October brings a nip in the air, and the dawning realization that the holiday season is just around the corner—whether we’re prepared for it or not. It is also the traditional time of year when publishers start pushing through their annual offering of holiday reads. While none of these not-your-usual historicals are Christmas-themed, the sheer variety of “different” here certainly feels like an early present. Merry Christmas, to one and all!
Rebel With a Heart by Carol Arens
Trace Ballentine, investigative journalist, has gone undercover to expose corruption at a remote South Dakota hospital. And when his long-lost sweetheart appears out of nowhere—beautiful, vulnerable and with two adorable children in tow—he can't risk blowing his cover.
Lilleth Preston finds bumbling librarian Clark Clarkly curiously attractive…and strangely familiar. Is there more to the mysterious, bookish Clark than meets the eye? But she has secrets of her own, and revealing the truth could put both Trace and Lilleth in grave danger….
Laird of Ballanclaireby Jackie Ivie
Kameron Ballan, heir to the Laird of Ballanclaire, has no respect for his father's titles and treaties. They've gotten him naught but trouble - and a betrothal to a sickly Spanish princess. So when his latest peccadillo gets him transported to America to subdue the restless colonies, he's ready to prove his worth as a man, not a figurehead.
Constant Ridgely, seventh daughter of an upright patriot family, discovers Kam beaten senseless by a crowd of colonists. She must hide him or watch him die, but the strange, brawny Scotsman inflames passions she's never guessed at...Under Constant's ministrations, Kam discovers a lovely, innocent woman whose hands stir his desires. But much is at stake and there is much to lose, and their happiness depends on a risk so great only the truly lost would dare...
In the Heart of the Highlander by Maggie Robinson
Ever since Mary Evensong’s elderly aunt Mim got sick, Mary’s masqueraded as the owner of the Evensong Agency, finding housemaids and husbands, and solving pesky problems, for the peerage. Someday she’d like to shake off her silvery wig and spectacles and be the young woman she truly is, but desperate clients are waiting for “Mrs. Evensong” at the office.
Like a scandalous Scottish baron. Honor forbids Lord Alec Raeburn from explaining the suspicious circumstances surrounding his wife’s death, but he knows who’s responsible. He just needs to hire an actress to lure the scoundrel into a trap.
After listening to Raeburn’s story—and seeing him in his kilt—Mary knows the perfect person for the role. Letting her red hair down, she heads off to the Scottish Highlands to pose as a seductress, but soon finds herself with more than her virtue at stake in a tug-of-war between two powerful men. She could wind up in danger—or in the heart of the highlander.
Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt
Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe-and won't back down . . .
Artemis Greaves toils as a lady's companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads, she recognizes a kindred spirit-and is intrigued. She's even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day . . .
Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother-or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn't without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire-or the temptation of his embrace?
Victorian Mountain-Climbers! In France!
Improper Arrangements by Juliana Ross
A reckless infatuation nearly ruined Lady Alice Cathcart-Ross in her youth, but from the moment she spies Elijah Philemon Keating scaling a rock face without a rope in sight, the man awakens her long-buried desire. Alice has come to the high Alps in search of a mountaineer, and in Elijah she finds the guide of her dreams.
Though Elijah is known as one of the greatest explorers of the age, a tragic accident has destroyed his taste for adventure and society. Elijah can't deny his attraction to Alice, but he resolves to avoid the entanglement that could accompany it. He promises Alice one week in the Alps, and no more.
Alice agrees, valuing her independence above all else. But as the heights they climb by day are overshadowed by the summits of passion they reach at night, these vows become harder and harder to keep...
World War I!
Aiding the Enemy by Julie Rowe (Book three of War Girls)
German-occupied Brussels, Belgium
Rose Culver is in grave danger. For months the Red Cross head nurse has been aiding Allied soldiers caught behind enemy lines, helping them flee into neutral Netherlands. It's only a matter of time until she's caught. Which makes it the wrong time to fall in love with a handsome German military doctor as devoted to the sanctity of human life as she is.
The Great War has caused Dr. Herman Geoff to question everything he once believed. He knows Rose has been hiding British soldiers in her hospital—he's even treated some of them, refusing to go against his own Hippocratic oath. As a doctor, he admires Rose's skill and conviction. As a man, he can no longer deny his attraction to her. But when Rose is arrested for treason, Herman must choose between love for her and duty to his country...
The Highlander’s Dangerous Temptationby Terri Brisbin
Cursed by past tragedies, notorious Highlander Laird Athdar MacCallum has devoted himself to leading his people—and has vowed never to marry again. Until he is utterly disarmed by the innocent beauty in the eyes of Isobel Ruriksdottir…
Isobel is drawn to the vulnerability she senses behind the fearsome facade of the clan chief. But with his formidable reputation, he is strictly forbidden. Being together can only lead them into danger, yet the temptation to risk all for their perilous passion is impossible to ignore.
Plaid Tidings by Mia Marlowe
Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse.
Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third … all by Twelfth Night.
Rogue of the Isles by Cynthia Breeding
What a pity Jamie MacLeod had to be such a good-looking man. And so tall. With such broad shoulders. Because he’s quite possibly the most annoying male Marissa Barclay has ever met.
No matter what her sister’s new husband seems to think, Mari has no need for his brother, a hulking, kilted Highlander, hovering over her through London’s Little Season.
Family or nae, Jamie has enough on his plate overseeing his family’s English estates without the added annoyance of keeping an eye on Mari. Especially since she seems as determined to slip by him as he is determined to do his protective duty. In truth, it’s quite a job keeping the willful little minx out of trouble.
But when an old enemy strikes at the heart of the MacLeod family, Jamie whisks Mari away from London’s glitter to the wilds of his homeland. Where a stormy love blooms…and danger lurks in the hills.
Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at WendyTheSuperLibrarian.blogspot.com. So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.