An estranged couple is reunited in Not Quite a Wife, the latest in Mary Jo Putney’s Lost Lords series. Spymaster James, Lord Kirkland, married young after falling in love at first sight. But after a blissful honeymoon, his young wife witnessed his darker side—and abruptly left him. Ten years of loneliness and longing appear to come to a close when he finds himself in her care as fever strikes. In his half-delirium, their still-vigorous physical attraction leads to a night of rekindled passion. But by morning, he believes it was just a dream as his wife bids him goodbye.

Laurel is planning to forget her momentary lapse in self-control—until she finds herself pregnant. Honor means she must admit the truth, and when her husband presses for reconciliation, she agrees to try. Older and wiser, both James and Laurel take a second look at their past . . . and past mistakes. As they realize their love still burns strong, an outside threat might take Laurel from the man she now holds so dear. A pure romance, this book will stir readers’ hearts.

OTHERWORLDLY LUST
Jayne Castle—aka Jayne Ann Krentz—creates an imaginative and well-detailed paranormal world in The Hot Zone. After being kidnapped and subjected to terrifying medical experiments, Sedona Snow retreats to Rainshadow, an island of happy misfits. She’s accompanied by her faithful dust bunny sidekick and is looking forward to Halloween when the mysterious Cyrus Jones enters her life. At the same time, disaster strikes Rainshadow, and Cyrus and Sedona team up to explore the island’s secrets. But Sedona’s escape from captivity comes back to haunt her when she learns why she was taken and discovers that an evil doctor wants her back. Cyrus isn’t the kind of man to leave a woman hanging, however, and when Sedona realizes this, she also realizes she’s fallen hard for the man known as “Dead Zone” Jones. Scary monsters, intriguing psychic powers and a spooky graveyard (complete with underground tunnels) serve to make this a rip-roarin’ adventure of a love story.

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
Maine’s tiny Peregrine Island, the setting of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Heroes Are My Weakness, contains secrets, tragedies and more than its fair share of colorful characters. Broke and recovering from pneumonia, Annie Hewitt takes up residence at Moonraker Cottage to search for the legacy left by her deceased mother. Nearby, in the big, brooding house on the cliff, lives Theo Harp, Annie’s first love—and deadly nemesis. Now a writer of horror novels, Theo seems to have stepped right out of the Gothic novels she’s always loved. But he’s flesh and blood—and possibly dangerous. As Annie becomes enmeshed in winter island life, she can’t avoid Theo . . . and then she doesn’t want to. Just like so long ago, Theo is drawn to Annie. But his past is studded with regret, and he doesn’t know how to handle his feelings for her. Throughout this delightful romance, these tough-yet-vulnerable characters banter with detached sophistication even as their hearts become deeply engaged. From start to finish, it’s a charming pleasure.

 

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

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