Spring is nearly here (finally!) and there's nothing like the sparks flying between bad boy heroes and brilliant heroines to provide the warmth and excitement we need to get us through the last weeks of winter.
Brenda Jackson's latest in the Madaris Family Saga, Best Laid Plans, is a fun, sexy not-to-be missed romance. Nolan Madaris and Ivy Chapman are going to get married — except they haven't met. But fear not: Her grandma and his great-grandmother, the fiercest matchmaking grandmothers I have ever read in a romance novel, are actively working on it.
Nolan and Ivy finally meet and soon after discover they're both booked into the same island house for a weekend getaway (why yes, that is the work of those scheming grannies). While there, they concoct a plan of their own: pretend to be dating so their grannies leave them alone. Actually giving romance a chance is out of the question: Nolan, a successful businessman, is a remorseless playboy, while Ivy, a brilliant computer programmer, has been hurt before and, in grand romance tradition, Will Never Love Again. But their sexual chemistry is as real and undeniable as the love blossoming between them. It isn't long before their fake romance is very real indeed.
I must confess that wounded war heroes and children in novels are not usually my cup of tea and yet ... I was completely enchanted by Shana Galen's latest, No Earls Allowed, which features a wounded war hero and an whole orphanage full of children. After witnessing her beloved sister's disastrous marriage, Lady Julianna is determined to remain unwed. Instead, she devotes herself to running an orphanage and avoiding the neighborhood crime lord. As gently bred ladies are wont to do.
But her father has Other Ideas and sends war hero Mr. Neil Wraxall to fetch her home to a respectable life in Mayfair. Instead, Neil stays. When he's not repairing the roof and imposing military order on a household of troublesome orphaned boys, he's falling hard for Lady Julianna. Though he's a war hero, he's also a bastard son and so is convinced he's not good enough for her, but Julianna finds he's just the man she needs. This is a sweet and soulful romance about two wounded souls finding love and family together. Spoiler alert: This novel also features a rare sighting of the elusive Virgin Hero!
In Jenny Holiday's One and Only, babysitting has never been so sexy. Bridesmaid Jane Denning is stuck with the duty of keeping the groom's wayward brother out of trouble — after all, it's better than suffering through all the Pinterest-worthy craft projects the Bridezilla has planned. Cameron MacKinnon is a hot guy with a bad reputation (for reasons that include arson and a somewhat dishonorable discharge from the army) but gosh is he swoon-worthy — after some super hot sexy times, he spends the day doing odd jobs around Jane's house, just because. He is handy in many senses of the word.
At first, this "babysitting" just includes fun stuff like tourist attractions, theme parks and haunted houses. Before long, it's expanded to include some hot stuff between the sheets, and soon enough Jane and Cameron are baring both bodies and souls to each other. He learns what makes Jane, a successful young adult author, tick and she discovers Cameron is not the bad boy he's rumored to be. When the big day rolls around, the bride and groom aren't the only ones with happily-ever-after on their minds.
Maya Rodale is a best-selling romance author.
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