Tide of Death
by Pauline Rowson
Published by Fathom
It is DI Andy Horton's second day back in Portsmouth CID after being suspended for eight months. Whilst out running in the early morning he trips over the battered, naked body of a man. PC Evans has been stabbed the night before, the DCI is up before a promotion board and Sergeant Cantelli is having problems with his fifteen year old daughter. But, Horton's mind is on other things not least of which is trying to prove his innocence after being accused of rape. Beset by personal problems and aided by Cantelli, Horton sets out to find a killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. As he gets closer to the truth, and his personal investigations start to uncover dark secrets that someone would rather not have exposed, he risks not only his career but also his life.
First in a new-to-me series and rich in local details. Lots of backstory packed into this one, which had the potential to be confusing, but I'll definitely be looking out for the next one.
The First Time I Saw Your Face
by Hazel Osmond
Published by Quercus Publishing Plc
Jennifer had it all. Until a terrible accident took almost everything. When she moves back home, with her interfering ex right on the doorstep, the future doesn't look that bright. Until she meets Mack. Sexy, dishevelled and just a little clumsy, he starts to make her believe that she can move on from the past and embrace life all over again. But he has a secret he'd do anything to protect, and he's about to betray her to keep it. Will he realise what she means to him in time? And if he does, will she be able to love the real Mack?
Jennifer had a promising acting career before her accident, but now she works in a library while her cousin Cressida is a rising star in Hollywood. Mack is an underemployed journalist, who is tasked with digging up details of Cressida's lovelife -- or his own family's scandals will be exposed to the world. A wonderfully complex tale ensues as Mack finds himself posing as the author of a series of walking books in order to blend into Jennifer's village and gets far more involved with the locals and their dramatics (on and offstage) than he'd anticipated. Plus he can't help being attracted to Jennifer with or without her scars and must find a way to protect both their families. An excellent read, even if the ending was dragged out a little much for my taste.
Hajar's Hidden Legacy
by Maisey Yates
Published by Mills & Boon
Beauty...Princess Katherine has always been destined for a political marriage. Her heart heavy, she prepares to meet her future husband - the man whisperers in his royal kingdom call The Beast of Hajar...and the Scarred Sheikh Concealing his disfigurement from public scrutiny, Sheikh Zahir rules his country from within the castle walls, allowing no one in. Until duty demands he carry on the Hajar family dynasty and allow his new bride to cross the threshold. Zahir expects Katherine to flee at first sight. Yet her unflinching gaze fires Zahir's blood, their attraction burning hotter than the scorching desert sands...
I seem to have read a lot of romances with scarred characters recently, although this one glossed over the exact nature of the scars more than most. I've liked previous Maisey Yates stories and I have others I want to read, but this one didn't grab me for some reason.
Abigail And Mistletoe
by Karen Rose Smith
Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Just before Christmas, trauma makeup artist Abigail Fox packs up her bag of tricks and travels to Crested Butte, Colorado, to help an actress who has lived in seclusion since a disfiguring accident.
The lodge owner irritates her with his suspicions that she’s only out to hook her name to a star. However, his broad shoulders and quiet intensity make her weak in the knees.
A former stuntman familiar with Hollywood politics, Brady is sure Abigail has ulterior motives. Why else would she travel far from home over a holiday if there wasn’t something in it for her? Yet gradually he realizes that with Abigail, what you see is what you get—a caring woman who only wants to help accident victims rediscover life.
Sheltered in Brady’s beautiful, snowbound world, warmed by his holiday wish that has nothing to do with Santa Claus, Abigail finds herself falling into his arms. But if he learns her terrible secret, the love that’s catching fire could blow up in her face.
A cute little story about two scarred heroines and father and son tough-guy heroes who fall for them. Abigail wants to teach other people the make-up techniques she had to learn to gain her own confidence, and yet she's still scared that her unmade-up appearance will scare men away as it has in the past. An enchanting seasonal read, although the settings didn't quite resonate with me.
Tangled in Tulle
by Nikki Duncan
Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Lori Mullins yearns to shake off her past and live free of shadows and fear. Yet her only shot at obtaining the capital to launch her business rests in a man she met during a lie. A man whose voice alone turned her from jaded escort to giddy schoolgirl. A man who almost died because of her.
Trevor Masters can call off his search for the woman he loves. The woman he dreamt of while comatose. The quest for her heart, however, is only beginning. The trick will be convincing her he doesn’t blame her—and that she deserves to accept herself as the woman who holds his heart.
Business negotiations land Lori in a heavenly hell. Heaven that Trevor is close enough to touch. Hell that she’s planning her first designer wedding. His. And something’s not quite right. The kind, compassionate man she fell for all those months ago, the man who’s engaged to another, seems intent on wooing her...
First in a new series, but with so much back story that it feels like it should be a follow-on from a previous series. I like the premise, though, and shall be interested to see where the series goes and how much it concentrates on the other couples while advancing the story of this pair.