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Friday, July 31, 2009

The Pebble by Nadia Williams



The Pebble by Nadia Williams
Publisher: Amira Press LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: Full (199 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Teagan never guessed she holds a gate to eternity in her hand. It’s nothing but a dull black pebble. She explains away the friendly presence she becomes aware of from the day she brings it home from the beach. Then the presence becomes an all too real hunk who materialises in her sitting room. A powerful witch has a hold over Ronan and keeps dragging him back to the past. He has something she wants, and she’ll do anything to get it from him. Now all he and Teagan have to do is figure out what it is.

A cow, a cliff, magic, and a mischievous boy. What more incentive does one need to read this story? A young Ronan has gotten into more trouble than his father can remember and now this new trouble with the cow is the last straw. Teagans father has moved their family back to his homeland of Ireland and she must learn to fit in. Two people from two different timelines and one pebble that connects them. Can love withstand the tests of time?

Young Ronan is kept virtually as a prisoner by a witch who teaches him magic. Meanwhile Teagan finds herself transplanted from South Africa to Ireland. Once there she finds a pebble on the beach and takes it home. The pebble seems to be full of magic and Teagan can feel the presence of it. One day that presence becomes the all to real Ronan. Ronan and Teagan become fast friends and later learn to love one another. Never knowing just when the witch will call Ronan back to his time the two must learn just what it is that she wants and how to give it to the witch.

Fearlessly loyal Teagan and young mischievous Ronan are destined to be together but first they must learn about themselves and who they are. They must each look inside themselves and come to terms with what they learn. Through many adventures the two learn to trust and love each other.

The Pebble is a wonderful tale of love, honor and trust. This story is set in beautiful Ireland and is steeped in Irish legends. It is a quick moving story that takes the reader on a wonderful ride. With many twists and turns it keeps you entertained to the very end.

If you like Ireland and stories of Irish lore you will defiantly enjoy this story. With its strong hero and heroin both willing to do whatever it takes to save the other this book is not to be missed.


Kindle
Digital

A Most Lamentable Comedy by Janet Mullany



A Most Lamentable Comedy by Janet Mullany
Publisher: Little Black Dress
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (320 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Cholla

1822, England. Young, beautiful Lady Caroline Elmhurst is down on her luck. Twice-widowed (once is unfortunate, twice just looks like carelessness…), pursued by creditors, she needs to get back on track before the world realizes just how desperate she’s become.

But she’s optimistic about finding a new husband and when she meets handsome, mysterious Nicholas Congrevance at a houseparty in the country, she sets out to entice him. For his part, Nicholas simply sees Lady Caroline as just the sort of woman he’s used to exploiting–rich, available, and gullible. Neither realizes the other is penniless–and neither has any intention of falling in love…

A hysterically historical laugh-riot for sure! Just goes to show you that shallow and conniving people are not just a recent invention.

Lady Caroline Elmhurst is twice-widowed, broke, and homeless. Time to search for her next victim… errr… husband. While traveling to visit a friend, she spies Mr. Nicholas Congrevance and sets her sights. Little does she know that Congrevance himself is down on his luck and looking for a wealthy woman to set things to right once more.

From that moment on, total and complete insanity ensues. From the scheming to the lying to the fumbling attempts at romance in the garden, you are sure to laugh your socks right off your feet. Lady Caroline is a total woman of the new millennium transported back in time. She is feisty, smart-alecky, and in total and complete control of herself at all times. Congrevance is her total parallel in masculine form. He is just as witty and smart-mouthed as she is, however with a heaping helping of charm to smooth his insults over. They are certainly a pair made in heaven.

A total regency-era Bridget Jones’ Diary if I’ve ever read one. You will laugh and possibly even cry while absorbing this book whole. Even if you aren’t a fan of historicals, this is a definite must-read. I highly recommend it for anyone needing a good belly laugh.

The Years of Silence by Marwa Ayad



The Years of Silence by Marwa Ayad
Publisher: Malamih Publishing House
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Ivy

After a tragic incident, divorced and heartbroken, Egyptian 27-year-old Maya Seif is determined to move on, and find a new career in publishing. When she realizes she can't get Yusuf, her first love, out of her mind, she decides to email him.

Yusuf Omar, an ambitious American-born, Egyptian-raised man is a thousand miles away from Egypt, and going through difficult times himself. The last thing he expects is an email, after all these years of silence, from the young woman he was in love with seven years ago.

Between Egypt and New York, little do they know how their lives are about to change forever, but not until they overcome the most difficult challenge.

THE YEARS OF SILENCE captivates you from the start with its tragic loss and history of violence. Abuse and betrayal is an all too common plaque on our societies and this novel opens with a promise that enduring these bitter fates can lead us to happiness.

Maya is a woman freshly divorced and dealing with the shame it has brought on her family. She is surprised to receive an email from her best friend’s brother who she hasn’t seen in years. They had been in love once but he had left their native Egypt for America, and abandoned her with questions.

I grew with hope and admiration as Maya and her childhood sweetheart, Yusuf, began a letter writing campaign that revealed their pasts, explained their present, and dreamed of their hopes of the future. Maya’s faith and forgiveness for those around her, and her courage to keep believing in herself and eventual happiness, struck a chord at the core of my spirit. The challenge Maya and Yusuf faced to come together in reality, and the unexpected crisis that followed had me unable to set the novel down.

Author Marwa Ayad’s writing is beautiful. I loved the settings, from Maya’s family home in Egypt to her trip to America. First person may not be a challenge for most readers but it certainly can be for a writer. Ms. Ayad’s voice is so stunningly real I was certain I was reading the excerpts of a painfully recorded diary. The frequent email exchanges between Maya and Yusuf are intimate and heart wrenching. It reminds one how easy it can be to open up in a letter, and how much work it takes to bring resolution to our conflicts in the flesh.

THE YEARS OF SILENCE is a private story made public only for readers who open the first page. It is quiet, yet passionate. Simple, but powerfully poignant. Maya and Yusuf become our friends. Those who are not familiar with Middle Eastern women or society will be both fascinated and enlightened. Barriers are lowered as gestures of sharing and empathy are made with sincerity.

I expect Marwa Ayad will be heartily welcomed into the open arms of Sweet Romance readers. She is a promising new author that writes with humility and honor. One can almost feel her taking her first steps out into the world with her arms wrapped gingerly around her “voice”-- a voice I have fallen for. I highly recommend this novel to readers of all genres, and for any ages.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Daddy Issue by Melissa Beck



The Daddy Issue by Melissa Beck
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (280 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Mimosa

The last souvenir small-town girl Gretchen expected from her Chicago vacation was getting pregnant from one night of delight. The sexy, successful CEO she hooked up with told her he wasn't interested in a family, so she never revealed what had happened.

Five years later, Daniel is at the top of his game in both business and womanizing, but he's shaken off his pedestal when a friend hints that he might have a daughter. Daniel heads for the boondocks to uncover the hidden truth—and pick up where he and Gretchen left off. But his fast-paced lifestyle can't compete with Gretchen's idea of a hometown father and husband. When Daniel's career beckons him back to Chicago, he's faced with the decision of his life—go back to his wild bachelor ways or surrender to his sensual desires and stay and build a family.

When Gretchen Parks spends a few weeks in Chicago after being stood up at the altar, she meets and shares a two-week affair with Daniel Nicholson, a handome playboy who owns an advertising agency. A night of bliss with him leaves Gretchen pregnant. But he had told her he wanted no commitments, so she goes back to her small hometown in Ohio without telling him about his child.

Fast-forward five years. A mutual acquaintance shows Daniel a photo of Gretchen's daughter, four-year-old Amy, who bears strong Nicholson features. He has to go to Marydale and see her for himself.

Drawn together by their daughter, Gretchen and Daniel, whose past relationship was short-lived and purely physical, now feel the push and tug of love as they get to know each other. But can it work? Daniel's agency has a make or break deal in the works in Chicago that requires his presence and attention; and Gretchen has her heart to protect. They can't deny the sexual attraction each holds for the other--it lands them in bed together, twice. The barriers are between their hearts and their very different lifestyles.

Ms. Beck has created a strong and likeable hero in Daniel Nicholson, a guy who takes charge and pursues success without the abrasiveness and narcissism sometime seen in powerful male leads. Although admirable in her commitment to motherhood and independence, Gretchen's self-protectiveness in matters of the heart gives her personality a touch of timidity. Amy is adorable. The denizens of Marydale have their share of colorful eccentrics and anyone who has lived in small town America would no doubt recognize them.

Although I prefer writing with a bit more punch, Ms. Beck's laid-back narrative seems appropriate for the story and genre. The tale itself and its components-- multidimensional characters with complex and believable motives set against a colorful but not overwhelming backdrop -- should make a satisfying experience for contemporary romance lovers.



Kindle

The One That Got Away by Kathryn Gerbert



The One That Got Away by Kathryn Gerbert
Publisher: Wild Horse Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (64 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Fennel

The day of her wedding, Jennifer finds herself boarding a plane - alone. Her perfect day had ended up not so perfect, leaving her to go on her honeymoon alone. Or so she thought.

Jared, an old boyfriend from days gone by, has always carried a torch for Jennifer. Hearing about her wedding, or lack thereof, he decides to hop on the same plane and keep her company during her honeymoon; and hopefully get to know her again.

After the callous way her fiance has just treated her, can Jennifer trust another man? Especially so soon? Will she be willing to give Jared another chance, and in the process give herself a chance at love?

The bride held an auction! After the groom failed to turn up for the wedding, and the guests refused to take back their gifts, Jennifer, the bride auctioned them all off for charity, then still in her wedding dress, took herself off on her honeymoon holiday. But...

Oh yes!! There's almost always a 'but'! This time when she presented her credit card, or at least her missing groom's credit card, she didn't know it bounced and went on some serious retail therapy.

The reason Jennifer could enjoy her expensive revenge lay at Jared's door. Jared had never stopped loving his high school sweetheart, and regretted the silly argument that parted them all those years ago. He'd heard about Jennifer's betrayal through a mutual friend and hopped onto the same plane and invited himself along as her companion.

Several passages of extensive description tends to slow the pace of this charming and at time highly entertaining story, but Kathryn Gerbert's characters come across as fun loving, hard working and loveable characters who's cares and concerns endear them to the reader.

This is a lovely short story and well worth the read.


Kindle

Sweet Rest by Joann Carter



Sweet Rest by Joann Carter
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Heat: Sweet
Length: Short (84 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Soft spoken, twenty-eight-year-old Mike Anderson prepares to join his brother on a short-term mission trip to Florida. Here he plans on helping build new facilities for New Hopes Mission Agency. However, before he leaves, Mike learns there was an accident at the building site. Now the person who was injured is missing. Could these two incidents be mere coincidence or is something more sinister at work?

And then there is the five-two spit-fire, Leah Rizzo, with whom he agreed to swap photography projects. Taking her with him could prove to be the colossal mistake of his lifetime—or perhaps God has a plan even in the midst of the mystery that shrouds the project.

Joann Carter’s ‘Sweet Rest’ is an interesting, active and almost topsy-turvy story. Best thing about it? It is an engaging story of regular people with an opportunity for love.

Mechanic Mike remembers Leah Rizzo as a beautiful high school teen, but that was a decade ago. The high school reunion before him hardly seems worthwhile; Leah, from her looks to her career is too intimidating. And, it’s not like there aren’t a lot of other, confusing things going on, at the same time. Mike has commitments, including his mission work… or is that all just excuses?

Leah can certainly claim time commitments as well… yet the old gang appears to matter to her. She runs into some strange side distractions as well. We begin to wonder just where this is going… can they even commit enough time to meet?

Additionally, as one of the characters says, “Too many weird things going on here.” Although there is something to be said for the unpredictable and also for clever resolutions, it’s a busy short story, with a big cast of characters and a whole lot of different, if minor, incidents which can be a bit confusing to keep up with.

The highlights of this story are the emotional ups-and-downs of the characters. Their interaction, as well as their prayers, are always revealing. I missed the development of attraction – and even love – between the two main characters, although each individual character seemed admirable. This story is quirky, unpredictable, and very readable.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Duke's Dilemma by Rachel McNeely



The Duke's Dilemma by Rachel McNeely
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Genre: Regency Historical
Length: Full (243 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

After losing her fiancé in a war, Helena Steeples vowed never to wed. But when her twin, Mary Ann, refuses Duke Nicholas' proposal, Helena finds herself attracted to him.

Nicholas knows Helena, the shy twin, does not meet his initial criteria for a wife, but she fascinates him. With both families' support, the duke pursues Helena and she signs a contractual agreement to marry him.

Two days before their wedding, her former fiancé, believed dead, returns, postponing the nuptials. Helena notices changes in her former beau, while the duke suspects he's the traitor they've long hunted.

Helena finds herself in the middle of an attempted murder, treason, and a former fiancé who wants to hold her to their earlier obligation. He knows Helena's secret and can destroy her reputation and ruin her wedding plans to Nicholas.

Once the secrets are revealed, will Helena marry the duke or her former fiancé?

Well educated in the rules of Regency England’s high society, the twins Helena and Mary Ann are not too concerned about breaking these rules if they get in the way of what these two young women want.

Quiet, talented, capable, and reliable Helena plans to never marry but gets entangled in the finagling of two powerful families when Mary Ann rejects the Duke’s offer of marriage.

The Duke of Monteray (Nicholas Reginald Selwyn) tells himself he will be master of his home and his destiny with love not entering in—does he get some surprises! A prominent Member of Parliament and commander of a powerful spy operation, he is quite sure he can manage one little young lady. Man, oh, man, did he have his work cut out for him. Helena and Mary Ann do create a dilemma for the somewhat arrogant Duke.

Rachel McNeely creates a tale of political and social intrigue as well as one that makes the heart sing as romance and love override the pettiness of family and society. The author disappears and leaves the reader right in the middle of the adventures, social events, and love scenes. The characters vibrate with emotions that touch all the reader’s senses. The dangers are spellbinding and the love scene breathtaking.

THE DUKE’S DILEMMA has strong characters. Helena and Mary Ann function in a society where women have few rights but these young women are rarely deterred by the limitations. The antagonists, so entrenched in the Duke’s world, go to great lengths in an effort to reach their goals. They endanger Helena and Mary Ann in spite of all the Duke’s efforts to protect them.

The adventures of these strong, independent young women that live life to the fullest make THE DUKE’S DILEMMA a Regency tale to keep. Of course, the Duke is one delectable hero to dream about. Ah!

Yes, Professor by Tori Anne



Yes, Professor by Tori Anne
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: Short (68 pages)
Heat: Hot
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Wild Plum

Patience Winters’ world is about to turn upside down. After two years as personal assistant to the stern and striking Professor Richmond at the Women’s Academy, her term is about to end. Achingly in love with him, Patience longs for the professor to give her a reason to stay. Desperate for some hint he might feel the same way, Patience steals a peek at her mentor’s secret journal and discovers his scandalous fantasies. But how can she let the professor know she’s in on his secret? Her typical breathless "yes, Professor" has never meant so much.

Wow! This story was well-crafted, well-thought out and the characters seemed so real to me. The scenes were so vivid and so hot that they steamed off the pages. The details of the plot seemed so accurate to me for the time frame.

I love when a writer is unpredictable, Ms. Anne was unpredictable with several of her scenes in Yes, Professor. It’s a great book to read while on vacation at the beach or just sitting at home after a day of work. It will take you to another world with people you sincerely feel like you know and want to see happy and care about. The passion and heat is quick, but believable between the characters, it doesn’t seem forced or unwanted or like the author is trying. It will open doors to fantasies you never thought you had.

Tori Anne is a new author for me and I’m happy I discovered her and her wonderful writing talents. I’m adding her to my list of authors I must watch out for and her books…my oh my, I cannot wait to read more books from this author. Every romance fan should add this quick read to their list.

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas



Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (340 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Jack Travis leads the uncomplicated life of a millionaire Texas playboy. He makes no commitments, he loves many women, he lives for pleasure. But no one has ever truly touched his heart or soul. Until one day, a woman appears on his doorstep with fury on her face and a baby in her arms. It seems Jack is the father and this woman is the baby’s aunt. The real mother has abandoned the child to her more responsible sister. And now, Jack is being called upon to take responsibility for the first time in his life. With delicious romantic tension, characters so real they walk onto the page and into your heart, Lisa Kleypas delivers the kind of novel that makes you laugh, love; cry and cheer.

Smooth Talking Stranger has a story which zings straight to your heart leaving you feeling so good it beats a hot fudge sundae hands down.

Ella Varner is an inspiration. She is a survivor whose coping skills got her through her past. Those same skills however, have mired her relationship abilities into a status of stagnation. Ella can’t see that, she thinks she’s okay. More than that, she thinks it’s perfect. It takes the unconditional love of a baby, the love for her sister and the battle of trying not to love a loveable man to shake up her world and rip the blinders off. Ripping anything, like a band-aid, usually hurts like the dickens in the beginning. But gradually, it speeds the healing. And so it goes for Ella’s heart. The trick is, will she wake up and share it in time?

I think I bit a couple of nails from the suspense of it.

Jack is the man who isn’t looking for love because he’s been burned and now all women are suspect. Yet something about Ella intrigues him to the point he’s willing to go along with her mistaken belief about him, despite his knowing the truth. Jack is actually a sympathetic kind of guy. There are scenes between him and Ella that I simply had to read over more than once. It wasn’t the sex, it was the way he treated Ella. It was his talents, his choices and his ability to be there for her in a way I wish all men would. Jack’s actions totally hooked me as being what a true hero would do. He is an alpha male in that he goes after what he wants, no holds barred and his target is Ella. The huge difference is his respect for her, his patient yet inexorable support of her choices and his belief that eventually she’ll come around and see that they are perfect together. Meanwhile, he shows her the world as it should have been for her. My heart squeezed a few times, wishing so much that elements that make up Jack Travis could be duplicated in my own relationship. It was breathtaking. And oh, so sensual, it was a perfect seduction.

The main secondary characters are the baby, Ella’s sister, Jack’s family and his ex. Each plays a vital role in showing character development, plot movement and a humdinger of an HEA. My heart was in my throat during the last few chapters; the suspense, wonder and joy were the best thrill ride ever.

I have to give Smooth Talking Stranger the best rating because of how it made me feel by the time I read the last sentence. I felt so happy, so optimistic and incredibly lucky to have read this book. My only request of Ms. Kleypas is that we get to visit again, especially with Joe. I simply have to know!



Kindle

Digital

The Rosemary Thief by Fiona Law



The Rosemary Thief by Fiona Law
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Fantasy/fairy tale
Length: Short (35 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Zinnia

Meagan is passionate about cooking and goes to great lengths to obtain the right ingredients for her recipes. She prides herself on turning out perfect dishes. Desperate for fresh rosemary she plunders a bush belonging to a witch. Caught red handed by Brock, the witch’s enigmatic henchman, she finds herself working off her theiving in the witch’s kitchen. Becoming more and more enamoured of him, she finds herself faced with a difficult choice. Will she be able to ruin a meal in the name of love, or will her pride get in her way?

This story about a humble cook and a wicked witch is absolutely superb. But, I'm going to be snarky up front. Whoever edited this piece did the author an extreme disservice. This amazing story deserved far, far better than this. The paragraphs (do you understand what they are for?) were long, run-on and misplaced, the use of commas--well, you didn't use them effectively.

BUT ... What a fantastic read! The simmering attraction between…I can't do it. Telling you anything more might ruin the delicious surprise. If I could have, I would have given this book a 4.99 rating because the editor...well you know...but gee, I'm serious, The Rosemary Thief by Fiona Law, is just exquisite.

After the second non-paragraph, I just threw my pre-conceived pickiness out the window with a ~who cares~ because The Rosemary Thief is truly the most charming short story I've read in years. I could go on and on about the visual artistry of description, the pungent word choice, the savory rich scenes--sounds like a fantastic meal, huh?

That's what this short story by Fiona Law represents--a virtual feast to the senses. I loved it, I will put it on my keeper list, I will tell all of my friends to buy it, and I know I will reread it often.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

By The Book by JoAnn Carter



By The Book by JoAnn Carter
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
Genre: Inspirational
Length: Short (72 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Fennel

Perky 24 year old police dispatcher, Sarah Murphy, is held captive by images of her past. She doesn't trust men and is determined to hold onto her heart at all costs. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Dylan Eldredge of the Hampton Police Department believes she’s the woman God has intended for him and is equally determined to have her for his wife. Will he be able to prove he’s the man for her?

Author JoAnn Carter packs a lot of reader-grabbing information into her first six lines of this short and sweet story. Already we know a lot about her heroine Sarah and her attitude to both her life, her friends and workmates. She's an independent and caring lady with baggage from her past. How was she to know that this time her willingness to fill in for others, not but twice, would bring her into contact with her life's biggest challenge yet?

In the middle of a lecture, Dylan Eldredge is lost for words when Sarah walks into the room. His frustration rises exponentially as she manages to evade him at every turn. Will he ever manage to meet and get to know the only woman who's made such an immediate impact on him? She's obviously running scared, but from what? Dylan, always up for a challenge, determines he'll win this one at any cost.

JoAnn Carter takes her readers through plenty of inner conflict that drive her two main characters and with the help of her supporting cast we never doubt the strength and integrity of both Sarah and Dylan. In fact by skillfully revealing their weaknesses, she highlights their strength.

Just when her past is about to destroy her future Sarah is delighted when her favourite group, Milo, are playing at her church hall. After listening to a new song written by their band-leader, Scott, Sarah feels something shift within her. When Scott talks about his past she knows she has to face major issues in her past or sacrifice her future.

This is a must read book that will lift the readers' heart.

Lawmen And Outlaws by Lauri Robinson, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Loretta C. Rogers, Helen Hardt



Lawmen And Outlaws by Lauri Robinson, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Loretta C. Rogers, Helen Hardt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Western Historical
Length: Full (383 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Two lawmen are tested when they lose their hearts--
When runaway Hannah Stewart comes into his life Sheriff Adam McBride is torn between the law and love.

Sheriff Quinn Riley must find the swindler who stole from his town and his family--even if it means losing the woman he loves, Ciara Morrissey.

And two outlaws looking for redemption have their hearts stolen--
McKenna Smith wants a pardon and he'll do anything to get it- until he falls in love with the one person who can make it happen- Audra Tadlock.

Bounty Hunter Bobby Morgan is innocent, but proving it won't be easy especially when he falls for the beautiful preacher's daughter he's kidnapped.
The blurred line between lawman and outlaw gets really faint at times in these stories just like it did in the real West during the late 1800’s. As people, some severely scarrd with the horrors of the Civil War, moved westward to build new lives they brought a lot of emotional baggage with them. However, they also brought determination, courage, and humor, all intrinsic elements in the stories in this anthology.

“Sheriff McBride” by Lauri Roberson

Sheriff Adam McBride makes Hannah Stewart feel “like she was standing on the top of a hill in a lightning storm”. However, he is the lawman and she is the outlaw. Humor, a subtle undercurrent in this story, helps the plot as Hannah’s history emerges. While Hannah and Adam are still tiptoeing around each other but smitten, Nathaniel Kingston from Hannah’s past shows up in Blue Springs, Kansas, making a shocking declaration.

This fast moving short story keeps the reader totally involved as greed, desire for power, and selfishness work against Hannah and Adam as they, along with some interesting secondary characters, strive to bring the truth to light.

“Dreams of Gold” by Carroll-Bradd

Sheriff Quinn Riley and Ciara Morrissey’s acquaintance starts in the chaotic aftermath of a stagecoach robbery. Ciara’s free-thinking, independence ideas wreck havoc in Quinn’s town right on the heels of the town people’s upset about being swindled out of their life savings by a smooth-talking Irishman, Supposedly Ciara’s father. Conflict and confusion abound.

As the mystery of her father is solved and the women in town rally around Ciara, humor and common sense, along with a lot of amateur detective work, create a story of a town in Wyoming Territory in the lat 1800’s, growing into a solid, safer place for folks to live and love.

“McKenna’s Woman” by Loretta C. Rogers

Ex-con McKenna Smith sets Audra Tadlock’s dull life on its ear when he arrives in Hopeville, Texas. Working for the Texas Rangers to earn a full pardon, McKenna photographs outlaws dead or alive. However, his personal agenda, to get the outlaw that back-shot him and left him for dead, brings about an adventure for Audra that makes her wonder why she ever complained about her dull, safe life in her Aunt Sophia’s dress shop.

Excitement and anxiety build as Audra and McKenna go for a “rendezvous with the Devil”. How could Audra choose between McKenna and her twin?

Audra and McKenna, two strong characters, overcome horrific memories of their past and choose to be more than they’ve ever been before as they pledge themselves to each other after LOTS of bumps in the road. Good reading.

“The Outlaw’s Angel” by Helen Hardt

Bounty hunter Bobby Morgan and preacher’s daughter Naomi Blackburn get off to a rocky start. The Dakota Territory in the late 1800’s is no place for the faint of heart Naomi learns as she ends up on the trail with Bobby; thirst, hungry, and finally left in a railroad camp where her encounter with Ike Hawkins, a man Bobby thought he could trust, proves to be the vilest of characters. Bobby’s gut feeling sends him back because for him, “to soil her would be to bastardize perfection”. It is breath-holding time n this part of the story.

Naomi vows she will choose who, when, and where to give herself to another and she chooses Bobby. When Naomi is shot, Bobby puts aside his long-nurtured hatred for Indians in his effort to save her life. He also makes a bargain with God for her life. A bargain that breaks his heart but one he vows to keep.

Naomi’s vow of “whither thou goest I will go…” hits some tremendous obstacles as this story takes some twists and turns that make for compelling reading.

LAWMEN AND OUTLAWS is a “mighty fine” read for Historical Western readers and would be ideal for a newcomer to get introduced to this genre. One more proofread for misused words and misplaced modifiers would have added polish to the anthology. But the few errors did not diminish the good character development, the action, and the plots of these four entertaining tales that are full of conflict, excitement, humor, and love.




Digital

Simply Scandalous by Carly Phillips



Simply Scandalous by Carly Phillips
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (265 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Wealthy Assistant D.A. Logan Montgomery needs to ruin his reputation — fast! That's the only way he'll be able to convince his father that he's not cut out to follow the family tradition of going into politics. His plan? To indulge in a very public fling with a woman whose family is a scandal in itself. It should have been the perfect solution . . . . Only, the more time Logan spends with Catherine Luck, the more he realizes he'd give up his reputation—and everything else—for just one night in her bed.

He wants a fling. She wants a fling. What happens when he decides she’s more than a one night stand? That’s Simply Scandalous!

Carly Phillips writes fun, breezy books made for a lazy summer afternoon. The characters are original and unique. You become engrossed in their world and want them to get the happily ever after they desire. This book delivers.

Logan’s an assistant district attorney who just wants a good time to dirty his name. Catherine, aka Cat, is the niece of a former brother owner. Perfect... or is it? She’s a well-respected, up-and-coming caterer with trust issues. She possesses a bubbly sense of humor and a bright smile that draws him like a moth to a flame. How can he walk away? Then again, how can she not let him into her life?

I like that the characters have issues. Real people aren’t perfect and neither are Logan and Cat. She’s afraid he’ll walk away and he’s afraid that if he walks away, he’ll miss out on his soul mate. I also liked the meddling parent angle. The reader can identify with a force, whether a parent or a friend who doesn’t want a relationship to work. It’s a stressor and something that can be difficult to overcome.

The love scenes in this book are filled with passion. Even when Cat and Logan are spatting, you can feel the mutual admiration and love.

If you want a read for a rainy afternoon or a quiet night, then Simply Scandalous is the book for you. I give this book 4 ½ books.