Best Romances of August: Our Top 5 Picks

Best romances of AugustWe have a strong selection this month of romantic suspense: chilling stories to keep you cool (aka, terrified) while you're simmering in the sun at the beach or pool. (And you are wearing sunscreen, aren't you? Good.) Readers of historical romance will be pleased with this month's offerings as well.

Below are five of our favorite new romances publishing in August. Click here to see our full list of picks plus what we've picked in past months.

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Seeing Red by Sandra Brown - Brown again delivers the goods with a taut romantic thriller that digs up secret after deadly secret as a long-ago hotel bombing sparks a contemporary crime spree. The shooting of a national hero, known as the Major, sends TV reporter Kerra Bailey and former ATF agent John Trapper underground as they reluctantly team up to investigate who put a contract out on Trapper's estranged father. Trapper's mixed history with the ATF makes Bailey wary, but with the gunmen after her, too, as a potential witness, she has little choice but to trust him even as she uses her own skills for ferreting out the truth. Although I'm not the biggest fan of grumpy, emotionally closed-off heroes, Brown's story twists like a rattlesnake, keeping you on edge until the final revelation.
 

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The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare - Scarred in face, body, and heart by an explosion on the battlefield, the Duke of Ashbury has been a bit of gloomy gus since his return from war, but he still knows his duty: find a wife and make an heir. But with his ruined face, social events--and especially wooing--seem an insurmountable barrier. Luckily, down-on-her-luck seamstress Emma Gladstone comes straight to his house and pushes her way into his study to demand payment of the intricate (and awfully ugly) wedding gown she hand-sewed for his former fiancee. Ashbury's marriage proposal seems a farce, but his persistence--and her imminent eviction--convince Emma to accept. So begins a delightful story of tiptoeing through emotional minefields toward true love that I think is among Dare's best and at times made me laugh out loud. Perfect for readers of Megan Frampton (see review below), Julia Quinn, and Courtney Milan.
 

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Lady Be Bad by Megan Frampton - Launching a new historical romance series, Frampton sets up beautiful Lady Eleanor as the sacrificial lamb intended to dampen Society's gossip about her runaway older sister and to ensure her younger sisters' future matrimonial prospects by making an excellent marriage of her own. But the future groom is too busy to pay enough attention to Eleanor to even realize that she's hideously shortsighted, handing off to his black-sheep brother, Alexander, the task of bringing her around to the idea of marriage. We've all seen this plot before but Eleanor's yearning to learn who she is before she gets married and Alexander's original escapades set this in-love-with-the-wrong-brother story apart. Eleanor's younger sisters are an amusingly unpredictable chorus, making me look forward to their romantic adventures in upcoming books.
 

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Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai - Riven by a family feud, Livvy and Nicholas know that friendship between them, much less anything else, is doomed. Their compromise? One night, once a year, no questions asked, to indulge their passion for each other. But their plans go awry when first Livvy misses their scheduled night...and then she returns to their hometown. Sizzling with emotion and desire, even as Livvy and Nicholas try to do the right thing for their families, Hate to Want You has everything beloved by readers of second-chance romances with a white-hot edge.
 

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The Hunting Grounds by Katee Robert - Lovers of slow-burn romantic suspense should nab Robert's latest page-turner--though you might want to think twice about taking it on a weekend camping trip with you. A serial killer is stalking the national parks, stringing up and then field dressing his victims. The killings are accelerating, and FBI agent Vic Sutherland knows that another victim is inevitable--unless he can work together with Glacier park ranger Maggie Gaines. With Glacier as her refuge, Maggie would like nothing more than to avoid serial killers, the FBI, and especially Vic, who was instrumental in her leaving the FBI eight years earlier. On second thought, do read this while camping in the woods or sitting on your back porch, to add more delicious tension to an already powerful mystery. If you like suspense novels by Lisa Jackson or Mary Burton, give Katee Robert a try if you haven't already.
 

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Ready to Run by Lauren Layne - Romance gets a bracing dose of reality as TV show producer Jordan Carpenter travels to Montana in search of the man who has reputedly left three women at the alter. What could make for better reality TV than a dating show starring a man like that? But country boy and (yum) firefighter Luke Elliott wants nothing to do with city girl Jordan and her show--or at least, he wants to want to have nothing to do with her, but their increasingly intense encounters undermine his willpower to stay away. It doesn't help that the whole town--including one or two of his exes--is cheering them toward a happy ending. As she does so well, Layne lays bare the insecurities and the strengths of her characters so that you, too, will be wishing like heck that they can get beyond their fraught past to a happier future.
 

Looking for more recommendations? 

A few authors are finishing up fabulous series, as J.R. Ward rounds out her Bourbon Kings trilogy with Devil's Cut and Ilona Andrews concludes her Hidden Legacy series with Wildfire. Brenda Jackson continues her Protectors books with Locked in Temptation (and don't take just my word for how good it is: this book has 4.9 stars on 65 customer reviews as I write this post). And Stacy Finz launches a new series of small-town contemporary romances with Need You, set down the road from her popular Nugget books.

Or see all our picks for the best romances of the month.

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