By Sonali Dev (Kensington)
Sonali Dev offers a new twist on friends-to-lovers in “The Bollywood Bride,” a vibrant, emotional story. Ria Parkar is a Bollywood star who spent childhood summers in the United States in idyllic happiness with Vikram Jathar. Their friendship blossomed into love until Ria was forced to confront her past: a familial legacy of mental illness. Trying to protect Vikram, Ria returned to Mumbai with no explanation, until her cousin’s wedding brings her back to the States and forces her to confront long-stifled feelings. Dev eloquently weaves themes of family and friendship into a beautiful romance, setting the story against a backdrop of a vibrant Indian American wedding, all while tackling issues of mental illness, family expectations and celebrity.
By Joanna Shupe (Zebra)
Historical romance readers will be thrilled to discover Joanna Shupe, whose third novel, “The Lady Hellion,” is a beautiful and complex love story featuring a hero who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and a heroine with a penchant for saving the day. Lord Quint and Lady Sophia Barnes were madly in love years earlier, but unfortunate events separated them until Sophie appears in Quint’s bedchamber, asking for him to be her second in a duel. Sophie is masquerading as a gentleman to save prostitutes throughout London, and Quint is the only man she trusts to help her. Quint, however, is a recluse who is sure he is slowly going mad; he is terrified of disappointing — or worse, hurting — the woman he loves. Quint and Sophia sparkle in this wildly entertaining story.
By Kate Meader (Pocket)
Kate Meader’s Hot in Chicago series follows a charming Chicago family of five adopted firefighting siblings. Meader’s latest installment, “Playing With Fire,” is a smart, sexy book that stars Alexandra, a smart-mouthed, rough-and-tumble firefighter who has worked hard to succeed in a world where femininity is considered a weakness. Her hero? The handsome, eligible mayor of Chicago, who is about as masculine as it gets and has clear aspirations for higher office. These two are all wrong for each other, which, of course, makes their eventual match that much more rewarding. Their verbal sparring is tremendously fun, and when they finally succumb to their attraction, sparks fly (literally and figuratively).
By Alisha Rai (Alisha Rai)
Alisha Rai blends emotional characters with passionate sensuality in some of the best examples of erotic romance available. In “Serving Pleasure,” Rana Malik has decided to change her wild ways and allow her meddling mother to nag her into finding a husband while she is still young and attractive. But best-laid plans go to waste when artist Micah Hale moves in next door: Rana becomes an accidental (and then purposeful) Peeping Tom, watching him as he struggles with his painting after a vicious attack. What begins as a one-sided fascination ends with Rana becoming Micah’s model, muse and lover. The arrangement has only one rule: They will not fall in love. Of course, things don’t quite work out that way.
By Emma Chase (Gallery)
Playboy and brilliant defense attorney Jake Backer narrates Emma Chase’s hilariously entertaining novel “Sustained.” When he is pickpocketed by Chelsea McQuaid’s nephew, Jake has every intention of returning the thief and railing at his parents. But the thief and his five siblings are orphans, and Chelsea is their new and thoroughly overwhelmed guardian. Jake soon finds himself playing Mr. Mom in an attempt to help Chelsea — and then win her heart. That premise might sound like a familiar rom-com, but in Chase’s hands, it is charming and surprising. Few romance writers capture the male voice as well as Chase does; Jake is a tremendous character: funny, charismatic and sexy enough to win over the most skeptical readers. As he falls for Chelsea and her wild bunch of kids, readers fall for them both.