The Duchess Diaries (St. Martins) by Barbara Dawson Smith leads off the trio of new books this time. Grant Chandler just knows that Sophie, Duchess of Mulford, killed her husband, his former best friend. And he intends to have revenge on the woman who broke his heart. After he's seduced her, that is. Despite the past murder and Sophie and Grant's past together, this story is pretty uncomplicated, an easy read for a chilly fall night. I didn't love it, but not for any particular reason. It just didn't touch my heart the way I'd have liked. I'm sure someone out there will feel differently, as is usually the case. It's earned three of Cupid's five arrows.
The Texan's Reward (Berkley) by Jodi Thomas is next, with the last book in her 'Wife Lottery' series, and boy, am I going to be sorry to see these characters go. Texas Ranger Jacob Dalton's heart is set on Nell, but she's hunting for a husband elsewhere--so her heart stays intact. Luckily, Jacob's having none of it. Unluckily, someone's decided to kill her. Knowing who the bad guy is doesn't at all spoil this story, because the cast of characters here will draw you right into their lives, something I've enjoyed in Ms. Thomas's past books as well. The only thing you'll regret here is having the story end. I'm giving this one four and a half arrows and hoping her next historical series isn't long in coming.
Snowbound Baby (Silhouette Romance #1791) by Susan Meier finishes out her Bryant Baby Bonanza series, but don't let the title fool you--this is definitely not a story about a baby. This is about Cooper Bryant and Zoe Montgomery, both with very good reasons for not wanting any relationships to entangle them. Getting stuck in a cabin together during a blizzard, though, forces them both to reevaluate their choices. Cooper has a very skewed vision of what family is, and with good reason. Zoe's young daughter requires all her focus now that baby Daphne's father is completely out of the picture. And it's going to take some holiday magic to work out a happy ending here. This one is sweet and funny and sad, and comes just in time to put you in a holiday frame of mind. It's earned four arrows. Sadly, though, we now have to wait until spring for Ms. Meier's next book. Good thing she has other books for us to reread.
Until next time, happy reading!