In the Thrill of the Night (Signet Eclipse) by Candice Hern is up first. Marianne Nesbitt's group of widowed friends agrees on a pact, to consider taking a lover as one of the group already has. Marianne isn't interested in such a thing, until she gives it a little more thought. Adam Cazenove, her late husband's best friend, seems just the man to help her whittle down her list of prospective candidates. Except that Adam can't find anything good about any of them when seen in this light, though he knows they're not suited--no matter what his heart and head might argue, not to mention his hormones. This one is mostly sweet, not very complicated. It wasn't nearly as steamy as I'd hoped for, however, which was a bit disappointing. Still, it's not a bad way to spend a winter afternoon. It's earned three of Cupid's five arrows. I have much higher hopes for a story sure to follow in the series, with the bishop's widow and her notorious rake.
Beloved Stranger (Berkley) by Patricia Potter is up next, with Englishwoman Kimbra Charleton rescuing a seriously wounded Scot she'd thought to 'rob' after a ferocious battle. Lachlan MacLean doesn't remember who he is, nor how he came to be on the battlefield, and his nurse can't help him mend his mind. Her 'family', the group of thieves her late husband worked with, is not ideal, nor entirely trustworthy, even to Kimbra. Lachlan and Kimbra have much to overcome before they can be together, and she doesn't even believe it's possible, with the differences between them. This one is wonderful! Kimbra is strong, and Lachlan is a true gentleman, honorable and willing to fight for her safety and happiness. Not to mention the setting, in the English borders and Scottish lowlands. I'm giving this one four arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!