Wednesday, February 03, 2021

by Joanne Mengel

I am so ready to kiss winter goodbye. January was the longest month ever, at least that is how it seemed to me. So glad it is finally over. At least the month of February won’t be quite as long, and it gets us one month closer to Spring. The cold and snowy weather is a great time for reading, and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, our fun loving library staff put together a display of books with the word “kiss” in the title. Everything from steamy bodice rippers to contemporary feel good stories, there is something for everyone. Here’s a few of my top picks.

How to Kiss a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
Sigh.. there's just something about a cowboy...
Bronc rider Brady Caine is ruggedly handsome, careless, and charismatic. He's riding high when he lands an endorsement deal with Lariat Western Wear that pairs him up with champion barrel racer Suze Carlyle. Brady and Suze couldn't be more different, but that only lights up their attraction. A stupid move on Brady's part lands Suze in the hospital, her career in tatters. Now it's a whole new game for both of them. Brady is desperate to help Suze rebuild her life, but he's the last person she wants around. Suze's got plenty of grit and determination, but learning to trust Brady again will take a very different kind of courage. 

The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March
If cowboys are not your thing, author Emily March gives you the western feel of Colorado in this contemporary romance without the horses and spurs. Part of her Eternity Springs novels, you will definitely get caught up in the beauty of the west in this one. Caitlin Timberlake, a successful businesswoman, made it to the top of the corporate ladder in New York City. Now years later, her goals have changed. She wants to come home to Eternity Springs and build a business and a family of her own—with the new man in town. So what if sexy mechanic Josh Tarkington wants nothing more than a fling? Caitlin is a patient woman who knows how to work hard and strategize to win what she desires. She desires Josh. Unfortunately, he has other plans. 

Just One Kiss by Susan Mallery
Like the small town romance setting but with a little spice? Author Susan Mallery’s Fool's Gold novels fit the bill perfectly. Falling for Justice Garrett was a high point in Patience McGraw's otherwise awkward adolescence. Even after he disappeared, Patience never forgot the boy who captured her heart. Now, he's back in Fool's Gold, California, and her passion for him is as strong as ever. When bodyguard Justice Garrett was a young man, witness protection brought him to this idyllic town and he never forgot its warmth, or the sweet beauty of his childhood friend. A little bit spicy but full of feeling, Just One Kiss has exactly the right mixture of both.

Sweet Kiss of Summer by Sophie Gunn
Similar to Susan Mallery, author Sophie Gunn captures the essence of the close knit community setting perfectly. Nina Stokes is a small-town artist who has been waiting for the day she'd be able to fulfill her late brother's wishes and hand over his rambling house to its new owner. Yet when a sexy stranger arrives on her doorstep, key in hand, Nina realizes she's not ready to let go of the house and all its memories until she gets some answers to what really happened to her brother. Mick Rivers may be a hard-as-nails soldier, but throwing a woman out of her house isn't his style. Neither is dredging up memories of the past. He desperately needs to sell the house, but he finds Nina impossible to resist. So, instead of moving on, Mick moves in. As sweet summer days lead to sizzling summer nights, Mick must finally face his fears. But can he tell Nina the secrets haunting his heart without breaking hers?

Just Kiss Me by Rachel Gibson
One more good one before I move on to a different writing style. If you like stories that are light, fun and full of sizzling romance, Rachel Gibson is spot on. It's been years since Vivian Leigh Rochet last saw Henry Whitley-Shuler. She was a teenager scrubbing houses for a living. He was the gorgeous son of rich parents, not fit for the likes of her. Vivian had vowed to get out of Charleston, become a big Hollywood star, and stick it to the snooty girls who made her cry. She got what she wanted—and more—but why does her glamorous life seem so trivial? Henry got out too, and made it all the way to Wall Street, until a heart attack forced him to trade in his cufflinks for a good set of hand tools. Making furniture soothes his soul, but escaping the Whitley-Shuler heritage is nearly impossible. And now he's back in Charleston and comes face-to-face with the one who got away. He's not looking for love. . . so why is resisting her the hardest thing he's ever done?


Kiss the Moon by Carla Neggers
Are mysteries more your thing? In Kiss the Moon, the author does a great job of mixing supense with a little bit of hidden attraction. Lost in the frozen woods of New Hampshire, Penelope Chestnut discovers the wreckage of a small plane. An aviator herself, she sees clues to a conspiracy in the rusted-out remains. Rumors of her discovery bring Wyatt Sinclair to Cold Spring, determined to put to rest a family scandal and learn what really happened to his legendary uncle, who had disappeared with his adventuress lover years earlier. As Wyatt and Penelope investigate, old motives are uncovered and new ones created, including a growing attraction between the pair.


Kiss and Tell by Fern Michaels
One of the Sisterhood books, readers will enjoy seeing what happens when a group of well-funded, very angry women take the law into their own hands. The story keeps you enthralled right to the very end. The Sisterhood has been content to let their gold shields gather a little dust while they enjoy their friends and family. But when a string of anonymous emails arrives at Pinewood, suggesting shady dealings at a local assisted living facility, Myra Rutledge and her best friend Annie de Silva are more than ready to out-hustle a master con artist at his own game. They’ll need to enlist some new and untested allies in order to pull off their brilliant plan, all while Myra faces a personal challenge that will rock the Sisterhood to the core . . . If you like this one, there are currently 32 titles in the series - and you don’t need to read them in order.


Last Kiss by Luanne Rice
Last Kiss is the haunting story of a close-knit community grappling with a heartbreaking mystery, and of a woman rebuilding her world and reclaiming a love she believed lost a lifetime ago. A face on a poster, a name in the news, an inexplicable tragedy. A promising young man goes out one warm summer evening and is found dead—murdered—less than twenty-four hours later. No motive. No clues. No answers. Most people reflect briefly on the disturbing headlines, perhaps say a silent prayer of safely removed sympathy, and go on with their lives. But what if the young man was your son? Or your true love? 

And, last but not least, here are a few of those good, old fashioned bodice rippers. If you are a fan of the Bridgerton series these are sure to please.

Once Upon a Kiss by Jayne Fresina
In the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior, the five young ladies of the Book Club Belles Society are looking for their own leading men. When handsome, mysterious Darius Wainwright strolls into town, the Book Club Belles are instantly smitten with this brooding good looks and prideful demeanor. It's as if he walked out of the pages of their favorite new novel, a scandalous romance called Pride and Prejudice. But Justina Penny can't understand why her fellow Belles are starry-eyed in the newcomer's arrogant presence. On the other hand, Justina is the opposite of Darius's ideal woman - not that he's looking for romance. But when he discovers her stealing apples from his uncle's orchard, he can't resist his own thieving impulse. A stolen kiss from the mischievous Miss Penny leaves Darius wanting much, much more. If it's a dashing villain she desires, Darius is more than willing to play the part.


The Promise in a Kiss by Stephanie Laurens
Helena knew the man who fell at her feet in the convent courtyard on a moonlit evening was probably there for a scandalous liaison, yet she kept his secret and was rewarded with an enticing kiss. Seven years later, Sebastian spies her across a crowded ballroom, tantalizing all the eligible men with her wit and beauty. But this heiress does not want just any husband.. she wants a challenge, an equal.


A Royal Kiss & Tell by Julia London
Part of the Royal Wedding series, this one is historical romance at its best. Every young man in London’s ton is vying for Lady Caroline Hawke’s hand—except one. Handsome Prince Leopold of Alucia can’t quite remember Caroline’s name, and the insult is not to be tolerated. So Caroline does what any clever, resourceful lady of means would do to make sure Leo never again forgets - sees that scandalous morsels about his reputation are printed in a ladies’ gossip gazette. Socially, it is ruining him. More importantly, it jeopardizes his investigation into a contemptible scheme that reaches the highest levels of British government. Leo needs Lady Caroline’s help to regain access to society, but this charming prince is about to discover that enlisting the deceptively sweet and sexy Lady Caroline might just cost him his heart, his soul and both their reputations.

Find these awesome titles and more on our display at the Main Library, and help us “Kiss Winter Goodbye”

Joanne Mengel works in the FDL Public Library Reference department.