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the other woman

Category Romance Review: The Other Woman by Candace Schuler



Tara Charming-TV’s sexiest seductress and star of the new movie The Promise-has hooked her claws into Gage Kingston of the legendary moviemaking family. Insiders reveal the studio is irate that the movie’s behind schedule. . .all because the lovers spend more time in each other’s trailer than on the set!

Is this a match made in Hollywood heaven? A close friend reveals, “Gage vowed to avoid actresses ever since his ex-wife. It’s hard to believe he’s fallen for Tara. She’s got a reputation for doing whatever it takes to get ahead.” Of course, Tara has had her share of heartache, too. Pregnant at seventeen, she was left to cope on her own. But her track record proves she’s no pushover now.

Can these two tinsel-town heartbreakers possibly be in love–or is it mutual use and abuse? Turn to our inside story for the full scoop.

Hollywood Dynasty


Reviewed by Blue Falcon


The Book and Characters

This review is of The Other Woman by Candace Schuler, book #1 in the “Hollywood Dynasty” series. (Harlequin Temptation #451, July 1993).

Series overview: “Hollywood Dynasty” focuses on three siblings, children of a legendary Hollywood couple, as they make their names in the same industry that made their parents famous.

Heroine: Tara Channing, 25. Strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes. Actress.

Hero: Gage Kingston. 30. Dark brown hair, amber eyes. Cinematographer.

The Plot

The Other Woman begins in Montana, on the set of a movie, “The Promise.” A love scene is being filmed featuring two of Hollywood’s top sex symbols, actress Tara Channing, the book’s heroine, and actor Pierce Kingston. Also in attendance is Pierce’s brother, cinematographer Gage Kingston, the hero.

Tara and Gage become lovers, but both are unwilling to share more than their bodies. They later learn, however, that passion without protection has consequences. Gage gets Tara pregnant, and they break up.

In the end, Tara and Gage realize they truly do love each other. Tara has her baby–a son–and gives up her acting career.

She and Gage marry and have their Happily Ever After.


The best part of The Other Woman for me by far is Tara. Depending on your point of view, she is blessed–or cursed with a Playboy Playmate’s looks and body. Looking like that, however, means that males–I can’t call them men–only view Tara as a sex object. She is, however, a woman of depth and character shaped by her life, which we learn about. Tara is a very easy heroine to like and root for.


Although Gage is not the actor in the family–his siblings are and were–he is a player here in three parts. In the first part of the book, he is a horn dog. During the second, he is Tara’s lover and an angry man. In the third part, he finally realizes he truly loves Tara and wants her for his wife and forever love. While I understood Gage’s reasons for being a jerk in the first two-thirds of the book, that doesn’t make it okay or him completely likable. Beyond Tara, there isn’t a whole lot of depth.


A few love scenes between Tara and Gage. They generate some heat, but not an inferno.


The only violence is “movie violence,” which is described in the book.

Bottom Line on The Other Woman

Readers who like to know what goes on behind the scenes of television and movies and were fans of early 1990s entertainment may find a lot to like here. Still, Candace Schuler’s The Other Woman and the “Hollywood Dynasty” series as a whole may not appeal to readers who don’t fall into those categories.

Locations: A movie set in Montana. Los Angeles, California.

Tropes: Actress. Cinematographer. Movie making

2.84 Stars

seduced and betrayed

Category Romance Review: Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler

category romance
Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1995
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Temptation #553
Book Series: Bachelor Arms #8; Hollywood Nights #2
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Category Romance Review: Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler


The Book

This review is of Seduced and Betrayed, #8 in the Bachelor Arms” series, and book #2 of 3 in the series written by Candace Schuler. (Harlequin Temptation, September 1995).

The Plot

The book begins in 1970. A woman finds her boyfriend, naked, in bed with another woman, who is also naked. Their relationship isn’t the only thing that ends that night. 

Fast forward 25 years. Ezekiel “Zeke” Blackstone, 47, the book’s hero, is heading to a planning meeting for his daughter Cameron’s upcoming wedding. He is a famous actor turned producer/director and a major player in Hollywood.

Zeke is nervous, however, because this meeting will bring him face-to-face with Ariel Cameron, 43, the heroine of the book, Cameron’s mother, and Zeke’s ex-wife. (They were the couple who broke up in the first paragraph!). Ariel, a successful actress turned model, has been estranged from Zeke for 25 years.

As Zeke takes an apartment–ironically the same one he lived in before at the “Bachelor Arms”–we learn how he and Ariel met, became lovers, married, and the circumstances that led to their divorce. We also learn that despite all that has happened between them, Ariel and Zeke are still very attracted to each other. They later act on their attraction and become lovers again. For a while, Ariel and Zeke are happy again.

However, Ariel soon finds a reason to doubt Zeke again. In the end, however, Ariel and Zeke commit to each other and their love and find their Happily Ever After. 


Ariel and Zeke are both strong characters, both as younger people and as the mature adults they are in the primary setting for Seduced and Betrayed. They are fairly well-developed and interesting people.

Ms. Schuler is very good at getting me, as a reader, into her characters’ minds and their emotions. So much so that even during the lovemaking scenes between Ariel and Zeke, I felt like I was there with them, not as a voyeur but as part of them. 


One of the drawbacks to the category romance format is that certain things can get short shrift because of the relatively short nature of the books (around 200 to 300 pages). In Seduced and Betrayed, this crops up in Ariel’s relationship with her mother, Constance, who controls Ariel’s career. Constance’s reasons for doing so and why Ariel allows it are hinted at but never truly explained.

Given that this relationship had major implications for the early days of Ariel and Zeke’s marriage, this was a rather large miss. 


Several love scenes between Ariel and Zeke. They’re not quite as good as in Lovers and Strangers, but they’re good nonetheless.  


Ariel throws several objects at Zeke, who also kicks in a door. 

Bottom Line for Seduced and Betrayed

Seduced and Betrayed is a very good book, with one issue keeping it just below the great category.

* * *

Hero: Zeke Blackstone. Actor/producer/director. Black hair, brown eyes.

Heroine: Ariel Cameron. Actress/model. Golden blonde hair, blue eyes. 

Tropes: Actor. Actress. Contemporary romance. Harlequin Temptation. Hollywood. Reunited. Second chance.

4.49 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.5


In 1970, Zeke Blackstone was a smokin’ hot 22-year old bad boy actor staring in his first Hollywood movie. His co-star was 18-year-old Ariel Cameron, America’s TV sweetheart. Their instant chemistry—both on and off the screen—culminated in a whirlwind affair that came crashing down one night in the tragic aftermath of a wild party at the Wilshire Arms.

Now, twenty-five years later, Zeke is still smokin’ hot with a well-earned reputation as both a ladies’ man and a leading man. Ariel is one of the most respected actresses in America. Neither has willingly been in the same room together since their divorce was final.

But their beloved daughter is getting married and all she asks of her estranged parents is that they make nice for the wedding. Thrown together for the wedding festivities, the attraction between Zeke and Ariel reignites and all the old feelings come rushing back, stronger than ever.

Can they work through the hurt and betrayals of the past to make it to their happy ending?

Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler
lovers and strangers

Category Romance Review: Lovers and Strangers (aka Hollywood Nights) by Candace Schuler

Lovers and Strangers, Candace Schuler, Harlequin, 1995, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Temptation #549


5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

This review is of Lovers and Strangers, book #7 in the “Bachelor Arms” series by Candace Schuler. It’s a Harlequin Temptation from August 1995.

Series Overview

Like JoAnn Ross’ contributions to the “Bachelor Arms”  series, Ms. Schuler’s three books contain a mystery within a mystery. There is an overarching mystery that runs through all 11 books in the series. There is the mystery that is contained in Ms. Schuler’s books (Reviewer note: The versions of the three books I am reviewing are the ebook versions of the original books published from August-October 1995. It appears Ms. Schuler regained the rights to her work from Harlequin and republished the books in 2012/13 under a new series name: Hollywood Nights. Perhaps owing to that, supporting character names and the name of the building have been changed from the print version. However, the titles and the core Harlequin Temptation stories remain intact.)


The book begins in Los Angeles, 1970. Two brothers, Eric Shannon, 24, and his younger brother Jack, 18, are arguing over plans for a screenplay they’re collaborating on. (A major Hollywood studio wants to buy their work but also wants to make major changes to it. Eric is for the changes, Jack against). That very same night, Eric Shannon died. His death was ruled a suicide. 

Fast forward 25 years. At Flynn’s bar, near the Bachelor Arms complex, Jack, now 43 and the book’s hero, is rescuing waitress Faith McCray, the heroine of the book, from an overly “friendly” patron. Faith is 24 and has brown hair and hazel eyes. She’s originally from Pine Hollow, Georgia, and has a lot of emotional baggage. Jack later hires Faith to clean his home, as she is moonlighting as a maid. 

Jack, who has black hair and brown eyes, is a former Army war correspondent who later reported from the “hotspots” of the world. He’s a Los Angeles native, and he, too, has a lot of emotional baggage. As they spend more time together, we learn more about them. Faith plans to become a doctor, obstetrician to be precise. She is also seriously attracted to Jack, and he to her. However, Jack tries to fight his attraction to Faith for multiple reasons. Eventually, they give in to their mutual attraction and become lovers. 

After they become lovers, Jack does everything he can to try to sabotage his relationship with Faith. (This is due to his history, which is explained).

In the end, Faith and Jack begin to let go of the guilt that has consumed both of them all of their lives. Jack finishes the screenplay he and Eric started–with a major assist from Faith–and they find their Happily Ever After. 


I imagine that at least one New Adult author has read Lovers and Strangers and was inspired to become an author. This is basically a New Adult book, even though one of the characters is well outside the age range for those books. 

I’ll start with Faith, as she is a young woman who comes from a difficult, traumatic family environment.  She eviscerates herself internally over something that happened to her as a teenager. However, despite this, she maintains an innocent quality and is open to loving and being loved. 

The same cannot be said for Jack, who has closed himself off, believing that he will be safe from all emotional pain if he never opens himself to someone. Speaking from personal experience, that is not the case. Isolation is not safety. It simply makes a person alone, bitter, and lonely. Jack feels that is what he deserves for what he has done and what has happened to him. It takes a special woman-Faith McCray-to show him that things can be different if he just allows a little opening for love to come in. In the end, Jack is not completely open, but he is more open than he was at the beginning of the book. 

Ms. Schuler did an excellent job making me as a reader feel like I was watching these two tortured souls find each other, and find love in the process. I rooted for both Faith and Jack and was very happy when he finally agreed to let her in.


I’m not a fan of “age-gap” romances and there is a significant one here (Faith is 24, Jack is 41). Even though I have personal experience with age-gap relationships, it’s uncomfortable for me to read them in books. It reminds me so much of Harlequin Presents and other books where there are age gaps. It feels like a father-daughter relationship, which feels creepy rather than loving.

Slightly nitpicky on my part, but I really don’t like the new e-book covers for these books. The original Harlequin Temptation covers truly suited them, capturing the emotion and excitement of the books. The new e-book covers…do not. 


Lovers and Strangers has one of the best love scenes I’ve read in a romance novel. In the first scene, Ms. Schuler does a tremendous job relating both the esoterics of the act and the feelings Faith and Jack have for each other. It’s both beautiful and sexy. It’s one of three love scenes in the book. 


No on-screen violence, but there are references to violence that Jack has witnessed in his life. 

Reviewer Note

There are also drug use references early on in the book. 

Bottom Line

I don’t have a favorite books list, but if I did–and I may start one–Candace Schuler’s Lovers and Strangers would definitely be on it!  Readers who love books about the transformational power of love will find lots to love here. 4.95 stars. (The half-point markdown is for changing some supporting character names and locations and the e-book cover. If I were reading the original Harlequin Temptation paperback version with the original cover, I would have given it 5 stars unequivocally). 


Age gap. Angsty romance. Contemporary romance. Los Angeles.

easy lovin

Category Romance Review: Easy Lovin’ by Candace Schuler

Easy Lovin’ Candace Schuler, Harlequin, 1990, cover artist unknown

Harlequin Temptation #331

1 star

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I remember being so excited to read Candace Schuler’s Easy Lovin’ as I had read one fantastic romance by her already, Wildcat. To me, that story was amazing, with a fiery-tempered heroine and an equally passionate hero. So when this one arrived in the mail as part of my monthly subscription of Harlequin Temptations, I was disappointed to find it was a big old dud. The tone was completely the opposite of Schuler’s previous book.

The Plot

Kate Hightower is a prim and proper miss who’s always done what’s expected of her. Except now, she’s running away from her life, having left her fiance at the altar. She’s not sure what she wants, but it’s definitely a drastic change. So she goes to New Orleans to find herself.

What she finds is Jesse Vallerin. He’s a laid-back southern boy from the Big Easy. Jesse’s also a hairstylist who gives Kate a makeover when he cuts and dyes her hair from a mousy brown to a fiery auburn. He sports a diamond stud in his ear. He’s an atypical hero, going all against stereotypical macho convention. Perhaps I was too immature to appreciate Jesse’s more feminist attitude than other heroes I’d come upon. I never really warmed up to him. Jesse was supposed to be all charming and debonair, but he came off too metrosexual for my tastes.

As for Kate, I found Kate to be too wishy-washy. So the romance between them wasn’t really believable. It seemed more like Kate was having a fling than falling into a lifetime commitment.

Easy Lovin' 2
Easy Lovin‘ Re-Issue

Final Analysis of Easy Lovin’

Plus, Easy Lovin’ was dull, not memorable in any way, except for the fact that Jesse was too unusual a hero for my young, primitive tastes. The re-release of this book as part of a special run series called Here Comes the Groom did him no favors, either. On that particular cover, Jesse sported a Hawaiian shirt and jeans combo that had him look like a middle-aged dad trying to relive his frat boy days.

Oh well, there are much better late vintage reads than this one to enjoy and review, so file Candace Schuler’s Easy Lovin’ under F for forgettable.


Category Romance Review: Wildcat by Candace Schuler


To have and to hold

Stacey Richards had finally come home to her Texas ranch, and she was damned if anyone was going to run her off again. Eleven years of exile in Paris had transformed her from wildcat to woman-a woman who’d still fight like a tiger for her birthright. She wanted her land . . . with no strings attached.

She refused to comply with the terms of her grandfather’s will. Refused to marry Ben Oakes in order to receive her legacy. Somehow, she vowed, she’d override the absurd codicil . . . and her own irrational reaction to Ben. Once she would have given everything for the rugged cowboy. He’d spurned her then–now it was her turn.



The Book

Published in 1989, Candace Schuler’s Harlequin Temptation #284 Wildcat is a hot, steamy romance. I cannot believe that 31 years have come and gone since I read it. I read this book as a preteen (way too young)! This drawn-out battle of wills between a tempestuous female and an ultra-macho rancher really appealed to me.

The Plot

Stacey Richards was banished from her Texas home over a decade ago. Her wild, unruly ways were too much for her grandfather to handle. He sent her off to Paris to learn how to become a lady. In the meantime, Ben Oakes, a man whom the teenaged Stacey had the major hots for, capably cares for the ranch.

Stacey’s grandfather dies, and she flies back home. The reading of her grandfather’s will shocks everyone. For Stacey to inherit the property, she must marry Ben.

Beneath her sophisticated airs, Stacey is still a wild girl at heart and will not be dominated into marriage. Ben is no card-carrying feminist, and he tries his cave-man best to reign in Stacey’s wild temper. Will these two crazy kids ever admit to their mutual lusts and come to an agreement?

Final Analysis of Wildcat

I loved the original Temptation cover with Ben and Stacey lying in the grass, Ben on top of her, holding her arms at each side of her head, sweat pouring down his cheeks, while Stacey’s shirt is unbuttoned, and there’s this look of anticipation on her beautiful face…

Great memories. So good I had to read it again.

Sometimes it’s best to keep treasured books in memory to avoid spoiling them by looking at them with jaded, aged eyes. Happily, such is not the case with Wildcat. It’s as fun on rereading as it was the first time around. This is, for me, a fantastic 5-star romance because I loved the OTT drama.

5 stars