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Love Is In The Literary Air: 8 Must Reads for Valentine’s Day

You don't need Valentine's Day to curl up with a good love story. But what better time to showcase some of the best writers in the game. It's a great time to explore the voices and stories of love and… in some cases, lust. Who are the writers that go on your must read list?

Brenda Jackson, the first Black romance author to make the New York Times bestseller list is still bringing the love. Jackson is able to keep it fresh by taking her readers to places and characters that readers don't often get to experience in romance. Take her Westmoreland series, set on a ranch, or the upcoming "Lover's Vow," set to a business backdrop, Jackson shows that romance is in the air, everywhere, and love is where you find it.

Beverly Jenkins has a huge following of both romance lovers and fans of historical fiction. She is another author who continually reaches for new ground and finds new audiences. She might be the hardest working writer in the romance business. Her historicals such as "Indigo," "Night Hawk" and "Destiny's Captive," as well as her Blessings series that focuses on the town of Henry Adams help you understand why she just can't write love fast enough to satisfy her audience.

Bernice McFadden always serves up a little love, in her amazing books such as "Sugar," which is celebrating its tenth anniversary. But she also took to the pen name Geneva Holliday to give us some straight up steamy romance tales like "Fever," "Seduction" and "Groove."

The Way You Love Me by Donna Hill

Donna Hill started out as a librarian. When she couldn't find enough of the types of romances she wanted to read, she did what many of the writers on this list did. She wrote them herself. Over 20 years later she keeps them coming with traditional, series and steamy erotic stories worth digging into. Check out "The Way You Love Me."

Christian

Jacquelin Thomas has been a constant in delivering Christian centered romance that touches both the heart and the soul. Her books such as "The Pastor's Woman" and her earlier romances, like the "Prodigal Husband" offer up the moral dilemmas of life and love.

Exotic and Erotic

The Other Side of the Pillow by Zane

Long before there was a Fifty Shades of Grey, there was sizzle scribe Zane. We leave it up to you to decide if it is love or lust. Whatever it is, Ms. Zane has a huge following of readers who want to get their sexy on. Her most recent, "The Other Side of the Pillow" might keep you tossing and turning all night.

Eric Jerome Dickey is one man who can get a fan base of erotic romance readers lined up outside bookstores and events. Check out his novels, "Pleasure," "A Wanted Woman," or "An Accidental Affair," and then wait for his newest, "One Night." It's always good to hear that male storytelling voice.

Not Always Happily Ever After Love Stories

Jazz by Toni Morrison

Everybody knows that Toni Morrison makes a reader work for every single word and image, even when she turns the notion of love on its head. One of the most mind bending love stories out there is Morrison's "Jazz." When it came out in 1993, it was hard to imagine that a husband and a wife could become obsessed with the side chick. But in the days of Scandal, Being Mary Jane, and Empire, we know anything can happen. Pick it up if you are ready for a bumpy ride.

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Cynthia Bond's debut novel, "Ruby," may not be a traditional romance but love is on every page of this layered story about what a man will do to protect the woman he loves. The story is so good it attracted Ms. Oprah herself, and is her newest book club selection.