For February, 3 Romances To Warm Up Your Valentine's Day
February is a dark and cold month at the best of times and this year is no exception. But romance comes to the rescue with these hot, humorous and heartwarming novels that provide a rollicking good time from the first page to happily ever after.
For a thoroughly charming read, don't miss Love at First by Kate Clayborn. Everything changed for Will Sterling at the age of 16, when his mother, seemingly inexplicably, dragged him to visit his previously unknown Uncle Donny – for reasons that turned out to be very traumatic. The only bright spot was the blurry image of a girl on the balcony upstairs and the sweet sound of her voice. Years later, he's Doctor Will Sterling, his vision corrected with glasses, and he's inherited his uncle's apartment, which he plans to renovate for short term rentals and then sell. The only problem is the girl. She's still there. And she's not a fan of his plans.
Her name is Nora, she lives in the apartment that belonged to her late Nonna, and this is not a building for short term renters — it's the home of a wonderfully quirky "found family" of elderly residents. Nora enlists the other residents in a hilarious campaign to scare Will away and to protect their building. But nothing she does scares him away. When she sees how he's renovated the, ahem, unit, she asks him to do the same to hers. So begins a romance — a "nothing serious" affair that involves sexy times and home renovations (swoon!) until their pasts threaten to hold them back from the future they deserve. This is a gorgeously written romance with a line that perfectly sums up a truth for many a romance character (or human): We don't have to love the way we learned to love at first.
Eva Leigh's Waiting for a Scot Like You is a perfect — and perfectly steamy — Regency romp. It's the last book in her Union of the Rakes series, featuring novels inspired by '80s movies — but no worries if it's been a while since you've seen them. Lady Farris, a 46-year-old widow, is en route to an orgy. After years of a stifling marriage, she is determined to do whatever she damn well pleases, and Lord Gibb's scandalous party is IT. She does accept the escort of Major Duncan McCameron, former soldier, for the journey. He is all about rules, order and being prepared for disaster. She delights in seizing every opportunity for adventure — there is no detour or item on the menu that she will not say yes to.
By the time they arrive at an inn, at which there is only one bed (because road trip romance), their desire for each other is very strong and very mutual. As their journey becomes more and more bonkers — with more and more steamy sexy times — both Lady Farris and Duncan dread what will happen when they finally get to the orgy. Or after; he's a hero who wants marriage and she's a woman who wants her freedom. Their Happy Ever After may not be conventional, but it is very satisfying indeed.
Grace Calloway's new series, Lady Charlotte's Society of Angels, begins with Olivia and the Masked Duke, a steamy, suspenseful romance. When she was just 12, Olivia McLeod was saved from drowning by a young Duke of Hadleigh. And thus begins a beautiful and genuine friendship, despite the 12-year age difference between them. When headstrong Olivia is 19 — and the novel begins — she has decided she loves him. And wants him. Hadleigh, however, had no intention of getting involved with his sweetest friend, who is like a sister to him. Or was.
Hadleigh is shocked by her advances (some of which do verge into forced seduction territory), but not immune to them. But with his dark and twisty past, including opium addiction and loads of family tragedy, he's determined not to ruin her or their friendship. Complications ensue when Olivia and her friends, the brilliantly named Willflowers, join Lady Charlotte's Society of Angels — a charity on the surface, but secretly a society of lady detectives. Their first mission involves a murderous opium dealer and Hadleigh, for personal reasons, is chasing the same villain. As their paths keep colliding in the most scandalous and dangerous circumstances, they are forced to confront their desire and deep feelings for each other. This is a very hot and perfectly paced page turner, all the way to happily ever after.
Maya Rodale is a bestselling author of historical romance. Her next novel is a work of historical fiction about Nellie Bly. Connect with her on Twitter: @mayarodale
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