★ Angel in a Devil’s Arms
Scandal and passion go hand in hand in Julie Anne Long’s historical romance Angel in a Devil’s Arms. Angelique Breedlove believes she’s escaped her past and her bad luck with men. Then Lucien Durand, the bastard son of a duke, walks into her boarding house. After being presumed dead for a decade, Lucien has revenge on his mind, but the lovely Angelique just might distract him from his goal. Their attraction could lead to trouble, so the pair strive for a friendship that perhaps brings them closer than if they’d become lovers. Yet their every encounter shimmers with sensuality. Readers will sigh as Angelique and Lucien share their emotional wounds, and well-drawn supporting characters serve as an amusing counterpoint to the poignant central narrative. Filled with deep longing, this story is a stellar example of the genre.
The Devil in the Saddle
A Texas princess falls for a contemporary cowboy in The Devil in the Saddle by Julia London. When her wedding is canceled due to her cheating fiancé, Hallie Prince finds a friendly face in her childhood friend, ex-Army Ranger Rafe Fontana. Rafe has been in love with Hallie forever but assumed he never had a chance with the town’s golden girl. What follows is a slow-building friends-to-lovers romance, the tension provided by two cautious hearts. London’s characters are good people with grown-up problems, and readers will root for them to take a chance on each other. This is an emotionally mature modern-day romance with a touch of Texas sparkle.
This Earl of Mine
A book that begins with a Regency heiress seeking a bridegroom in Newgate Prison promises daring adventure, and Kate Bateman gives readers just what they’re looking for in This Earl of Mine. Georgiana Caversteed seeks to secure her inheritance by marrying a man sentenced to death. However, Benedict Wylde, coerced by his jailers to marry the beauty, is actually an aristocratic Bow Street agent in disguise. Later, upon meeting at a London society gathering, Benedict’s identity is revealed—and sparks fly. The fast-paced plot still finds room for sensual romance to blossom, and charismatic, roguish secondary characters abound. This Earl of Mine is pure fun.