Valentine’s Day may fall in February, but the world of romance reminds us that the heart wants what the heart wants … regardless of the consequences and timeframe. And nowhere is consequence-free passion more evident than romantic suspense. Because the stakes are higher, the emotion more amplified and the hard-won happy ending more satisfying. Cupid’s been busy this month, but if you’re a frequent visitor to Romancelandia, you know we keep that little imp busy year-round.
Here are some of my favorite romantic suspenses from the month:
Cold and Deadly by Toni Anderson
Cold and Deadly is the first book in Toni Anderson’s new FBI Crossfire series and let me tell you it’s a winner. I am such a fan of her long-running Cold Justice series, because it was smart and sexy and exciting … and the same people didn’t solve the crimes time after time. Anderson is a smart writer, not only because she’s a marine biologist with a Ph.D., but because her plots are written with the precision of a scalpel, her characters robust and engaging, and the plots compelling and pulse-pounding. I love the dichotomy of the characters in this kickoff—FBI Crisis Negotiator Dominic Sheridan and rookie agent Ava Kansas. Whereas Dominic is seasoned and calm and everything you’d expect someone in his position to be, Ava is headstrong and impulsive and what you’d expect of her experience and place in life. Anderson threw in a tense sub-plot since one winding suspense wasn’t enough, built a captivating assembly of secondary characters, and built a great story. The romance was a little more secondary than per her usual flair for the sexy, but it’s still a great book!
Lost and Found by Lexi Blake
Lexi Blake’s Masters & Mercenaries: The Forgotten series is like literary crack, and this second installment, Lost and Found, really pushes all of my buttons. The Forgotten encompasses a group of men whose memories have been erased in the pursuit of developing perfect soldiers with no encumbrances from things like, you know, life events they’d like to remember. They’re known as the Lost Boys. It’s an extension of her previous Masters & Mercenaries series, though you don’t need to have read it to follow the extension. When last we saw Owen Shaw, he was betraying his team to save his family—such a shame, because as it turned out, he lost them, too. As in any series with an overarching storyline, each installation has its own plot while the collective works toward solving the big puzzle. Dr. Rebecca Walsh enters the picture when the Lost Boys decide to tap into her knowledge of degenerative neurological diseases and their effect on memory—after all, she may have some of the missing puzzle pieces. Like all of Blake’s romantic suspenses, this book is fast-paced, sexy and edgy. It covers two of my favorite tropes—amnesia and revenge—to a degree. Like I said: literary crack.
Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose
Say You’re Sorry is the first book in Karen Rose’s new Sacramento series. It’s got an old-school feel to it, with its plot focusing on a sexy FBI agent who was raised in a cult until his mother secreted him away as a teenager, and a beautiful woman sheltered for most of her life who’s attacked by a serial killer when she finally spreads her wings. FBI Special Agent Gideon Reynolds and Daisy Dawson are drawn together like lodestones, connected to one another beyond the threatening case that’s bridging seventeen years’ worth of questions. This book is long and convoluted and there’s a lot going on, but Rose sets a break-neck pace that makes your heart pound. Plus, Gideon and Daisy’s chemistry is a great way to keep ol’ Cupid on your radar for a bit longer.