Reading a festive holiday romance—like these six feel-good love stories—is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season.
Two wounded people discover love’s healing power in Miracle Road by Emily March. Lucca Romano arrives in Eternity Springs after a career-ending tragedy. A former star collegiate basketball coach, Lucca doesn’t want anything to do with sports or mentoring young people. That doesn’t stop his next-door neighbor, teacher Hope Montgomery, from trying to pull him out of his shell. First there’s antagonism between them; then there’s attraction, and after they open up to each other about their personal misfortunes, a close friendship blossoms. That closeness leads to intimacy, though both expect merely a temporary affair. But as they strive to help each other, they are each helped. Just when Lucca agrees to coach again and Hope begins to believe in new possibilities, circumstances force them to face their very real fears. Both wrenching and wonderful—a fabulous book for the season.
A failed marriage gets a second chance in Lily Dalton’s Never Desire a Duke. Months ago, after his wife, Sophia, learned of his sordid past and then lost their baby, Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, left London on a diplomatic mission. Now he’s back, determined to revive their once-happy union. Stunned by her yearning upon her husband’s return, Sophia resolves to protect herself and flees to a family estate, but Vane follows—just in time for them to be stranded together in a snowstorm. While Vane thrills at the opportunity to have her to himself, Sophia remains wary. Can she trust his wild past won’t intrude again? The long days and nights allow them to share passion and shed light on some of the mysteries of Vane’s past. The new relationship is still fragile, however, and Sophia’s doubts take it to the brink of ruin. Vane must use the magic of the season to once again win over his love. A delightful confection!
HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Susan Mallery plucks every heartstring in Christmas on 4th Street. World-weary Army doctor Gabriel Boylan travels to small-town Fool’s Gold, California, for the holidays. Though he’s not close to his family, it seems a good time to get reacquainted, because Gabriel has an important decision to make: whether or not to re-enlist. Right away he meets shopkeeper Noelle Perkins. When the attractive blonde mentions she needs help at her Christmas-themed store, Gabriel volunteers. He likes to keep busy, and he likes the looks of Noelle. As the holiday draws closer, so does the pair. They work together, attend town events together, and Noelle finds herself falling for Gabriel. But he claims to be disinterested in love—he knows that good things can be gone in an instant. From her own difficult past experience, Noelle understands the tenuousness of life but chooses to reach for every possibility. Can Christmas and the love of a good woman change the doctor’s mind? This hopeful tale will leave readers smiling.
Sherryl Woods delivers a sweet, kisses-only story in A Seaside Christmas. It’s the holidays, and songwriter Jenny Collins returns to Chesapeake Shores to reconnect with family and get over the man who cheated on her, country superstar Caleb Green. But what Jenny wants is harder to achieve than she imagines. She feels like an outsider now that her mother has a new husband and son. Then Caleb comes to town, leading Jenny to realize that she’s never stopped loving him. Now a recovering alcoholic, Caleb knows he did wrong and wants to move his life in the right direction—with Jenny at his side. With gentleness, determination and not a small amount of charm, he begins to rebuild her trust. On the advice of her close-knit community, Jenny is close to making a leap of faith when new information raises old fears and doubts. A warm tale about understanding, forgiveness and the persuasive power of love.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a 7 questions interview with Sherryl Woods for A Seaside Christmas.
A WOLF TALE
The holidays get a paranormal twist in A SEAL Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear. Lone alpha wolf and retired SEAL Bjornolf Jorgenson’s attraction to sexy undercover operative (and gray wolf) Anna Johnson leads him to join her on a job on the Oregon coast. There, in the days before Christmas, they agree to play newlyweds and look after an orphaned teen werewolf who suspects murder at the Christmas tree farm where he works. During their mission, Bjornolf and Anna get closer, though each is cautious. For different reasons, both are unfamiliar with the season’s joys—and also unfamiliar with feeling so much for another wolf. But their natures overcome their fears, and once they are mated, the obstacles to a happy future arrive in the form of a more lethal danger. Exciting suspense spices up this story of two lovers coming to appreciate holiday traditions.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
Both poignant and passionate, Cindy Gerard’s The Way Home will have readers reaching for tissues. Four years after her Army husband’s death, Jess Albert is still coming to grips with the loss. Once a nurse, she’s now running a small general store when her predictable life is upset by the return of a man she met 18 months ago. Ty Brown, a retired Navy helicopter pilot, hasn’t forgetten beautiful Jess and is determined to woo her. Half a world away in Afghanistan, an injured man who doesn’t remember his past or his name is being hidden from the Taliban and healed by a lovely Pashtun woman, Rabia. Upon recalling his name, hope flares, but there remains so much to overcome—and he still remembers nothing before his last deployment. A dangerous rescue is launched to bring the warrior home. Will these two deserving couples find happiness? Taut, tender and peopled with noble men and women.