Romantic Suspense novels are defined under the Rita Award rules as novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot. Under the judging guidelines, “the love story is the main focus of the novel, a suspense/mystery/thriller plot is blended with the love story, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.”
This year, only four entries hit or surpassed the 90% cutoff for finals, and two of them are self published. With such a short field, this is a great category to read them all and form an opinion before the National Conference in San Antonio this summer. So here is a run-down of the four finalists:
2014 RITA Award Nominees for Romantic Suspense
Justice for Sara
by Erica Spindler
St. Martin’s Press
Jennifer Weiss, editor
When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutally murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye. Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried. While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed, and her only choice was to go into hiding. But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death . . .
Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life. Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: “What about justice for Sara?” What about justice for Sara? And for herself? Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace. And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.
But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left. The secrets and suspicions still run deep. Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one. With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting—and dying—for.
The Killing Game
by Toni Anderson
Wildlife biologist Axelle Dehn isn’t about to let anyone harm her endangered snow leopards—not the poacher intent on killing them, nor the soldier who wants to use them as bait. But Axelle is unknowingly entangled in a conflict that stretches back three decades, a conflict that could spark a war between two of the world’s great nations.
British SAS soldier, Ty Dempsey, is on a mission to hunt down an infamous Russian terrorist in a remote region of Afghanistan. Dempsey hasn’t failed a mission yet, but when Axelle is kidnapped by the Russian, he is forced to choose between duty and his heart. He risks everything to save the determined, prickly woman he’s fallen for, but in doing so sparks a deadly series of events that threaten to expose the most successful spy in history. A spy who will destroy anyone who gets in his way.
Off the Edge
by Carolyn Crane
SHE MAY BE HIS WORST ENEMY…
For deadly secret agent Peter Macmillan, language is a weapon—one he uses to hunt criminals, destroy plots, and charm enemies. Seducing information out of a beautiful singer in Bangkok hotel should be easy…except this particular singer has the power to destroy his cool façade, and with it, his last defense against a dark past.
HE MAY BE HER ONLY HOPE…
He tricked her. He helped himself to her body and her secrets. He has enemies everywhere. Laney Lancaster should hate Peter, but when she discovers him shirtless, sweaty, and chained up in the hotel’s dungeon, all she can think about is freeing him. Because she knows what it’s like to be trapped and alone. And she could use a dangerous friend.
They may be wrong for each other, but the instant they join forces, Laney and Peter are plunged into an odyssey of hot sex and dark danger. To survive, they must trust each other with their lives—and their hearts.
by Julie Ann Walker
Leah Hultenschmidt, editor
He’s Gone Rogue
Ex-Navy SEAL Rock Babineaux’s job is to get information, and he’s one of the best in the business. Until something goes horribly wrong and he’s being hunted by his own government. Even his best friends at the covert special-ops organization Black Knights Inc. aren’t sure they can trust him. He thinks he can outrun them all, but his former partner—a curvy bombshell who knows just how to drive him wild—refuses to cut him loose.
She Won’t Back Down
Vanessa Cordova hasn’t been the team’s communication specialist
very long, but she knows how to read people—no way is Rock guilty of murder. And she’ll go to hell and back to help him prove it. Sure, the sexy Cajun has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good, because they’re about to get very tight…
- 2014 RITA Finalists (darlagdenton.com)
- Conversation With You: Rita Nominees Are In, What Do You Think? (paranormalunbound.com)
- 2013 RITA finalists are here! (bookworm2bookworm.wordpress.com)
- RITA and Golden Hearts Finalists Announced! (flashofromance.com)