The December issue of BookPage features reviews of six delightfully feel-good holiday romances that are sure to leave readers feeling warm and fuzzy this festive season. But if you’re craving romance with an edge—perhaps even of the paranormal sort—here’s a quartet of suspenseful, action-packed offerings with more than enough thrills, chills, vills (as in villains) and kills to get your adrenaline pumping.

In this sixth book of her Elder Races series, Thea Harrison brings readers the story of Aryal, a shape-shifter harpy and elite Sentinel, and Quentin, a newly appointed Sentinel who’s part Wyr, part Elven and part Dark Fae. The two powerful and edgy warriors have been at odds since they first met, but it isn’t until they’re paired on a mission that the two finally have the time and space to confront their feelings. When danger threatens, Aryal and Quentin are forced to work together to survive and complete their assignment. Their alliance will change them both in unexpected ways as they run afoul of a witch and her ghostly wolves in the foreign Elven land of Numenlaur.

Kinked deftly blends a compelling plot with fascinating characters and is set in a mythical world that’s brilliantly detailed. Fans will be delighted with this latest installment in the series that’s certain to land Harrison on the bestseller lists once again.

Ex-Marine Nicholas Rixley knows Becca Merritt is trouble the moment she walks into Hard Ink Tattoo. The beautiful nurse needs Nicholas’ unique expertise to find her missing brother, but helping his ex-commander’s daughter is the last thing Nick wants to do. Still, something about Becca makes it impossible for him to turn her away. Soon, Nick uncovers clues that lead him to discover the criminal activities of Becca’s deceased father. With danger all around them, it’s difficult enough to keep her safe, let alone resist the powerful attraction that blazes between them. Nick tries not to contemplate a future beyond the immediate moment, but if they can survive, is there a chance she might agree to stay with him forever?

A well-structured plot, interesting details of life at Hard Ink Tattoo and lots of steamy sexual tension between a very likeable hero and heroine add up to a winner for Laura Kaye. Hard as It Gets is the first in a planned series centered around five former Special Forces soldiers and will undoubtedly have readers eagerly anticipating the next book—Hard as You Can is due to come out in late February.

Once blind, Rachel de Luca, author of popular self-help books, is reveling in the return of her vision following a successful cornea transplant. Homicide detective Mason Brown has a history with Rachel and would like to have a future, but they’ve agreed to give each other space. When Rachel has a vivid dream about a murder, however, she turns to Mason, and together, they set out to follow clues that only they can find. The last time they combined forces to search for a killer (in Sleep with the Lights On), they both nearly died. This time, they might not be so lucky.

This edgy thriller tempers nail-biting suspense with humor, and Rachel and Mason’s struggle to ignore the attraction that pulls them together is thoroughly enjoyable. Maggie Shayne has created a hero and heroine that readers will want to rejoin for further adventures.

Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and her mate, the archangel Raphael, rule over his New York demesne with power and determination. But when a foreign archangel with a demonic agenda threatens the very existence of their world, it will take all their combined supernatural talents for Elena and Raphael to save New York. And given the strength and evil plotting of their nemesis, the outcome is by no means guaranteed. Singh is at the top of her game in this latest Guild Hunter novel. The stakes are high; the villain is supremely and insanely evil; and Elena and Raphael’s battle to thwart their enemy is as fierce as their mating. Longtime fans of Singh will be delighted with Archangel’s Legion, and new readers will find themselves hooked on this best-selling series.

Lois Dyer writes from Port Orchard, Washington.

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