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Romance: Battle for Love
Former childhood friends struggle to find adult happiness amid the turmoil of medieval Scotland in The Rock by Monica McCarty, part of her Highland Guard series. For five years, blacksmith’s son Thom MacGowan has waited for noble-born Lady Elizabeth Douglas to return from France. Chums since they were small, Thom’s feelings for the beauty evolved as he grew older, and upon reuniting, he can no longer deny that he is in love with her. His admission catches her by surprise, and a rebuffed Thom leaves to become a solider, determined to make her regret rejecting the advances of a lowly peasant. As the years pass, Elizabeth begins to see Thom in a different light, yet the social chasm between the pair seems impossible to span. This only spurs Thom into feats of derring-do in order to prove his worth, and though he has a chance to become a hero, he might still lose Elizabeth—and his life. This romance is rife with action as well as historical detail, and readers will despair for these star-crossed lovers torn between duty and desire. McCarty has delivered an enchanting blend of fact and fiction.
Hearts are at risk in the kisses-only A Chance of a Lifetime, the latest in Marilyn Pappano’s Tallgrass series. Young widow Benita Ford is blindsided when her childhood pal, now an Army captain, unexpectedly returns to Tallgrass, Oklahoma. Calvin Sweet was best friends with Benita’s late husband, but an unexplained falling-out estranged them. However, Benita can’t avoid Calvin for long—his family and hers are neighbors—and they find new closeness even as they avoid speaking of the past. That’s perfectly OK with Calvin. He knows he’s falling in love with the sunny Benita, but he’s also hiding a secret. He’s not sure that he’ll ever find the courage to make his confession to her, even though he’s aware that his reticence threatens their happiness. A secondary romance adds to the poignancy of this emotionally compelling story demonstrating the healing power of love.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
Stephanie Laurens delights with a fast-paced blend of romance, mystery and adventure in The Lady’s Command, the first in her new Adventurers Quartet. When Declan Frobisher, son of a seafaring dynasty, married a duke’s daughter, he was thrilled with his new wife. He imagined he’d continue making exciting voyages as a ship’s captain while she waited safely at home. But Lady Edwina has different plans. As enamored as she is with her husband, she challenges him to create a marriage built on a true partnership. So when a mission to West Africa is offered to Declan, Edwina convinces him to allow her to come along. At first, he’s alarmed—and overprotective of her—but his bride has ways of making him see reason. Together they investigate the mysterious disappearance of several British citizens, an inquiry that brings them close to danger—and closer together. Declan and Edwina’s story entices, entertains and will leave readers eager for the next novel in the series.