When I’m plotting a new book, one of the things that excites me most is choosing a job for my heroine. The first female surgeon I ever encountered was between the pages of a romance novel (this was in the early 90s, and she had the misfortune of falling for a man we would today diagnose as an asshat with major dickhead tendencies, but still, she was a surgeon). By the time I started writing my own books, I got sick of heroines who owned art galleries in Sydney but never had to actually spend time at their stores.
Anyway, I actively seek out books whose heroines have unusual jobs, and those are the women I like to write about. I’ve written about a sanitation engineer in displacement camps, a trader for an investment bank and an airline pilot, and I’m drafting a book now about a train engineer.
Here are my top recommendations of books with heroines who have unusual jobs. I hope you’ll find the books themselves are just as unique and memorable as their heroines are!
Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s finally been exonerated, but he can’t escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They’ll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can’t get to Virgil they’ll go after his sister and her kids.
The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that’s taking control of the state’s most notorious supermax. Virgil agrees to do it under an alias—in exchange for his sister’s protection.
Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she’s far too attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe—and it gives him someone else to lose.
Peyton Adams is the deputy warden in a California prison, where she meets prisoner-turned-spy Virgil Skinner. The stakes in their romance couldn’t be higher, and the prison setting is so incredibly well researched and detailed that my stomach was clenched the whole time I was reading (which had to be great for my abs). Hmm…I think it’s time for me to get this one down from my keeper shelf and reread. My abs could use the workout.
Lori had always planned to get out of tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado, but when her late dad left her his beloved auto body shop, she’d stayed. Now, according to her crazy best friend, Molly, what Lori needs is some excitement, in the form of hot, no-strings-attached sex…and lots of it.
Quinn Jennings has buildings on the brain–not love and romance. A serious architect, he’s delighted to discover that Lori is willing to skip dating protocols and head straight for the sheets. And aided by the steamy books on Lori’s bedside table, he’s busy indulging both of their wildest fantasies. But when life in Tumble Creek takes a dangerous turn for Lori, Quinn’s protective instincts kick in.
Suddenly he cares. More than either of them ever expected…
Lori Love is a car mechanic who owns her own auto-body shop and drives a tow truck in Colorado. She falls for her best friend’s brother, Quinn Jennings, an architect. I love how Lori has a career that requires strength, mechanical knowledge and courage–especially as Lori has to take the tow truck out in some dangerous situations–and she’s good at it. She struggles with the fact that her expectations of her life haven’t become reality (she’d always wanted to leave town and see the world, but her dad was seriously injured and she stayed home to take care of him instead), but she doesn’t struggle with the actual work. When Quinn gets worried about her safety, she puts him in his place and really shows her strength. Plus, this book is really freakin’ HOT.
A dangerous infatuation with a rough and ready man…
Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.
Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.
What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need.
I think this book melted my ereader. Erin Coffey is a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, where she meets uber-hot orderly Kelly Robak. As the title suggests, they start up a liaison after hours, and it’s one of the sexiest things I’ve ever read. Erin is new to this job but she’s clearly good at it, and Kelly helps her through some of the challenges she faces–just as she helps him when one of his favorite patients harms himself. The conflict between wanting to be strong and independent, and knowing when you need help, works wonderfully in this book.
The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant – and dangerous. Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the “D of J” in scandal sheets. But sometimes the most womanizing rakehell can be irresistible, and even his most causal attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms.
Then one fateful day she receives the shocking news – the duke is lost to the world. And Maddy knows it is her destiny to help him and her only chance to find the true man behind the wicked facade.
But she never dreamed her gentle, healing touch would alter his life and her own so completely – and bind them together in need, desire…and love.
There are no words for how much I love this book. Maddie Timms is a Quaker who’s an asylum nurse. She looks after the Duke of Jervaulx, who today we would recognize as having suffered a stroke but in the early 19th century was diagnosed as mad. He’s not only imprisoned in a horrible asylum but in his own body. Maddie is the only person who braves his temper to help him communicate, but they belong to completely different worlds and she struggles to determine which of her community’s values are essential to her own identity and which are worth sacrificing for her imperfect love. What a beautiful, beautiful story.
The eagerly awaited next instalment in New York Times bestseller Sarah Mayberry’s Brothers Ink Series!
Blue Sullivan knows a player when she sees one. And Eddie Oliveira—charm and sex personified—was born to play. She never wanted him to say goodbye, so for the last ten years she’s ignored the sizzling attraction between them and focused on being the best sidekick a guy could have. Smart girl, right?
Then Blue has a serious accident, and overnight Eddie changes. Suddenly he’s more intense and singularly devoted…to her. With all this sexy attention, it’s hard to stay within the boundaries she’s scrupulously drawn. The temptation, the anticipation builds and, finally, she has to have what he’s offering. Of course Eddie proves to be brilliant. Now, she worries he’s ruined her forever, as well as the friendship that is so important to her….
This book came out very recently, but I already know it’s one I’ll come back to over and over. Blue Sullivan is a tattoo artist working for Eddie Oliveira’s tattoo parlor in Melbourne. Even though she works for him, she clearly taught him a thing or two early in his career. She even let him give her the first tattoo he ever did. You know you trust someone if you let them practice their tattoo skills on you! She and Eddie are best friends and she’s always wanted more, but she knows Eddie isn’t capable of giving more. At least, she thinks she knows that, until she has a bad accident and Eddie suddenly realizes how much she means to him. Their chemistry is explosive, and their commitment to each other is just as permanent as the ink they needle into each other. A definite must-read!
That’s it! Five absolute keepers featuring heroines with unusual jobs. Do you have any to recommend so I can add them to my TBR pile?
Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands, where they are surrounded by miles and miles of green pasture, canals and Shetland ponies. Kat’s slowly adjusting to life in a place where bicycles and cows seem to outnumber people.
With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves stories that reflect the humor and emotion of real life. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s had the privilege of traveling to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to write about the heroic people helping their communities survive disasters.
Check out Kat’s latest release: Taming the Legend (HOT RUGBY PLAYERS!)