I’m pretty sure Brenda Jackson’s Tonight and Forever was the first romance novel I read. I was still in high school and found it in the library. After that, I was hooked on the author. It was the first time I recall reading about characters who looked like me and may have shared experiences that I was familiar with, fall in love. It made me want to read more.
And read more I did. I devoured just about every romance novel I could and I definitely visited Unicorn Bookstore quite a few times a month with my friend, Joy. (Joy, if you’re reading this – remember the good ole days? LOL)
Here are 6 novels that solidified my love for the romance genre – they are among the firsts I read. The characters and their authors stayed with me, and chances are you’ll find at least one copy of these books on my shelf right now.
A few you’ve heard me mention time and time again, others not as much.
While I love Tonight and Forever because it was my first, The Midnight Hour holds a very special place in my heart.
CIA agent Sir Drake Warren gave his heart to a woman once, and it ended in tragedy. After her death, he vowed to never love again. When he meets Agent Victoria Green, his intoxicating and mysterious new partner, things change – in more than ways than he anticipated.
Victoria Green changed her name and her appearance. She was once Sandy Carroll, the woman Drake was set to marry. Bound to secrecy, no one must find out her true identity – especially Drake. However, secrets of this magnitude don’t typically stay a secret for long and when Drake finds out the truth, there’ll be hell to pay.
The Hideaway Saga is the reason I love (and stan for) a good family romance series, and I have Vows to thank for that. Vows came out in 97 and is the third book in the Hideaway series. Obviously, I read it long after it was released and out of order, but it’s one I have both the paperback and Kindle copy of.
On a well-deserved vacation in exotic Mexico, sensible, practical accountant Vanessa Blanchard meets the super sexy and equally enigmatic Joshua Kirkland. Desire overtakes them both and before she knows it, she’s in love and under a spell. Joshua loves her and then leaves her, and she’s devastated.
However, little does she know, Joshua didn’t leave her of his own accord. There are some dangerous people at play and he has a mission that can’t be compromised. Can he solve the mystery he was tasked with solving and be with the love of his life? There’s only one way to find out.
Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
Indigo is by far my favorite historical romance. BY FAR. I have written about my love for Hester and Gavin here.
Hester was a very intelligent and brave woman, who deserved all of the love and happiness that life had to offer. Branded with indigo stained hands and feet, she thought that she would never be seen as more than a former slave woman. That color marked her and she was vigilant to not let many people see it. Galen didn’t see it as something that tarnished her. It was a part of her past, and there wasn’t any reason to be ashamed of what she had to do in order to survive. He wasn’t one for love and was fine with several dalliances but for Hester, loving her was all he could think to do. Galen showed Hester that she was a woman meant to be loved, cherished, and desired.
Amanda Ross could not be happier when she is appointed junior high school principal in Caution Point, N.C. However, things can go awry quickly if the Board of Direction discovers that she’s pregnant. Being single and pregnant in this small town is a no-no, and as her child’s father deserts her, she nees a plan asap in order to keep her job.
She needs a husband STAT. Music engineer Marcus Hickson may fit the bill. Once bitten, twice shy; Marcus has vowed never to love again after dealing with his wife’s selfish and cruel behavior. Marriage looks to be on the table though when he finds out his daughter needs costly immediate surgery. Amanda has the finances to pay for the surgery and will give it to him if he’ll agree to be her husband.
Their arrangement is supposed to be just business but we all know how even the most carefully laid plans can go change.
All he was looking for was some peace and quiet. Instead, what ex-FBI agent Luke Grayson finds in the secluded cabin in the woods is a gorgeous, smoky-eyed woman…who just happens to be pointing a gun in his direction.
Dr. Catherine Stewart is relieved that the handsome stranger she encounters is not a dangerous intruder. But how is she supposed to relax in her woodsy hideaway with stubborn, intense, brooding Luke around? A woman could get into a lot of trouble with a man like that—and trouble is exactly what each of these two lost souls came here to avoid…
Torn between the two most passionate men that she has ever met, a young woman must decide who she wants more: her football star boyfriend or a new, sexy architecture major?
Venice and Jarvis are high school sweethearts, they are passionately in love with each other and marriage is something they know is on the horizon for them. However, going to separate colleges makes things a bit harder and when they agree to see other people while they’re in college, both aren’t prepared for the danger that is Craig Bennett.
Craig enters Venice’s life and brings feelings and emotions she didn’t think she could feel with anyone else other than Jarvis. Venice now finds herself in love with two men and has to make a decision; one where she hopes won’t irretrievably break either man.
All That and A Bag of Chips was my shit! This was the first in a series of books that followed Venice’s inner circle and family friends. I don’t think there was ever an official name to the series but the installments had some fantastic ass titles: What Goes Around Comes Around and Been There, Done That are just two! Click HERE and get into this series, and if you are already familiar – they’re slowly being made available for Kindle so download if you don’t have your paperback copies lying around.