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Romance reads: 5 New must-read romance novels

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog

Not your mother's romance novels

Looking for a little romance this Valentine's Day? Curl up under the covers with one of these hot, new romance novels - and we're telling you, these aren't your mama's romance novels.

Hidden Summit (Virgin River Series #15)
by Robyn Carr Not your mother's romance novels

Sick of running into her cheery ex-husband and his new wife, Leslie Petruso accepts a job at the Virgin River branch of Haggerty Construction and takes the high road right out of town. Now she's got Paul Haggerty's business running like a well-oiled machine. In fact, things are so busy Paul jumps at the chance to hire an extra set of hands.

Just like Leslie, Conner Danson has been burned by love. But if Leslie was disappointed by her relationship going bad, Conner was decimated. He's got no time for women… although he spends an awful lot of time pretending not to notice Leslie. And she's pretty busy "ignoring" the chemistry between them.

According to Conner and Leslie, they have only one thing in common -- they're done with love. But everyone in Virgin River can see that things are heating up at Haggerty Construction. As far as Paul Haggerty can tell, the best thing he can do is hang on to his hard hat and watch the sparks fly.

Copper Beach (Dark Legacy Series #1)
by Jayne Ann Krentz Not your mother's romance novels

Within the pages of very rare books, some centuries old, lie the secrets of the paranormal. Abby Radwell's unusual psychic talent has made her an expert in such volumes and sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat, and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text known as "The Key" has reappeared on the black market.

Convinced that she needs an investigator who can also play bodyguard, she hires Sam Coppersmith, a specialist in paranormal crystals and amber "hot rocks." Passion flares immediately between them, but neither entirely trust the other. When it comes to dealing with a killer who has paranormal abilities, and a blackmailer who will stop at nothing to obtain an ancient alchemical code, no one is safe.

Love in a Nutshell
by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly Not your mother's romance novels

Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she's been fired from her position as a magazine editor, and the only place she wants to go is to her parents' summer house called "The Nutshell" in Keene's Harbor, Michigan. Kate's plan is to turn The Nutshell into a Bed and Breakfast. Problem is, she needs cash... and the only job she can land is less than savory.

Matt Culhane wants Kate to spy on his brewery employees. Someone has been sabotaging his company and Kate is just new enough in town that she can insert herself into Culhane's business and snoop around for him. If Kate finds the culprit, Matt will pay her a $20,000 bonus. Needless to say, Kate is highly motivated. But several problems present themselves: Kate despises beer, no one seems to trust her and she is falling hard for her boss.

Can these two smoke out a saboteur, save Kate's family home and keep a killer from closing in? All while resisting their undeniable attraction to one another? Filled with humor, heart and loveable characters, Love in a Nutshell is delicious fun.

Head Over Heels (Lucky Harbor Series #3)
by Jill Shalvis Not your mother's romance novels

Free-spirited Chloe lives life on the edge. Unlike her soon-to-be married sisters, she isn't ready to settle into a quiet life running their family's newly-renovated Inn. But soon her love of trouble -- and trouble with love -- draws the attention of the very stern, very sexy sheriff who'd like nothing better than to tame her wild ways.

Suddenly Chloe can't take a misstep without the sheriff hot on her heels. His rugged swagger and his enigmatic smile are enough to make a girl beg to be handcuffed. For the first time, instead of avoiding the law, Chloe dreams of surrender. C

an this rebel find a way to keep the peace with the straitlaced sheriff? Or will Chloe's colorful past keep her from a love that lasts... and the safe haven she truly wants in a town called Lucky Harbor?

Nobody's Baby But Mine
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips Not your mother's romance novels

Genius physics professor Dr. Jane Darlington desperately wants a baby, but finding a father won't be easy. Growing up, Jane's super intelligence made her feel like a freak and she's determined to spare her own child that suffering. Meaning she must find someone very "special" to father her child, someone very... well... stupid. Cal Bonner, the Chicago Stars' legendary quarterback, seems like the perfect choice.

Unfortunately, this good ol' boy is a lot smarter than he lets on, and he's not about to be used by a brainy, baby-mad schemer.

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