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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Romanced by Rafe
It’s surprising how many romance heroes are named Rafe. What is it about that name that evokes the image of an alpha male for writers and readers? Short for Raphael, Rafferty, or even Ralph, the name has multiple meanings. The Ralph version is Norse in origin and is the equivalent of Wolf. Werewolf romances are certainly popular now but so are angel romances, so Raphael shows up frequently as well. (In Hebrew, Raphael means “God has healed.”) Many of today’s best-selling romance authors have at least one Rafe in their collection, and, though the name cuts across many subgenres, it’s most often found in the Wild West or in Regency England.
A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis. By Jillian Stone. 2012. Pocket, paper, $7.99 (9781451629057).
Romance newcomer Stone’s Raphael “Rafe” Lewis helps his former fiancée, Fanny, find out who murdered her father in this circa-1887 historical. Still brokenhearted by Rafe’s supposed infidelity, at first Fanny can barely tolerate his help—but their quest for answers pulls them past all hurt in this fun and fast-paced adventure.
Lady Gone Bad. By Sabine Starr. 2012. Kensington/Brava, paper, $14 (9780758266002).
Western meets erotica as U.S. Marshal Rafe Morgan uses the law, and his handcuffs, to tame the saloon singer known as Lady Gone Bad. His obsession with capturing her leads him into danger, but after he learns her secrets, he decides to reform her instead. The level of passion and Wild West action make this Rafe a strong alpha male—an alpha Rafe, if you will.
Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts with Scandal. By Jayne Fresina. 2013. Sourcebooks/Casablanca, paper, $6.99 (9781402266034).
Readers previously met Rafe Hartley and Lady Mercy Danforthe in Fresina’s previous historical (The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne, 2013), and this story takes place 10 years later. Lady Mercy has a past with Rafe: as teens, they were briefly wed in a quickly annulled marriage. Wearing a disguise, she gives him secret aid in his challenging life as a farmer, and when he is jilted at the altar, she steps in to help him once again. Their passion and matured feelings help them move into the future.
Lord of Wicked Intentions. By Lorraine Heath. 2013. Avon, paper, $7.99 (9780062100030).
In the conclusion to the Lost Lords of Pembrook trilogy, Lord Rafe Easton’s tragedy-filled childhood has turned him hard and bitter. He buys Evelyn, the illegitimately born daughter of an earl, at auction and installs her as his mistress. Evelyn’s shock at having been betrayed and sold by her half brother naturally makes her wary of trusting anyone, though she does find herself drawn to Rafe. (Maybe it’s the name!) Both characters overcome their barriers to intimacy in this satisfying love story.
The MacKade Brothers: Rafe and Jared. By Nora Roberts. 2013. Silhouette, paper, $7.99 (9780373281749).
Romance queen Roberts has a popular Rafe in her backlist, as proven by this two-for-one reissue of The Return of Rafe MacKade and The Pride of Jared MacKade (both 1995). Rafe’s story was the first of a four-book series featuring the brothers. Here, the bad boy returns to Antietam after 10 years away and charms antiques dealer Reagan; he’s an alluring, brooding hero who must win over a smart heroine. This light contemporary is reminiscent of early Jayne Ann Krentz—who also has written several Rafes of her own.
Sage Creek. By Jill Gregory. 2011. Berkley, paper, $7.99 (9780425244470).
Rapidly rising writer Gregory started Lonesome Way, her latest best-selling small-town contemporary series, with the story of Sophie McPhee and rancher Rafe Tanner. Sophie is recovering from a divorce and returns to her hometown to open a new bakery and start a new chapter in her life. Instead, she finds love with her first crush, Rafe, who is now a single father. The humor and theme will appeal to readers in a romance pleasantly reminiscent of the work of Susan Wiggs.
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