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Heart at war.

Mercenary Guy Hancock makes a difficult decision in Darkest Before Dawn (Berkley, $7.99, 384 pages, ISBN 9780425276990), the latest in Maya Banks' KGI series. Honor Cambridge is working in the war-torn Middle East when a terrorist group called A New Era bombs her aid station. She escapes, but the extremists are determined to find and kill the lone survivor of their attack. Enter Hancock and his team, who have agreed to capture Honor for a man who will use her as a pawn in a power game. This deal will take down an evil mastermind and save thousands--but will ultimately return Honor to the bad guys. Hancock is convinced it's his duty to sacrifice one for the greater good--until he meets the brave Honor. He then must struggle with his conscience and his rigid sense of right and wrong, not to mention his heart. Honor falls for the tortured man who may, literally, be the death of her. Gritty, sexy and peopled with compelling characters, this is a riveting story of romantic suspense.

RURAL ROMANCE

An Amish quilter reaches for love in the kisses-only When Secrets Strike (HQN, $7.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9780373788569) by Marta Perry. Thirty-year-old Sarah Bitler thinks of her quilting shop as a substitute for a husband and family. The only man she's ever loved, firefighter Aaron King, now a widower with two small girls, has barely looked at her since childhood. But as suspicious fires ignite around the town and countryside, Sarah keeps running into her handsome neighbor--and experiencing feelings for him that she can't deny. Aaron appreciates his old friend, yet he worries about how appealing he finds her. He has already failed to protect one woman, and with danger seeming to follow Sarah, does he dare risk loving again?

As menace draws near, Sarah must stand up for what she wants--and against an unseen enemy. This novel is a winning mix of Amish culture, small-town ambience and nerve-jangling mystery.

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE

Lisa Kleypas returns to the historical genre with the Victorian-era romance Cold-Hearted Rake (Avon, $7.99, 416 pages, ISBN 9780062371812). Kathleen, the newly wed and widowed wife of an earl, must face down her late husband's heir when he arrives at her estate. Devon Ravenel, a carefree bachelor, wants to rid himself of the responsibilities of the earldom, while Kathleen believes he should work to restore the nearly bankrupt holdings for the sake of his relatives, servants and tenant families. Conscience pricked and libido stirred, Devon takes a second look at what he's inherited--and at the woman who challenges him at every opportunity. Attracted to the beauty and charmed by her three young sisters-in-law, he begins to think creatively and enlists the help of his scamp of a brother and his more practical and moneyed friends. Meanwhile, Kathleen begins to see the danger of his continued presence yet cannot suppress her fascination with the seductive and devilish Devon. Can two reluctant hearts find each other and build a family? A delicious charmer of a romance, Cold-Hearted Rake has witty banter, engaging characters and a sultry sensuality.

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Title Annotation:ROMANCE; "Cold-Hearted Rake", "When Secrets Strike" and "Darkest Before Dawn"
Author:Ridgway, Christie
Publication:BookPage
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2015
Words:517
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