Mariah Stewart's Last Breath (Ballantine) is up first today. Dr. Daria McGowan is on a very important dig in the middle of Iran when she's called back to the U.S. to take on an even more important project: organizing an exhibit of artifacts her great-grandfather discovered long ago. Only there are a lot of missing pieces. She calls on Connor Shields, the gorgeous FBI agent she met some time ago, to find out what's happened to the rest of the artifacts. Connor doesn't mind the trip to Howe University to help out Daria; he's been wanting to see her again. But this trip turns out to be more complicated than he'd expected, and far more dangerous: it seems that someone's been waiting for decades to retrieve the relics and make Daria's family pay for their removal, and Daria happens to make a convenient target. This one starts off rather slowly, so slowly it took me nearly a week to read the first hundred pages. Once it gets going, though, the pace is quick and the story will keep you reading. I don't know that most readers will, but I figured out early on who was involved in the vengeance plot, though that didn't mar my enjoyment of the end of the story. Lots of mystery and a fair helping of romance, this one's earned three of Cupid's five arrows.
The Northern Devil (Brava) by Diane Whiteside is next. Sweet and innocent Rachel Davis has been plotting for some time how to escape the man determined to make her his daughter-in-law and steal her fortune, and when she makes a break for freedom, her plans go slightly awry. Luckily, her friend--and the friend of her late husband--Lucas Grainger is there to save her. Even to marry her to carry that protection one step further. Noble Lucas. Of course, his nobility only goes so far, and surely no man could resist the powerful pull Rachel has on him, even though she doesn't know it. Though Lucas is determined not to give in to emotion, just to keep her safe from the dangerous man hot on their trail. But, of course, the villain is too vile for words and too angry to let the matter lie; he must have his revenge now as well. This one read to me much as her last two have read, with no surprises in the telling, unfortunately. That makes this one not a keeper. It gets only two arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!