If you have not yet discovered J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, run, baby, run, and find Lover Unbound. The incredibly popular series chronicles a world of humans, vampires and the enemies of the vampires, the lessers. Born to hunt the lessers are the members of the Brotherhood. This fifth installment revolves around the ruthless, brilliant Brotherhood member Vishous, or V. Tortured as a child, and tortured now with longings for one he cannot have, V vents his energy in extreme sexual practices and is sure he cannot find pleasure any other way. When the Scribe Virgin appears and gives V an extraordinary bit of information about himself, the brooding vampire gets himself entangled in a fight, and awakens in the hands of human surgeon Dr. Jane Whitlow. V is instantly possessive of the spare, unbeautiful Jane, and even though there is no place for her in his destiny, he kidnaps her. Very sexy, very intense and deliciously over the top, V is an absolutely absorbing alpha male character. It isn't necessary to read the previous books to dive into Ward's intricately imagined world. Just walk right in, sit right down and let yourself be blown away.

If you prefer your paranormal romances a bit more on the sparkling side, try Witch in the House by Jenna McKnight. Jade Delarue is known for her excellent spells, which she casts from the family home, Mystic Manor, in small-town Missouri. When she casts a successful love spell that leaves a man standing at the altar, she casts a kindly spell to bring him a better match. While she's at it, she casts another to bring the right man into her world. You can guess what happens: The two spells get mixed up, and no matter what Jade tries, she can't seem to reverse them. McKnight's attention to detail gives this funny, warm-spirited romance its fresh and lively feeling. For me, reading about the manor's conservatory alone was worth the trip, though Mason a Pierce Brosnan clone is a plus, too.

In Sorceress New York Times best-selling author Lisa Jackson illustrates her command of the medieval world in a tale of high romantic adventure involving plenty of witches, curses and fated crossings not to mention a wildly sexy love story. A dark curse cast by a martyred witch protecting both her child and a powerful talisman sets things in motion years before Bryanna is born. The flame-haired beauty is plagued by yearnings for the wrong man, and sets out on a quest to find the stones missing from a powerful dagger. Guided by a ghost, she encounters a haunted warrior, Gavyn, who is accompanied by a mysterious silver wolf. Each is pursued by an opponent with shiveringly detailed, villainous motives. As the pair track down the four stones that will unleash the power of the dagger, the forces of evil align to grasp the power for themselves. Very sexy and chock-full of adventure.

Another ghost rounds things out nicely in Crazy in Love by RITA-award winner Lani Diane Rich. Thanks to an interfering family, 30-year-old Flynn Daly leaves her shady South Boston neighborhood to check out a new family property, a hotel in the country, where in addition to the ghost of Great-Aunt Esther, there are bugs. And nature. And an annoyingly sexy bantering bartender named Jake, who is his own interfering family's Project of the Month. There is a lot of tenderness in Rich's rendition of two misfits finding their place. This winning novel is breezy, fast and fun to read.

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