Publisher: Valerie Twombly (Feb. 3, 2015)
Love Least Expected is an eclectic collection of nine short romances with stories ranging from sweet to spicy. This collection is a great way to sample the distinct writing voices of nine authors and a variety of romance subgenres. Every story offers a place to find love unexpectedly—from a garden in India to the circus to a psychiatric hospital and everywhere in between.
There are two historical romance selections—Under the Mango Tree by Meredith Bond and Rolf’s Quest by Aubrey Wynne. Under the Mango Tree is a coming of age story set in 18th century India. Her story explores the differences in dating rituals between two cultures. Contrast that to Rolf’s Quest, an Arthurian tale of securing your heart’s desire without the benefit of magic.
The two Southern romances, Roses are Wrong, Violets Taboo by Kris Calvert and The Trouble With Never by Isabella Harper, are both glimpses into longer versions of the stories. Calvert manages to make feeding one another seafood a sexy encounter while Harper writes a very sensual scene at a barn dance.
Love’s Not Viral by Nessie Strange, Taking The Plunge by Kishan Paul, and Keep Calm And Eat Chocolate by Michaela Miles represent contemporary romance. In Love’s Not Viral, Strange concocted a scenario where a woman is held captive in her own home by a Hollywood star. The reader is willing to suspend belief long enough to buy into the plotline and watch the budding romance between the heroine and the Hollywood star’s brother. Taking the Plunge deals with addiction and guilt and protecting one’s heart. This story will also be continued in a future release. Miles sets her story in one of the most unusual places for a romance—a psychiatric facility. The hero and heroine both have to change in order to let go of their past lives.
The only fantasy selection, Alphabetical Disorder by Katie Stephens, takes place at the circus. It’s fanciful, fun, and downright imaginative.
ValerieTwombly offers up Fall into Darkness, a paranormal story to be continued later in 2015. The story centers on an angel who is stripped of his wings and sent back to earth to find his humanity. Twombly engages the reader with her expert world building and just right pacing.