E-Originals from Ashe, Auclair, Parr, and a Pair of Paranormals | Xpress Reviews

Week ending June 20, 2014

Ashe, Eden. Ever Mine. Lyrical: Kensington. Jun. 2014. 105p. ebk. ISBN 9781616505325. $2.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
A mysterious gift to Nathan Alexander’s office one night alters his future plans of 24-hour workdays and lonely nights. The simple plant his aunt gives him not only is beautiful but hides a tiny fairy inside. When Katenia emerges from the blooms, she is surprised to find herself with a human. Every fairy knows humans are bad news and certainly not to be trusted. When a spell turns Katenia from fairy size to human size, she sees Nathan in a whole new light. His growl and frown hide a protective nature. And the attraction between them is electric. But she is a fairy and can’t live in the human world. In attempts to return to her natural environment, the pair’s mutual appeal is expressed and threats from both humans and fairies surface. Can Nathan protect Katenia from all dangers, or will he have to give her up for her own good?
Verdict Although the time line of the story—barely 24 hours—is difficult to believe, there is no lack of sizzle or drama in this latest from Ashe (The Dragon’s Heart).Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty. P.L., Lovettsville, VA

Auclair, Colette. Jumped. Pocket Star. (Aspen Valley, Bk. 2). Aug. 2014. 384p. ebk. ISBN 9781476745817. $5.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Thirty-one-year-old Bethany Fanelli, an up-and-coming riding apparel designer, is surprised to see her ex-husband, architect Finn McNabb, at a wedding reception in Aspen. She hasn’t seen him since their divorce five years ago. Bethany is attending the wedding with her friends Grady and Amanda Brunswick, he an Emmy Award–winning actor and she a hopeful Olympic-bound equestrian (Thrown). As the destination wedding weekend events unfold, Finn and Bethany can’t avoid each other. An accident lands Finn in the hospital, and Bethany becomes his caretaker, allowing the couple time to discuss how and why their marriage ended. Bethany, the wealthy daughter of a self-made home-and-garden store giant, struggles with memories of her family’s Colorado vacation home. Finn wants to prove he is worthy of winning Bethany’s love, again. Auclair is a 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, winner of the 2011 Winter Rose Contest, and finalist in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest.
Verdict Harris, the Brunswicks’ chef, is a clairvoyant Cupid, full of honest evaluations of people and their love lives. He adds a spark to the story as Auclair continues to build her cast of series characters and develop their varied personalities.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

starred review starParr, Allison. Imaginary Lines. Carina: Harlequin. (New York Leopards, Bk. 3). 2014. 241p. ebk. ISBN 9781426897757. $3.99. NEW ADULT ROMANCE
imaginarylines062013Tamar Rosenfeld has loved childhood pal Abraham Krasner ever since she was 12 years old. At 19, she confessed her love but was crushed to discover her yearning was unrequited. Fast-forward four years: Abe is now the star linebacker for the New York Leopards professional football team, and Tamar has just moved to the Big Apple to pursue a position as a reporter for Sports Today. It was only a matter of time before Tamar’s and Abe’s lives would intersect, especially since Tamar has been hanging around the team to get a story. Abe was slow to realize his feelings, but now that Tamar is in town, he can’t risk losing her again. Tamar refuses to have her heart torn out a second time, but irresistible Abe is making it difficult for her to stand her ground. When an opportunity arises for Tamar to write a piece on the faulty equipment that jeopardizes the safety of the team, she takes it, even when the fallout could cost her and Abe everything.
Verdict Abe’s and Tamar’s endearing resolve to stay together during a pivotal hour of darkness will make even the harshest cynic want love to prevail. Parr’s (Rush Me; Running Back) writing has only gotten stronger in this delightful third foray into new adult territory. This reviewer hopes for much more to come from this author.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L, IL

Smith, Carla Susan. A Vampire’s Promise. eKensington. (Vampire’s Promise, Bk. 1). Jun. 2014. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9781601832894. $3.99.
Smith, Carla Susan. A Vampire’s Soul. eKensington. (Vampire’s Promise, Bk. 2). Jul. 2014. 288p. ebk. ISBN 9781601832917. $3.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
vampiresoul062014In debut author Smith’s series opener, Rowan has finally found the perfect man, or has he found her? After a series of false starts, she starts dating blond hunk Gabriel, and they fall into a steady rhythm of tender moments and hot sex. This is significant because Rowan has technically been a virgin up to this point. There are a few things wrong, however. Gabriel is never very specific about what he does for a living. In addition, Gabriel never meets Rowan in daylight, he seems to be able to pass through locked doors, and he has some really odd friends. Rowan has suspicions but chooses to ignore them, agreeing to dub the territory they never talk about “Alaska.” When confronted with the truth, she is understandably shocked. The long, slow buildup of romantic interludes and high-octane sex brims with foreshadowing and tenderness in equal measure. As elements of Gabriel’s vampire identity are revealed, the growing suspense is riveting. Rowan’s sudden discovery of Gabriel’s true self leaves the reader pining for the next installment.

The second book in the “Vampire’s Promise” series takes up where the first left off, the point at which Rowan discovers that her lover Gabriel is a vampire. Rowan’s reaction is somewhat typical; she is pretty freaked out, but she learns to deal with Gabriel’s vampirism through education. After a period of adjustment, Rowan is able to take Gabriel back, learning to appreciate rampant vampire sex and euphoric blood sharing. The fun doesn’t last long, though, before the evil vampire Katja attacks, using Rowan’s friend Laycee to lure Rowan from her home. Rowan is nearly killed before Gabriel comes to the rescue. The conflicted angel Sebastian helps save Rowan from death, but Rowan is forced into a difficult bargain with Gabriel’s darker twin.
Verdict Rowan’s wry commentary about her predicament is priceless, and this romance sizzles. The revelations about the complex nature of Gabriel’s existence and his connection to Rowan are the backdrop in which their wild passion and love run rampant. By striking a “deal with the devil,” Rowan gains much but also loses her former humanity. This series is highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA