My latest read in this series of hot authors from New Jersey is Babette James whose contemporary romance, KISSING KATIE, is the perfect balance of sexy and sweet.
Katie Vanburen and Matt Powell once spent summer after summer together in scenic Lavallette, NJ, but the friends lost touch after Matt’s parents divorced.
Years later, Matt rents the beach house that once belonged to his grandparents, noting that the house next door appears to be occupied by new owners. He is caught off guard when a beautiful woman runs over from the neighbor’s yard and throws her arms around him. It’s his long-lost Katie, all grown up. A widow whose deceased husband’s memory is soiled by a history of cheating, Katie has had a hard time moving on. Matt, a high-powered lawyer with huge offers from three different firms, isn’t sure he’ll be able to devote time and attention to a serious relationship…but soon he knows he has to try. Once he kisses Katie, he knows he can’t bear to be separated from her again.
This super sweet romance put me right at the Jersey shore. James’s setting descriptions are immersive, and her love story is heartfelt. My favorite are scenes that include changing weather. These fine brush strokes reflect not only the romantic elements of this book but the playfulness of the characters who are rediscovering their youth. Matt and Katie felt more like real people than characters to me, and I really enjoyed spending time with them. This is the perfect, relaxing beach read for the summer!
Next in this series of hot romance authors from New Jersey, I bring you Nancy Herkness who turned the heat all the way up in her contemporary romance, COUNTRY ROADS.
The novel begins with our heroine, Julia Castillo, stranded on a country road on her way from the big city to a small town. Julia has her artwork in tow, striking paintings of dark horses that won’t sell according to her manager uncle. Handsome Paul Taggart, layer and former mayor, sweeps in to save her, getting her to town and the art dealer who is convinced Julia’s work will rock the art world.
Julia isn’t used to being outside of the sheltered world her family created for her, but she soon develops a taste for this new independence and for the man who rescued her. Their passion roars to life with a heat that catches both off guard. Julia, who has always been protected due to her epilepsy, worries that Paul will find out about her condition and treat her as her family did, like a broken doll. Paul is tied to his home town by an alcoholic brother who is struggling to retain custody over his son. Will the power of the whisper horses for which Sanctuary is so famous be able to help these lovers overcome their odds, or will Julia and Paul ultimately part ways on these country roads?
One of my favorite things about the book was Herkness’s vision of Sanctuary, a fictional West Virginian town with enough charm to make the reader want to linger and whisper horses to boot. I love fish out of water stories, so it was fun to follow the big-city artist to this place. The perspective switches between Julia and Paul, and Herkness worked hard to make both of these characters equally complex.
So if life may be troubling you, stop by Sanctuary where the whisper horses may hear your troubles and help you find your way. 🙂