Our Top Pick in Romance for August is Jami Alden's scorching new romantic suspense, Guilty as Sin. Our Romance columnist calls it "a shivery, sensual and sensational read" that finds two former lovers reuniting to find a missing girl—and to heat up the pages.
Kate and Tommy's thrilling story had us begging for more, so we chatted with Alden in a 7 questions interview. Read more about Kate and Tommy, and which scenes Alden believes are the hottest to write:
"For me the hottest scenes are the ones leading up to the first sex scene, including the first kiss. I love when characters are becoming increasingly physically aware of and drawn to each other. It's a great challenge as a writer to find the unique things about each character that the other will be drawn to. Then there's the first contact—the excitement of a first touch, a first kiss. It's something that, once you're in a long-term relationship, you don't ever experience again. It's fun to relive that, even if it's just in my head."
Mary Burton's new romantic suspense The Seventh Victim is our Top Pick in Romance for February! Romance columnist Christie Ridgway promises it "will keep readers up all night."
Lara Church was the only surviving victim of a Seattle serial killer. Now, the killer is back, and it looks like he's found her in Texas—and Texas Ranger James Beck is determined to keep her safe. If you love books that turn up the sexual tension with plenty of danger, this one's for you.
Read our 7 questions interview with Burton, where we talked about the romantic suspense genre, sexy scenes, her career and more.
Also, read on for an excerpt from The Seventh Victim, when Lara Church and Texas Ranger James Beck meet for the first time (read more here):
In the distance he heard a dog bark. Judging by the animal’s deep timbre, it was big and running in Beck’s direction. Absently, he moved his hand to the gun on his hip. Nice places like this could turn nasty or even deadly in the blink of an eye.
The dog’s barking grew louder. Tightening his hand on the gun’s grip, he scanned the wooded area around the cabin until his gaze settled on a path that cut into the woods. In a flash, a large black and tan shepherd emerged from the woods, its hair standing on end. The animal glared at Beck, barking and growling. The animal was a beauty, but he’d shoot if it attacked.
Seconds later a woman emerged from the woods. She carried a shotgun in her hands and the instant she saw Beck she raised the barrel.
Beck didn’t hesitate. He drew his gun and pointed it directly at the women. “Texas Ranger. Drop the gun now!”
The woman stared at him, her gaze a blend of surprise and wariness.
“Put. The. Gun. Down.” Each word was sharpened to a fine point.
She lowered the tip of the barrel a fraction but didn’t release the gun. “How do I know you’re a Texas Ranger?”
The Texas Ranger uniform was easily recognizable to anyone who’d been in Texas more than five minutes. But that discussion came after she released the weapon. “Put the gun down, now.” He all but shouted the command over the dog’s barking. “Now!”
Carefully, she laid the barrel down and took a step back as if she was ready to bolt into the woods. The dog bared its teeth, but she made no move to calm the animal. She might have surrendered the gun, but the dog remained a threat.
He braced his feet. “If your dog lunges at me, I will shoot him.”
Her gaze flickered quickly between the dog and his gun. She understood he’d meant it. “Okay.” She looped her fingers through the dog’s collar and ordered him to heel close at her side.
“You and the dog step back.”
“Do it!” He glanced at the shotgun, knowing he’d not breathe a sigh of relief until he had it in hand.
“I am not turning around.” Her raspy voice stutter- stepped with panic. “I want to see your badge.”
He studied her. If this was Lara Church and she’d survived the Strangler, fear would be a logical response. “Step away from the gun.”
She drew in a breath and moved back with the dog. He picked up the shotgun and holstered his gun. Slowly, he pulled his badge from his breast pocket and held it up to her.
“Sergeant James Beck,” he said.
He opened the break-action shotgun and found two shells in the double-barreled chamber. The safety was off. He removed the shells. “You always greet people with a shotgun?” He glanced from her to the growling dog.
“When I’m alone, yes. And it is registered, and I am on my land, so I’m well within my rights to carry a weapon.”
As he held her rifle, he glared at her and the barking shepherd. “You know how to shoot it?”
Blue eyes held his. “I sure do.”
Will you check this one out?
Our November Romance column features Jaci Burton's newest romantic suspense, The Heart of a Killer. It's a story of murder and gritty romance featuring Special Forces soldier Dante Renaldi and police detective Anna Pallino. Columnist Christie Ridgway loved it: "These are lovers to root for and worry over as violent death dogs their every step."
We chatted with Burton about hot guys and all the many reasons she loves to be a writer. I just love her description of the sexiest type of hero! Read our 7 Questions interview.
The following excerpt gives you just a taste of the tension in The Heart of a Killer (read more at Jaci Burton's website):
Anna Pallino's steps faltered when she entered the alley.
First, because she was in this godforsaken alley again, a place she hadn't set foot in since that night twelve years ago. Now she was back again, and someone was dead in the alley. Again.
Second, Dante Renaldi was back.
Those were enough to justify the stutter in her step.
Roman greeted her.
"What the hell is this?" she asked as she caught sight of Gabe standing next to Dante. "Old-home week? Dante comes back and you three decide to have a reunion here?"
"Then why am I here?" Something had obviously happened, but why would Roman call her to this crime scene? Because Dante was here?
And why the hell was Dante here?
She hated questions with no answers.
"Thought you'd want to know. That's George Clemons back there."
Third reason she almost tripped over her own feet. "George? Oh, my God, Roman. I'm so sorry. What happened?"
He laid his hand on her arm to halt her forward progress. "You need to know, Anna. He's been beaten to death."
She sucked in a breath and grabbed onto Roman, fighting to stay in the here and now. "And? There's more. Tell me."
She saw the reluctance in his eyes. "Tell me."
"Someone carved a heart in his chest. Right where..." He glanced down at her shirt, at her left breast.
Oh, God. No. The heart carving just like hers. Her scar throbbed and she resisted the urge to touch it, to rub the ache away.
George Clemons, beaten just like the guys had beaten Tony Maclin that night.
She took a slow long breath, then let it out. "I don't understand."
Dante appeared beside her, but she had no time for him. Not now, not when her vision was nothing more than a pinpoint of light.
Our August 2011 Romance of the Month comes from Cindy Gerard's Black Ops series. With No Remorse stars supermodel Valentina and ex-SEAL Luke, and they find it difficult to resist each other while running for their lives.
Our columnist gives a little preview of the high-octane romance:
Val’s survival depends on trusting Luke, and trust is hard for her to give these days, even when she finds the man at her side so capable and so downright sexy. With the help of Luke’s team, they piece together the ugly truth. Righting old wrongs might mean losing her life . . . or Luke losing his.
With No Remorse came out in mid-July. Have you or will you pick up a copy?