A sampling of recent romances features a touching contemporary story written by a local author, a compilation of four paranormal tales, and a new trilogy by a popular author.
By Kathleen Long
Amazon Publishing, $14.95 paperback
Abby Halladay has bought a fixer-upper with her fiancé in her hometown of Paris, N.J., a picturesque small town on the Delaware River. But in succession, she learns her new home has bad termite damage, her job is gone, and her fiancé has flown away to Paris, France, and won't return her calls. Her carefully planned life in shambles, she has to move back in with her parents. As she tries to deal with her problems and her eccentric family, she eventually discovers how to find happiness in everyday moments. She also reconnects with her high school sweetheart. Abby is forced to contemplate her past choices and what she really wants out of life.
Though Paris, N.J., is fictional, it seems familiar, perhaps because author Kathleen Long is a Delaware native who divides her time between Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore.
Featuring Lora Leigh, Alyssa Day, Meljean Brook, Lucy Monroe
Berkley, $15 paperback
Four tales of paranormal romance are led by "The Devil's Due," an installment in Lora Leigh's steamy Breed series. Katie O'Sullivan discovers that recessive genetics have hidden her enhanced Breed heritage. As her dormant powers awaken, her true nature is revealed and she becomes a target. Devil Black is tasked with protecting her, but the two are instantly attracted to each other and realize they are Breed mates. For a reader not familiar with Leigh's series, navigating the world of the Breeds may be confusing at first, but her searing love stories are worth the challenge.
Another standout is Meljean Brook's "Salvage," set in her steampunk world of the Iron Seas, a fascinating place of anachronistic technology. Georgianna finds her long-missing husband, Thom, washed up on the beach, badly injured. After she takes him back to their home, the air pirates he had been running from come back and take the two of them hostage. They demand that Thom lead them back to his sunken ship and the treasure aboard. While struggling to survive, the couple rekindle their love and seek a way to escape.
The other two enthralling stories in the compilation are Alyssa Day's "The Curse of the Black Swan" and Lucy Monroe's "Ecstasy Under the Moon."
By Gaelen Foley
Avon, $7.99 paperback
Lord Trevor Montgomery has recently been outed as a spy during the war against Napoleon. He is now pursued by women who desire the hero's affections. Seeking some peace during a party, he slips into a quiet room only to be surprised that Grace Kenwood, daughter of a parson, is already there. Thinking the minx was lying in wait to entrap him, he takes out his anger and frustration on her, kissing her senseless. An outraged Grace sets him straight, but he is intrigued by her. Learning that the local manor is empty, he buys it and becomes Grace's neighbor. Grace soon discovers Trevor is no rake but a good and decent man who has done some dark deeds during the war that haunt him. The usually dutiful Grace is tempted by him and decides to pursue her own pleasure for once. The deep and steady love that grows between them is contrasted with the flighty emotions of a neighboring couple who provide the plot complications.
By Jude Deveraux
Ballentine Books, $27
Jude Deveraux begins her new Nantucket Brides trilogy with True Love. Alix Madsen has just finished her architectural degree when she learns that Adelaide Kingsley has left her a 19th-century house on the Massachusetts island in her will, but only for one year. During her time there, she is to try to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a Kingsley woman more than 200 years earlier.
Living in the guesthouse is a man Alix recognizes as the famous architect Jared Montgomery, her crush. But in fact, he is a Kingsley, and the house is supposed to belong to him. He is none too pleased that he will have to deal with a starstruck architecture student while waiting for his inheritance. Nor does he know how she will deal with the house's resident ghost, who is his grandfather several times removed. Alix displays her intelligence and a talent that may match Jared's as she discovers the island's charms and delves into the secrets of the Kingsley family and how her own family is connected.