Dec 19 2014 9:30am

Harlequin for the Save: Unusual Historical Romance Best Bets for December 2014

Playing the Rake's Game by Bronwyn Scott It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that December is a bit of a publishing dead zone when it comes to new releases. The hot fall releases have come and gone, the glut of holiday themed reads landed in stores by the end of October, and everybody is looking ahead to the big spring push. Which brings us to this small, merry band of unusual historical offerings for December, most of them courtesy of that “old gray lady” Harlequin. Bless their hearts, they kept me in historical romance during my unfortunate, years long, Regency burn-out, and now they’re here to save the unusual historicals post for this month. Viva la Harlequin!

The Caribbean!

Playing the Rake’s Game by Bronwyn Scott

Emma Ward is in trouble. The devilishly handsome part-owner of her beloved Caribbean sugar plantation has arrived, and clearly he doesn't trust her. But his eyes promise pleasures she can only imagine. Maybe there's a way to get him onside…

Ren Dryden may be fresh off the boat from London, but he knows when a woman is playing him—and when she's as intriguing as the alluring Emma, he's more than happy to play back! But several sultry nights and secrets shared later, Ren realizes just how high the stakes are in this game of seduction!

Scott tends to work in the Regency and early Victorian periods, but has a knack for infusing a little “unusual” into her work. Her Ladies of Impropriety series featured one heroine running the family shipping business and another heroine who was a billiards protégé! This latest release is the first in her Rakes of the Caribbean series and takes place in Barbados.

The High Seas!

A Captain and a Rogue by Liz Tyner

Captain Benjamin Forrester's mission is clear:
To Do: Travel to the Greek island of Melos and recover a mysterious statue.
Not To Do: Invoke the wrath of pirates by sailing away in the dead of night without the statue, but with a tempting yet completely forbidden stowaway!
Thessa Cherroll desperately needs Ben's help, so with the wind at their back, they set sail for the horizon. But in such close quarters, can either resist the temptations that surface during those long, hot days—and nights—at sea?

The second book in the author’s English Rogues and Grecian Goddesses series, the hero rescues our fair heroine who is trying to escape the clutches of her betrothed. Too bad her betrothed turns out to be a pirate. A pirate with a faster ship. Oh, and the hero’s crew thinks the heroine is a mermaid. If the mermaid doesn’t sink their ship, surely the pirates will. Talk about a rough day.


The Innocent's Champion by Meriel FullerInnocent’s Champion by Meriel Fuller

To win a knight's protection
When Gilan, Comte de Cormeilles, dodges an arrow aimed straight for his head, the last person he expects to be holding the bow is a beautiful, courageous woman… Despite her innocence, Matilda of Lilleshall is no simpering maiden. She'll stop at nothing to protect her land.

Believing he'd never again feel anything but guilt after his brother's death, Gilan must now confront the undeniable desire Matilda incites. Can he throw off his past and fight to become the champion she needs?

Her mother the town librarian and her father an “amateur historian,” is it any wonder Meriel Fuller grew up to write historical romance? Innocent’s Champion is her seventh medieval to be published by Harlequin / Mills & Boon.

Bride for a Knight by Margaret Moore

After glimpsing a softer side to the stern Sir Roland of Dunborough, Mavis of DeLac is filled with hope for their arranged marriage. So when the wedding night explodes with an exquisite passion, she dares to dream that their newfound bliss will last forever.

But the following morning, convinced he could never make this beautiful woman truly happy, Roland becomes cold and aloof once again. And as the newlyweds journey across England to protect Roland's birthright, it's up to Mavis to prove him wrong—and unlock the compassion this noble knight has buried deep inside.

Moore has had a prolific career, writing a variety of historical time periods, but is probably best known for her medievals. This book is a sequel to Castle of the Wolf, which was published back in June. She has also recently sold two more books to Harlequin, including another title in this series and a stand-alone Regency historical.


The Gunslinger and the Heiress by Kathryn AlbrightThe Gunslinger and the Heiress by Kathryn Albright

Years ago, heiress Hannah Lansing was forced to give up the man she loved. Now, to save the family business, her grandfather demands she marry someone she feels nothing for. Torn between duty and desire, there's only one man Hannah can turn to…

Gunslinger Caleb Houston is shocked when Hannah arrives in San Diego—he never expected to see her again! In the eyes of society, they're worlds apart, but can Caleb finally convince Hannah to put her own happiness first and trust in the power of the love they share?

This marks Albright’s first published full-length novel since 2009’s Texas Wedding for Their Baby’s Sake. It also marks her return to San Diego, a historical locale she explored with her debut novel, 2005 Golden Heart finalist, The Angel and the Outlaw.

A Family for Maddie by Sara Luck

After Case Williams is left at the altar—as it turns out, his bride-to-be was in love with his best friend—he decides to move to Montana and set his mind on work. There he meets Roy Pemberton, an agent sent to keep the peace between Native Americans and settlers, and the two start working together to build a wagon freight company. After a while, Roy invites Case home to meet his wife and two single daughters.

Roy knows what kind of man Case is, so he pushes his eldest, Diana, into a courtship with him. But things don’t go quite so smoothly. As Case realizes his lack of romantic feelings for one daughter, he finds he is attracted to the other, Diana’s younger sister, Maddie—who harbors her own passion for the handsome stranger. Will they give in to their forbidden love or be forced to keep their feelings secret?

Married to western author Robert Vaughan, Luck’s debut, Susanna’s Choice, was born out of a research discovery that fired off her imagination more so than his. Just three years later, A Family for Maddie marks her eighth release from Pocket books. It also keeps the month of December from being a complete unusual historicals Harlequin juggernaut.

What unusual historicals are you looking forward to reading?


Learn more about the books mentioned in this post:

Playing the Rake’s Game by Bronwyn Scott  
A Captain and a Rogue by Liz Tyner  
Innocent’s Champion by Meriel Fuller  
Bride for a Knight by Margaret Moore  
The Gunslinger and the Heiress by Kathryn Albright  
A Family for Maddie by Sara Luck  




Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. willaful
Ebook publishing must work differently, because this December was a lollapalooza for m/m books!
Wendy the Super Librarian
2. SuperWendy
Willaful: And the digital presses were ghost towns when it came to historicals (even your garden variety Regencies) this month. I'm hoping for a bit more variety, across all publishers, once the calendar rolls over to 2015.
3. willaful
I guess Regencies usually hold the Christmas historical market? They have all the associations. And they're comfortable.
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