Friday, July 31, 2015

Fiction in the Windy City - Part 1, Romance

Once - in the almost 20 years I lived in Cincinnati - exactly one time I can recall coming across a book set in Clermont County, Ohio, where I lived. (I think it was Susan Donovan's PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION - it's buried somewhere on my many keeper shelves.)

Since I moved to Chicago, it's a different story. I already knew of many books set in Chicago, and in the two and a half years I've lived in the city, I've discovered a lot more. For those who love the Windy City - particularly those who also like to read history, mystery, suspense and romance - you might want to give these a shot! Since there are so many good books to choose from, I'm splitting them up by genre.

(The book blurbs and book cover images are from Barnes & Noble at Barnesandnoble.com.)

Susan Donovan's KNOCK ME OFF MY FEET:

Autumn Adams never planned to follow in her mother's footsteps as Chicago's answer to Martha Stewart--she can't cook, doesn't clean, and would rather play soccer than discuss the joys of white bathtub grout. Then some lunatic starts sending her threats in the mail and Audie finds herself under the protection of simmering, sexy Detective Stacey Quinn, a man determined to examine her every nook, cranny, and ex-boyfriend in his effort to find the stalker. A disarming combination of macho cop and sweet charmer, Quinn is hard to resist. But with Audie's bad luck at finding and holding on to Mr. Right, she think it's best to keep her distance...
Quinn soon discovers that the real Audie is an alluring blend of fantasy babe and tender-hearted female all wrapped up in what he can only hope is leopard-print underwear. She's not what he's always pictured for himself, but could she be everything he'll ever need?
Digging through Audie's many layers could turn out to be the hottest, craziest, sexiest bit of detective work Quinn has ever attempted...if it doesn't kill him first.

Julia Harper's FOR THE LOVE OF PETE
(Elizabeth Hoyt writing as Julia Harper)
Dante Torelli is an undercover FBI agent assigned to protect a mob informant and his family. But when the informant's hiding place is blown, a baby girl is snatched by a ruthless hitman. Now, Dante must save the toddler, uncover the traitor in his department, evade various bad guys, and deal with the toddler's sexy aunt, all before the biggest mob trial in Chicago history, set to begin in just three days.

When Zoe Adler's stepsister went into the witness protection program because of her sleazeball boyfriend, she wasn't supposed to tell anyone. Except the two sisters have always been close, and Zoe has been babysitting her niece, Pete, since her birth. What harm could it be to secretly get Zoe an apartment in the same building where the FBI is keeping the family under protection? So when someone inside the FBI turns and a hitman snatches Pete, Zoe is right there. During the shootout, she jumps into a sexy, uptight FBI agent's car and hangs on as he pursues the hitman. No matter what it takes, Zoe is going to bring her niece back.

There are several series set in Chicago - you don't want to miss any of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Chicago Stars books, or Julie James' FBI mysteries, Susan Wiggs' Great Chicago Fire trilogy and Patricia Rosemoor's Chicago Heat books. Several of Beth Kery's sizzlers are set in Chicago, too. 

Julie James' SOMETHING ABOUT YOU (FBI/US Atty Series #1):
FATE HAS THROWN TWO SWORN ENEMIES...
Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and nearly ruining his career…
…INTO EACH OTHER'S ARMS
Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension…

Julie James' ABOUT THAT NIGHT (FBI/US Atty Series #3):

HE’S PLAYING GAMES
Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful Assistant U.S. Attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.
BUT SHE’S MAKING THE RULES
Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case—but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants—and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten. . .

Beth Kery's SWEET RESTRAINT
Desire becomes obsession in an electrifying novel of scandalous secrets by the New York Timesbestselling author of Because You Are Mine and When I’m with You
It’s been thirteen years since Laura suddenly left Chicago Special Agent Shane Dominic and he’s never forgotten her—or stopped wondering why she left. Until the murder of a criminal mastermind draws Shane back into Laura’s shadow. He knows this is his last chance to get to the truth about the woman he loves—and he’ll get it any way he can.
Laura’s feelings may still run deep, but she’ll never tell her secrets—even when Shane takes her as his captive to a secluded cabin, and subjects her to his every torturously erotic whim. As her defenses melt away she has no choice but to trust him with the truth —one that will expose them both to a danger closing in like wild fire.

Beth Kery's WHEN i'M WITH YOU (BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE series #2):

New York Timesbestselling author Beth Kery’s blistering new novel of a man and a woman bound by the scandalous secrets of the past—and by the sexual hunger that still fuels their uncontrollable desires…

Out-of-control party girl and wealthy socialite Elise Martin has come to Chicago to prove to herself and the rest of the world that her life is truly worthwhile. But she never dreamed she’d find herself at the erotic mercy of the dynamic and wealthy Lucien Lenault, her girlhood crush, an irresistible enigma who renders women powerless and vulnerable...not to mention wholly insatiable.

But Elise isn’t just any woman. She’s used to playing with fire, and for her, discovering Lucien’s secrets is all part of the game. What brought Lucien to Chicago with a new name and a new identity? Who is Ian Noble, the provocative new stranger in Lucien’s shadow? And why has Lucien taken to following him in the night?

As the two of them get deeper into a dangerous sexual dance, Lucien can’t help but wonder if the exquisite firestorm that Elise has ignited could not only expose his secrets, but draw him dangerously close to the edge and leave both their futures in ashes.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips': IT HAD TO BE YOU (Chicago Stars series #1)

The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville -- the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Celebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Celebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises -- a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.
So why is he drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach's good ol' boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied....and ready to fight?
The sexy, heartwarming, and hilarious "prequel" to Susan Elizabeth Phillip's This Heart of Mine -- her sensational bestsellng blockbuster -- It Had To Be You is an enchanting story of two stubborn people who believe in playing for keeps.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips' MATCH ME IF YOU CAN (Chicago Stars series #6):
You met star quarterback Kevin Tucker in This Heart of Mine. Now get ready to meet his shark of an agent, Heath Champion, and Annabelle Granger, the girl least likely to succeed.
Annabelle's endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement . . . even her hair's a mess! But that's going to change now that she's taken over her late grandmother's matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City's hottest bachelor as her client, and she'll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.
Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she's entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success -- the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?
Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she'd do anything to keep her star client happy . . . did she mean anything? If Annabelle isn't careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town.

Patricia Rosemoor's HOT ZONE (Chicago Heat): 
Helen Rhodes is ready to take on upstart Luke DeVries and his trendy new coffee place, Hot Zone. So what if Hot Zone offers steaming java, even steamier hot tubs and a sizzling massage or two for customers? Helen's Cybercafé is the coolest thing in this quirky Chicago neighborhood, and she plans to keep it that way!
Luke is intrigued—and very aroused—by his sizzling blond business rival. He just wants to make peace with Helen, make her cappuccinos every morning...and make love to her every night. Simple? Not exactly. Much more than java is heating up between these two people. It's very tasty...very addictive. And neither is calling it quits!




Patricia Rosemoor's IMPROPER CONDUCT (Chicago Heat):

Nick Novak is shocked when gorgeous Isabel Grayson suddenly reappears in his life. She'd broken his heart once years before...now she suddenly needed his help? Nick's price is high--a no-holds-barred sexual fling with him. Maybe then he can get her out of his system.
Isabel is shocked by Nick's "proposal." But she desperately needs his assistance to find her runaway sister. By day she'll accompany him on the hot streets of Chicago. By night she'll make love to him...in every way possible. Maybe then she can get him out of her system.
But nobody expected what happened next....
(Text from www.harlequin.com)

Susan Wiggs' THE HOSTAGE (Great Chicago Fire series #1):

Deborah Sinclair is a beautiful, accomplished young heiress with a staggering dowry. But her fortune does her no good when, one horrible night, Chicago is engulfed in flames.
Tom Silver will walk through fire to avenge a terrible injustice—and he may have to. But when he makes Deborah a pawn in his revenge, the heat of the inferno fades next to the attraction he feels for his captive. And the further he takes her from everything she's known, the stronger their passion grows, until it threatens to consume them both.



Susan Wiggs' THE FIREBRAND (Great Chicago Fire series #3):
Chicago is burning
And Lucy Hathaway is running for her life. As she rushes past a fine hotel engulfed in flames, a wrapped bundle tumbles from a window into her arms. Seconds later the building crumbles—and Lucy is astonished to discover the swaddled blanket contains a baby.
Five years later Lucy walks into Rand Higgins's bank and knows: the orphan she rescued that day actually belongs to this ruthless financier. Now, to keep the child she's come to love, she'll have to give up her hard-won freedom and become his wife. But giving Rand her heart? That, she could never have expected…




I'm sure there are lots of romances set in Chicago that I've neglected to mention - please add any I've missed in the comment field below. I'll be back soon with blogs on Chicago mysteries and historical books, fiction and non-fiction.