by Joyce Lamb)
Everyone knows it's Windy … yes, that's the song that has not left my brain for the past two days. But instead of letting mere 40 mph wind gusts get me down, I've held on to my hat and dived into some of this week's awesome new romances. Here are some highlights …
No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur. Twenty-two-year-old Alessandro Silva knows that returning to tiny Perch Creek to help his foster mother was the right thing to do. With no degree and a delinquent's reputation, he's lucky to have landed a job waiting tables. But not everyone is happy he's back, and the only thing keeping his move home from being a total bust is his boss's hot brother. Jaime Winters spent most of his life watching the world go by, first from a series of hospitals and then from behind big stacks of textbooks. Studying is easier than facing the fact that years of heart failure means he's still a virgin at 23. Until the new waiter in his sister's diner awakens desires he'd long ago given up on. The last thing Alessandro wants is to fall for someone as fragile as Jaime. And Jaime may have a new heart, but he's scared of what giving it to another person would mean. Their no-strings-attached, instructional approach to sex keeps emotion safely at bay, until a secret from Alessandro's past forces them to confront their feelings in the present.
Demon by My Side by Victoria Davies. Darcy Snow is a demon hunter and a damn good one at that. She's never hesitated when faced with monsters preying on humans, but the rules changed when the Lord of the Spirits married a mortal. Jaral is a demon with a mission. As the heir apparent in the demon realm, he's been waiting for a chance to finally prove himself to his father. When he's ordered to solve the mystery of how their enemies are infiltrating the human world, he expects to run up against mortals. One thing he didn't plan on, however, is crossing paths with a beautiful demon hunter.
Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis. After trying to escape his grief, Ben McDaniel returns to his hometown and finds himself face-to-face with the hot-as-hell Aubrey Wellington. Everyone insists she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future. Aubrey is determined to right the wrongs of her past, and that includes sexy, brooding Ben—even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done. Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?
Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb. In a decrepit New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas's husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she's done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved. The place once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, back in the mid-2040s, and Eve tracks down the people who ran it. Between their recollections and the work of the force's new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the remains. They are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life. Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart.
Bold Moves by Isabelle Drake. Book four in the Invitations series. Orderly and predictable describes Eva Marie's life, until she accepts the dare of a Brazilian soccer player with wicked moves and a notorious reputation. The last thing Eva Marie needs right now, just as her event planning business is getting off the ground, is a man. Especially a sought after bachelor with a reputation for no-strings-attached, serial dating. Famous Brazilian soccer player Davi Ferreira likes his games and women fast and flashy. Handsome and fit, he's never met a woman he couldn't quickly and easily charm into his bed. Until Eva Marie. When the opportunity to participate in her event, 'The Ultimate Bachelor' promises to give him one final chance to escape the friend zone, he eagerly accepts.
Passion's Apprentice by Shay Lacy. Five years ago Raven snared Natasha in a spell then cast her aside, severing her from his magical training and from his bed. Ruined, Natasha has moved from village to village, enduring the stares and whispers, hoping that time and distance will dissolve her connection to Raven permanently. Yet no matter how far she roams, Raven comes to her every year to renew the spell between them. Cut off from the magic that fuels her soul, Natasha would love nothing more than to turn Raven away every time he appears before her. But Raven has only to glance at her to awaken the passion she tries so hard to deny. One touch and she wants him all over again, the feel of his hands, the spark of his magic—her desire for him only grows stronger every year. As the spell winds to a close, Natasha must embrace every drop of passion and magic within her to convince Raven that only together are they complete.
Flashes of Me by Cynthia Sax. Henley, the head of cyber security at Blaine Technologies, is a man no one crosses. He watches employees constantly using his network of cameras and enforces his rules by any means possible. Rumors of his violent past, his scarred hands and huge size have resulted in him being feared by everyone ... almost everyone. Katalina, the new intern, worries about the revelation of her most painful secret much more than she fears her sexy boss's wrath. She sees the loneliness in his dark eyes, feels the gentleness in his marred fingers, tastes the need in his kisses, and she knows he watches her. His silly rules about not stripping for the cameras and no sex at the office are destined to be broken. Kat likes to be watched. Henley can't look away. Will this beauty be able to tame her beastly boss?
Surrender to Fire by Skylar Kade. The Maison Chronicles, Book 3. Reeling from the double whammy of her Dom's abandonment, and accusations of colluding with a plagiarizing author, all literary agent Camille Winter wants is some low-profile, drama-free quality time. Just as she's settling into a Maison Domine cabin with her to-be-read pile and a full slate of spa appointments, she finds herself sweet talked into playing topless assistant so some Dominant can run a BDSM educational demo. Architect Damien Winter is on a relationship hiatus, so he focuses his dominant energies on teaching BDSM classes. A chance encounter in Maison's parking lot with a woman who angrily insists she's no sub—though every line of her body screams otherwise—turns shocking when she winds up as temporary replacement for his demonstration partner. Damien is unprepared for the way her beautiful submission gets under his skin. And Camille never thought she'd fall, hard, for just the kind of man she's sworn off. But when her ex's vague threats turn serious, Damien fears he's already lost the chance to claim her for his own.
His Obsession Next Door by Cathryn Fox. In the Line of Duty, Book 1. Years ago, Cole Sullivan made a battlefield promise sealed in a dying man's blood—to take care of his best friend's little sister. Now he's forced to live with the fact that Gemma Matthews is completely off limits. Though Gemma's always had a crush on the darkly handsome, far-too-serious explosives expert, she can't forget the sting of his rejection. Now here they are, ten years later, with Cole still stubbornly in the role of protector. But when she catches him watching her from his house next door, she jumps at the opportunity to show him everything he's been missing. Cole can barely keep his cool at Gemma's bedroom window performance. He's never been a risk taker, but her all-out campaign of seduction ignites a fuse that can only blow up in his face. All thoughts of backing off are swept away in the heat of reckless passion. Leaving him wondering how he will live with himself amid the razor-sharp shards of his broken promise.
Summer Fling by Mari Carr and Jayne Rylon. Compass Girls, Book 3. Too much love and loss taught Jade Compton to protect her heart and her sanity by steering clear of all that romance nonsense. She's doing just fine, working two jobs, hanging out with her cousins and her best friend, Liam. But when a combination of unbearable heat wave and a case of the boredom blues knocks her down, she longs to do something spontaneous…maybe even a little bit reckless. Liam Harrison met Jade when she was sixteen—in the local cemetery. If he's learned anything after eight years of friendship, it's that Jade has a wild streak a mile wide. And while he doesn't want to tame the adventurous woman, he wouldn't mind showing her a few sexy ways to channel some of her impulsiveness. With him. In the bedroom. When he proposes a sexy, no-strings-attached summer fling, Jade jumps at the chance to spice things up and indulge some pretty kinky fantasies. Then summer ends…and Jade comes to the uncomfortable realization that there's only one place she's comfortable in her own skin—Liam's arms.
The Sheikh's Last Seduction by Jennie Lucas. When Sheikh Sharif offers Irene Taylor more money as chaperone to his sister than she's ever made before, she can't refuse—finally she'll safeguard her family. Irene may be innocent, but she knows the trail of destruction playboys like Sharif leave behind, and will resist his skilled seduction! His engagement hasn't yet been announced and he'll enjoy his freedom until then - starting with the beguiling Irene.
The Lawman's Honor by Linda Goodnight. As assistant police chief, Heath Monroe never expected he'd ever need rescuing. But that's exactly what Cassie Blackwell does when she pulls him out of a car wreckage. He's surprised at the beautiful widow's strength and joyous spirit. But he's been burned before and is cautious to get involved. Especially since his investigation into the town's drug operation might implicate Cassie's ex-husband!
Yours Forever by Farrah Rochon. Louisiana powerhouse attorney Matthew Gauthier has spent a lifetime safeguarding his prominent family's scandalous history. So when Tamryn West makes it her mission to dig up the past, Matthew must do everything in his power to stop her. But his plan to distract the alluring history professor begins to send his own passions raging out of control.
Lassoed by Fortune by Marie Ferrarella. Liam "Fortune" Jones knows exactly who and what he is: the son of Deke Jones, born and bred in Horseback Hollow. He is an old-fashioned cowboy, committed to tradition and used to getting his own way. And he won't change for anyone—not even for the sassy aspiring chef who's been tormenting his dreams…
Against Reason by Scarlet Blackwell. In the five years since the love of his life abandoned him at the altar, Jake Morgan hasn't left his house. The locals in this small, English town have dubbed him "Mr. Havisham," but he's too preoccupied wrestling his demons to care about Dickensian comparisons. Forced to admit he's losing the battle to keep up his large estate alone, he reluctantly places an advert for help. The striking young man who answers his call shakes him to the core. When Darius answers the ad for the position at the mysterious mansion, the bitter, lonely master of the house tugs at his heartstrings. Setting aside his own run of bad luck, Darius batters at Jake's emotional walls with kindness and determination that defy all attempts to drive him away. Just as tendrils of new love begin to intertwine, though, a terrible voice from the past intrudes. And threatens to drive Jake back into the shadows where Darius can never reach him.
Hiding in Plain Sight by Cassandra Carr. Vladimir Gusev exists in a living hell. A year ago in the Olympics he was forced to use a homophobic slur during a game, and guilt is eating him from the inside out. Not only is Vladimir not a homophobe, but in the aftermath of the Olympics, he was finally able to admit his true nature to himself. Yet he's been taught homosexuality is a sin, so he tries to push away his feelings, but to no avail. Joe Bufford is an out gay man and an ex-Delta Force member who was medically discharged after an injury to his hand leaves him no longer able to perform his duties. His job as a mechanic at the airport is hardly a long-term career choice, but Joe has no idea where he can utilize the skills he learned in the Army. Vladimir and Joe meet, and Joe instantly recognizes Vladimir as a terrified closet case. Before he knows it, Joe is offering to help Vladimir figure out what he is and what he wants. As time goes on, Joe begins to hope more and more that the answers to those questions lie with him.
The Prosecutor by Adrienne Giordano. Chicago assistant state's attorney Zac Hennings just got handed a political hot potato: keeping the convicted murderer in a high-profile case behind bars. He's up against his most formidable—and alluring—adversary. First-year law student Emma Sinclair is passionately fighting to free her brother. But she needs the take-no-prisoners prosecutor's help. Caught between attraction and letting a killer go free, Zac walks a tightrope.
Blood Secrets by Shay Lacey. Ileana Alvarez Calderon and her family are bound to the past: them to a country they left two generations ago, and her to a deceased fiancé. But the Sight has shown she'll have a forbidden lover. Meeting importer Michael Ziffkin awakens a part of her she thought died with her fiancé. But now she dreams of danger, and to protect this man her family rejects, she will have to defy them. Haunted by the past, Michael has built his business empire to protect his family. Now his company is under siege. As the threats expand to his customers, including the Calderons, Michael and Ileana must uncover who has targeted their industry. Family duty brought them together, but will family pressure tear them apart? In a city gone mad, two cultures collide and the shadowy violence against them erupts into the open. Will they survive to make Ileana's vision a reality?
Dragon and the Princess by Jo Beverley. A dragon has invaded Saragond! The time has come for Princess Rozlinda to be sacrificed. She is the designated SVP—the sacrificial virgin princess—and her chaste royal blood will appease the monster and prevent the destruction of the kingdom. Not to worry! A dragon hasn't eaten a princess in ages. It's purely ceremonial now. Just a small cut and a little bit of blood, and Rozlinda will have done her duty. She'll be free at last to cease being both "S" and "V," and she has the man in mind. But things don't go quite to plan. Someone kills the dragon, and tradition says that the princess must marry the dragon slayer, whoever that may be. Even if it is the terrifying dragon rider of Dorn himself! Secrets at Court by Blythe Gifford. Anne of Stamford has long been the keeper of her mistress's secrets, but when Lady Joan marries the king's son, court life becomes ever more perilous. Sir Nicholas Lovayne has arrived to uncover the truth about Lady Joan's past, and Anne must do something—anything—to throw him off….
True to the Highlander by Barbara Longley. The Novels of Loch Moigh. Treachery rules the Highlands of 1423. With their king captured by the English, Scottish nobles plot to ransom James behind the back of the brutal regent holding their land in his iron grip. But not every clan wishes to see King James back on his throne…Sitting atop this powder keg of bloodthirsty rivalries, Malcolm of clan MacKintosh takes the mysterious, lone maiden he finds along his road as a bad omen…though an undeniably beautiful one. When he attempts to save her from a rogue within his own garrison, she deftly brings Malcolm to his knees. Who is this willful lass who has so quickly laid siege to his heart? Alethia Goodsky has met all kinds working at the New York Renaissance Festival, but no one like the fortune-teller who tasks her with a cryptic life-saving mission and flings her into the fifteenth century. Now Alethia must rely on her wits to unravel the mystery in this violent land. Malcolm has sworn to protect her, but her gifts may soon make her his protector. With enemies closing in, Alethia must choose between finding a way home…and remaining true to her Highlander.
Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands. No. 20 in the Argeneau Vampires series. For Basha Argeneau, anything is better than facing her estranged family. Even hiding out in sweltering southern California. But when a sexy immortal in black shows up determined to bring her back to the clan, she'll do anything to keep far, far away from the past she can't outrun. Marcus Notte isn't here to play games—especially not with someone as crazy as the infamous blonde. Asked by Lucian Argeneau to bring her back for questioning, Marcus is determined to carry out Lucian's request—no matter how the seductive little mind-reading vamp feels about it. Basha doesn't mind fighting fire with fire, especially with a hot immortal involved. But if he wants to take her away, he'll have to catch her first.
Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard. Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren't big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire's control. Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it's not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn't allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen. Torn between Corin's quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.
Before His Eyes by Candice Gilmer. Guys and Godmothers, Book 2. When Fairy Godmother Lilly Bloom gets her latest assignment, the rules send her into a minor panic attack. She must bring two people together—using as little magic as possible. Photographer Bruce Matthews has finally found someone who really, really gets him. He and Greta like the same things, laugh at the same jokes. There's just one thing—he's never actually seen her face to face. Her social media profile bears no picture. Much as Greta Vandecall yearns to leave her small town and meet her online prince charming, secrets chain her to the past and force her to hide her face from the world. Secrets she knows would destroy the friendship she values most. A steampunk convention seems to be the perfect way to meet face to mask. And in the excitement of the moment they connect in a very warm, real way. But cold, hard reality isn't far behind. And if Lilly fails, this time she'll lose her fairy godmother status. For good.
What the Heart Wants by Marie Caron. The mountain man won her over with his acts of heroism and bravery … and blazed a trail straight into her heart! She never expected to find lust and love on a wagon train through the wilderness, but she had never met a man like John O'Hara before. Tall and tan, the half-breed scout's body was as taut as a bowstring and as strong as a bear. Together they scorched the prairie grasses with their passion. Would her love for him be enough, or would he leave her for the mountains that were a part of his soul?