Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 13, 2012

Week ending January 13, 2012

Archer, Zoë. Chain Reaction. Carina: Harlequin. Jan. 2012. 113p. eISBN 9781426893032. EPUB $3.99. SF ROMANCE
The brave rebellion is fighting the evil empire. That’s space opera. In Chain Reaction (sequel to 2011’s Collision Course), the evil empire is PRAXIS, the rebellion is 8th Wing. Celene Jur is a legendary Black Wraith pilot. Three months ago her ship was disabled, and she and it were nearly sold on the black market. The secret of the Black Wraith’s controls are the only edge the 8th Wing has in its fight against PRAXIS. 8th Wing must stop whoever hacked its controls. Nils Calder is the best engineer in NerdWorks, and he’s proud of it. He can track the device back to the rogue who created it. But he has to go on the mission. Celene doesn’t want a geek on her vengeance mission, she wants a soldier. But Nils passes all her tests, so he’s what she gets. Nils ends up reminding Celene that he is a soldier, he just uses his brain to kill enemies as much as his surprisingly hot-for-a-nerd body. The longer they are partners on this mission, the more they forget that pilots and nerds aren’t supposed to mix.
Verdict Recommended for lovers of sf romance, space opera, and love stories with geeky heroes, like Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Nerd series.‚ Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC

Bayley-Burke, Jenna. For Kicks. Samhain. Jan. 2012. 332KB. eISBN 9781609285685. EPUB $4.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Breeze Cohen is climbing the retail ladder, with her eye on the prize: to be the youngest store manager in company history. Seeing an opportunity to prove her merit to upper management, Breeze volunteers to help with the nationwide rollout of a famous shoe brand’s new line, further entrenching her in an all-work-and-no-play lifestyle. Logan Chandler, though, firmly believes in a work/life balance after a near-fatal bus accident ended his professional soccer career. Though he contributes to the new Kicks line, he doesn’t understand Breeze’s concerns about dating when their first meeting is electric. It will take more than seduction to convince Breeze that Logan’s play-now way of life is worth the risk.
Verdict This fast-paced story touches on the fears and sexiness of an illicit romance. Bayley-Burke (Compromising Positions; Her Cinderella Complex) gives both Breeze and Logan realistic concerns in their relationship, while providing each with a robust background. Like a piece of sweet chocolate, For Kicks is a quick bite of delicious fun.‚ Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Lib.

James, Lorelei. Cowboy Casanova. Samhain. (Rough Riders, Bk. 12). 2011. NAp. eISBN 9781609288495. EPUB $6.50. EROTIC ROMANCE
In the latest installment to the Rough Riders series, we get to know macho cowboy Bennett McKay. Living the life of a rancher by day is a nice cover for his nightly visits to the Rawhide Club‚ a secret sex club that provides their patrons with kinky, hard-core sexual action. Bennett loves his role as a Dom at the club‚ the whipping and the chains‚ and he wouldn’t want life to be any different. And then the perfect submissive to his Dom walks in‚ Ainsley Hamilton, on her first visit to the club. Bennett shows Ainsley a night she will never forget, and Ainsley discovers a sexual side she never believed she had. A love story steeped in kinkiness, Cowboy Casanova is a story of discovery and domination‚ the lure of Bennett and Ainsley and the love that would not be beaten.
Verdict With the gradual submission of Ainsley and the true Dom of Bennett, this story will pull readers between them, as the two both learn to explore hidden desires, despite their fears and anxieties. A cowboy story with more whips and chains than a hardware store, the latest Rough Riders tale is sure to please series fans.‚ Judy Garner, ECPI Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Stone, Eleri. Demon Crossings. Carina: Harlequin. Jan. 2012. 215p. eISBN 9781426893001. EPUB $5.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Grace knows that her psychic powers give her an edge as a private investigator; she specializes in finding missing children. When Grace runs into an out-of-this-world animal, she realizes there is a lot more to the little town of Ragnarok, IA, than meets the eye. Here, Grace encounters Aiden, and her world is rocked not only by their immediate attraction but by the discovery that Norse gods and the Wild Hunt are not just myths. Aiden is searching for his own missing daughter, and Grace is the only one who can help him rescue her from the other world. It seems as if Aiden will do anything to get his child back, even at the cost of Grace’s life. Can Aiden and Grace find a way to save his daughter and their love, or will mistrust lead to the ultimate failure?
Verdict While Grace and Aiden’s stereotypical personality challenges may be enough to induce eye-rolls, the sexual tension (and release) between the characters is palpable. Stone (Mercy; Redemption) has crafted a twisting story line that will keep readers engaged. Recommended for fans of paranormal romance.‚ Kristi Chadwick, C/W MARS Network, Worcester, MA

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"