Our Top Pick in Romance is the newest contemporary romance from Lisa Kleypas, Dream Lake!

Writes romance columnist Christie Ridgway, "Alex Nolan is in the process of losing his home, a good portion of his construction business and, perhaps, his sanity—the latter because he’s being haunted by a stranger’s ghost. While coming to grips with all that’s gone wrong, Alex takes on the job of rehabbing a home for baker Zoë Hoffman, whose sweetness and optimism he worries will be damaged by his dark edges. But Zoë can’t help but be drawn to Alex. . . This is Kleypas at her contemporary best: The writing wows and the ending evokes happy tears."

I chatted with the talented (and good lookin', if you don't mind me saying) Kleypas about romance and writing in a 7 questions interview. Love her answer to my question, "What's the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?" Read her answer!

Read on for an excerpt from Dream Lake (more here):

At the sound of Zoe's scream, Alex reached her in a few seconds. She had bolted from the galley-style kitchen, her eyes huge in her ashen face. "What is it?" he demanded.

"S-spider," she said hoarsely.

"It's here," the ghost called out from the kitchen. "Damn thing just jumped from one counter to the other."

Dashing into the narrow space, Alex grabbed the antique eggbeaters and killed the spider with a few decisive thwacks.

Pausing to look more closely, Alex let out a low whistle. It was a wolf spider, a species that tended to hide during the day and hunt for prey at night. This particular specimen was bigger than anything he'd seen outside of a zoo. A touch of humor quirked one corner of his mouth as he thought of how Sam would have reacted to the situation. Sam would have found a way to capture the spider without harming it and safely transport it outside, all the while lecturing about respect for nature. Alex's view on nature was that any time it ventured inside, it was going to find itself confronting a big can of Raid.

His gaze swept across the kitchen. A loose collection of webbing was anchored at the corner of the ceiling. Spiders spun webs near food sources, which meant there had to be a big supply of insects attracted to the moisture from leaks in the wall.

"Alex," came the ghost's urgent voice from the other room, "Something's wrong with Zoe."

Frowning, Alex left the kitchen and found Zoe in the center of the main room, her arms wrapped tightly around her middle. She was breathing in airless pants, as if her lungs had collapsed. He reached her in two strides. "What is it?"

She didn't seem to hear him. Her eyes were wide and unfocused. She was shaking in every limb.

"Did it bite you?" Alex asked, looking over her face, neck, arms, every exposed inch of skin.

Zoe shook her head, wheezing as she tried to talk. Alex found himself reaching out for her and snatching his hands back.

"Panic attack," the ghost said. "Can you calm her down?"

Alex shook his head automatically. He was good at making women angry, but calming them wasn't in his repertoire.

The ghost looked exasperated. "Just talk to her. Pat her back."

Alex gave him an appalled glance. There was no possible way to explain his unwillingness to touch her. The sure knowledge that it would lead to disaster. But Zoe swayed on her feet, looking like she was about to pass out, and there was no choice. He reached for her, his hands closing lightly around her arms. The feel of her skin against his palms, the texture of her flesh, sent a thrill of heat through him, which, in light of the circumstances, was nothing less than depraved.


Readers, tell us: What's the most romantic thing that ever happened to you?

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