One of my favorite romance authors is Denise Hunter, and I’ve read almost everything of hers. For Valentine’s Day, I thought I would highlight who my absolute favorite couples are in her novels. These are all couples that I promise will make you swoon!
Yes, this was made into a Hallmark movie. However, they did not do this book justice at all. Mainly, they had Lucas pretend to be engaged to Kate instead of married to her. Actually, he doesn’t pretend to marry her, he actually does when Kate gets dumped on her wedding day. The pressures of sharing a life together and having to pretend to be married result in so many opportunities for sexual tension. And since they’re married, this one gets steamy (though it never crosses the line one expects for a faith-based romance). The situation also results in a lot of humor, so I laughed during much of this book. The dramatic conclusion is also one of the most romantic in Hunter’s books.
This is another one where there is a marriage of convenience, which means, yes, steamy scenes. (I promise, that’s not my only litmus test for these couples, though it helps!) In this one, Brady gets the shocking news that he’s not actually the biological father of his son, Sammy, and the parents of his deceased ex-wife are demanding custody. When a misunderstanding leads Brady’s lawyer to think his friend Hope is his fiance, Brady discovers that giving Sam a mother may be the key to winning the custody battle. To his shock, Hope agrees, and said marriage of convenience begins. One thing I love about this book is the way it flips the script. A woman who fears that all men leave because she was abandoned by her father is a pretty common romance trope. In this book, however, it’s Brady who feels women are always leaving him, starting with his drug addict mom. And though the couple are married, the burn in this is achingly, exquisitely slow as Brady and Hope go from friends, to a married couple, to lovers. Did I mention there’s also a swoon-worthy scene in the rain?
We now go from marriage of convenience to “we’re divorced, but we have to pretend to be married for the weekend.” Yeah, I know, I don’t think that’s a trope, but in this book it absolutely works! Ryan is still in love with his ex Abby, even going so far as to buy the house she had always dreamed of them sharing. So when he finds out that Abby’s parents don’t know about the divorce, he sees the opportunity he’s been waiting for. Abby agrees to pretend they’re still married for her parents' anniversary party. Guess what that means? Road trip! A road trip with your ex probably sounds like torture to some, but the way Hunter executes this, its instead equal parts comedy and sexual tension. You also slowly learn what happened to end their marriage over the course of the book. I won’t give any spoilers; just know that Hunter does a fantastic job executing this storyline in a believable way. Ryan also never manipulates Abby to win her back. For example, the dream house he bought? He never tells her he bought it or uses it in any way to lure her back. He just wanted to do what he felt he should have done when they were together. That’s all I’ll say - just know that Ryan will absolutely steal your heart. I’ve read this one multiple times!
This one was also made into a Hallmark movie that is nowhere near as good as the book (Christmas on My Mind). First of all, the book doesn’t take place at Christmas. Second, Lucy is a spunky, petite, curvy blonde from Georgia in the book and far more interesting than the Lucy in the movie. Also, Lucy actually wakes up on the floor of a public restroom in her wedding dress, which is way more of a dramatic opening.
Anyway, this book is part of the Summer Harbor series, which is one of my favorite series by Hunter. The three Callahan brothers are just the definition of swoon-worthy. Little piece of trivia - Abby from Married Til Monday is their cousin, and the town of Summer Harbor is introduced in that book.
But about Lucy and Zac . . . As I said, Lucy wakes up in a diner bathroom, with a bump on her head, wearing a wedding dress. She calls her fiance Zac to come pick her up only to discover that he isn’t her fiance anymore and hasn’t been for over a year! Lucy has amnesia, with absolutely no memory of why Zac evidently hates her now. And who in the world was she about to marry? Zac wants to protect his still broken heart, yet he can’t resist trying to help Lucy. The mystery of why Lucy left Zac to begin with, who she’s marrying, and why she was in a diner bathroom on her wedding day will keep you on the edge of your seat. As for this couple, you will absolutely want to smash their faces together in frustration, but in the best way!
Yeah, I know, there are a lot of wedding themes here! What can I say? Denise Hunter does this trope so well! Just as the title suggests, Shay and Travis accidentally get married in this book. It’s part of the Big Sky series, set in Montana and featuring rugged ranchers and cowboys, and this one is my favorite of the three. How in the world does one accidentally get married? When you participate in a founder’s day reenactment, of course. Naturally. And the marriage license happens to not be fake, but the one you never used when you almost-eloped at eighteen. Naturally. Okay, maybe the premise is a little far-fetched, but I promise you won’t care. Shay is hurt by the fact that Travis didn’t go through with their elopement all those years ago, but she’s also in a tough spot with her ranch. Marriage to Travis may help her save it, so she’s just going to have to go along with it. She just won’t allow her heart to get involved. Sure, right Shay. Good luck with that. Did I mention that because they are married, things get steamy? You probably figured that already. Let’s just say they are on a ranch, remember, and there is hay. Enough said.
I am a former English teacher turned homeschool mom of three who writes Christian romance novels on the side. You know, in my huge amount of spare time.