Here in the States, August is the last month of freedom before the kids go back to school and the parents can celebrate a return to normalcy. It’s also the month where we all try to grab that last gasp of summertime fun before the weather turns cooler and we settle in for what we hope will not be a long, hard winter.
Why not fill your beach bag and/or your favorite digital content device with some tasty not-your-usual historical offerings? While there are a bumper crop of cowboys this month (yeehaw!), there’s still plenty of variety to tickle even the most fickle of fancies.
Slave Girl by Lisa Cach
A sex slave who’s never been touched… National bestselling author Lisa Cach spins an erotic, passionate novel about a young Roman Empire slave who’s intended to become her king’s concubine—until a rugged barbarian prince takes her heart…and more.
Lovely Nimia is a slave to King Sygarius, who’s grooming her to be his consort as soon as she reaches full womanhood. And that time is very close. Nimia is forced to attend shocking lessons in the erotic arts; lessons that leave her body aroused and her mind conflicted. Because while she’s attracted to Sygarius’s power and eroticism, her spirit rebels at being his slave.
Then one of Sygarius’s allies comes to visit. Smart and ambitious, Clovis burns to take over Sygarius’s kingdom—and the beautiful Nimia. And though her virginity is meant for Sygarius, Clovis takes it with her enthusiastic consent.
When Sygarius learns that she is no longer a virgin, Nimia flees for her life. But can she find Clovis before the wrath of Sygarius—and imminent death—finds her first?
The Barbarian’s Concubine by Lisa Cach
Fleeing her master, Nimia runs into the cold, calculating arms of power-hungry Clovis and learns how barbarian desires make the Romans look refined.
After a couple of years away from traditional publishing, Lisa Cach is back with an erotic romance novella serial. Cach has a reputation for blending historical and paranormal elements and I’ve always appreciated the chameleon-like quality of her writing. Slave Girl continues that trend—it’s unlike anything I’ve read from her previously!
My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas
Hidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.
Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.
Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again…
A heroine of mixed ethnicity (Chinese and English) who confronts her past when reunited with a long lost love. The story alternates between past and present, taking place in both China and England.
Princess in a Strange New Land by Linda Skye
Playing host to King George III's foreign guests holds little appeal for Sir John Frederick—until he meets one remarkable visitor. Because Akna, the Inuit princess, outshines every jeweled noblewoman at court and offers a sensual challenge the jaded navy captain craves.
The court may view Akna as a savage, yet there is more treachery within the ton than she has ever faced before. But there are pleasures to be discovered, too, and with John's wicked skill tantalizing her every sense, soon Akna is keen to experience further English delights—and with this man in particular….
Linda Skye has written several novellas for the Harlequin Historical Undone line and seems determined to never repeat herself. This story is set during the Georgian era and her backlist includes everything from the 1920s, to Russia, to pirates and Persia!
The High Seas!
A Scandal to Remember by Elizabeth Essex
In Elizabeth Essex's A Scandal to Remember, for too long, Miss Jane Burke’s father has taken advantage of her painstaking research. Heading to the South Seas to make her own name as a scientist despite the crew’s insistence that a woman aboard is bad luck, she isn’t prepared to be championed by a handsome ship’s officer who rouses longings inside her as wild as any storm…
For Lieutenant Charles Dance, a post on His Majesty’s survey ship Tenacious is just one more dutiful rung on the ladder of his career. Even a headstrong bluestocking on board is less troubling than the ship’s drunken captain—and the ferocious gales that drive the ship off course. Stranded on a remote island, passion blazes between them as hot as the sun, but it’s Jane’s love that Charles wants forever…
A scientist heroine determined to make a name for herself gets stranded on a desert island with a hunky English Navy Lieutenant. Seriously, we should all be so lucky.
The Pirate Hunter by Laura Martin
A forbidden attraction in paradise!
Shipwrecked off the coast of Barbados, pirate hunter William Greenacre is ready to surrender to the seductive pull of the sea when an angelic figure dives to his rescue. Except this angel is none other than Mia Del Torres—and she's a wanted woman!
To escape imprisonment, Mia must set sail with Will on his mission of revenge and help track down her brother, the formidable Captain Jorge Del Torres. By rights, she should hate Will, yet below deck their passion ignites. But when the hunters become the hunted, will their newly forged connection be enough to save them both?
Martin’s Harlequin Romance backlist dates back to the mid-1990s and this appears to be her first published historical. Don’t let the somewhat bland cover fool you. This back cover description screams Caribbean flavor.
A Duke’s Wicked Kiss by Kathleen Bittner Roth
Miss Suri Thurston knows the pain of abandonment. Intent on confronting the grandmother who tossed her to the lions, she travels from England to her birthplace in India. Her plans run afoul when she encounters the man who, ten years prior, left a mark on her soul with one stolen kiss. But he is a duke, and far beyond the reach of even her dreams.
The Duke of Ravenswood, secret head of the British Foreign Service, has no time for relationships. His one goal is to locate and eliminate key insurgents involved in an uprising against the British East India Company before it’s too late. But when Suri appears in Delhi, his resolve is tested as he finds his heart forever bound to her by the haunting kiss they shared once upon a time.
With Suri’s vengeful Indian family calling for her death and insurgents intent on mutiny tearing their world apart, can their love rise above the scandal of the marriage they both desperately want?
Kathleen Bittner Roth is one of those authors whose name is suddenly cropping up all over the place. She’s gone from complete unknown to having four books slated for release in 2014. A Duke’s Wicked Kiss is her second published title and her second with Entangled Publishing.
The Maiden of Ireland by Susan Wiggs
John Wesley Hawkins was condemned to hang, accused of treason and heresy. As he's transported to the scaffold at Tyburn, however, the Lord Protector steps in and offers him the hand of mercy—if Wesley agrees to travel to Ireland on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Irish resistance against English rule. He'll have to seduce the rebels' secrets from a headstrong Irishwoman, but that shouldn't be a problem for a man of Wesley's reputation….
Caitlin MacBride is mistress of the beleaguered Irish castle Clonmuir, and she makes no secret of her loyalty to her countrymen. She's determined to remain strong for her people, but a wish for true love one evening at sunset yields the one thing that may sway her resolve. When Wesley walks out of the mist that fateful night, Caitlin's faith in the magic of Ireland is briefly restored—until she discovers he's one of the treacherous Englishmen she has spent her life fighting against.
I normally focus on new releases for these monthly round-ups but, just like last month’s Wiggs reissue The Mistress of Normandy, I’m making an exception for The Maiden of Ireland. First published back in 1993 under the title The Mist and the Magic, it has been out of print for more years than any of us wants to count.
His Forbidden Lady by Nicola Davidson
Tudor England, 1542
When beautiful widow Lady Annabelle Benton-Hayes is ordered to court, she is terrified. Henry VIII desires a sixth queen for his bloodstained throne, and her scheming family cares not for her wishes. Annabelle yearns for love, but there is no escaping her fate: escorting her is Rafe de Vere, the man who abandoned her to become England’s most loyal and brutally successful soldier.
Rafe is utterly weary of war and its impossible demands. Thankfully, his final task is the easiest: accompany a wellborn lady to London for Henry’s perusal. Until he discovers she is Annabelle, the woman who swore to wait for him but married another. Rafe isn’t permitted to care, yet time hasn’t dulled their sizzling attraction and his orders are increasingly difficult to obey. To love her, he would have to risk all and cross his king to secure the ultimate prize – Annabelle’s heart.
New Zealand author Davidson debuts with this novella from Entangled featuring a heroine stuck between a rock and, more than likely, the gallows. Oh Henry, your reputation does precede you….
Saved by the Viking Warrior by Michelle Styles
“THERE IS NO ONE. I TRAVEL ALONE. I LIVE ALONE. ALWAYS.”
Battle-scarred Thrand the Destroyer has only one thing on his mind: settling old scores. But with the beautiful Lady of Lingfold as his prisoner, the unyielding warrior starts to dream of a loving wife and a home to call his own.
Cwen is also seeking justice, but she knows the fragile alliance she's built with Thrand will only last as long as they share a common enemy. Unless they can find a way to leave revenge to the gods to forge a new life together.
Styles has written Regency and Victorian settings, but is probably best known for her Roman and Viking stories. With her latest release she must find a way for her lovers to move past their separate quests for revenge to forge a future together.
The Lone Sheriff by Lynna Banning
As if tracking down train robbers wasn't hard enough, now Sheriff Jericho Silver's backup has arrived, and she's a gun-toting, head-turning beauty. She sure spells trouble.
Madison O'Donnell had the perfect life—a beautiful home and all the ladies' luncheons she could stomach—but it left her bored to tears. Now a widow, she's determined to fill her days with daring deeds and wild adventures.
Jericho is equally determined that she'll be on the next train home. But this is one lady who won't take no for an answer….
Her first release in a year, Banning returns to Harlequin Historical with an unconventional heroine determined to stop living life on the sidelines.
With Open Arms by Cindy Nord (The Cutteridge Family, Book 2)
Hardened in childhood by the death of her parents, then left to run the family’s southwestern territory ranch when her brother rode off to fight for the Union years before, Callie Cutteridge hides her heartbreak behind a mask of self-sufficiency. Breaking horses for the army proves she’s neither delicate nor helpless. When a former cavalry officer shows up claiming to own her brother’s half of the Arizona ranch, she steels herself to resist the handsome stranger’s intention to govern even one single aspect of her life. After all, loving means losing…to her it always has.
For months, Jackson Neale has looked forward to putting the bloodstained battlefields back east behind him. Callie isn’t the agreeable angel her brother led him to believe, but he’s damned well not the useless rake this foul-mouthed hellion thinks he is, either. His quest for calm stability contradicts sharply with her need for control, yet still their heartstrings tangle. But how can these mistrusting partners transform their fiery passion into happily-ever-after?
The first book in this series, No Greater Glory, was set in Virginia during the Civil War. This second release takes readers completely across the country to Arizona – which compared to Virginia is kind of like finding yourself on the moon. This is a planned four book series.
Mastering the Marshal by Marie-Nicole Ryan (Loving the Lawman, Book 3)
When U.S. Deputy Marshal Sam Dunaway arrives in Kenton Valley, Texas, for a murder trial, the last thing he expects is to run into his late wife Celine. The one who supposedly died in a boarding house fire shortly after she ran off with his life savings.
Despite her Plain Jane disguise, Sam isn’t fooled. As soon as his business with the trial is finished, the woman who broke his heart will pay.
Three years ago, Celine had good reason to use Sam’s money to go into hiding—and it’s a secret she must still keep, even if it means certain arrest and imprisonment. Because coming clean risks crushing rejection.
In spite of themselves, the embers of love roar into a passionate inferno, leaving Sam with a hell of a choice. To stick to his principles…or follow his heart.
Having self-published several contemporary romantic suspense stories, Ryan returns with the third book in a series that began with Samhain back in 2009. Action, adventure and a heroine who obviously has some serious explaining to do! Hope she can talk fast!
Her Forbidden Gunslinger by Harper St. George
When Sophie Buchanan's loathsome uncle announces she must wed a man of his choosing in just a month's time, Sophie will do anything to escape—and if that includes entering the most notorious gambling den in town to fund her getaway, then so be it.
But Sophie hasn't counted on Gray, a Comanche gunman in her uncle's employ who fascinates her like no other, and who seems determined to foil her plans. After he rescues Sophie when the situation turns nasty, the couple spends one scorching, forbidden night together. But the day of the wedding soon dawns, and with the aisle beckoning, Gray's protection may not be enough to save Sophie from her fate.
St. George has now published two novellas, both with Harlequin and both westerns. She’s currently hard at work on a full-length novel about a Viking warrior who kidnaps a Saxon maiden. About as far away from the American West as a gal get can!
The Jewel by Beth Williamson (The Malloy Family, Book 11)
As the “beautiful” sister, Isabelle Chastain always struggled to be taken seriously. But as her family immigrates to Oregon Territory, she loses her sister Francesca to marriage, and her parents to dysentery. It’s time to take control.
With an empty wagon and a broken heart, she and her younger sister Charlotte turn for home to search for another sister, Josephine, left behind to recover from typhoid. The last thing Isabelle needs in her path is a naked, bleeding man left to die in the dirt.
Dazzled by a friend’s stories of California gold, college professor Mason Bennett left North Carolina to get his share. All his dreams of adventure and riches got him, however, was robbed, beaten, and left for dead.
As Isabelle stitches him up, he discovers her wit is as sharp as her needle. But when vagabonds seize their wagon, they must band together to save themselves—or any hope for a happy future could disappear.
After taking a break from her Malloy Family series in 2008 after Hell for Leather, Williamson returned to the series with a vengeance in 2013, with three new books in the series appearing in 2014 alone. This also is the third western to be released by Samhain this month. Did I miss that August is National Historical Western Romance Month? Not that I’m complaining mind you. Saddle up!
What not-your-usual historicals are you going to sneak in your back-to-school bag?
To find out more about each book mentioned:
Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at WendyTheSuperLibrarian.blogspot.com. So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.