1. Only in My Arms by Jo Goodman
"It's more likely that Mama wanted to remind herself of the sacrifice she made."
"Sacrifice?" asked Jay Mac. Moira stared at her oldest daughter. "What sacrifice?"
Before Mary could help herself she said, "Me, Mama, I'm the sacrifice. You offered me up to the Church to atone for your sins."
Jay Mac stayed Moira's hand, keeping her from striking Mary.
The heroine, Mary, grew up as a bastard along with her sisters, she comes to feel that she might have been pushed into becoming a nun. This was such a BOOM moment and I think a lot of us have wild fantasies about calling our mothers out like this.
2. Dangerous Passions by Lisa Marie Rice
Standing in the shadows in the cold of a Manhattan winter or the steamy furnace of a Manhattan summer for an hour or two a month, without his bodyguards, without any security whatsoever, for a glimpse of a woman…it was madness.
Because I can, I'm nominating the first two chapters of this. The suspense, danger, and action was gripping.
3. Angelfall by Susan Ee
From the front, they look human, but from the back and the sides, they look utterly alien. Plump scorpion tails grow out of their tailbones to curl over their heads. They end in needlelike stingers, ready for piercing.
Towards the end, we get hit with some truly creepy described visuals and the dirty, grungy, and hungry apocalyptic world, starts to bleed into more of a horror show. The wall of children was some truly inspired horrific stuff and a scene that will, probably unfortunately, stick with me for a long time.
4. The Black Madonna by Stella Riley
The Basing House siege scene was truly on point. Our character drama is coming to a climax along with a dramatic moment in the English Civil War. I was locked in and wild horses couldn't have pulled me away.
5. Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle
Skimming her bare shoulders and the exposed upper rounds of her breasts sitting above the corset, he paused. Their eyes locked and her heart seemed to rush to her head and every toe. His steady gaze bore into her with the heat of sandstone. It was the only acknowledgement she needed as a woman. She almost, almost smiled but thought that would be over-flirting. “It must have fallen.”
His eyes grew flat and unreadable. “Along with whatever respect you have for yourself. Wit over tit, Watkins. Pull it up.”
I just, WIT OVER TIT, I'll never get over the brilliance of this.
“It was not your analogy to use. It was my analogy. An analogy I used with respect. Do you have any idea how many white British men have referred to me and my people as being animals?”
His features flickered. “Kumar. Cease. That wasn’t what I was—”
“Be mindful of how you speak to me.”
His voice softened. “I will. I’m sorry.”
It was something. “Be mindful.”
6. The Duke of Deception by Darcy Burke
Ned bent down and kissed his brother’s cheek. “Lemon cakes,”he whispered.
George’s eyes remained closed, but his lips curved into a familiar, beloved smile. “Lemon cakes. Yes, Ned. Lemon cakes.”
Those had been their favorite sweet. Cook, who’d passed long ago, had made them twice a week and always ensured Ned and George had the first batch while they were still warm. “Lemon cakes”had been something they’d uttered to each other as a gesture of comfort. A sort of “I love you”for boys who wouldn’t dare say such a thing to each other.
Ugh, I still get watery eyes over this.
7. Bad Neighbor by M. O'Keefe
I was wearing fucking glasses. Who wears glasses to your neighbor’s orgy?
Who among us hasn't felt awkward at one point or time at an orgy. Funny heroines who feel out of their depth with heroes who are living their best sexual life are a delight to read and I quite enjoyed how this hero read the heroine's signals and didn't let her wriggle out of what she wanted.
8. Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai
9. Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
"I will remember these pretty pink ribbons,” he said softly, to himself more than her as his warm fingers slid beneath along her thigh, beneath the fabric, “for the rest of my life.”
Happy girly sighswoon.
10. A Rogue of Her Own by Grace Burrowes
“I’m missing a hairpin.”
"How can you tell?”
"Because I count my hairpins, and this set was a gift from my aunt Arabella when I made my come out two hundred and forty-seven years ago.”
"Might we discuss your attempted self-ruin instead of your fashion accessories?” She gave him a look. If he’d been eight years old, he would have produced the hairpin from his pocket, blushed, and stammered his remorse. He was past thirty and would keep that hairpin until the day he died.
I live for, seemingly, little moments like this in historical romance.
My friends are completely over me saying Wit over Tit, I want to start a t-shirt line, and I still think about this line at least once every three days.