E-Originals from Alward, George, LeCoeur, Rock, and Zanetti | Xpress Reviews

Week ending September 1, 2017

Alward, Donna. The Playboy Prince and the Nanny. Swerve: St Martin’s. (Princes of Marazur, Bk. 1). Aug. 2017. 186p. ebk. ISBN 9781250142535. $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
When a car crash that killed his sister-in-law leaves his niece and nephew motherless, Diego Navarro, the playboy Prince of the Mediterranean island of Marazur, returns home to attend to his family, even though his brother and father never trust him with the family business. While his brother is knee deep in business and dealing with the loss of his wife, Diego hires English nanny Rose Walters to care for the children, and he is immediately drawn to her. They share a few tender moments, but Rose knows that crossing the line with Diego would not only cost her her job but may also hurt the youngsters in the process. As well, her life and his are worlds apart: he is a prince; she is the hired help. When Diego capitalizes on an opportunity to prove his loyalty and save the family from scandal, Rose questions his intentions and makes a sacrifice to help the family she has come to love, even if it means letting Diego go.
Verdict: In some ways reminiscent of a much lighter The Sound of Music, Alward’s (Somebody’s Baby) fairy-tale romance doesn’t require gratuitous sex scenes to capture readers’ heartstrings.—Kara Kohn, Plainfield P.L., IL

George, Lexi. Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex. Lyrical: Kensington. (Demon Hunting, Bk. 5). Sept. 2017. 286p. ebk. ISBN 9781601831798. $4.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
This final book in the Hannah, AL–set series finds immortal demon-hunter Duncan Dalvhani wooing the immortal demonoid Cassandra McKenna. Cassie has taken a dislike to Duncan as he rejected her some hundred years ago because she is part demon. Realizing he can’t live without her, Duncan does everything he can to win Cassie over. He moves in across the river from her and conveniently saves her from being killed by a crazed werewolf. Meanwhile, the mischievous god Pratt is fomenting trouble among the local werewolves, and a rogue Dalvhani warrior is on the loose. Against this tumultuous backdrop, Duncan and Cassie are inexorably attracted to each other. Acknowledging their chemistry, they make a hilariously solemn pact to just have sex, with no commitments, which eventually leads to some bedroom fireworks, but will it also lead to more? When Cassie is kidnapped, suddenly the stakes are upped considerably.
Verdict George’s (Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb) joyous romp through a unique paranormal world is charming and intriguing in equal parts. Of particular note is a reanimated statue that helps put things to rights by wielding a very large peanut. The wide cast of characters and witty interplay make for a rollicking read; highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

LeCoeur, Ursula. The Perfect Partner. Royal Street. (Love in New Orleans, Bk. 4). Jul. 2017. 284p. ebk. ISBN 9780692907726. $4.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
This fourth installment in LeCoeur’s series focuses on the wealthy profligate Vespasian Colville from the third book, The Devious Debutante. He lands a journalism job at the Daily Picayune, paired with prudish Carine Bouchard to cowrite a romantic advice column. The partnership gets off to a fiery start, with Vespasian exhibiting his rakish tendencies over Carine’s more genteel approach. Vespasian is consumed with his passion for Suzette St. Aubin, who has rejected him, while Carine is ensconced in writing a novel but lacks romantic insight. When Carine drinks a love potion meant for Suzette, she becomes shockingly wanton with the heretofore despised Vespasian, but the scoundrel turns gentleman. He helps her to maintain her dignity and escorts her chastely home. Carine remembers nothing, but their relationship heats up as she realizes what Vespasian can teach her.
Verdict The mix of epistolary advice and raw romantic action is intoxicating, especially set in 1887. The literary conflict between the couple that transforms into romantic tension leads perfectly to blissful consummation; highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

Rock, Joanne. Second Chance Cowboy. Tule. (Road to Romance, Bk. 2). Aug. 2017. 129p. ebk. ISBN 9781946772800. $3.99. WESTERN CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
As part of a pact between friends, dancer Larissa Martine stops off in Cheyenne, WY, to mend some of the tough choices from her past. First love Matt Briggs moved on long ago, but that doesn’t stop the curiosity that prompts Larissa to make peace with him now, of all times. Meanwhile, Callie, Matt’s sister and bride-to-be, as well as their feisty grandmother Hattie, sweeps Larissa up in the wedding plans before Matt even has a chance to take note. Rock (Last Chance Christmas) hits all the right spots with Matt and Larissa. While college sweethearts, they were caught somewhere among the dreams of others, hopeful intentions, and family obligations, which ruined their first try as a couple. But Matt’s strong cowboy sensibility goes toe-to-toe with Larissa’s newfound determination, and the two quickly realize that life together as Cheyenne ranchers could mean everything to them. Can one slow dance bring back a love that almost was? Or will the perspective of time divided push them apart for good?
Verdict Readers who gravitate toward second chance romances will be rewarded with richly layered characters with whom they won’t want to part.—Frannie Strober Cassano, North Bellmore P.L., NY

Zanetti, Rebecca. Wicked Bite. Lyrical: Kensington. (Realm Enforcers, Bk. 5). Aug. 2017. 298p. ebk. ISBN 9781601838681. $5.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Bear is…well, a bear. The only problem is, he’s already changed into a dragon, and shifters an only take one form. The damage of that change and the way it has affected him have made him one grumpy bear. Nessa is a witch—a Coven Nine witch to be exact. She’s a great witch, but unlike the others in her coven, she is unable to make fire. Since Bear’s father was a dragon, she hopes that mating with Bear will enhance her powers. Bear might find Nessa a little too sassy, but that she can heal the damage done by his previous shift makes the idea of mating with her appealing. The sexy witch is after only one thing, and once she gets it, she has plans to move on. Mating with Bear isn’t quite so easy, since it comes with a lifelong bond she’s not so eager to accept. A feisty heroine and alpha male make this fifth and final book in the “Realm Enforcers” series (after Wicked Kiss) a wicked, sexy ride. Those who have read the previous titles will be thrilled finally to get Bear’s story and pleased to see the return of some former series characters.
VERDICT Zanetti hits a home run with this one. The steam level will appeal to fans of Christine Feehan and Nalini Singh.—Nanci Milone Hill, M.G. Parker Memorial Lib., Dracut, MA

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