Every year when February rolls around, the world goes gaga for Valentine’s Day. I’ve always just viewed it as another regular day, but there are tons of people wishing for or thanking Cupid (or Eros or Amor) for a shot at the invincibility of love. It’s a good thing romance readers understand that the heart wants what the heart wants—when the heart wants it—and don’t have to wait for that chubby little cherub for inspiration. If you’re like me, you prefer a shot of adrenaline with your romance, and this month’s romantic suspense’s are especially spicy.
Louise Dawn is an author whose life experiences make her as interesting as the plots she weaves. She’s super active online, and both responsive and supportive of her readers and emerging authors. Given how much I loved Jade in the Snow and Kite on the Rocks, it’s no surprise that her new Strike Zone series would grab me by the lady balls and strangle me with tension and emotion. Based in the world of diplomacy, which you know is backed up by some series badassery and brawn, Strikethrough is a winner. The pace is breakneck, the plot engrossing, and the characters explosive.
Julie Kriss’s sexy contemporary books are my guilty pleasure, and I count both Bad Billionaire and Make Me Beg among my favorite books ever. Just as I can rewatch great movies, I can reread great books like these. I didn’t realize she had a fourth installment of her Filthy Rich series in the works, and even more exciting, Wicked Dangerous is suspenseful! I love her sentence structure and character development. Absent from her contemporaries are whiny women and misogynistic men—in their place are equitable characters, equally flawed and vulnerable, and equally brave and fierce, in their own rights. Second chance romances are some of my least favorite, mainly because in the real world I’m not one for waffling. There’s no breaking up and getting back together, over and over for me. When it’s done, it’s done. But leave it to Kriss to change my mind … Wicked Dangerous makes Alex and Kat’s love redeemable.
I have a lifelong love/hate relationship with winter. I’ve lived in the south all of my life and my mantra is the hotter, the better, so it’s no surprise to discover thoughts of snow and ice throw me into fits of hysteria. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to read about it. I’ve long been fascinated with the Iditarod, and last year two of my favorite books took place in frozen tundras (Whiteout, and Hard Line). It was thrilling to realize Tonya Burrows is kicking off her new Northern Rescue series with a race through the remote Alaskan wilderness in Northern Escape. This opposites-attract suspense is the perfect bridge for my fascination with sled dogs and my aversion to anything called “icy wilderness.”
And I can’t let February pass without a nod to Mine By Design, the political romantic suspense by yours truly. Hopefully readers will see that somewhere along the line, politicians started focusing more on themselves than on the people they serve, and they’ll get a glimpse into the corruption and greed that drive powerful men to do bad things to powerless people.