E-Originals from Lee, Persell, Porter, and Warren | Xpress Reviews

Engaging characters, a Pacific Northwest setting, horses, a gentle romance, and a boy and his dog; Persell treats an overarching theme of equality with care; Porter writes consistently swoon-worthy romances for her characters; the added narration of Annie’s inner wolf and Jonas’s inner bear provides comic relief to hilarious effect
Week ending December 29, 2017 Lee, Patricia. Love Calls Her Home. Mountain Brook Ink. (Mended Hearts, Bk. 2). Mar. 2018. 348p. ebk. ISBN 9781943959433. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE Former navy officer Lissa Frye is now working for a small county sheriff’s department while she gets reacquainted with civilian life and prepares for a future that hopefully will include a husband and children. Former marine Kurt McKintrick has returned to the states to help his best friend’s mother run her horse rescue ranch after her son’s death in Afghanistan and to heal from the horrors of serving in a war zone. Lissa’s father married Kurt’s mother a few years ago, and Kurt and Lissa became close before each returned to their respective duty stations. Now, Kurt is reluctant to get close to anyone for fear of losing them, too. The report of neglected horses at another spread and the death of the owner give Lissa and Kurt an opportunity to reconnect while bringing young Jayden Clarke to their attention. Ten-year-old Jayden’s life has been turned upside down by the rancher’s death, and it is up to Kurt and Lissa to help the boy and perhaps themselves as well. Verdict This second book in Lee’s “Mended Hearts” series (after An Anchor on Her Heart) features engaging characters, a Pacific Northwest setting, horses, a gentle romance, and a boy and his dog. What more could one ask for?—Lisa Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., Overland Park, KS Persell, Micah. Hard Work. Crimson Romance: S. & S. (Sin City Gigolos, Bk. 1). Nov. 2017. 253p. ebk. ISBN 9781507207024. $4.99. EROTIC ROMANCE Victoria is successful in advertising and on the cusp of landing the client of her dreams. While navigating a boss who seems all too willing to disclose details of her personal life and pitching against a tough outside competitor, Victoria meets the devastatingly gorgeous Kip at a local bar…only to find that he is a gigolo. Despite recoiling at first, Victoria ends up meeting with him, and after a very hot night, she hires him exclusively. Kip learns that Victoria’s uptight, workaholic exterior hides an insatiable passion, broken by the loss of her husband. While she learns that his profession and his youth don’t make him who he is or nullify the depths of his emotions. Together, they are a dynamic team…but will the origin of their relationship foil Victoria’s future? Victoria and Kip are molten between the sheets but can be tender and sweet as well. Verdict Not just for readers of erotic romance with an older heroine. Persell (Uncharted Waters) treats an overarching theme of equality with care, just as she plays around with a variety of tropes, all of which pays off.—Frannie Strober Cassano, North Bellmore P.L., NY Porter, Jane. Miracle on Chance Avenue. Tule. (Love on Chance Avenue, Bk. 2). Dec. 2017. 222p. ebk. ISBN 9781947636538. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE Although Sadie Mann has been a fan of bull rider Rory Douglas for most of her life, she decides it’s time to put her fantasies away and start living in the real world. She wants a family and can’t waste time on a man who doesn’t even know she exists. After a nasty fall, Rory returns home to Marietta, MT, which surprises Sadie, and he is shocked to find the beautiful mystery woman he’s seen in arenas across the country. Sadie knows Rory’s history with Marietta is tragic and is determined to stick to her practicalities, but Rory has some very different ideas. The details of this small town and its familiar faces are a delight as Porter (Take Me, Cowboy) adds another layer to the Marietta world. Verdict Christmas in Marietta is always a joy in the holiday season. Porter writes consistently swoon-worthy romances for her characters, and Sadie and Rory’s story is a perfect read to be paired with some hot cocoa.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash Warren, Christine. Something To Howl About: An Alphaville Story. Swerve: St. Martin’s. Jan. 2018. 75p. ebk. ISBN 9781250120786. $1.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE Dr. Annie Cryer, a wolf-shifter and highly gifted scientist, has been banished from her New York state pack. She is visiting Alphaville in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains at the request of the mayor in order to solve the mystery of low fertility rates among the brown bear–shifter population. When Annie meets Jonas Browning, the Bear clan representative, her inner wolf is overcome with attraction. Jonas’s inner bear has the same reaction—a visceral “this is my intended mate forever” feeling. The problem is that Jonas doesn’t believe that brown bears form mate bonds; needless to say this doesn’t go over well with Annie. After an initial passionate kiss, they both retreat in confusion. Annie plunges into her research, and Jonas seeks advice from his mother. It turns out that a better understanding of mate-bonding inspires the solution to both problems, and then the true howling can begin. Verdict This satisfying tale from Warren (Hard To Handle) proceeds rapidly from initial attraction to consternation to full-bore consummation. The added narration of Annie’s inner wolf and Jonas’s inner bear, seeking to unite despite human bumbling, provides comic relief to hilarious effect; highly recommended. [A prequel to Warren’s new series, which kicks off in paperback with Baby, I’m Howling for You (Feb. 2018).]—Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

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