Amid the hustle and bustle of the approaching holidays, I've heard many people plan to utilize their long weekend vacation by catching up on some reading, myself included. So, what better way to prepare for a relaxing stint of romance reading than to get a taste of some hot new releases perfect for the holiday season.
The books I feature are from authors who were not afraid to be soulful, sappy, and/or suggestive when it came to their heroes. So, grab a seat, and pick up a pen and paper (or fire up your eReaders) so you can add these to your TBR collection.
(And just so you know, you can purchase each book separately - as I've provided the Kindle link next to the author's name - or as a set.)
“Of course you don’t think I am.” Dawn’s accusing voice rose. “You’ve always been there for me, haven’t you, Clint? My old boyfriend. It’s your claim to fame here in Legend. Everyone knows you as Dawn Smith’s high school steady.”
He came to his feet. “I think it’s time for me to go.”
“Okay. Run away, everyone else does. Leave me. I don’t care. I don’t need you. I don’t need anybody!”
She was hysterical. On the verge of losing it. Dawn gulped. Her head swam with fear. What was happening to her?
He towered above her. Dawn was forced to look up at him. Clint stared down at her, condemning, questioning. “What’s wrong with you? Are you on drugs or something?”
“As hard as it may be for you to believe,” she said raising her chin in what was left of her dignity, “I never do those things. Not every actress in Hollywood is a party girl.”
Her head spinning, Dawn searched his eyes. She blinked away the lump growing in her throat. “Oh, my God, Clint,” she whispered. “I didn’t mean all those things I said.”
He gave her a lopsided smile. “I know you didn’t.”
“I’m not totally selfish.” She said aloud more to make herself believe it.
He lifted a finger and smoothed back a wisp of hair. His touch was a shock. It sucked the breath from her. Dawn reached up and caught his hand, drawing it down to her cheek. She shut her eyes, resting against the palm of his hand, against the strong feel of his fingers.
A small part of her heart wanted Clint and all he represented. Home, family, a strong man to care about, to love. She couldn’t give Clint what he ought to have. Getting involved again wasn’t fair to him, but tonight she needed him more than ever.
“I want you to take me to bed,” she said in a voice so low even she had trouble hearing it. “I want you to make love to me.”
~ Jan Scarbrough, Santa's Kiss
“I know I’ve said this once, but I’m going to say it again. I’m so sorry, Matt,” she whispered. “For everything.”
Something broke in his expression, and she waited while his gaze played over her face, searching, probing. It landed on her lips, and then lifted to catch her stare again.
An overwhelming desire to rush forward, lift her face to his and kiss him came over her. She tamped it back. No, she could not do that. He was angry with her. Hated her. She was stuck with him here and who knew what his reaction might…
He reached out and skimmed his fingertips along her cheek and jawline, and a fissure of pleasure sped through her, confusing her even more.
“Matt…” she squeaked out.
In one swift moment, he grasped the clothing from her hands, tossed them away, and hauled her up against him. His mouth came down hard on hers and she gasped at the sensation. Firm and determined, he kissed her thoroughly, his hands at her back holding her against his chest, his lips playing over hers, his tongue searching for more.
The unleashed passion boiling up in her was like an answer to a long-awaited prayer. An urgent yearning suppressed and set free. Of a question long hanging in the air responded to with loving fervor. Heat welled up inside her until she thought her chest would burst.
She was kissing Matt. Not her high school boyfriend, but Matt, the man. The one she’d left behind. And unless she was mistaken, he was hungry for more.
But… but what could this lead to? Where could it go?
Those thoughts dissipated as his mouth left her lips and trailed lazily down her neck in a sensual rhythm. A deep sigh escaped his lips. She melted against him.
“Let’s get you out of these wet clothes.” His voice was deep and raspy against the crook of her neck and shoulder.
Chelly pulled back and searched his face. She wondered if he could read her question. Should they?
With a forefinger on her lips, he shook his head. “Don’t… talk. Let’s…”
~ Maddie James, Home For The Holidays
David came up for air a few minutes later. “So. Rebecca. It feels like we’re onto something here. Like maybe we’re on the same side of the counsel table for once.”
She smiled up at him. “There’s just nothing as romantic as a courtroom metaphor.” Sighing, she ran her hands through his hair. “But I think you’re right. I think we started something up there on the mountain that is worth some…research.” She tipped her head to one side. “Would you like me to file a brief?”
“Hm. I don’t think briefs will be required.” He teased her ear lobe with his tongue.
Catching her breath—and then catching his meaning—she laughed softly and shook her head. “No. You’re right about that. Do you require any type of pleading?”
“Pleading isn’t necessary, either.” David ran his hands down her back and pulled her closer.She laughed out loud. “Okay, Your Honor. What’s the verdict then?”
Magdalena Scott, Christmas Collision
Jack approached her slowly, as he did many things these days, but this time it wasn’t because of pain. The four days of all-out rest, interspersed with much needed exercise, had restored him as nothing else had and he felt darned good.
His heart fluttered with hope. He hated waking up every morning wondering who he was. Hated it even more since learning he could be a part of a family that he could have deserted. And since meeting Christina, watching her go through the motions of life, and liking the quiet dignity she wore like a cape, he wanted the issue resolved for her as well. Her life must have been hell.
“Have you decided I’m him, then?”
Christina shook her head. “No. I’ve decided you’re not.”
He didn’t know what to say about her decision. If she’d decided that he wasn’t the husband she’d loved, what was she doing teasing him like this? He took her hands and placed them in his own. She smiled up at him, and his already hard dick jerked in reaction. As turned on as he was, he couldn’t let her do something she might later regret.
“What’s this about?”
She studied his face, then settled her gaze on his eyes. “I know you aren’t Johnny. And though I’m not going to explain myself, in many ways, that’s a relief. He’s gone forever. But I’m not. I want to be held and touched. I want to feel something inside a body that has been an empty shell for way too long. And I’m asking you—Jack—to be the man that fills that shell. Is that ridiculous? Is it asking too much?”
Jack took a deep breath, then exhaled. Having such a lovely woman want him, even need him, sexually, was a turn-on any day of the week. But he barely knew himself and her not at all, and there were bound to be repercussions given her situation, and for all he knew, his.
“There are a lot of things I don’t remember right now, but I’m a man, with a beautiful woman, and giving you what you want would be very easy to do. Except I don’t want you to think it’s a mistake later. If I really do prove to be someone else, how will you feel? If we eventually find out I really am Johnny, how will I feel when I realize my beautiful wife wanted to make love to a man she doesn’t believe is me?”
Christina lowered her arms and took a step back. “I don’t know how either of us will feel. But I know Johnny is dead."
“Then how do you explain my looking just like him?”
Christina shook her head. “I can’t.”
She approached him again. “Jack, this is awkward for me, but I am attracted to you. Not like you were my husband, but to you. I’d like to make love with you. No strings attached.”
The humming in his body forced him to reach out and take her, pulling her to him. He closed his eyes as need and want made his body react. “Are you sure?”
Christina looked up at him, bit her lip, then nodded. “I need to do this.” Her cheeks flushed scarlet. “I have lubrication.”
Jack felt the chuckle in his chest, but she looked so serious he couldn’t laugh. “I assure you, we won’t need it.”
~ Janet Eaves, The Christmas Gift
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Renee Vincent is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance.