I love a good woman-in-disguise novel. Jeanne, aka Jane, is a member of a French nobility family that was killed in the Revolution. She has vowed to track down the man responsible for their betrayal and then kill him. I was impressed with her singular focus and her commitment to murder. She wasn’t just out for revenge, which could be carried out in some vague way to be determined later. No, she has a knife and she plans to use it, once she finds the right man.
As we get down to the final days of 2014, we’re thinking back on all the books that have inspired our lust, our love, our laughter, and our tears. R@R contributors found it hard to pick just one; some just had to include a runner-up (or two!). Here are our picks for Best Books of the Year.
"Wonderful things happen in Tessa Dare novels. In this particular story, those wonderful things are cakes. A dining room full of them, in fact. There’s a fine story and delightful characters, but also cake."
Sara Charles is striking out on her own. With her dad out of commission, Charles Air has only one helicopter left—and only Sara to fly charters. With the family business in jeopardy, Sara needs all the clients she can get and the newest one is New York Saints team surgeon, Lucas Angelo. When an unexpected flirtation escalates into a night of pure blind passion, Sara is in agony over what she believes was extremely poor judgment on her part. She wants nothing more than to avoid Lucas. And keep her business her business. But she needs him—in more ways than one.
Calm. Cool. Collected. Gisele Whitby has perfected the art of illusion—her survival, after all, has depended upon it. Years ago, to escape an abusive husband, Gisele "disappeared." Now she must risk revealing her new identity to save another innocent girl from the same fate. But she needs a daring man for her scheme, and the rogue in question shows a remarkable talent . . . for shattering Gisele's carefully constructed façade and igniting her deepest desires.
At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.
You can have all the dominant billionaires, ex-Navy Seals, and alpha werewolves. Let them out-posture each other in an arrogant fight for your love. I’m here to speak for the other kind of quiet hero: not the strong, silent type, but the shy, socially awkward type. The misunderstood genius, the stodgy aristocrat, the introverted businessman. The men who are so far from alpha that they’re all the way to zeta. In my armchair analysis, I’d say that one of the best characteristics of the awkward zeta hero is that, once he’s won, he is singularly focused on his heroine. Unlike the alpha hero, who sees the outside world as a threat to his relationship and stands aggressively in front of his heroine, the zeta hero barely notices the outside world at all. His thoughts and… Continue
In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . . Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret. Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again. John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero. He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future—that do not include a wife. When … Continue
Author Shannyn Schroeder stops by to talk about her new novella HER BEST SHOT: Layla Sharpe is definitely more math ninja than bikini babe, and her future has been calculated with razor precision. Convinced to let loose over spring break, Layla is finally ready to party—until her car breaks down halfway to her destination, leaving her stranded in Georgia with a mouthwateringly hot pool shark. She knows more than enough about angles to learn the game, but this week she wants him to appreciate her curves… Phin Marks has never met a girl like Layla. She’s more Star Wars geek than seductress, and when he offers her a place to stay while her car is in the shop, he’s counting on the attraction between them to set the nights ablaze, no strings attached. But every … Continue
This book, the second in a series, was quite fun. Baron Sebastian Thorne has happily been a rogue for all of his mature life, since women began propositioning him when he was sixteen. When his fiancée eloped with his best friend, his ego took a hit as well as his reputation. He’s not necessarily on the path of reformation when the book begins, he’s simply trying to stay out of trouble. Then, after a few chance meetings with Helena, he decides that a little liaison with her would not be terrible. Helena, Lady Prestwick, is a widow with a lot of money and a good reputation, and she intends to keep it that way. Without her position in good society, she won’t be able to provide a good life for her younger sisters. She most… Continue
Katherine Gardiner, a young English widow, has only one dream: to protect her son—a future duke—from her merciless father-in-law. Determined and desperate, she has no option but to take the guise of a housekeeper and escape to Yorkshire where the only hope is the enigmatic Earl of Kenrick. In all his years spent roaming the world, Jeremy Chilton never braced himself for the burden of a much-damaged inheritance. Now, the new Earl of Kenrick must save his family legacy and raise his motherless young daughter as a proper English lady. His only salvation is his beautiful housekeeper, Kate. But as her secrets unravel, much that is puzzling about her falls into place. No wonder the Earl has caught himself imagining her more wife than employee. Clearly she belongs at Kenrick—safe in his arms. Now, if… Continue
As the reluctant new Viscount Middleton, Braden Tavers already has several reputations to save–including his own. So it’s imperative he rescue his estate’s healer Tia Featherstone from her impetuous plan to find his rakehell brother Jonathon. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her determined spirit and unworldly charms at arm’s length. But protecting this stubborn beauty from himself is only stoking an irresistible desire–and an insidious danger threatening them both . Tia must get Jonathon back under her care before his unforgiving brother discovers how ill he truly is. But searching London’s most scandalous hellholes and staying two steps ahead of Braden is uncovering the viscount’s deepest secrets–and a longing to make his wounded heart her own. To save him, she must risk a deception that could put his past to rest–or separate… Continue