Romance Roundup: Fiery Debutantes, Lady Detectives, and Lovey-Dovey Neighbors 


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This week’s Romance Roundup includes a debutante who wants to nab one man and falls for another, a finance professional who wants to get the promotion she deserves, and a detective on maternity leave with a tragic case to solve. 

One Fine Duke, by Lenora Bell
Miss Mina Penny is finally (but FINALLY) ready to enjoy her first London Season. She was raised in the country by her overprotective uncle, and she would love nothing more than to kick up her heels a bit. Oh, she also knows who she wants to nab for a husband: Rafe Bentley. He’s the biggest rake in town, but there is one person who is determined to stop his bad behavior whenever possible, and that’s his brother, Drew. Drew is the Duke of Thorndon, and let’s just say that society and socializing and society and small talk and society are just not his proverbial cup of tea. (Drew, we admire the way you stay true to yourself in a world that’s constantly pulling you in a certain direction!) Drew is determined to make sure that Mina does not ruin her life by aligning herself with his wastrel brother. He decides to do this by kissing her until her legs turn to jelly, which makes them both seriously rethink their priorities. This is the third book in Bell’s School for Dukes series. (Available in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and NOOK on July 23.) 

Reunited in Walnut River, by RaeAnne Thayne
Our gal Anna Wilder is a crazy awesome finance professional, and she just has to do one more thing before she dominates the world slash gets a promotion: take over her hometown’s hospital. The only thing standing in her way is attorney—and hometown hunk—Richard Green. (Oh, that Richard would stand in ALL of our ways!) They shared The Ultimate Kiss many, many years ago, right before Anna said “Peace out!” to her town, determined to never look back. Now, Richard absolutely, most definitely does NOT want Anna to succeed in her hospital takeover, and he’s willing to use every tool at his disposal to prevent it from happening. (Richard, you can dispose of your clothing pronto!) Here’s hoping that Anna gets her promotion in a way that won’t cause a snafu in her community—and that Richard realizes he’s never really lost that loving feeling! This reprint includes a bonus story, “A Matter of the Heart,” by Patricia Davids. (Available in paperback and NOOK on July 23.) 

Before We Were Strangers, by Brenda Novak
Sloane McBride’s mother abandoned her family when Sloane was just five years old. At least, that’s what everyone told Sloane. She couldn’t take the family drama anymore, though, so she got the heck out of her small Texas town at the age of eighteen, landing in New York City to pursue a modeling career. Now she’s an adult, and the loss of another person in her life prompts her to find out what really happened to her mom. (Sloane, we are all sending you a bajillion hugs right now!) She goes back home to Texas, and let’s just say she has a ton of people and issues to confront, including the boyfriend she left behind. Here’s hoping that Sloane finds the answers that she’s looking for, and that she gets another shot at all of the love she deserves! (Available in paperback on July 23.) 

Willing to Die, by Lisa Jackson
Detective Regan Pescoli is busy enjoying her maternity leave when her sister and brother-in-law are found murdered. She starts looking into the case with her partner, Selena Alvarez, and things just get scarier and scarier. (It’s quite possible that her sister’s family had some seriously horrible enemies.) On top of everything, Regan now also needs to care for her teenage niece. This is certainly a lot for anyone to handle, and let’s not forget that Regan also recently squeezed a tiny human out of her. (Regan, we are all SO coming over to help babysit and clean your house while you take a well-deserved—and uninterrupted—five-hour nap!) Will Regan be able to solve this murder mystery? Can she make space in her home and heart for her niece? And when everything does settle down, will she get to have lots of snuggle time with her brand-new baby? This book is part of Jackson’s To Die series. (Available in paperback and audiobook on July 30.) 

Sisters Like Us, by Susan Mallery
Sisters Harper Szymanski and Dr. Stacey Bloom are each going through A Challenging Time. Harper recently got divorced and is stuck with a way-too-expensive house. Oh, and her teenage daughter isn’t exactly the epitome of happiness and sunshine at the moment. Yes, Harper most definitely needs a day off, complete with her beverage of choice. (That said, there’s a local cop—a HOT local cop—who has the hots for our gal!) As for Stacey, she’s six months pregnant and most definitely not feeling that whole maternal glow thing. (Stacey, you also deserve a day off! Sans drink, of course!) These two sisters will need to lean on each other big time if they’re going to get through their respective dramas. Hang in there, ladies! When it’s all over, you can plan a beautiful family day at the beach! This is the fourth book in Mallery’s Mischief Bay series. (Available in paperback on July 30.) 

The Soldier, by Grace Burrowes
Devlin St. Just is finally home from war, and all he really wants is some goshdarn peace and quiet while he figures out what to do with his crumbling country estate. (We’ll all help you fix it up, Devlin! We’ve watched A LOT of HGTV! #weloveyoudrewandjonathan #stillcanttellyouapart #itdoesntmatteryourebothhot) Enter Emmaline Farnum, Devlin’s exceptionally pretty neighbor and the only woman who can control the wild, five-year-old child that has been terrorizing Devlin’s estate. (Dude, you survived all of this war and hardship and trauma and yet you can’t control a five-year-old?! Actually, scratch that. We don’t judge!) He decides to hire Emmaline to be the little girl’s governess, and he soon realizes that he may just want Emmaline for himself. Like, to be his wife. Forever. Because love. (Devlin, SO glad to see that while war has hardened your body—not that we’re complaining—it hasn’t hardened your heart!) This reprint is the second book in Burrowes’ Windhams: The Duke’s Obsession series. (Available in paperback on July 30.)

What romance novels are you reading on the beach (or on the beach in your mind) this week?

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