June: ’tis the season of weddings, graduations, new beginnings and new books. But beware of dragons, spies and young ladies with love on their minds.

Elizabeth Lowell offers another action-infused story from the files of St. Kilda’s Consulting in Death Echo. Employee Emma Cross enjoys her work as an investigator until St. Kilda’s is drawn into a tangle between American intelligence agencies and international villains. Because she’s been involved in the case of a series of missing yachts, the government wants her expertise in locating a stolen luxury vessel that has been modified to hold dangerous contraband—perhaps even a dirty bomb capable of destroying a city. To take control of the yacht, Emma must turn to transit captain Mac Durand, once Special Ops, now especially suspicious of anything CIA—including its former operative, Emma. Though the two don’t know whom to trust or exactly who is after them, they quickly learn to rely on each other. Equal matches in both courage and skill, it’s exciting and satisfying to watch Emma and Mac best the bad guys. Though more thriller than romance, Death Echo is filled with atmospheric details, and the sparks between Emma and Mac fly as fast as the reader will turn the pages.

TEMPTED HEART
A charming story about a woman learning that life isn’t just like her favorite novels comes from Sara Lindsey in Tempting the Marquess. In 1798, Olivia Weston travels to Wales with her aunt in order to have an adventure before returning to London and her chance at the Marriage Mart. Her adventure is pre-selected, as she’s determined to drag her aunt’s stepson, Jason Traherne, the Marquess of Sheldon, out of his grief for his late wife—a romantic idea that suits her romantic soul. But she doesn’t count on finding Jason so attractive—and so stubborn at resisting her plan to get him living and loving again. Jason not only grieves for the loss of his wife, but for his own ideals about love. Still, enchanting Olivia draws him out despite himself, and soon he’s captivated by her kisses. Can he overcome his reluctance to trust in love and marry again? Appealing characters pepper this delightful tale.

TOP PICK
Lush and lyrical, Shana Abé’s The Time Weaver is the fifth in her paranormal Drákon series. At the age of 14, Honor Carlisle, of the English dragon tribe, learns of her powerful gift—from her future self. She’s a Time Weaver, which means she has the ability to move back and forth in time. As she begins to experiment with her drákon power, she’s drawn over and over to a young and beautiful prince of the enemy tribe in the Carpathian Alps. As they come to know each other, they discover they cannot stay apart—even though being together fulfills a deadly prophecy dangerous to Honor, Prince Alexandru and those he leads. Can they find a way to outmaneuver fate—and save Amalia and Zane, another pair of lovers from an earlier entry in the series—before time runs out? The twists and turns in this tender and magical love story will delight readers and then lead them to despair when the happy ending appears impossible. A beautiful read.

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