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Romance Report: Ring in the New Year
By Martina Bexte (January 2003)

Now that the second year of the new millennium is only a memory and we settle into 2003, new romance offerings are just what the doctor ordered to take the chill out of those long, cold January evenings when there's nothing better than curling up with a good book (except maybe curling up with one of the characters between its covers). Whether you like your romances hot, steamy and sexy or want to experience, vicariously, adventure and intrigue along with them, our January romance picks have a little something for everybody's reading tastes!

Historical Romance

For the historical romance fans out there, Shannon Drake is back with The Lion in Glory, the fifth installment of the Graham's saga set in 14th century Scotland. Gaelen Foley brings us Lady of Desire, set in 1816 London and showcasing the relationship between a lady of the ton and the head of a London gang. Sue-Ellen Welfonder's Bride of the Beast, already garnering rave reviews, is another lively, enchanting story set in 14th century Scotland. Catherine Coulter, a heavyweight on both the contemporary and historical best seller lists, spins another intriguing historical romance with just a touch of the paranormal in The Penwyth Curse - about Merryn de Gay and her four husbands, all of whom have dropped dead because of an ancient Druid curse.

Bobbi Smith and perennial favourite Linda Lael Miller return with Forever Autumn and High Country Bride, both set in the American old west. (Miller's story is the first in a trilogy about three rough and tumble brothers looking for suitable wives). The Captain's Woman by Merline Lovelace tells the story of Victoria Parker, determined to become a journalist and report from the front lines of the Spanish-American War. Brand new author Beth Pattillo charms with a delightfully funny regency tale Princess Charming in which ex-patriot Nick St. Germain and suffragette Lady Lucinda Charming wager on everything, including love.

Romantic Murder & Mayhem

Those of you whose tastes run to a combination of romance, intrigue, murder and/or mayhem, should take a minute or two to check out these chilling January releases: Joanne Pence returns with If Cooks Could Kill - Paavo has finally proposed but Angie Amalfi can't bask in bliss, not until she's cleared a girlfriend of murder. Donna Andrews gives us a funnier take on murder with Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon, another Meg Langslow mystery. Christiane Heggan's Deadly Intent shows us successful career woman Abbie DeAngelo and the wayward stepbrother who's come home to ruin her life.

Patricia Potter returns to the contemporary scene with Twisted Shadows, in which Samantha Carroll's successful life is torn apart after she discovers her true heritage. Jayne Ann Krentz's Light in Shadow is another great reading investment and showcases her usual fine characterizations and interesting plot twists. Carla Neggars brings readers The Harbor with former detective Zoe West returning home to quiet Goose Harbor to discover the identity of her father's killer. From Boardwalk With Love is a new concept series from Leisure Books, about female secret agents working for a government outfit called B.L.I.S.S. - early reports promise lots of action, humour, and of course, sizzling romance.

Contemporary Romance

Never fear, there's also less dangerous and lighter fare in the contemporary offerings and the first great book to add to your to be read pile is Carly Phillips' second installment of her Chandler Brothers series, The Playboy, where sworn bachelor brother Rick finally meets his match in fleeing bride Kendall Sutton. Christie Ridgeway gives us Then Comes Marriage, a funny and warm look at love. For those of you who like a paranormal twist, check out these titles: Kristine Grayson's Simply Irresistible and Cupid's Melody by Karen Fox, both based on fairy tales or old legends and guaranteed to make you smile.

Harlequin & Silhouette

Now for those of you just itching to get your hands on some of the new category titles from Harlequin and Silhouette, here's a book bag full of must reads for January: Stories featuring babies continue to be a popular draw for the New Year - here are a few picks from the various lines: Jackpot Baby, Commander's Little Surprise, Not Precisely Pregnant, The Pregnancy Bond, Baby Be Mine, The Rancher, The Baby & The Nanny, Baby on Board, and Maybe My Baby.

The Harlequin Intrigue line offers new titles from Debra Webb in Undercover Wife and Harper Allen's McQueen's Heat, in which a woman firefighter saves the life of a down-and-out loner with a sketchy past. Harlequin's longer Superromances bring us new stories from Roz Denny Fox and Jean Brashear, Someone to Watch Over Me and The Healer, two great stories from a pair of popular and prolific authors. In the Silhouette Desire line, look for Charlene Sands' very sensual The Heart of a Cowboy and Leanne Banks' story of instant attraction, The Playboy and the Plain Jane.

And finally, to round out the first month of 2003, Silhouette Intimate Moments has another fine list of sizzling titles: Alias Smith and Jones by Kylie Brandt is a romantic adventure guaranteed to keep you guessing. Northern Exposure by Debra Lee Brown sets love and adventure in the wilds of Alaska. There is Catherine Mann's latest gritty installment of her Wingmen Warrior military series, Under Siege. Or how about Virginia Kantra's All A Man Can Ask, featuring hard-edged Chicago cop, Aleksy Denko, a character introduced in last year's, All A Man Can Do.

That's all for this month, romance fans ... go ahead and ring in the New Year happily with romantic reading!
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