We've only just begun the season of warmer weather, but the romance genre never shies away from turning up the heat. Weddings, warriors, ancient artifacts and sharp-clawed adventure share the spotlight this month.

Romance returns to its classic roots in Vision in White, the first of a new quartet by best-selling author Nora Roberts. The premise is delightful: four childhood friends have banded together in a wedding business. In the debut offering, heroine "Mac" Elliot loves capturing perfect moments with her camera, in part as a defense against her chaotic and imperfect childhood. She's not inclined to let anyone except her longtime pals and partners get close, until Carter Maguire stumbles into her life and--literally--falls at her feet. Who can explain why love strikes? Roberts shows us how it sparks and grows as Mac learns to trust in Carter and Carter learns to trust that Mac will come to see the future he wants to be theirs. Romantic and wistful, sexy and stylish, this story is another winner for Roberts and will have readers clamoring for the next book in the bride quartet.

Noble adventurer

The Virgin's Secret  by Victoria Alexander is the sparkling start to a new series about three adventurous brothers finding danger and romance as they search for a mythic city. In this story, Nathaniel Harrington, the youngest of the three aristocratic Harrington brothers, spies a mysterious woman at his sister's coming-out ball in Victorian London. After years exploring exotic places and uncovering ancient treasures, he finds London is just as exciting when the same beautiful woman--Gabriella Montini--is discovered later that night searching his family's library. Brave Gabriella doesn't hesitate to state her purpose: to find proof that the Harringtons stole an important artifact from her now-dead brother. Though innocent of the alleged crime, the Harringtons can't help but be interested in the orphaned young woman and her intriguing tale. Nathaniel joins forces with Gabriella to seek the missing artifact's whereabouts--and finds something much more precious . . . a love to last a lifetime. Starring a charming hero and an intrepid heroine, this lively romance will surely captivate readers, and the continuing mystery will whet their curiosity for the next book in the series.

More than a man
Christine Feehan offers a tale of stark sensuality in Burning Wild. Billionaire and leopard-shifter Jake Bannaconni seems to meet Emma Reynolds through capricious circumstances . . . only to discover they may be fated mates. After a tragic car accident leaves Jake to raise his infant son alone, he takes in Emma Reynolds, newly widowed and pregnant, as his housekeeper and nanny. But after more than two years together, Emma begins to mean much more to Jake, an alpha male with a capital "A." Though she seems to have all the softness that Jake lacks, Emma is coming into her own strength and it's that power which gives their romance its burning edge. The special skills of both Jake and Emma will be necessary to protect them as Jake's family threatens the life that they are building together. Readers who enjoy their romance with a bite will appreciate the wild flavor of this story. The love scenes are blistering, the stakes are high, and paranormal doesn't get more passionate.

Undying promise
Romantic suspense is spiced with reincarnation in Sharon Sala's The Warrior. More than 500 years ago, John Nightwalker witnessed the destruction of his Native American village and the murder of his wife. He swears vengeance on the soul of the cruel man who got away . . . and has become immortal as he chases the murderer's soul through the years since. Then Nightwalker meets Alicia Ponte, on the run from her father and in desperate need of his protection. He can't turn from this woman, or from a new dilemma: her father is the one he seeks, and her love is something he wants as much as revenge. Will Alicia accept his heart and his uncommon history? Will they both survive the man who wants them dead? Danger, passion and a touch of the otherworldly come together in this action-packed read.

Christie Ridgway writes contemporary romance from her home in Southern California.

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