Romance Novel News is proud to announce its list of Recommended Reads for 2010.

All romances listed in this newsletter have been reviewed by RNN staff and come highly recommended.

Why buy romance novels? At $7.99, these titles make great economical gifts and a welcome escape for the romance reader in your household.

They make great stocking stuffers or open house gifts. Want to start a romance readers club? Give these titles to your coworkers and friends, then, swap them when you’re done!

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, by Sarah MacLean
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has spent 10 years following the rules of English society. She has little to show for it – except a pristine reputation. She has spent most of those years fantasizing about life rather than living it. Callie drafts a unique to-do list of taboo items that ladies in polite society simply do not do. The first item on her list – to kiss someone passionately – compels her to make a late-night visit to the home of Gabriel St. John, a well-known rake. They agree on an unconventional business arrangement and Gabriel helps Callie fulfill the remaining items on her list. “Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake” is an enchanting read filled with touching emotions, scorching sexual tension and highly engaging characters. MacLean’s vivid storytelling is equally matched by her witty dialogue.
Reviewed by Jennifer Porter

Libertine’s Kiss by Judith James
Friends from childhood, Puritan Elizabeth Walters, and William de Veres, a cavalier and notorious libertine are now on opposite sides of the English Civil War. Elizabeth is charged with treason for harboring and aiding William. She is stripped of her lands and left penniless.

Reviewed by C.M. Lessard

Jealousy mounts when William is troubled by the king’s special interest in Elizabeth. A series of misunderstandings and manipulations threaten their relationship. Readers will have a hard time resisting this charming tale of childhood sweethearts who reunite later in life.

When Charles is restored to the throne a year later, After years of separation, Elizabeth travels to court an injured William shows to plead her case and up at Elizabeth’s door but reclaim her land. he does not recognize her. William, now a royal confidant, discovers her She treats his wounds identity and vows to help and they engage in a Elizabeth by preparing night of passion. In the her for her audience with morning he leaves the king. without asking her name.

Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
When Beatrix Hathaway last met Christopher Phelan, she was put off by the arrogant aristocrat. He said she was more suited to the stables than in society. That’s because Beatrix is known for caring for a bevy of wounded animals, Including, a pet hedgehog named Medusa. Although some find her strange, others find her charming and original. While fighting for England in the Crimean Peninsula, Christopher believes he is corresponding with the beautiful Prudence Mercer, but it is Beatrix’s letters that comfort him.
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Reviewed by C.M. Lessard

When Christopher returns from war, he discovers that Prudence was not the author of the letters. He sets out to find the one responsible for the “betrayal.” The couple argue over what’s best for Christopher’s dog Albert, a regimental mascot who served as his companion for two years. An altruistic Beatrix exercises the same patience and understanding with the battlescarred Christopher as she does with the wounded creatures she cares for. Together they work through Christopher’s posttraumatic stress.

Lisa Kleypas writes an entrancing love story between a war hero and an unconventional beauty. Kleypas provides an array of charming, insightful and laugh-outloud moments that keep the story lighthearted, even though the subject of war is quite dreadful. “Love in the Afternoon” makes a felicitous finale to the Hathaway series. The story will definitely resonate with animal lovers and military wives.

One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare
Spinster Amelia d’Orsay is excited to be spending the summer at her family’s country cottage. When she learns it won’t be possible due to a gambling debt her brother Jack incurred to a duke, she aims to plead her case. The rich and reclusive Duke of Morland, refuses to forgive the debt, instead, he offers Amelia a fortune to be his wife and bear his heir. Spencer is a member of the elite “Stud Club,” where members share the rights to breed a former racehorse. But Spencer, who does not want to share, becomes a suspect when the club founder is murdered. Spencer is conceited and demanding, but also has a soft side that emerges in the company of his horses. He embarks on an orchestrated plan of seduction to win over his wary wife. Their marriage encounters a few hurdles, including a visit by Jack. He’s in trouble (again) and needs his sister’s help. Spencer risks his marriage when he makes Amelia choose between him and her brother. Tessa Dare delves cleverly into the parallels between horse training and wife-wooing. Amelia is unconventional and rational - except when it comes to her brother Jack. And Spencer is a rare breed that any woman would want to tame.
Reviewed by C.M. Lessard

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
Annabel Winslow has a problem. Her grandmother is pushing her to marry the aging but wealthy Earl of Newbury. As one of eight siblings, the match could help support Annabel’s family. Newbury is desperate to produce an heir in order to prevent his nephew, Sebastian Grey, from inheriting the earldom. But, as Newbury attempts to take liberties with Annabel, he unwittingly sends her into to a chance meeting with Sebastian. When Newbury sees Sebastian and Annabel together at the opera, he becomes livid. He publicly abandons his pursuit of Annabel. To ease the damage to Annabel’s reputation, her grandmother suggests a pretend courtship which becomes real. Their relationship attracts a renewed interest from the competitive Newbury, who decides to reclaim Annabel. Annabel must choose between her growing feelings for Sebastian and her need to provide for her family. Sebastian has a secret. A decorated war hero, he writes popular gothic novels under a female nom de plume. Sebastian is witty and introspective, with a penchant for poetic prose, but he is unwilling to share his secret with even his closest friends. Quinn is a master of fun-filled, feel-good stories, and "Ten Things I Love About You," is no exception. Readers will laugh out loud as they root for Sebastian and Annabel – a formidable couple who are clearly made for each other.

Reviewed by Jennifer Porter

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Rule’s Bride by Kat Martin
To please her dying father, Violet Griffin agreed to marry a man she barely knows. The wealthy owner of a Boston-based munitions plant, he wanted to make sure his only child was provided for so he made Rule Dewar, a tempting offer. In exchange for marrying Violet, Rule will be part owner of the company, heading up the London office. Rule agrees to leave his 16-year-old bride untouched and return in three years to collect her. But he does not come. As Rule ran the London operation, Violet secretly learned every aspect of the business. She runs the Boston business as well as any man. Now Violet has fallen in love, but in order for her to marry, she must travel to London and seek an annulment from Rule. When Violet shows up in London unexpectedly, Rule is ready to live up to his promise but it is too late for Violet.

Reviewed by C.M. Lessard

Rule makes a proposal. He will give her an annulment if she agrees to stay with him for one month. He then uses his devilish charm to seduce her. On the verge of the U.S. Civil War, the couple agrees to sell the company. The competitive sale leads to the murder of the buyer. When Rule stands accused, Violet sets out to exonerate her husband.

A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare
Lily Rutledge had noticed some bizarre changes in her young nephew Oliver; an unusual growth spurt, an unending appetite and a terrible temper. These sound like normal traits of adolescence, but Oliver's condition is much worse. He's becoming quite the monster. Oliver's guardian, Simon Westfield, Duke of Blackmoor, hasn't seen the orphaned boy in over six years. Simon realizes that Oliver will need his help adjusting to the werewolf curse, which affects the men in their family. He plans to foster Oliver, but Lily has no intention of letting go. Simon and Lily engage in a battle of wills, revealing a not-so-subtle desire for each other. And a meddling neighbor masterminds a scandal that forces the pair to wed.

Reviewed by C.M. Lessard

Simon’s secretive nature and unexplained absences lead Lily to assume he is cheating until she stumbles upon a clue and unravels the mystery. The authors, Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson, who write under the pseudonym Lydia Dare, flawlessly blend the historical and paranormal genres, providing a hint of the lycan lifestyle with a touching romance. Simon's animal magnetism and seductive nature provides lots of feral fun.

Simon is the typical alAfter her letters pleading pha-male, both brutish for assistance go unanand territorial, but a fear swered, Lily confronts the of rejection prevents him neglectful nobleman. from sharing his true self with Lily.
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When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck
Attorney Sara Constantine has just won an important court case, sending a brutal serial killer to jail for life. While celebrating her victory at a local bar, she shares an explosive night with a mysterious stranger. Sara is soon promoted and is hand-picked to be a prosecutor for a secret and ancient organization called the Preternatural Enforcement Coalition (PEC). The PEC operates under the Covenant, a series of laws put in place for millennia.—laws which all Shadow Creatures (those of the paranormal persuasion) must abide. Sara’s first case is to prosecute a vampire for murder. The defendant is Lucius “Luke” Dragos, a 2,000 year-old vampire with a tortured past. He is also the mystery man who shared her bed the night before. Sara grapples with her newfound feelings for Luke while prosecuting him for a murder she doesn’t believe he committed.

Reviewed by B.A. Ruggiero

Full of surprising plot twists and a captivating story line, Beck peppers her story with a host of unusual and dangerous beings. Her vampires drink scotch and have “daemons” (the urge to do evil) , which they must control. Sara soothes Luke’s daemon and he’s unable to give her up. Beck uses her legal experience to add a gritty layer of crime drama to this sexy thrill ride of good vs. evil.

Passions of a Wicked Earl by Lorraine Heath
A bitter Earl of Westcliffe is outraged to find his wife Claire at his London home. He had exiled her three years ago when he caught her in the arms of his younger brother, Stephen on their wedding night. Betrothed to Westcliffe at birth, Claire never had a proper courtship with Westcliffe. She was closer with Stephen than with her somber suitor eight years her senior. But a harmless embrace between friends ruined her marriage and destroyed a family. Claire asks Westcliffe's help in providing a season (and hopefully a suitor) for her younger sister, Beth. She also hopes to repair her marriage in the process. Westcliffe reluctantly agrees. The sooner Beth finds a match, the sooner he can divorce his wife and marry his mistress Anne Cavill. Westcliffe is extremely cruel to Claire, but she eventually wears down his defenses. Their time together affords the pair a proper courtship. Westcliffe breaks his engagement with Anne and hatches a wicked scheme that feeds into Westcliffe's mistrusting nature. Lorraine Heath delivers tantalizing (and torturous) scenes between Claire and Westcliffe. Westcliffe is convinced he is unable to love, but his actions toward Claire and his dog prove otherwise. Animal lovers will appreciate the tender moments between Westcliffe and his collie named Cooper.

Reviewed by C.M. Lessard

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Succubi Like it Hot by Jill Myles
Jackie Brighton, the frumpy museum-guideturned-sexy succubus, is back with her paranormal posse for another adventure. In Myles’ debut, “Gentlemen Prefer Succubi,” Jackie is turned into a succubus after she is drained by Zane - a vampire, and has sex with Noah - a fallen angel. The men (who are bitter enemies) become Jackie’s masters. In the latest edition, Jackie discovers she’s been cursed. Her craving for sex, “the itch,” has been happening more frequently. If she doesn’t break the curse, she’ll die. Teaming up with her succubus sidekick, porn star Remy Summore, they hit the road to seek the help of the oldest succubus in America. On a trip to New Orleans, Jackie discovers little tidbits about her masters, which raise questions about her relationships. Zane appears to abandon Jackie during her time of

Reviewed by C.M. Lessard

need and Noah is keeping a secret from her. Jackie’s adventures with Remy will make readers laugh out loud. Jackie manages to save herself without the assistance of her powerful masters. But questions remain. Does Zane have a sinister plan? Will Noah suffer consequences for turning Jackie into a succubus? And most important, which master will she choose?

From all of us at Romance Novel News, Happy Holidays! Thank You for Your Support!
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