This is my first entry for Top 10 Tuesday and this is a topic most dear to my heart since I heart romances. I picked a favorite book from 10 of my favorite authors. Although this does not exhaust my list (as there are many that are a 5 star for me), these are books that I have read at least 5 times and I still shed a few tears every time I read them. The following are my top 10 in no particular order.
Lions & Lace is perhaps one of the best American Historical Romance books that I’ve read. Set in New York probably in the last 1800s to early 1900s, this is a story of an American socialite and an Irishman who rose from the gutter to become a successful businessman and real estate mogul. This is a dark story with an even darker hero and a tale of family betrayal and innocence.
Wicked Delights of a Bridal Bed by Tracy Anne Warren
Wicked Delights is a book of second chances. I loved reading about Mallory in the other Byron’s of Braeburn books and really related to her when I read her story. Still in mourning after the sudden death of her fiance, Mallory was depressed and not herself until Adam, the Earl of Gresham came and saved her from her stupor. I loved how Adam had his second chance after having loved Mallory for so long. The way both of them discovered love was believable and Adam’s controlling behavior at one point was understandable. Enter in Michael, the fiance, who was not dead at all, reappear into their lives was a nice twist to their HEA.
Secret Desires of a Gentleman by Laura Lee Guhrke
Secret Desires is another favorite. Enter in a stickler for propriety Marquess and a daughter of a cook and you have an awesome love story. Basically, this story is about marrying someone not in your social strata. Philip, the Marquess of Kayne, has been attracted to his cook’s daughter Maria Martingale since she was young. Of crouse, he tried to hide his attraction for her and when she decided to elope with Philip’s younger brother, he paid her off and never saw her again. That is, until about 10 years (?) later when Maria opened a bakery/cafe right next to his house on Half Moon Street! You can just imagine how hard he tried not to notice her, most especially since their balconies are pretty much attached to each other!
A Battle for Love by Cynthia Wright
A love story between two unlikely people. Michelene Tevoulere, a French widow visiting the court of France’s Francois I attracts the king’s attention. A conniving mistress sees her as a threat and so devises a scheme to marry Michelene off to some English lord. Enter Andrew, the Earl of Sandhurst forcefully betrothed to Michelene by order of England’s King Henry VIII and the earl’s father, the duke. Naturally, the young earl wants nothing of the sort and travels to France disguised as a painter to check the ugly crone out. You may guess what happens next, he seduces and falls in love with Michelene while keeping his real identity a secret.
Somewhere I’ll Find You by Lisa Kleypas
Married as children, Julia and Damon have not even laid eyes on each other. Their marriage is kept a secret and both Julia and Damon do not want to be married to each other. Escaping her controlling father and a marriage she does not want to acknowledge, Julia runs away and performs in the theater as Jessica Wentworth. Damon Savage has been looking high and low for the missing Julia to legally end their “marriage.” He sets eyes on Jessica on stage and also tries to seduce her not knowing that Julia and Jessica are one. A story about hidden identities and two strong willed people makes this romance another one of my favorites.
Have you noticed by now that I have a thing for hidden/concealed identities? Well, this book is the very first Kat Martin book I read and I absolutely fell in love with it! The character Vermillion (yes, I love her name) or Lee, is a courtesan’s niece and is rumored to follow in her footsteps. Enter in Captain Caleb Tanner, working undercover at the estate of Lee’s aunt and masquerading as a horse trainer successfully seduces Lee.
Waking Up with the Duke by Lorraine Heath
I was pretty surprised that I loved this story. When I read my romance, infidelities are a no-no to me but I absolutely loved this one! Lady Jayne Seymour falls in love with her husband’s cousin. This cousin, Ransom Seymour, is the cause of an injury/paralysis that renders Jayne’s husband sterile. I loved how this was written in a way that does not cheapen the sanctity of marriage. Of course, Jayne’s husband dies in the end due to a complication of a disease plus he also had infidelities while married to her which softens the blow for me. In the end, I was rooting for Jayne and Ransom to find their HEA.
How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries
This is perhaps my favorite books in the Helions of Hallstead series. Minerva is an authoress while Giles Masters is a lawyer of some sort (gah! I forgot what that one is called). I loved the spark between the two protagonists. Their conversations/spats drew me in and made me love their characters more.
Lessons from a Courtesan by Jenna Petersen
Ah, a marriage of convenience. A man trying to forget his wife and a woman trying to forget the husband she barely knew. Victoria masquerades as a courtesan to find out what happened to her friend when she meets her husband at a party! Although I had issues with Justin’s treatment of Victoria, I found that he did have a good reason for it. I loved the plot and the reasons behind Justin’s attitude. The sex was good, too!