A friends-with-benefits situation threatens the status quo of two prickly yet appealing characters in Unbroken by Maisey Yates. When a riding accident ends Cade Mitchell’s rodeo career, he returns to the family ranch broken and bitter. But his longtime best buddy, Amber Jameson, is there to help ease his pain. No wonder he goes caveman when an old rival arrives, sniffing around Amber’s grandfather’s ranch and pressuring her to sell. Without thought, Cade steps forward and tells the man to back off—he’s moving in to help spruce up the ranch because Amber’s his girlfriend. Their town of Silver Creek seems delighted by the “romance,” though both Cade and Amber are left feeling unbalanced by the new—and passionate—feelings that begin to boil. These two lonely hearts are moving toward believing they might find an ever after when events come about that could tear them apart as friends—and as lovers. Witty repartee and strong sexual chemistry between the leads make this a standout contemporary romance.

DARING LOVE
Former almost-lovers reunite in Bound to Danger, a fast-paced story by Katie Reus filled with romance and suspense. When Maria Cervantes is the sole survivor of a massive explosion, national security wants to find out everything she knows. Sent in to debrief her is her late brother’s best friend from his Marine days, Cade O’Reilly. Cade is now a member of a black ops team directed by the NSA, and he’s determined to keep Maria safe. Although he had walked away from their budding romance following her brother’s death, Cade still has feelings for the sultry beauty. But Maria’s not so sure she wants Cade’s help. She still remembers the broken heart he left her with eight years prior. But when it’s clear that her life is at stake—the bad guys are aware she overheard damning information—she knows relying on Cade is for the best. As danger unfolds around them, their old passion reignites, raising the stakes for both of them. At turns both tense and sexy, this exciting story is a sizzling page-turner.

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
The Earl of Ashby trades places with his friend and secretary in order to prove he can win a woman without the benefit of his title in The Game and the Governess, the first in a new series by Kate Noble. After the two depart London, the earl, nicknamed “Lucky Ned,” finds life without his noble name much different. The experience opens his eyes—and he suddenly sees the beauty and bravery of prim governess Phoebe Baker. Yet his conscience battles his desires. Should he seek her heart using a false identity? Soon his own heart is involved, and he worries the game he’s playing will jeopardize his future.

Even under the most difficult circumstances, Phoebe has managed to find one moment of happiness each day, but now the man she knows as “Mr. Turner” is offering up a lifetime of happiness . . . until she discovers it’s all based on a lie. Will Lucky Ned overcome the hurt he’s caused and win the most important prize of all? It’s a delicious treat to watch Ned grow from earl to man, and see the stalwart Phoebe get everything she deserves.

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a 7 questions interview with Kate Noble about The Game and the Governess.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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