by Joyce Lamb)
While we wait for the cherry blossoms, why not read a novel about a blossoming romance? Here are highlights from this week's new releases:
Fatal Jeopardy by Marie Force. Book 7 of the Fatal series. Washington, D.C., Police Lieutenant Sam Holland and her husband, U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano, have been looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving with their son. But any thoughts of a restful holiday are dashed when Sam and Nick return home to a gruesome scene: Sam's seventeen-year-old niece Brooke, barely conscious and covered in blood on their front stoop. With lines between personal and professional blurring in this emotionally charged, deeply personal case, Sam is relying on Nick more than ever for support. But when suspicious images from the night in question appear on social media, Sam begins to wonder if her niece is telling her everything she knows about what really happened. And when Nick questions her tactics—and her ethics—as she races against the clock, Sam will need to decide how far she's willing to go to prove Brooke is a victim, not a murderer.
Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins. Is your first love worth a second chance…? Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love…just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell broke her heart…an experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends. But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.
Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James. Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized façade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India. Exquisite, headstrong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks. But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them. Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option. But there is only one thing that will make India his ... the one thing Thorn can't afford to lose ... his fierce and lawless heart.
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano. Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end. Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school--a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her. Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon--she'll be next.
Moonlight on My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston. To ruin a man's life once takes a regrettable mistake. To do so twice takes a woman like Julianne Baxter. Eleven months ago, Julianne's statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother's death. The chit is as much trouble as her red hair suggests, and just as captivating. Now she has impetuously tracked him to the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin. A clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman's noose. Julianne has no objection to the match. More and more she's convinced of Patrick's innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure.
Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston. With her signature outrageous humor, Shelly Laurenston matches two unforgettable shapeshifters in her newest installment in the Pride series… Vic Baranov is part tiger, part bear, and all the security tracker Lily Kowalski needs. She's ... well, let's just say she's more than a match for him. And when they pair up to avenge her father's murder, fur is gonna fly, fangs are gonna flash, and the heat's gonna go right through the roof.
Three Weeks With a Bull Rider by Cat Johnson. Set in the thrilling world of rodeos—a backdrop that sets it apart from other contemporary cowboy romances—Cat Johnson's Oklahoma Nights series continues with the sexy story of two frenemies who find sparks flying on a three-week trip.
Betrayal by Naomi Chase. In the third book in her sexy, steamy trilogy, Naomi Chase again channels the streetwise edge of Kiki Swinson and the suspense of Sasha Campbell and delivers the scintillating story of a woman who will do whatever it takes to hide her past and get her man.
What a Reckless Rogue Needs by Vicky Dreiling. Colin Brockhurst, Earl of Ravenshire, has no desire to wed, this season or any other. So when his father demands he give up his wild ways and take a wife, Colin refuses. But his father raises the stakes and threatens to sell the ancestral home if Colin doesn't comply. Now Colin has no choice but to find a wife. Unfortunately, the only woman he wants is the one whose heart he broke years ago. Regardless of the ton's whispers, Lady Angeline Brenham won't settle for anything less than true love. After rejecting more than her share of suitable suitors, spinsterhood looms before her-until the devilishly handsome Colin reappears in her life with a proposition. Angeline vows to keep her feet on the ground and her heart in check. That is, until one searing kiss melts her resolve and reignites a burning desire for more.
The Submission Gift by Solace Ames. A young husband hires a high-end rent boy who specializes in sexual dominance. Not for him, but as a gift for his patient and hard-working wife. But the handsome stranger they choose together is also the one who changes everything. What starts out as a onetime session to fulfill a fantasy turns into something bigger than all of them. And when the money runs out and dangerous past lives resurface, the sacrifices required to stay together may end up tearing them apart…
Taken With You by Shannon Stacey. Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees. Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her. Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door.
Unwound by Lorelie James. When sensei Ronin Black first encounters Amery Hardwick, the fire in her eyes ignites a sexual spark a thousand times better than the primal rush he used to get from mixed martial arts matches. She accepts his darker edges and admits to him that her desires aren't as wholesome as he believed. And before long Ronin is grappling with emotions he's never felt before….Yet despite demanding Amery bare her body and soul to him, Ronin holds a part of himself back. When she learns Ronin's secret and walks out, his life begins to unravel. To regain her trust he must let go of his pride and prove to her that it's more than passion binding them together.
Smokin' Hot by Lynn LaFleur. Lynn LaFleur, one of the most talented up-and-coming names in erotica, who has built an audience writing erotic romance for Avon and Ellora's Cave, is poised to break out in a big way with this first book in her new firefighter-themed series.
Aftershock by Desiree Holt. Determined to shake off her past, Sydney Alexander plans to seize the day when it comes to handling PR for Lightnin' the blazing star rising on the rock scene. Rick Trajean, Lightnin's lead, torches her all business all the time mantra when the sizzling chemistry between them ignites brighter than the band's popularity. As Lightnin' scorches the charts, Rick and Sydney burn up the sheets. But can their passion handle the pressure of the music business? Not everyone is happy with Lightnin's success and when the vindictiveness so common in the business threatens to destroy the band, their tour, and the love Rick and Sydney found in each other, their powerhouse may come crashing down. What's left when it does?
Notorious by Allison Brennan. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Maxine Revere tackles cold cases. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past. When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O'Neal, accused of the crime. Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets. Now Max is home for Kevin's funeral—after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She's not prepared for Kevin's sister to stubbornly insist that he didn't kill himself. Or for an elderly couple begging her to look into another murder at Max's old high school. Max agrees to do both. As she uncovers dark secrets, she finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies that hit far too close to home. And it's becoming increasingly clear that someone will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.
Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long. The moment orphaned American heiress Titania "Tansy" Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she's destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn't be more infamous . . . or less interested. A hardened veteran of war and inveterate rogue, Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy? When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy— vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart . . . and be brought to his knees by love.
Making the Grade by Marie Harte. Wicked Warrens, Book 4. Brian Goode is in a tough spot. With all his friends getting married, and his sister in a relationship with not one, but two men, the love bug is hovering around his heart, ready to bite. Trouble is, he's tired of playing a field full of gold-digging women. Then there's Faith Sumner. She's gorgeous, genuine, and turns him on without even trying. Time to suck it up, ask her out, and pray their blazing attraction won't dissolve into another lukewarm disaster. Faith is finished dating wealthy men. No longer willing to let anyone make her feel inferior for her humble roots, she's finally making good choices. Except this "Goode" choice turns out to be exactly the kind of man she's sworn off. Though she's content to keep their one-night stand to a single amazing, unforgettable mistake, Brian's persistent wooing—and convincing groveling—begin to turn her head. Until Faith's ugly past comes calling, redoubling Brian's determination to show her she's worthy of loving, and being loved.
Boots and Twisters by Myla Jackson. Ugly Stick Saloon, Book 7. Lucky Albright's unlucky streak is so long and wide that she's been run out of one town and it looks like it may happen again. When she finds herself out of money and out of gas in Temptation, Texas, a part-time job from the kind owner of the Ugly Stick Saloon gives her a glimmer of hope that this time things will be different. Trent Jameson and Isaac Moore have always believed you make your own luck, but a black cloud of disaster seems to hover over their new hand. Under a tumbling stack of hay, Isaac discovers what Lucky's hiding beneath baggy clothes and a tough exterior. Enough sexy curves to satisfy both men's appetites. But it isn't long before Lucky's history starts wreaking havoc all over town. It'll take a force of nature to help the ranchers convince the law, the Garden Club—even Lucky herself—that now is no time to hit the road.
You're Not Safe by Mary Burton. The broken body hanging from a tree in Texas Hill Country ... the frozen figure huddled in a meat locker … only at second glance does the truth become apparent. What seems like suicide is far more sinister, and the terror is only beginning. One devastating moment changed Greer Templeton's life and ended two others. Now, with a body found on her property and Texas Ranger Tec Bragg on her doorstep, Greer's nightmare has returned. With each new victim, her link to Tec's case grows, and soon it will be too late to run. Greer hoped the past was behind her, but an obsessed killer has never forgotten the bond that unites them. One by one, he will track down his victims, finish what was started — and make Greer's dying wish come true.
Relief Valve by JL Merrow. It hasn't been all smooth sailing since plumber Tom Paretski and P.I. Phil Morrison became connected at the heart, if not always at Tom's dodgy hip. Neither of their families has been shy about voicing their disapproval, which hasn't helped Tom's uneasy relationship with his prickly older sister, Cherry. But when Cherry is poisoned at her own engagement party, the horror of her near death has Tom's head spinning with possible culprits. Is it her fiancé Gregory, a cathedral canon with an unfortunate manner and an alarming taste for taxidermy? Someone from her old writers' circle, which she left after a row? Or could the attack be connected to her work as a barrister? Phil is just as desperate to solve the case before someone ends up dead—and he fears it could be Tom. At least one of their suspects has a dark secret to hide, which makes Tom's sixth sense for finding things like a target painted on his back.
When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and JA Rock. Daniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so: he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper's house—with Kenny inside it—after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night. Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn't believe Daniel's absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar, tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night—for the sake of the other townsfolk. Daniel's fascinating, but Bel's not going there. Yet as he's drawn further into Daniel's dark world, Bel finds that he likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace he's ever known. But Daniel's demons won't leave him alone, and he'll need Bel's help to slay them once and for all—assuming Bel is willing to risk everything to stand by him.