B&N Top Picks: December

New & Noteworthy in Romance

Barnes & Noble buyer Jules Herbert is a driving force behind the selection in Barnes & Noble’s romance section. Here’s his list of recommendations for the month of December. Give the joy of a Happily Ever After this holiday season to a special someone . . . or treat yourself. Either one is totally acceptable. We won’t tell. 😉
 

Missed last month’s list? Check out November’s list here.

 

Sign up for The Smitten Word.
Romance delivered straight to your inbox every Tuesday.

 

01

A Good Day to Marry a Duke

Betina Krahn

From award-winning New York Times bestselling author Betina Krahn comes a beguiling new romance brimming with her signature wit, timeless sensuality, and thrilling romance—as desire proves to be a great equalizer . . .
 
Daisy Bumgarten isn’t thrilled to be trying to catch a duke’s attention while dressed like a flower pot caught in a swarm of butterflies. But, after all, when in Rome (or in this case London society). . . . Since her decidedly disastrous debut among New York’s privileged set, the sassy Nevada spitfire’s last chance to “marry well” lies across the pond, here in England. If she must restrain her free spirit, not to mention her rib cage, so be it. She knows she owes it to her three younger sisters to succeed . . .
 
Now, under a countess’s tutelage, Daisy appears the perfect duchess-in-training . . . Until notorious ladies’ man Lord Ashton Graham, a distraction of the most dangerous kind, glimpses her mischievous smile and feisty nature—and attempts to unmask her motives. Daisy has encountered snakes on the range, but one dressed to the nines in an English drawing room is positively unnerving—and maddeningly seductive. When a veiled plot emerges to show up Daisy as unworthy of the aristocracy, will Ashton be her worst detractor? Or the nobleman she needs most of all?
 
(Kensington, 11/28)

02

The Lady Travelers Guid to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger

Victoria Alexander

Join the Lady Travelers Society in their latest romantic misadventure, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander
 
She must secure her future
 
A lady should never be obliged to think of matters financial! But when Lady Wilhelmina Bascombe’s carefree, extravagant lifestyle vanishes with the demise of her husband, her only hope lies in retrieving a family treasure—a Renaissance masterpiece currently in the hands of a cunning art collector in Venice. Thankfully, the Lady Travelers Society has orchestrated a clever plan to get Willie to Europe, leading a tour of mothers and daughters…and one curiously attentive man.
 
He must reclaim his heritage
 
Dante Augustus Montague’s one passion has long been his family’s art collection. He’s finally tracked a long-lost painting to the enchanting Lady Bascombe. Convinced that the canvas had been stolen, he will use any means to reclaim his birthright—including deception. But how long before pretend infatuation gives way to genuine desire?
 
Now they’re rivals for a prize that will change everything
 
Willie and Dante know they’re playing with fire in the magical moonlit city. Their common quest could compromise them both…or lead them to happily-ever-after.
 
(Harlequin, 11/28)

03

Moonlight over Manhattan

Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan is back with more love and laughter in her acclaimed series, From Manhattan With Love, which Publishers Weekly calls a “sweep-you-off-your-feet romantic experience."
 
Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list—dealing with Madi’s temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.
 
Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi—how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple—he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.
 
Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all—letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?
 
(Harlequin, 11/28)

04

Roomies

Christina Lauren

From subway to Broadway to happily ever after. Modern love in all its thrill, hilarity, and uncertainty has never been so compulsively readable as in New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren’s (Beautiful Bastard, Dating You / Hating You) new romance.
 
Marriages of convenience are so . . . inconvenient.
 
For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.
 
Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.
 
Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?
 
(Gallery Books, 12/5)

05

Rugged Texas Cowboy

Lora Leigh

Two HOT cowboys. Two tough-as-spurs heroines. These two previously published, newly revised and expanded, smoking hot stories by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh will leave readers breathless and begging for more!
 
COWBOY AND THE CAPTIVE
 
Melina is one of two gorgeous twin daughters, the clever and considerate one who always spared her parents the humiliation of what her sister Maria had wrought. But now, Melina is finally ready to stand up for herself and seize control of her life—until she is kidnapped by a cowboy, named Jardin, who is dead-set on settling the score with her family. There’s only one catch: In capturing Melina, this tough, rough, hunk of a man has actually found a way to unleash her greatest fantasies, body and soul. . .
 
COWBOY AND THE THIEF
 
Beautiful, spirited Angel Manning has always longed to experience the power of her ancestors’ most precious heirloom. Her mother once told her that the legendary Irish torque would lead Angel to the one man worthy of possessing her heart. But when Angel learns that her father, now a widower, has sold the torque to the notorious two-timer Jack Riley, she is furious. Of course she plans to take back what is rightfully hers, by whatever means necessary. But the fate of the ancient Druids works in mysterious ways. . .Could it be that this slick, smooth-talking cowboy was destined to satisfy Angel’s deepest desires all along?
 
(St. Martin's Press, 12/5)

06

Twisted

Helen Hardt

Ryan Steel, his world recently upended by an earth-shattering secret, now faces yet another potential revelation surrounding the Steel family mystery. He no longer fully trusts his siblings or the woman he loves. He’s alone—alone and terrified and immersed in a conundrum that becomes more twisted each day.
 
Ruby Lee loves Ryan and desperately wants to help him. She’ll do whatever she must to see him through this troubling time, but her own shrouded past still haunts her, and she’s determined to put an end to both of their mysteries once and for all. But the more she uncovers, the more danger she’s in…and she may lose Ryan forever.
 
(Waterhouse Press, 12/26)

07

Undercover Attraction

Katee Robert

Scandal. Wealth. Power. Seduction. Welcome to the world of the O'Malleys.
 
Ex-cop Charlotte Finch used to think there was a clear line between right and wrong. Then her fellow officers betrayed her, and the world is no longer so black and white. Especially when it's Aiden O'Malley, one of the most dangerous men in Boston, who offers her a chance for justice. The only catch: she'll have to pretend to be his fiancée for his plan to work.
 
Aiden can't afford to let anyone see the man behind the mask. To run the O'Malley empire, he has to be cool and controlled at all times. But the moment he meets Charlie, they're playing with fire. Her slightest touch is enough to send him over the edge. At first their ""engagement"" was a way to eliminate his enemies. Now he'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe— even if he has to destroy his own family to do it.
 
(Grand Central Publishing, 11/28)

08

Wolf Hunger

Paige Tyler

Wolf shifter and SWAT Officer Max Lowry falls hard for she-wolf Lana Mason, but things spiral out of control when wolf hunters track her down, and Max realizes Lana has no idea who—or what—she really is.
 
(Sourcebooks, 12/5)

09

Wrong to Need You

Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai returns with the second novel in her sizzling Forbidden Hearts series!
 
He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow . . .
 
Accused of a crime he didn't commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.
 
Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.
 
An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past . . . and step into a future together.
 
(HarperCollins, 11/28)

10

Year One

Nora Roberts

A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author—an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives . . .
 
It began on New Year’s Eve.
 
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
 
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magick rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.
 
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
 
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
 
The end has come. The beginning comes next.
 
(St. Martin's Press, 12/5)