Cooler autumn days and the Halloween holiday mean it's the perfect time to curl up and read stories filled with warm romance and spooky mysteries. Life is short—savor the variety in these three wildly different romance novels.
Utah author Nancy Campbell Allen delivers a unique take on a classic fairy tale with Beauty And The Clockwork Beast. In a steampunk version of Victorian England, intrepid botanist Lucy Pickett takes a much-deserved break from her research at London’s Botanical Aid Society to visit her cousin. The newly married cousin Kate is struggling to adjust to life at Blackwell Manor, the home of her husband’s older brother, Miles Blake, Lord Blackwell. When Lucy arrives, she finds her cousin suffering from a mysterious ennui and fearful of a ghost in the Manor. There have been two recent deaths in the family, both violent, and gossip implies Lord Blackwell was somehow responsible. When Lucy meets Miles, however, she finds him intriguing rather than frightening, and she’s drawn to his intelligence and caring heart, which is hidden beneath his brooding, abrupt manner.
When the evil threatening Blackwell Manor escalates, the two must join forces to unravel a complicated web of secrets, lies and hidden agendas. In the process, Lucy and Miles fall in love, but Miles has a secret, and a happy future may not be in the cards for the couple.
This wonderful novel is filled with romance, action and adventure. The story boasts a strong hero and heroine, a darkly atmospheric setting, intriguing steampunk details and the mystery of a few spooky ghosts, vampires and werewolves. Readers will eagerly await the next novel in what promises to be an excellent series.
SECRETS THAT DON'T STAY BURIED
Yasmine Galenorn heads to the Pacific Northwest in Shadow Silence, the second in the Whisper Hollow series. Spirit shaman Kerris Fellwater has returned to Whisper Hollow, a small lakeside town on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington that’s steeped in magic and strange happenings. Aided by Bryan, her guardian and lover, Kerris works diligently to fulfill her destiny and send the undead to the afterlife.
Too often, however, the voraciously hungry Lady of the Lake lures Whisper Hollow residents to their watery deaths, making Kerris' job all the more difficult. But the Lady goes too far when she almost takes Kerris’ best friend, Peggin. Now Peggin is under a curse, and the restless spirits of the Unliving are determined to reclaim her. Kerris refuses to lose Peggin, and aided by Bryan, she sets out to break the curse and free her friend. But their efforts lead to them to long-buried secrets, and if the two can’t resolve the mystery, all of Whisper Hollow may be lost.
Galenorn has created an intriguing world, with legends, ghosts, a moody atmosphere and specters aplenty—read this one with the light on.
AN ENCHANTED COTTAGE
Kate Angell, Jennifer Dawson and Sharla Lovelace collaborate on a trilogy of romantic stories in The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine. All three stories are set during the magical month of October at Rose Cottage, a charming bed-and-breakfast in Maine.
In Kate Angell’s “Charmed By You,” party decorator Grace hires handsome Cade Maxwell’s moving company to help her set up the extensive Halloween decorations at her beloved godmother’s bed-and-breakfast. Grace and Cade have known each other since kindergarten, but something about getting up close and personal while stringing lights and arranging pumpkins, witches and scarecrows has the two getting hot and bothered. Local legend says that couples fall in love at the annual Rose Cottage Halloween party, but could it really be happening to them?
Jennifer Dawson gives readers a friends-to-lovers tale in “Mesmerized By You,” in which best friends Chloe and Jack plan a weekend getaway to Rose Cottage over Halloween, where the magic of the Rose Cottage Halloween party has them rethinking whether they’ve ever been “just friends.”
In “Enchanted By You" by Sharla Lovelace, attorney Sidney Jensen heads to Moonbright, Maine, for work, where she never expected to run into Sawyer Finn, the boy who broke her heart many years ago. Will Sawyer and the Rose Cottage revelers be able to convince her to give him a second chance and stay forever with him in Moonbright?
This delicious anthology has all the elements romance readers love with the added pleasure of a touch of magic. The small-town setting, the charming owner of the bed-and-breakfast and three sets of very different heroes and heroines make this collection a keeper.
Lois Dyer writes from her home in Port Orchard, Washington