October brings a treat bag of romances to tempt readers. From suspense to seaside love, from Scottish lads to creepy curses, there’s something special for everyone to dig into this month.

Reporter Elise McBride travels to the Chicago area to find her missing sister, Ashley, in Love You to Death by Shannon K. Butcher. Hoping there’s been a misunderstanding, Elise breaks into Ashley’s house in the middle of the night. Neighbor and ex-cop Trent Brady believes he’s witnessing a real crime and goes to stop the perpetrator. From that meeting, things get truly dangerous as Elise and Trent join forces to search for the missing woman. Elise is motivated by sisterly love and Trent is motivated by the cop instincts that have never left him—and of course there’s this urge he has to help the smart and beautiful Elise. Some gritty, violent moments in the book are not for the faint of heart, but these scenes do let the reader know that the villain is particularly crazed and heinous. Can they stop him and find Elise’s sister before she’s just another headless body or disembodied hand? The author deftly weaves the romance and suspense and will have readers shivering for more.

Man of enchantment
Karinna Adams can’t say what attracts her to a gallery painting in Amanda Ashley’s Immortal Sins, but soon she brings the artwork home. The painting is either magical or she’s going crazy, because a beautiful man moves about inside it. Unable to resist his appeal, she wishes aloud that he could be with her . . . and then he is. Finally, someone has broken vampire Jason Rourke’s 300-year-old curse. That long ago, a wizard placed him in the enchanted painting. Free at last, Jason doesn’t know what he wants to do first: take revenge on the wizard or make love with the lovely Kari who has brought him into her contemporary world. What’s a lonely young woman to do when the man she’s fallen for will live forever on the blood of others? Kari can’t stop her attraction to Jason, but can’t see how they can ever be together. Only when the wizard comes seeking Jason does danger truly enter her life, leaving both Jason and Kari to make hard choices about their futures. This version of a vampire, more tender than terrible, will steal readers’ hearts.

Serving up romance
Denise Hunter’s Seaside Letters is a tender love story with a Christian focus. Sabrina Kincaid is waitressing in Nantucket after a painful failed engagement. During the year she’s been in town, she’s established an anonymous email correspondence with one of her customers, Tucker McCabe. While she knows him to be “Harbormaster,” she believes he doesn’t know she’s “Sweetpea.” She’s wrong. Tucker is aware it’s Sabrina who has stolen his heart through emails and he’s determined to bring her out of the shell she has built around herself in real life. But the tangled web of deception between the pair trips up Tucker’s goal and makes Sabrina face some personal pain that could end any hope of a future between herself and the man she’s grown to love. Readers will enjoy the poignant portrayal of the awkwardness and tension between two people who feel a chemistry they’re not ready to admit.

Forbidden love
It’s 1350, and in Sue-Ellen Welfonder’s A Highlander’s Temptation Arabella MacKenzie is determined to leave her family home to seek adventure and love. During a sea journey, her ship is preyed upon by Black Vikings. Darroc MacConacher first learns of this when wreckage appears on the beaches of MacConacher’s Isle. As clan chief, he leads the effort to search for survivors and finds only one, the raven-haired Arabella. He brings her back to his castle where she heals from her wounds . . . and where they fall in love, despite the fact that their families are old enemies. Certain he cannot have her, Darroc swears to return her safely home, but she proves too great a temptation—thanks to Arabella’s complete eagerness to be in his arms. Still, there are impediments to their happily ever after, and they come in the guise of a ghost, a cursed relic, the Black Vikings and Arabella’s powerful father, the chieftain of an enemy clan. Full of sensuality and a touch of magic, A Highlander’s Temptation is a satisfying Scottish adventure.

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

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