Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, June 21, 2013

Week end June 21, 2013

Aleo, Toni. Falling for the Backup. Loveswept: Random. (Assassins, Bk. 3.5). Jun. 2013. 105p. ebk. ISBN 9780345549716. EPUB 99¢. SPORTS ROMANCE
Jordan Ryan is the backup goalie for the Nashville Assassins hockey team, and for the sake of his career he needs to get traded to a team that will put him in front of the goal full-time. Aynslee Shaw is the woman who restores his confidence after he is sidelined with a knee injury (and his fiancé kicks him to the curb because he is no longer a first-string player). But Jordan thinks he can’t take Aynslee away from the life she’s made in Nashville, and she thinks he doesn’t love her enough to take her with him. Falling for the Backup is a short, sweet, and sexy romance between two people who seem to be able to tell each other everything, except that neither can imagine a future without the other. Unfortunately, they’ve gone into this relationship knowing that it might have an expiration date.
Verdict The explosive chemistry between these two protagonists will make readers reach for a fan; the happily ever after will bring a smile to their faces. Though this is Book 3.5 in Aleo’s “Assassins” series, it can be read as a stand-alone introduction to the team.—Marlene Harris, Seattle P.L.

Ashley, Kristen. Fire Inside: A Chaos Novel. Forever Yours: Grand Central. Jul. 2013. 266p. ebk. ISBN 9781455599288. EPUB $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Lanie Heron isn’t looking for a relationship. After her then fiancé got involved with the mob and Lanie and her best friend were injured, she has never forgiven herself. It’s now been seven years of holding herself back from living, so Lanie decides to take a step forward, in this case a one-night stand. The “standee” she wants is Hop Kincaid, one hot biker who runs with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Lanie and Hop jump headfirst into their night together, yet when Hop awakens, he knows he isn’t ready to walk away. The problem is convincing Lanie, who won’t admit that she wants more from him as well.
Verdict In this second title in the “Chaos” series (after Own the Wind), Ashley spends more than a third of the book proving to the reader that Lanie and Hop are in a physical relationship, with lots of vulgarity and details of hot sex that make these protagonists seem a bit boring. But persistence pays off. For the remainder of the book, Ashley does a good job of developing these characters and creating a solid plot. Those who enjoy urban fiction and good, sizzling romance will find this book appealing.—Phyllis E. Goodman, West Chester Lib., OH

starred review starDimon, HelenKay. Just What He Wanted. Carina: Harlequin. (Holloway, Bk. 4). 2013. 130p. ebk. ISBN 9781426895722. EPUB $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Needing to get away from the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia and an unfaithful ex, Andie Patterson relocates to Holloway, WV, to manage the Mountain View Resort, owned by her friend Lila. Wanting to make sure everything is running smoothly, Lila and her fiancé send Thomas Nurseries’ employee Travis Yardley to check on Andie. Travis is shocked to learn that not only is Andie a woman but one with attitude and curves in all the right places. Andie is equally smitten with the sexy and hardworking Travis but refuses to give in to her impulses as Travis is ten years her junior. Age isn’t an issue for Travis, and he plans to persuade Andie he is just the man for her. Unfortunately, Travis’s troubled upbringing comes back to haunt him, and Andie’s best intentions might put a roadblock in the middle of their promising relationship.
Verdict Flirty and cheerful, this latest from Dimon (We’ll Be Home for Christmas; Lean on Me) is chock-full of endearing characters and yearning desire. Though readers will be disappointed that this isn’t a full-length novel, they can hope that there are more Holloway romances from Dimon in the future.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

Joyce, Brenda & others. Highlanders. HQN: Harlequin. 349p. ebk. ISBN 9781459243255. $7.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
This collection of three novellas set in the Scottish Highlands during the 14th and the late 13th century is anchored by Joyce’s “The Warrior and the Rose.” Juliana MacDougall, her sister, and her nephews are kidnapped by family enemy Alasdair Og in retribution for actions taken by her brother. Within one night, she is helplessly attracted to Alasdair and sharing his bed. In Michelle Willingham’s “Rescued by the Highland Warrior,” the rather unlikable heroine is a recent widow whose sister-in-law will throw her and her young sister out if she is proven not to be bearing a child. She sets out to find the man she rejected in favor of her wealthy older husband and asks him to impregnate her. The best story of the three is Terri Brisbin’s “The Forbidden Highlander.” The year is 1370. Elizabeth MacLerie loves James Murray, who is engaged to her best friend Ciara. Ciara loves Tavis. All are doing their duty and marrying for honor and family gain. But Elizabeth is keeping a secret. These characters have more depth than those in the other stories, facing complex issues that must be dealt with before happily ever after ensues.
Verdict Though the trilogy is not a must-have, all the stories have a distinctly charming Highland flair. Brisbin’s tale is a cut above many similar novellas.—B. Allison Gray, Goleta Lib., CA

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"