Sometimes a romance starts with honest-to-god love at first sight. But other times, a pair doesn’t exactly start off strong. In the three titles we’ve chosen for you this month, each couple begins with mixed feelings, unsure if a fairy-tale ending is even possible. Fortunately for readers, the journey is oh-so-satisfying.
Third-generation rancher and rodeo competitor Kari Lynn Dell returns readers to the world of professional rodeo in Tougher in Texas, the third book in her Texas Rodeo series. Independent, sassy and tough, beautiful rodeo competitor Shawnee Pickett is the opposite of tall, dark and intense producer Cole Jacobs. He has his hands full keeping Jacobs Livestock horses and bulls performing at top level for contracted rodeos. The last thing Cole wanted was to deal with Shawnee on his team. Shawnee has known Cole and his family for years, and has always enjoyed teasing the stoic cowboy. Now that they’re working closely on a daily basis, however, she learns there’s much more to him than a hard body and a handsome face. Should she give in to the lure of temptation and sleep with Cole? They both have trust issues from traumatic events in their pasts, and given how close their family ties are, hooking up could damage those relationships. But despite both of their efforts to keep the other at arm’s length, they’re irresistibly drawn together. But when Cole learns the truth about the big secret she’s been keeping, will he still want her?
The rodeo setting rings with authenticity and vibrant color, and the hero and heroine are layered and well-developed, their relationship romantic and realistic with lots of sexual tension. This latest in a unique, stellar series is sure to send readers racing to download the other novels in the series, Reckless in Texas and Tangled in Texas.
HOW TO PLAN A KILLER WEDDING
Canadian author Casey Griffin brings readers a lighthearted blend of love and mystery with A Wedding Tail, the third novel in her Rescue Dog Romance series. Cynical wedding planner Zoe Plum plans perfect weddings for happy couples. After her groom left her waiting at the altar six years earlier, she locked her battered heart behind a wall and avoided involvement with men. When handsome, romantic musician Levi Dolson serves as a last-minute groomsman for a wedding party, Zoe is definitely attracted to him. Unfortunately for Levi, she’s equally determined not to acknowledge how she feels.
Focused, deceptively easygoing Levi is committed to prying the real Zoe out from behind the happily single facade she shows the world. He’s convinced she’s the woman for him, but can’t get her to admit that their connection goes beyond the physical. He easily charms her cute little dachshund Freddy, but Zoe isn’t as easily swayed.
When a series of assaults on Zoe’s business, wedding parties and vehicle threaten her safety, she’s shaken and turns to Levi for help. Coping with the puzzling and mysterious threats draws them closer together, and when all seems lost, Levi and Freddy are all that stand between Zoe and danger. What’s a girl to do when confronted with a gorgeous man and an adorable dog determined to rescue her from both evil intent and not-so-happy singlehood? Could Zoe be ready to plan her own wedding?
This quirky, often hilarious novel boasts a charming cast of characters, buttressed by a solid mystery plot and plenty of sexual tension.
ONE SULTRY SUMMER
Harper Sloan hits it out of the park with Kiss My Boots, the second novel in her Coming Home series. Beautiful Quinn Davis lives life on her own terms in her small Texas hometown. She fell in love with Tate Montgomery when they were only teenagers, and when he returned to Georgia to go to college, he promised to love her forever. Then he stopped taking her calls and letters. He broke her heart, and she’s never forgiven him. When Tate returns unexpectedly, taking up his late grandfather’s medical practice, Quinn is determined to ignore him.
Tate had valid reasons for breaking contact with the only girl he ever loved. Now those reasons are gone, and he’s damned if he’ll let anything stand between him and Quinn. He knows he’ll have to grovel, probably beg and certainly explain what happened to Quinn and her two very protective older brothers. Quinn’s heart has always belonged to Tate, but after the long years of separation, can she trust him again? She’s grown accustomed to days without him, but now that he’s back, every hour they spend apart feels like weeks. Is there any hope they can move past old hurts to find a happy future together, or will he break her fragile heart a second time?
This steamy novel is all about second chances and learning to trust again. The honorable hero and heroine, charming small-town setting and endearing secondary characters are certain to garner more readers for Sloan.
Lois Dyer writes from her home in Port Orchard, Washington.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Go Behind the Book with Kari Lynn Dell.