Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, September 21, 2012

Week ending September 21, 2012

Dreiling, Vicky. A Season for Sin. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Sinful Scoundrels). Sept. 2012. 102p. eISBN 9781455525140. EPUB $1.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Andrew Carrington, the Earl of Bellingham, is a notorious rake who is said to have ice in his veins. He enjoys pleasurely pursuits but refuses to give his heart to any of his paramours. Then his new friends mention an unattainable widow, and suddenly his interest is piqued. When he discovers that the drunken youth frequently seen about the London streets is her stepson, Bell immediately visits the beautiful widow. Laura Davenport is taken with the handsome earl, but she refuses to meet with him. She doesn’t need a husband, certainly not one like the Earl of Bellingham. But Bell doesn’t take no for an answer, and he can’t pass up a challenge.
Verdict Fans of historical romance should already be familiar with Dreiling and her “How To” series of Regency romances. A master of the genre, Dreiling has added to her repertoire this introduction to her new “Sinful Scoundrels” series. A Season for Sin is the beginning of the tale of Lord Bellingham and the innocent widow Laura Davenport. This e-novella ends before we find out the fate of Laura and the handsome earl, so fans should stay tuned for the new series, coming in spring 2013, to find out if Bell will win the widow’s heart!—Judy Taylor Garner, ECPI Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Kennedy, Elle. Feeling Hot. Samhain. (Out of Uniform, Bk. 7). 2012. 251p. eISBN 9781619210929. EPUB $5.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Navy SEAL Cash McCoy comes home after a six-month deployment and almost has the most fantastic sex of his life while hiding in the back of a bar. Unfortunately, he loses the woman’s number. Then, he meets that blonde again. Sadly for Cash, she is his CO’s little sister, and she needs a bodyguard for a few weeks because her ex is a stalker. Jen doesn’t want a bodyguard, but she really, really wants Cash. Too bad Jen has an iron-clad rule against dating military men and that her big brother told Cash he would “drown him” if he touched his baby sister. If they break all the rules, they can have all the fun—until her brother finds out and her stalker comes back.
Verdict Readers will feel plenty of heat in Kennedy’s latest entry (after The Heat Is On) in her erotic romance series about Navy SEALs off-duty and “Out of Uniform.” Although the steamy sex comes first, it’s the slow-building relationship that pulls the story along. The secondary focus on the difficulty of maintaining a military marriage with multiple deployments really tugs at the heart.—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality LLC, Atlanta

Maher, Rebecca Rogers. Fault Lines. Carina: Harlequin. Oct. 2012. c.131p. eISBN 9781426894398. EPUB $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Sarah Murphy strictly manages her emotions as she struggles to sort through the aftermath of multiple sexual abuses. Using sex as a way to control, Sarah brings Joe Sullivan home for a romp in the sheets. Joe immediately sees through Sarah’s guard and starts slowly to gain her trust. With his help and the support of others in her life, Sarah begins to confront her past and to find happiness in her life.
Verdict While Fault Lines does have a romance in it and some steamy scenes in the bedroom, Maher’s (Snowbound with a Stranger) book is, in reality, about the emotional path to recovery and its never-ending journey. While Joe is the romantic element in supporting Sarah’s struggle, the romance plays second fiddle to the other relationships in Sarah’s life. Many of the scenes are dark, electrically charged, and, occasionally, preachy. Some of the secondary story lines are distracting and often finished off-page. Time would have been better served fleshing out the emotional scenes alluded to in the dialog. Don’t be fooled by the book’s jacket and blurb; Fault Lines is a gut-wrenching if distracted read.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Lib.

Stone, Alison. Too Close to Home. Samhain. 2012. 199p. eISBN 9781609288501. EPUB $4.50. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
After her father’s death was ruled a suicide, Kathryn McNabb left her hometown vowing never to return or to let anything break her heart. But an unexpected inheritance makes Kathryn the co-owner of the company her father founded, forcing her to face her past, including Ben Nowak, childhood friend and teen crush and the son of the man who ruined her dad. Determined to sell the company and give her mom the retirement she deserves, Kathryn swears to let nothing stand in her way, especially outdated equipment, break-ins, and suspicious accidents that seem to plague the company. Adding to this are Kathryn’s feelings for Ben, whom she thought she had gotten over, and threats from someone who doesn’t want her to discover the truth.
Verdict A heartwarming and intriguing tale filled with suspense and emotion up to the very end. Can one go home again and start over? This is the question Ben and Kathryn must answer.—Phyllis Goodman, Clermont Cty. P.L., Amelia, OH

Walker, Regan. Racing with the Wind. Boroughs. (Agents of the Crown, Bk. 1). 2012. 266p. eISBN 9781938876004. EPUB $3.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Although this romance takes place during the Regency period, it is not a traditional Regency, and Lady Mary Campbell is not your typical Regency debutante. She’s helping her uncle by committing little acts of espionage. After all, no one suspects the belle of the ball of being a spy. Back home in England, ton gossip speculates on whether anyone will ever tame the willful young woman who (gasp!) rides astride in men’s clothes. Hugh Redgrave, Marquess of Ormond, never managed to give up his double life as “The Nighthawk” after Napoleon finally went into exile…again. Hugh still does some “work” for the Regent, though his family thinks it’s high time he married. Lady Mary looks like just the woman for him, if he can extricate her from the deadly intrigues she has landed herself in while spying in Paris. A cross-country journey, running together from safe house to safe house with the hounds of three countries on their heels, finally forces these two to confront the simmering sexual tension that drives them to distraction. But just when they think everything is resolved, there is one last obstacle to overcome.
Verdict Setting up the characters and their situations takes a while, but once the story gets going, it really gets going. Recommended for historical fiction fans, especially those who enjoyed Shana Galen’s Lord and Lady Spy, or the historic side of Lauren Willig’s “Pink Carnation” series.—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC, Atlanta

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"