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There's something to be said for the sheer size of the romance / erotic fiction genre — estimates peg the market at nearly $1.350 billion for 2013. But some of our listeners — and much of our staff, for that matter — might have a hard time making a good first dive into the romance market.
Two of our guests from our Feb. 12 hour on the big business of the romance book scene offered their suggestions on a few fun and well-written options for romance newbies. We've listed them here, with links and the like to get you reading.
Angela Knight's Picks
"Master of the Night" by Angela Knight -- The first of my Mageverse books in which the Knights of the Round Table are vampires sworn to protect humanity from its own self-destructive impulses.
"Dark Lover" by J.R. Ward — The first of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, featuring vampire heroes whose dedication to each other matches their love for the women in their lives.
"Naked in Death" by J.D. Robb — This is the first book of the In Death series featuring Lt. Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke as they solve murders in a near future New York. Wonderful characterization and writing.
"Vampire Mistress" by Joey W. Hill — After a woman is raped by vampires, a vampire assassin and a vampire hunter form an unlikely alliance to help her recover and heal. Seductive and intense with overtones of dominance and male submission; not for the faint-hearted.
Wendy Crutcher's Picks
"Now or Never" by Logan Belle -- Claire is looking forward to some romance now that her son is finally off to college. As a devoted single mother she desperately needs to get her groove back and make up for lost time. But a sudden crisis has her wondering if her sex life will be over before she even goes on her first date.
"When the Marquess Met His Match" By Laura Lee Gurhke -- Lady Belinda Featherstone's job is to guide American heiresses to matrimony, and away from men like Nicholas, Marquess of Trubridge. But the charming, disreputable marquess needs a wealthy bride, and he hires Belinda to help him find one. Her task seems easy: find that scoundrel the sort of wife he so richly deserves. But Nicholas's hot, searing kiss soon proves her task will be anything but easy.
"Dirty" by Megan Hart -- I met him at the candy store. He turned and smiled at me and I was surprised enough to smile back. This was not a children's candy store, mind you—this was the kind of place you went to buy expensive imported chocolate truffles for your boss's wife because you felt guilty for having sex with him when you were both at a conference in Milwaukee. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
"My Fair Concubine" by Jeannie Lin -- Yan Ling tries hard to be servile — it's what's expected of a girl of her class. Being intelligent and strong-minded, she finds it a constant battle. Proud Fei Long is unimpressed by her spirit — until he realizes she's the answer to his problems. He has to deliver the emperor a "princess." In two months can he train a tea girl to pass as a noblewoman?
"Aftershock" by Jill Sorenson — As an emergency paramedic, Lauren Boyer is dedicated and highly capable. Until an earthquake strikes, trapping her beneath the freeway with a group of strangers—including Iraq war veteran Garrett Wright…
"High Noon" by Nora Roberts --A woman who walks fearlessly into danger--but must draw on her courage to let love into her life.
"Count to Ten" by Karen Rose -- In all his years in the Chicago Fire Department, Lieutenant Reed Solliday ahs never experienced anything like this recent outbreak of house fires - devastating, vicious and in one case, homicidal. He has another problem - his new partner, Detective Mia Mitchell. She's brash, bossy, and taking the case in a direction he never imagined.
"Addicted" by Charlotte Stein -- Kit Connor has always led a safe, cautious life. But when Kit’s friend points out that her erotic writing lacks something, she decides to attend a Sexual Healing group to improve her knowledge.