Erotic Secrets of a French Maid (Pocket) by Lisa Cach is up first, with Emma Mayson starting her job as a maid on not-quite-the-right-foot with her hunky new employer, Russell Carrick. Russ doesn't really want a maid, but when he tries to fire Emma, he finds himself instead with not only a maid but a mistress he hadn't planned on. Emma has a penchant for costumes and scripted roles, which is a tad odd. I found the motivations here to be rather weak, hers and Russ's. There's no real conflict here, and I wouldn't call this one erotic. Just a contemporary romance with a different way of getting the hero and heroine together. It was okay, but not a keeper for me. It's earned only three of Cupid's five arrows.
Count to Ten (Warner) by Karen Rose is next. Reed Solliday isn't too happy to be paired up with the homicide detective he mistook for a homeless person. Mia Mitchell isn't even really ready to be back to work, and her guilt over her partner's shooting dogs her. But they're forced to work together to find a killer, a vicious one who uses fire as his calling card. I'd only read one other book by Ms. Rose and hadn't enjoyed it much. I'll say up front I didn't love this one either. It seemed pretty by-the-numbers: wounded (literally) cop, wounded (psychologically) hero, villain with an agenda. Nothing really stand-out here, nothing different. One thought I had as I was reading was that the author was trying very hard to make her heroine like Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb's Eve Dallas, and coming up short. This one gets two and a half arrows.
Sweet Home Carolina (Ballantine) by Patricia Rice is next, with Amy Warren trying hard to save her hometown and coming up against the savvy Jacques St. Etienne, who becomes known as Zack to the townsfolk, who wants the town's mill. Sort of. In this one, you get to revisit Amy's sister Jo and friend Elise, as well as meeting more of the quirky characters in the small town of Northfork. Amy and Jacques are fabulous to watch as they fall in love and stumble around the roadblocks in their way. This is one that'll make you laugh and cry along with the characters, which is just about the best thing I can say about a book. I'm giving this one four and a half arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!