E-Originals from Colgan, Leigh, Michaels, and Robinson | Xpress Reviews

Romance readers will celebrate this latest addition to Colgan's series; explicit, fiery, and fun, this quick thrill is quintessential Leigh; readers of Michaels’s series will not be disappointed; for readers of sports romances who like their stories steamy but their characters still coming of age
Week ending December 9, 2016 Colgan, Jenny. The Christmas Surprise. Morrow Impulse. (Rosie Hopkins, Bk. 3). Dec. 2016. 272p. ebk. ISBN 9780062467249. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE christmassurprise120916Rosie Hopkins’s life has been full of excitement. She is engaged to Stephen, an amazing man; they are living in the cutest house ever in the cutest town; and they have a great dog. But things do not stay so great. When tragedy strikes, they decide to travel to Africa where Stephen taught school for a period of time. During this trip, their lives change forever. Now, back in their cute house and town, they see the things that once were perfect cannot accommodate their new lives. Neither is ready to give up everything they know, but they are learning that some things are worth the sacrifice. Colgan’s novel shows the importance of having people in your life. Rosie and Stephen begin to realize the truth in the saying, “it takes a village.” Verdict While Colgan’s (Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery; The Bookshop on the Corner) novel is not chock-full of Christmas references and Yuletide cheer, it is a wonderful story about love, family, friendship, and overcoming obstacles. The town creates the perfect backdrop for this love affair, and romance readers will celebrate this latest addition to the series.—Jessica M. Strefling, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Washington, DC Leigh, Lora. For Maggie’s Sake. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2016. 102p. ebk. ISBN 9781466857070. $2.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE Maggie Samuels’s husband, Grant, has been dead a week before she finds herself at the police station, being interrogated about illegal activities perpetrated by her husband, Agent Samuels. Linked to the Fuentes crime family, and leaving behind evidence Maggie is involved, Grant Samuels turned out to be nothing like the man Maggie believed she'd married. Joe Merino was Grant’s friend and colleague and Maggie’s ex-boyfriend. Trying to harden himself against the woman he used to love, he still can’t believe that she would be part of the violence and drugs with which Grant had gotten himself involved. Joe decides to take Maggie away, keep her safe from the Fuentes brothers, and use every means necessary to find out exactly what she knows. But forced togetherness just brings up old feelings that neither can deny. Joe struggles against the passion that he knows only she can ignite. Can Joe keep Maggie from harm? Can love overcome hardened hearts and suspicious minds? Verdict Fans of Leigh will recognize this work, previously published in the anthologies Real Men Do It Better and Taken. This hot and steamy love story will have fans rooting for Joe to win back the ex whom he pines for—and dreams about—the one that got away. Explicit, fiery, and fun, this quick thrill is quintessential Leigh (Dirty Little Lies).—Judy Taylor Garner, Strayer Univ., Glen Allen, VA Michaels, Charis. One for the Rogue. Avon Impulse. (Bachelor Lords of London, Bk. 3). Dec. 2016. 368p. ebk. ISBN 9780062412966. $1.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE Dowager Duchess Lady Emmaline Crumbley will do anything to protect her brother and escape the confines of her greedy stepsons’ protection. If that means teaching a roguish viscount how to behave properly in society, she is up to the challenge. However, after meeting said viscount, she learns that instructing him is one thing and resisting him is quite another. Beauregard “Beau” Courtland, the new Viscount Rainsleigh, could care less about propriety or for the whims of the ton. With the new title suddenly forced upon him, he has tried to make himself as improper as possible. Then the duchess appears on his houseboat to educate him on respectability and tempt him with her every touch. Verdict No one enjoys a whiny woman who needs a man to fix all her problems, and thank heavens Michaels did not make Emma one of those. She is a great heroine in a bad situation, creative and intelligent enough to discover solutions to her difficulties. If, along the way, she finds a man to love who can help her achieve her goals, that is just a bonus. Readers of Michaels’s series (The Earl Next Door; The Virgin and the Viscount) will not be disappointed.—Colleen Sargent, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, IL Robinson, Sarah. Becoming a Legend. Loveswept: Random. (Kavanagh Legends, Bk. 3). Dec. 2016. 285p. ebk. ISBN 9781101885604. $3.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE This sex-into-love, frenemy-into-partner story begins at the end, in the middle of Kane Kavanagh’s MMA (mixed martial arts) title fight as he wrestles with both his opponent and his decision to throw the match he’s been training for all his life. Then the story jumps back in time, to Kane and Nora’s first hookup and then forward to that wham of an opening. Along the way, Kane and Nora alternately argue and give in to their mutual attraction as readers discover more about their very different circumstances: Kane is the center of a large and loving extended family, while Nora puts her future at risk in an attempt to save her very unloving mother from the consequences of her own actions. Whatever happens, they are going to be part of each other’s lives forever even though they can’t get out of their own way when it comes to building a relationship. Verdict Fans of Lori Foster’s “SBC Fighters” series will love the MMA atmosphere of Robinson’s “Legends” (Breaking a Legend; Saving a Legend). However, readers who enjoy contemporary romance but don’t care for new adult may find Nora’s “mommy issues” to be a turnoff. For readers of sports romances who like their stories steamy but their characters still coming of age.—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, Atlanta

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