A Whisper in the Dark (Berkley) by Linda Castillo is up first, with her latest romantic suspense, and this one I liked far better than her last. Julia Wainwright's secret has earned her a stalker, one determined to force her to see the error of her ways. Her father doesn't like it and brings in an old family friend to keep an eye on things: ex-cop John Merrick, who blames himself for the death of another cop, who drinks to blunt the guilt. Julia and John have much to overcome, not the least of which are John's issues. The suspense in this one will keep you guessing, and the heat between Julia and John will make you want to keep a cool drink handy during your reading. This one puts me squarely back in her corner as a fan. It's earned four of Cupid's five arrows.
The Cowboy (Aphrodisia) has stories by Vonna Harper, P. J. Mellor, Nelissa Donovan and Nikki Alton. It also has a beautiful cover, and I speak as a reader who never shops by looking at cover art. 'Wild Ride' by Ms. Harper leads things off with a mostly lusty romp, with little emotional attachment between the characters. It didn't work too well for me, for that latter reason. 'Cowboy in Paradise is next, with much more emotion and no less steam heat between Tyler Last and Meg Holder, who also has a secret she's keeping from the sexy cowboy. 'Saddle Sore' by Ms. Donovan is next, with Cassandra Darling hoping to save wolves in remote Arizona, and meeting up with hot local Dean McCabe along the way. Again, plenty of heat, not too much emotion. 'Rodeo Man' by Ms. Alton rounds things out with Grant Olson and Anna Hartley hooking up on the rodeo circuit when her life takes an unexpected turn. This one had me until the end, which left me extremely disappointed. The best of the lot is Ms. Mellor's, which makes hers a rather expensive story. This one only gets three arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!