Two warnings for any particular readers out there:
- Her books are long. There’s a lot of build up before the romance. You’re going to get inside your leading lady’s head and live in there for a while. Mariana creates characters that have so much depth, and well thought out back stories. There’s no Mary Sue in the building. The women she creates are tough, headstrong, and so multifaceted. Don’t come in expecting a girly girl who needs a man. You won’t find her in any of these books.
- When I say slow burn, I mean slow burn. Do not expect sexual gratification until you’re about 75% through the book…maybe even more than that. You’ll get tidbits that make your heart flutter, and there are clues aplenty, but you will not be fulfilled, my friends. It’s torture, but I can’t seem to get enough of it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Did I convince you? Good, here’s where you should start:
Who doesn’t love a romance with an athlete? Personally, it’s not something I dream of because sports are stupid, but I get the fantasy. A big hunk of man meat who’s skilled and focused on his craft? I can get with that.
Enter Aiden Graves, the Wall of Winnipeg, the top defensive end in the football league, whatever that means. He’s rough, brusque, and very much an enigma. And Vanessa is his assistant, very unwillingly. She puts up with his crap daily, despite the fact that he can barely acknowledge she exists. And then she decides to quit after two years of torture to pursue her real dreams, thinking the Wall of Winnipeg won’t give a crap considering he never even says “Hi” when she walks in a room, let alone “Thank you.”
Well, not so much. Turns out, Aiden kind of needs Vanessa to exist, in more than just her assistant-ly duties. That’s right, I’m talking green card marriage. Chaos ensues. I’ll let you read the book to find out the rest…Buy it!
Keeping with the sports theme, you can move on to…
This is the book that started my Mariana Zapata spiral. It was also one of our Boozy Book Club picks, so thank you to everyone that voted for it. I have no idea if I would have discovered her books otherwise, and that just wouldn’t do.
From Lukov with Love focuses on figure skating rather than football, but still keeps the rude, cold-hearted man theme. In fact, that’s a theme in all of Mariana Zapata’s books – she’s carrying on the Mr. Darcy legacy of men who don’t seem to care, but really care too much. I can’t stand it, I love it.
This book’s version is Ivan Lukov, famous figure skater and full-time jerk to Jasmine Santos. He’s her best friend’s brother, and they’ve been training at the same rink for just about forever. The only problem is that Lukov has been more than successful, while Jasmine has been knocked down a few times and has a bad attitude about it. She’s turned herself into a prickly little hedgehog to protect her feelings, everyone else be damned.
But when Lukov’s latest partner drops out, who should he turn to but Jasmine. She has no idea why he would pick her to partner with, but she also knows it’s her last chance to prove herself. So she tries to put aside her distaste for him, and use his success to her advantage. The only problem is, he’s not nearly so annoying when you get to know him…Buy it!
Enough with the sports, now it’s time for some bad boys…
Under Locke moves from the sports world to the world of motorcycle gangs and tattoo shops. Because we all know that every romance book gang member has a heart of gold underneath it all, right?
Right. Of course, this is the case with Dex Locke, owner of Pins and Needles tattoo shop, where Iris Taylor’s brother gets her a job. How does he get her this job? He’s also in the motorcycle gang that Dex is in, the Widowmakers. Dex immediately gives Iris a bad taste in her mouth when she overhears him calling her a stupid b*&^%, and she can’t get over it. I can’t say I would be happy either if someone I barely knew who was also now my boss called me something similar. Foot, meet mouth.
But as we know, enemies never stay enemies in the romance world, and that’s the case with Dex and Iris. He becomes her protector and friend, despite her brother’s wishes. Buy it!
Oh, you like bad boys? Good, she’s got more…
This is Mariana Zapata’s most recent book, and definitely one of my favorites.
Luna has had a hard life, but she hasn’t let that affect her attitude. She’s sweet, caring, and just wants to be needed. Enter Rip, Lucas Ripley to be exact, her crotchety boss who won’t give her the time of day. Also, the man that she can’t seem to stop thinking about and giving attention to…oops. She’s fine with him ignoring her kindness and answering in mostly grunts, but suddenly that changes when she finally cashes in a favor Rip owes her, and Luna doesn’t really know what to do with it. This man who has always been grumpy and high-strung is suddenly there every moment that Luna needs someone.
What ensues is a “will they, won’t they” misunderstanding-filled romance that burns so slowly that you won’t be able to put the book down until they FINALLY get it on. No spoilers but I’m pretty sure you knew that was coming…Buy it!
So that’s a look into the catalog of Slow Burn Queen Mariana Zapata. I think you guys will like her. There’s plenty of room in the book hole of hers that I’ve fallen into, so feel free to join! Next up is Lingus, which is about two people who meet at a porn convention and if that doesn’t sound like an interesting plot than I don’t know what does…
All these books are out now, and they’re ALL on Kindle Unlimited. I know, I know, dreams really do come true.