Lynn Kurland writes a romantic and charming near-fairytale in All for You. Peaches Alexander is primed for her happily ever after. An invitation to a house party hosted by a handsome duke may be her Cinderella moment—until she realizes that a fellow guest is none other than Stephen de Piaget, a scholar of medieval studies . . . and her nemesis. A stumble upon a time portal sends Peaches hundreds of years into the past, though, and it’s Stephen who comes to her rescue. Now looking at him with new eyes, Peaches reassesses her feelings as he finally sets out to woo her. But the course of love never runs smooth. Peaches considers her station beneath that of the titled Brit, and it will take another adventure through time to prove they’re destined to be life partners. Delightful characters and a “kisses-only” sensuality make this a romance for everyone.

HEARTS AT WAR
Mary Balogh captures the exquisite yearning of unexpected love in The Proposal. Hugo Emes, raised in a middle-class household, is titled, thanks to heroism during the Napoleonic Wars. Now Lord Trentham, he travels to Cornwall for a reunion with the “Survivors’ Club,” a group of friends who are healing from war wounds. This is to be an interlude before Hugo turns to seeking a wife—but fate steps in when he sees a woman twist her ankle, and he’s obliged to carry her back to his friends. Widowed Lady Gwendoline Muir is embarrassed by the circumstances that will keep them sharing a household for a week, but she’s also fascinated by the large and forthright—yet sometimes gentle—Hugo. He’s equally attracted to her, though Gwendoline, an aristocrat, is not marriage material. Not only does she profess a disinterest in matrimony, but Hugo is looking for someone with a middle-class upbringing similar to his own. But hearts are not so pragmatic, and these two forge an emotional intimacy. Still, class issues stand in their way, and it’s a sweet (and sometimes lusty) journey to true love.

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
In her 200th novel, The Witness, Nora Roberts delivers a deft combination of suspense and romance—and one unique heroine. At 16, sheltered genius Elizabeth Fitch goes out for a night on the town—and witnesses brutal mob murders. Twelve years later, she is a reclusive security expert with a new identity, hunkered down in a small mountain town. It’s a contented life—until police chief Brooks Gleason gets curious about the appealing but wary woman, known now as Abigail Lowery. Though Abigail tries to rebuff him, the chief is patient, and eventually she begins to respond. When she has a run-in with a petty thug with political connections, Abigail’s secrets might come to light—but she won’t run again. With the man she’s come to love at her side, Abigail develops a dangerous plan that just might secure their future. A tech-savvy, kick-ass heroine and a hero who embodies the word: This is Roberts at her best.

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