They seem like the perfect couple high school sweethearts reunited and married after Steven Welby returns from college. Erika James Welby can hardly believe how blessed she has been. In Robin Lee Hatcher's inspirational women's fiction, Firstborn, Steven and Erika are on the threshold of their son Ethan's 16th birthday when an unexpected envelope threatens everything they hold dear. When she opens the letter, Erika lets loose a maelstrom of emotions that threaten to destroy every facet of her carefully constructed life. The letter is from Kirsten Lundquist, her firstborn, the child she gave up for adoption years before. The sin of omission, the lie of withheld secrets, now tears at Erika's soul in Hatcher's compelling and bittersweet examination of the way the bonds of marriage can be strained to their utmost without snapping. Or split apart, as Erika and Steven's best friend Dallas and his wife confront their own test of love and parenthood. Firstborn is a testament to the force of faith and commitment to family, as Erika seeks forgiveness from her husband and son and from Kirsten's father who never knew of her birth. Hatcher delves into the wellspring of heartfelt emotions, from agonizing betrayal to joyous exhilaration, in creating this extraordinary story.

Love and marriage
Parole officer Anna Langtry must confront her own past in order to help clear Joe Mackenzie of the bank embezzlement he never committed in Jasmine Cresswell's gripping new romantic suspense, The Third Wife. Going back to a tiny Colorado town forces Anna to confront Caleb Welks, the inescapable memories of their marriage and the secret, polygamous lifestyle she escaped on her wedding night. Caleb Welks' corruption tainted her life while it poisoned Mackenzie's future. Determined to give Joe the justice he deserves, Anna must face her mother, her own past and the secret she's held of the daughter she gave away at birth. Cresswell's suspense rivets from the opening page, as Anna and Joe risk their lives to set right their own history.

Here comes the heiress
What better fate for a rich Texas heiress than to marry a gorgeous English aristocrat willing to give her the baby she yearns for. At least that's what Gina Pierce tries to convince herself as she gamely follows her father's dream in Lorraine Heath's sprightly historical romance, To Marry an Heiress. Devon Sheridan, the Earl of Huntingdon, is determined to marry conveniently to save his estate; after all, it wouldn't do for a man of his station to actually, well, get a job. For the plain-spoken Western woman, the clotheshorse gimmickry of balls and parties and chaperones is endurable for the right man. That right man takes some gentle persuasion and not-so-genteel passion before he learns the value of wedding and bedding a true thoroughbred woman one who puts the mores of the aristocracy to shame. Heath holds court here in a perfectly charming tale.

One for the road
The Callahan brothers have been virtually synonymous with Blue Bayou, Louisiana, ever since their father was sheriff. But Finn Callahan comes back only reluctantly in JoAnn Ross' sultry new contemporary romance, River Road. Licking his ego-wounds after being suspended from the FBI, Finn wants no part in playing bodyguard to the sinfully sensuous soap opera diva Julia Summers while the crew of the movie River Road films in the remote Cajun crossroads. Julia is no more eager than Finn to have him dogging her life day and night, especially night, in this steamy clash between two James Bond aficionados who face their own evil genius villain, an anonymous stalker who threatens Julia. Their passions simmer into jambalicious filmdom fantasies that clash with cold-blooded danger in a sizzle-edged adventure that's as hot as Tabasco and just as irresistible.
Sandy Huseby writes from her homes in Fargo, North Dakota, and lakeside in northern Minnesota.

 

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