Travel to the Georgian era, outer space and the Old West in May's best new romances.
★ The Rakess
Seraphina Arden, a notorious women’s rights advocate, retreats to Cornwall to write about the past that “ruined” her in Scarlett Peckham’s passionate Georgian romance, The Rakess. Widower Adam Anderson is an architect with ambitions, and consorting with a scandalous woman might hinder his goal of securing a good life for his young children. So Seraphina and Adam embark on a secret affair to assuage their mutual hunger. Their appetites are lustily described, but it’s how their hearts are affected that will keep the reader turning the pages. Peppered with Seraphina’s well-reasoned arguments on gender relations, Peckham’s print debut is unique, dramatic and vastly entertaining.
Strap in for a rollicking ride with Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet. Tess Bailey and Shade Ganavan continue their quest to thwart the evil Galactic Overseer. The pair encounters challenging and surprising obstacles as old friends and old enemies pop up to create problems or become unlikely allies. And while Tess and Shade share a bed, issues still cast doubt on their romantic future. Tess learns of secrets from her past, and Shade must accept that he can never return to his previous life. This is a high-octane adventure with life-and-death stakes. Sci-fi romance must satisfy on many levels, and Bouchet proves she’s up to the task. Her characters are witty and wise, and her world building is first-rate.
Stages of the Heart
Jo Goodman’s Stages of the Heart is rich in detail and plot. Laurel Morrison—independent, tough and determined—manages a station that provides meals and accommodations along the stagecoach route. When a mine’s payroll goes missing from her station, she needs to solve the mystery to ensure her success. Enter quintessential Western hero McCall Landry, a laconic man with steely nerves and a shadowed past. McCall is looking for work and takes on the task of determining who stole the strongbox from the stagecoach. The couple is intrigued and attracted, but Laurel doesn’t expect forever—maybe McCall’s just passing through. The author of some 50 books, Goodman has a true storyteller’s voice that will have you feeling the dust on your boots and the wind in your hair.
Christie Ridgway is a lifelong romance reader and a published romance novelist of over 60 books.