by Christie RidgwayNovember, 2008
Go West, young women
Dorothy Garlock's Leaving Whiskey Bend is a compelling turn - of - the - century Western that blends three women's struggles to survive with a ranching family's lingering mystery. Single women Hallie, Pearl and Mary flee the Colorado town of Whiskey Bend in order to save Mary from her lecherous and cruel stepbrother. But their escape takes them into a violent storm where they're found by rancher Eli Morgan and his uncle. The two take the women in while Mary fights off illness. But there are other difficulties yet to be met in the guise of Eli's unfriendly mother, two townspeople who have it in for Eli, and the unsolved mystery of who killed Eli's younger brother four years before. As romance blooms in this unexpected place, there is also the lingering fear that leaving Whiskey Bend might have lingering repercussions. A final violent showdown and a gratifying ending for the characters make the latest from Garlock, an accomplished author of more than 50 novels, a satisfying read.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN
A most romantic rake walks through the pages of Anne Mallory's latest historical romance, The Bride Price. The illegitimate son of a duke, Sebastien Deville resents his dubious social status and his cold, scheming father. When a notorious group of aristocrats, including Sebastien's father, designs a tournament in order to amuse themselves, their bastards and lesser sons suddenly have a chance to win a title, property and power. Sebastien takes up his father's challenge. It matters not to him that winning will also include a wife - Sebastien's focus is the opportunity to reclaim his childhood home and wreak revenge on the cruel society that barely accepts him. But his determination to triumph in each tournament event, from equestrian feats to the tying of cravats, is jeopardized by his attraction to the best friend of the promised bride. Widow Caroline Martin has been burned by passion before, but the sizzle between herself and Sebastien cannot be denied. Their torrid affair reaches into both their hearts and Sebastien is torn between the woman he loves and his deep desire to win. Sexy, yet with a deep emotional center, Mallory's latest is highly recommended.
LOVE, ITALIAN STYLE
Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye is sure to leave readers looking for a good Italian meal and a man as delicious as the hero, Dominick Romeo. Heroine Rosalie Ronaldi is having a bad day. As she leaves her parents' home in Brooklyn after another Sunday dinner that includes pressure to get married, 27 - year - old Rosalie discovers that she has a flat tire and no spare. Enter Good Samaritan Nick, who helps her get home even as he conceals his identity as the wealthy bachelor who owns a chain of car dealerships in New York. Attraction sparks between these two, though they're both cautious about love. Nick believes himself to have been handed a love - 'em - and - leave - 'em legacy, while Rosalie professes to be interested only in casual relationships. With an agreement between them that marriage isn't on the table, the two embark on a combustible romance. Complications arise from their work and their identities, but love and a great dog manage to save the day.
A MAGICAL MYSTERY
Barbara Bretton charms with her paranormal romance, Casting Spells. The enchanted Vermont town of Sugar Maple is filled with all sorts of otherworldly folk, including knit shop owner and half - sorceress, half - human Chloe Hobbs. Her ancestress came up with the spell that keeps the town safe, but it seems to be fading: the death of a visitor shocks Sugar Maple, bringing police detective Luke MacKenzie to their enclave. Chloe finds that the magic powers that have always been missing from her life may be developing, just as her heart is developing an attachment to the too - human investigator. Suddenly she's in love and in trouble - the kind of trouble that threatens the town and eventually both her life and Luke's. A sweet setting with the sparkle of magic and a bite of suspense makes Casting Spells a standout.