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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heart of Winter by Maggie Shayne, Linda Winstead Jones, Day Leclaire

Heart of Winter by Maggie Shayne, Linda Winstead Jones, Day Leclaire
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (312 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

This trio of irresistible stories from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Maggie Shayne and USA TODAY bestselling authors Linda Winstead Jones and Day Leclaire touch the heart of who we are and what we desire….

Prepare to be…


Melinda Terwilliger is a mild-mannered teacher—until she accidentally becomes The Toughest Girl in Town. But she meets her match in an undercover cop determined to get to know the real Melinda…with kisses hot enough to melt any woman's heart!


When law secretary Nell Rose is snowbound with a handsome stranger, keeping her New Year's Resolution becomes nearly impossible. Why swear off men when a romantic weekend with a reclusive writer seems to be the ideal way to ring in the new year?

Swept Away

Plain Jayne Myleston seduced her office crush at a masked ball—and then found she'd turned up the heat with the wrong man! Even after the ball, she can't say no to her Mystery Lover. That is, until Jayne finds out who he really is!

Heart of Winter is a keeper to revisit every year when the cold, bleak days after the holidays threaten to overwhelm. These three stories encourage, console, delight, and sizzle with sexy romance.

The Toughest Girl in Town by Maggie Shayne takes Melinda Terwilliger from being the number one citizen of “Wimpdom” to being a can-do, no-holds-barred defender of her neighborhood.

Melinda's best friend Rodney, a graduate student of psychotherapy, says, “you are what you believe you are”. He declares Melinda is a victim and doormat because she sees herself in that light. Consequently, she is taken advantage of continually. After he hypnotizes her and extraneous suggestions slip in to influence her, she finds her “inner strength”. Her world starts to spin. Once a shrinking violet, she is now a violet with iron petals.

Matthew MacGuire, the gorgeous new math teacher at her school, makes friends with her, even though every single woman in school pants for him. He soon finds his agenda concerning Melinda will be much harder to manage than planned. His clandestine mission tethers on the verge of ruin, as she becomes an “overconfident risk-taker”.

The secondary characters’ roles gain momentum as the story unfolds. Some major surprises add tension and suspense to this unique love story as Maggie Shayne weaves together a provocative story with humor and vibrant characters while exploring the premise that reality is what one believes it to be. She weaves in a tantalizing love that shimmers and shines among al the dingy things in life.

Melinda’s metamorphosis makes enthralling reading.

Resolution by Linda Winstead Jones takes place in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee with the snow making Nell Rose’s life even more miserable than before and she had all ready declared it “sucky”. Deplorable as things are for her, an undercurrent of humor periodically brings a smile. Alone, lost, and stuck in a ditch with snow and cold all around, Nell Rose walks to a distant light which proves to be a light to her life in so many ways.

Julian Maddox, a successful writer with a past, likes being alone in his mountain home, but finds himself saddled with an unwanted guest for the duration of a savage storm. Divorced and an ex-cop, he has seen too much of the horrible hurt people inflict on each other. He likes his solitary life.

Nell Rose’s newly made resolutions are put to the test as the chemistry between her and Julian sizzles and sets off sparks. Both Nell Rose and Julian carry emotional scars from old hurts, but, in their isolated cocoon that’s like a wrinkle in time, they reach for the promise of solace and satisfaction for that undefined need that each feels deep down.

When the outside world encroaches, their paradise is ripped apart. Old hang-ups and fears rear their ugly heads as lies fuel the flames of insecurities. Breathtaking, adrenaline-pumping action keeps the reader turning pages.

Mystery Lover by Day Leclaire takes the reader into the corporate world where climbing the ladder to success reigns supreme. When Jayne Myleston and Jonathan Blair both get a $2,500 ticket to the Mask Ball from their boss, Nick Fontana, often called Mr. Intimidating, the reader is in for a vicarious adventure as an irresistible courtship that bubbles with humor at times, has a serious undercurrent, and is conducted on two fronts with intensity and mind-boggling strategy.

Imagery, mystery, sensuality, tension, misgivings, and remarkable characters make Mystery Lover a story that lifts the spirit even on a dark, dreary day of winter.

With captivating skill, Day Leclaire takes the heroine Jayne Myleston into a two-pronged, fairy-tale courtship that sizzles with sex, compels with sincere caring, and radiates with a special rightness. Of course, along the way, Nick Fontana learns that merging two lives takes an entirely different approach than merging two companies—but what fun the reader has as this delightful story ebbs and flows from the sublime to the ridicules.

Heart of Winter, with three very different stories, reinforces the deep-down belief that love works magic even in difficult times. It is heartwarming and sparkles with hope, joy, and happiness that satisfy.

The authors Maggie Shayne, Linda Winstead Jones, and Day Leclaire create exceptional stories with mastery as they pull the reader into a vicarious experience that is fantastic.