Continued on p. 38
Ruskin, a London schoolteacher who’s just
gone through a devastating breakup. When
she sees an advertisement for a position as a
governess, she decides to apply (despite her
roommates’ consternation at the idea) and is
promptly hired. While Emma loves teach-
ing 10-year-old Arabella Akroyd, the lonely,
much-neglected daughter of a coldhearted mil-
lionaire, she finds life at the Akroyd mansion
to be far from easy, what with the arrogance
of the scion’s extremely handsome son and the
cold dislike of Arabella’s mother. But when
Emma and Arabella are kidnapped, the situa-
tion changes dramatically. The ending is easily
predictable, but most romantic-suspense fans
will find the book to be heartwarming and a
pleasure to read; and, of course, longtime Har-
rod-Eagles followers will enjoy the look at her
early work. —Emily Melton
Lady Jayne Disappears.
By Joanna Davidson Politano.
Oct. 2017. 400p. Revell, paper, $14.99 (9780800728755).
In this delightful debut, a sweet romance,
Politano pens a clever story-within-a-story
full of Victorian intrigue and ghosts. Aure-
lie Harcourt’s father has just died, and she is
leaving the only home she has ever known,
Shepton Mallet debtor’s prison, with the few
things he left her: a trunk full of blank note-
books and his pen name, Nathaniel Droll.
Initially planning to abandon his unfinished
serial novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, which
she has been transcribing for years, Aure-
lie decides, instead, to continue her father’s
work when she realizes that her Aunt Eudo-
ra’s home, Lynhurst Manor, is the setting of
The Betting Vow.
By K. M. Jackson.
Sept. 2017. Kensington/Dafina, paper, $7.99
Supermodel Leila wants to act in a television series. She is trying to live down her
three ex-fiancés, especially Carter, a television
producer who envisions a part for her in a
comedy. She wants the challenge of a drama.
Her manager suggests a bet over a late-night
poker game in Vegas, and as a result, Leila
and Carter get married. The deal is, if they
stay together, Leila gets a shot at the drama.
With her trademark respectful humor, Jackson (To Me I Wed, 2017) tells of a memorable
honeymoon followed by the usual marriage
issues, while Carter’s straightforward style
and confession of love make him uniquely
appealing. Jackson’s outstanding African
American romances are wildly imaginative
and delightfully funny. —Amy Alessio
By Dani Pettrey.
Oct. 2017. 336p. Bethany, $29.99 (9780764231124);
paper, $15.99 (9780764212963).
Pettrey (Still Life, 2017) continues the
Chesapeake Valor series. FBI agent Declan Grey finds himself in the middle of a
murder-missing persons investigation when
what he really wants to be doing is hunting
down a terrorist threat. After an attempt
on their lives, Declan teams up with crisis
counselor Tanner Shaw, a former sniper and
a very kick-ass and feminine woman. They
find themselves strongly drawn to each
other, but both being conservative evangelical Christians, they find strength in prayer
when under fire. A cliffhanger for fans of
the series. —Diana Tixier Herald
By Yolande Kleinn.
Sept. 2017. 268p. Riptide, paper, $17.99
(9781626496286); e-book, $4.99 (9781626496279).
Newly single English professor Colin
Sloan has given up on love, so he consid-
ers the offer of a no-strings-attached affair
from handsome artist Jack Mason to be a
good compromise. Then Colin meets Jack’s
identical twin brother, Peter. Peter has a
girlfriend, but as he and Colin spend more
time together, that relationship falls apart.
Then Peter spends the night with Colin,
which was supposed to be a one-and-done,
and they think it won’t be a big deal to Jack,
but Jack has done the unthinkable: he’s
fallen in love with Colin. And Peter can’t
stay away from him. If the twins don’t fig-
ure out a way to share, they both risk losing
Colin for good. —Ilene Lefkowitz
By Tyrone Bentley.
Oct. 2017. 304p. Kensington/Dafina, paper, $15
(9781496715180); e-book (9781496715203).
All Aphtan Epps wanted was to escape
the projects. Desperate to earn money
quickly, she strips at the Pearl Tongue just
long enough to realize her dream. But independence isn’t her reward, since she falls
for the man who took over her father’s drug
empire and gets sucked back into the life
she meant to leave behind. The dramatic
ups-and-downs that propel this story may
leave readers a little dizzy, but fans of urban
fiction writers Sister Souljah, Wahida Clark,
and Nikki Turner will enjoy the crazy twists
and turns in Bentley’s steamy and action-packed debut. —Kristina Giovanni
The Scotsman Who Saved Me.
By Hannah Howell.
Oct. 2017. 352p. Zebra, paper, $7.99
(9781420143034); e-book (9781420143041).
Iain and his brothers find a young couple
murdered in a remote cabin, also evidence
of a child who escaped. They find Emily,
who was wounded but able to flee with
her three-year-old nephew. Iain takes her to
his fortress. The Englishman who tried to
murder her nephew along with his parents
is still after them, but Emily’s new friends
protect her. Despite his distrust of English
gentry, Iain finds that he is falling in love
with the feisty Emily, and she with him. The
first in the prolific Howell’s promising new
series, Seven Brides for Seven Scotsman,
this will be a hit with fans of historical and
Scottish romances. —Amy Alessio
Second Chance Girl.
By Susan Mallery.
Sept. 2017. 336p. HQN, paper, $8.99 (9780373799350).
In Happily Inc., a California wedding town,
Millie is a lonely giraffe, and gamekeeper
Carol Lund is on a mission to raise funds to
acquire a herd for her. Glass-artist Mathias
Mitchell is willing to help, even as he copes
with tail-wagging, glass-breaking Sophie
the beagle. Meanwhile, Ulrich Sherwood,
Duke of Somerbrooke, thinks Carol’s sister,
antique-shop owner Violet, is conning his
grandmother out of her fortune. Two very different couples find love in Mallery’s second
Happily Inc. novel (You Say It First, 2017), another heartwarming book from this talented,
prolific, and popular author. —Shelley Mosley
An Unwilling Conquest.
By Stephanie Laurens.
Nov. 2017. 320p. Severn, $28.99 (9780727887283).
Having successfully eluded the matchmak-
ing mamas of London, Harry Lester sets off
for Newmarket intent on avoiding any matri-
mony-minded females, until he encounters
a carriage accident involving Lucinda Bab-
bacombe and her party. After learning that
Lucinda is also on her way to Newmarket,
Harry insists she stay with his Aunt Ermyn-
trude, since Newmarket during racing season
is no place for a lady. While Lucinda appreci-
ates Harry’s kind offer, the last thing she
needs is a man telling her what to do. Many
of Laurens’ legions of fans will be grateful for
either a first or second chance to read this
engaging, Heyeresque Regency romance,
first published in 1996, between a business-
minded heroine and the laid-back hero who
falls in love with her. —John Charles
ROMANCE FICTION IN BRIEF