As the weather turns cold, these sweet and sexy romances will warm you right up. From a village in Regency England to a small town in modern-day Oregon, this month we're featuring stories that show the perils and pleasures of finding love in a small town.
Scandalous and depraved rake meets innocent country boy for a shockingly heartfelt romance in Band Sinister by KJ Charles. Phillip Rookwood and his band of brothers (known as The Murder) scandalize the countryside with rumors of their atheism and debauchery. Neighbors Guy Frisby and his sister Amanda would be wise to stay, far, FAR away. Of course, Amanda does no such thing.
But when her spying expedition goes awry (she needs fodder for a Gothic novel she's writing, naturally), she finds herself with a very broken leg and absolutely cannot be moved. And so she must recover at Rookwood's residence, with the Murder and the orgies. Her brother stays to chaperone, naturally. Except Phillip proves to be quite the distraction. Between the secrets, the village drama, and a longtime family feud, this is a novel that could easily fall into "Big Misunderstanding" territory, but Charles adamantly refuses to go there, and instead crafts a gorgeously written, sexy, smart and humorous romance.
Can a small-town English doctor and visiting American jewelry designer turn a fling into forever? That's the delicious, seductive question in Malcom & Isabel by Julie Anne Long, a contemporary update to her historical Pennyroyal Green series.
Isabel Redmond is visiting the small town of Pennyroyal Green to trace the roots of her ancestors — Olivia Eversea and Lyon Redmond — when sparks fly between her and Malcom Coburn. First they resist (somewhat), then they surrender (totally). Add one aging rock star, some local real estate drama, and a bunch of soul searching — all in Long's luscious prose — for a love story that feels like Love Actually or another classic British romcom. While it'll probably help to have read The Legend of Lyon Redmond first, those who haven't can still enjoy this one.
In Amanda Ashby's super cute contemporary What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor? our heroine is an underappreciated New York City girl who leaves everything behind — her family, her cheating ex-fiancé , her job in book publicity — to start a new life in the tiny town of St. Clair, Ore. Bbut before she can settle into her new town, and the bookshop she bought, she meets Luke Carmichael.
Luke is a hunky single dad to 14-year-old Kira. He likes to fix things, whether it's the gutter on Paige's bookshop or the economic prospects of the town. He's hot, reliable and handy with tools. Swoon! After his wife left him, he's sworn that Kira is his priority and nothing will distract him. Not even Paige. With a lively cast of characters (including the hilarious Dr. Penny Groves, author of the self-help book Paige relies on), and a charming and sassy voice, this is a sweet romance about good people who find love and a sense of belonging.
Maya Rodale is a best-selling romance author. Her new book is Duchess by Design.
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