Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. Stewart


Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. Stewart
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (364 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

In this Honor Bound romance, a perilous change of heart looms for two former lovers…

Exactly why should P.I. Vince Sutton take his ex-wife’s case? Because she, assistant district attorney Simone Armstrong, put his brother in jail? Because the ambitious spitfire still drives him crazy? No, he’ll take it because -The Avenging Angel- makes him a deal he can’t refuse. Sparks fly when Vince works all-too-closely with Simone to locate her missing key witness…but in the process, they are drawn into a cold case. As much as he tries, Vince can’t deny that he’s never gotten over beautiful Simone, but can he admit his feelings to her–and himself? And can he save her from the danger that’s heading their way?

My first review that I ever wrote for LASR was More Than a Lawman which was the first book in Anna J. Stewart’s HONOR BOUND ministries. I can’t believe I was the fortunate reviewer who was picked to read the next book in the series, Reunited with the P.I..

More Than a Lawman ended with one case solved and one unresolved. The unresolved one continues to be threaded through out Reunited with the P.I. along with a new case. This new case gets resolved but leaves the unresolved still unresolved, thus the hook to read the third book in the series. You can read Reunited with the P.I. without reading the first book in the series. Anna did a nice job reviewing the past for the new reader and previous ones who might have forgotten some details, like me. However, it was nice to read both books in the series because it’s always nice to get reacquainted with old friends.

Aden, Simone and Allie are three best friends that share a childhood trauma that unites them in an unbreakable bond of friendship that has lasted into their adult lives. More Than a Lawman was Aden’s story. Reunited with the P.I.is Simone’s story. Simone is a strong leading heroine who rivals Vince, the hero, in leading capabilities. Together, Simone and Vince make a spicy suspense/mystery romance. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the leading man and leading lady being ex-wife/husband but the author made it work in a way that it was not only believable but unforgettable.

Anna J. Stewart definitely knows how to write a book that grabs the reader’s attention. I could not put the book down. Once again she wrote an unpredictable complex plot that is filled with twists and unexpected surprises. The suspense made me feel stressed out but I loved every minute since I knew there was a plan. Even if that plan didn’t work, I knew Simone and Vince would come up with another plan, sometimes with the help of their friends. I never gave up faith.

I really hope I get to read the third book in the series that is coming out in October 2017. I can’t wait to finally solve the mystery that has been threaded throughout the first two books. I typically don’t read series because I hate waiting for the next book. However, this series is the exception to my rule. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and the HONOR BOUND series.

Blackwolf’s Redemption by Sandra Marton


Blackwolf’s Redemption by Sandra Marton
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (184 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Jesse Blackwolf–uncompromising, determined and an undeniable success. He has no desire to deal with the outspoken bundle of femininity he’s found trespassing on his land!When Sienna Cummings awakes to find herself pressed against a muscled chest, she’s shocked and stunned! Where is she? Who is this man who holds her so possessively with passion glinting in his eyes? It’s more than confusion that makes Sienna’s heart beat faster–she suspects his untamed wildness hides something that maybe only she can set free….

This is the first time travel that goes back in time but during a time when I was still a kid. I don’t know if my heart can take the realization that I could conceivably be considered an historical figure, you know, like an antique? When this book was written, it was a contemporary, so it seems I discovered this little gem a few years too late. So, I’m not sure how this book classifies as a genre but there is a mystical element that sends the heroine back in time and I enjoyed it.

The hero is a combination of an ancient warrior and a present day type of warrior – and his reaction to Sienna is very much like the time travels that take place in much earlier societies, when men rule and women obeyed. Jesse is a guy who is straddling the period of time when men’s John Wayne/ Rhett Butler personas were not frowned upon, yet at the same time accepting, slowly, that women can be as confident, accomplished and knowledgeable as a man and acknowledged as such. It was very interesting to see Sienna butt heads with other women in the story that perpetuated the ‘traditional’ view of women. To Jesse, the challenge that Sienna presented was refreshing, stimulating and I believe that her perspective on her own view of history helped her deal with Jesse as she found him – tormented, resigned and a lot resentful. I would say that it’s Jesse’s character that grows, changes, heals and takes an interest in life again. I loved the way the author described the hero – sexy, very alpha and … sexy. Can you tell I really liked the hero?

As this is a romance, of course the goal is to get them together, and they do, delightfully so, however, at times it was a bit too fast. I think it’s because Jesse is an old fashioned take charge kind of guy. He wants to kiss the heroine? He kisses her. He wants to drag her out of a building? Sienna gives him a piece of her mind but it makes no difference. The visuals in that chapter reminded me SO much of those scenes with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man., that all I could do was grin. For a reader who likes men who act like men, with honor, strength, respect and a lusty, strong libido with sexy muscles to back it up, then Blackwolf’s Redemption is titillating and fun.

I liked the ending especially since the author included Jesse’s buddy. That point was a major plus. I enjoyed the technique Ms. Marton used to facilitate the happy ever after and I thought the hero very clever to grab the mail before he makes his fateful decision. Overall, Blackwolf’s Redemption is the perfect read for a quick romantic escape and I’m glad I read it.

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove by Lauri Robinson and Kathryn Albright


Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove by Lauri Robinson and Kathryn Albright
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Twin sisters say “I do” in the Wild West!

SURPRISE BRIDE FOR THE COWBOY by Lauri Robinson

Mary McCary never wanted to be a mail-order bride, but falling off the Oak Grove train into Steve Putnam’s lap changes everything… Could he be the cowboy to tempt her down the aisle?

TAMING THE RUNAWAY BRIDE by Kathryn Albright

Running from trouble, Maggie McCary signs up to be a mail-order bride. She doesn’t intend to actually marry…until she shares one sensational kiss with Jackson Miller!

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove was awesome! Twin sisters say “I do” in the Wild West. Mary and Maggie each have their own love story to tell in this one book. This is two books in one yet they are connected. The flawless writing style of each book was brilliantly blended for the reader as I got to read the same scene twice, but from the other twin’s perspective. I actually nanny for a family with three year old twin girls. There is something special about twins. They have a bond that can’t be explained and this book captured that.

The first book, “Surprise Bride for the Cowboy” by Lauri Robinson was my ideal romance book. I love when I suffer from a book hangover; the inability to start a new book because I’m still living in the last book’s world. That to me is the sign of a great love story.

The original plots were beautifully written and had me laughing numerous times. Immediately I felt I was hooked and transported into the book’s world and I couldn’t read the pages fast enough.

I fell in love with Steve, the hero and Mary the heroine. Gosh, they were perfect together. I enjoyed the situation in how they met. Mary was a spitfire with determination who does what needs to be done, yet demonstrated compassion and empathy towards others at the appropriate times. I loved how Steve was patient, thankful and forgiving. Of course he was gorgeous, strong and thoughtful. He didn’t possess any unlikable qualities. The perfect book boyfriend. Together their romance was sweet and irresistible. I must add that the description details of Mary’s cooking had my mouth watering. Do NOT read this book while hungry! LOL…

All the characters were well developed in both books and I was able to easily relate to them. The doctor was a plot twist in the end of the first book that just had me grinning like a goober. The author got me on that one. Well done, Lauri Robinson.

The second book was “Taming the Runaway Bride” by Kathryn Albright and was also a lot of fun to read. The entire book was the best reading experience and words won’t do justice to as why I would recommend this book to all my friends and family. I didn’t think the romance story between Steve and Mary in the first book could be matched but not only did the story between Maggie and Jackson in the second book match the first but it surpassed it. I fell in love with Jackson and Maggie and experienced another book hangover!

I could see Jackson and Steve becoming best friends and everyone living happily ever after as one big adventure-filled family. I can only imagine the stories they will have to tell their grandchildren.

I laughed so hard when Maggie entered Jackson’s workshop and, well, you just have to read it. I couldn’t stop re-reading that part because I love laughing so hard that I cry tears of joy and get a cramp in my side.

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove was excellent! I don’t understand how two authors could write a book sharing some of the characters and yet I didn’t feel like I was reading a book written by two authors. I highly recommend this book for a pleasurable entertainment.

Married for His Convenience by Eleanor Webster


Married for His Convenience by Eleanor Webster
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

A plain countess…

Tainted by illegitimacy, plain Sarah Martin has no illusions of a grand marriage. So when the Earl of Langford makes her a proposal that will take her one step closer to finding her half sister, she can’t refuse!

Sebastian’s dreams of romance died with his late wife’s affair, so now he needs a convenient wife to act as governess for his silent daughter. Yet Sarah continues to surprise and challenge him, and soon Sebastian can’t deny the joy his new bride could bring to his life—and into his bed!

France, in the time when the guillotine ruled…the reality seems a harsh world for the nobility, and for Earls like Sebastien Hastings. He’s caught in a terrible, but secret, predicament.

Sarah Martin’s life is more a matter of dreams and hopes than reality. She dreams of London, of fashion and, as she says herself, she is not ‘of hysterical disposition.’ She acts on what she believes, which can cause her to plop into the most unlikely of places. The earl finds himself telling her that he finds her peculiar…which seems to delight this odd gal! He certainly needs some help…and she certainly needs direction…but marriage?

Married for His Convenience (which seems like it should be entirely predictable, given the title) is entirely unpredictable and a delight to read, besides.

Clever conversations and unpredictable situations make this novel a bit of a standout and fun to read. The characters keep us reading: the earl is unexpectedly compassionate, and Miss Martin’s take on life is quite unexpected in every way. In fact her life and actions are not always entirely believable, but this is a small matter in what is largely a great read.

Descriptions, especially of the English countryside, are just-right; never overdone or intrusive: “His mount stopped at its summit and he found himself looking into a picturesque valley, interrupted by a silver stream threading through its base…” One can almost see the valley.

Intriguing yet heartfelt, Married for His Convenience is also quirky and fun. Do put it right on top of your reading list.

The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride by Lauri Robinson


The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Reunited with the cowboy!

Long ago, orphans Bridgette Banks and Garth McCain made a promise to stay together. But it’s been years since they were parted, and Bridgette’s almost given up hope! So when Garth’s cattle trail passes her town, she won’t let him leave her behind again

Sparks fly as they’re reunited especially when the cowboy catches Bridgette telling everyone she’s his bride! Faced with a past he thought he’d lost forever, Garth realizes this impulsive beauty might be the future he never thought he deserved.

Lauri Robinson created a genuine love story between Garth, the hero and Bridgette, the heroine. Garth possessed all the qualities I admire in a hero; strong yet sensitive, smart, thoughtful, honest, hard worker, brave and very handsome. Bridgette complemented Garth quite well. She was his equal in the ways that mattered. I was pleasantly surprised by her skills and talents. The banter between the couple had me cracking up. The chemistry between the two was obvious and on the shy side of being spicy. The fact that they knew each other in the past and have been reunited only leads me to believe that they were truly meant for each other.

The cast of characters were brilliantly developed and implemented throughout the story. They all had a relevant impact on Garth and Bridgette’s relationship as well as on me. I felt a connection with many of the secondary players. There were too many to name but Jo Jo was probably my favorite supporting cast member. I loved his tender heart and willingness to help. My least favorite secondary character was Cecil; however he was nicely redeemed before the story was over.

The plot was captivating and well written. I enjoyed reading a romance that took place in the west during the cattle drives. It’s an era I’ve always been intrigued by. I thoroughly enjoyed the little bits of suspense that was woven throughout the plot in regards to the selling of the cows, the possible dangers involved in cattle drives and the consequences of Bridgette’s not well thought out plans. Some of those not well thought out plans were hilarious. The plot flowed very smooth and made it impossible to put the book down.

I thought The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride was an amazing love story and I highly recommend this book!

Half Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom


Half Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (304 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

His Secret…or Her Salvation?

When he stumbled upon a beautiful woman who’d been the victim of a vampire attack, Alpha wolf Michael Hunter faced an impossible choice. His honor dictated that he save her life. But the only way he knew to accomplish that was to make her one of his own. Now Kaitlin Davies was half Lycan and his responsibility as she underwent a dangerous transformation to full wolf.

Something within Kaitlin called to Michael’s inner wolf with an intensity he’d never felt. He wanted her. But as he witnessed the changes occurring in her body, he wasn’t sure what she was becoming. Had Michael created something that could destroy them both…or was her transformation as preordained as their passion?

Half Wolf has such a unique concept I couldn’t pass this book up. I thought for sure when I saw the title, and I read the first couple of chapters, that I knew what Kaitlin’s other ‘half’ was going to be. Wow, was I wrong! And, I was delighted with the author’s choice.

There is quite the cast of characters in this novel to support, guide, assist and complicate the growing relationship between Kaitlin and Michael. I get the sense that a few of them were from past books somewhere along the line and based upon how they’re described in this story, they must have been humdingers. I’ll be checking them out for sure. Anyway, back to this tale. At one point I felt two of the ‘visitors’ were more a distraction than a help. They acted like mavericks. Sure, one of their decisions garnered some extra help but it was how it was delivered that annoyed me. And when I envision the meaning of the word ‘pack’, I have a different picture in mind than what was delivered.

Then there are the mysterious visitors to Kaitlin. Who exactly are they? At one point I got the sense that she knew them, like really ‘knew’ them, and then, not. Then I got the impression that she was 100% something other than human, yet could come across as human and if she wasn’t human, I have to ask how in the world no tells or weirdness happened before in her life to clue her in that she was different? What was offered didn’t convince me. Especially since there was a reference to her parents, which then begs the question based upon how these people treated her, did her parents hide her because they were nicer people and didn’t want their daughter to develop a personality like those others? So many questions and too little time to explore fully the world that Thomas-Sundstrom created, that 304 pages just isn’t enough. It may sound like I had a negative reaction to all of this oddness but in actuality I want to learn more because the potential dynamics seem fascinating.

As for the villain of the piece, Kaitlin, Michael and their pack have their hands full dealing with the results of the evil guy’s dastardly machinations but he never battles the hero and heroine directly. At least not until the end, and even then it was fleeting. And, it’s not the end. Because there are two vile threads threatening their little sleepy hamlet and Half Wolf could only resolve one which must mean that there will be a second book. I’m good with that but it better get published soon because I want to read it. I hope a few of the ‘helper characters’ get to stay for that party as well.

Half Wolf left me with a lot of questions but the one thing it didn’t do was bore me. It was a fast, easy read because the concept intrigued me, the main characters were likable, the paranormal aspect had unique twists that delighted me and I enjoyed watching Kaitlin and Michael fall in love. There are a lot of positives to appreciate not the least of which are the love scenes between the hero and heroine.

I have no problem recommending Half Wolf to fellow paranormal romance readers but just be aware that it might whet your appetite for more of their story. And maybe like me, will want to continue reading about this engaging couple with their unusual paranormal challenges and their growing love. I get the strongest feeling that there is so much more left to discover and I’m vested enough in Michael and Kaitlin’s relationship, I hope to visit Clement again, soon.

Waking the Serpent by Jane Kindred


Waking the Serpent by Jane Kindred
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (304 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The Millionaire’s Redemption…

When Sedona’s most eligible bachelor is accused of murdering a local psychic, medium Phoebe Carlisle finds herself drawn into the danger that surrounds him—by the meddling of the shades she channels and by his irresistible charms. A public defender and a gifted medium, Phoebe is devoted to justice—and not just for the living. Proving Rafe Diamante’s innocence means conjuring up two shades who were former lovers and now ignite the chemistry between their hosts.

Rafe can’t afford to lose control and act on his feelings for Phoebe. His unfulfilled sexual tension begins to stir something inside him—the legacy of Quetzalcoatl. But as these newfound abilities awaken a dormant power in Rafe, can he stop the real murderer in time to claim his true destiny?

The concept is intriguing, the characters are fascinating, the plot is your typical megalomaniac who has gone off the deep-end causing mayhem and death, and a strong hero and heroine needs to save the day. It’s a very busy novel.

The plot is what drew me to read this book. The story was original in many aspects and certainly Rafe and Phoebe were attention grabbing and engaging as a couple. The plot seems straightforward in the beginning but as the tale goes on, it’s much bigger, darker and devious than anything I’ve ever encountered or expected. The author gets high marks for originality in that area.

I liked how the author wrote Phoebe and the twin’s relationship and that includes their dialogue, their actions and the obvious love the siblings have for each other. That rapport and bond is very important in the story.

Rafe was an enigma. The author tackled an extremely difficult subject and used it to good effect in the book. It was deftly handled and prevented a reader from the full harsh ick factor.

There was much to like, respect and enjoy in Waking the Serpent but there were some parts that fell flat for me as well. The yo-yo seesaw sexual dance between Rafe and Phoebe was dizzying and not always in a good way. I understood what was really happening, and how integral it was to the plot, but I didn’t always enjoy it. In fact, there were three times that I had to close the book and walk away because the plot twist made me uncomfortable. The good news is that the overall story and basic dynamics between the hero and heroine drew me back every time. As much as I needed to take a break from what was going on in the book at that moment, I had to return to the story to find out what happened next, how they got past it, and where it led.

Another thing I believed that should have had great potential but fell flat was the power of Quetzalcoatl. I wasn’t as impressed as I felt I could have been because I wasn’t shown any power that left me in awe. It’s like the villain had all the FAQs making it too easy to manipulate everyone, and all my favorite people in the novel were reactive instead of proactive. Eventually the heroine and her allies get with the program, figure things out and save the day, but it didn’t have the oomph that a plot dealing with any aspect of Quetzalcoatl should have had.

Even with those not so great aspects of the novel, Waking the Serpent did have a romance worth reading about. Again, the author surprised me with another type of happy ever after that tied in perfectly with Rafe and Phoebe’s HEA. It was a nice touch and at one point was highly sentimental and sniffle-worthy. Well, one of them was…the other might inspire the need for a cold shower. Both were welcomed, well done and satisfied my need for a solid, positive ending.

Waking the Serpent is a good read on many fronts. It does have a strong paranormal element that is intriguing and likeable at times, and at other junctures it’s dramatic and suspenseful. There is definitely some strong writing within its pages that are worth taking a look at and the book has a satisfying happy ending. For some paranormal romance fans, this book might even be more appealing than it was for me. I guess you’ll have to read it for yourself and find out.

Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt


Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (224 Pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

Small-Town Daddy

Jackson Daughtry’s jobs as a paramedic and part-owner of a local café keep him busy—but the single dad’s number one priority is raising his little girl with love and small-town values. And when his business partner’s hotshot lawyer niece comes to town planning to disrupt their lives by moving her aunt away, Jackson has to set Melanie Harper straight. When circumstances force them to work side by side in the coffee shop, Jackson slowly discovers what put the sadness in Melanie’s pretty brown eyes. Now it’ll take all his faith—and a hopeful five-year-old—to show the city gal that she’s already home.

Love has a way of working its way into life, sometimes slow and easy, other times by crashing in head-on. Either way, a sensible seatbelt for your heart is a must!

Melanie Harper is a Washington D.C. big city lawyer who knows how to get things done. She’s smart, pretty, hardworking, and she loves her aunt Phoebe enough to drive all the way to the small town of Sweet Gum to convince her she would be better off living with her in D.C. Aunt Phoebe, however, is perfectly happy in Sweet Gum no matter what her loving niece believes.

When Melanie, who “never takes a vacation,” decides to visit, Aunt Phoebe is delighted. Phoebe co-owns The Coffee Bean, a breakfast and lunch diner, with Jackson Daughtry, a local paramedic. Jackson is a single father who dotes on his little daughter, Rebecca. He is the kind of dad every little girl deserves. His faith is strong, both in the Lord and in people, but the story is never preachy.

Lovely Melanie has strong values, too, but her past could shake a person to their very core, perhaps beyond repair. When Melanie has a car crash, Jackson has to make the call to Phoebe.

Author Jill Weatherholt has created a cast of characters every reader will appreciate. They are each very different with their own strong beliefs and opinions—they are each very real people. I expected this story to be a run-of-the-mill romance, and when I first started reading, I wasn’t bowled over by any uniqueness, although the writing was good. But before long, I found myself over-the-moon surprised by the strength of its wonderful characters and its fabulous storyline, which shanghaied me for the duration.

Second Chance Romance is a story that allows you to settle in and get comfortable before it consumes you in the most wonderful way. This is a must-read for real-life romance lovers!

Invincible by Diana Palmer


Invincible by Diana Palmer
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (302 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

He’s everything she fears…and everything she wants

Mercenary by name and by nature, Carson is a Lakota Sioux who stays to himself and never keeps women around long enough for anything emotional to develop. But working with his friend Cash Grier on a complex murder investigation provides Carson with another kind of fun—shocking Cash’s sweet but traditional secretary, Carlie Blair, with tales of his latest conquests.

Then Carlie lands in deep trouble. She saw something she shouldn’t have, and now the face of a criminal is stored permanently in her photographic memory…and Carlie is the key piece of evidence that could implicate a popular politician in the murder case.

Her only protection is Carson—the man she once despised. But when she learns that Carson is more than just a tough guy, Carlie realizes she’s endangered herself further. Because now her only chance to live means losing her heart to the most dangerous kind of man….

Ahhh! That’s the sweet sound of vindication. The overall story arc of the bad guy messing with the alpha guys of Wyoming is concluded after the end of the very satisfying journey in Invincible.

If a reader has read Wyoming Bold then they might remember meeting Carson then because that’s where Merissa had a vision about him. It comes to pass in this novel and what’s amazing is, it’s not the truth. I mean it is, but it’s not. I didn’t find out which until almost the end of this novel. It’s pretty cool!

In this novel I found out a lot about Carson and it’s fascinating. The story is told mostly from the heroine’s point of view. When Carlie found out about stuff, then so did I but where I only thought ‘wow’, she reacted with lots of emotion depending on the subject matter.

Carson was a tough nut to crack but the men in Carlie’s life, from her dad to Cash to Rourke, all knew where the hero was coming from because they had various levels of the same experience. They gave him advice as only guys could. It would have been too easy if Carson took the advice. The hero had to work things out for himself. And, while taking his time to process things, had numerous opportunities for heart attacks because of events that affected Carlie. One of them eventually was his wake-up call.

Carlie is a morally strong, faith-filled young woman with a demanding job, a loving father and an unrequited love for Carson. She finds out that she’s not above temptation when it comes to the hero, that her dad isn’t quite as quiet and unassuming as she first believed and Carson isn’t as unaffected by her as she thinks. For all her strengths she has a few flaws. She’s forgetful which allows for some suspenseful moments, and she expresses her emotions easily and profusely. Most times it’s endearing and helpful to the plot, but there are a couple of times they were a bit over-the-top and irritating. And what’s the deal behind all that harping about her ‘ratty’ coat? Don’t they have a Goodwill or Salvation Army in the area or within driving distance? If I can find a suit jacket for $3 at a regular store’s end of season blowout clearance sale (I didn’t get it because it was a purple plaid) why couldn’t she find a better cheap coat? Her financial situation didn’t jive with the purchase of her dress or other things I noted during the novel. There’s something off when a father has the type of vehicle Carlie’s dad has and what he leaves her to drive.

I really did like the suspense, drama and mild action that came from chasing down the bad guys and figuring out who was in danger by whom. Those scenes were effectively and powerfully written.

The novel is mostly sensual. There’s lots of heat and pent up sexual frustration and passion between Carlie and Carson but it’s only towards the end that readers get a peek behind the bedroom door. It’s enough to know that the hero and heroine are a satisfyingly combustible mix.

Invincible was a one day, don’t want to leave my chair don’t bother me, read. I even passed on watching my favorite Heath Ledger movie, A Knight’s Tale, so I could finish reading the last few intense and action packed dramatic chapters of Invincible. That’s about the best endorsement a book can get. I enjoyed myself immensely, I adored the happy ever after and I truly believe a lot of other readers will like this book too.

Wyoming Brave by Diana Palmer


Wyoming Brave by Diana Palmer
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (301 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The Wyoming men are back! In their quest for true love on the range, are these ranchers bold enough to open their hearts to the women under their protection?

Ren Colter may own an enormous ranch in Wyoming, but he scorns his wealth. He’s closed himself off since his fiancée left him years ago, so he’s shocked when he allows Meredith Grayling to stay with him. He tells himself it’s only to protect the blonde beauty from a stalker, but Ren’s alpha instincts soon kick in.

The last thing Merrie wants is a devastatingly handsome man like Ren lurking around her. He’s too experienced, too appealing for her already shot nerves. What she needs is just to get away from it all: the man haunting her waking dreams and the one hunting her like an animal. But no woman escapes this Colter cowboy!

There’s nothing like watching an ornery rancher and a tenderhearted lady find common ground amidst chaos, some of which they create themselves. Then there is the chaos from being prey to a contracted killer – just how safe can Ren keep Merrie? Seeking the answer is one of the reasons that kept me flipping the pages of Wyoming Brave.

I missed reading the story about Merrie’s sister, Sari, but this book about Merrie has made me want to know more especially seeing how hard it was for the heroine to not only find love but to feel as if there really was a future in store for her. After reading about how Merrie was treated by her father, it’s a wonder she didn’t have even more trust issues than she did. As the novel unfolded, I experienced various levels of horror as I realized just how cruel and scary the heroine’s childhood was. It explained how a woman in her early twenties could be so untouched and vulnerable, yet strong in unusual ways. What I mean is that Merrie had a knack, a gift, and a remarkable talent with animals. I suspect that pain recognized pain and her empathy as well as her deep well of untapped love was sensed by all the furred and feathered characters in the book.

Ren is initially a grumpy bug. He’s scowly, prickly and hard to get along with at first. You see, the hero has had a huge blow to his self-esteem, his trust and his heart. He’s gotten used to a certain type of woman in his life so Merrie, who should have been a breath of fresh air, got under his skin and made him act more growly than normal. Not that being contrary is normal, it’s really not for Ren, but he’s hurting and he wants to keep the heroine at arm’s length. Yeah, you know how well that works, right? Ren can’t help himself because every time the heroine does something unexpected she inadvertently gets past the barriers around his heart. She makes him want to trust again, to feel, to have hope and that gets him mad all over again. Good thing slow and steady wins the race. I’m not saying the story is slow, it’s not. Merrie is a gentle force of nature but one to be reckoned with. Ren didn’t stand a chance.

I am pretty sure I caught a glitch in the book about Merrie’s dancing ability. There’s an unnecessary repeat and I was surprised it wasn’t fixed. Another thing that didn’t jive with me 100% was the slippery smoothness of conflict resolution. What should have been bumpy, scary or at least viewed with wariness and caution somehow turns sunny, positive and everything turns out fairytale perfect. I guess for readers who are in the mood for light drama but want to stay away from truly dark themes, then this book reaches a good balance. For others who want the depth of the main characters to grow through detailed and focused adversity that they overcome, they’ll be left wanting. For all the potential for action and adventure based on the skill set of the alpha men that Merrie and Sari are surrounded with, the violence is understated and mostly inferred, not actual. So, depending on your mood, this book could really be a perfect read.

I know that I rated Wyoming Brave as spicy for the heat level but it’s more spicy-lite. Their physical expression of their passion was clear but muted. It was not graphic with lots of intimate detail; their touching and loving was more sensual, seductive and romantic but with just a tad of purple prose, if you know what I mean. It’s like I was peeking around the bedroom door to satisfy my belief that their chemistry was combustible but didn’t come all the way into the room to watch. I was fine with that level of heat.

The secondary characters that surrounded Ren and Merrie sure were colorful. They contributed important elements in the novel that made it work. Not surprisingly, Merrie endeared herself to a villain by finding within him that spark of decency and she reaped unexpected rewards. If any reader has seen Disney’s movie Pollyanna then they’ll have an idea of Merrie’s effect on the people around her. It’s like that.

Wyoming Brave was a one day read for me. I settled down into a comfortable chair and lost myself within its pages. It’s a nice story with some sharp edges to sink your teeth into. I liked Ren and Merrie together. The final chapter acted like one giant epilogue that wrapped up the HEA to perfection. This was a fine book and enjoyable. It’s a recommended read especially for fans of Ms. Palmer.