36 Booklist December 1, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
the Arizona Territory near the Santa Catalina
Mountains. While her sister, Regan, dreams of
marriage and a family, Portia is busy using the
skills she acquired at Oberlin
College to manage the hotel.
Family friend Kent Randolph
reenters their lives, calling her
Duchess and kissing her. Then
a murder at a nearby ranch
reminds Portia of how short
life is, and she and Kent make
plans for the future. Readers
will delight in the further adventures of these
characters and especially in the lovely romance
between two intelligent, deserving people. The
historical details are fascinating, as Jenkins
brings Geronimo and other true-life figures in
for cameo appearances. As Portia participates
in suffragette meetings, Jenkins cleverly layers
this captivating love story with subtle observa-
tions about race and women’s rights. Fans of
Lorraine Heath will enjoy Jenkins’ superb Old
West series. —Amy Alessio
The Edge of the Blade.
By Jeffe Kennedy.
Jan. 2017. 400p. Kensington, paper, $9.95
(9781496704269); e-book (9781496704276).
Kennedy (Pages of the Mind, 2016) continues the Uncharted Realms series with
Jepp, a member of the queen’s guard more
comfortable on a mission than in society, being named as an ambassador. Luckily, Jepp
has Prince Kral, once her lover, to help her
along. Jepp’s view of how women are to
behave clashes with the norms of the Das-naria hierarchy. She chafes under Dasnarian
restrictions until she is summarily banished
from court. She just wants to sleep with
whomever she wants, whenever she wants.
And she wants Kral—again. That’s not too
much to ask, is it? Despite her ejection and
reluctance to embrace her new role, Jepp ultimately takes to it in her own way, earning
respect from the royal family. Fantasy adventure, snarky dialogue, and hot sex help Jepp
find her way back to her beloved queen for
her next assignment. Readers new to Kennedy’s series will do well to read it from the
beginning, though this book can be enjoyed
as a stand-alone. —Ilene Lefkowitz
Forged in Desire.
By Brenda Jackson.
Jan. 2017. 400p. HQN, paper, $7.99 (9780373790005).
Jackson begins a new, multicultural roman-
tic suspense series, a spinoff from her Grangers
trilogy, which introduced the Summers, own-
ers of a private security firm. Front and center
is Lamar “Striker” Jennings. His mission is
to protect Margo Connelly, the niece of the
firm’s CEO. Margo has just spent six miserable
weeks on a sequestered jury that found orga-
nized crime leader Murphy Erickson guilty as
charged. His response to the verdict is to pro-
claim that everyone in the courtroom for his
trial will be murdered by an assassin. The kill-
ings will only stop when he walks out of prison
a free man. As the weeks pass, and the bodies
pile up, Margo and Striker, her live-in protec-
tor, go from client and bodyguard to a couple
involved in a hot and steamy relationship.
Striker is as capable at protecting Margo as he
is at making love, which is fortunate because
the assassin is not the only threat Margo faces
before the two can find their requisite happy
ending in this intriguing work of romantic sus-
pense. —Bonnie Kunzel
Hit the Spot.
By J. Daniels.
Dec. 2016. 400p. Forever, paper, $14.99
(9781455566099); e-book, $3.99 (9781455566105).
Daniels nails it, so to speak, with Hit the
Spot, the highly anticipated second novel in the
Dirty Deeds series, following Four Letter Word
(2016). The first time Jamie McCade walked
into the restaurant where she works, Tori Rivera couldn’t take her eyes off of him, but then
he opened his mouth. The arrogant surfer boy
showed her zero respect, and so she shot him
down. Now, months later, he is still trying to
get in her pants, despite the vitriol she spews
his way. But she can’t escape him—their best
friends decided to shack up together, forcing
them to interact. Jamie knows Tori secretly
desires him, but she keeps pushing him away.
How can he prove that his playboy persona is
just a facade? Determined to prove each other
wrong, the pair enters into a high-stakes bet:
who can get the other to beg for release first?
Tori and Jamie’s story of sexual frustration
began in the previous novel, but readers will
also enjoy this alluring and steamy NA tale as a
stand-alone romance. —Patricia Smith
Hunt the Dawn.
By Abbie Roads.
Dec. 2016. 352p. Sourcebooks/Casablanca, paper, $7.99
With one whiff of a woman’s perfume, Lathan Montgomery can see her most intimate
secrets through his whirling left eye. His special
abilities to detect scent memories make solving cold cases for the FBI a breeze, but there’s
one killer who has continually eluded him, the
Strategist. Evanee’s life of sexual abuse has always led to nightmares, but it wasn’t until she
met Lathan that these nightmares turned into
something more. Her White Place now allows
her to see inside the mind of a serial killer,
the very one Lathan has been hunting. When
Evanee awakens from her first dream with an
eyeball in her hand, Lathan knows that with
their powers they can finally stop the man that
haunts him. Roads continues her suspenseful, paranormal Fatal Dreams series, begun
by Race the Darkness (2016), delving deeper
into the mystical forces that unite Lathan and
Evanee. Though both are loners at heart, they
find themselves drawn together by their powers and something more, an older force that
neither can deny. —Amy Dittmeier
Lord of the Privateers.
By Stephanie Laurens.
Jan. 2017. 512p. MIRA, paper, $7.99 (9780778319733).
There is simply no way that Isobel Carmi-
chael is going to let Royd Frobisher sail off to
West Africa on a rescue mission without her.
Isobel’s cousin, Katherine Fortescue, has dis-
appeared from Freetown, and come hell or
high water, Isobel is going with Royd to find
Katherine and bring her back home. So even
though it has been eight years since Royd
failed to follow through on their handfasting
ceremony and marry her, Isobel is determined
to stick like glue to him until their mission
is completed. Of course, all the time the
two must spend together could very well
end up mending the rift that exists between
them, or it could permanently extinguish
any embers of love they might have for one
another. Laurens successfully brings her Ad-
venturers Quartet, following The Daredevil
Snared (2016), to a resounding conclusion.
The broad literary canvas, swashbuckling
adventures, dangerous intrigue, and steamy
romance of these novels are rare treats for
readers who miss those old-school historical
romances by Shirlee Busbee and Katherine
Woodiwiss. —John Charles
By Catherine Anderson.
Jan. 2017. 448p. Berkley, paper, $7.99
Tired of the constant traveling for his rodeo
job, Ben Sterling comes to Mystic Creek, Oregon, to settle down. He’s attracted to Sissy
Sue Bentley, owner of the Cauldron, a local
diner, and rescuer of animals
no one else would want. Because of her lifelong history
with vicious, abusive men,
Sissy has major trust issues.
Although she’s attracted to
Ben, she makes every effort
not to become involved with
him. Then, one frosty night,
when Sissy’s 80 chickens break out of their
flimsy coop, not only does Ben help round
them up, but he also builds another home for
them. Little by little, Sissy begins to trust and
even love Ben. But just as she begins to blossom from her newfound romance, a brutal
visit from the person who hurt her the most
reminds her that she needs to keep her distance
from the male sex. As in her earlier Mystic
Creek novels, including Silver Thaw (2015)
and New Leaf (2016), Anderson grapples with
abuse, taking a skilled approach to this issue
that engages readers’ emotions and pulls them
deep into the story, right up to the heartfelt
sigh of relief at the end. —Shelley Mosley
My Highland Rebel.
By Amanda Forester.
Jan. 2017. 416p. Sourcebooks/Casablanca, paper, $7.99
It’s no fun being the son of a Highland warlord, as Cormac well knows. He’s a scholar at
heart and has no interest in the warmongering
of his father, Red Rex. After he’s caught stealing books from a nearby monastery, he quickly
spins a story of how they revealed an ancient
Scottish treasure. Instead of liberating him, the