Post appeared first @ USA Today’s Happy Ever After.
Sometimes I finish a book, and I immediately want to tell everyone about it. I feel almost overwhelmed to spread the word, and I’m tempted to share not just with my friends and family, but also with the stranger behind me at the grocery store, the students in my spinning class and my son’s driving school instructor. If I didn’t fear being thought unhinged, I’d jump up and down, flail my arms and yell at the top of my lungs demanding everyone read this book.
I have this kind of passion for these must-read romances, which is why I cannot wait another moment to tell you about them.
The Darkest Sunrise duet by Aly Martinez
The Darkest Sunrise duet (which includes The Darkest Sunrise, out now, and The Brightest Sunset, coming July 27) is an extraordinary reading experience. It is a mesmerizing and poignant journey of love, heartbreak and resurrection, and I cannot adequately describe how special and unique this story is. Readers should prepare themselves to be astounded and to lose all sense of time and place as they become submerged in Aly Martinez’s enthralling and powerful storytelling.
Porter Reese and Charlotte Mills both suffered indescribable tragedies that crushed their hearts, and they struggle to cope years after the devastation. Charlotte has walked in the darkness of despair for 10 years but finds a measure of solace in her job as a pulmonologist, and Porter’s motivation to survive the past three years is his two children. His son suffers from a chronic and debilitating respiratory illness, and he’s desperate to help him, which entails getting an appointment with the physician he believes is his son’s last hope, Dr. Charlotte Mills.
Charlotte doesn’t treat children and refuses to see Porter and his son; therefore, he finds a way to meet her outside of the office to beg her to reconsider. When their eyes meet, it feels as if their souls collide. They recognize each other’s pain as a reflection of their own, and the connection is powerful enough to bring both to their knees. Charlotte is terrified to open her heart and feel again, but Porter slowly woos her and convinces her to lower her defenses and share her anguish with him. They find solace in each other’s arms, but their love story is not simple or easy, as the heartbreak of the past threatens to destroy their newly found hope for the future.
The Darkest Sunrise duet will evoke every emotion, squeeze the heart, rattle the soul and blow the mind. Martinez meticulously writes an unpredictable and unforgettable story that gut-wrenchingly reminds us of the crushing weight of sorrow while also testifying to the healing power of love. Readers will be thinking about and talking about Charlotte and Porter’s story long after finishing it.
Swink by Adriana Locke
Swink is the fifth stand-alone book in Adriana Locke’s The Landry Family series, and I’ve enthusiastically recommended this sexy, emotional and thoroughly entertaining family-centric series since reading the first book, Sway.
Camilla is the youngest of six siblings in the endearing and charming Landry family. She has kept her lover, Dominic Hughes, a secret, because she and Dominic are from very different worlds. She grew up extremely wealthy, sheltered and coddled, while he lived in poverty and fought to survive a turbulent and dangerous childhood. She lives in a gated community and chairs charity fundraisers, and he’s an amateur fighter living in a rundown apartment and working as an HVAC repairman. Neither believes they have a future together due to those differences, and they’ve successfully kept their worlds separated, convincing themselves this is just a fling. When they both develop feelings stronger than just physical attraction, they must decide if they are willing to defy their own beliefs of who is “right” for them, as well as battle the expectations and judgment of their families, friends and society.
Dominic is tough and guarded, but he shows a tender and caring side when he’s with Camilla that is swoon-worthy. He valiantly tries to protect her from any pain or sadness while also building up her confidence. Camilla will have readers cheering as she comes into her own, realizes her own strength and fights for what she wants. Their love is palpable and sigh-worthy, and Swink is pure heartfelt romance. Locke writes with passion and delivers a sexy, breathtaking and feel-good story enhanced with playful banter, scorching-hot interludes and the delightful interactions of the lovable Landry family.
Elusive by L.A. Fiore
I’ve always associated pirates with historical romance, but L.A. Fiore brilliantly brings them into the present day with her innovative, sexy and thrilling Elusive. Kace was orphaned when he was a baby, and he’s been living on the streets of New York City since he was 14 years old. He’s seen and suffered unimaginable cruelties, but he’s persisted by working hard, fighting and scheming when necessary. He’s never had a family or felt loved, but he’s survived. Now, he’s left the city and is pursuing an existence on the sea as a modern-day pirate, stealing from the wealthy on cruise ships and private yachts. He meets Willow while she’s on vacation, and he falls head over heels in love at first sight.
Willow grew up with a privileged — but lonely — childhood. She experiences the same overwhelming feelings for Kace, and they share one blissful, life-altering night together, but he vanishes without a trace before she wakes the next morning. Neither can forget the other, and both stay connected to the sea while yearning for each other as years go by. Readers will be engrossed and on the edge of their seats in this fascinating and heartbreaking tale of survival, intrigue and love as Fiore expertly blends adventure with romance. Elusive is an unforgettable tale of true love and destiny on the high seas, and it should not be missed. (Read an excerpt from Elusive on HEA.