February has arrived: the month of hearts, cupids and romance. What better way to celebrate than with a romance novel? Fortunately for readers, the month brings four exceptionally stellar romance novels. Indulge. Enjoy. Viva la romance!

A STUNNING FINALE TO A HEROIC TRILOGY

Best-selling author Stephanie Laurens returns readers to Regency England and the ranks of her beloved Cynster family with The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae, the third title in the Searching For A Hero trilogy. At last, readers will learn why a mysterious Scottish lord has dared to kidnap two ladies of the British ton. And these are not just any ladies—they’re sisters and members of the Cynster family. The powerful family had been told that the man behind the kidnappings had fallen to his death. But now Angelica Cynster, the youngest of the three sisters, has become his third target.

When Angelica Cynster sees a tall, dark, handsome lord across a ballroom, she’s intrigued and determined to meet him. She has no idea that Dominic Guisachan, the Earl of Glencrae, is the man responsible for the earlier kidnappings of her two older sisters. Before the night is over, Dominic explains the reason behind the mysterious kidnappings and asks for her help. After considering the Earl’s tale, Angelica takes the biggest gamble of her life and agrees to join forces with him to save his highland clan. When Dominic leaves London for Scotland, Angelica goes with him. He knew their escape from London would be fraught with danger, but Dominic hadn’t anticipated the threat Angelica would pose to his heart. As an honorable lord of the realm, he’s fully aware that taking her with him means they must marry. She, however, insists on postponing a decision as to whether she will wed until they’ve resolved the threat to his clan.

The journey is fraught with danger but at last they reach Mheadhoin Castle. Despite Dominic’s warnings, Angelica finds the mystery and danger swirling about his castle even more ominous than she’d expected. Old enmities, long-held grudges, and dangerous secrets threaten violence and harm to both her and Dominic. Fortunately, the long trip from London to Scotland has forged a deep, passionate bond between them. They will need all their faith and determination to defeat the evil forces bent on destroying Dominic’s clan from within.

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae is a wonderfully satisfying conclusion to this series. No question is left unanswered, no plot thread left dangling as Ms. Laurens deftly wraps up the trilogy while giving readers a fully developed, intriguing story that stands on its own. Longtime readers will delight in appearances by Cynster family members and new fans will be charmed to meet characters from prior books. As always in a Laurens’ story, the novel’s Regency setting is brilliantly detailed and the romance heated and passionate.

SECRETS, SIZZLE AND PSI-CODES

Seattle author Jayne Ann Krentz launches the Dark Legacy series with Copper Beach, a contemporary paranormal mystery set in the Pacific Northwest.

Rare book locator Abby Radwell has an unusual psychic gift: She can unlock the psi-codes in books sealed by paranormal means. The unique talent brings her to the attention of a dangerous killer who needs her expertise in locating a long-lost lab journal and decoding its secrets. When blackmail notes arrive in her email inbox, Abby realizes someone has discovered that she has a second, rarely-used and powerful, psychic talent. She turns to investigator Sam Coppersmith to stop the threats, keep her safe and expose the blackmailer.

The mysterious, reclusive Sam has his own secrets. He suspects the threats to Abby are linked to a business associate and a decades-old lab book that has recently surfaced. Sam’s father is convinced the information contained in the lab notes has the potential to cause havoc in the world. Sam agrees with his father that some paranormal secrets are too dangerous for man to control.

The moment Sam meets Abby, he reacts to her on every level—sexually, mentally, emotionally—and his responses are heightened by the flare of psychic energy that sizzles between them. Abby feels the same and it’s soon clear that they’re bound together by more than their need to solve the threat to her life.

It’s equally apparent that someone is willing to do whatever it takes, including murder, to gain possession of the rare lab book and compel Abby’s cooperation in unlocking its secrets. Soon, too many people are dying and it will take all of Sam and Abby’s combined mental agility and psychic strengths to stay alive and unveil the killer.

Ms. Krentz continues a long list of excellent paranormal mysteries with Copper Beach. The novel blends paranormal elements with blackmail, murder and romance with seamless ease. There’s a thoroughly satisfying personal arc for Abby, as well, as she resolves long-held issues with difficult members of her blended family. As always with Ms. Krentz, the writing is crisp and clean, the characters well-developed, the setting vivid and the plot details well constructed. All in all, Copper Beach is one terrific read.

ELECTRIC, INEVITABLE ATTRACTION

Author Heather Snow makes her literary debut with Sweet Enemy, a historical romance set in Regency England. Beautiful Liliana Claremont is determined to spend her life pursuing the study of chemistry, botany and other assorted sciences. She has no interest in acquiring a husband. But when she discovers that her father’s death was not caused by burglars but was instead premeditated murder, she’s determined to find out why he was killed. The clues point to a connection with the deceased Earl of Stratford and she agrees to accompany her aunt and cousin to a house party at the Stratford country estate; the opportunity to further her investigation is simply too good to resist.

Indulge in four romantic novels this Valentine's Day.

The current Earl of Stratford, Geoffrey Wentworth, has no interest in marriage, either. He’s tricked into returning to his country estate by an urgent letter from his scheming mother. When he arrives, he learns she’s determined to maneuver him into proposing marriage to one of the eligible ladies she’s gathered for a house party. Furious at being called away from his political labors in London, Geoffrey remains at the estate only because his mother has also invited several powerful men with whom he seeks alliances. Nonetheless, he swears to cede his manipulative mother only minimal cooperation. As to choosing one of the hopeful ladies as his bride? He’s adamantly opposed and has no intention of selecting a future wife from the gathering.

Both Liliana and Geoffrey’s plans go awry on the very first night when Geoffrey bumps into Liliana and literally knocks her into his arms. From then on, their interaction appears inevitable. Fate seems determined to throw them together and their prejudices are gradually erased as they discover that neither is what the other expected. Despite their earlier intentions, both find themselves falling in love, though each struggles to deny the deepening emotion.

As Liliana searches for clues to her father’s murder, she uncovers startling information that threatens the growing connection between herself and Geoffrey. She fears the truth will destroy any hope of a future for them, yet she feels compelled to solve the mystery. Neither Liliana nor Geoffrey could have foreseen the danger that threatens their lives nor the depth of love that will be required to save them.

Sweet Enemy pairs a strong, independent heroine with a compassionate, politically active hero. The heroine’s unique knowledge of chemistry provides for some interesting twists, which combine with a solid plot, well-developed characters and deftly drawn setting to make an excellent first novel. Readers will be delighted to add Ms. Snow to their list of must-read authors.

THRILLS AND CHILLS

Best-selling author Lara Adrian moves to hardcover with Darker After Midnight, a riveting novel that will keep readers mesmerized. This 10th title in the author’s Midnight Breed series stars Sterling Chase, a member of a group of Breed warriors called the Order. The Order is charged with protecting Breeds and maintaining peace with the human world, but Sterling has fallen from grace and is edging much too close to the line dividing sanity and madness.

Beautiful Tavia Fairchild witnesses Sterling in what she thinks is a serious crime, and he takes her captive when he runs from the police. Something about Tavia calls to his deepest instincts, but even Sterling could not have predicted the stunning truth about the beautiful female.

Thrust into a world she never knew existed, Tavia is forced to rely on Sterling and his fellow warriors if she’s to survive— for the ultimate evil, a power-mad vampire named Dragos, is about to detonate chaos on an unsuspecting earth. With the streets awash in blood and death, Sterling and Tavia will have to use all their combined power and cunning to defeat Dragos and save the world.

Legions of paranormal romance readers are addicted to Adrian’s novels, and Darker After Midnight is sure to delight her fans with its thrills, chills and shocking revelations about the world of the Midnight Breeds. If you like romance combined with heart-stopping paranormal suspense, you’re going to love this book.

Lois Faye Dyer writes from her home in Port Orchard, Washington

comments powered by Disqus