Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 10, 2014

Week ending January 10, 2014

Bernard, Jennifer. Desperately Seeking Fireman: A Bachelor Firemen Novella. Avon Impulse. Jan. 2014. 130p. ebk. ISBN 9780062329561. $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Jeb Stone, a captain of the so-called Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel, is on a much-deserved vacation when a coworker asks him to take a side trip to a remote island as a favor. At the same time, Nita Moreno picked the island specifically for its isolation, as she hides with her boss—a senator—to let a scandal blow over. Both Jeb and Nita are recovering from heartbreak and are unsure of what the future will hold. But an early storm may bring them together in ways they never expected.
Verdict Jeb and Nita’s story is the most recent novella in this line of stories about the San Gabriel fire department. While the plot is a bit harebrained and the protagonists are pretty standard, this is a steamy read and continues the exploration of these firefighters’ love lives. This novella also provides a glimpse of characters from Bernard’s first story in the series (The Fireman Who Loved Me), which will delight regular readers and intrigue newcomers to explore earlier titles.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash

Moore, E.S. Blood from a Silver Cross. eKensington. (Kat Redding, Bk. 4). Feb. 2014. 304p. ebk. ISBN 9781601832429. $6.99. URBAN FANTASY, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, SHAPE-SHIFTERS
This fourth book in the series continues the adventures of Kat Redding, aka Lady Death. She is a vampire in love with a werewolf, beholden to a demon, and struggling against her compulsion to drink blood. Dressed in black leather with sword and pistol at her side, Kat is out to assassinate the most evil supes (supernatural beings). Her latest problem is that the Left Hand, a religious group virulently opposed to all supes, has ritually executed a werewolf. This werewolf belonged to the Luna Cult, led by Jonathan, Kat’s love interest. As Kat investigates the killing, she suspects it might have been an inside job. She also uncovers a shocking secret about her vampire identity. Kat must then choose between saving herself and stopping the killers.
Verdict Kat’s internal conflict over being a vampire and her state of denial about loving a werewolf produce plenty of tension, which drives a compelling story line. Readers unfamiliar with the previous installments may get lost in the labyrinthine plot, but they will be rescued by the indelible image of a selfless evil-fighting vampire heroine.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

Schroeder, Shannyn. Something To Prove. eKensington. (O’Learys, Bk. 3). Jan. 2014. 244p. ebk. ISBN 9781601831835. $5.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
somethingtoprove011014Floridian Elizabeth Brannigan finds herself in Chicago clandestinely investigating one of her father’s investments, a biker bar named the Irish Pub. Elizabeth is out to prove to her father and brother that she is accomplished enough to become CEO of their million-dollar family business when her father retires. Done up in designer suits and driving a rented Mercedes, Elizabeth tries to smooth out the bottom line at this neighborhood watering hole. On a recognizance mission to size up her competition, Elizabeth meets handsome Colin O’Leary, who tends bar at his family’s pub. Colin has just returned home after drifting around for three years following the death of his father. Colin and Elizabeth are both on missions to prove their worth to their relatives. Colin struggles to improve his business acumen, while Elizabeth works to exhaustion to reinvent the image of her bar. Will our pair realize they’ve got to match wits as well as hearts to find success?
Verdict Reveling in the give-and-take between these protagonists with very different personalities, readers will learn how a spark of romance can complicate or simplify personal challenges. Schroeder (More Than This) knows how to make readers care about her characters.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

Wolff, Tracy. Ruined. (Ethan Frost, Bk. 1). Loveswept: Random. Jan. 2014. 242p. ebk. ISBN 9780804179263. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY NEW ADULT ROMANCE
Chloe expects her first day as an intern at biomedical corporation Frost Industries to be filled with intellectual property law and business. She doesn’t expect to get into an argument over blueberries in the cafeteria with the gorgeous guy behind the smoothie bar. Worse, she didn’t know that guy was in fact Ethan Frost, her boss. As Ethan’s attraction to Chloe becomes obvious, she struggles with a violent trauma from her past that still haunts her. Yet even as Chloe gives into the passion she discovers with Ethan, secrets they try to suppress threaten their relationship just as it’s beginning.
Verdict: Wolff (Full Exposure) brings two people with tormented backgrounds together to heal each other. While the relationship may seem too familiar, the plot will intrigue even the most skeptical readers. For fans of E.L. James’s 50 Shades and Sylvia Day’s “Crossfire” series and popular romance titles.“Crossfire” series and popular romance titles.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Willison Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA