On a mission to make amends to his best friend’s widow, Lord Ian Blake leaves India and returns to Victorian England in Maire Claremont’s atmospheric The Dark Lady. But he discovers Lady Eva Carin—with whom he grew up—has lived in a madhouse for more than a year, sent there by her brother-in-law after becoming dangerously distraught following the death of her husband and baby son. Ian can’t believe she’s insane, and he visits the asylum to see for himself. After witnessing the despicable conditions, he helps Eva escape to his estate. There, she struggles to recover from physical ordeals that include a laudanum addiction—and she rediscovers her deep bond with Ian. As Eva’s health improves, passion flares between the couple, though ugly secrets and deep anguish make a future for them seem impossible. Further threatening the pair’s romance is the mistress of the asylum, who is bent on exacting terrifying revenge on Eva. Claremont’s debut is an intense, shiver-inducing page-turner.
WOLF ON THE HUNT
Botanist and werewolf Shelley Campbell travels from the United States to Grand Cayman Island and finds much more than exotic plants in A Howl for a Highlander by Terry Spear. Upon landing at the airport, Shelley is noticed by Scottish Highlander Duncan MacNeill, a fellow wolf. While he’s there to track down the financial wizard who stole his pack’s money, the lone she-wolf is just too appealing to ignore. Circumstances bring them together, and Shelley finds out that the bad guy Duncan is after also stole from her employer—so now she has her own stake in the wolf’s hunt. Though the two share a series of kisses, they are reluctant to take physical contact further. Full intimacy could lead to mating, and neither is sure about committing forever. But violence drives them even closer, and soon they pair up to stop the villain. When Duncan stops fighting Shelley’s appeal and acknowledges her as the wolf for him, the stakes are even higher as they try to save their love and their lives. Full of action—both in and out of the bedroom—this story will steam the windows.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
In The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton, a serial killer appears to have moved from Seattle to Austin and restarted his gruesome work after a years-long hiatus. When Texas Ranger James Beck learns that the only surviving victim of the Seattle string of crimes now resides nearby, he’s determined to learn what she knows. With the help of a former Seattle detective, he locates Lara Church—and is frustrated to find that she has little recollection of the terrible attack. But Beck persuades her to share what she can, and as long-buried memories surface, menacing things begin to happen to Lara. Moved to protect her for more than professional reasons, Beck allows himself to care for Lara, and she finds he’s the first man she can trust in years. But more killings occur, and it’s not certain whether Beck and the woman he’s coming to love can stop the murderer before he finishes the task he started years ago. With plenty of procedural details, red herrings and spine-chilling danger, this tale of romantic suspense will keep readers up all night.
Bestseller Burton (Before She Dies) delivers action-packed tension as a cold case becomes new again. Lara Church barely survived an attack by the Seattle Strangler. Fear kept her on the run, but seven years later, she's settled at her inherited family home in Austin, Tex., where she teaches photography at a university. Texas Ranger James Beck works on a case resembling that of the Seattle Strangler: bodies of blondes left in white dresses, each woman holding a penny. He interviews Lara, but she still can't remember anything about the attack. More women are strangled as the anniversary date of Lara's narrow escape looms. The blooming love interest between Beck and Lara, the number of red-herring suspects, and the backstory on the victims make this a compelling romantic thriller. (Feb.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC