Amy Garvey

Elizabeth Hoyt is one of the hottest authors in romance today, and the eighth book in her Maiden Lane series captures every tender, charming reason for her popularity. Dearest Rogue is a sexy, sweet and emotionally satisfying historical read. 

Lady Phoebe Batten is exactly like other young society women, excepting one small difference—she’s blind. In her opinion, a lack of sight shouldn’t preclude an active social life, or even a romance, although she knows the latter is not very likely. Her brother, however, does not believe she can lead a normal life, and he worries about her physical safety. As a duke’s sister, and a wealthy one at that, she is a vulnerable target for all kinds of criminals. That’s precisely why her protective sibling has hired an armed escort to accompany her everywhere. And unfortunately for freedom-loving Phoebe, her bodyguard follows her brother’s strict orders to the letter. 

Once a respected officer with the King’s dragoons, Captain James Trevillion is far from the average bodyguard. But when a serious injury left lasting damage to his leg, Trevillion wasn’t fit for a soldier’s duties any longer. Protecting one young woman from danger is hardly the kind of challenge he once faced in service to the king, but Trevillion finds himself facing another kind of challenge with Phoebe—caring for her in ways that are not simply professional. 

There is a gently contentious dynamic between the two: Phoebe chafes at what she believes is Trevillion’s stodgy adherence to duty, and Trevillion, although enchanted with Phoebe’s spirit, is also uncomfortably aware of the difference in their stations. But everything changes when Phoebe is nearly kidnapped. Trevillion may not be the soldier he once was, but as he gallops away from the attackers with his charge nestled in front of him, he vows that Phoebe will come to no harm on his watch. And for Phoebe, held close in his strong arms, her escort suddenly becomes more than a stubborn obstacle to her freedom. 

Sight is a powerful metaphor in this romance; Trevillion is amazed by how deeply Phoebe can see into him, even blind, and Phoebe is amazed to find that there is more to her bodyguard than his job, and that true passion is hidden behind the solemn mask of duty. The real triumph here is independence, however, as both Phoebe and Trevillion find the courage to fight for their desires and map their future on their own terms. The fact that being together gives them the strength to find their individual voices is simply the icing on a very delightful cake. 

Dearest Rogue is everything the reader of a Regency historical wants; it’s funny, fast-paced and has plenty of historical flavor and a romance that develops as naturally as a flower opening in the sun. Fans of the Maiden Lane series will cheer for this couple.  

 

Amy Garvey is a freelance editor and the author of several romances and two novels for young adults. 

Elizabeth Hoyt is one of romance’s hottest authors right now, and the eighth book in her Maiden Lane series captures every tender, charming reason for her popularity. Dearest Rogue is a sexy, sweet and emotionally satisfying historical read.

At the heart of every small town is a community—neighbors who have watered each other’s plants for years, friends who have grown up together and family businesses that have proudly hung signs on Main Street. These three romance novels capture the homespun charm of creaky porch swings, bake sales and softball games, as well as the sweet thrill of falling in love with the whole town watching—and usually cheering.

SWEET SUMMER NIGHTS 
Moonlight on Butternut Lake by Mary McNear is the next entry in the best-selling and emotionally rich Butternut Lake series, and it’s a nuanced story of healing and second chances. Badly injured in a car accident, Reid Ford retreats to his brother’s cabin at the lake, still confined to a wheelchair and struggling to recover physically and mentally. Mila Jones is the home health aide hired to care for Reid, but Mila is fighting her own battle—on the run from her abusive husband, moving to Butternut Lake is just the first step in her plan to make a new life for herself.

As the story opens, Reid is gruff and resentful but proud, and Mila is skittish and fragile but determined to make a better life for herself. From the beginning, they’re wary of each other—Mila is intimidated by Reid’s stubborn temper, and Reid is startled to find that the pretty aide has a surprisingly strong spine. But as the summer blooms around them, the walls they’ve built start to come down—and the tight-knit community serves to rehabilitate them both in different ways.  

Love is the last thing on Reid and Mila’s mind when the book begins, which makes their tentatively growing friendship sweetly satisfying. Workaholic Reid is surprised to find himself thinking about a relationship rather than a quick fling, and Mila is stunned to learn than she can still trust—both herself and others—at all. Suffused with all the magic of firefly-lit summer nights, this entry in the series is especially heartwarming.

A NOVEL LOVE
Emma Cane’s Ever After at Sweetheart Ranch is the next book in her popular Valentine Valley series, and it’s as warm and welcoming as spring itself. Cane writes extended family well, and the novel includes many characters readers have already met while it explores the story of a writer and a rancher who make an unlikely but wonderful couple.

Lyndsay De Luca is a dedicated schoolteacher who plays trumpet in a jazz band and writes fiction in her spare time—a true geek, in Lyndsay’s own words. Will Sweet is her polar opposite, a cowboy who thrives on Colorado’s wealth of outdoor activity and has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, at least briefly. More than their temperaments stand between them, though. Will was in love with Lyndsay’s best friend, until an accident took her far too early. And Lyndsay’s mortified to realize shortly before her first book is due to come out that her hero bears an overwhelming resemblance to Will.

For Lyndsay, it’s going to be hard enough to publically own up to the steamy book simply because of her job, and she can’t imagine what will happen if Will finds out he was the inspiration for the swaggering, sexy hero of her book. In Cane’s hands, the story plays out with humor and compassion as Lyndsay learns the real thing might be better than the fantasy, and Will discovers that love is a risk worth taking more than once. 

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
An ex-con and a waitress find everything they didn’t know they were looking for in The Closer You Come, by longtime paranormal romance favorite Gena Showalter. This novel is the second in her first-ever contemporary series and follows the Original Heartbreakers, three men raised as foster brothers who settle in quiet Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, for a fresh start.

Showalter hits the mark with this series. Newly out of prison, Jase Hollister is a deliciously hot bad boy with the kind of emotional wounds that will melt even the hardest heart. Brook Lynn is scrappy, stubborn and struggling not only to make ends meet but to keep her wild sister, Jessie Kay, in check. Jase and Brook Lynn meet when she finds her reckless sister in Jase’s bedroom, and the sparks never stop flying.

Showalter takes a refreshingly straightforward approach to Jase’s history and Brook Lynn’s struggles, including the implants she needs to modulate her hearing. Showalter’s gift for snappy, realistic dialogue and electric sexual tension are on full display here, and the community spirit that helps to bring the couple together makes this book everything a small-town romance should be. The next book in the series promises to be just as satisfying—and sexy.

Amy Garvey is a freelance editor and the author of several romances and two novels for young adults. 

At the heart of every small town is a community—neighbors who have watered each other’s plants for years, friends who have grown up together and family businesses that have proudly hung signs on Main Street. These three romance novels capture the homespun charm of creaky porch swings, bake sales and softball games, as well as the sweet thrill of falling in love with the whole town watching—and usually cheering.

“Time is precious. Waste it wisely.” Haddie Montgomery can’t forget those words after her beloved sister dies, but she can’t get far enough past her grief to think about anything more than the next moment. In K. Bromberg’s Slow Burn, burying the pain of loss in a whirl of high spirits, stiff drinks and hot sex is Haddie’s modus operandiat least at first.   

That’s how Haddie winds up in bed with Beckett Daniels, the gorgeous, laid-back guy she met through her best friend. He’s Country to her City, the kind of well-mannered, boy-next-door type she’s always ignored in favor of the reckless bad boys who inevitably wind up breaking her heart. But one night with Becks, as Haddie calls him, is far from the no-strings fling Haddie was looking for, because afterward, she can’t get him out of her head.

Beckett is no better off, and Bromberg gives a look at the male’s point of view by offering him a few first-person chapters. The technique brings both voices vividly to life and allows the reader to see just how much blonde, bubbly Haddie has affected Becks, who suspects from the start that something serious is lurking under her party-girl facade. 

But what begins as a sexy romp—and continues that way, given the chemistry between Haddie and Becks—develops into something deeper early on. Bromberg isn’t afraid to address the kind of sobering issues that young women face, even if Haddie is. Haddie rarely thinks farther than the quick remedy of sensation—which sex with Becks admirably fulfills—to blot out worry and grief. It’s a time-honored panacea, but one that only works for so long.

Thinking past the present moment will only lead to acknowledging just how much can be lost.

And Becks is what Haddie calls a “forever” kind of guy. The kind who might want more than one steamy night between the sheets and who will expect a little more emotional honesty than “make me feel good.” But Haddie can’t do forever, not when both her mother and sister have been claimed by breast cancer. Thinking past the present moment will only lead to acknowledging just how much can be lost. In Haddie’s mind, “caring leads to devastation.” 

Bromberg gives Haddie’s voice plenty of humor and snark, but the brave face Haddie puts on every day masks real fear. And when Haddie herself is faced with a frightening diagnosis, she’s forced to face her future—and how she wants to spend it.

The romance serves up the physical intimacy between Haddie and Becks with lots of spice, but it never shortchanges the true emotion that underlies their developing relationship. In the end, Slow Burn is a perfect balance of heat and heart, and another fantastic addition to Bromberg’s Driven series.

Amy Garvey is a freelance editor and the author of several romances and two novels for young adults. 

“Time is precious. Waste it wisely.” Haddie Montgomery can’t forget those words after her beloved sister dies, but she can’t get far enough past her grief to think about anything more than the next moment. In K. Bromberg’s Slow Burn, burying the pain of loss in a whirl of high spirits, stiff drinks and hot sex is Haddie’s modus operandi—at least at first.

Dani Pettrey is back with the fifth heart-pounding installment of her Alaskan Courage series, Sabotaged. Once again, the close-knit McKenna clan joins forces in the face of danger, trusting in God to give them the strength to survive.

Set against the excitement of the Iditarod—the storied long-distance sled dog race run from Anchorage to Nome every year since 1973—Pettrey’s latest novel focuses on blond, brawny Reef McKenna, the black sheep of the family and prim and proper Kirra Jacobs, a veterinarian and the owner of a shelter for rescued sled dogs. As volunteers on the Iditarod search and rescue team, they’ve been paired to watch for mushers who are lagging or in trouble. And Reef, who has witnessed the romantic developments of his siblings, wonders if his family has something to do with team assignments—he and Kirra might be an improbable couple, but the attraction between them sparkles like new-fallen snow.

“Improbable” is an understatement, at least as the story opens. Kirra is an only child whose parents have fled Alaska for warmer climes, leaving Kirra to nurse a deep emotional wound that sets her apart from the easy camaraderie of the McKennas. Reef, on the other hand, is an adrenaline junkie who thrives on thrills, especially when they keep him from looking too hard at the choices he’s made in his life. Complete opposites, their only real connection comes from their love of the Alaskan landscape and the winter sports that keep them outside in the bracing air.

 Faced with a matter of life and death, Kirra and Reef are forced to work together, discarding their old perceptions of each other as they begin to discover the people they truly are. 

But as each of them will learn, God has another plan for them, one that draws them together in ways neither ever could have imagined, forcing them to rely on each other to survive. Just days into the race, Kirra realizes her uncle is hours past the time he should have arrived at the nearest checkpoint, and she sets out to find him. Reef has no intention of letting her go it alone, but when they reach what Kirra knows is one of Uncle Frank’s favorite resting spots, they’re shocked to discover that the situation is more serious than they’d imagined.

Men have kidnapped Frank’s daughter, Meg—Kirra’s cousin—and are holding her hostage until Frank completes a task for them. Desperate to save his child’s life, Frank is willing to do whatever he has to, even if the consequences are dire for the Alaskan wilderness. That leaves Kirra determined to find her cousin before Frank reaches the finish line in Nome and Reef vowing to help her every step of the way.

Packed with scenes featuring the extended McKenna clan, the story rushes on as breathlessly as the race itself, but action and excitement are only part of the plot. Faced with a matter of life and death, Kirra and Reef are forced to work together, discarding their old perceptions of each other as they begin to discover the people they truly are. And both of them rely on their relationship with God to navigate both the storm-swept trail and their own feelings.

As the conclusion to the Alaskan Courage series, Sabotaged is a breathtaking read and a satisfying goodbye to a beloved cast of characters. Readers are sure to be excited for Pettrey’s new series.           

Dani Pettrey is back with the fifth heart-pounding installment of her Alaskan Courage series, Sabotaged. Once again, the close-knit McKenna clan joins forces in the face of danger, trusting in God to give them the strength to survive.

Tracy Solheim begins her Second Chances series with Back to Before, a multi-layered romance set in the aptly named town of Chances Inlet, North Carolina. A coastal community with charm to spare and the kind of small-town dynamics that mean gossip is a simple fact of life, Chances Inlet is home to the McAllister clan and the historic house that Gavin McAllister is renovating for a reality show.

The house itself is ripe for another shot at a source of happiness. Built in 1820 for an Englishman’s bride who died en route to America, its magnificence has suffered from years of neglect. Its restoration is the center around which all of the characters revolve, in one way or another, and those characters create a richly detailed, intergenerational cast.

First is Gavin, an architect whose dreams of a big-city career in New York have been put on hold while he salvages the family construction business from disaster after his father’s death. Then there’s Ginger Walsh, a dancer whose dreams of a life as a ballerina were derailed by an accident, and whose part in a popular soap opera has townspeople convinced she’s just as conniving and bratty as her soap character. She’s in Chances Inlet strictly to earn some cash as a production assistant on the renovation reality show, and she’s counting down the days till she can leave.

The way Gavin and Ginger fall for each other—and what happens after they do—makes Back to Before as refreshing as the North Carolina surf.

Gavin and Ginger make a truly unlikely couple, but from the day they first meet, the attraction between them sizzles. Gavin’s not looking for love—his fiancée dumped him days before their wedding earlier in the year—and Ginger’s unsure about tangling with the “star” of the show, but as circumstances force them together again and again, the heat crackling between them is hard to deny. But could it be more? Solheim does a great job creating characters with realistic goals as well as obstacles, and Gavin and Ginger’s status as a couple is never a foregone conclusion. 

The same realism gives great texture to the supporting characters. Gavin’s mother, Patricia, is enjoying running an inn, but she feels guilty about her romance with the new sheriff after so many years as her husband’s wife. A born mother, she also takes in “strays” like Cassidy Burroughs, a goth teen from a trailer park with attitude to spare who needs a chance to make friends. Lori Hunt, one of Patricia’s employees at the inn, is clearly hiding from something or someone in her past. Even Diesel Gold, the reality show’s inexperienced producer, is licking his wounds and hoping to finally make his father proud. 

Gavin and Ginger are the funny and flirty focus of the book. The way they fall for each other—and what happens after they do—makes Back to Before as refreshing as the North Carolina surf, and just as rewarding.  

Amy Garvey is a freelance editor and the author of several romances and two novels for young adults. 

Tracy Solheim begins her Second Chances series with Back to Before, a multi-layered romance set in the aptly named town of Chances Inlet, North Carolina. A coastal community with charm to spare and the kind of small-town dynamics that mean gossip is a simple fact of life, Chances Inlet is home to the McAllister clan and the historic house that Gavin McAllister is renovating for a reality show.

There is nothing like a Regency romance novel when you are in need of proper manners, steaming cups of tea and English village intrigue. Julie Klassen delivers just that with The Secret of Pembrooke Park, a thought-provoking novel that explores the definition of treasure—in God’s eyes and in man’s. Klassen has combined all kinds of reader-favorite elements in this mystery romance, including a grand estate, inscrutable villagers, a family tragedy and the first sweet buds of a love story.

Abigail Foster is partly to blame for her father’s investment misfortune, but she is determined to salvage something of a normal life for her parents and sister, Louisa, even if it means selling their home and moving elsewhere. A letter about a distant relative’s estate, Pembrooke Park, seems like a godsend, but it comes with several strange stipulations.

Abigail is the older sister, as well as the plain, practical one, and she is willing to face any challenge to keep her family happy. While her mother takes Louisa off to London for her first season, Abigail is left to organize the move to Pembrooke Park, where they must stay for at least a year with an already hired staff. It is an uncommon offer, but Abigail convinces her father to take it—even after learning the house has been left completely untouched for 18 years.

The mystery deepens upon arrival. Rumors of a hidden treasure in the house abound, and Abigail begins to receive strange letters from a woman recounting her own experience at the Park years before. Ominous noises, secretive staff and fleeting, hooded figures all add to the mystery and keep Abigail on her toes as she tries to uncover the truth behind her new home.

Complicating matters further is the presence of Will Chapman, the local curate and the son of a man who worked faithfully for Robert Pembrooke. Will is friendly and helpful, and he is just as interested in Abigail as she is in him. In the first weeks of the Fosters’ residence at Pembrooke Park, Abigail is drawn to the intriguing young man time and again. Yet Abigail remains focused on not only solving the mystery surrounding the house and its former residents, but also proving her worth to her family by finding the hidden treasure.

The result is a satisfying story that unfolds at a mild pace, giving Abigail plenty of time to reflect on the Bible lessons that Will imparts each week. Klassen’s message of the meaning of treasure is both sweet and valuable, especially for modern readers, and romance abounds among the many characters. The Secret of Pembrooke Park is a gem for Regency and inspirational readers alike.            

 

Amy Garvey is a freelance editor and the author of several romances and two novels for young adults. 

There’s nothing like a Regency romance novel when you’re in need of proper manners, steaming cups of tea and English village intrigue. Julie Klassen delivers just that with The Secret of Pembrooke Park, a thought-provoking novel that explores the definition of treasure—in God’s eyes and in man’s.

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