March 15, 2017 Booklist 29 www.booklistonline.com
wry, detached voice at first doesn’t seem to
suit the material, and present-day scenes of
a mysterious man visiting a cemetery in Paris
hint strongly at the path the novel will take.
The author’s firm grasp, however, on the mechanics of island living and the dangers the
characters face as well as his affection for his
frequently bewildered characters make for a
diverting if sentimental story with just enough
detours from the obvious path to keep it from
predictability. —Margaret Quamme
An Extraordinary Union.
By Alyssa Cole.
Apr. 2017. 320p. Kensington, paper, $15
In the first installment in what should be a
spectacular new series, Cole opens her adventurous historical romance at the beginning of
the American Civil War. Elle
Burns is not what she seems,
which suits her just fine since
she needs to conceal her true
identity by staying out of
sight and out of mind. Luckily for her, no one suspects
that a mute slave girl on a
Southern estate is really a spy
working for the Loyalty League, a secret society
of freed blacks and slaves funneling information to the Union. Her disguise was working
perfectly until a handsome Confederate soldier
with a Scottish brogue nearly ruins everything.
Malcolm McCall looks like a “Rebel Hero,”
but he’s really a roguish Pinkerton detective
who uses charm to disarm senators and Southern belles alike. As spy encounters spy, the two
must decide if they can trust each other and
if working together is in their best interests,
or if their desire to win the war is greater than
their growing desire for one another. Fans of
Beverly Jenkins will be thrilled with Cole’s fearless, steamy, and moving multicultural take on
forbidden love in a time of slavery and war.
From This Day.
By Nora Roberts.
Mar. 2017. 224p. Severn, $28.99 (9780727886880).
As far as B. J. Clark is concerned, the Lake-
side Inn is perfect the way it is. Guests love
the old-fashioned, peaceful vibe the inn ex-
udes, which is why they keep coming back
year after year. So if Taylor Reynolds, the inn’s
new owner, has any ideas about trying to turn
it into some fancy-pants resort, B. J. will be
more than happy to set him straight. Taylor
arrives at the Lakeside Inn, fully intending to
bring it up to date with the rest of the luxury
hotels he owns, only to find spirited, spunky
B. J. intent on fighting him every step of the
way. While Taylor has plenty of experience
dealing with recalcitrant employees, this is the
first time he has ever been tempted to kiss one.
While the manner in which romance initially
blossoms between B. J. and Taylor might give
labor relations experts a severe case of hives,
this romance, originally published more than
35 years ago, aptly illustrates that genre su-
perstar Roberts mastered early her gifts for
creating engaging characters and crafting a
compelling story. —John Charles
I Dared the Duke.
By Anna Bennett.
Apr. 2017. 352p. St. Martin’s, paper, $7.99
Elizabeth Lacey is one of the “Wilting Wallflowers,” the middle child of three orphaned
sisters brought up by their uncle, Alexander
Savage, the formidable Duke of Blackshire.
He gave the siblings this unfortunate nickname only to learn the hard way that his harsh
assessment of the young ladies was far from
accurate. When his beloved grandmother
gives Beth a position as her live-in companion, in his house, no less, Alex expects this
wallflower to live up to his taunt. However,
from the moment she meets the intimidating
duke, Beth proves to be incredibly spunky for
someone he once considered so dull she faded
into the background. Alex is in equal parts annoyed and fascinated by the feisty miss, but he
has to drive her away. It’s not a choice; after
all, someone is trying to kill him. Readers will
enjoy this sassy Regency take on the classic
Beauty and the Beast tale, the second in Bennett’s Wayward Wallflower series, following
My Brown-Eyed Earl (2016). —Shelley Mosley
By Lynsay Sands.
Apr. 2017. 395p. Avon, paper, $7.99 (9780062468840).
Police officer Sarita Reyes can’t believe she
is in a mad scientist’s lair. But that is the only
explanation that makes any sense when she
stumbles across the cut-in-half corpse of a man
chained to two different tables in Dr. Dressler’s
lab. What is even more crazy is what happens
next. Dr. Dressler and his lemon-lipped nurse
not only put the man back together again but
bring him back to life by pouring gallons of
blood over the body. Dr. Dressler insists that
there’s a logical explanation. The resurrected
man, Domitian Argeneau, is an immortal: a
scientifically created vampire and the subject of
Dr. Dressler’s studies of vampires under stress.
And Sarita, it seems, is Domitian’s “life mate”
and has a prominent role to play in the good
doctor’s “experiments.” Fans of Sands’ (
Immortal Nights, 2016) long-running Argeneau series
will definitely be thrilled with her latest, which
delivers all of the hot-blooded passion, steamy
sex, and intense danger they expect along with a
cast of colorful secondary characters, including
a villain who could very well be Dr. Moreau’s
separated-at-birth twin. —John Charles
It Started with a Kiss.
By Ella Quinn.
Apr. 2017. 240p. Zebra, paper, $4.99 (9781420139594);
Quinn continues her delightful Worthing-
ton series, following When a Marquis Chooses
a Bride (2016). In this installment, Lady
Louisa falls in love with her brother’s friend,
Gideon, Duke of Rothwell. Gideon is trying
to learn why his late father’s assets have van-
ished, along with several of the family jewels.
He is not in a financial position fit for matri-
mony, but nor can he resist the smart, beautiful
Louisa. Quinn’s couples do not prevaricate
over misunderstandings, as often happens in
the romance genre, but rather they acknowl-
edge their feelings and overcome obstacles
together in a refreshing approach. A groom
who cannot help but kiss and propose to his
love, even as he tries to stay away from her
until his fortunes are established, and a bride
who is smart and savvy enough to help build
an estate make for a memorable courtship.
Quinn addresses dementia and feminism in a
story with strong, memorable characters and
a successful plot. Fans of Amanda Quick and
Tessa Dare will enjoy this intelligent historical
romance. —Amy Alessio
By Harper Sloan.
Apr. 2017. 384p. Pocket, paper, $7.99 (9781501155192);
Maverick left his small Texas town 10 years
ago for a life as a professional bull rider. Now
a series of injuries and a death in the family
bring him home, and he doesn’t recognize the
only person outside of his family who he really
missed, Leighton. Although she hasn’t forgotten him, the way he hurt her before he took
off is still in her thoughts as she works at her
successful pie shop. Sloan brings plenty of heat
to this otherwise very thoughtful, building love
story, the first in her Coming Home series. After losing her parents, Leighton doesn’t think
she can trust that Maverick means to stay this
time. Maverick’s pursuit of Leighton and her
slow acceptance ignites the vivid ranch and
small-town settings. Contemporary western
romances are challenging to write, and Sloan
makes it fun to read about realistic ways cowboys can fit into modern society. Readers will
look forward to learning how the uncovered
family secrets affect siblings Clay and Quinn
in future books. For fans of Carolyn Brown’s
contemporary westerns. —Amy Alessio
By Laura Kaye.
Apr. 2017. 480p. Avon, paper, $7.99 (9780062403384).
With her upcoming marriage to real-estate
mogul Grant Slater, Alexa Harmon is about
to get everything she ever wanted. So why
is she so scared? Just because Grant insists
that everything be perfect all the time, and
just because he sometimes loses his temper
with her, doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. It
just means that Alexa has to try harder to be
the perfect wife Grant deserves. Until Grant,
in a rage, locks Alexa out of their home, and
she finally decides enough is enough. Alexa
reluctantly turns to her old lover, Maverick
Rylan, a member of Raven Riders Motorcycle Club, for help, and once he realizes
exactly the kind of trouble she’s gotten herself into, he vows that he will do whatever it
takes to keep her safe. Readers who love biker bad-boy heroes with a heart of gold will
find the second installment in Kaye’s Raven