E-Originals from Davenport, March, Moraine, & Sjoberg | Xpress Reviews

Week ending January 30, 2015

Davenport, Jami. Roughing the Passer. Boroughs. (Seattle Lumberjacks, Bk. 6). 2014. 74p. ebk. ISBN 9781941260708. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Many of the Seattle Lumberjacks team members are happily coupled now (see, e.g., Backfield in Motion; Time of Possession), but not hardheaded quarterback Tyler Harris. He had it good with Lavender Gerloch, but a girl can only stick around for so long without a full-out commitment. Despite deep love and smoldering desire for his gal, marriage is Tyler’s kryptonite. Giving up on her guy is hard, but Lavender does just that. Her friends take Lavender on a girls-only vacation to lift her spirits. Testosterone-free plans are soon foiled when Tyler and some of the team show up at the same resort. Despite the male ban, committed couples eventually sneak off together, leaving Lavender and Tyler alone. Can Tyler fight for his lady without giving up his stubborn hold against the ultimate life pledge?
Verdict An easy, joyful read for any romance reader.—Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty P.L., Lovettsville, VA

March, Tracy. The Marriage Match. Bliss: Entangled. (Suddenly Smitten, Bk. 3). Jan. 2015. 230p. ebk. ISBN 9781622661671. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Cynthia Sawyer is the personal assistant to Maple Creek’s wealthiest resident, the matriarch of the Hawthorne Resorts fortune, also known as “the Queen.” Cyn has an assignment that comes with a $25,000 bonus if she is successful: to ensure that the Queen’s grandson, Trent, falls in love during the production of Hawthorne Resorts’ next marketing campaign. The advertisements will feature Trent on dates with three perfect women, hand-selected by the Queen. If Trent gets hitched, Cyn will secure the cash, which she needs to prevent her parent’s home from falling into foreclosure. Trent is the kind of sexy, rich tycoon who would be easy to fall for, and while working together he becomes smitten with Cyn. In the style of the TV series The Bachelor, Trent goes on three dates, at the most beautiful, tropical resorts in the world, but he can’t stop thinking about the girl behind the scenes.
Verdict March’s (The Perfect Proposal; Tempted in the Tropics) characters are easy to root for and the sex scenes vague enough to please readers who like the heat on the mild side. This uncomplicated story set in a warm locale is just the thing for these cold winter nights.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L, IL

Moraine, Sunny. Labyrinthian. Samhain. Jan. 2015. 242p. ebk. ISBN 9781619224438. $5.50. SF/LGBT ROMANCE
Grown in a lab and programmed from birth, Taur has escaped and is searching for his brothers and sisters. When Theseus Aegia Athenia needs a distraction from a lost lover, he takes the job of hunting down Taur for the money but quickly realizes that “no limits on collateral damage” means he will likely wind up dead as well. Now Theseus and Taur are on the run together, hoping to find Taur’s siblings and taking refuge where they can. Sometimes that refuge is with each other, but both know that love cannot be a part of it. Their only chance is to discover the Labyrinth, which could hold the answers to everything Taur needs to survive. But time is not on their side as they try to evade Taur’s keepers before his kill chip detonates.
Verdict Moraine (Line and Orbit) delivers gritty sf wrapped in Greek mythology references. Sex scenes and violence are interspersed with true emotional introspection by the characters, making for a well-balanced romance.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., South Deerfield

Sjoberg, Lori. Grave Vengeance. Lyrical: Kensington. (Grave, Bk. 3). Jan. 2015. 266p. ebk. ISBN 9781601832696. $4.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
gravevengeance013015Dmitri Stavitsky and Gwen Peterson hated each other in life as spies on opposite sides during the Cold War and continue to despise each other after death. In this third book in Sjoberg’s “Grave” series (after Grave Intentions and Grave Destinations), Dmitri and Gwen must put aside their differences and work together to stop a fellow reaper who has gone rogue and is stealing the souls of other reapers. Tempers will flare, the past comes back to haunt them, and fate will hang in the balance for both Dmitri and Gwen as they learn to trust each other.
Verdict Fans of paranormal romance will enjoy Sjoberg’s creative spin on the Grim Reaper that has reapers trying to redeem their souls by working for Fate. Readers will enjoy the fast-paced story line as well as the slower development of the relationship that makes the romance even more believable because of Gwen and Dmitri’s hostile history.—Colleen Sargent, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, IL