Breath of Fire: The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda BouchetFantasy Romance. Not only is Catalia "Cat" Fisa the Kingmaker, who "hears the lie and knows the truth," she's also a runaway princess -- a secret she's kept for nearly a decade. Cat hoped she could leave all that behind and live with Griffin, her Sintan warlord lover, but Griffin has discovered the truth of her identity, which could jeopardize their plans to unite the three realms of Thalyria. Picking up where Promise of Fire left off, Breath of Fire is the 2nd volume of the Kingmaker Chronicles, which bolsters its central love story with an epic storyline and detailed world-building. Although this series is somewhat unusual for following one couple's developing relationship across (a projected) three books, its strong leads and emotional intensity should please romance fans.
Forged in Desire by Brenda JacksonMulticultural Romantic Suspense. Jury duty isn't usually this exciting: soon after Margo Connelly and her fellow jurors deliver a guilty verdict, people involved in the trial start dying. Once the judge, the court clerk, and the bailiff are gunned down in cold blood outside the courthouse, it becomes clear that Margo needs protection, too. Tasked with protecting Margo from a crime boss' hired killer, bodyguard Lamar "Striker" Jennings must stay by her side, day and night. Naturally, Margo and Lamar get to know each other very, very well. But Lamar has reservations about a relationship: not only is Margo his mentor's niece, but Lamar fears that his law-breaking past may change her mind about him. Forged in Desire is the 1st book in the Protectors series.
Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa JamesRegency Historical. Eugenia Snowe's professional reputation depends on supplying the upper classes with England's finest governesses. So when one of her placements proves unsuitable, she takes a personal interest in rectifying the situation. Edward "Ward" Reeve is desperate to find someone who can handle his rambunctious younger half-siblings, whose behavior threatens his status as their guardian. A witty and heartfelt tale of opposites attracting, Seven Minutes in Heaven is the 3rd book in the Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers series, a spinoff of the original Desperate Duchesses series (Ward first appears as a young child in Desperate Duchesses; Eugenia makes her debut as a teenager in Duchess by Night).
Breathless by Beverly JenkinsMulticultural Western Romance. Portia Carmichael's mother was a prostitute who abandoned Portia and her sister when they were children. Fortunately, her aunt and uncle (Forbidden's Eddy Carmichael and Rhine Fontaine) stepped in; thanks to them, Portia is now an Oberlin graduate who manages the finest hotel in the Arizona Territory. Due to her experiences, Portia has no desire to marry. But the return of an old family friend, Kent Randolph, soon has her rethinking her stance on romance -- despite his youthful reputation as a lady's man. As Kent patiently woos Portia, he must prove to her that he's matured into the kind of man she could marry.
Lady Claire Is All That: Keeping Up With the Cavendishes by Maya RodaleRegency Historical. When Lady Claire Cavendish meets Maximilian Frederick DeVere, Lord Fox, she can't believe that he's truly interested in discussing mathematics. In fact, he isn't. Recently jilted, Fox has accepted a wager that he can transform bluestocking Claire into the belle of the ball. But as they get to know each other better, Fox realizes that some things are more important than winning. Although Lady Claire Is All That is the 3rd book in the Keeping Up With the Cavendishes series, the storylines of previous volumes (Lady Bridget's Diary and Chasing Lady Amelia) run concurrently with this novel, meaning that the books can be read in any order.
The Black Hawk by Joanna BourneHistorical Romance. When French spy "Owl" -- a.k.a. Justine DuMotier DeCabrillac -- is stabbed in the streets of London and left for dead, it's up to her former lover, English agent Adrian "Hawker" Hawkhurst, to find out who's responsible. Due to the complex politics of post-Revolutionary France, they've long since grown accustomed to being allies one day and adversaries the next. As Justine and Hawker work together to solve the mystery, their tumultuous romance unfolds through flashbacks that reveal exactly how much is at stake. This 4th entry in Joanna Bourne's Spymaster series, which begins with The Spymaster's Lady, features flawed yet sympathetic characters embroiled in adventure, intrigue, and passion.
Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo PutneyHistorical Romance. When a badly injured James, Lord Kirkland, shows up at the Herbert Infirmary in Bristol, Laurel Herbert is astonished to see her husband again. Yes, that's right. They're married -- or they were, until Laurel watched James kill a man with his bare hands. During their honeymoon, no less. If she'd known that he was a spy, she might not have fled screaming into the night; if James had been honest with her, he might have been able to convince her to stay. Now the couple is considering a reconciliation, but can they really pick up where they left off? Not Quite a Wife is the 6th book in the Lost Lords series, which begins with Loving a Lost Lord.
Second Chance Summer by Jill ShalvisContemporary Romance. Lily Danville is NOT happy to be back in Cedar Ridge, Colorado, which even after ten years away holds too many painful memories for her. But firefighter Aidan Kincaid is glad that Lily has returned; he's also pleased to discover that sparks still fly when they're together. While Lily insists that she's leaving as soon as the opportunity arises, Aidan is determined to convince her to stay -- and consider a future with him. Boasting likable leads and an uplifting story, Second Chance Summer kicks off the Cedar Ridge series, which continues with My Kind of Wonderful and Nobody But You.
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