This isn't the most traditional Valentine's Day reading list, but a collection of intimate reads, ranging from traditional swooning romances to take your breath away novels, which we always turn back to this time of year. Here's why we think you should give them a try, too.
Dare Darker (Leave Me Breathless) by Pepper North
Number one bestselling erotic author, Pepper North, dares to go darker in the Leave Me Breathless Black Rose Collection...
Do you want your fantasies to come true? When this simple question appears on her computer, Mia Daniels dares to answer 'Yes'. One honest response sends the willowy brunette on a collision course with her every forbidden desire.
Domineering and magnetic, Rafael Montalvo selects Mia to be his at first sight. Soon, she is ensnared in his shadowy world, unable to resist the new life that he controls completely. Rafael's darkness just might be everything Mia has ever needed. And so much more.
*** TRIGGER WARNING: The stories in the Black Rose Collection are considered dark romance. Some aspects may be sensitive for some readers. ***
Dumpster Fire (Life Sucks #3) by Elise Faber
Rob was single. That hadn’t been the plan. But it turned out that his plan wasn’t immune to car accidents. It couldn’t stave off death, couldn’t stop bad things from happening.
Now Carmella — his wife, his best friend, the other half of his heart — was gone. And she’d been gone long enough for the tendrils of loneliness to creep in, for him to risk dipping his toe back into the dating world. The only problem was that dating was a hell of a lot different in this world than when he’d been in college.
He wasn’t good at apps and profiles, his banter skills were rusty, and his flirting... well, some might say it was atrocious. Then came high, high heels. Then came a sharp voice with an impressive repertoire of curse words. Then came a woman who was definitely not Carmella... but who might be the possibility of something.
Play (ROCK HARD Book 1) by Kat Mizera
From USA Today bestseller Kat Mizera comes a brand-new series—get ready to ROCK HARD with Nobody’s Fool…
Four sexy rockers. Four intense women who don't know they love them. Four hard rockin' love stories for the ages.
Boy on a Train (All American Boy) by Leslie McAdam
My best friend Tate and I have plans. Big plans.
1. Get the hell out of Merlot, California.
2. Ride trains around the world.
Though I have a secret third entry on the list of things I want to do ...
3. Tate Lemieux
But when my family gets a life-changing diagnosis just as I'm about to graduate, all my plans look like they’ll go up in smoke. Right when I finally get the chance to be with the boy I’ve always loved ... Will it end before it’s even begun?
Boy on the Train is a standalone new adult friends to lovers romance from USA Today bestselling author Leslie McAdam full of sweet tension, fun banter & a side of family drama.
Cyn & the Peanut Butter Cup (The Ampersand Series Book 1) by Pru Warren
Love, laughter, and short-term memory loss. When a sweet old lady’s mysterious past draws her young caretaker into a wild ride, they drag a hot FBI agent along with them. Cyn didn’t know caring for Maddy would require car chases, and Rhys never thought an old lady could steal his gun.
Cynthia loves being Maddy’s caregiver. Watching over a slightly senile senior is a piece of cake after Cyn’s brutal divorce. It’s not wrong to hide away from life for a few weeks, er, months. Right?!
Rhys (“like the peanut butter cup but not spelled the same”) is pretty sure he’s going to get fired from his job at the FBI. When Maddy steals his gun at the grocery store and shoots at a random stranger, Rhys figures that’s it for his career. Everything’s gone wrong except for meeting Cyn. How will Rhys and Cyn find love while keeping Maddy safe from the (possibly imaginary) hordes who are (maybe) out to get her?
A laugh-out-loud, sexy romantic comedy that includes a heroine with self-confidence problems, and absolutely delicious screw-up of a hero, and the strong-willed, slightly addled old lady who leads them both astray.
A Season for Treason (Deception and Discipline #1) by Golden Angel
A traitor. A courtship. A scandalous Season. In the race against time, will this pair reach the altar or the traitor first?
In the service of England's spymaster (well, his niece, but surely he'll appreciate the help), Miss Mary Wilson is on a mission to uncover a treasonous plot. Though her only clue leads to the debaucherous secret society of the Marquess of Hartford, a lifetime of being overlooked should ensure her access to all of the gossip her assignment will require. There's just one problem: Mary is due to find a husband this Season and her Aunt Elizabeth, the Viscountess Hood, is determined to see her niece shine bright.
Focused on finding the perfect bride this Season, the Marquess of Hartford, known to his friends as Rex, finds himself distracted by the quiet Miss Wilson as she continually turns up everywhere she shouldn't be. As Rex considers the misbehaving Miss Wilson, a curious thought occurs to him. Is it possible that she could be the kind of bride who would enjoy life by his side and the pursuits of the Society of Sin?
Bulldog: A Rough Romance (Mercenary Masters) by Delta James
She wears the collar because she is his. She is his because her body knew its master. The moment Olivia Miles resorted to fighting dirty in a fencing match, Lord Nigel Pederson decided to teach her a shameful lesson, but as her quivering bottom reddened under his punishing hand the arousal pooling between her thighs made it clear she needs to be mastered completely.
She will wear his collar, obey his every command, and await his permission to speak, and she will be sent to bed each night even more sore and thoroughly used than she was the night before. She is his now, and he is going to leave her in no doubt of it.
Chasing Frost by Isabel Jolie
He’s not exactly who he appears to be. But then again, neither is she…
Chase - I’ve never felt as out of my league as I did when I met Sydney Frost. Not in the years I’ve spent starting successful companies or since. Working for a prestigious firm gives me status and power, and I’m already a master at charming my way through a crowd—or into the bedroom. One new office colleague should be a piece of cake to win over.
Ms. Frost, however, is giving my efforts a chilly reception. Time to remind her that I’m not afraid to live up to my name, either… “Sydney”
On the surface, it looks like I have it all: a new, influential job, a nice salary, and the hottest young executive in the company falling over himself to introduce me to the best New York City has to offer. It’s all a lie.
My name is Sadie Keating, not Sydney Frost, and I’m an undercover agent for the FBI on a case that could make or break my career. Chase Maitlin, my sexy and persistent would-be suitor, is the prime suspect in a major cross-agency investigation. I’m the rookie desperately trying not to fall for him.
Tore (Sidewinders: Generations #2) by Kat Mizera
Swedish-born hockey player Tore Brekken thought he’d be a bachelor for life. The parties, the women, the lavish vacations— and the Ferrari. He had everything he could ever want, but his extreme lifestyle has been taking a toll. As much as he hates to admit it, he needs to settle down. He just doesn’t expect to go from seriously single to daddy material overnight.
Single mom Margot Delgado’s life revolves around her four-year-old daughter Gracie. Tired of being let down, she doesn’t have time to waste dating men she can’t count on. Especially some hotshot hockey player with a playboy reputation as big as his... bank account.
But when the annual Fantasy Night rolls around, Margot decides to let her hair down— and for once she isn’t just someone’s mom, but someone’s wildest fantasy. From the first taste she knows she could get drunk on the way Tore makes her feel, and one night with him will never be enough.
When reality comes crashing down, and things get complicated, will they both be willing to risk it all for a chance to win big?
Kade (Alien Adoption Agency #2) by Tasha Black
She’s the target of an intergalactic bounty hunt. But he’s going to capture her heart. Aurora Day is running from a crime she didn’t commit – or at least, she didn’t mean to commit. But the intergalactic soldiers on the hunt for the woman known as the Fox don’t care about the details. Hiding out on the remote frontier moon of Clotho is her only hope for survival. But to gain access, she has to adopt an alien baby. Aurora is shocked when she learns that a dragon warrior of the Invicta is part of the package. Kade knows two things about Aurora. The bright-eyed Terran is going to be the mother of the child he has pledged to guard and grown to love. And the mysterious woman is fated to be his mate. But Aurora has no interest in his love, and she doesn’t even seem to be that interested in adorable baby Lyra. She’s clearly hiding some secrets, and Kade is determined to unearth them before his dragon’s wild lust for her burns them both alive. When Kade runs afoul of the local law enforcement, only Aurora can save him. The perfect life she’s dared to dream of is almost in her grasp, and now it’s all about to come crashing down around her. Will she stand her ground and fight for her new family? Or will the Fox keep running for freedom?
Cherry Chocolate Cake
Prep: 15 min.
Bake: 30 min. + cooling
YIELD: 18 servings.
1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size)
3 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cans (20 ounces each) reduced-sugar cherry pie filling, divided
3/4 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and extract until well blended. Stir in one can of pie filling until blended. Transfer to a 13x9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.
2. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Top individual servings with remaining pie filling.
1 piece: 187 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 253mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fruit, 1 fat.