Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, October 28, 2011

Week ending October 28, 2011

Arend, Vivian. Rocky Mountain Heat. Samhain. (Six Pack Ranch, Bk. 1). Nov. 2011. 141p. eISBN 9781609285517. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
For Jaxi, an only child, her dreams have always centered on a large family to call her own. Ever since she moved next door to the bursting-at-the-seams Coleman family ranch, she has wanted a part of it‚ one specific part, actually. Blake Coleman is the oldest of the six Coleman boys, responsible to the core. He refuses to give in to his yearnings for Jaxi owing to the difference in their ages. When the Coleman matriarch has an accident and Jaxi volunteers to move in and help around the ranch, Blake struggles to remember which way his moral compass is pointing. It becomes even more difficult to remain uninvolved once he realizes he has some competition for Jaxi: his brothers.
Verdict Vivian Arend (Black Gold) pours intense passion into her novels, and Rocky Mountain Heatis no exception. For this first in a series, Arend spends time laying the groundwork for future books about the Colemans. While the plot development is a touch thin, this series opener is a scorcher and a good beginning.‚ Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska-Fairbanks Lib.

d’Abo, Christine. Double Shot. Carina: Harlequin. (Long Shots, Bk. 1). Oct. 2011. NAp. eISBN 9781426892387. EPUB $3.99. EROTIC ROMANCE
Sadie Long is the co-owner of a coffee shop, and while her work life brings her a sense of satisfaction, she is a little frustrated by her dating choices. Her longtime crush, Paul Williams, is also a good friend who just happens to get her a catering job where he works‚ the sex club Mavericks. At Mavericks for a business meeting, Sadie is introduced to club owner Josh, and sparks begin to fly. It is Paul who encourages Sadie to share her deepest, darkest fantasies, and it is with his prodding that she unleashes her desires in an arrangement that includes Josh and brings her feelings for Paul‚ and his for her‚ blaring to life.
Verdict A simple story with a sexual punch, Double Shot gives a slight nod to the familiar refrain of a girl pining for her secret love. Add to that a sex club, a threesome, and a naked cake and you get the gist of this modern-day love story. Fans who like their romances quite explicit will be happy to note that this tale is actually the first in a series of sex-charged titles by d’Abo. A Shot in the Dark and Pulled Long, coming in November and December 2011, respectively, will complete the set.‚ Judy Garner, ECPI Univ., Glen Allen, VA

Holt, Desiree. Stark Naked. Samhain. Dec. 2011. c.71p. eISBN 9781609285562. EPUB $3.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Leaving behind her broken heart in California, Reenie Davenport is hoping a new job and a new life where her old college roommate lives in San Antonio will give her a chance to start over. When Reenie is just starting to reconnect with Amy at her family’s ranch, in walks Amy’s brother Matt, who is not only inebriated but revealing all his assets. Even though Reenie is suddenly filled with unavoidable desire, it is clear that Matt is the type of guy who has at his disposal a black book full of numbers. Matt wants a chance to make it up to Reenie for his behavior, and he soon realizes that she might be the one woman who can tame this wild cowboy. But can Reenie trust Matt enough to give him her heart?
Verdict Behind all the steamy lovemaking in this erotic novella resides a quaint little love story that is entertaining enough to fill a lazy afternoon and would be a good suggestion for readers of Linda Lael Miller’s traditional Western romances.‚ Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Morgan, Cate. Brighid’s Cross: End of Days. Samhain. Nov. 2011. c.86p. eISBN 9781609286316. EPUB $3.50. FUTURISTIC ROMANCE
Aika Lareto is quick with a sword, has the ability to teleport, and is a descendant of St. Brighid. She is also the protector of the Burnout Zone, the part of a future London that is protected by a biosphere after a global war turned Earth into a wasteland. What Aika doesn’t know is that Dreamtech, architects of the biosphere, has put a bounty on her head for her ability to sneak past its security systems. Enter Declan Pryce, a hacker who wants Aika to help him free London from Dreamtech’s grasp. In the process, they find themselves inextricably drawn to each other as they plan their rebellion. This cross between urban fantasy and futuristic romance has a little bit of everything, including a steamy sex scene and a fight to the death.
Verdict Brighid’s Cross is one of three “End of Days” novellas releasing in November. Morgan’s mix of urban fantasy with pop culture references adds punch to a work that otherwise relies on a familiar postapocalyptic scenario.‚ John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston