February is the month of Valentine’s Day, candy hearts and sweet love notes, so there is no better time to check out fiction’s hottest genre—romance. Love stories for all tastes are on the shelves this month. Eager readers can’t go wrong!
Romance doesn’t get much better than Connie Brockway’s latest, The Golden Season. Society leader and celebrated beauty Lady Lydia Eastlake abruptly discovers her vast wealth is gone, meaning she’ll need to marry a rich man in order to keep the only lifestyle she’s ever known. She decides her husband hunt will have more success if she hides her financial straits, though she promises to reveal the truth before accepting a proposal. Enter handsome naval hero Captain Ned Lockton, scion of a wealthy, respected family. Their instant attraction is a surprise to them both, but a happy one, as Ned is also looking to wed. He hopes to find a rich bride, but he’s keeping his own desperate circumstances to himself until the time is right. Alas, it’s already too late for Lady Lydia and the captain. By the time they trade confessions, they’re both in love and marriage appears impossible. Ned has a family to provide for and Lydia has no family at all—her position in high society is the only stability she knows. Readers’ hearts will ache alongside Lydia’s and Ned’s. It’s worth staying up all night for this happy ending.
Romance, suspense and a touch of the paranormal are all found in Cate Noble’s Deadly Seduction. When CIA operative Max Duncan is rescued from the jungle where he was the guinea pig for unscrupulous scientists, the danger isn’t over. The CIA wants to know how and why he was brainwashed, more scientists are interested in dissecting his psyche and he has to get away from both in order to locate a fellow prisoner. Psychologist Erin Houston is part of the team enlisted to help Max, but she thinks he might have some answers for her as well. Was her late and beloved father one of the doctors researching this diabolical mind control? She’ll do anything to find out the truth—including going on the run with sexy yet dangerous Max. As they fall for each other, more questions arise, including whether they will survive to see the full flowering of their feelings. A breathless pace makes this book impossible to set down.
A delightful sleuth is introduced in Heather Webber’s romantic mystery, Truly, Madly. Lucy Valentine reluctantly takes the reins of her father’s famous matchmaking business. She doesn’t believe she can bring couples happily together—her father’s secret talent is the auras he can read, but Lucy’s takes the form of finding people’s lost objects. Still, she’s left with little choice, and soon she’s immersed in trouble. By the time she’s found a lost child and a dead body, she’s met with the private investigator upstairs, Sean Donahue, and she senses more trouble coming from him . . . trouble of the sexy kind. Knee-deep in difficulties, Lucy turns to friends and family, who offer both advice and further obstacles. This story presents a delicious cast of characters, an intriguing mystery and a charming duo who are heading toward romance. Readers will be eager to follow the pair on their upcoming adventures.
Lessons in French comes from one of the genre’s much-admired historical authors, Laura Kinsale. Childhood sweethearts Lady Callista Taillefaire and Trevelyan d’Augustin have been parted for nine years after being caught in a compromising position. Trev went away, presumably to regain the French holdings his family had lost, and Callie has never forgotten him—though she’s been jilted three times and now considers herself an affirmed wallflower and staid spinster. But Trev doesn’t view her the same way, and this romping reunion story will keep readers turning the pages as Callie regains her confidence and embarks on a new series of Trev-partnered adventures. He’s not as he appears either, but the tender heart inside the suave exterior only makes him more memorable. Both touching and funny, this is a worthy valentine for the season.
Two lonely people meet up in a Vermont B&B in Donna Kauffman’s Here Comes Trouble. At 40, heroine Kirby Farrell has left a long-term relationship gone sour and struck out on her own by buying and renovating a Victorian in the Green Mountains ski area. But success is as elusive as the snow, and she’s desperate for business when a gorgeous younger man rides up on a motorcycle. He’s her first guest . . . and a temptation she thinks she can temporarily indulge in. Brett Hennessey has left the bright lights and the big jackpots of Las Vegas in order to figure out the next step in his life. A poker star, he has money and fame, but he no longer wants to pursue either. When he meets Kirby, he begins to think she might be the home he’s been seeking. Cautious Kirby wonders if he might be too good to be true, and Brett has baggage that shows up in Vermont to derail the budding relationship. Sexy, with an emotionally honest core, Kauffman’s latest is easy to snuggle with on a winter’s night.
Columnist Christie Ridgway writes contemporary romance from her home in Southern California.