Archive for New Romance Books
Julie Garwood has a new book out featuring yet another feisty heroine. Regular readers should be familiar with Garwood’s brand of romantic suspense that skirts around topical issues, while remaining light and entertaining. Sweet Talk features IRS agent Olivia MacKenzie. Olivia is in the middle of trying to bring down a Ponzi scheme, when she stumbles into an FBI sting. FBI agent Grayson Kincaid has to intervene to save the young attorney, and in so doing, throws away months of work and ruins months of work. Despite his partner’s ire at Olivia for inadvertently destroying their sting operation, Grayson finds himself drawn to the tough young woman whose drive to bring down the perpetrators of the Ponzi scheme have roots in her own past. And when there are attempts on Olivia’s life as she delves deeper into her investigation, it’s Grayson who she turns to for help. While not technically a part of the Buchanan series, there are links between Kincaid and the characters from Garwood’s earlier romantic suspense books.
Contemporary romance superstar Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) has been pulling out the stops in preparation to the release of her new book, The Great Escape, on July 10. It’s a follow up to her earlier book, Call Me Irresistible, in which we first met Lucy Jorik, the heroine in The Great Escape. At the start of Call Me Irresistible, we find out the Lucy is the daughter of the former President of the United States. She was just about to marry Ted Beaudine, just the most perfect of men, but got cold feet. With the support of her best friend Meg, Lucy does a runner, and disappears just before the wedding, leaving Mr Perfect at the altar. Call Me Irresistible then goes on to tell the story of how Meg marries Ted in the end… but what about Lucy?
Well of course, SEP loves a happy ending, and so Lucy gets her happy ever after in The Great Escape. The story begins with Lucy hopping onto the back of a stranger’s battered motorcycle. The man’s ill-tempered, rough looking, and horribly rude… but somehow fascinating. He’s the perfect accomplice for Lucy’s search for adventure after being perfect for so many years, and the unlikely pair go on a road trip and end up at the man’s beach house on an island on the Great Lakes – and find their perfect ending. Find out more about the book from SEP herself in this video. The Great Escape is now available for pre-order, and will be released on July 10.
It’s a rather long road trip for Lucy before she gets to her perfect ending, but it’s worth it.
Despite being incredibly busy with the launch of her new book, Gina’s been kind enough to write a guest post for our lucky readers here on BestRomanceStories.com. Read on to find out Gina’s thoughts on why spy stories (and yes, spy romances like Diamonds Are Truly Forever!) are so popular.
Why We Love Spies — Every One of us is One!
by Gina Robinson
Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.
–from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.
– from Emma by Jane Austen
Jane Austen is one of my all-time favorite authors. I’ve often wished I possessed half her wit. She was such an astute observer of human behavior. For Mother’s Day, my children gave me a book of her witticisms. Since I also love spies and spying, the two quotes above particularly stood out to me. What makes spy stories so universally appealing? Jane Austen had the answer–whether we realize it or not, each of us is one.
Who hasn’t spied on a neighbor when something suspicious or interesting is happening next door? Maybe just peeked through the curtain to make sure that truck that’s just pulled up in their driveway isn’t robbing our neighbors of everything they own. Or checked out that suspicious car that’s driven down our street three times in the last half hour. Aren’t all neighborhood block watches based on all of us using our powers of observation?
Who hasn’t eavesdropped on a conversation in a restaurant or at the store, maybe in the office? Sometimes accidentally, sometimes not. In the age of cell phones it’s practically impossible not to hear at least one side of many strangers’ conversations. But often enough we keep our ear cocked intentionally to get the lay of the land around us. Which way are the political winds blowing in the office? Who will get that promotion and become our next boss?
Most of us stay within the bounds of socially accepted spying. But haven’t we all said at one time or another, “I’d just love to be a fly on that wall.” That’s what spies are–flies on dangerous walls, in tight spots, fighting the good fight. Going beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary. To places we can only imagine ourselves going with gadgets we wish we had. Using their wit and showing exemplary courage. And that’s why we love reading about them. At their core, spy stories are stories about human behavior and idiosyncrasies. They’re stories about us.
Today is the official release date of my second Agent Ex novel, Diamonds Are Truly Forever. I couldn’t be more excited. I love writing spy romances and delving into aspects of the spying life we may not think about every day. Thanks so much to Sharon for having me as her guest this month. It’s been awesome.
Spy on, everyone!
Title: The Last Boyfriend (Book 2 of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy)
Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hot on the heels of her 200th book The Witness, Nora Roberts is back with The Last Boyfriend, the second book in her Inn Trilogy. Like the first book in the trilogy (The Next Always), The Last Boyfriend is set in BoonsBoro, a small town in Maryland. In the earlier book, brothers Owen, Beckett, and Ryder rebuilt the historic BoonsBoro Inn. Beckett already has his happy ever after, and now it’s Owen’s turn. Owen’s all about checklists and budgets. He’s incredibly organized, and is the man who whips everything into shape to make sure that the Inn opens on time. But Owen’s on a crash course with the much more spontaneous Avery McTavish, the owner of Vesta Pizzeria, the pizza place that sits kitty corner from the Inn. Avery and Owen have known each other since they were kids – Avery even had Owen for her first boyfriend (at age five!) They liked each other as children – and now they’re ready to continue their relationship, this time as adults!
Title: Crystal Gardens
Author: Amanda Quick
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
You can’t really ever go wrong with Amanda Quick (the pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz). Her latest venture is a Victorian paranormal romance, and the first in a series featuring heroines with psychic powers. (Shades of the Arcane Society books here, but the series is called Ladies of Lantern Street.) Evangeline Ames is a powerful psychic who works for the exclusive private investigation firm Flint and Marsh. (The firm is located on Lantern Street, hence the series name.) She often conducts her investigations under cover, in the guise of a paid companion. Evie decides to get away from London to a small cottage in the country to recuperate from an attack linked to one of her investigations. Her cottage is close to the Crystal Gardens, which is a repository of significant paranormal energy. When there’s another attempt on her life, she flees the would-be assassin and seeks refuge in the Crystal Gardens where she runs into Lucas Sebastian. A wealthy aristocrat with a checkered past, Lucas has only recently inherited the Crystal Gardens and his uncle’s country estate. He’s convinced that his uncle dies of foul play, and not a heart attack, and is at the estate to catch the killer. When he saves Evie from the attack, the two start to realize that his uncle’s killer, and the person behind the attacks on Evie could be one and the same.
If you’re a lover of romance novels, then you must know Eleanor Marie Robertson. What’s that? Never heard of her? Oh silly me. You’ll probably know her better as Nora Roberts, or as J.D. Robb, the pen-name that she uses for her “In Death” series.
Nora Roberts was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. Her first book was published some 31 years ago in 1980, and her latest book, The Witness, is her 200th. (For trivia lovers out there, her 100th book was Montana Sky.) 200 is an amazing number… I’m reliably told that James Patterson has only written 93 (and there’ve been complaints about the quality of the more recent books at that) and Danielle Steele only 84.
Let’s do the Math. Assuming that she’s been writing for 31 years, that works out to just under 7 books a year. Clearly Roberts has to be extremely disciplined to be so prolific… and in fact she is. According to reports, Roberts labors over one book at a time, and writes eight hours a day, every day, even while on vacation. And it’s not as if Roberts books are cookie-cutter replicas of each other. Roberts’ books remain consistently high-quality, with plots and characters that are unique and original.
Roberts wasn’t always a writer, but at the age of 29, while stuck at home with her two young sons in the middle of a snowstorm, Roberts suddenly realized that writing was her calling. The next year, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred came out. Today, Roberts’ books are a shoo-in for the bestsellers lists, and there are more than 400 million copies of her books in print. Some of her most popular books have been made in movies for the Lifetime channel, and all over the world, fans gush about her latest works.
Speaking of her latest work, The Witness (now available for purchase) is a contemporary romantic suspense. The heroine, Abigail Lowery, lives just outside a small town in the Ozards. She’s a freelance programmer who designs security systems, and who’s strangely wary of people around her. In fact, Brooks Gleason town’s police chief is intrigued by the unusual amount of attention she pays to her personal security – she has a dog who’ll protect her, and firearms for those who aren’t scared off by the dog. He’s even further intrigued by how little she reveals about herself, and how cynical she is about love. He’s convinced she needs protection – even if he doesn’t know what she needs to be protected from. Whatever it is, Brooks thinks that he’s clearly the one for the job.
No doubt, The Witness will be yet winner for the legions of Nora Roberts fans, who’ll continue to support her until she puts out her 300th novel. The energetic 61-year-old Roberts continues to churn out books at an amazing rate. Based on her current rate of output, that should happen sometime around 2032, when Roberts is in her 80s.
Title: About that Night
Author: Julie James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
If you read my earlier blog post There’s Something About “Something About You”, you’ll already know that I’m a big fan of Julie James. About that Night is James’ third and latest addition to her FBI/US Attorney series, and it is, if anything, even better than Something About You and its successor A Lot Like Love.
If you’ve read A Lot Like Love, you won’t be a stranger to Kyle “The Twitter Terrorist” Rhodes, who made an appearance as a supporting character in that book. Kyle gets his own book with About that Night. Kyle and our heroine, Rylann Pierce, first met nine years ago at a college bar. Sparks flew, and there was some harmless flirtation and scintillating conversation. Kyle ended up walking Rylann home, and asking her out on a date the next day. Unfortunately, the date doesn’t take place due to a tragedy in Kyle’s family, and although Rylann is disappointed, she understands… but she’s never forgotten Kyle.
Nine years later, Kyle and Rylann meet again under somewhat inauspicious circumstances. Rylann’s moving home to Chicago to escape a failed relationship, and to take up a position as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA). Rylann’s boss (Cameron Lynde, see Something About You) decides to give her a nice easy case to get her feet wet, and sends her to deal with the Twitter Terrorist (a.k.a. Kyle). Kyle, the son of a billionaire, and a top executive at his father’s IT firm, had it all going for him, until he was dumped on Twitter by his model girlfriend… which led to the chain of events that gave him his unfortunate moniker. In one night of drunken stupidity, Kyle hacked into Twitter and took the site down for two days – earning the ire of Twitter users around the world, and worse still, the FBI. Once Kyle sobered up, he turned himself in, and was sentenced to 18 months at a maximum security prison. It’s a harsh sentence, but then the previous US Attorney wanted to make an example of Kyle. Fortunately, Kyle’s twin sister Jordan negotiated a reduction of his sentence to time served (see A Lot Like Love), and all Rylann has to do is to make sure the arrangement is approved by a Judge.
Of course Kyle is sucker punched when Rylann shows up in court – he’s never forgotten her. And when Rylann approaches for help on another case where he could be the star witness in a case against a corrupt law enforcement officer, Kyle finds it hard to say no, despite the antipathy he feels for Rylann’s office. More time together equals more sparks than nine years ago, but Rylann’s fighting the attraction tooth and nail – because well, Kyle’s her witness… and an ex-con bad boy!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading About that Night. It was full of awesome witty dialogue (why don’t I ever think of such clever things to say) and funny scenes. (Look out for the line about the cactus in Tijuana!) James has a real talent for writing laugh-out-loud lines, and I found myself smiling all evening and giggling uncontrollably periodically. James has also created a wonderful hero in Kyle. It would have been easy to portray him as a two-dimensional rich kid who accidentally falls foul of the law. But James instead creates a complex hero. Kyle is a brilliant IT geek, wealthy but down-to-earth, and willing to take responsibility for his actions. He’s also a good son and brother, a charismatic CEO and successful executive… and definitely a romantic and accomplished lover. (Kyle’s idea for his and Rylann’s first date… swoon.) Oh and did I mention that he looks like Sawyer from Lost?
If you’ve read any of James’ books, run out and get About that Night – it’s the best one she’s written. If you haven’t read any of James’ books, you don’t know what you’re missing out on… Give About that Night a try and I know you’ll fall in love with her writing!