Someone to Trust by Mary BaloghIntroducing: Lady Elizabeth Overfield, widow and survivor of an abusive marriage; Colin Handrich, the newly titled Lord Hodges.
What happens: Although they're well-suited and wish to wed, Elizabeth and Colin agree that they cannot marry each other. Why not? She's 35 and he's 26. (Just think of the scandal!)
Why you might like it: Featuring an older woman/younger man pairing, this 5th Westcott novel is also a moving friends-to-lovers romance that unfolds against a Yuletide backdrop.
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina LaurenWhat happens: After criminology professor Millie Morris enjoys a "half-night stand" with friend Reid Campbell, they agree it's better to remain friends. But when Millie stumbles into an online flirtation with Reid (under a different name), things heat up quickly.
Author alert: Christina Lauren has won fans with witty looks at modern love in Dating You/Hating You and Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating.
Reviewers say: My Favorite Half-Night Stand is "a messy and sexy look at digital dating that feels fresh and exciting" (Publishers Weekly).
The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline HunterWhat it's about: Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton, has sworn revenge against the family of his late father's enemy, the recently deceased Earl of Marwood. Then he meets Marwood's daughter Clara, who sees right through his ardent suitor act.
Why you might like it: This 1st book in the Decadent Dukes series subverts the "revenge by seduction" trope by introducing a fiercely independent heroine with no desire to wed.
Reviewers say: this Georgian romance is "chock-full of sensuality and spiced with mystery" (Publishers Weekly).
Hate to Want You by Alisha RaiWhat it's about: Once a year, Nicholas Chandler and Olivia Kane meet up for a night of passion. Obviously their feuding families can never find out about their annual "sex marathon." Obviously they will.
Why you might like it: Angsty and erotic, this opening installment of the Forbidden Hearts series boasts a diverse cast and a sensitive depiction of its heroine's struggles with depression.
Want a taste? "Love rarely conquered all, the true villains almost always went unpunished, and happily ever afters? Ha."
Hope Blooms by Jamie PopeIt's complicated: Years ago, Cassandra fell in love with Wylie James, but married their mutual friend (and Wylie's foster brother) Terrance.
What happens: After losing Terrance and their unborn child in a school shooting, grief-stricken Cassandra takes her first steps towards healing as she renews her friendship with Wylie. But is she ready to love again?
Is it for you? At once heartbreaking and heartwarming, this emotionally intense 1st book in the Love and Hope series deals with some tough topics.
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