A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell is $2.99 everywhere right now. I've read two of Mansell's books so far – after many were recommended by all of you very wise readers – and I really enjoyed her writing. They all take place in small communities in England, and while there's a romance thread, sometimes it's much thinner than the stories that connect the characters to one another. One of Mansell's strengths is her development of people whose friends are their family, and how they all take care of one another. The small town-ness is familiar, good parts and bad, but because it's also set in various parts of England, it's unique for me as a reader.
This story is about a young woman who left town abruptly when she became pregnant as a teenager. She's moved home after her father's death with her teenage daughter, and her arrival causes all sorts of changes. (I totally want to read this – oh catnip, my catnip!)
It's been a while, but Lara Carson's back in Bath and lives are set to change as a result. Because Lara left her family and boyfriend Flynn eighteen years ago without a word to anyone. Why has no one heard from her since? Her childhood best friend Evie is thrilled Lara's back and able to share her happiness.
Evie's about to walk down the aisle with her dream man, Joel. Or so she thinks… Then there's Flynn Erskine, even more attractive now and stunned to see Lara again.
The spark between them is as strong as ever, but how's Flynn going to react when he discovers the secret she's been keeping from him?
Oh yes, there's a lot of catching up to be done.
RECOMMENDED – Ride With Me, Ruthie Knox's first contemporary with LoveSwept, is on sale for .99c. Road Trip Romance! On Bikes! I reviewed this book in 2012 and gave it a B saying that the ending was rushed for me, but I loved the descriptions:
There were a number of extraordinary features to this book. First, Knox describes the changing American landscape in such a way that you never feel the monotony of biking. Every chapter and each state is different, and the descriptions of how the rolling hills and endless plains of one state vs. another are the opposite of boring.
When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger—a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.
Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank. Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex.
But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?
Along Came Trouble is Ruthie Knox's second book in her Camelot series and it's on sale for .99. This is contemporary that mixes in a lot of erotic heat, plus it's a bodyguard romance with a heroine whose brother is an international star. Anyone reach for the mouse button at the word “bodyguard?” Thought so!
An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.
Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure.
With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?
Let Me Be the One by Bella Andre is on sale at most retailers for .99c. It's book #6 in the Sullivans series, and features a pretend-boyfriend storyline with an artist heroine and a professional athlete who have been friends since they were kids.
Back in San Francisco preparing for her big art show, Vicki Bennett needs help protecting herself and her career from the unwelcome advances of one of the judges. She knows that her longtime friend and baseball star, Ryan Sullivan, will know just how to handle things, and he's the only person she can imagine asking for help.
Ryan is thrilled to have Vicki back in his life, and he will do anything to protect her from harm, including playing the role of “pretend boyfriend.” But when their staged kisses and caresses lead to an incredibly sensual night, they both worry that they may have damaged their friendship forever.
Have they made the worst mistake possible? Or is the perfect combination of friendship and love finally within reach?
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