A Lot Like Love
By Julie James
Berkley Sensation, $7.99
Jordan Rhodes would do almost anything for her brother Kyle. So when the FBI offers to release Kyle from prison if Jordan agrees to bring an undercover FBI agent along with her to Chicago-based restaurateur Xander Eckhart's invitation-only wine tasting party, Jordan doesn't hesitate a minute. Of course if Jordan had known her "date" would be the annoyingly sexy (or perhaps just annoying) Nick McCall, Jordan might not have been quite so quick to say yes. Fueled by equal measures of seductive wit, edge-of-the-seat suspense and scorching hot sexual chemistry, James' latest scintillating novel of romantic suspense is a rare treat.
Never a Gentleman
By Eileen Dreyer
Warner Forever, $7.99
After being caught in a compromising situation, Diccan Hilliard knows that if he doesn't marry Grace Fairchild, she will be ruined. Yet marrying Grace could very well entangle her in a dangerous plot with which Diccan has become involved. The one thing Diccan doesn't take into account is that Grace herself might want a say in the matter! Dreyer's impeccably crafted historical romance has it all: richly nuanced characters, graceful writing seasoned with a wicked sense of humor, and a deeply emotional story spiced with an irresistible dash of dangerous intrigue.
By Rainbow Rowell
After breaking up with his girlfriend Sam in college, Lincoln O'Neill never thought he would find true love again until he starts working at The Courier. Hired to monitor the newspaper employees' email, Lincoln finds himself reading (and re-reading) the notes exchanged between film critic Beth Fremont and her friend copy-editor Jennifer Scribner-Snyder. Lincoln knows he is falling in love with Beth but there are two problems: Beth already has a boyfriend and how can Lincoln tell Beth that he fell in love with her by reading her personal emails? Perfectly mixing sweet romance with deliciously tart wit, Rowell's literary debut is a complete charmer.
It Happened One Season
By Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Jacquie D'Alessandro, and Candice Hern
Four romance writers take the same initial story idea - a hero who has returned home from the war and must marry and a heroine who has yet to find a suitor - and spin four different yet equally entertaining tales of love. In Lauren's danger-spiced, sensually-charged "The Seduction of Sebastian Trantor," Sebastian Trantor and Tabitha Makepeace find themselves falling in love while trying to discover who is blackmailing recently engaged ladies. In Balogh's elegantly written "Only Love," Cleo Pritchard has resigned herself to a life without love until she meets Jack Gilchrist. Alec Trentwell intends on keeping his promise to Penelope Markham's brother but the result is something neither one expects in D'Alessandro's irresistibly entertaining "Hope Springs Eternal." And Hern adds a nice dash of both sweet emotion and clever wit to her story of two social misfits - Nathaniel Beckwith and Philippa Reynolds, who find happiness together in "Fate Strikes a Bargain."
By Teresa Medeiros
Gallery Books, $15.00
When neo-Luddite Abby Donovan tries out social networking for the first time, she meets Mark Baynard, who not only helps Abby navigate the confusing world of tweeting, but also gives her the push she needs to get back to work on her long-overdue second novel. As their electronic flirtation develops into something much more serious, Abby wonders if Mark could be the one for her, but she quickly discovers that while a lot can be conveyed in 140 characters or less, there are some things that can't be said until you meet face to face. In her latest delightfully inventive novel, Medeiros writes with effortless grace and addictive wit about the importance of love and hope in every person's life.
Born Under a Lucky Moon
By Dana Precious
Avon A, $13.99
After her boyfriend Aidan proposes, Jeannie Thompson puts off accepting by trying to explain exactly why he has never met her family. While Jeannie loves her family, there is a long history of stuff just happening to them, as exemplified by the year when her mother tried to throw a surprise wedding for Jeannie's sister Lucy. But as Jeannie relates the tale to Aidan, she finally begins to realize that crazy or not, they are her family and she wouldn't have them any other way. Precious' captivating literary debut is a perfectly executed and perfectly funny tale that is guaranteed to resonate with any reader struggling with a loveable but less-than-perfect family.
Gone with a Handsomer Man
By Michael Lee West
Minotaur Books, $25.95.
When Teeny Templeton catches her fiance Bing "entertaining" two floozies, she is ready to murder him, but instead she just bruises Bing with a few well-thrown peaches. However, when Bing is found dead a few days later and the Charleston police find Teeny at the scene of the crime, she becomes their number one murder suspect. Now the only person who can help Teeny is sexy Cooper O'Malley, Teeny's new lawyer and her first true love. Graced with an endearingly quirky cast of characters and flavored with a uniquely Southern sense of humor, Gone with a Handsomer Man is as deliciously refreshing as a well-mixed mint julep.
The Second Duchess
By Elizabeth Loupas
New American Library, $15.00.
Barbara of Austria doesn't want to think her new husband Alfonso d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara could be a murderer, but it is difficult to ignore the rumors. After arriving in Ferrara, Barbara quickly discovers that not only does almost everyone at court believe Alfonso had a hand in his scandalous first wife Lucrezia's sudden death, most of them don't hesitate to share their concerns with her. Now for her own peace of mind, Barbara vows to learn the truth about Lucrezia's demise, even though that means risking the wrath of Alfonso. Inspired by Robert Browning's classic poem, Loupas effortlessly evokes the sdangerous glamour of Renaissance Italy while fashioning a spellbinding story of a woman not only trying to save her marriage but her own life as well.
How to Knit a Heart Back Home
By Rachel Herron
Avon A, $13.99
Sixteen years after giving Lucy Harrison a kiss she never forgot, Owen Bancroft returns home to Cypress Hollow. At first Lucy is determined to do her best to avoid Owen; especially since it took years for her to get over him the first time around. But when a knitting legacy from the past pushes the two back together again, Lucy must decide if she is willing to risk her safe, comfortable life for a second chance at romance. With its realistically eccentric characters and quietly humorous writing, How to Knit a Heart Back Home is completely captivating.
By Elizabeth Rolls, Michelle Willingham, Marguerite Kaye, Ashley Radcliff, and Bronwyn Scott
Passion and history collide with superbly satisfying results in this collection of five novellas. In Rolls' elegantly sensual "A Scandalous Liaison," Evelyn Fitzhugh, Viscount St. Austell, is determined to solve the mystery of the woman in the sensual murals he commissioned, but he never expects it would be Loveday Trehearne. Auder O'Reilly asks Viking warrior Gunnar Dalrata to teach her about romance before she marries another man, but now that Gunnar has found Auder again, he isn't about to let her go in Willingham's splendidly sexy "Pleasured by the Viking." The stakes are high when Captain Ewan Dalgleish and Isabella Mansfield gamble on romance in Kaye's spicy "The Captain's Wicked Wager." With "The Samurai's Forbidden Touch," Radcliff perfectly evokes the splendor and mystery of medieval Japan in her tale of poet Miku and warrior Takeshi. The sensual heat between Susannah Sutcliffe, who is being held captive in a Bedouin camp, and Alex Grayfield rivals that of the very desert itself in Scott's scorching "Arabian Nights with a Rake."
Murder of a Bookstore Babe
By Denise Swanson
Skye Dennison could not be happier when a new bookstore opens up in Scumble River, but as it later turns out, not everyone in the small Illinois town is quite as delighted. Not only do several residents try to shut the store down, but it seems one person in particular is quite angry as Skye finds out when she stumbles across the body of one of the bookstore employees. Now if Skye - with a little help from her fiance; and Scumble River Police Chief Wally Boyd - doesn't find out who the killer is soon, she may have to order her books from Amazon.com! In the latest installment in her cozy "Scumble River" series, Swanson serves up another irresistible slice of romance-spiced mystery.
Dolci Di Love
By Sarah-Kate Lynch
After sixteen years of marriage, Lily Turner thought she knew everything about her husband Daniel, but there was one thing she never expected she would learn: Daniel had another family in Italy. Fueled by a combination of too much wine, too little sleep, and too many regrets, Lily finds herself on a plane for Tuscany intent on finding a solution to the problem of her marriage. Once Lily arrives in Montevedova, though, she finds herself the latest project of the "Secret League of Widowed Darners," a group of little, old ladies, all of whom are determined that Lily will get a happy ending of her very own. Lynch's latest novel is an utterly beguiling blend of love and loss, heartbreak and hope that will dazzle readers with its realistically nuanced characters and enchanting setting.
A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness
After her parent's untimely death, Diana Bishop renounced her own magical abilities in favor of pursuing a suitably human career as a historian and scholar. While researching the history of alchemy in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, Diana unexpectedly stumbles across a manuscript called Ashmole 782, but as soon as Diana realizes the magical power contained within the book, she sends it back into the stacks. Once word gets out, however, about her discovery, Diana finds the Bodleian packed with witches, daemons, and even an impossibly elegant and irresistibly sexy vampire named Matthew Clairmont, all of whom see Diana as the key to retrieving the long-lost manuscript. With A Discovery of Witches, Harkness works her own form of literary alchemy by deftly blending fantasy, romance, history, and horror into one completely bewitching book.
The Irish Princess
By Karen Harper
New American Library, $15.00.
After Henry VIII sends her father, the Earl of Kildare, to the Tower of London as the first step in his plans for taking back control of Ireland, Elizabeth "Gera" Fitzgerald vows that one day she will have her revenge. As the years pass, Gera finds herself first serving Mary Tudor, then Henry's wife Catherine Howard, and finally his daughter Elizabeth, all while plotting a way of finally settling her family's score with the king.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun