Tidewater authors prolific in romance

Did you know that August is Read-a-Romance month? Neither did I, until a few days ago. I couldn’t let the month pass entirely, however, without giving a nod to commercial fiction’s most popular genre and the many romance authors who make Hampton Roads their home. Here are the latest releases from several.

Williamsburg’s Deanna Raybourn, New York Times best-selling author of the Julia Grey novels, brings us “A Spear of Summer Grass” (MIRA, 2013). Set in British Kenya in the 1920s, “A Spear of Summer Grass” is the story of beautiful bad-girl Delilah Drummond who is banished to her family’s run-down manor house on the African savanna. There she faces (in the author’s words) “a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz, cigarettes and safaris.” But she also meets Ryder White, “her guide to Africa and all its dangers and thrills….For Delilah, letting down her guard just might be the greatest adventure of them all.” The book is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online retailers in eBook (about $9) and paperback (about $13).

Marliss Melton, York county author of romantic suspense novels featuring Navy SEALs and other hero types, has just released “The Enforcer” (James-York Press, 2013), book three in Melton’s Taskforce series. Hero Tobias Burke, special agent with the Taskforce counterterrorism team, is sent to West Virginia to infiltrate a militia group, with the intent of cozying up to its leader, the lovely Dylan Connelly. Cpt. Connelly has a reputation as an extremist and is suspected of murdering the U.S. Secretary of Defense. After getting to know her, Tobias fears she’s being framed and puts his team to work to clear her name.  “The Enforcer” is available in eBook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers for $5.99. A print version will be released in September.

If you’re looking for stories of love and treachery from days long past, you might consider Williamsburg author Laurin Wittig’s “Highlander Betrayed” (Montlake Romance, 2013), the first in the Guardians of the Targe series. Heroine Rowan MacGregor, whose family is charged with guarding an ancient relic known as the Highland Targe, meets handsome hero Nicholas fitz Hugh, new member of the clan who is actually a British spy tasked with stealing the relic. As you might guess, the two fall in love, and Nicholas must ultimately choose between loyalty to his king and love for MacGregor and her family. “Highlander Betrayed” is available at Amazon.com in paperback (currently about $8) and for Kindle ($3.99).

Sticking with historicals, but switching time and continents:  Carrie Fancett Pagels of Yorktown has announced the release of her debut novel, “Return to Shirley Plantation” (Helping Hands Press, 2013), Volume 1 of Murray Pura’s American Civil War Series. Described as a Civil War romance, the book tells the story of Matthew Scott, conscripted into the Confederate Army and injured at Malvern Hill, who is transported by the Union Army to Shirley Plantation for treatment. There he meets seamstress Angelina Rose, a freed slave who chooses to remain in the South for the sake of her still-enslaved family. From the press release: “Will Matthew’s return to Shirley Plantation settle a mystery concerning his father’s past? And help Matthew find the family he longs for.” The book is available at Amazon.com in paperback for $7.99 and Kindle for $2.99.

For those who’d like a first-hand look at the site, Pagels is co-leading a tour (with historian Julian Charity), Wed., Aug. 28, at 10:30 a.m. The adult entry fee is $11, with discounts available for seniors and students. The plantation opens at 9:30. The plantation is located at 501 Shirley Plantation Road, Charles City, Va., 23030. For information, call (804) 829-5121. 

Virginia Beach author Ginny Baird, who authored a winter wedding series, recently released a summertime novella “groom” series:  “Must-have Husband,” described on the author’s website as “a sweet comedic tale about love and taking chances”; “My Lucky Groom,” “a story about following your heart and finding your destiny”; and “The Wedding Wish,” “a sweet romantic comedy about finding love with the one you’ve always wanted” (all Winter Wedding Press, 2013).

But Baird isn’t just about weddings. Her latest release, “The Ghost Next Door (A Love Story)” (also Winter Wedding Press) is the story of a single mother, Elizabeth Jennings, and her daughter who move to a small Virginia town where Jennings is to revamp its weekly newspaper. Neither is happy about the move, especially when they end up living next to an abandoned house that just might haunted. Luckily, Sheriff Nathan Thorpe, battling his own demons, is on hand to chase away the ghosts. “The Ghost Next Door” is available in at Amazon.com and other online retailers in eBook ($3.99) and print ($9.45).

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