If you’re a romance reader, then you know that “romance” is actually a huge category of books that includes all different types of genres. From historical to thrillers to westerns to erotic contemporary novels, romance readers have a wide variety of settings and tropes to choose from. And we all have certain authors we turn to when we’re craving a certain type of novel. Historical romance? Julia Quinn. Romantic thriller? Sandra Brown. But then there are those rare authors who can do it all, delivering genre after genre of romantic and well-written stories. Maya Banks is most definitely one of those rare authors.
Not only is she prolific; publishing multiple books a year, but she’s also versatile, transitioning from contemporary alpha romances to Scottish Highland stories to erotic tales that will leave you fanning yourself. At this point, she’s written more than 50 novels in 16 different series. Let that sink in for a minute: SIXTEEN different series. Talk about variety. Because of her insane romantic versatility, Maya Banks is our official Author Crush for May.
Banks’ latest novel is Just One Touch (Avon, May 23) and part of her Slow Burn series. It’s the fifth book in this popular series about Devereaux Security Services and the men and women associated with it. This time she’s giving us the story between Jenna and Isaac: two opposites who find solace in each other. Like all of Banks’ work, I’m sure it will be sweet, romantic and scorchingly hot. After you finish Just One Touch, if you’re craving even more romantic suspense, then try Banks’ KGI series. Or if you’d rather read about sexy Highland men in kilts, then definitely pick up the McCabe Trilogy. With Banks there are always tons of books to choose from; making it a little hard to pick my top five favorites.
But here are the five books I fell madly in love with and knew I’d be re-reading for the rest of time from Maya Banks:
Fever (Berkley, April 2, 2013)
Banks’ Breathless Trilogy goes there. Expect intense, erotic sex on par with (or, let’s face it, far surpassing) Fifty Shades of Grey. And while I liked the first book in the series, Rush, I didn’t really fully connect until I read Fever, book 2. There’s just something about Jace and Bethany that pulled me in from the first page. Jace Crestwell is used to sharing his women with his best friend, Ash. But when he meets Bethany, all of that changes, and his dominating, possessive side starts to fully come out. Bethany is not your typical romance heroine either. She’s had it rough, and she does what she has to in order to survive — including agreeing to Jace’s initial indecent proposal. But as the two become more drawn to each other, both of their lives start dramatically changing in ways they couldn’t predict. This book is HOT. Also kind of dirty (but in the best way, I promise).
Keep Me Safe (Avon, October 7, 2014)
Before you pick up Maya Banks’ latest novel, Just One Touch, start with the first one in the series (and my personal pick): Keep Me Safe. Blending suspense, romance and the paranormal, this is a book that I wasn’t expecting – and now can’t get enough of, quite honestly. Ramie is a psychic who can merge her consciousness with others, which allows her to help the sexy, alpha Caleb find his missing sister. But Ramie is also in danger, being stalked by a killer because of her powers. She goes on the run, but eventually realizes that she needs help in order to survive. Thankfully, Caleb is there to, well, keep her safe. The two grow closer as they hunt down the killer and try to keep Ramie alive. Keep Me Safe has everything: an interesting plot, plenty of suspense and a main couple you can’t help but root for in a fave read.
The Darkest Hour (Berkley, September 7, 2010)
The Kelley Group International is a top secret organization that steps in to solve problems that the government can’t be involved with. It’s also the perfect set up for a lot of hot, chiseled alpha men to go on daring missions. Sign. Me. Up. The Darkest Hour is book 1 in Banks’ popular KGI series (with 11 full-length books and counting!), and it’s definitely my favorite. It’s also a rarer type of romance: instead of a meet-cute and a new relationship, it tells the story of Ethan and Rachel, a married couple with a lot of baggage. Ex-Navy Seal Ethan has been mourning his wife’s death for a year. But when he gets a mysterious message claiming that she’s still alive, he risks everything to find the truth. It turns out Rachel is still alive, but she’s missing some key parts of her memory. The two spend the book fighting their way back to each other, both physically and mentally. It’s touching, sweet, and, of course, very very hot.
Kept (Berkley, October 25, 2016)
Kept is the third book in Maya Banks’ dark and sexy Enforcers series, bringing us the story of Hayley and Silas. Both are similar in that their pasts have marked them. Silas is Drake’s right hand man (the hero of the first two books in the series), and his tough childhood has made him crave control in all ways. Enter: Hayley, a musician who’s determined to fulfill her father’s last wish to go to a prestigious school for her music. But she’s also destitute and struggling hard to make ends meet. When the two come together, their opposite personalities and needs sizzle on the page. Silas is dominating and demanding and Hayley is willing to give him everything. Slowly, they both work to heal each other. It’s a dynamic I love in romance novels, and it’s why I just adore the romance between these two.
Never Love a Highlander (Ballantine Books, October 25, 2011)
While I love contemporary romance, historical romance will always have a solid place in my heart. If the men are in kilts, all the better. Never Love a Highlander is about Caelen McCabe, a young man who’s determined to never fall in love again, believing that he’s responsible for a slaughter on his clan years before. But he agrees to marry Rionna McDonald, the woman his older brother jilted. Rionna goes along with it, but she’s got desires of her own, including a warrior spirit that won’t be controlled by any man. These two are passionate and sexy together, as they slowly come around to this marriage of convenience – and as they learn to fight for both their love and their clan. It’s another must-read Banks story, like so many of her books.