E-Originals from Burke & Jensen, Carney, Kent, and Trentham | Xpress Reviews

Week ending October 9, 2015

Burke, Jenn & Kelly Jensen. Skip Trace. Carina: Harlequin. (Chaos Station, Bk. 3). Oct. 2015. 219p. ebk. ISBN 9781459290136. $3.99. SF ROMANCE, LGBT
Former supersoldier Zander Anatolius, aka Zed, a son of one of the most powerful business families in the galaxy, returns home to face the relatives who believed him dead, the media who want to tear him apart for a story, and the military who believe he betrayed secrets they want buried. At his side is his lover Felix Ingesson and the rest of the crew of the Chaos, but Felix is still dealing with the emotional aftermath of Zander’s actual death and resurrection at the hands of the all-powerful Guardians. When news comes of another supersoldier needing a rescue before the military disappears him, Felix jumps at the chance to go off with the crew. But while the ship is gone, Zander is arrested for treason and vanishes. Only a wild gamble by Felix offers a glimmer of hope for their future.
Verdict Burke and Jensen continue to focus on Zander and Felix as the primary romantic couple in this series, but here the romance takes a backseat to the action, suspense, and family dynamics. As Zander becomes seemingly more stable, Felix seems to be more erratic, and the authors delve into their role reversal, with supporting characters continuing to provide a solid backbone. Each book builds on the previous title, so libraries owning the first two (Chaos Station; Lonely Shore) need to purchase this one. A strong series for all libraries to consider.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA

starred review starCarney, Dee. Taming Her Wolf. Carina: Harlequin. (Fire Creek Shifters, Bk. 1). 2015. 261p. ebk. ISBN 9781459290112. $3.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE, SHIFTERS
tamingherwolf100915This stunning series opener begins as Brick, a werewolf shifter, attempts to help save the life of an adolescent from his pack who is the victim of a serial killer. As he and his packmates rush the child to their doctor’s cabin, they are surprised to find that there is a new doctor in town. Kim Sharpe moved to Fire Creek, FL, to hide from the world after a risky medical decision turned out poorly. Kim fails to save the victim here but falls heavily for Brick as they form an instant attraction. The problem is that Brick has been struggling with his inner beast, and this complicates his intense feelings for Kim, as the beast is not fully under control. Oddly enough, carnal interaction with Kim turns out to be instrumental to helping prevent Brick from going rogue. Kim, in turn, takes a big risk to try to discover what is causing the problems.
Verdict The concept of the werewolf as a three-part being composed of a partnership among human, wolf, and beast is an interesting and more complex take on the shape-shifting universe. Chock-full of passionate sex, this romance from Carney (Once Burned) keeps readers satisfied. Highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

Kent, Claire. Darker the Release. Loveswept: Random. (Revenge Saga, Bk. 2). Oct. 2015. 241p. ebk. ISBN 9781101886281. $2.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
In the second book in Kent’s “Revenge Saga,” Kelly Watson continues to search for proof leading to her father’s killer. Using mogul Caleb Marshall to find that proof should have been a good idea. But Caleb is sexy, the sex is amazing, and Kelly is falling in love with him, even though he may be the murderer. The only way Kelly can protect her heart is to discover the truth before Caleb figures out her true identity. Caleb is a playboy who has never formed an emotional attachment to any of his previous lovers, mostly call girls and one-night stands. What he feels for Kelly makes him yearn for something more, but the ruthless businessman with secrets to hide can’t resist looking into her background. What he learns will break something inside him, and for the first time Caleb realizes why he has always protected himself emotionally. Once the truth is revealed, will Kelly and Caleb be free to love each other, or will their secrets tear them apart forever?
Verdict In this latest from Kent (Sweet the Sin), it’s hard to decide whether Caleb or Kelly is the “bad guy.” He is a sexy character who learns to love, but he could be a murderer. She is a strong, independent woman seeking justice, but her betrayal goes so deep that readers might dislike her. Darker the Release is hot and steamy, full of complex characters, with a dash of suspense and a surprise thrown in for good measure. Readers will not be disappointed.—Colleen Sargent, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, IL

Trentham, Laura. Melting into You. St. Martin’s. (Falcon Football, Bk. 3). Nov. 2015. 228p. ebk. ISBN 9781466883963. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Lilliana Hancock is a starving artist working to restore her inherited family home and turn it into a bed and breakfast. Between finding the money to fix up the house and trying to keep her art career alive, she certainly isn’t looking for love—especially not in the form of retired football player Alec Grayson, a man she’s harbored hatred for since college. Alec is unable move on from past betrayals and broken dreams, but when he meets Lilliana, he can’t resist the fire that sparks between them despite his intention to keep her at a distance. It seems fate is drawing them together, but juggling responsibilities, secrets, and two messy pasts isn’t a recipe for a smooth and effortless relationship.
Verdict This third installment in the “Falcon Football” series (after Slow and Steady Rush and Caught up in the Touch) wastes no time getting down to business. Steamy scenes and Southern charm help foster a tender story with high-stakes risks and delightful drama. Recommended for fans of down-to-earth romances in which mistrust and miscommunication must be overcome.—J. Harris, New Hampshire