Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, August 31, 2012

Week ending August 31, 2012

Fox, Cathryn. A Lick of Flame. Samhain. (Boys of Beachville, Bk. 2). Sept. 2012. c.105p. eISBN 9781609289614. EPUB $3.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Though this second in the “Boys of Beachville” series (after Good at Being Bad) is slightly longer than its precursor, it feels like a thinner read. Police officer–turned–security specialist Madison Kelly has been hired to keep an eye on firefighter Sean Adams as he promotes the Boys of Beachville calendar. Sean’s been getting stalkerish letters, and Madison is nominally in charge of his safety. The only problem is the attraction they feel for each other and the misunderstandings that arise.
Verdict Much is told to the reader here about Sean—he’s hot and honorable and good to animals, oh, and he’s hot. And much is revealed about Madison—she’s smart and good at her job and beautiful and insecure about the scar on her face. But none of it feels fully (or even partially) realized on the page. Probably because of the number of pages devoted to mental and actual lusting between the pair. A quick but empty read.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

Johnson, Cat. Flanked. Samhain. (Studs in Spurs, Bk. 5). Sept. 2012. 231p. eISBN 9781619211698. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY WESTERN ROMANCE
The life of a professional bull rider suits Garret James just fine. His name is on the rise in the bull riding world, and his reputation as a lover ensures a steady stream of female admirers. Although content with his rough-riding and one-night-affair lifestyle, an off-limits woman enters his life. Silver Jordan may be a mild-mannered music teacher by day, but her tattoos, piercings, and cherished motorcycle contradict any stereotype Garret had in mind. When passion ignites, Silver makes Garret an offer he can’t refuse: a marriage of convenience in exchange for health insurance and a surgery that can save Garret’s career. It may be easy to fool their friends regarding the marriage, but as emotions deepen, will the couple be able to walk away from each other?
Verdict Western rodeo culture and alternative lifestyle themes give the two protagonists interesting backgrounds. As a fifth book in a series, this title depicts the friendship between Garret and his fellow bull riders in a manner that is tangible and indepth. Silver may be pierced in inexplicable places, but she is practical and likable. Readers will be inspired to find the first four books in the series. The edgy elements regarding piercings and tattoos may appeal to a younger reading demographic.—Debra M. Dudek, Fountaindale P.L. Dist., Bolingbrook, IL

Rainey, Anne. Breaking Brodix. Samhain. (Blackwater, Bk. 3). Aug. 2012. 120p. eISBN 9781619211865. EPUB $3.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
The third title in the “Blackwater” series opens with a nosy reporter seeking information on the Jennings family of hunky guys who were all adopted by one couple. Sarah Greer made one error in judgment in trusting an unreliable source on a previous story and has gained a reputation for smearing public figures. While she and Brodix Jennings dislike each other on sight, there is a powerful sexual connection. Hours later, they’re in bed.
Verdict Rainey (Sam’s Promise) doesn’t provide much conflict here, but the characters are well drawn. This is definitely not a good choice for those who like their sex scenes vanilla as it includes some bondage and anal sex. Those looking for a quick, juicy read with additional books in the series should enjoy Breaking Brodix.—B. Allison Gray, Goleta Branch, Santa Barbara P.L. Syst., CA

Ryan, Marie-Nicole. Taming Talia. Samhain. (Loving the Lawman, Bk. 2). Aug. 2012. 237p. eISBN 9781619211254. EPUB $5.50. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Pinkerton agent Jared Fields, first seen in Seducing the Sheriff, has arrived in LaMesa, New Mexico Territory, to investigate the widow Montrose. It is fall 1889, and Natalia Montrose’s no good scoundrel of a husband has been stabbed to death while bedding one of the local floozies after getting into a fight in the saloon. While everyone knows that Talia didn’t actually kill her husband, there is some speculation that she may have paid someone to take him off her hands so that she could regain control of her family’s lands. Jared is determined to find out what really happened and report back to Pinkerton’s as ordered. Meanwhile, Talia is burying her husband and vowing that she will run her ranch, enjoy her widowhood, and look for a handsome man to help relieve her longings and frustrations after years of marriage to an abusive and demeaning Anglo. And who walks in but Jared Fields, Talia’s first caller following the funeral, pretending to be a financial advisor. Talia sizes him up as her first sexual conquest. When an unexpected blizzard strands them alone for several days, Talia and Jared must find a way to stay warm and ride out the storm.
Verdict There really was a deadly snowstorm in 1889 New Mexico Territory, which sets the stage for Talia and Jared to fall in love while trying to survive. As they get to know each other and work together to keep themselves and the animals from freezing to death, they discover a bond that neither had expected as well as a passion that could very well melt the snow and ice that surrounds them. Ryan (Broken Promises) has written another engaging story of finding love and passion in the middle of a dire situation.—Lisa Jordan, Gardner Neighborhood Lib., Johnson Cty. Lib., KS

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"