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Romance: Western whimsy
Carolyn Brown’s Burnt Boot, Texas, series continues with The Trouble with Texas Cowboys, a rough-and-tumble romance featuring a hero and heroine stuck smack-dab in the middle of a family feud. Jill Cleary moves to North Texas in order to work at Fiddle Creek Ranch, but a relative’s sudden injury leaves Jill, along with cowboy Sawyer O’Donnell, responsible for the ranch, a general store and a popular local bar. When fists start flying between two ranching families, Jill and Sawyer must stand up for each other. Between their shifts at work and their hours in the shared bunkhouse, friendship blossoms into something that feels like love. But they’ve both been hurt in the past, and they are reluctant to jeopardize their friendship and the stability they’ve found in their happy piece of Texas. Will these two wary hearts take the risk? Brown’s written a zesty, rollicking romance filled with fun characters and plenty of laughs.
Suspense tempers a hopeful story of second chances in Silver Thaw, the first in a new series by Catherine Anderson. Amanda Banning moves to smalltown Mystic Creek, Oregon, with her 6-year-old daughter to escape her abusive husband, and she’s barely making ends meet when an ice storm leaves her homeless. But rescue arrives in the form of furniture-maker Jeb Sterling, and he is immediately attracted to the determined woman. Despite Amanda’s initial reluctance, he convinces her to take shelter with her daughter in his large house. Once she arrives, he finds himself further drawn to Amanda’s bravery and her adorable child. As Amanda’s secrets are revealed, Jeb begins helping her face her demons. But doing so means her husband might find her, putting her growing love for Jeb and the rosy future he promises at risk. A feel-good town filled with lovely people make this sweet story a winner.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
In Say Yes to the Marquess, the second in Tessa Dare’s Castles Ever After series, a gentlewoman tires of her long engagement and decides she’s done waiting. Clio Whitmore, eight years a fiancée, resolves to take up residence in a newly inherited castle and break her engagement. Because her intended is overseas, Clio appeals to her absent fiancé’s rowdy, prizefighting brother to sign the engagement-dissolving papers. However, Rafe Brandon wants to do right by his sibling and plans to convince Clio to go through with the wedding. But there’s more than one obstacle to changing Clio’s mind—the biggest being the incredible attraction the two feel for each other. Rafe is determined to be noble for once, but he struggles to keep his desires, as well as hers, in check. The chemistry between these very likable characters sizzles, and their banter sparkles as they spar their way into happy--ever-after. When the Marquess finally shows, will he be able to convince Clio that he’s the better brother? Dare has spun a truly romantic delight.