Every reader knows the feeling: You turn the last page in a book, and sadness sets in. As Avon executive editor Erika Tsang says, “Readers don’t want to let go of characters they’ve come to love. We want to know what happens next.”
Luckily, with many romance stories, you don’t have to say goodbye. “With series we get to return, time and again, to a place and a cast of characters that have become like family to us,”explains Amy Pierpont, editorial director of Forever, Grand Central’s romance imprint. Here, we’ve highlighted three new series from debut authors that will give you what Dianne Moggy, Harlequin’s vice president of series editorial and subrights, calls “happiness hits,” the kind of romance novels that “give us permission to escape from the day-to-day reality of our lives.”
Take Beauty and the Beast, make the costumes skimpier and add some demons and a quest for eternal life, and you’ll have the first book in Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series. Set in Victorian England, Firelight draws readers in with the many secrets of Miranda, a pistol of a woman with special abilities, and Lord Benjamin Archer, the masked man she must marry. Murder, a secret society and overwhelming desire keep Archer and Miranda on their toes—and keep readers turning pages.
CHEMISTRY INDEX: Medium-high. The couple’s frequent quarreling (hot as it is) can sometimes get in the way of the good stuff.
SIZZLE-O-METER: Read with a cold shower nearby!
FAVORITE LINES: “Does watching me eat entertain you?” she murmured when she felt his eyes upon her.
“Yes. You do so with such hedonistic abandon.” His gaze went hot. “It is rather stirring. Perhaps I should bid you to forego the silverware, if only to see how you use your hands.”
—CAT D. ACREE
In the first book of Kylie Griffin’s Novels of the Light Blade series, Annika, the half-human daughter of a demon king, helps Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, escape from her father’s dungeons. Annika was conceived as an act of revenge, and she’s been tormented beyond endurance. Kalan alone holds the key to her future. This unlikely couple will enthrall readers as they take a stand against hatred and bigotry—all in the name of love.
CHEMISTRY INDEX: Hero and heroine are like moths to the flame.
SIZZLE-O-METER: In spite of the constant danger that surrounds Annika and Kalan, sparks ignite—and a slow burn turns into an eternal fire.
FAVORITE LINE: “You’re aroused.”
A TOWN CALLED VALENTINE
In Valentine Valley, a Colorado town that’s famous for romance, Emily Murphy meets Nate Thalberg, a sweet and sexy rancher. Emily’s in town to fix up her family’s building and sell it, quick, so she can go back to college. Nate helps her with the renovations . . . and teaches Emily a thing or two about love.
CHEMISTRY INDEX: Electric. Nate and Emily feel an immediate attraction, but then she backs off, thanks to her rocky romantic history. As they get to know each other better, the slow-and-steady build feels realistic and true.
SIZZLE-O-METER: Hot and heavy.
FAVORITE LINE: “But then his eyes locked on her, and suddenly she was back?in the bar, his mouth on hers, his hands making her feel like a woman once again.”