Top 5: Carly Phillips

Bestselling romance writer Carly Phillips on her favorite bodice-ripping reads.



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N ine years ago, suburban mom Karen Drogin of Purchase made the switch from writing dry legal briefs to penning juicy romance romps. After Kelly Ripa selected The Bachelor, one of Drogin’s books, for her nationally televised show’s book club, the author quickly morphed into New York Times bestselling novelist Carly Phillips. With 25 successful steamy titles to her credit, Philips knows her hot sexy reads. Here she shares her five all-time favorites for warding off winter’s chill or spicing up a school break vacation in sunnier climes.



1) Kiss An Angel, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Avon, 1996)
“This story about a present-day arranged marriage between a spoiled rich girl and the man her father pays to teach her a lesson makes old themes new again,” says Phillips. “In the spirit of romance novels past, the hero is abrasive and difficult—purely an Alpha male—who is eventually won over by the love of the right woman.”


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2) Truly Madly Yours, Rachel Gibson (Avon, 1999)
Phillips calls this title “a perfect pick for anyone who’s ever wondered what would happen if they met up with an old hometown flame.” She says: “The dialogue sparkles, the pages sizzle, and the characters captured my heart”


3) To Pleasure a Lady, Nicole Jordan (Ballantine, 2008)
Phillips recommends this “sultry” and “engaging” first book in a series (“The Courtship Wars”), set in the Regency period of England, as a great start for the neophyte historical romance reader. “It introduces the reader to what it was like to be wooed and seduced during a time when a single man and woman being alone together was scandal itself.”


4) Fire Song, Catherine Coulter (Signet/Onyx, 1985, 2002)
This book, set in medieval times when, says Phillips, “men were warriors and women were chattel,” features an ailing heroine married off to a warrior hero who enters into the relationship motivated only by greed. Phillips says Fire Song offers “sensuality in the midst of anger and frustration and—true to the author’s talent—many laughs. And there are three more books in the series,” she adds, “if this one draws you in as it did me.”

5) Jackson Rule, Sharon Sala (HarperTorch, 1996)
Phillips describes this book about a man who spent half his life behind bars for murder as deeply compelling and emotionally powerful. When the protagonist is released from prison, he’s determined to start over, but no one will give him a chance—except, Philips notes, the daughter of a preacher. “They burn up the sheets but too soon her faith is tested,” she says. “It’s a phenomenal story!”


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