Sinful Between the Sheets (St. Martin's) by Barbara Pierce is up first, with Lady Kilby Fitchwolf trying hard to evade her disturbed brother by spending a Season in London with an old friend of their parents. Her goal is to find a husband her brother can't control. Fayne Carlisle, the new Duke of Solitea, has no interest in marriage, but rumor has it his late father died in Lady Kilby's bedchamber, so if he spends a little too much time in her company, so what? Of course, rumors aren't always correct, are they? To save Kilby, Fayne elopes with her, but someone is still after them, and he may not be able to save either of them. I couldn't quite make up my mind about this one. Kilby falls into Fayne's bed rather easily for a woman in fear of saving her virtue. But Fayne I liked; he may be a playboy, but when he finds The One, he'll do anything to keep her, make any sacrifice. This one gets three of Cupid's five arrows.
Forever Yours (Zebra) by Janmarie Anello is next. Jagger Remington's honor demands that he visit Sophie Treneham to notify her of her brother's death at war, and to offer any help he can. Sophie declines his assistance, though she needs some aid from someone to keep her rag-tag household together now that her cousin has inherited her house. Unless she weds in under a week. Jagger can't let her lose her home, so he steps in, despite her protests, and their convenient marriage starts to get a little more complicated with every passing day. First a wedding reception, then celebrations in London for the war heroes. And the more time they spend together, the more Jagger can't let his wife go off on her own. This one is very sweet, and not too complicated. Just right for a quick fix of romance. I'm giving this one three and a half arrows.
Her Only Desire (Ballantine) by Gaelen Foley is next. Ian Prescott, Marquess of Griffith, is in India to broker peace, but first he has to save Georgiana Knight from an angry mob. And then a lusty, traitorous prince, and then from the fops in London. For a woman with such good intentions, Georgie gets herself into an awful lot of trouble. Ian is always rushing to the rescue, either to Georgie's or to his son's. Not a bad thing for a romance novel hero. But I just didn't love Georgie as well, I'm afraid. This one gets only three arrows.
Beloved Warrior (Berkley) by Patricia Potter is up last. Patrick Maclean has spent six years on a merchant ship as a slave, and he's had all he's willing to take. He organizes a mutiny, and the crew manages to take over the ship. But afterward, he discovers there are two women aboard. Juliana Mendoza is headed to a marriage she doesn't want, but if she doesn't do it, her mother is in danger from her father. Patrick and Juliana have much to overcome to find a happily ever after, but with Ms. Potter pulling the strings here, it's a delight to read. Patrick isn't even sure he has a family to return to, and if he has, why didn't they rescue him? Juliana fears for her mother more than she wants her own happiness, but can she bear not to be with Patrick forever? There's a wonderful cast of secondary characters (including the mysterious Diego, who should have his very own book!), but the focus is always Patrick and Juliana, just as it should be. This one gets four arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!