Summer Time … and the Classics are Hot - The Romance Zone
Summer is the time to travel. Load up those kids in the SUV and head for the grandparents’ house, the beach, the nearest National Park, the amusement park, etc. What fun, right? Uh … right.
And if you’re like me, you’re exhausted and you’re only 3 days in to that grand vacation.
Time for a little escape, girlfriend. Let’s let an alpha hero spirit us away to an adventure in which we can lose ourselves ... and gain a few thrill and chills along with way.
And since we’ve been blasted with all the new experiences and new places, new faces, how about the comfort of some old favorites?
Here are a few of mine. We’ll begin in the cool, rainy Pacific North West.
We all love those secretive billionaires, right? Here’s one of the first written, and this story set a high standard for the genre.
Wildest Hearts. Jayne Ann Krentz. Contemporary.
Suave and secretive, Oliver Rain is probably the most dangerous, and certainly the wealthiest, man in the Pacific North West. He knows a schemer when he sees one, even when she's beautiful. What Annie Lyncroft hasn't bargained for is his ready acceptance of her outrageous proposal of marriage.
With her brother Danny missing after a mysterious plane crash, Annie is struggling to protect his hot electronics company from the sharks who think he's not coming back. But Annie, who runs a designer bric-a-brac shop, knows Danny's alive, and she's determined to keep his company safe by putting his biggest investor at the helm. When Oliver actually says yes to the marriage of convenience, Annie dreamily envisions a few platonic weeks of helping him become a sensitive guy. Oliver has a different plan; his cold, gorgeous eyes have been watching Annie, and he sees his chance to seduce the beautiful schemer. Love is the wild card destined to teach these two strong-willed opposites a lesson: icy control might run the business world, but all hell is about to break loose in the passionate territory of the heart.
Now this guy is hardly a billionaire, but he’s every bit as sexy and dangerous—a small town cop determined to protect his town and the woman who’s hiding from someone.
Exposure. Susan Andersen. Contemporary romantic suspense.
Port Flannery is a harbor town off the coast of Washington state—quiet, picturesque, and just big enough to hide in for a while. At least that’s what Emma Sands hopes when she takes a room above the local cafe. In Port Flannery, no one knows why Emma and her young daughter fled New Orleans. No one can guess how terrified she is that the danger she and Gracie left behind is drawing nearer every day.
Emma’s right to be scared. Even as she finds new friends and an unexpected ally in the rugged, compelling Sheriff Donnelly, her old life is waiting to intrude. Because the obsession that drove her from New Orleans will track her down anywhere, even a place as remote as this. And this time, there will be nowhere left to run…
And moving on to an antiques dealer who finds herself mixed up with a sexy cop …
Hidden Riches. Nora Roberts. Contemporary romantic suspense.
NR unveils the intriguing world of antiques dealing, where a independent woman discovers the price of breathless desire--and the schemes of an obsessed killer.
Dora Conroy has a passion for antiques—and any other rarities she can acquire for her quaint Philadelphia shop. A seasoned dealer, she knows all the tricks of the trade. But she is unprepared for the deadly consequences when she purchases a few curiosities at an auction—and unknowingly brings home a priceless cache that makes her the target of an international criminal. Entwined in a reckless chase, Dora turns to her new neighbor, Jed Skimmerhorn, a cop who’s turned in his badge—and whose desire for lovely Dora puts him back in the line of fire. Fighting their attraction while falling in love, they find that hidden riches can have a most ordinary façade. And that possession can be a lethal obsession…
And the book I consider one of the ultimate summer time reads … the story of a small town teacher and the bad, bad boy who’s back to claim her.
One Summer. Karen Robards. Contemporary romantic suspense.
He was pure, unadulterated trouble. Johnny Harris is home again, his too-tight jeans and damn-your-eyes belligerence honed to perfection by a ten-year stretch in federal prison for murder. Now he's out on parole and ready for the job Rachel Grant has promised to help him begin a new life. Unlike the rest of the town, Rachel has always believed in her former student's innocence. But one thing has changed...
The sullenly handsome boy she remembers is still sullen, still handsome...but no longer a boy. And now the small Kentucky town is alive with gossip and whispers of a scandal, as friendship turns to passion and Rachel abandons a lifetime of propriety in the ex-con's arms. Then the killer strikes again. All evidence points to Johnny Harris, but Rachel knows he is innocent. And she knows she is next...as a shattering truth is uncovered and dark passions explode in the relentless summer heat.
This heroine just can’t catch a break … she goes from cleaning a mortuary after hours to running through the night woods with a monster on her trail. But is the real monster her kidnapper, or the man chasing them?
Walking After Midnight. Karen Robards. Contemporary romantic suspense/ghost story.
The nude male body lay on the embalming table, battered beyond recognition. Gingerly, Summer McAfee, chairman, CEO, and sole employee of Daisy Fresh cleaning service, reached out to touch an arm to reassure herself that she hadn't just seen the corpse move. Suddenly, shockingly, her hand was in the viselike grip of a man very much alive and desperate enough to take her captive on a no-holds-barred run from cops, killers, and his own decidedly complicated past...
Summer's former life as a New York lingerie model had gone south with her marriage, leaving her, at thirty-six, single and back home in Tennessee, on her hands and knees scrubbing other people's bathrooms. But the drab present vanishes in a flash as she's forced to flee into the Tennessee wilds with the stranger she calls Frankenstein, first as his captive, then his companion, as they run from the enemies determined to destroy them both--straight into a raging passion that could only be the last laugh of fate...
Hey, if that’s not exciting enough, how about doing that chase through the steamy South American jungles after a priceless ruby, with a dangerous, sexy bad boy who has a really big … machete? And he knows how to use it!
Heart of Fire. Linda Howard. Contemporary romantic suspense adventure.
A fabulous lost Amazon city once inhabited by women warriors and containing a rare red diamond: it sounded like myth, but archeologist Jillian Sherwood believed it was real, and she was willing to put up with anything to find it -- even Ben Lewis. Ruffian, knock-about, and number one river guide in Brazil, Ben was all man -- over six feet of rock-hard muscles that rippled under his khakis, with lazy blue eyes that taunted her from his tanned face.
Jillian watched him come to a fast boil when she refused to reveal their exact destination upriver in the uncharted rain forests -- and resolved to stand her ground. Neither of them could foresee what the days ahead promised: an odyssey into the fiery heart of passion and betrayal, and a danger that would force them to cast their fates together, immersed in the eternal, unsolved mysteries of love....
Nobody puts out a fire better than a fireman, right? Well … unless he’s the source of the heat, and the danger.
Fever. Joan Swan. Contemporary paranormal / romantic suspense.
Dr. Alyssa Foster will admit to a bad boy fetish. . .
But when she finds herself face to face with a convicted murderer with a determination for freedom and an eye on her as his get out of jail free card, Alyssa knows she's in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is a prisoner desperate for freedom, but because his every touch makes her desperate for more.
A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. . .
Teague Creek has one shot at freedom, but his plan to escape with a hostage develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives who know of his strange abilities, he needs to avoid trouble, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.
Take two of these memories and call me in the morning …
Wait For Me. Elizabeth Naughton. Contemporary romantic suspense.
A woman without a past…
After a tragic accident left her with no memory, Kate Alexander struggled to fit in with a husband and world that didn’t feel right. She’s had no reason to question what friends and family have told her, not until her husband is suddenly killed and she finds a photo of a young girl in his office. A girl who can’t be anyone but a daughter Kate didn’t know she had.
A man desperate for a reason to live…
Ryan Harrison lost his wife in a plane crash five years ago. To cope with the pain of her loss, he dedicated himself to his job and to raising their daughter. Now a successful pharmaceutical executive, Ryan has everything a man could want—money, fame and power—but he’d give it all up in a heartbeat for just one more day with the woman he still loves.
Two lives about to converge.
As Kate begins to dig into a past she doesn’t remember, evidence leads her to San Francisco and puts her on the path toward Ryan, a man who sees in her the woman he loved and lost. Kate feels a draw to Ryan, one she can’t explain, but is that feeling enough to convince her this is where she’s supposed to be? As Ryan and Kate search for answers, they uncover lies long buried, a passion hotter than either expected and a danger that threatens…even now…when the second chance they’ve both been searching for is finally within reach.
And back to the Pacific NW for some … hockey! Time to heat it up on the ice. I know, a contradiction, but it’s hockey, hon. Hockey players? Right, now you’re getting it.
Georgeanne Howard leaves her fiancé at the altar when she realizes she can't marry a man old enough to be her grandfather, no matter how rich he is. Hockey superstar John Kowalsky unknowingly helps her escape, and only when it's too late does he realize that he's absconded with his boss's bride. This bad boy isn't looking to be anybody's savior but his own. Still, a long night stretches ahead of them—a night too sultry to resist temptation.
Seven years later, Georgeanne and John meet again. She is on her way to becoming Seattle's domestic darling and he is past his hellraising days. Shocked to learn that he has a daughter, John's determined to be part of her life. Georgeanne has loved John since the moment she jumped into his car, but will he risk the wrath of his boss, and one final chance at glory, to prove that this time his love will be everlasting?
And then there’s Fred. The hero every woman dreams of … he can’t take his eyes off of her, he hangs on her every word and he’s always ready for a cuddle. The funniest ‘hero’ you’ll ever meet.
Anyone But You. Jennifer Crusie. Contemporary romantic comedy.
Part basset, part beagle, all Cupid... For Nina Askew, turning forty means freedom—from the ex-husband, freedom from their stuffy suburban home, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed—a puppy. A bouncy, adorable puppy.
Instead she gets...Fred.
Overweight, middle-aged, a bit smelly and obviously depressed, Fred is light-years from perky. But he does manage to put Nina in the path of Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger-by-a-decade neighbor.
Alex seems perfect—he's a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor—but the age gap convinces Nina that anyone but Alex would be better relationship material. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it's the young, dog-loving doc she wants to sit and stay!
And finally, a classic of my own. Come away with me, girlfriend, all the way to Hawaii. Where the volcanoes are hot and the men are hotter. Steeped in the legends of Pele, this hero is fighting to protect his island and the blonde tourist who has wandered straight into trouble.
Walking in Fire. Cathryn Cade. Contemporary Hawaiian paranormal.
Born to defend his people, he will sacrifice everything—for her.
Hawaiian Heroes, Book 1
Nawea Bay, a remote Hawaiian paradise, is just the haven Melia Carson needs to escape the chill of heartache. Instead, she finds herself swept up in a tropical heat wave, fueled by her unexpected attraction to a handsome native she meets on a snorkel tour.
He’s big, powerful, hot enough to melt her defenses—and he’s not all he seems. How else could he survive an injury that should have killed him…and why does she dream of him garbed in ancient native dress and wreathed in flames?
David “Malu” Ho’omalu is on the Big Island to find and destroy a cache of dangerous designer drugs before they can be sold to his people. Fending off amorous female tourists is part of the job, but one look in Melia’s blue eyes, and his instincts scream that she is his.
As Melia surrenders to the desire burning between them, she discovers more than a fiery heritage that defies modern logic. She discovers a man who would descend into the molten heart of the volcano to protect his island. And her…if she can find the strength to trust her heart to him.
Warning: Hot, hot Hawaiian hero with volcanic passion on his mind. Better pack a heat-proof bikini for this island paradise.
Columnist: Cathryn Cade writes best-selling red hot romance from the lake country of North Idaho. Her erotic science fiction, paranormal and contemporary romances will take you from Portland to Hawaii and on to galaxies far away, with heroes who are more than men, and heroines who are woman enough for any adventure.
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