One Red Rose by Julie Garwood

514t0+YmoKLThe Clayborne brothers are all honest men who stand up for justice plus always listen to the person known as their mother, and Adam is the sibling who encouraged these traits in them. His beloved Mama Rose is the one who taught him many wonderful characteristics, and now she wants him to share his life with a particular woman of her choosing. Though he has never met Genevieve before, this is going to be a rare time where he disobeys an order. Julie Garwood has created a short, sweet novella for the third Clayborne brother, and Adam gets the chance to show off his gun fighting skills while proving the emotions he keeps hidden are right below the surface. ONE RED ROSE is a charming historical romance.

Wanting to get a restful night of sleep instead of camping outside once again, Adam Clayborne arrives very late at Rosehill ranch. As he prepares to get in his own bed, he discovers it already occupied by Genevieve Perry. Though he has heard of the woman and knows Mama Rose had invited her for a specific reason, he did not think she would come from the Deep South all the way to Montana. Since Adam never plans to wed, marrying someone picked out by his mother is not going to happen.

Although Genevieve has traveled a long distance, marriage between her and Adam cannot come to pass. Her life is filled with big trouble because of an incident in her past, and while Adam would make a fine husband, she knows there will be no wedding taking place. When the person connected to the problem that she hoped to avoid turns up in Montana, she plans to keep everyone else out of harm’s way. But Adam is not going to let her face any danger by herself.

All the books in the Clayborne Brides series have been entertaining with appealing characters plus engaging plots, and ONE RED ROSE is another compelling story from Julie Garwood. Mama Rose wants her boys to settle down with women who are perfect for them, and if it takes some manipulation on her part, then it just has to be done. Adam has always been serious and kept things to himself. Though he had dreams of traveling, he forgot about his wishes and put family first. Now it appears someone else has come into his life who needs his attention, whether they want it or not. I have always thought of Adam as principled, doing what should be done, regardless of how others see him. While he may not want a wife, Genevieve means a lot to his mother, and he feels it is his responsibility to watch over her. What he did not expect is for his own feelings to become so involved with her. Several of their conversations are humorous, while other talks are insightful into the cause of their behavior. The short length of the book keeps delving deep into their relationship from occurring, but I did get a sense of their emotional connection steadily growing.

During the birthday celebration for Mama Rose, all the Clayborne siblings make an appearance. A few chats between Adam and Cole are especially enjoyable, as their differences of opinion are very amusing. Now I must reread Cole’s story again, as I need to see if I remember everything about his personal adventure.

Copy received from publisher

Series:  Clayborne Brides – Book 3

Publisher:  Pocket Star

Releases:  July 11, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jp2y8vt

Genre:  Historical

Author website:  http://juliegarwood.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Make Me Love You by Johanna Lindsey

51ZK-+LRzyLThere were numerous scenes, especially at the beginning of MAKE ME LOVE YOU, which made it nearly impossible to stop reading until I discovered how the situation would play out. Whether it was the reaction of a particular character, or what would take place during an event, I just had to know the all the details before putting the book down for even a moment. Brooke Whitworth is a fascinating heroine, as she hides her spirted temperament from most people by seeming meek and too intimidated to cause problems. But with each peek into her personality, I wished to uncover more. The hero, Dominic Wolfe, repeatedly comes across as gruff, and it did take me some time to actually like him. Yet he also keeps much hidden from those around him, and the more revealed about him, the more I saw him as someone I might in fact like because his actions clearly demonstrated his nature. Johanna Lindsey has created a compelling romance full of startling disclosures and a large number of diverse characters.

After participating in three duels against each other, two enemies find themselves in quite a predicament. England’s Prince Regent wants them punished because rules were not followed, and a penalizing demand has been declared. The sister of Robert Whitworth must wed Lord Dominic Wolfe, thus uniting the two by marriage. If either fails to obey the requirement, then their inherited titles and land will be his. Robert has no affection for his sibling Brooke, and is only concerned with what he will receive one day. Each man comes up with a plan which will hopefully make him the victor.

Dominic thinks the woman sent to him in order to settle the disagreement will be too afraid of the man known as The Wolf to go through with the marriage. But he never would have thought a female could be so feisty with him, plus appear so single-minded in being his wife. Brooke wants her marriage to a stranger to occur so she can finally get away from her uncaring relatives. With Dominic equally determined to see the sister of the man that he despises go back to her home, the battle of wills begins.

Set during a time period I find intriguing, there are balls to attend and women are not usually included in decision-making. Brooke has never been allowed to mingle with her peers, so she abides by her own personal rules and keeps to herself. But what I learned about her as the story progresses is self-preservation can make someone strong. Her comments are often sharp yet also truthful, and I found her banter with Dominic to be hilarious at times. I did laugh loudly more than once, as their retorts were so convincing. Her future husband is often devious when she first arrives, but Brooke cleverly manages to stand up for what she believes again and again. I also got a glimpse of the person whom Dominic once was before misfortune struck, and it let me understand some of his motivations.

MAKE ME LOVE YOU is entertaining with captivating developments and appealing characters. Though there are many secondary characters that stand out, I particularly liked the behavior of Gabriel and Alfreda who were the sources of additional laughs. Johanna Lindsey knows how to skillfully construct engaging historical romances. While not every book by this author is a favorite, her latest story was exactly what I needed at this time, as I smiled a lot and become involved in the lives of her delightful characters.

Copy received from publisher

Publisher:  Gallery

Releases:  July 5, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/ztrnwpp

Genre:  Historical

Rating:  4 Stars

Marked by Honor by Lauren Linwood

515cKV0ve2L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Thoroughly researched and featuring characters with engaging personalities, MARKED BY HONOR is captivating with realism. Though it is the second book in the Knights of Valor series, it can easily be enjoyed without reading the prior book, but WORD OF HONOR should definitely not be missed. Books set in the medieval period are favorites of mine, and Lauren Linwood certainly makes her latest story one I will long remember. When a knight of the realm who takes his oaths very seriously meets up with a woman whose future suddenly looks bleak, the two find themselves in a complicated emotional situation. As one obstacle after another crops up, the couple will face their greatest fears for a chance at lifelong happiness.

When Lady Beatrice Bordel was young, a much loved activity was to go riding with her father. Sadly, an accident occurred one day which left her with one parent and living a much different life. Now she takes care of her invalid mother and they live with her grandfather. When both relatives die, her only option is to travel a great distance in order to meet with her grandfather’s good friend, someone that she hopes will employ her in exchange for a place to live. Yet the trip has dire consequences when highwaymen are determined to steal her few items of value.

After giving much assistance to the family of his cousin, it is time for Raynor Le Roux to return to his own home. He has just received word things are not going well, and he hopes to correct any problems. On the way to Ashcroft, he comes upon Beatrice and those who would rob her. When he questions her, she answers truthfully except for the comment about going to meet her intended husband. Though she is grateful to Raynor, the falsehood was told to make her life less difficult. Since his estate is nearby, they travel there first. What he finds will take time to fix, but he promises she will get to her destination before the wedding day. But time spent together makes Raynor repeatedly call to mind the vows he has sworn, as Beatrice tempts him.

All the qualities I think makes a chivalrous knight are possessed by Raynor. He is brave when needed, plus loyal to his duties and those for whom he cares. His behavior is morally principled, and I really admired the code of ethics that he followed. A religious man, he shows his faith is strong. In the 1300’s, some English citizens were not always courteous to those thought beneath them, but Raynor was polite to anyone who deserved his respect. Though Beatrice has not had contact with many people in her life, she does know how to speak up for herself. I laughed more than once at her sharp words to someone, as her spunky boldness caused shock. The relationship of Raynor and Beatrice is filled with plenty of tension, as desire keeps mounting but lies and integrity keep them apart. Every phase of their association is realistic, as responses and conversations are very convincing.

Lauren Linwood makes each aspect of the story not only original but to come across as true. Daily activities are depicted with accuracy, and I was taken to a time when only manual labor would get a task completed. Meticulous descriptions of foods eaten, religious practices and daily rituals let me experience the story to its fullest. MARKED BY HONOR is enchanting with unanticipated turns and imaginative adventures.

Received copy from author

Series:  Knights of Valor

Publisher:  Windtree Press

Releases:  July 6, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jrxhuyl

Genre:  Historical

Author website:  http://www.laurenlinwood.com/

Rating: 5 Stars

One Size Fits All by Stephanie Haefner

51ouDy1EpzLSometimes a new relationship goes smoothly, and occasionally it is doomed from the very start. In the third book of the Classy ‘n’ Sassy series, there is a real connection between two people, but the couple will have to go through a large number of highs and lows before lasting happiness can ever be theirs. Easily read on its own, the story is about the countless uncertainties in a relationship which can either draw individuals together or tear them apart forever. Stephanie Haefner does not hold back on giving her romantic couple a number of challenging problems to face, where much soul-searching must be done. ONE SIZE FITS ALL is engaging with spirited characters and complex emotional issues.

At the age of twenty-eight, Penny Woodley is out on her own after getting a divorce. Her ex-husband may have cheated on her, but they did live a comfortable life and he took care of any financial matters. Now any bills are paid out of her own paycheck. It is a good thing she is working as the marketing director at Classy ‘n’ Sassy Lingerie Shop, so money will be coming in. Getting together one evening for drinks with two friends who are also her bosses is a good way to unwind, but talking about how happy their boyfriends makes them has Penny wondering if she is ready to date again.

One possible candidate for a date is Theodore “Thor” Rublinski, a local teacher plus football coach. He is also a bouncer at the bar where Penny and her friends go regularly, and being single once again has her looking at him in a different way. There has never been a shortage of women in Thor’s life, yet none have ever been really special to him. With the years passing by, he is starting to think about finding a woman with whom he could have a serious relationship. Though Thor has always been self-assured when around women, all his confidence seems to vanish when Penny is near. But going on a date might be worth the risk of being turned down.

While there were times when I did not agree with how Penny responded to a situation, I could understand her reasoning. The actions of her ex-husband have left her fearful of what could perhaps occur with someone new, but I did feel sorry for Thor when she made assumptions. But just like real life, wished for circumstances is not always what we receive, because often two people will perceive an incident in their own way. I never knew from one moment to the next what would take place in the lives of this couple, as a joyous event could become upsetting in an instant.

Stephanie Haefner incorporates lots of realism into her romantic story, making ONE SIZE FITS ALL dramatically emotional. Differences of opinion, doubts and unclear feelings sometimes wreak havoc in the lives of Penny and Thor once they are together, while fiery passion and a companionable bond give them hope. Toss in complications at her workplace, some trials with family plus money difficulties, and her life is a big mess. The two women from the previous Classy ‘n’ Sassy stories make plenty of appearances, where some fun is shared along with several instances where viewpoints clash. Another interesting book about three friends and some major concerns in their lives.

Copy received from publisher

Series:  Classy ‘n’ Sassy

Publisher:  Pocket Star

Releases:  July 4, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jg7zcte

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://thewriterscocoon.blogspot.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Enticed by the Operative by Lara Lacombe

51EZ+sQhwlLThe new miniseries, Doctors in Danger, begins with a story filled with lots of physical peril and puts two people in jeopardy of being disappointed once again. Lara Lacombe cleverly interweaves emotional issues into all the precarious circumstances to create a suspenseful romance where feelings are frequently conflicted in the midst of the many threats. As danger escalates in ENTICED BY THE OPERATIVE, hearts are at risk of being broken.

Every year, Dr. Olivia Sandoval goes to a South American country in order to aid the underprivileged. Her skills as a plastic surgeon are always needed to correct a wide range of medical problems, and she is eager to begin her month long stay in Columbia. Right before she leaves, a supposed patient makes her an offer, one that she would like to refuse. But the man is a drug dealer, and his threats force Olivia to comply with his demands to bring an illegal substance back into the states when she returns home.

Delivering some misplaced mail may have brought Logan Murray to Olivia’s doorstep, but it soon becomes apparent the DEA agent can assist her. He thinks a plan can be worked out that will keep his neighbor safe, while also exposing those linked to this particular drug cartel. Though there will be some risks involved in their proposed scheme, Logan vows to keep Olivia unharmed as he will be the person watching over her. He just has to make certain both of them remain alive.

There is so much to enjoy about ENTICED BY THE OPERATIVE. The plot of the story is intriguing, as a dedicated doctor is thrust into a situation she never wanted. Yet to keep others from being hurt, Olivia agrees to the manipulative plan where she will secretly carry drugs for a very ruthless cartel. While she and Logan have never been close because of their demanding careers, she is definitely thankful when he offers his expert help. Though letting things get personal between them was never intended, as this should have been just another case for him, being around each other day after day lets the couple glimpse inner feelings neither usually lets show. I really liked Logan and Olivia, as they are caring individuals whose private lives have not gone very well. So I was certainly rooting for them to finally be happy. But they have plenty of obstacles to overcome before they can actually have a bright future. Their relationship progresses at a believable pace, as nothing feels rushed and their reactions are honestly sincere. Many of their conversations contain sharp wit, and I looked forward to discovering what each would say.

Several of the challenges Olivia and Logan must face are exceedingly dicey, and all the uncertainties surrounding these incidents had my anxiety level rising with each new ordeal. Lara Lacombe made these two go through a number of harrowing experiences, and I had doubts about what would ultimately happen on a few occasions. There were several instances where my heart did speed up, as the author made the tenseness of the moment very convincing. Also, descriptions of the rainforest in Columbia left me in awe of this vastly different environment from where I live. The first installment in the Doctors in Danger miniseries is entertaining at all times because ENTICED BY THE OPERATIVE is realistically imaginative.

Received copy from author

Series:  Doctors in Danger

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  July 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/zw9d6en

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  http://laralacombe.blogspot.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars