Three Days In New York City

Author: Robin Slick
Genre: Erotic Romance
Reviewed by: Susan DiPlacido

Cover ArtForty-year-old Elizabeth is a frustrated artist turned corporate lawyer. She’s in a dead marriage, and her children are ready to fly off to college. So she boards a train, leaving behind her sports obsessed husband for a three-day tryst in New York City with a colleague from the London offices of her firm.

Elizabeth and Richard, her self-assured and highly polished lover for the weekend, have been planning this affair for years, ever since they worked a case together and struck up a friendly-cum-naughty e-mail relationship. But this will be the first time they meet in person. On the train, Elizabeth’s anticipation is balanced by her nervousness, both of which get turned up notches higher when Richard calls her on the way and tempts her even more.

Elizabeth has been playing the part of the sex-vixen online with Richard, and she’s terrified he’s going to discover that she’s really a tame, married woman. But these aren’t Elizabeth’s only doubts and insecurities. And as her weekend with Richard unfolds, not only in a hot and sexy fashion, but also in a shower of comedic mishaps, Elizabeth is forced to confront her true inner desires regarding the direction of her life.

This was a steamy read, for sure. But it was also touching and humorous. Elizabeth is a charming lead – a strong and vibrant woman who’s finally starting to look for a life for herself after a lifetime of caring for her family. And she’ll pull you along and show the reader the city, and herself, in this tantalizing first novel by Robin Slick.


January 31, 2005 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hell's Belle

Author: Shannah Biondine
Genre: Romance
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

11070402It's the late 1800's, and Twila Bell is an orphaned, accident-prone woman who has just relocated to Nevada with her berating Uncle Fletcher's family to open a new town emporium. Del Mitchell is a handsome local rancher who was just left at the altar. When one of Del's horses crashes through the front window of Uncle Fletcher's shop on opening day, this spicy romance is set in motion.

Del goes in to offer to pay for repairs, but what he finds is a charming damsel-in-distress as Twila is taking the brunt of her uncle's anger. He's once again yelling at his niece and blaming the bad fortune on her. Del's appalled for Twila, but after his recent humiliation, he has sworn off women, so he tries to forget about Twila as he leaves town for a while. But when he returns home, he's dismayed to learn of everyone talking about the town "witch" – Twila Bell. Furious at her uncle and feeling bad for Twila, Del takes her away to Reno and marries her.

This, however, is just the start of their tale. Though attracted to Twila and driven by chivalrous intentions, Del isn't ready to open his life or heart to another woman after his recent debacle at the altar. And Twila, after years of living with her demeaning Uncle, is deeply insecure. Both these characters are endearing and interesting, and you'll find yourself rooting them on. Biondine has a light touch with this story. While it's incredibly steamy, it's also funny and charming. There's plenty of plot to keep things moving, but Biondine never loses focus of the romance of this tale, and never makes a misstep. If you like westerns and romances with more than a touch of steam, you'll love this well-written, engaging story.


November 28, 2004 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Right Man, Wrong Time

Author: C. J. Winters
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

580While on a spelunking expedition through one of Missouri's partially explored caves, Susa Hildebrand takes a nasty header and gets separated from the rest of her group. Peeling herself up from the slippery cave floor, Susa regroups and follows what she believes is her group's path. But she soon discovers that she's completely lost. Seeing a small opening, Susa exits the cave there instead of trying to find her way back to the main entrance. Once back outside, Susa breathes easier for a short time until she's discovered by Bickford Pelletier, a Canadian aerial photographer who's scouting the Ozark mountains for the US government, while also scouting for an available woman with a hefty dowry – in pre-civil war 1859. Lost and disoriented in this time-travel romance/adventure, Susa is reluctantly dependent on Bickford for survival. But it's not long before the mutual physical attraction starts to break through their century gap.

Right Man, Wrong Time is a well-plotted, often funny, and emotionally engaging romance. Winters crafts a detailed and enjoyable story with vibrant leads, an interesting supporting cast, and fast-moving action. Her attention to rich details, clever dialogue, and full-bodied characterizations weaves this into a thoroughly touching and rewarding read.


July 9, 2004 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sisters in Time

Author: Ginger Simpson
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Reviewed by Kim Richards

581Right away this book describes itself as a paranormal, time-travel romance and yes, it is. One woman from the 1800's switches minds with another from 2002. Mariah Cassidy, a pioneer in 1872, and Taylor Morgan, a modern attorney, suddenly find themselves transposed. Unlike many other time travel pieces, the ladies' bodies stay in their home century, making for some interesting situations involving the husbands.

Don't expect this to be a bodice-ripper as full out sex scenes are few. But if you'd like a light, charming tale which reminds us how far technology has come and at what price, this may be the book for you.


July 8, 2004 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Madison's Miracles

Author: Joye Ames
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

10140401Maggie Madison is a beautiful, caring young woman who runs a local children's shelter in Atlanta. Her mother died when she was only four, at which time her musician father left her in the care of her aunt and he was never heard from again. Because of her past situation, she knows exactly how important it is for youth in crisis to have someone there to lend a hand from time to time. And because she and her best friend, Delta, run the shelter between themselves, their responsibilities include not only caring for the children, but also community fundraising. In most instances, this isn't an unpleasant chore for Maggie, except when it comes to The Ogre. Adam Fuentes is a successful local businessman with a brusque attitude and tight pockets. But Maggie always seems to weasel what she needs from him. Perhaps, as Adam bitterly tells her one day, it is because of her big eyes and short skirts.

So begins Madison's Miracles. Although Maggie's vexed at his accusation, she's also flattered. And although Adam is flustered at his admission, his attraction to her is evident even as he pushes her out the door – after giving her the requested donation. Before long, Adam finds himself on Maggie's doorstep when his niece runs away. He's a single man who idolizes his father's work ethic and believes that no one should ever ask for a handout or help. His brother and sister-in-law died in an accident, and he subsequently took over as guardian for their daughter, Jordan. So when she runs away, he finds himself in the curious position of having to ask Maggie to help him find her.

What transpires is a tight, fast-paced story with plenty of pleasing plot turns both comic and dramatic. Once the immediate crisis is resolved when they find Jordan, safe and sound and hanging out at the mall, Maggie and Adam turn up the heat on each other. Although both admit terror at the prospect of a relationship, they're unable to avoid each other once Jordan maneuvers herself into moving in with Maggie.

In such close proximity of each other, despite their misgivings, the sparks fly. Joye Ames has crafted a lovely novel with interesting and funny twists along the way. The main characters heat up the page, and both have personality to spare. Though a seemingly tough- cookie, pain-in-the-ass, rude, dismissive bore at first glance, Adam soon becomes a loveable lead and you'll be rooting for him to break through Maggie's walls. For her part, Maggie is nicely layered and her generous and spunky spirit will keep you rooting for her. The secondary characters are well-developed and endearing. The back-and- forth, on-again-off-again pull of their relationship will keep you turning the page, though it happened so frequently that I did start to get annoyed with it and with Maggie when the tension would flip over into frustration and my patience would lag. However, it worked overall and kept me reading and for the most part enjoying the rest of the story, all the way to the satisfying conclusion.


June 14, 2004 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Plumber's Helper

Author: Blaise Kilgallen
Genre: Sensual Romance
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

565Jake Plummer is a strong and single financial whiz who's recently come home to relax and visit his parents, and help his father with his plumbing business. On one of his first calls, he's summoned to a large job at the house of his old high school crush, Roxanne Diamond. A year older and more experienced than Roxanne, Jake had a severe case of lust for the young Roxy, but when they finally hooked up at her high school graduation party, things went awry when she still wasn't quite ready to handle Jake sexually.

Much to Jake's surprise, and delight, Roxanne Diamond is currently living in her parent's home where he's been summoned for a the large repair job. She's house-sitting while her parents are away in Europe. Roxanne has mixed memories regarding Jake, because although she liked him and wanted him, her first sexual experience with him was painful and unpleasant. However, when she sees him now, nearly ten years later, she's undeniably attracted to him physically while still being angry and distrustful of him.

The Plumber's Helper is a fast-paced, engrossing, hot, and enjoyable read. Blaise Kilgallen takes care to fashion two extremely likeable and fully fleshed characters here. And their past sexual history somehow works to create more heat and friction between them, while building on a truly engaging emotional connection. The writing is smooth and fluid, and I was drawn to both Jake and Roxy. It's a delicious, decadent read, sure to satisfy the reader's expectations.


June 13, 2004 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Is the Bride

Author: Caroline Clemmons
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewed by: JaToya Love

CoverHappy Is The Bride is the story of sweet Beth Pendleton and hunky Mason Whittaker. Beth is the unmarried daughter of two wealthy, status conscious parents. Mason is the son of a close, loving family. The basic premise of Happy Is The Bride is that Beth has been engaged three times and each time something unusual happened to stop the wedding, leading the people in Beth’s town to view her as jinxed.

Well, when you have a small town, and people who consider Beth stuck up like her parents, rather than take the time to realize that she’s a person with feelings too, you get gossip. And for three years Beth has been the butt of mean spirited gossip. No one believes she’ll ever marry, not even her own parents. And they spend quite a bit of time telling each other so, whether Beth is in earshot or not.

So, as the result of a bet made with her cousin that she could marry if she wanted to, Beth turns to the one person she can trust to never let her down, no matter what, Mason Whittaker.

Mason has loved Beth for years. He has suffered agony through each and every one of Beth’s engagements and a secret, guilty relief when each one ended without the expected nuptials. Needless to say, when Beth proposes to Mason, he leaps at the chance, thinking Beth has finally realized that she loves him.

Both are thrilled about the upcoming wedding, each believing things are finally working out for them. However, when the wedding day arrives, it’s one disaster after the other.

Okay, here’s my take. Happy Is The Bride is a pretty good tale. I was immediately sympathetic to the heroine and I fell totally in love with the hero. What aggravated me were the secondary characters. I wanted to bash a few of them upside their heads. And the fact that Beth just didn’t seem to have it in her to stand up for herself and tell the gossip mongers to shove their stories where the sun don’t shine made me want to shake her as well. There is such a thing as taking sweetness and light too far.

Happy Is The Bride is the story of a woman who needs to be understood and loved and the man who does both. The story has a few areas of character and plot development that could have been tightened up a bit. Since this is a novella, most of that could be excused as lack of space, but a few things could have been indulged a bit more, just to satisfy my need for revenge if for no other reason. When a person finally gets their comeuppance, I want to be able to enjoy it. And I’m not telling who. Go get the book and find out for yourself.

Mason’s one character quirk was his temper, which he tended only to indulge when someone said something against Beth. Venting his temper and fighting was how he’d ended up with a crushed leg and a limp when he was a kid, so he works hard to keep it leashed. As far as I was concerned, it was a non-issue, and too much time was spent emphasizing it. His father lectured him on it instead of dealing with the real issue; that Mason was standing up for the woman he loved. Therefore, if you wanted to avoid a fight, don’t rag on Beth. Sounds pretty simple to me.

What made Happy Is The Bride is the ending, which is true for most romance novels. Obviously, the ending was a happy one, but when I closed the window Happy Is The Bride was open in, I was thrilled for Beth and Mason and assured that wherever in storyland they are, they’re living the life they deserve.


May 12, 2004 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tall, Dark And Western

Author: Kay LeGrand
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

545When Bethany Griffith set out to find the cameo that her father stole from her mother, the last thing she bargained for was getting abducted and robbed in a deserted town in Wyoming. But that's exactly what happened. And that's exactly what put her in contact, plenty of contact, with local Sheriff Nathan Ballard.

After a week of being held captive by a man who tells her he's a local deputy, Bethany escapes to the nearest Sheriff's department and finds herself in the care of Nathan. After tending to her wounds and hearing her incredible story, Nathan takes Bethany over to his sister's house to help care for her.

Nathan shortly recovers Bethany's stolen van, but not her credit cards or cash. And to make matters more difficult, the man he apprehends is not the man who actually kidnapped Bethany. And to make matters more strange, the man who kidnapped Bethany is actually dead.

Kay LeGrand has fashioned an exciting read with Tall, Dark And Western by fusing the romantic and the mysterious and suspenseful. Even before Bethany and Nathan begin the tango of love, she's got us thrust into a page-turner. LeGrand knows how to build suspense, and she does so wonderfully, not just in the ghost-town, kidnapping plot, but also in the budding romantic liaison.

Bethany is a handful as a main character. She's the quintessential mouthy, spoiled brat. She pushes the boundaries of Nathan's patience, and at times mine as a reader, because I couldn't figure out what she was being so haughty and nasty for. However, the plot and tension kept me moving forward. And LeGrand has a wonderful way with words, tossing off lovely turns of phrase and building atmosphere, pulling the reader into this dusty world and wrapping them up in the mystery and romance of the setting and characters. The story hums along at a nice pace, and as the plot unfolds, the characters blossom. All in all, Tall, Dark And Western is an absorbing, pulse-quickening page turner with plenty of heat between the leads.


May 7, 2004 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (0)

An Irish Lullaby

Author: Leta Nolan Childers
Genre: Romance
Reviewed by Elizabeth K. Burton

53There are lots of ways to introduce yourself to a handsome Irish college professor but dumping a cup of scalding coffee on his clean white shirt probably isn't one of them. Unfortunately, that's exactly how Maeve Steward met Sean O'Flynn in the student union.

Sean was instantly attracted to the tiny, blushing redhead with the deep brown eyes, and he thought he could ease her embarassment by stripping off the damaged shirt and jokingly demanding that she launder it. His flamboyance, however, only made Maeve feel more humiliated, and her own attraction to Sean only made matters worse.

Yet despite its inauspicious beginning, the relationship between Sean and Maeve begins to develop despite their best efforts. For both of them harbor a dark, secret guilt that has driven them to avoid closeness with others, and the inexorable pull of their mutual attraction goes against everything they have come to believe about themselves. Inevitably, they must make a choice between life as they thought they would always live it and each other.

Leta Nolan Childers is well-known for just this kind of easy-reading romance that challenges while it entertains. Relying on her own Irish legacy for this latest story of two people whose self-imposed loneliness shatters under the weight of an emotion stronger than guilt and shame, she has created characters whose misguided stubbornness ring true from start to finish. The story is well-plotted, focusing on the two protagonists without adding a lot of outside subthreads that would only in trude, while the savage storms that drive Sean and Maeve to their final confrontation are almost characters in themselves.

An Irish Lullaby is pure entertainment, yet with a quiet lesson that love and truth are the best weapons against self-delusion and loneliness. Enjoy it.


April 1, 2000 in Romance | Permalink | Comments (0)