Force of Nature (Ballantine) by Suzanne Brockmann is up first. Ric Alvarado and his childhood pal Annie Dugan are both ready for a fresh start, but her ideas and his don't exactly mesh together. Getting mixed up with a known crime family was definitely not in the plans either of them made, but it gets them involved with the FBI's investigation and the movie star who can't quite share his secret with the world. There's a lot going on at the beginning of this one, so it may take you a little while to be really into the story, or at least that's how it worked for me. The info you get there is necessary to the story, but until later in the story, there's no real connection a reader can see between the disparate events and characters for a couple chapters. Of course, Brockmann is such a pro, it all ties in together later, and by then you're definitely hooked into the tale. I liked Ric and Annie quite well, though it's hard to tell at times whether this is really their book, or if it actually belongs to the secondary couple. This one has action to thrill action fans, plenty of heat and romance for the romance fans, and is flat-out a good story all around. It's not my favorite Brockmann, but it's a keeper. This one's earned three and a half of Cupid's five arrows. And for those of you impatient for more, she's got another story due out at the end of October to tide you over till the next full-length novel.
Touch of Darkness (Signet) by Christina Dodd is also available now, this time with Rurik Wilder playing his part in trying to save his father. Tasya Hunnicutt has her own plans, and they involve bringing down the Varinski family, who killed her parents. Little does she know she's been intimately involved with one, estranged, but still family to those who murdered her mother and father when she was only a child. But she and Rurik have roles to play in carrying out his mother's prophecy, and, while she doesn't like to admit it, she does care for him, even knowing she shouldn't. While I didn't have the same issues with this one that I had near the beginning of the last one, I didn't love this one. Plus I didn't think this one had nearly as much heat between Tasya and Rurik as between Ann and Jasha. Now we all have to wait for the next book in the series. I'm giving this one only three arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!