RITA Awards
2017 (First Book)
Once and For All
Book Jacket   Cheryl Etchison
2017 (Contemporary)
Miracle on 5th Avenue
Book Jacket   Sarah Morgan
 
2017 (Romantic Suspence)
Repressed
 Elisabeth Naughton
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Samantha Parker, a chemistry teacher, and Ethan McClane, a therapist, are attracted to one another right away, but they're both harboring deeply buried secrets. Circumstance has found both of them back in small, rural Hidden Falls, but is it fate that brought them together?Initially, Ethan assumes that Sam's distance is because of past encounters with therapists, but he learns that her issues with relationships go much deeper than that. Sam has returned to her hometown to sell her late mother's house. No easy task since her mom's hoarder tendencies caused the place to fall into disarray. Realizing that she'd be there for a while, Sam takes a job at the local school, and that's where she meets Ethan. A reformed juvenile delinquent himself, Ethan has been hired to work with Thomas Adler, a bright but troubled kid wrestling with his own problems. Ethan and Sam meet, and sparks fly. After a few rocky starts, Ethan finally begins breaking down Sam's walls enough for her to let him in when they're interrupted in the middle of a steamy forest make-out session by Sam's dog, who's found a human skull. Now they're forced to deal with their pasts: Sam with the murder of her brother and Ethan with the crime that landed him in a detention center. The rest of the town can't help but wonder if the body belongs to a high school student who disappeared 18 years ago. Solid romantic suspense by a writer talented enough at weaving a yarn to get her readers ensnared in it. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2016 (First Book)
Forget Tomorrow
 Pintip Dunn
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2016 (Contemporary)
Brokedown Cowboy
Book Jacket   Maisey Yates
2016 (Romantic Suspence)
Flash Fire
Book Jacket   Dana Marton
 
2015 (First Book)
Run to You
 Clara Kensie
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2015 (Contemporary)
Baby, It's You
 Jane Graves
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2015 (Romantic Suspence)
Concealed in Death
Book Jacket   J.D. Robb
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A grisly discovery in a decrepit Hell's Kitchen building opens a case for Lt. Eve Dallas that has its roots all the way back in 2045. Eve's billionaire developer husband, Roarke, who's purchased the hard-luck site in order to rehab it, strikes the first blow into a wall that's crumbling even more badly than the rest of the place. And with good reason, since behind the wall are two corpses wrapped in plastic bags. A systematic search of the building reveals 10 more dead bodies, all teenage girls who went missing 15 years ago. It's a challenging case for Eve and her partner, Detective Delia Peabody, since the skeletal remains seem well-nigh anonymous, and there's no point in asking suspects where they were half a generation ago. But forensics have advanced as the bodies have decayed, and between them, medical examiner Li Morris and forensic anthropologist Garnet DeWinter work miracles at identifying the victims and pinpointing the times and manners of their deaths, which all came just as righteous, creepy sister-and-brother team Philadelphia and Nashville Jones were abandoning The Sanctuary, a care facility in the building they'd run for troubled teens, and establishing the Higher Power Cleansing Center for Youths in the much splashier digs donated by their angel, Tiffany Brigham Bittmore. The gradual identification of the dozen victims allows Robb plenty of time to detail each of their sad stories, bringing several of the girls to life long after their deaths but sapping momentum from the investigation. More heartfelt than most of Eve's futuristic adventures (Thankless in Death, 2013, etc.) but less suspenseful, since Eve decides pretty early on, based on little more than a hunch, who the killer is, and she turns outlo and beholdto be right.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2014 (First Book)
The sweet spot
Book Jacket   Laura Drake
 
2014 (Contemporary)
Crazy thing called love
 Molly OKeefe
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The last thing popular morning news show host Madelyn Cornish wants to do is revisit her past, especially her volatile marriage to infamous NHL bad-boy Billy Wilkins 14 years agobut Billy's in Dallas now, and her producer's dead set on a "celebrity makeover" to redeem the sexy hockey superstar. What could possibly go wrong? Billy and Maddy grew up together in a bad neighborhood, and Billy's loved her since they met. Even if he didn't fight for her 14 years ago. Even if he's never been quite whole since she divorced him. Even if the years since she left seem like a never-ending blur of brawling fights, squandered opportunities and unfulfilled expectations. When he's traded to the Dallas Mavericks, it looks like his career may be truly over, especially after he ends the season in a spectacular brawl with his own team. But fate is a trickster. Maddy is in Dallas, and if there's anything he regrets more than his ignominious career, it's losing his wife. So when her morning show asks him to take part in a makeover series, he jumps at the chance. Spending time with Maddy is, well, maddening. Gone is the sweet, spontaneous girl he fell in love with, and in her place is a polished ice queen determined to keep him at arm's lengthand their shared past top secret. He's not even sure he likes the woman, though there's no question the chemistry between them is still red hot. But sex isn't everything, and when the local station digs into Billy's past and uncovers some surprising news, Billy and Maddy will both have to decide what's important, what they're willing to fight for, and who they really are. O'Keefe's newest romance hits the high notes with a storyline that tugs on the heartstrings, maintains a sizzling degree of sexual tension, and plays on realistic, authentic conflicts that keep the audience emotionally invested from start to finish. Gripping storytelling and convincing character-building allow the story to unfold in the present and in the past, offering windows into the psyches of a damaged hero and his restyled first love. An intense, heartwarming winner.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2014 (Romantic Suspense)
Off the edge : the associates
 Carolyn Crane
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2013 (First Book)
The haunting of Maddy Clare
Book Jacket   by Simone St James
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2012 (Contemporary)
The way back home
Book Jacket   Barbara Freethy
 
2012 (Romantic Suspense)
Scorched
 Laura Griffin
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2012 (First Book)
First grave on the right
 Darynda Jones
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The intended laughs don't materialize in this supernatural chick-lit whodunit, featuring a back-talkin' P.I. who sees dead people.Technically, Charley Davidson is a grim reaper, a term applied to humans (she's not the only one) who act as a portal for those who need help passing to the other side. To the dead, Charley glows and is an irresistible incentive to leave their worldly attachments. But then there are those with unfinished business, such as the three law partners who were just murdered. Teaming up with her uncle, a detective on the Albuquerque Police force, Charley is remarkably proficient at solving murdersshe simply asks the recently departed what happened. But as the three lawyers were shot in the back of the head, they and Charley need real detective work to solve the case. As Charley puts the pieces together (it all hinges on a man wrongly imprisoned for the murder of a teenage boy), she is also wrestling with her own demonsliterally. Since her birth, which she vividly remembers, she has been guarded over by an entity she calls Bad. Though he's responsible for saving her life on countless occasions, Charley is petrified in his presence. This is made all the more confusing by the highly charged sexual encounters she's been having, first while dreaming and now awake, with a phantom-like presence. She believes her dream-lover to be Reyes Farrow, a young man she once saved, but that he's in a coma in a penitentiary hospital and that he whispers the name Bad has always used for her, throws everything Charley knows about this dimension and the next into question. Though Jones has created a worthy conceit, her heroine is less than appealing. A little snottyto both the living and the deadCharley is an unlikely guide for a series with a foot in the underworld.This first in a series ends with the son of Satan and the promise of a grand battle between good and evil, but this opening offers little more than a clever premise and a ho-hum murder mystery.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2012 (Contemporary)
Boomerang bride
Book Jacket   Fiona Lowe
2012 (Romantic Suspense)
New York to Dallas
Book Jacket   JD Robb
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Lt. Eve Dallas (Treachery in Death,2011, etc.) returns to her troubled roots when she goes up against a sex killer with a taste for tweens and a personal interest in her.Twelve years after his life sentence for raping and imprisoning several of his alleged 27 victims, Isaac McQueen, aka the Collector, is on the loose again. After making his escape from Rikers Island, he returns to his old apartment, takes the couple renting it hostage and demands that Tray Schuster convey the news of his escape to Eve in person within an hour on pain of serious damage to his girlfriend Julie Kopeski. Tray's anguished visit is only the first of many episodes in which McQueen threatens the officer, who put him away, with a lingering, X-rated death. But he's not content simply to taunt his old nemesis. Sylvia Prentiss, the drug addict who helped him escape, outfits his latest torture chamber in faraway Dallas and helps stock it with fresh meat. McQueen's first victim is a familiar face: rape counselor Melinda Jones, who'd already been rescued once before from his clutches. His second is Darlie Morgansten, a 13-year-old who's more in his sexual line. Together with her megamillionaire husband Roarke, Eve flies to the city that gave her her name to confront both the monster she caged once before and the prison-house of her own tormenting childhood memories.Roarke and his attendant computer wizards make so many vague, conveniently timed discoveries that the detection is never convincing. But the cat-and-mouse suspense when Eve and McQueen go up against each other is intense..]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2011 (Romantic Suspense)
Silent Scream
 Karen Rose
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2011 (Contemporary)
Simply Irresistible
 Jill Shalvis
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2011 (First Book)
Pieces of sky
Book Jacket   Kaki Warner
2010 (Romantic Suspense)
Whisper of Warning
Book Jacket   Laura Griffin
 
2010 (First Book)
One Scream Away
 Kate Brady
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2010 (Contemporary)
Too Good to be True
 Kristan Higgins
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2009 (Contemporary)
Not another bad date
Book Jacket   Rachel Gibson.
2009 (Romantic Suspense)
Take no prisoners
Book Jacket   Cindy Gerard.
 
2009 (First Book)
Oh. My. Gods.
 Tera Lynn Childs.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Few situations are more difficult than adjusting to a new stepfamily, but what if they are all descendants of the gods? After her mother's surprise marriage, Phoebe is whisked away to a mysterious island in Greece where she must spend her senior year at the exclusive Academy. Unfortunately, the fact that her new stepfather is the headmaster is just the start of her problems. In addition to ducking the supernatural powers of her stepsister, steering clear of Hades's progeny and navigating all manner of mythical problems, she must figure out how to land a place on the cross-country team. Normally that would not be an issue for a talented runner like Phoebe, but the other runners include the offspring of some pretty swift gods, including Hermes himself. Riding the wave of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series (The Battle of the Labyrinth, 2008), the mythological concept elevates the usual high-school dramas of cliques, romances and scandals to new heights. Funny and light, this tale is a romance of Olympian proportions. (Fiction. 12 & up) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525479420 After her mother's remarriage, Phoebe is incensed to be suddenly moving to a remote Greek island. As it happens, the students at her pretentious new school are descendants of Greek gods. What do you do when your "evil stepsister" can smite you--literally? Snappy narration and a gratifying ending contribute to this entertaining, light read. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
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2008 (Contemporary)
Catch of the day
 Kristan Higgins.
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2008 (Romantic Suspense)
Ice blue
Book Jacket   by Anne Stuart.
2008 (First Book)
Dead girls are easy
Book Jacket   Terri Garey.
 
2007 (Contemporary)
From The First
 Jessica Bird
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2007 (Traditional)
Claiming His Family
 Barbara Hannay
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2007 (Romantic Suspense)
Blackout
Book Jacket   Annie Solomon
2007 (First Book)
The Husband Trap
Book Jacket   Tracy Anne Warren
 
2006 (Traditional)
Princess of Convenience
 Marion Lennox
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2006 (Romantic Suspense)
Survivor in Death
 J.D. Robb
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. One witness, two killers, five murders. Eve Dallas investigates. Trouble is, the witness is only nine and didn't see much in the dark. But it's clear that Nixie Swisher was supposed to die right along with her mother, father, brother, and housekeeper. Thanks to her late-night craving for an Orange Fizzy, Nixie escaped, though her best friend got her throat cut with chilling precision. All Eve (Visions in Death, p. 601) can do is step over the bodies and start connecting the dots with every security gizmo and techno-toy available in 2059 New York. But nothing adds up. Grant Swisher was a do-good lawyer who got battered women out of life-threatening relationships. Keelie Swisher was a nutritionist. Who'd murder a sweet-faced vitamin pusher? The housekeeper, Inge Snood, happened to be in the wrong place—her own bed—at the wrong time. The kids—were just kids. But Eve can't help seeing a reflection of her own horrific childhood in Nixie's terrified eyes, and she wants to save this kid. She pulls rank on Meredith Norman, the social worker from Child Protection Services, so Nixie can stay with her and billionaire husband Roark for a while. Meredith is required to put the kid in protective custody, but Eve won't let that happen. Then a few things begin to add up. Meredith goes missing, and when her torture-marked corpse is found and the two cops guarding the gates are slain as well, the questions fly thick and fast (and the sentences get even shorter). Are cold-blooded operatives for covert government agencies running amok and killing for hire? Are evil brutes, separated at birth but with a shared thirst for blood, carrying out vendettas either for the hell of it or following a hellish ideology of their own? Eve and Roark find a link to someone bent on vengeance and follow a trail to heartland America and back to New York. And, yup, they kick a lot of butt. Tough-talking thriller with a matchless pace. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2006 (First Book)
Show Her the Money
Book Jacket   Stephanie Feagan
2005 (Contemporary)
Bet Me
Book Jacket   Jennifer Crusie
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A risk-averse actuary gets so lucky. Minerva Dobbs has been warned: If she wants to snag a new guy to replace dreary David, who does something with software, it's time to loosen up. Does Liza mean she should get rid of her favorite gray-checked suit? If plump, pretty Min dared to wear body-hugging purple get-ups like her tall, trim friend, she'd look like Barney the Dinosaur's slut cousin. And, yes, her self-esteem needs a group hug right now from all her best buddies in the bar: Min just overheard David, a client of Cal Morrisey, a genial organizer of business seminars, bet ten bucks—or was it ten thousand?—that Cal can't get into Min's sensible white cotton panties. Cal, who's so good-looking he should be on coins, takes the bet and unloads chatty Cynthie, his ex-girlfriend, a know-it-all TV shrink, on David. Then Cal takes Min out to dinner; eats dinner; then walks Min home. And that's it: Have a nice life. But, hey, wait a minute—would Cal mind taking Min to her perfect sister's splashy wedding? He and she would only have to pretend to like each other for a few months. No biggie. And, lo and behold, this mismatched pair slowly and surely discover that they really do like each other. Watch for the good parts: a sidesplitting riff on bridesmaids' dresses; the nonsensical wishful thinking of a relationship psychologist; a maternal analysis of underwear as bait; and every bad line from every date from hell a big girl ever had. Crusie (Faking It, 2002, etc.) gives chick-lit clichÉs a triple shot of adrenaline, intelligence, and smart-mouth wit. Bet you can't stop reading it. Absolutely, irresistibly hilarious. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2005 (Traditional)
Christmas Eve Marriage
 Jessica Hart
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2005 (Romantic Suspense)
I'm Watching You
 Karen Rose
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2005 (First Book)
Time off for Good Behavior
Book Jacket   Lani Diane Rich
2004 (Contemporary)
Birthright
Book Jacket   Nora Roberts
 
2004 (Traditional)
Her Royal Baby
 Marion Lennox
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2004 (Romantic Suspense)
Remember When: Part I
 Nora Roberts
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Written under her real name and her pseudonym, two books in one from megaselling Roberts/Robb. Book one: Laine Tavish, gorgeous redhead and owner of a small-town antique store, isn't about to tell the cops that she knew the old man who was hit by a car right outside her shop. Just before he took his dying breath, she recognized Willy Young, partner in crime to Big Jack O'Hara, her father. Their biggest heist: millions of dollars in hot diamonds. Her father went to prison, but not Willy, whose last words were "left it for you." What did he leave—and where? Enter Max Gannon, insurance investigator and all-around stud, with thick, wavy, run-your-fingers-through-it hair, tawny eyes that remind Laine of a tiger, and a delicious Georgia drawl. He beds Laine pronto, and they solve the case. But some of the diamonds are still missing. . . . Book two: it's 50 years later, and New York traffic is slower than ever: just try getting a helicab on a rainy day. But Samantha Gannon, author of a bestseller called Hot Rocks based on her grandparents' experiences in the long-ago case, eventually makes it home from the airport to find her house-sitter Andrea dead, throat cut. Another investigation begins, spearheaded by Eve Dallas, a tough-talking but very appealing New York cop married to Roarke, a rich, eccentric genius who just barely manages to stay on the right side of the law. Is the murderer after the rest of the diamonds? And is he or she related to the master thief who betrayed Samantha's great-grandfather? There are more burning questions, and Eve wants answers—but, first, get Central on the telelink and program the Autochef for pastrami on rye. A smoothly written contemporary caper paired with a murder mystery and a little meet-the-Jetsons futurism. No one does Suspense Lite better than Nora. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2004 (First Book)
Back Roads
Book Jacket   Susan Crandall
2003 (Contemporary)
Taking Cover
Book Jacket   Catherine Mann
 
2003 (Traditional)
The Christmas Basket
 Debbie Macomber
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2003 (Romantic Suspense)
Three Fates
 Nora Roberts
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2003 (First Book)
Shades of Honor
Book Jacket   Wendy Lindstrom
2002 (Contemporary)
Coming Home to You
Book Jacket   Fay Robinson
 
2002 (Traditional)
Quinn's Complete Seduction
 Sandra Steffen
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2002 (Romantic Suspense)
The Surgeon
 Tess Gerritsen
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780345447838 Top-grade thriller-diller from Gerritsen (the jaw-chattering Gravity, 1999, etc.), a former internist who gave up the stethoscope to raise kids and chills. Blistering ER trauma-work spells the main melodrama: a gruesome serial killer who collects his victims' wombs has over the years become quite skilled with his blade. The really awful part: he removes the womb while the naked woman lies awake and can see his power over her. ER trauma surgeon Catherine Cordell first met the killer, called "The Surgeon" by Boston newspapers, down in Savannah, where she was his last victim. Luckily for Catherine, after being raped she got a hand free from the cord binding her to the bed, cut herself loose with a scalpel, reached under her bed, grabbed a pistol, and seemingly killed Andrew Capra, the inept medical student about to pluck out her womb. Unable to bear Savannah, where everyone seemed to know she'd been raped, Catherine transferred to Boston, holed up for nearly two years, then took a job as a trauma surgeon without disclosing her past. Good grief! more wombless bodies start showing up in Boston. Did she really kill Andrew? Well, yes. Homicide detective Thomas Moore, a widower soon romancing sexually zapped Catherine, determines that she is on the killer's list. Jealous, plainfaced, snappish young Jane Rizzoli, the only female on Boston Homicide, leads his investigation. Gerritsen goes to great pains working up a classical background for the killer, filling us in on Greek, Viking, and Aztec sacrificial practices while also getting strong pages out of scenes in a rape crisis center, where incidents vividly illustrate the lifelong black aftermath of a rape. Then The Surgeon leaves one victim alive as an ER birthday present for Catherine, so that she can sew up spilled bowels while working through her own rape trauma. Sharp characters stitch your eye to the page. An all-nighter.
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2002 (First Book)
The Border Bride
Book Jacket   Elizabeth English
2001 (Contemporary)
First Lady
Book Jacket   Susan Elizabeth Phillips
 
2001 (Traditional)
The Best Man and the Bridesmaid
 Liz Fielding
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2001 (Romantic Suspense)
Carolina Moon
 Nora Roberts
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2001 (First Book)
A Man Like Mac
Book Jacket   Fay Robinson
2000 (Contemporary)
Body Guard
Book Jacket   Suzanne Brockmann
 
2000 (Traditional)
Annie, Get Your Groom
 Kristin Gabriel
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2000 (Romantic Suspense)
The Bride's Protector
 Gayle Wilson
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2000 (First Book)
The Maiden and the Unicorn
Book Jacket   Isolde Martyn
1999 (Contemporary)
Dream a Little Dream
Book Jacket   Susan Elizabeth Phillips
 
1999 (Traditional)
Monday Man
 Kristin Gabriel
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1999 (Romantic Suspense)
Cool Shade
 Theresa Weir
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1999 (First Book)
My Darling Caroline
Book Jacket   Adele Ashworth
1998 (Contemporary)
Nobody's Baby But Mine
Book Jacket   Suzan Elizabeth Phillips
 
1998 (Traditional)
His Brother's Child
 Lucy Gordon
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1998 (Romantic Suspense)
On the Way to a Wedding
 Ingrid Weaver
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1998 (First Book)
Brazen Angel
Book Jacket   Elizabeth Boyle
1997 (Contemporary)
Daniel's Gift
Book Jacket   Barbara Freethy
 
1997 (Traditional)
Her Very Own Husband
 Lauryn Chandler
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1997 (Romantic Suspense)
See How They Run
 Bethany Campbell
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1997 (First Book)
Stardust of Yesterday
Book Jacket   Lynn Kurland
1996 (Contemporary)
Born in Ice
Book Jacket   Nora Roberts
 
1996 (Traditional)
Stranger in Her Arms
 Elizabeth Sites
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1996 (Romantic Suspense)
Winter's Edge
 Anne Stuart
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1996 (First Book)
The Warlord
Book Jacket   Elizabeth Elliot

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