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Nora Roberts/JD Robb readalikes

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Among the most popular writers of today, Nora Roberts writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense stories, featuring passionate, resourceful heroines and strong, empathetic heroes. Each story emphasizes relationships with family and friends while providing details of careers or adventure. Some recent titles include a paranormal element but a resolved, happy ending remains crucial to all of her tales. Her books may appeal to readers who do not usually read romance.

Writing as J. D. Robb, Roberts writes a series of futuristic romances/police procedural mysteries, featuring Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke. Police Investigator Dallas, an outspoken advocate for victims, fights crime in a futuristic landscape, where violence always threatens and the murders are particularly grisly.

When you’ve read all of Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb, why not try…

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Contemporary Romance (like Nora Roberts’ Inn Boonsboro trilogy, Dream Trilogy, Bride Quartet, etc.):

Jude Deveraux

Jude Deveraux’s novels and short stories feature endearing heroines in historical, paranormal and contemporary romance situations. Deveraux excels in characterization, in some cases creating family sagas that will draw readers in to generation after generation across time and location. Her resourceful, clever heroines – whether in the Old West or Edwardian England – do not back down. Tone is often light, using humor to forward characterization; and mysteries and secrets to forward the plot. Novels with contemporary settings, in particular, treat women’s relationships to one another.

Try: the Edilean series and Moonlight trilogy

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Lisa Kleypas

Lisa Kleypas is known for richly textured historical romances set in Victorian England. Poignant moments are balanced with humor in both dialogue and situations. Common themes include growth, transformation, and redemption. Kleypas’ slightly flawed heroes are common-born, self-made professional men as well as aristocrats. Heroines are clever and outspoken, and both sexes use wit and sarcasm. Strong secondary characters show up from book to book, and often get their own stories. Passions run high, and love scenes are beautifully written. Kleypas also writes sexy, emotional-filled contemporary romances.

Try: the Friday Harbor series and Travis series

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Jayne Ann Krentz

As one of the top names in Romance, Jayne Ann Krentz writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense under her own name, and historical and futuristic romances under her pseudonyms. Readers love her quirky characters, lively sense of humor, and dialog-driven scenes. Despite contemporary settings, these books emphasize traditional values such as trust, honor and commitment. Krentz usually uses a dual point of view, to allow the reader to experience the innermost feelings of both the male and female protagonists, as they grow in their relationship.

Try: the Eclipse Bay series, Whispering Springs series, Verity Ames series

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Judith McNaught

Judith McNaught has captured the hearts of her many fans since the early 1980s with her witty, sexy, emotionally involving, often suspenseful and always romantic stories. Whether the setting is contemporary or historical matters little; engaging characters who capture the readers’ sympathies are the principal appeal of McNaught’s romances. Suspense plays an increasingly important role in her recent contemporary titles. While her tales include explicit love scenes, McNaught avoids the violent episodes that disturb some readers. Humor abounds in many of her novels, even those with serious themes.

Try: Tender Triumph, Double Standards, Remember When

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Linda Lael Miller

Linda Lael Miller evokes far-away times and cultures in her romance novels, as she places honorable men and courageous women in dangerous situations and then leaves them to struggle for survival. Miller predominantly writes historical romances and contemporary romantic suspense, sometimes with paranormal elements, and her books always feature strong heroines who stand firm on their principles and meet life on their own terms. The rough terrain of the American West plays an integral role in many of Miller’s fast-paced stories.

Try: McKettricks of Texas series, Parable Montana series, Look series (more suspenseful)

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Joann Ross

JoAnn Ross writes heartwarming, sensual and often issues-based contemporary romance with a focus on community. Her series are all distinct from one another, but occasionally supporting characters recur in a new series, in which they may receive their own romance. Ross’ preferred setting is the Pacific Northwest coast, taking advantage of its weather, breathtaking vistas and fishing/boating opportunities to build her story. Her characters may have grown up in the area or have been attracted there by a desire to settle in a welcoming community; many have a military background.

Try: Shelter Bay series

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Sherryl Woods

Sherryl Woods, whose own preferred habitat is the coastal South, uses the small-town culture and setting to great effect in crafting vibrant sensual romances in series that follow different members of the same family. Woods’ storylines feature a strong sense of community and supportive personal networks composed of both family and friends while incorporating an examination of contemporary social issues into her intriguing plots. Their leisurely unfolding contributes to the impression of a sultry Southern afternoon tea party with friends, which is part of her appeal for many readers.

Try: Ocean Breeze trilogy, Rose Cottage Sisters series, Chesapeake Shores series

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Romantic Suspense (like Nora Roberts’ Whiskey BeachThe Witness, Chasing Fire, etc.):

Cherry Adair

Cherry Adair’s romantic suspense novels blend fast-paced action and adventure with steamy love stories and deftly evoked settings, with occasional paranormal aspects. Adair’s alpha male heroes are well-matched by her equally tough, intelligent, and appealing heroines, their relationships developing through sharp dialogue and complexly plotted storytelling.

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Suzanne Brockmann

Suzanne Brockmann writes military romance that mixes romantic elements with the excitement and suspense of the thriller and war genres. Known for her Navy SEAL Romances, her novels explore military life and the comradeship among men. Her romances focus on the SEALs, instead of the female characters, with honorable heroes and strong women. These novels feature fast-paced, multi-layered plots, and are written in a realistic, sometimes graphic manner about both the SEALs and the love scenes.

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Sandra Brown

Former romance writer Sandra Brown writes fast-paced romantic suspense stories of action, adventure, sex, and violence. Brown uses Southern settings with a brooding atmosphere to create a romantic world inhabited by strong heroines, often independent career women, and heroes. Her layered stories have twisting plots as she slowly reveals small pieces of information, to build suspense and keep her readers quickly turning the pages to discover the outcome. Her books still have the tone of Romances, but add danger and intrigue to the passion.

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Catherine Coulter

Catherine Coulter began her career writing historical romances, but currently writes contemporary romantic suspense. Her historical novels feature dashing heroes, strong heroines, and a sense of humor. Her suspense novels also feature strong female protagonists, and her latest series has an FBI theme.

Try: the FBI Thriller series

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Julie Garwood

Julie Garwood started her career writing gentle, sexy, and comforting historical romances but in recent years has switched to romantic suspense. These are fast-paced, suspenseful stories that are plotted in a manner that keeps readers on the edge of their seats while still allowing the romantic attachments to develop over time in keeping with the events of the story. All of her books contain well developed characters that are deeply appealing to readers and very strong secondary characters that frequently become main characters in subsequent books.

Try: Buchanan series (publication dates 2000-present)

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Heather Graham

Heather Graham writes under several names in various romance subgenres: Historical, Time Travel, Paranormal. Her books are filled with passion, peril, and memorable characters. Heroes and heroines are strong-willed; their clashes are passionate and inevitable. Graham creates evocative settings, whether it is 13th-century Scotland or post-Katrina New Orleans. She is skilled at evoking countless moods and tones, appropriate to the genre of the novel in question. Readers will enjoy choosing from among her novels according to their tastes. Pseudonyms include: Heather Graham Pozzessere and Shannon Drake.

Try: Flynn Brothers trilogy, Bone Island trilogy, Krewe of Hunters series

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Kay Hooper

Kay Hooper has written in almost all subgenres of romance, but in all her novels she offers interesting characters, intriguing plots filled with satisfying twists, a measure of humor, and a romantic tone. Hooper is best known for combining elements of romantic suspense with supernatural and paranormal elements. A sense of foreboding permeates these evocative tales. By offering the point of view of the villains as well as the protagonists, Hooper builds suspense to create a menacing atmosphere while still delivering a romantic and satisfying ending.

Try: Bishop/Special Crimes series

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Linda Howard

Linda Howard is known for her edgy and sensual romances with sexy, tough heroes and women who know themselves and what they want. Although she has written other types of romance, Howard writes mainly contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

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Iris Johansen

Iris Johansen, bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense, builds complex characters, frequently revisiting favorite primary characters or plucking secondary characters from one story and placing them in another. These recurring characters create a warm feeling of recognition for her fans. World building is another of Johansen’s strengths, which she first honed by setting numerous romance novels in her two fictional kingdoms, then continued with her romantic suspense as she created interesting professions for her heroines.

Try: An Unexpected Song, The Ugly Duckling

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Jayne Ann Krentz

As one of the top names in romance, Jayne Ann Krentz writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense under her own name, and historical and futuristic romances under her pseudonyms. Readers love her quirky characters, lively sense of humor, and dialog-driven scenes. Despite contemporary settings, these books emphasize traditional values such as trust, honor and commitment. Krentz usually uses a dual point of view, to allow the reader to experience the innermost feelings of both the male and female protagonists, as they grow in their relationship.

Try: Smoke in Mirrors, All Night Long, Arcane Society series (paranormal/some historical crossover)

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Elizabeth Lowell

Elizabeth Lowell, a pseudonym for Ann Maxwell, is praised for her fast-paced romantic stories that feature lush prose, explicit sexual encounters, and action and adventure, as well as details of art and artifacts. In her romances and romantic suspense novels, Lowell puts characters and their romantic relationships first, while also stressing the importance of family and loyalty. Her earlier historical romances have a timeless feel, but her contemporary romantic suspense novels are filled with details of geographical setting and background information.

Try: the Donovans series, the Rarities Unlimited series and the St. Kilda series

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Judith McNaught

Judith McNaught has captured the hearts of her many fans since the early 1980s with her witty, sexy, emotionally involving, often suspenseful and always romantic stories. Whether the setting is contemporary or historical matters little; engaging characters who capture the readers’ sympathies are the principal appeal of McNaught’s romances. Suspense plays an increasingly important role in her recent contemporary titles. While her tales include explicit love scenes, McNaught avoids the violent episodes that disturb some readers. Humor abounds in many of her novels, even those with serious themes.

Try: Second Opportunities series

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Fern Michaels

Fern Michaels currently writes novels of women’s lives and relationships, sometimes with a romantic suspense emphasis, though in the past she wrote historical and glitz and glamour romances. These are tales of a woman’s betrayal – usually at the hands of a husband or lover – and how she overcomes its effects, often with the support of family and friends. Her characters are a main attraction, and Michaels creates an emotional rapport between them and the readers. Setting is also important, and is usually among the wealthy elite.

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Karen Robards

For readers who like their romance stories filled with action, adventure, and suspense, there are few better choices than novels by Karen Robards. Robards writes delectably spine-tingling tales that are fast-paced, carefully plotted page-turners. Her stories generate a growing sense of urgency and danger. She knows how to establish a suspenseful, scary mood, and in some books, adds small but well-placed dashes of the paranormal. The pace in Robards’s books is brisk, and never slows to the point that the reader feels the protagonist is really safe. 

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Joann Ross

JoAnn Ross writes heartwarming, sensual and often issues-based contemporary romance with a focus on community. Her series are all distinct from one another, but occasionally supporting characters recur in a new series, in which they may receive their own romance. Ross’ preferred setting is the Pacific Northwest coast, taking advantage of its weather, breathtaking vistas and fishing/boating opportunities to build her story. Her characters may have grown up in the area or have been attracted there by a desire to settle in a welcoming community; many have a military background.

Try: Stewart Sisters trilogy, High Risk series

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Meryl Sawyer

About Half Moon Bay: When Amy Conroy–horribly disfigured on one side of her face–is mistaken for Shelly Ralston after a terrible car accident, her face is reconstructed and she becomes involved with Matthew Jensen, a handsome investigative reporter, but an enemy from her past is waiting to destroy her newfound happiness as the beautiful “Shelly”.

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Anne Stuart

Anne Stuart writes in many different sub-genres and time periods of romance, but specializes in fast-paced, emotionally intense tales of Suspense. In addition to complex plotlines, Stuart’s books feature atmospheric settings and steamy sexual encounters, which intensify the participants’ emotional bonding. The heroines are intelligent, courageous women in dangerous situations; her heroes are renegades and rogues who feel compelled to assist the heroine. Stuart is known for taking her characters to the edge and beyond before allowing them to enjoy the requisite Happily Ever After.

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Mysteries/Psychological Thrillers (like JD Robb’s In Death series):

Nicci French

Nicci French, the pseudonym of British husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerard and Sean French, writes gripping, twisted, and suspenseful psychological thrillers. These atmospheric and intricately plotted stories depict well-developed and plausibly complex female protagonists being slowly and inexorably drawn into chilling dangers involving mysterious deaths, vicious stalkers, and psychopathic lovers who seem normal to everyone else. With keen psychological insight French captures strong women at their most terrifyingly vulnerable moments, and readers will have hard time putting down these surprising and inventive thrillers.

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Tami Hoag

Tami Hoag writes tightly-woven, fast-paced suspenseful stories of women in danger. Characters are appealing, but do not dominate the story. Her plot-driven books provide plenty of tension, a high level of violence, and twists and turns to keep readers on edge until the very end. As with most suspense novels, readers get a first hand view of the crime from both the hero’s and the villain’s perspectives. Hoag skillfully creates truly frightening and edgy atmospheres.

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Iris Johansen

Iris Johansen, bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense, builds complex characters, frequently revisiting favorite primary characters or plucking secondary characters from one story and placing them in another. These recurring characters create a warm feeling of recognition for her fans. World-building is another of Johansen’s strengths, which she first honed by setting numerous romance novels in her two fictional kingdoms, then continued with her romantic suspense as she created interesting professions for her heroines.

Try: the Eve Duncan series, the Catherine Ling series

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Jeannine Kadow

About Dead Tide: Lacie Wagner has retreated to Nantucket to heal the physical and emotional scars of her fiery past. There, on the isolated island thirty miles out at sea, she finally feels safe, out of harm’s way. But when she finds a female diver’s body washed ashore, with her face destroyed beyond recognition, Lacie’s tranquility is shattered. What starts out as the most explosive investigation of her career swiftly turns intensely personal. A killer has chosen Lacie to tell his story, methodically releasing evidence, daring her to discover his identity – and the location of his last living captive. Stonewalled by high-ranking military officers and blocked by law enforcement at every turn, Lacie hires Nick St. James, a renegade manhunter who is as dangerous as the men he stalks. Together they run outside the law and straight into the heart of an unspeakable evil – a riptide that sweeps its victims one by one into the unfathomable depths of a watery grave.

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Laura Van Wormer

About Expose: After rescuing a wealthy couple lost in the Connecticut woods, Sally Harrington is given the chance to create a career-boosting piece for Expectations magazine on TV mogul Cassy Cochran, but her work on the exposT sends her life spiraling out of control and brings her face-to-face with murder.

Author descriptions from Novelist
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