It is a true pleasure for me as a reader to discover a story line with familiar and favorite themes that are written in a fresh, involving way which iIt is a true pleasure for me as a reader to discover a story line with familiar and favorite themes that are written in a fresh, involving way which is both surprising and rewarding. Such was my experience in reading "The Sweet Spot" from author Laura Drake. Charla Rae and JB Denny were high-school sweethearts who married young and worked hard to build the home and family life of their dreams. For years it seemed as though they would never become parents, but finally little Benje arrived to light up their lives. Living and working with Charla's father on her homeplace ranch made for close-knit family ties. When Benje was killed in a tragic accident, hearts were broken and lives were forever changed. Charla and JB's marriage was torn apart. She retreated to a haze of prescription medicine, and he left the ranch and moved in with a young woman half his age. While that relationship was short-lived, the betrayal lived on for Charla, making it painful each time JB came to the ranch to continue working with the bulls, which they raised for breeding. A former champion bull rider, JB now also worked part-time as an announcer for the pro bull riding circuit. Charla had always been content as a ranch wife and homemaker, especially when she became a mother. With Benje gone forever, JB gone from her side, and her father's awareness coming and going due to Alzheimer's Disease, Charla's life is far different from the dreams of her youth. While I enjoyed JB's attitude adjustment on himself as he tried to figure out a way to win back Charla's heart and find his way home, it was Charla's struggles and personal growth which really caught and held my attention as a reader. How she fights her way out of the depth of her despair and becomes a stronger version of herself is quite poignant and inspiring. "The Sweet Spot" is the first book in author Laura Drake's "Sweet on a Cowboy" series, and I can't wait to read the second book, "Nothing Sweeter". Recommended for those who love romance featuring real issues and real human strengths and weaknesses. ...more
"The Santana Heir", from author Elizabeth Lane, is a compelling, passionate romance with an intriguing and exotic setting. Grace Chandler lost her cha"The Santana Heir", from author Elizabeth Lane, is a compelling, passionate romance with an intriguing and exotic setting. Grace Chandler lost her chance to ever give birth due to injuries she received in a traumatic horseback-riding accident. Her step-sister, Cassidy, had been a beautiful free spirit with a successful modeling career. When Cassidy became pregnant as the result of a brief relationship, doctors also discovered that she was terminally ill with a brain tumor. Cassidy lived long enough to see her son, Zac, brought into the world. Before she died, Cassidy made sure that Grace would raise baby Zac and become his adoptive mother. Almost a year later, Grace and little Zac are happily living in Tucson, AZ when they receive a surprise visitor. Emilio Santana, younger brother of Zac's father, Arturo, has just discovered Zac's existence, and he wants to bring the boy home to the Santana estate in Peru. Grace had been very close to finalizing Zac's adoption, and now her world is thrown into turmoil. Emilio makes it clear that with Grace, or without her, Zac will be raised as a Santana in the home of his ancestors. Grace cannot give up her precious son, and she agrees to the journey so far from all she has known. Emilio had been considered a playboy for most of his life, and his new responsibilities were sadly inherited upon Arturo's unexpected death in an automobile accident. Grace is a natural mother as well as a natural beauty. She is unpretentious and unspoiled. Emilio wants her to stay and help to raise Zac, but will she be the boy's mother or his caretaker? Grace and Emilio are both at a turning point in their lives, and the companionship between them turns to undeniable passion. But is passion enough? Grace can't help but be swayed by Emilio's sensual wooing. He in turn sees that Grace is unlike any other woman he has ever known, and his thoughts turn to a permanent relationship. Could the three of them become a real family? Not everyone is happy that the young Santana heir has come home, and there are powerful secrets looming over the future of the Santana legacy. Author Elizabeth Lane has created a heroine and hero that you will root for, and an adorable little boy whom you will not be able to resist. An adventurous world-traveler herself, Ms. Lane offers vivid imagery of rugged and beautiful Peru, an ancient land rich in history.
Have you ever wanted to step back in time and meet a fascinating real-life character from the past? That's exactly what happens to Emma Carlyle in "ChHave you ever wanted to step back in time and meet a fascinating real-life character from the past? That's exactly what happens to Emma Carlyle in "Christmas Moon", by author Elizabeth Lane. Emma is experiencing the most difficult holiday season of her life. About to give birth to a child resulting from a disastrous love affair, Emma is unmarried and has to decided to give her baby up for adoption. A history teacher working on a thesis for her master's degree, she heads from her home in Lander, Wyoming to nearby South Pass City to get closer to the source of the information she needs. Intrigued by legendary lawman J.D. McNulty, and infatuated by his photo, Emma is using the life and times of McNulty as the subject of her thesis. Tracking down the owner of the town bookstore, Tilly Farson, also a local historian, Emma is delighted by the woman's tales of J.D.'s exploits. When they finally part company, a Christmas Eve blizzard sets in, and soon Emma is lost in the blinding whiteness, eventually running her car off the road. While investigating the damage to her car as it hangs off the edge of a slope, the snow gives way beneath her feet, and she plunges into a canyon, becoming unconscious when her head strikes a rock. Some time later, she awakens and begins to walk for help, finally seeing a light ahead through the snow. She reaches a rough-hewn log cabin, and when the door finally opens, Emma is in for the surprise of her life as she comes face-to-face with a dead ringer for a dead man. Could it really be J.D. McNulty in the very rugged flesh? Has Emma lost her mind, or is she lost in an Old West time warp? Whoever he is, she desperately needs his help as her child is about to be born, and she has no other choice but to let him deliver her baby girl. Tall, tough, and tender-hearted, the man she accepts as J.D. McNulty is both attracted and intrigued by the troubled woman who lands at his doorstep. Man, woman, and child quickly form an emotional bond despite the strangeness of the situation. As Emma and J.D. share patches of their lives and spar verbally with each other, a sensual awareness blooms between them. J.D.'s outward roughness hides a keen intelligence and a loving, passionate nature. The trouble is, Emma knows what happened to J.D. McNulty, and his death in a gambling-hall shooting is a matter of history unless Emma can find a way to cheat Fate. If you love historical western romance and time travel tales, then you will greatly enjoy "Christmas Moon". ...more
"An English Bride in Scotland" is an entertaining, light-hearted historical romance written with author Lynsay Sands' trademark flourish of humor. Ros"An English Bride in Scotland" is an entertaining, light-hearted historical romance written with author Lynsay Sands' trademark flourish of humor. Ross MacKay had to postpone his marriage in order to settle a feud for rights to the title of his clan. After four long years, he is weary of battle and ready to claim his bride, whom he has never met. When Ross was a child, his father's life was saved by an English lord, and a marriage bargain was struck. At the appropriate age, Ross would have the lord's oldest daughter and her dowry, and the families would be joined. However, when Ross comes to claim his bride, she has fled with the gardener's son, and Ross is given the younger daughter instead. As a child, Annabel had been chubby, and her parents had virtually cast her aside, sending her to live in an abbey when she was only seven years old. She had not seen any of her family until her mother suddenly appeared fourteen years later and dragged Annabel back home to marry the MacKay laird. Ross is quite taken with his new bride, unaware of all that has occurred, and that Annabel had been an oblate, ready to take her vows as a nun. Annabel is used to being treated with disdain and cruelty, and she is unprepared for the gentle, kind heart of her highland laird. The two of them are lovers and friends, finding unexpected happiness in each other's company. While Annabel's sweet nature captivates her husband and wins over those in the laird's immediate domain, not everyone is pleased with the marriage. Several attempts are made to kidnap Annabel, and she suffers injuries which make her husband very protective. Is Annabel the real target, or have old enemies of the MacKay laird found a new way to attack? As Annabel and Ross grow closer, she knows she must tell him the truth about her life before their marriage, but will he turn from her when her secrets are revealed? These very likeable characters will keep you turning the pages, and you will enjoy your time spent with this highland laird and his bride.
Superb storyteller Mary Balogh continues her "Survivors' Club" series with Book Two, "The Arrangement". The Survivors' Club is a group of veterans ofSuperb storyteller Mary Balogh continues her "Survivors' Club" series with Book Two, "The Arrangement". The Survivors' Club is a group of veterans of the Napoleonic Wars who each returned home grievously wounded and forever changed. They all found refuge in the home of the Duke of Stanbrook, and the club was formed. "The Arrangement" is the story of Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, who was blinded by cannon fire in his very first battle at age seventeen. A younger son, he later inherited his title unexpectedly at age nineteen due to the death of his uncle, who had no living heir. Four years later, at almost twenty four years of age, Vincent is suffocating from the well-meaning intentions of his family to find him a suitable wife who will be understanding about his blindness. Tired of not being allowed to be his own man and having his life controlled by loving but meddling kin, he flees his familial home, taking along with him his manservant and friend, Martin. Traveling for weeks, experiencing the freedom of the outdoors under the watchful eye of Martin, and having time to think for himself allows Vincent to come to a decision about his future. He will take full possession of his uncle's estate, Covington House, and he will deal with his blindness as a challenge, not an impediment. He will also choose his own wife, in his own time. His arrival at Covington House causes a stir in the community, and once again, matrimonial machinations are in the works. One neighboring family in particular, the Marches, see Vincent as a prize husband for their daughter, Henrietta. Living in the March household is a young woman, Sophia Fry, taken in by her father's sister when she had nowhere else to go. When Sophia deliberately foils a plan by the Marches to snare Viscount Darleigh, they evict her from their home. When Vincent learns what has happened, he immediately goes to Sophie at the vicarage where she spent the night. Although he has just met her, and only shared a brief time in Sophie's company, Vincent knows she is different from other women, and he offers her an "arrangement". They will marry, and if there is no heir within a year, they will live separate lives, but remain married. Sophie never imagined that she would ever be married, much less to a viscount. Small, shy, and lacking self-esteem, she has always been "the mouse". Now, she has a chance to rise above the dreariness of her existence and live a life of privilege. But will it lead to happiness? Sophie and Vincent become quick friends, and their marriage is a whole new world for them both. Their sweetly sensual discovery of each other, and their growth and maturation as individuals slowly, but surely, leads them to a deeper relationship. Sophie often acts as "eyes" for Vincent, describing the details around them, but she always treats him with respect to his dignity. Vincent cannot see his wife, but he values her and enjoys her company, and certainly finds her desirable as a lover, and she comes into her own under his care. Will the arrangement between them become a contract they don't want to break? Will it deepen, and become richer and more rewarding--a true love match? Sophie and Vincent sought freedom from the circumstances which were thrust upon them at a young age through no fault of their own. Their unconventional marriage agreement was made to grant them that freedom, yet in each other, they find loving and being loved in return is a higher form of freedom than they could ever have dreamed. Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine...more
I became involved with Debbie Macomber's "Rose Harbor Inn Series" with the first book, "The Inn at Rose Harbor". The lead character, Jo Marie Rose helI became involved with Debbie Macomber's "Rose Harbor Inn Series" with the first book, "The Inn at Rose Harbor". The lead character, Jo Marie Rose held a great appeal for me. A young military widow trying to come to grips with the loss of her husband, Jo Marie uses the insurance funds to open a bed & breakfast in the town of Cedar Cove, Washington. In "Rose Harbor in Bloom", book two in the series, Jo Marie continues to find unexpected joys while dealing with her grief. The friends she has made in town, the dog who adopted her, Rover, and especially Mark Taylor, the carpenter and handyman with whom she has a prickly "friendship", have all added to her feeling of having found a home. She enjoys meeting her guests and providing for their comfort while they stay at the inn. Each new arrival has a new and interesting story, and some are interconnected to each other and the community. This time, a young event-planner, Annie Newton gets much more than she planned when putting together a celebration for her grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary and renewal of vows. Someone from her own past, whom she usually avoided at all costs, is the very person bringing her grandparents to the inn for their special event. Oliver Sutton, was the friend of Annie's older brother, and her childhood tormenter. He also gave her a first kiss, and unbeknownst to her, he has always had eyes just for her. Now that's broken up with her fiance, Oliver is ready to claim her for his own--if he can make Annie see the light. Another guest with secrets of her own is Mary Smith, battling cancer, and seeking what may be one last contact with the love of her life. The love she had let go of so long ago in order to pursue a career and do what she thought was best for them both. Is it now to late to make amends? Jo Marie has her own issues to deal with, waiting for news that her husband's remains may have finally been located from the military helicopter crash which took his life on the other side of the world, and forcing herself to let go of the faint hope that he may have survived after all. Her often antagonistic acquaintace with the curmudgeonly Mark Taylor provides a strange kind of comfort--he sees things about her that she doesn't know herself. He gladly accepts the cookies and coffee she offers and grudgingly acknowledges her as a friend. I am greatly enjoying this series, and I look forward to book three, "Love Letters". Get to know the folks who live in Cedar Cove--you'll be glad you did. ...more
"Willowleaf Lane" is the fifth book in the series by author RaeAnne Thayne, but it's my first visit to the fictional community of Hope's Crossing. I h"Willowleaf Lane" is the fifth book in the series by author RaeAnne Thayne, but it's my first visit to the fictional community of Hope's Crossing. I have really been missing something special, and I plan to remedy that by reading the rest of the books in this delightful series. Charlotte Caine owns and operates "Sugar Rush", a successful sweet shop in her quaint little hometown. Her father, Dermot, runs the "Center of Hope Cafe", which specializes in genuine, homestyle comfort food. As a girl, Charlotte was smart, shy, and overweight, a combination which will resonate with many readers. She also had an almost incapacitating infatuation with her brother Dylan's friend, Spencer Gregory. Now that she's all grown up, lost a significant amount of weight, gained a healthy lifestyle, and runs her own business, she has more confidence in herself. However, that changes when Spence comes back to Hope's Crossing with his young daughter, Peyton. Spence's athletic ability allowed him to move forward from a painful childhood with an alcoholic mother. He made it to the top of his profession before being sidelined by an injury. Later, his coaching career was derailed by a drug scandal, and the suspicious drowning death of his wife further tarnished his image. Charlotte's father always believed the best of Spencer, and Charlotte just didn't know what to think. Spence is home, at least for six months, to take the job as director of the town's new recreation center. Charlotte meets Peyton when she visits the sweet shop, not realizing she is Spence's daughter until he comes to pick her up. Once again, Charlotte is the same, unsure girl who was deeply hurt by careless remarks between Spence and one of his friends. How Charlotte and Spence get to know each other again and heal old hurts is a touching romance. The secondary characters are well-sketched, and the story of Charlotte's brother, Dylan, who was grievously wounded in combat, is especially poignant. "Willowleaf Lane" is small-town reunion romance at its best, with two people changed by life finding in each other what their hearts have always sought. Recommended for lovers of romance, and anyone who ever needed a second chance at life and love.