by Denise Little
It’s been raining men down here in Houston, or at least good romances. Many of my favorite writers are among the new and upcoming books of the season.
If you haven’t read Patricia Briggs, you should. She writes the Mercy Thompson and the Alpha and Omega series. She’s categorized as a science fiction writer, but I haven’t seen such sharp and emotional writing in a series in years. Her newest outing, Silence Fallen (Ace/Penguin Publishing Group, March 7, 2017) follows Mercy Thompson into lonely terror, unable to call on her husband, Adam, or the werewolf pack he leads. It’s a journey well worth taking.
J.R. Ward has a new release in her Black Dagger series. The Chosen (Black Dagger #15, Ballantine Books/Random House, April 4, 2017) follows the exploits of Xcor, head of the Band of Bastards, as his life reaches a crossroads. He expects to die under torture at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. His only real regret is that he will never again see Layla, whom he’s loved from afar for years. What he doesn’t know is that Layla loves him, too, maybe enough to risk everything, including her life and her culture, to save him.
Julia London has the third book in her Highland Grooms series, and it’s a beauty. Hard-Hearted Highlander (Harlequin, April 25, 2017) tells the tale of Robbie Mackenzie, a Scottish highlander forced into a dynastic engagement with an eligible Englishwoman. The pity of his situation is he doesn’t want to wed one of the English at all, but if he did, he’d much rather wed her chaperone, the spirited and clever Bernadette Holly. Bernadette is opposed to the marriage, and determined to end matters. Before she’s finished with her plotting, she finds herself all too attracted to this thoroughly unsuitable man. It’s one of the best by an excellent historical writer.
Johanna Lindsey is another historical mainstay, and continues a long reign as one of romance’s leading ladies with Beautiful Tempest (Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster, July 11, 2017). It follows Jacqueline Mallory, the beloved daughter of James Mallory, once a scourge of the high seas known as Captain Hawk. (Lindsey lovers, aren’t you excited now?) These days his daughter considers him to be depressingly staid and correct. He’s dumped her in London for a Season, and she’s not having it. But her plans to get even with her father crash and burn when she becomes involved with someone who really wants to tangle with him—and is willing to drag every last Mallory back onto the high seas to do it. Including the beautiful Jacqueline….
Suzanne Brockman hits with #19 in her Troubleshooters series, Some Kind of Hero (Ballantine Books/Random House, July 11, 2017). Brimming with suspense, special ops agents, and enough sexual tension to fire up the military without the benefit of hard weapons (or not those weapons!), it’s a crackerjack read.
Stephanie Laurens begins a new series with The Lady By His Side (Savdek Management Pty Ltd/Blackstone Audio Ltd, March 9, 2017). This one is set in a historical house party of an Irish peer where a murderer plies his trade and not all the high-born guests are exactly what they seem. With a thoroughly gothic setting, Laurens delivers both a tightly written spy story and a lush and unexpected romance. Very nice.
Linda Lael Miller returns with a new Carson brother novel, this one featuring Mace Carson. In Forever a Hero (Harlequin, March 21, 2017), he doesn’t consider himself a hero, but there’s no denying he had once saved the life of Kelly Wright. Still, he hasn’t laid eyes on her for years. Now she’s squarely in his way, trying to buy the business he sweated bullets to nurture. Nobody ever thought that he’d make a go of a winery in cattle country, but he has. Things are going great for him, until their shared past comes back to bite them both.
Christine Feehan returns to Chicago with Shadow Reaper (Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group, May 30, 2017). Shadow rider Ricci Ferraro has given up on finding the woman who can match him, when fate throws her right in his path. Only problem is she has a past even darker than his own and is on the run for her life.
Kresley Cole, queen of the “bad boy” hero, is back, and this time she’s pulling her hero straight from hell. In Wicked Abyss (Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster, April 25, 2017), the king of hell is on a rampage. The woman who crossed him millennia ago has been reincarnated, and he’s determined to exact his revenge this time. But he may have finally met his match in Calliope Barbot. Pulling masterfully from tropes as old as Persephone and Brothers Grimm, Cole lets her beast rampage until he learns to love.
In a nice pairing of the Crime/Suspense and Paranormal Romance genres, Brenda Jackson returns to her Protector series. In this second outing, Seized by Seduction (Harlequin, April 25, 2017), bodyguard Quasar Patterson is determined to protect Dr. Randi Fuller. She's a renowned psychic investigator who can foresee danger for others, but not for herself. She finds herself in the middle of a gang’s rivalry, with only Quasar standing between her and certain death. But will she drag him into the deadly situation if she lets him into her life? If she does, who is protecting whom?
It’s a dive into the Amish community in Marta Perry’s Echo of Danger (Harlequin, April 25, 2017). A young Amish widow faces threats from within her community and outside of it as well. Deidre Morris isn’t sure if she can trust lawyer Jase Glassman, but she knows that if she can’t, her family and her life are on the line.
Maisey Yates’ Slow Burn Cowboy (Harlequin, April 18, 2017), is a charming story of a rancher who’s wanted the girl next door for far too long. Finn Donnelly has been ignoring his feelings for Lane Jensen for years, until the breaking point finally arrives. His brothers are heading home to Copper Ridge, and he could lose the woman he loves if he doesn’t take action. But after all this time, will she want him back?
Copyright © 2017 by Denise Little.
Heart's Kiss Magazine
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