The Bracelet (Harlequin Everlasting Love) by Karen Rose Smith is up first with a story that's not exactly a romance, but far more romance than simply women's fiction. Laura and Brady Malone have been through a lot in the last three decades, from their chance meeting to Brady's heart attack now. Despite the difficulties, their love is still strong, but now Laura feels responsible for pushing Brady over the edge and into his heart attack. For his part, Brady can't imagine his life ever being the same, or that he can ever be as strong a man again, perhaps not the same man Laura has loved for so long. Their son Sean has issues of his own, adding to the stress in their household, until the entire family is at the breaking point. Laura and Brady have a lot of issues to deal with to save their love and their marriage, and Laura is really my favorite character in this one. She is strong, willing early on to walk away when she had to and now in the present, to hold on, to try to work things out. She is like a lot of women that many of us know, the glue that holds the family together, and the woman that many more want to be. This one will have you in tears along with her in several places, so be sure to have some tissues handy. I'm giving this one four of Cupid's five arrows. It's definitely a keeper.
The Black Sheep and the Princess (Brava) by Donna Kauffman is next. Kate Sutherland is in trouble. A lot of trouble. And Donovan MacLeod comes along just at the right time to be of assistance. Donovan has always had a thing for Kate, but she's always been way out of his league, though now it seems as if she might not be quite what he'd imagined. That doesn't mean he wants her any less, however. You'd think a woman with the difficulties Kate is having would be a little more grateful when Mac shows up to help her out, wouldn't you? But not Kate. I'm not a fan of Ms. Kauffman since her Harlequin Temptation days, and this one didn't grab me either. I freely admit that I skimmed over large chunks of this one because I was annoyed with both the characters doing foolish things and the predictable story. As much as the previous book is a keeper, this one certainly is not.
Until next time, happy reading!