If your idea of romance involves thrills, secrecy, and danger around every corner, then Linda Howard’s latest is for you. Morgan Yancy is the team leader for an elite paramilitary group. He’s used to high stakes, not the peace and quiet of a small West Virginia town. But after an ambush, that’s exactly where he’s sent to lie low. Things take a positive turn when he meets Isabeau Maran, the city’s part-time police chief. But falling in love is dangerous for a man with a target on his back, especially when his secret identity is revealed. In honor of the Troublemaker’s publication, Howard recommended five of her favorite romantic thrillers.
Karen Robards just hits the nail on the head for me. The hero of this novel is sexy, the set-up is intriguing, and the danger almost never lets up—though it isn’t until the very end that you know where it’s coming from. The heroine, Riley, finds her ex-husband’s body hanging in his house. It appears to be a suicide, but she knows that it isn’t. There’s a list of suspects. But who really killed him and why?
I believe this one is out of print, but oh boy, what a book! This is one of my all-time favorites. Some books read as though the characters are puppets, but John R. Maxim did a masterful job with characterization. All of the characters’ actions, and therefore the plot, flow from the characters themselves. Paul Bannerman is a mild-mannered, slightly sly man who also happens to be the head of a group of elite assassins. Where does the romance come in? He falls in love with Susan, a reporter and the daughter of a detective. Their relationship is sweet and sexy, and their connection sends shock waves through certain dark segments of the population.
The heroine of this book, Lila, begins as most of Nora Roberts’ female characters do: being very capable at whatever she tackles, including life. But there’s something about Lila that’s special, almost magical. I don’t know if I can capture in words what that quality is, but if there were a crowd of people in a room, Lila would be the one shining. The danger comes from an art collector who will stop at nothing to get the pieces he wants. Lila witnesses him committing murder and becomes determined to stop him. I enjoy Roberts’ writing regardless, but Lila is a character I’ll always remember.
Dr. Charlotte Stone is studying prisoners on death row when one of them is murdered in front of her. The prisoner’s spirit attaches himself to Charlotte, and over the course of four books she falls in love with him. In this final installment, she attempts to prove his innocence once and for all. But what good does that do them when he’s dead and she isn’t? Here is where Karen Robards shows inventiveness! I loved the solution.
This urban fantasy has a little more romance than thrills, but I love how Thea Harrison crafts a sentence. So what if the hero is a dragon? He’s a sexy dragon, and the heroine is a peace-loving vegetarian who accepts him for all that he is. The thrills come when other supernatural factions attempt to unseat the hero, the King of the shapeshifters, by going after his weakness: his new mate.