A look at what’s steaming up the shelves this month.
I know February is the shortest month, but that — waves hands toward the calendar — was kind of ridiculous. Despite feeling like I blinked and it was over, I managed to squeeze in a fair amount of reading last month and discovered a few terrific new romances. Here are the books that made February fly by all that much faster.
Featuring an already-married couple trying to rekindle the spark, Do I Know You? (Berkley Romance) is the type of romance I’d love to see more of!
Graham, a corporate attorney, and Eliza, a voice actor, have been gifted a weeklong getaway at a resort on the Northern California coast. They’re supposed to be celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary, but there’s trouble in paradise. Due to various issues (none of them so insurmountable as to warrant immediate divorce), the pair have stopped communicating with each other. Their interactions are stilted and uncomfortable, and the distance between them has grown to the point that they both recognize their marriage is at risk.
Instead of offering them an opportunity to reconnect, though, a reservation error leads them to take separate rooms at the resort. When another guest presumes they’re both single and introduces them to each other, an unusual proposition takes shape: Graham and Eliza will pretend to be strangers and get to know each other all over again. The flirting and anticipation seem to rekindle what they’ve been missing, but will this last-ditch effort be enough to salvage their fragile bond once they’re back home?
Writing team Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka are a real-life married couple, which lends a layer of authenticity to this fresh take on second-chance romance.
Tessa Bailey delivers a satisfying opposites-attract tale with her second-chance romance, Secretly Yours (Avon).
Hallie Welch runs a landscaping business in St. Helena, a small town in Napa Valley. She’s been struggling with grief since the death of her beloved grandmother, which leads to some impulsive decision-making for the already-impulsive gardener. One of her questionable choices is offering to do some work at the family estate of her teen crush, Julian Vos. Hallie hasn’t forgotten the time they almost kissed, and she’d be thrilled to remedy that missed connection now that Julian, an Ivy League professor, is back in town.
Julian has returned to St. Helena on sabbatical to finish his novel, but Hallie’s chaotic presence throws a wrench in his plans. To add insult to injury, the perpetually dour Julian doesn’t even remember her, but he can’t deny he’s attracted to the vibrant, dirt-covered woman working outside his window. When he receives an anonymous letter from a secret admirer (another of Hallie’s questionable choices), his curiosity over the writer’s identity takes a back seat to his increasingly vivid fantasies about Hallie.
Hallie and Julian are opposites in so many ways, but they both desperately need someone to see them for who they really are — and love them anyway. Bailey layers plenty of angst into their relationship, delivering a very steamy grumpy/sunshine romance that will delight both longtime fans and readers new to her work.
Kylie Scott’s opposites-attract romance, End of Story (Graydon House), hinges on a fantastical premise with heaps of charm.
Susie Bowen has just inherited a Seattle fixer-upper from her aunt. Still reeling from a humiliatingly bad breakup with her boyfriend, Aaron, Susie decides to renovate the rundown home. Unfortunately, her contractor turns out to be Aaron’s tall, Viking-like best friend, Lars. Good contractors are hard to find, so Susie decides to make the best of an awkward situation — but things quickly go from weird to wacky.
As the renovation gets underway, Lars and Susie make an unusual discovery in a wall: a divorce certificate dated 10 years in the future. Even more bizarre, the certificate has their names on it. They know it can’t possibly be real, but once they rule out each other as a suspect, they’re left scratching their heads as to who put it there. Who would play such a ridiculous prank on two people with no interest in each other?
With the help of a psychic and the support of the people closest to them, Susie and Lars set out to determine the document’s origin and significance. Despite their unusual predicament, an unexpected attraction sparks between the two would-be spouses. But do they dare take a chance on a relationship apparently predestined to fail? With its unique premise, memorable characters, and witty banter, End of Story is a keeper!
Kristina Wright lives in Virginia with her husband, their two sons, a dog, a cat, and a parrot. She’s a regular contributor at BookBub and a lifelong fan of romance fiction. Find her on Twitter at @kristinawright or on Bookshop, where she features her book recommendations.