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Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage: four moon gif Zebra Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-8217-6707-0
Rachel Howland wants a one-way ticket out of her late father's saloon and away from Herschel Island, Beaufort Sea, Canada. The Arctic's polar bears, lusty males and frozen tundra hardly qualify as the proper ingredients for romance. But while the world outside Rachel's cabin blows a fury of ice and snow, the passions heat up between Rachel and the love of her life, wealthy explorer Noel Magnus.

Book: Meaghan McKinney. The Merry Widow Every time Noel returns to the saloon, he promises one day to marry her. Right now he fancies her in his bed. Rachel longs to say yes to the hunger burning inside her, but she refuses to settle for less than a ring on her finger, which Noel never brings with him.

As the publisher of New York's most popular newspaper, Noel could easily afford a diamond wedding band. Back home, where he once reigned as society's most eligible bachelor, New York Society believes the Arctic killed him. Probably will someday, Rachel figures, since Noel won't give up his quest to find the fabulous black opal and the lost husband of his friend, Lady Franklin. For three years Noel searched the frozen wasteland, occasionally showing up in Rachel's saloon.

Book: Meaghan Mckinney, Still of the Night

Tired of Noel's empty promises, Rachel packs her bags and sails for New York soon after Noel disappears on his dogsled. If New York society believes him dead, then she'll pose as his widow and live in his fine house, at least for a while. She barely gets off the boat when two pickpockets steal her bag. She captures them and discovers the thieves are children. Her heart thaws when she realizes she holds a brother and sister, ages seven and eight. She makes the orphaned pair a deal, and together they journey to upstate New York to Magnus' palatial home.

For awhile, Rachel successfully plays the merry widow, complete with two fatherless children. Even the toughest society matrons buy her act. They honor this Arctic saloonkeeper's daughter turned society belle with a dinner party. Just as her triumphant moment arrives, an unexpected guest knocks on the door. Noel walks in, and Rachel's charade crumbles.

Noel wants revenge, and Rachel wants out. Noel hates the glittering world of New York society. He longs to return to his primitive life on the Arctic. But for now, he'll occupy his time wreaking vengeance on his merry widow.

Meagan McKinney writes an exciting tale about the daring exploits that a woman undertakes to get the man she loves. In The Merry Widow, the sparks between Rachel and Noel shine brighter than the northern lights.

Doris Valliant

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