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The Best Romances of February



amazon book reviewA former football player searching for new meaning, a seafaring duke with a surprise waiting at home, and a homicide detective on the trail of a human trafficking ring are among the unforgettable characters in our choices of the best romances of the month.

 

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amazon book review I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne – This e-only cotemporary romance pairs two of my favorite character types: a small-town girl in the big city, and a professional athlete who struggles with success (or in this case, lack thereof). Former football player Jackson Burke leaves his venomous ex-wife and his Texas roots behind when he moves to New York to write for a magazine and to hopefully revive his close friendship with his ex-wife's sister, Mollie. When Mollie temporarily moves in while she seeks a new apartment, Jackson is forced to realize that there's a lot more going on between them than friendship. Layne combines heartfelt emotional twists with some sizzling lovemaking, making this relationship unforgettable.

 

 

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Alone in the Dark by Karen Rose – Homicide detective Scarlett Bishop has seen a lot of innocent lives destroyed, and so has newspaper publisher Marcus O'Bannion. Both work in their separate ways to see justice done, but their methods intersect when a young woman is gunned down in an alleyway, exposing a human trafficking ring that isn't afraid to kill anyone to keep their business running. Dark and emotionally raw, this romantic suspense novel hits a nerve while it focuses on an underreported and unhuman crime.

 

 

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Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen – Only in historical romances can dukes also be sea captains and former duchesses also be shadowy "fixers" of problems that the titled class can't sweep under the rug on their own—but that is half the fun! Captain/duke Max returns home to find Ivory Moore fixing the problem of a dead nobleman discovered bound with ribbons to his debutante sister's bed, while a ball continues in full swing on the floor below. Oh, and his sister is missing, which Ivory also promises to fix. Max, unwilling to let anyone else be in charge, makes a fool of himself as Ivory quickly deals with the dead man and makes progress in tracking down the sister. With his eyes finally open to the family responsibilities he left behind when he fled to life on the sea, Max also realizes that he can now never leave Ivory behind. Funny at times and deftly pulling heartstrings at others, Bowen's novel delivers a new, strong heroine in a year that I'm predicting is going to be all about girl power.

 

 

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Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti – Jax Mercury and his small band of survivors aren't surprised by much anymore, what with the zombies and the rival human gangs always trying to invade their stronghold, but the arrival at their gates of Lynne Harmony—the woman many blame for spreading the deadly infection—shocks even battle-hardened Jax. And the way she so easily enters his heart is the second big surprise. Nonstop action and red-hot sexual tension drive Mercury Striking to a blazing finish—but don't worry, the world is still in trouble, and book 2 releases later this year. Readers who like their heroes to be more beta might want to steer clear—Jax is fully alpha, and safe words are for sissies in this version of zombie-infested America. (For more about Mercury Striking, see Rebecca Zanetti's and Kat Martin's interview with each other about their two new series.)

 

 

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Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren – The fourth book in Lauren's Wild Seasons series brings the story full circle with the appearance of Luke Sutter, the first love of Mia Holland (who started the series with Sweet Filthy Thing). After his breakup with Mia many years ago, Luke has become, essentially, a manwhore, sleeping with whomever catches his eye and filling up his phone with girls' numbers. And those girls call or text him a lot. But when a hookup with surfer/bartender London Hughes turns into more than a one-time thing, Luke has to figure out how to convince London that she's really the one, not just one of many. Lauren puts the reader so deep in Luke's and London's heads and souls that the pain of every wrong word and the pleasure of every right one are like sweetly sharp arrows to the heart. Now, if you're not familiar with Lauren's books and wondering about the sizzle level, my hint is that you could drop "Liar" off the title and get a good sense of what you're in for.
 

See all our best romance picks for February, including the newest from Eloisa James, Cindy Gerard, Debbie Macomber, Kerrigan Byrne, and Joanne Kennedy.

 

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