Mine Till Midnight (St. Martin's) by Lisa Kleypas is up first. Amelia Hathaway first meets Cam Rohan when she's out trying to track down her wayward and despondent older brother in London. Though he's clearly not suitable for her, there are definite sparks between them. Then she arranges for her family to leave the city and go to Hampshire to the estate her brother inherited with his title, but it's not exactly what they'd hoped. Fortunately, when things go awry, Cam is there again, visiting with her closest neighbor, and determined to find a way to have Amelia, who's equally determined to find a way to keep her family together and healthy. Hers is an unconventional household, to be sure, with the young Gypsy who's been like part of their family for a number of years, and Amelia in the role of caretaker to all. Cam has some Gypsy in him as well, and has recently decided to give in to that part of him, to just ditch his civilized life. But Amelia complicates his plans. This one is fantastic. The cast of characters are intriguing, the chemistry between Cam and Amelia superheated, and the story is paced to keep you reading until you get to the end, and then you'll be wishing for more. It's a definite keeper, earning four of Cupid's five arrows. I'm looking forward to seeing which of these secondary characters gets a story of his or her own next, because several of them are quite deserving and will likely have other readers thinking the same thing.
I also read Sarah McCarty's Caine's Reckoning (Spice) this week. Caine Allen has been hired to bring back a group of kidnapped women, but one of the women isn't exactly what he'd expected, and turning her over to the monster who claims guardianship of her isn't going to happen on his watch. The only recourse is to marry her himself. Desi isn't very happy about that, but Caine figures having a wife might not be too difficult to endure. Except that Desi hasn't had the best of experiences with men, which makes things between them a lot more challenging. And the people who wanted Desi back aren't going to just give up and let him keep her without a fight. I had some issues with this one, buying into the story and really believing. I just couldn't believe that a woman who'd been raped more than once and by different men would so easily decide that she wants her husband to do the things she asks for later in the story. My imagination is good, but I just wasn't persuaded in this case. Caine hasn't got much in the way of conflict going on here either, aside from keeping his wife, and there's never any real doubt that he can do just that. On the other hand, if you're looking just for several hundred pages peppered liberally with sex, you might not care about the holes in the story. I minded, so this one is not a keeper. It's earned only two arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!