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Romance: Reluctant hearts
Preventing scandal brings two aristocrats together in Tracy Anne Warren’s Regency romance Happily Bedded Bliss, part of the Rakes of Cavendish Square series. The impetuous Lady Esme Byron happens upon a naked man by a secluded country lake, and she stealthily sketches him while he’s sleeping. When the sensational page in her sketchbook is publicly revealed, the subject is recognized as Gabriel, Lord Northcote, and there is only one solution in the eyes of the Byron family: They must wed. The pair reluctantly agrees. Despite the circumstances, the notorious womanizer and the animal-loving innocent forge a sizzling partnership—until a chance encounter reminds Gabriel that he was made a fool by love once before. He vows to distance himself from Esme before he becomes too attached. It’s too late for his bride, however, and Esme is perplexed by her husband’s remote behavior. Not one to give up, she fights for what she wants: a closeness that will give Gabriel, who never had a loving family, everything he needs, too. This Regency delight is a sexy, charming and satisfying romance.
COWBOY, TAKE ME AWAY
A wounded military man goes home to heal in the first book in Delores Fossen’s McCord Brothers series, Texas on My Mind. After being injured while serving as an Air Force combat rescue officer, Riley McCord returns to Spring Hill, Texas, determined to recuperate. He’s greeted by a bevy of beauties eager to help him during his convalescence, but no one captures his interest like his old friend Claire Davidson—and her interest is piqued, too. But there are reasons to resist. Claire was once Riley’s friend’s girlfriend, and aren’t there rules about that? For her part, Claire has a young son to protect—not to mention her heart. Claire wants a man who will stay, and Riley insists that he’s not in it for the long haul. However, the pair finds it impossible to remain apart, and Claire swears she understands that their relationship is short-term. But will Riley really be able to walk away? This is a rollicking romance that’s both funny and poignant.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
An unexpected reunion leads to danger and ultimately love in Taking Fire, part of Cindy Gerard’s One-Eyed Jacks series. Six years ago in Kabul, Afghanistan, military contractor Bobby Taggart bedded Talia Levine, a woman who claimed to be a war correspondent. But she betrayed him, his mission failed, and he was left heartbroken and well aware of the fact that he’d been played. Now working as a covert government operative in Oman, Bobby once again encounters Talia, who has made hard choices for good reasons. Immediately upon reuniting, they find themselves in danger. There’s a target on Talia’s back, and the pair must rely on each other to survive—despite Bobby’s lingering resentment. Bobby brings in his team, but the pressure doesn’t abate as they try to bring down the bad guys. Fast-paced and bristling with tension, Taking Fire is impossible to put down. Nerves will shred as readers root for Bobby and the brave Talia.