★ A Lady’s Guide to Scandal
A young widow gets a second chance at happiness in A Lady’s Guide to Scandal by Sophie Irwin. After a miserable 10-year marriage, Eliza, Lady Somerset, is finally free—and rich, if she can keep the Somerset name scandal-free. That seems easy enough for the timid and soft-spoken Eliza, but when latent desires arise, she travels to Bath to take up a paintbrush and take in some of what society has to offer . . . including the attentions of the wicked Lord Melville. The plot thickens with the return of Eliza’s first love, who has never forgotten her. With two such attractive yet different men vying for her heart, can Eliza break old habits, be her own person and reach for what she truly wants? This kisses-only tale is a delight, and readers will be guessing just who Eliza finds her happy ever after with until the very end.
A Rulebook for Restless Rogues
Two old friends become more in Jess Everlee’s Victorian romance A Rulebook for Restless Rogues. David Forester and Noah Clarke have been friends ever since David appointed himself Noah’s protector in boarding school. David now runs The Curious Fox, a queer club in London, and he still looks after Noah, a talented tailor who spends some nights as his alter ego, Miss Penelope Primrose. David cares for all the patrons of his club and tries to keep them safe in a time when they could be jailed or worse. When The Curious Fox’s owner threatens to shut it down, David’s life is thrown off balance just as he realizes his feelings for Noah might go beyond friendship. Readers will sympathize with the difficulties David and Noah face dealing with the law, their families and the risk of changing their long-standing relationship in this sweet and satisfying romance.
Play to Win
Play to Win by Jodie Slaughter offers up a delicious premise: Stuck-in-a-rut nail tech Miriam Butler wins millions in the lottery—but for legal reasons, she has to alert her estranged husband, construction worker Leo Vaughn. Miriam offers Leo a generous lump sum to sign divorce papers. But this new opportunity gives Leo a chance to rethink his life, and he realizes his love for Miriam never died. Can they make a second chance work? Of course it’s delightful to imagine an end to financial problems, but Slaughter shows that Miriam and Leo still have to overcome the identity issues and expectations that once broke them apart. Told in their no-holds-barred voices, this romance is sexually frank, starkly intimate and often sizzling.