E-Originals from Arend, Chianese, Corrigan, Pace, & Stacey | Xpress Reviews

A new steamy "Six Pack" from Arend; a strong female lead, a little steam, and a slow burn from Chianese; life-bonding and fidelity in a duo from Corrigan; Pace flirts with popular romance themes; and Stacey sets the neighborhood on fire

Week ending January 22, 2106

starred review starArend, Vivian. Rocky Mountain Shelter. Vivian Arend. (Six Pack Ranch, Bk. 8). 2015. 241p. ebk. ISBN 9781941456118. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
rockymountain012216Trevor Coleman is one of the last men of the Six Pack Ranch and Moonshine clan to hold out on settling down with a good woman, even though many of his cousins make the couple situation look more inviting than he ever thought it could be. Nevertheless, Trevor has continued to resist until his new neighbor Becky Hall falls off her roof and, literally, into his arms. While Trevor may have caught Becky, she manages to catch his heart. Becky is finally free of the hellish life she had been living and is eager to be independent, make her own decisions, and prove to herself that she doesn’t need anyone to take care of her. Trevor respects her independence, and when Becky finally opens up about her past, Trevor finds something very special he can help with besides the garden, the roof, and rides to town. Yet can Becky maintain her autonomy while drawing closer to Trevor and the Six Pack Ranch crew?
Verdict In this steamy new episode in the “Six Pack Ranch” series (following Rocky Mountain Romance and Rocky Retreat), Trevor is a true cowboy hero and will make any reader’s heart beat a little faster as he and Becky discover what being a couple is all about.—Lisa Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., Overland Park, KS

Chianese, Gail. Boyfriend for Hire. Lyrical: Kensington. (West Side Romance, Bk. 2). 2015. 280p. ebk. ISBN 9781601834065. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
It’s a man’s world, but Tawny Torres is determined to find her place in it. Quitting her job wasn’t in the plan, but she knows she can land on her feet. Then a new job opportunity comes by, but there’s one tiny problem...to prove she can fit in, she needs a boyfriend, fast. Despite his good looks and charm, David Farber isn’t Tawny’s type—he’s a playboy and a jokester and he never takes life seriously—but he’s her only option. Dave’s been pining for Tawny for months, so when she asks him to be her pretend boyfriend, he doesn’t think twice. This is his chance to show her that he’s more than the carefree persona he displays. Sparks fly, but attraction isn’t enough to build a relationship that’s more than just pretend.
Verdict This engaging and down-to-earth story from Chianese (Bachelorette for Sale) features characters readers can root for. Recommended for contemporary romance fans who appreciate strong female leads, a little steam, and a slow burn from mutual attraction to lust and eventually love.—J. Harris, New Hampshire

Corrigan, Nancy. Hunter Deceived. (Wild Hunt, Bk. 1). 2015. 250p. ebk. ISBN 9781619231641. Corrigan, Nancy. Hunter Forsaken. (Wild Hunt, Bk. 2). Feb. 2016. 244p. ebk. ISBN 9781619232594. ea. vol: Samhain. ebk. $5.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Corrigan’s (Beautiful Mistake; Favorite Obsession) new series explores the Wild Hunt, a band of supernatural beings bent on protecting humans from the depredations of the Unseelie, the evil form of Fairies, or Fae, that prey on humans. Hunter Deceived revolves around Harley Callahan, the half-Fae child of the Unseelie king Dar. After most of her family is murdered by evil Fae, Harley struggles against the constant pull of evil within her. She is prevented from turning evil herself by Calan, the leader of the Wild Hunt. He mentally contacts her and helps her with positive magic and information; she in turn eventually frees him from his imprisonment in Hell. Harley and her brother Ian then each become officially mated to others, with dire implications. Harley, however, through complex plot gyrations, offers herself as a sacrifice and ends up freeing the entire Wild Hunt and retaining Calan as her lover, while Ian is made a member of the Wild Hunt. This story is rich with intense lovemaking that focuses on exclusive bonding. Forsaken continues the same erotic concentration and kicks it up a notch. It opens with some light bondage, with Ian chained to a bed after having gone into an insane rage over the death of his fiancée Cynthia. Ian is brought out of his rage by Tegan, Calan’s sister and another member of the Wild Hunt. They form an instant bond because they have mentally been sharing erotic dreams for three years. Their mating turns dramatically anticlimactic as it is revealed that Ian is really an incubus, a sex demon, feeding off of Tegan’s life energy. This revelation throws a major kink into their relationship, as sex demons are notoriously unfaithful.
Verdict Both books maintain a high degree of gratifying sexual heat, with an evolving plotline that is both intriguing and original as it features a paranormal world that is simultaneously accessible and suitably foreboding. An overall emphasis on life-bonding and fidelity shows through despite much casual sexual interplay. Recommended for those whose traditional sexual values just need a little boost.—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

Pace, Alicia Hunter. Healing Beau. Crimson Romance. (Brothers of Beauford Bend, Bk. 4). 2015. 220p. ebk. ISBN 9781440582042. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Following a bad parachute landing that leaves him with a career-ending injury, Army Ranger Beau Beauford returns home after ten years to a family that wants to smother him and a best friend who never lets him see that she’s loved him all their lives. Beau believes that he is picking up his friendship with Christian right where they left off, not knowing that he’s taking advantage of her love and friendship and she’s helping him to do it—just like always. But when Beau’s need for comfort and escape leads to a weekend of surprising passion, things can’t go back to what they were. Then Christian discovers that she is pregnant, and now it’s up to Beau to figure out what he wants out of life and with whom, instead of letting Christian make things easy for him—again.
Verdict This latest entry in the Beauford Bend series (Reforming Gabe; Redeeming Rafe; Forgiving Jackson) is a lovely small-town romance that flirts with several popular romance themes while turning each just slightly on its head. The resolution of a hidden family tragedy brings the series to a poignant conclusion.—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, Atlanta, GA

Stacey, Shannon. Fully Ignited. Carina: Harlequin. (Boston Fire, Bk. 3). Mar. 2016. 188p. ebk. ISBN 9781459290297. $4.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
It only takes Engine 59’s temporary lieutenant, 34-year-old Jamie Rutherford, a few days to fall for her 27-year-old coworker Scott Kincaid. Scott and Jamie know the emotional and professional risks they are taking. In spite of the couple’s attempt to keep their romance a secret, everyone in the entire extended Boston firefighter family knows. Much of the plot involves gossip by Scott’s friends and relatives and Jamie’s efforts to maintain her job as a female supervisor in a still traditionally male workplace. The story is filled with long conversations and brief episodes all occurring at the Kincaids’ family-owned bar.
Verdict New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Stacey (Controlled Burn) captures the closeness of Boston neighborhoods and families through the classic local bar, an iconic representation of community culture.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

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