinking like his uncle did rather than focusing on the bottom line like his brother and the others.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Alaskan Rescue - Dominique Burton (HAR #1440 - Feb 2013)

A Place For Wild Hearts To Heal

Sashi Hansen came to Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, to work herself closer to her dream: her own ballet studio. Instead, a wild bear has landed her in a nightmare. Her leg is broken, and she may never dance again. Her heart is broken with the loss of her best friend. And her mind...well, she's confused. Her savior, Dr. Cole Stevens, is sending mixed signals. She's never received such loving care-but it seems the healer needs healing, too, from his own private pain and loss.

Sashi's ready and willing, but can't get close. With everything that Alaska throws at him, why can't this courageous bush doctor handle his own heart? 

This was a very good book, very emotional.  Sashi had just finished a job in Alaska to earn money for the down payment on a dance studio back home in Virginia.  She and her best friend were attacked by a bear, and her friend was killed.  Sashi was badly injured.  She had briefly met Cole and was instantly attracted to him.  He was one of the people who rescued her and is now helping to take care of her.  She can see in his eyes and by his actions that he is attracted to her too, but he seems intent on treating her more like a friend.  She is also dealing with tremendous survivor's guilt, feeling like she should have been able to do more to save her friend.  This guilt also makes her feel like she is unable to have a healthy relationship with Cole.  Cole was attracted to Sashi from the moment he met her.  But when he became her doctor he knew he had to distance his emotions in order to allow her to fully heal.  He also realized he had his own survivor's guilt that he needed to work through.  I loved the way that he took such good care of her.  He also showed her the parts of Alaska that he had fallen in love with and was surprised to see how much she appeared to love it too.  At times I felt like he had held on to his position of distance for too long as it made Sashi begin to doubt that he really felt anything for her.  But she also pushed him away at the end when she allowed her guilt to take over again.  I loved their families and friends and all the love that was shared with them.   

Beyond Valor - Lindsay McKenna (HRS #1739 - Feb 2013)

Series: Black Jaguar Squadron (Book 4)


Luke Collier knows his duty. A Marine Corps combat medic, his job is to save lives-not satisfy his own desires. Megan Trayhern is his corpsman, but the beautiful redhead can't be anything more. Luke has already given his heart once, and he understands the toll the Corps can take on a woman, on a romance...on a marriage.

Megan has her own mission. While she doles out medical care in the nearby village, she's also gathering intel. It's a dangerous assignment, one that the onetime military brat undertakes without fear. She needs to focus-and be careful-and the growing passion she feels for Luke can only put them both at risk. Honor binds them both, but the heart gives its own orders.... 

I love Lindsay McKenna's military romances and this was another top notch book.  Megan is a Trayhern, and as such has followed in the family tradition of military service.  She is also a healer and nurturer so she chose to train as a nurse and become a combat medic.  She is part of a group that assigns women to combat units so that they can interact with Afghan women who are forbidden to speak to men who are not family members. Her presence also makes things safer for the men of the unit. When she is sent to a Marine unit on the Afghan border she is assigned to the current medic for training and support.  Luke is thrilled to have Megan there because he sees the need in the local village.  He doesn't expect an immediate attraction to her.  They fight their growing feelings but it is a losing battle.  I really loved both Megan and Luke.  Megan knew her strengths and weaknesses.  She had great empathy with the women of the village and was able to jump in an help immediately.  She had a wonderful ability to keep calm in a crisis which helped her a lot.  Luke was experienced as a combat medic and was able to give Megan a lot of great advice.  The story also did a wonderful job of showing what life is like for the villagers.  The explanations of the relationships between the villagers and the troops and how they had to work with culture differences were well done.  The action was fantastic from the attacks on the base to Megan's kidnapping.  I loved seeing Megan stand up for her patient and face down the woman's husband. I really liked seeing the way that Megan and Luke took their developing relationship slowly and tried hard to keep it out of their working relationship. I also loved the character of Mina, the head man's wife.  She was the perfect liaison between Megan and the Americans and her husband.  She was terrific at explaining to Megan the way things were from the women's point of view.  I loved seeing Emma and Khalid again.  I also look forward to seeing more of the Turkish woman pilot - I expect she will have her own story before too long.  I was also excited to see that throughout the book Marine and Marine Corps were properly capitalized (a pet peeve of mine).  Maybe the editors at Harlequin finally understand how it is supposed to be done!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bedroom Diplomacy - Michelle Celmer (HD #2210 - Feb 2013)

Series: Daughters of Power: The Capital (Book 2)

A Scandal Waiting to Happen

After her last politically minded suitor left her heartbroken and pregnant, Rowena has sworn off the Capitol Hill dating pool. But even she isn't immune to Colin Middlebury's British charms, and his skills extend beyond the political arena.

As a diplomat, Colin has dealt with a lot of demands, but none like Senator Tate's warning to stay away from his beautiful daughter. Colin needs the senator's support, but resistance is futile where Rowena is concerned. What harm could there be in getting to know her a little better? International relations are about to become quite...intimate. 

Good book.  Rowena has gotten her life together after being something of a wild child.  She is running a child care center on her father's estate and caring for her special needs son.  I liked the way she was so intent on the care of her son.  I also liked the fact that she had a troubled past and had overcome her addictions to become a better person.  She had long since tired of the way men tried to use her to get to her father so she doesn't date any more.  When she is introduced to Colin there is an immediate attraction between them but she knows better than to give in to it.  Colin is in the US to work on a treaty regarding internet security.  He is immediately drawn to Rowena but is warned off by her father.  He finds, however, that he just can't stay away from her.  I really liked the way he continued his pursuit of Rowena even though they had to be careful.  I also loved how good he was with her son.  There was an immediate connection there, even though Colin had no idea if he would be any good with children. He hadn't had a good relationship with his mother so he is very impressed by Rowena's love for her son.  I liked the way that Colin's attentions gave Rowena the courage to finally stand up to her father and take her life back. I didn't like the Senator at all.  I also liked the way that Rowena is going to take their relationship slowly to make sure that everything goes smoothly.  There wasn't much about the continuing mystery of the president's daughter, but there were a few hints dropped on the progress.  I'm looking forward to the next book.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Together for Christmas - Lisa Plumley (Zebra - Oct 2012)

In a hilarious and heartwarming novel from USA Today bestselling author Lisa Plumley, a down-home diner owner meets a sexy Scrooge -- but will it be a match made in holiday heaven?

Casey Jackson doesn’t do Christmas. Mistletoe, eggnog, pitchy carolers -- it all leaves the L.A. based talent agent colder than a winter sleigh ride. Nonetheless, Casey’s been called to Kismet, Michigan, to help get a pop star’s holiday special back on track. But it’s the diva’s sister who’s proving the biggest obstacle. Kristen Miller is funny, sassy -- and crazy about Christmas. And suddenly, Casey has all kinds of visions dancing in his head…

Kristen can’t believe that Casey is anti-Christmas. To her, the season is as magical as the thrill she feels whenever they touch. Because even though Kristen set out to teach the charismatic hotshot a thing or two, she’s learning some lessons of her own. About letting herself stand in the spotlight for once, about holiday flings that can turn into much more -- and about how all you really need for the perfect Christmas is the right person to share it with…

Casey is in Kismet to get Heather's TV special back on track, but the place is driving him nuts.  It is over the top Christmas everywhere he looks and he isn't a Christmas guy.  Heather has told him that all she needs is for him to keep her sister out of her hair.  Then she tells Kristen that Casey is there to shut down the production and to try to keep him away from the set.  At first meeting they really don't like each other, but are forced to spend time together.  Kristen is determined to get Casey involved in some Christmas spirit.  Casey would like to get closer to Kristen.  I liked Kristen's Christmas spirit and the way she tries to get Casey on board.  She has some real sibling rivalry issues with Heather that have contributed to her extreme Christmassyness.  She still loves her sister but it is mixed up with other feelings also.  I liked Casey's ability to help people find solutions to their problems.  It shows a real way with understanding people and what makes them tick.  I also enjoyed seeing the way that Kristen was able to get him to participate and enjoy various Christmas activities.  Both of them showed some real character growth by the end of the book.  Their story was overrun on many occasions by the secondary characters.  Heather was creating the problems on the set because she wanted more time with the guy she had a crush on and had no problem using her show to do it.  I thought she was terribly manipulative throughout most of the book, but finally exhibited some redemption at the end.  There was also a romance between two of Kristen's employees that started when they were trying to protect Kristen from Heather's paparazzi.  I enjoyed their story but there was so much of it that it was a distraction from Casey and Kristen.    

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Return of the Border Warrior - Blythe Gifford (HH #1114 - Nov 2012)

Series: Brunson Clan (Book 1)

Word in the Royal Court has spread that the wild Scottish borders are too unruly. Upon the King's command, John Brunson must return home…

Once part of a powerful border clan, John has not set eyes on the Brunson stone tower in years. With failure never an option, he must persuade his family to honor the king's call for peace.

To succeed, John knows winning over Cate Gilnock, the daughter of an allied family, holds the key. But this intriguing beauty is beyond the powers of flattery and seduction. Instead, the painful vulnerability hidden behind her spirited eyes calls out to John as he is inexorably drawn back into the warrior Brunson clan….

I have mixed feelings about this book.  By the end I really liked it, but I felt like the first half dragged a bit, making it hard for me to get really involved.  John had been sent away from him home at age twelve to be a companion to the boy king.  Now he has been sent by the king to bring Brunson men to fight in the king's war against a traitor.  He arrives to find his father dead and his brother as the new laird.  No one is interested in having anything to do with his mission and he still feels like an outsider among his own people.  He is rather naive I think about how effective the king's word would be in keeping the peace.  He also discovers that the key to his success may be in convincing Cate that it is in the clan's best interest to cooperate with the king.  He doesn't remember what Border people are like and thinks that a few kisses and cuddles will turn Cate from her purpose and is surprised when it doesn't.  He also senses that there is more to her than appears on the surface.  Cate's father was killed and she was assaulted two years previously.  Since then she has lived for revenge and kept everyone at a distance.  She doesn't understand why she is so drawn to John when she fears all men.  She wants to trust her feelings and the things he tells her but trust is a hard thing for her now.  I did like the growth that both characters showed.  John changed from someone who wanted to hurry up and complete his mission and return to court to someone who had reconnected with his roots and was more interested in the welfare of his people.  He also showed incredible kindness and patience with Cate and showing her how good it could be between them.  He also was able to confront his feelings of rejection from being sent away.  Cate was able to confront her fears with John's help and learn that she could move on from the past and have a brighter future.  I liked the way that it was shown as a process and not a sudden healing.  I did like the way that people's motivations were portrayed in a realistic way.  The politics of the time were also shown well without beating the reader over the head with it.  I'm looking forward to the next one.

Friday, January 18, 2013

How to Woo a Spinster - Kasey Michaels (Harlequin - Aug 2009)

Series: Daughtry (prequel)

Still unmarried at twenty-eight, Lady Emmaline Daughtry has resigned herself to spinsterhood. Then Captain John Alistair arrives at her door -- the very image of the perfect lover of her most private dreams. But can a man with a secret and a woman who's never known love find happiness together?

Good story.  Emmaline is at home, contemplating her life on her twenty-eighth birthday.  Her older brother and nephews have gone off to sail a boat that they won in a card game, ignoring her as usual.  Captain Alistair has arrived at her door bringing the news that her brother and nephews have drowned.  She is stunned and slightly disturbed by the fact that she doesn't really feel any grief.  What she does feel is an attraction to the captain.  She talks him into staying for a few days to help her with what needs to be done.  John is bowled over by Emmaline's beauty and her self possession.  He had been expecting to have to deal with a hysterical female and was pleasantly surprised by Emmaline's composure.  He was also surprised by his reaction to her.  He has been called home by the death of his father but has not told Emmaline that he is more than just a captain, enjoying getting to know her as just an ordinary man.  I really liked both Emmaline and John.  I liked the way that she was willing to pursue what she wanted as well as being able to keep her head.  John was a good man who wanted to help Emmaline, but he was also honest enough to be able to tell her his feelings quickly.  I would have liked the story to be longer as I felt that their relationship happened a bit too quickly to be realistic but I still enjoyed it. 

Secrets of a Courtesan - Nicola Cornick (Harlequin - May 2009)

Series: Brides of Fortune (prequel)

All's fair in love and matrimony in Nicola Cornick's wildly romantic new series that introduces the ladies of Fortune's Folly--spirited heiresses who are more than a match for society's most dashing rogues!

The epitome of privilege and power, the handsome Duke of Welburn sets all the ladies' hearts aflutter as he strides into the village of Fortune's Folly.

For Eve Nightingale this fluttering is a mixture of wariness and wonder. Once his glittering society mistress--caught up in his glamorous world by day and tangled in his bedsheets by night--she is now no more than a penniless yet proud shopkeeper.

It's a world Eve can't go back to--she has secrets to keep. But this determined duke seems very keen on unravelling them....

Good story, though I would have liked it to be a little longer.  Welburn has been sent to Fortune's Folly because Eve is suspected of being in league with local criminals.  This is the first time he has seen her since she disappeared without a trace five years earlier.  He was hurt and furious and all too willing to believe ill of her - until he actually sees her again.  Suddenly things aren't adding up and he is determined to find out why.  Eve was heartbroken when she left him, but she loved him too much to allow him to throw his future away on her.  She is furious at his attitude, but knows that she still loves him.  She allows herself to be coerced into helping him, but ends up defending herself from trouble before he can rescue her.  Short as it was there was enough heat and action to make it a satisfying read.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Real Cowboy - Sarah M. Anderson (HD #2211 - Feb 2013)

Series: Rich Rugged Ranchers (Book 2)

Producer Thalia Thorne's career is on the line. She's promised to lure James Robert Bradley back to the limelight, no matter what it takes. But once in Montana, she sees that J.R. has built a new life for himself -- as a real-life cowboy -- and Thalia finds it hard to resist the man he's become….

Then a blizzard strikes. Suddenly they're alone, with only body heat to keep them warm. When the snow melts, she'll have to choose: go back to the big city -- or sacrifice everything for the man she can't let go.

I really liked this book.  JR had left Hollywood after twenty one years there because he realized that he lost in the lifestyle.  He left that life behind, went to Montana and bought a ranch.  He's now living a life he's comfortable in - most of the time.  Because he had spent his childhood and early adulthood as a star, he had never really learned how to handle himself in social situations and occasionally gets in over his head.  When Thalia shows up he is totally rude to her and just wants her gone.  There's something about her that gets under his skin, but he wants nothing to do with that life again.  Thalia is desperate.  She needs to deliver him as an actor for the movie or her career will be over.  But she quickly sees that the man he has become is so much better than the one he left behind.  I really liked seeing the way her vision of him changed from the product she had to deliver to the man who belonged to the land he lived on.  She made a couple of bad choices that came back to cause her problems but she did an excellent job of overcoming them.  I really enjoyed all the characters in the book.  They were written in a way that I could see them and hear them as I read.  Besides JR and Thalia, I loved Minnie and her motherliness and the way she treated both JR and Thalia as if they were her own.  Her son Hoss was terrific as JR's buddy, not saying much but getting the point across when needed.  I also liked the way she described the smarmy Levinson and the attitudes back in Hollywood.  I'm really looking forward to the next book.

All He Really Needs - Emily McKay (HD #2213 - Feb 2013)

Series: At Cain's Command (Book 2)

There's nothing a Cain can't do

No doubt about it, Griffin Cain makes love better than any man. Night after night his decadent, sensual acts turn conservative Sydney Edwards into a wanton woman. But all that stops when Griffin is made CEO of his family company…and becomes Sydney's boss.

Griffin's father's desperate ultimatum has put a billion dollars and a legacy at stake, and now Griffin needs his forbidden lover's help more than ever -- in the boardroom. As for the bedroom, why can't he have it both ways? Nothing will stop Griffin from getting Sydney back where she belongs.

Good book with quite a few issues going on.  First up is the continuation of the search for the missing illegitimate daughter.  Dalton had gotten some information by the end of the first book in the series (All He Ever Wanted).  Then he resigned and turned the CEO position over to Griffin.  As second son, not much had been expected of Griffin and he played that up whenever he could.  He used his position in International Marketing to hide his activities with a charitable foundation because his parents were as anti-charity as anyone could possibly believe.  Griffin had also been having an affair with his brother's assistant Sydney.  The passion between them was incredible, but they didn't really share anything about themselves outside the bedroom.  Sydney had grown up in foster care and worked very hard to get where she was.  She never wanted to be one of those women who slept with her boss, and when Griffin took over the CEO job she tried to end their liaison.  But he really needs her help doing his job and finding his half-sister.  I really enjoyed seeing Sydney stick to the strength of her convictions.  I loved the way that she stood up to Griffin's mother and refused to be intimidated.  I also liked seeing her call Griffin on his nonsense and then walk away from him.  Griffin was an interesting character.  His parents' manipulations, especially his mother's, had had a real effect on him, making him doubt his ability to be loved.  He kept insisting to himself that what he and Sydney had was just sex, but after awhile he couldn't fool himself and realized that she had gotten closer to him than anyone else ever had.  She also knew him better than anyone else did which really made him nervous, especially when she confronted him near the end of the book.  I loved the way it was such an eye opener for him.  I still really hate his parents.  I'm looking forward to the next book and getting to know Cooper.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Big Sky River - Linda Lael Miller (HQN - Dec 2012)

Series: Parable MT (Book 3)

Sheriff Boone Taylor has his job, friends, a run-down but decent ranch, two faithful dogs and a good horse. He doesn't want romance--the widowed Montanan has loved and lost enough for a lifetime. But when a city woman buys the spread next door, Boone's peace and quiet are in serious jeopardy.

With a marriage and a career painfully behind her, Tara Kendall is determined to start over in Parable. Reinventing herself and living a girlhood dream is worth the hard work. Sure, she might need help from her handsome, wary neighbor. But life along Big Sky River is full of falling for a cowboy-lawman who just might start to believe in second chances.

Very good book.  The back cover copy got some things a bit wrong.  At the beginning of the book, Boone had no dogs and acquired one during the story. I loved the way he did get the dog and how much he came to mean to the whole family. Tara does everything she can to avoid even talking to Boone much less ask him for help.  That being said, I really enjoyed the book.  Tara is living her dream raising her chickens in Parable.  She has friends and a community she loves.  She's not real fond of her neighbor Boone.  They hit it off wrong when she moved in and he said something about a citified wannabe farmer and she considered him a redneck sheriff too lazy to fix up his double wide.  At the beginning of this story Tara has had a call from her ex-husband asking her to care for his twelve year old daughters because they keep running off the nannies.  She says yes because she has missed them so much.  I liked Boone from the beginning but he did need a bit of an attitude adjustment.  When his wife died he had been so devastated that he sent his sons to live with his sister until he could get himself together.  That short period has stretched to several years and circumstances have led to them having to come back home to him.  Now he has to learn to be a father all over again. The longer the boys had stayed away the less confidence he had in his abilities. With both Boone and Tara pulling parent duty they find themselves together more often and realize that those sparks weren't dislike, but passion.  I really enjoyed seeing both of them open their hearts to the possibilities of a future together.  I also enjoyed seeing more of the people of Parable.  Opal still seems to be the glue that holds the town together.  Hutch and Slade are great at keeping Boone straight and I loved the way that Kendra and Joslyn kept pushing Tara toward Boone.  I also liked seeing the way that the town pulled together when people needed help, especially for the family of the boy who fell from the water tower.  I'm also looking forward to seeing whatever happens with that obnoxious deputy.

The Husband List - Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly (St. Martins - Jan 2013)

From The New York Times bestselling writing duo Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, comes the story of a young woman’s search for true love. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures. While Jack and Eddie are off seeing the world, buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers, Caroline's stuck at home frightening off the men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage. When her mother sets her sights on the questionable Lord Bremerton as a possible suitor, Caroline struggles with her instincts and the true nature of her heart. She longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all . . . Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title. A completely unacceptable suitor in the eyes of Caroline's mother. But Caroline's dark hair, brilliant eyes and quick wit have Jack understanding just why it is people fall in love and get married.

Fun book and not the authors' usual style.  Caroline is an American heiress in 1894.  She is intelligent, determined and outspoken.  She is also stuck with a mother who is determined to marry her off to an English title.  Caroline had evaded that particular fate the previous summer while in England but now there is an Englishman who has made it plain that he wants Caroline - or at least her money - for his own and he will do anything to get it.  Caroline isn't interested; as a matter of fact he gives her the creeps.  What she does want is the chance for travel, for adventure and to marry for love.  She has been in love with Jack, her brother's best friend, for years.  But her mother considers Jack, a first generation Irish-American, to be far beneath what she wants for her daughter.  Jack has always thought of Caroline as his friend's little sister until recently when he started to notice her as a woman.  He knows that her mother doesn't consider him suitable, but Caroline's feelings about Bremerton echo his own.  I loved seeing Caroline use her wits to avoid Bremerton as much as possible.  There are quite a few amusing moments when we see how she goes about it.  She also makes sure that Jack knows how she feels.  I really enjoyed their conversations and seeing how much he appreciates her for who she is.  I loved her directness and how she made Jack promise that he would always be honest with her.  Jack was another fantastic character.  He is rich but has earned his money by his own hard work.  He isn't afraid to work and I enjoyed seeing him do what he does so well.  I thought all the characters were very well portrayed.  Besides Jack and Caroline there is Caroline's mother who I just detested.  She was so focused on Bremerton's title that she refused to listen to anyone else's opinions even when told about the rumors about him.  Caroline's brother was done pretty well, as were her sisters.  I loved Jack's dad and his obvious love for his son.  The addition of Flora, a rather scandalous woman from Patrick's past made a great addition to the cast, especially when Caroline became friends with her.  The setting showed the lifestyles of the people of the time very well.  Bremerton's character was suitably devious and certainly easy to detest.  I really enjoyed the ending, especially seeing that Caroline was able to take some of the matter into her own hands.  While this book was in no way as good as a Stephanie Laurens or Jo Beverley it was a fun book to read.  I'd love to see a book for Caroline's brother Eddie.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

SEAL at Heart - Anne Elizabeth (Sourcebooks Casablanca - Dec 2012)

Series: West Coast Navy SEALs (Book 1)

He Lost Just About Everything On That Mission....
Being a Navy SEAL means everything to John "Red Jack" Roaker, but a mission gone wrong has left his buddy dead, his memory spotty, and his world turned upside down. His career as a SEAL is threatened unless Dr. Laurie Smith's unconventional methods of therapy can help him.

Maybe She Can Show Him How to Get it Back...
Laurie's father was a SEAL -- and she knows exactly what the personal cost can be. She can't resist trying everything to help this man, and not only because she finds him as sexy as he is honorable.

As the layers of Jack's resistance peel away, he and Laurie unearth secrets that go to the highest levels of the military -- and the deepest depths of their hearts...

Jack is stuck on medical leave until he can remember what went on during his last mission.  He remembers that something didn't feel right, but the actual memories are gone.  To add to it, he keeps having visions of his buddy telling him that time is running out and he has to find the truth.  The Navy doctors he's seeing aren't helping a bit.  When he meets Laurie he is first attracted to her.  When he finds out that she is also a therapist he goes to her for help.  Her methods are different but they start working for him right away and he begins to remember a few things.  He also finds, as they spend personal time together, that she makes him feel things he has never felt for another woman.  Laurie is the daughter of a SEAL and as such has a good idea of what their lives are like.  She had a rule about not dating military men  because she wanted a man who would be there more than he wasn't.  But there was something about Jack that made all others seem insignificant.  Besides their personal relationship she was sure that she could help him with his memory issues. I liked the way that she was able to give him the ability to access those memories without coming across as his "savior". When he reports his progress to his doctor he is suddenly ordered to stay away from Laurie completely.  He also hears that he is being accused of being the cause of the mission going bad, making the retrieval of his memories even more urgent.  I liked both Jack and Laurie.  Jack is determined to get his head together and become operational again.  He is willing to do what is necessary to do so, even try the "woo woo" stuff.  I liked the way that he easily accepted it once he realized it was working.  I also liked the way that he stood up to Laurie's adopted father who was also his mentor.  Laurie has to deal with her issues of being with a SEAL. I also liked the way that she was strong enough to stand up to Jack when he needed it.  She was also able to understand when he needed space to deal with something, a very important aspect to their relationship.  I loved the way that the author shows inside the SEAL world.  There is a closeness among team members that you don't see anywhere else, a commitment to each other in both their professional and personal lives.  There is also a strong sense of community that also encompasses the family and friends of the SEALs.  Overall a good book.  I'm looking forward to the next one.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Rancher's Dangerous Affair - Jennifer Morey (HRS #1740 - Feb 2013)

Series: Vengeance in Texas (Book 2)

"You still push every one of my buttons."

Not long after Eliza Harvey-Reed got married, her husband David's infidelity proved she married the wrong brother. But was Brandon Reed, her old high-school flame, the right one? Now Eliza's back in their hometown of Vengeance, Texas. And when she first lays eyes on Brandon, it's obvious the heat between them is as all-consuming as ever.

Brandon Reed's still furious that Eliza married his brother. Even more frustrating is that he can't help being drawn to her like a moth to a flame. But when David is murdered, Eliza tops the suspect list. Now Brandon must help clear her name before the real killer destroys his second chance at true love....

Good book. Eliza and David arrive in Vengeance because she is doing a birthday party for her brother.  They are going to stay with David's brother Brandon, who Eliza had been in love with as a teenager.  When they see each other again the attraction flares back to life, stronger than ever.  David has been acting strangely, as if he's afraid of something. He also disappears, then is seen with two different women.  When he turns up dead Eliza is suspected of killing him.  There is also someone leaving her threatening notes, Brandon's father has escaped from prison, and someone seems to be trying to kill her.  Both Eliza and Brandon have some issues that initially drove them apart and may keep them apart now.  Eliza's father died while she was in high school and she saw her mother fall apart.  That caused her to shy away from strong emotions such as her feelings for Brandon.  It was one of the reasons she went a little wild as a teenager which caused Brandon to pull away from her.  Brandon's father had been abusive to him and David.  Brandon was the one who testified against his father and helped put him in prison.  He always felt guilty for not being able to protect his brother better.  Now he has added the guilt he feels about his attraction to Eliza.  He also avoids getting close to women because he feels it is safer that way.  He thinks that he has a good chance of turning out like his father and doesn't want to take the chance of hurting someone.  He and Eliza spend a lot of time in this book poking at each other's psyches. The culmination of the mystery of who was after Eliza had a couple of unexpected twists but was well done.