Romance: Cupid hits the lovey-dovey jackpot
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—for romance readers, that is! Here are five romance novels that are perfect for celebrating the spirit of Valentine’s Day. We suggest cozying up with a hot mug of tea (or perhaps a glass of wine), a box of chocolates and one of these passionate and alluring tales.
Old friends become much more in One More Kiss by Samantha Chase. After an embarrassing professional failure, rock star Matt Reed returns to his hometown in North Carolina and the privacy of his best friend’s secure estate. Though he wants to hide from unwelcome press attention and halt his nosedive in self-confidence, he can’t keep away from Vivienne Forrester, his best friend’s little sister. Vivienne lives in the nearby guesthouse, and soon they’re sharing meals and secrets—except for a very important one. Vivienne doesn’t want Matt to know of her longtime crush on him nor remind him of the kiss they once shared that he seems to have forgotten. However, more kisses are on the way, and their relationship gets serious. But if Matt is able to rebuild his confidence and return to touring with his band, where does that leave Vivienne, who is entrenched in her cozy corner of the world? Can the homebody and the rock star find a way to a happily ever after? This is the first book in the Shaughnessy: Band on the Run series, and it’s a tender and touching romance about trust, compromise and second chances.
Suzanne Woods Fisher sets a richly detailed stage in the latest in her Amish Beginnings series, The Newcomer, which features a group of Amish Germans immigrating to America in the 1700s. During the voyage from Germany to Philadelphia, ship carpenter Bairn Bauer reunites with his Amish family after many years apart. His childhood sweetheart, Anna König, is one of their party, and the two are thrilled to find each other again. Their prospects on the Pennsylvania frontier look bright, but Bairn has increasing doubts about his ability to fit in with his family and their faith following the long separation. He decides to embark on one last sea voyage, putting his relationships with his parents and the woman he loves at risk. What follows is adventure, danger and adversity. Anna must rely on her beliefs and Bairn must come to an understanding of his own in order to ensure a happy relationship between the pair. These good yet flawed characters provide a fascinating insight into the people who bravely left behind the familiar in order to seek new freedoms.
A HEART AT STAKE
Kelly Bowen’s third book in her A Season for Scandal series, Between the Devil and the Duke, tells the story of a lady on the brink of financial ruin who finds a champion in an enigmatic gambling club owner. The disguised Lady Angelique Archer uses her impressive skill with numbers to make money in Alex Lavoie’s gambling establishment in Regency-era London. The mysterious masked woman intrigues Alex, as does her careful play. When he learns her identity and guesses that she has money troubles, he banks his desire for her in order to offer a proposition—that she become one of his vingt-et-un, or blackjack, dealers and they’ll split the house’s profits. Though Alex makes it clear that he doesn’t mix business with pleasure, it doesn’t diminish the simmering sexual tension between them. When deadly danger arrives on Angelique’s doorstep, Alex partners with her to discover the identity of the person trying to harm her family. During the investigation, love between the pair blossoms into something lasting—but they must survive peril first. There’s adventure and passion on every page in this Regency winner.
A WILD AFFAIR
The action never stops thanks to an engaging cast of characters in Wild Horse Springs by Jodi Thomas. A stolen cowboy boot leads lawman Dan Brigman to touring bar singer Brandi Malone. Their instant attraction seems to be heading toward a temporary affair, but Sheriff Dan’s duties get in the way. Dan has his hands full with things other than the beautiful drifter. His 25-year-old daughter returns home to help a teenager who’s landed in Dan’s jail, and she brings her two suitors along with her. A fire, a knife fight, a gunfight and a missing little girl also take Dan’s attention, but when he finally is able to find private time for Brandi, those hours are magical. Can the couple agree that a quickie, impermanent romance is not enough? The latest in Thomas’ Ransom Canyon series is a rollicking, warmhearted read.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
Historical romance is at its best in Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James. Edward “Ward” Reeve, the illegitimate son of an earl, is at risk of losing custody of his young half sister and half brother to their harridan of a grandmother. To prove that he’s the best guardian for the pair, he needs an accomplished governess, so he visits the renowned Snowe’s registry service to find a candidate. There, he meets beautiful young widow Eugenia Snowe, and their instant chemistry baffles them both. Though Eugenia is not a governess herself, when the first few governesses fail at their services, she is persuaded to temporarily step in to care for the children. At Ward’s estate, the pair find time to explore their attraction, and they succumb to passion—and then to love. But the difference in social rank may prevent a happy ending for both the couple and the two precocious and engaging children (who surely deserve stories of their own someday!). This one brims with wit and charm.
This article was originally published in the February 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.