Romance novels for your sweetheart

By Marianne Murray Guess

I can’t help myself. I’m a little bit of a romantic when it comes to the month of February. It’s that time of year when flowers, candy, red hearts and romance signify Valentine’s Day. Hey, what about books? If you’re into contemporary romance novels like I am, here are four authors who are at the top of their game when it comes to making the heart grow fonder.

The First Kiss

Grace Burrowes: Grace brings terrific writing and incredible storytelling ability into her 2015 Sweetest Kiss Series. She started her career as a technical writer, had time to pursue a law degree, read a lot of romance novels and eventually got up the courage to start pitching manuscripts to agents and editors.

She said she wrote two million words of romantic fiction before she was published.

She’s starting the year with “Will’s True Wish” this month and “Duke’s in Disguise” coming in March. You might want to start with The Sweetest Kiss Series — “A Single Kiss,” “The First Kiss” and “Kiss Me Hello.” She brings a lot of warmth, sensuality and a touch of humor into her writing.

As RT Book Reviews put it, “Let Burrowes lift your heart.” That she does!

Plenty of Drama

Samantha Chase: She is the bestselling author of the popular Montgomery Series. Although she waited until she was 40 to be published for the first time, writing has been a life long passion. Her debut novel, “Jordan’s Return,” was released in 2011.

Pick up a copy of “I’ll Be There” and meet Zach Montgomery. He’s sexy, hard working, a successful CEO, adrenaline junkie, loyal to his friends, loves his family, goes after what he wants — except the woman he’s been in love with for five years. In this book, Chase explores the difficult emotions that arise when an extremely active man realizes that he is not mortal.

Book Reviews said it best, “Plenty of drama and sizzling chemistry.”

Laugh & Cry

Marie Force: With more than four million books sold, Marie is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 contemporary romance novels.

If you don’t know where to start reading one of her books, you might want to begin with “Love at First Flight.” What if the guy in the airplane seat next to you turned out to be the love of your life? When the weekend is a disaster for both of them, they bond on the plane ride home. But life is full of complications, including their exes who don’t want to let go.

Her first published book, “Line of Scrimmage,” hit the shelves in 2008. Her book series include the Fatal Series, Green Mountain Series and Quantum Trilogy, which has now become a series with the January release of book four, “Rapturous.”

Read Marie Force and you’ll definitely be loving, laughing and crying.

Happily Ever After

Sharon Lathan: Sharon said the pathway that would change her life forever began over the Thanksgiving weekend of 2005 when she entered a movie theatre to watch “Pride and Prejudice.” She expected it to be a sappy chick flick. It was her introduction to writer Jane Austen, and an obsession was born.

That led to her writing “The Darcy Saga,” a sequel series to “Pride and Prejudice.” Start with book one in the series — “Mr. And Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One.” Then read your way to book five — “The Trouble With Mr. Darcy.”

You’ll find as their love story unfolds that Darcy and Elizabeth reveal to each other how their relationship blossomed. Theirs is a marriage filled with romance, sensuality and the beauty of deep abiding love.

It’s a real credit to Sharon that her storytelling style is in keeping with the author of the work that inspired this series. You’ll be able to fully immerse yourself into the time period. Well done, Sharon!

It all started in the third century when Saint Valentine of Rome stood up for love. Now, more than a billion valentines are expected to be sent in the United States. You might even want to think about a good romance novel for your favorite sweetheart.

Happy Valentine’s Day and happy romantic reading!

Marianne Murray Guess is the owner of New and Olde Pages Book Shoppe in Englewood. She lives in Laura, Ohio.

By Marianne Murray Guess