<i>Prototype</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Prototype: Exclusive Excerpt M.D. Waters "Fighting Her fight lost me my husband and daughter. My memories. My entire life." <i>Hero of a Highland Wolf</i>: Excerpt Hero of a Highland Wolf: Excerpt Terry Spear Every part of him was sexy. His mouth was made for kissing... <i>Mortal Danger</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Mortal Danger: Exclusive Excerpt Ann Aguirre "I didn’t want to worry about Kian, considering how little I trusted him..." Read & Win: Daisy Goodwin's <i>The Fortune Hunter</i> Read & Win: Daisy Goodwin's The Fortune Hunter Daisy Goodwin "She smiled and put a finger against his lips..."
From The Blog
July 24, 2014
Best Reads of July 2014
Team H & H
July 23, 2014
What’s Your Grittiest Sexiest Read?
Megan Frampton
July 22, 2014
An Argument for Adam Driver's Sex Appeal
Megan Frampton
July 21, 2014
Sandra Schwab’s Historical Romances
Anna Bowling
July 18, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Tim Howard
Team H & H
Thu
Jul 24 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Prototype: Exclusive Excerpt

M.D. Waters

Prototype by M.D. Waters

Emma looks forward to the day when she can let go of her past—both of them. After more than a year on the run, with clues to her parents’ whereabouts within her grasp, she may finally find a place to settle down. Start a new life. Maybe even create new memories with a new family.

But the past rises to haunt her and to make sure there’s nowhere on the planet she can hide. Declan Burke wants his wife back, and with a little manipulation and a lot of reward money, he’s got the entire world on his side. Except for the one man she dreads confronting the most: Noah Tucker.

Emma returns to face what she’s done but finds that the past isn’t the problem. It’s the present—and the future it represents. Noah has moved on and another woman is raising their daughter.

In the shocking conclusion to M.D. Waters’s spectacular debut, Emma battles for her life and her freedom, tearing down walls and ripping off masks to reveal the truth. She’s decided to play their game and prove she isn’t the woman they thought she was. Even if it means she winds up dead. Or worse, reborn.

Get a sneak peek of M.D. Waters's Prototype (available July 29, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Noah leads me into a large room with white walls, a white floor, and a white ceiling, but they are not painted. The surfaces are screen-like.

I have seen a room like this many times before, but this is much larger.

“A hologram room?” I ask. Declan once had a room built special for me. It was my private paint studio for months, and the only place I had any real privacy from his security cameras.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Prototype...]

Thu
Jul 24 2014 10:15am

First Trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey!: Does it Satisfy?

This morning the first ever trailer for the highly anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey movie, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, was released. Set to a dark remix of Beyonce's Crazy in Love, the trailer gives us a little hint of everything—including the Red Room of Pain!  The trailer seemed focused far more on the romance between Christian and Ana than on the sex, but based on the trailer, we think there will be plenty of both! Now we can all see it, and weigh in with our thoughts.

So—what do you think the movie will be like, based on this trailer? Are you pleased or disappointed? (Also, Lost Girl fans, did you spot Tamsin?)

Mr. Grey will see you on February 13, 2015—just in time to be your Valentine's Day date!

Thu
Jul 24 2014 9:30am

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of July 2014

Always to Remember by Lorraine HeathEach month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.

Without further ado, here’s the installment for July 2014 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs via the Related Posts section at the bottom of the post):

Wendy the Super Librarian

Despite being published in 1996 and winning a RITA in 1997, I just got around to reading Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath.  It knocked the wind right out of me.  A hero labelled a coward for refusing to fight is the target of retribution by the heroine, who lost a beloved husband and three brothers in the Civil War.  Setting her plan in motion means spending time with the hero, and eventually she realizes how wrong she and the rest of the town are about him.  Turns out they might not know much of anything about true bravery and courage.  It has since been reissued digitally and I cannot stress enough how amazing this story is.  A true classic not just for historical westerns fans, but all romance aficionados.

Leigh Davis

This month I am feeling the love for quirky characters. From the description One Plus One by JoJo Moyes didn’t appear to be sad so I made the plunge —and I loved it. Unique characters- from the admirable, but not perfect heroine to the quirky kids to the flawed hero. Then there is the appealing romance.  This was my introduction to her works, and after reading this one, I bought another one. Then the middle of the month I discovered A Man Called Ove  by Fredrik Backman. Talk about a curmudgeon—Think Swedish Ebenezer Scrooge!  But his inflexible, and stern demeanor hides a man of principles and integrity. I have to tell a somewhat funny story about the book. I bought the audio version and was listening to it at the dentist office.  It was during a pause in the procedure that I reached a very poignant scene. Tears just seeped out of my eyes, and rolled down my face.  My dentist was flummox because he wasn’t doing anything.  I had to explain  that I was crying because of the audio book. Funny, Poignant, story about how a man’s life changes once a rambunctious family moves in next door. There is a bit of a love story with flashbacks, but it is not a romance. But it is a wonderful story of interpersonal relationships.

[We think we want to get personal with this book, too...]

Thu
Jul 24 2014 8:20am

Throwback Thursday: First Susan Elizabeth Phillips Book?

Risen Glory by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Susan Elizabeth Phillips (or SEP, for short) will release a new book, Heroes Are My Weakness, in just about a month. SEP's first book as a solo author (she published one previous book with a co-author under a pseudonym) was Risen Glory, published in 1984, an American historical set just after the Civil War (and reissued as Just Imagine).

Since then, SEP has published over twenty books, most (all?) of them contemporary romance.

What was your first Susan Elizabeth Phillips? 

Wed
Jul 23 2014 3:00pm

The Ultimate Temptation: Best Friend/Little Sister Romances

Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha YoungWhat is it about the brother’s best friend and his little sister hooking up that is so irresistible? It's one of the most popular themes in romance, appearing over and over again.

Perhaps the main appeal is there's a sort of built-in chemistry that naturally exists between these two people who have denied what they want, sometimes for years. He wants to protect her like a brother. but feels something so much stronger and not very brotherly towards her. There are endless possibilities resulting from this chemistry. And whether it's a noble hero who's trying to keep the brothers' code of honor, or the heroine whose feelings of fondness toward her brother's best friend have grown into an abiding romantic love, the combination of these qualities and degree of urgency in giving in and crossing the line are what makes these stories our favorite.

In Samantha Young's On Dublin Street series, Adam and Ellie's story is a simmering, quiet tale told in the midst of Braden and Joss's big love, but it's not at all unexpected. In fact, we hope for their happy ending just as much. But between years of friendship and the fear of ruining that, along with worry about Braden's disapproval, misunderstanding and frustration have stood in the way. Though it takes a life-or-death crisis to finally bring these two together, Young throws the trope on its head when it's easy-going Braden who roots for Adam and Ellie most of all. They're one of those couples who we just know is meant to be because once they allow it, everything's easy, and two such sweet people deserve nothing less.

[They had a long journey...]

Wed
Jul 23 2014 12:30pm
Excerpt

Hero of a Highland Wolf: Exclusive Excerpt

Terry Spear

Hero of a Highland Wolf by Terry Spear

She's ready for change...

Colleen Playfair has never been to Scotland, but when she discovers she must spend a year and a day overseas learning to manage her newly inherited estate, she's ready for the challenge. She even has some ideas for improvements-if she can get past the sexy werewolf who seems convinced he's the one in charge.

But he's digging in his claws...

Grant MacQuarrie and his clan have been managing Farraige Castle for three centuries. The last thing he wants is a meddling American heiress trying to change the way things have always been done. He's more than willing to fight the she-wolf every step of the way, using every tool at his disposal. And if that means taking the lass to bed, well...all the better.

Locked in a battle of wills, caught in an attraction they can't escape, Colleen and Grant must find a way to work together...or face losing it all.

Get a sneak peek of Terry Spear's Hero of a Highland Wolf (available August 5, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Between the fire, the stew, and tea, and Grant’s knees brushing against hers, Colleen was getting hot. But she wasn’t backing away from him as much as she knew she should, while she wickedly enjoyed the intimacy of their touch. Wishing in a naughty way that they could do more.

“I don’t want you to leave,” Grant said, his voice somber, his eyes dark.

He sounded so sincere that she was really taken aback. He really must have had a change of heart.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Hero of a Highland Wolf...]

Wed
Jul 23 2014 11:00am

August 2014 Romance Novel New Releases Shopping List

Find your future faves with this delightfully convenient shopping list of romance novels coming out in August. We’ve divided them up by subgenre to make it easier for those who’ve got a very specific obsession and there are some great books to look forward to. Our shopping list is the biggest yet, so don’t forget to take this printable version with you when it’s time to shop!

Heroes and Heartbreakers August 2014 Shopping List!
 
Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/SfR

[Check out the complete list!...]

Wed
Jul 23 2014 9:30am

First Look: Ilona Andrews’s Magic Breaks (July 29, 2014)

Ilona Andrews
Magic Breaks
Ace Hardcover / July 29, 2014 / $25.95 print / $12.99 digital

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

Books that contain huge chunks of running and fighting tend to lose my interest. You get page after page of blood-spurting, limb-lopping action, with a pause for a scene or two wound-licking and making wisecracks, which is then followed by a bunch more scenes of running and fighting.

But when it’s Ilona Andrews, I gobble those books like they’re fresh baked and I’m starved.

[Luckily, there's a new dish of Kate being served!]

Wed
Jul 23 2014 8:06am

What’s Your Grittiest Sexiest Read?

Beyond Addiction by Kit RochaWith more and more MC, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, nihilistic (and other euphemisms for 'dark') romances gaining popularity, it's time to take your recommendations for grittiest, darkest, sexiest read out there.

So what's your nomination for the grittiest, sexiest read? 

Tue
Jul 22 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Lauren Layne’s Only with You (July 29, 2014)

Only with You by Lauren LayneLauren Layne
Only with You (The Best Mistake)
Forever / July 29, 2014 / $6.00 print / $2.99 digital

Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn't exactly have a life plan. She's perfectly happy being everyone's favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute . . . well, Sophie wonders if it's time to reevaluate her priorities. Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover.

Yet what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee—who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker. Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn't take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he's been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing . . .

One of the more critical scenes in a book is how the hero and heroine meet. Authors have free range on devising this meeting, and readers reap the benefit of authors’ fertile imagination, especially when the hero and heroine form the wrong impression. Lauren Layne definitely has a bountiful imagination:

Sophie Dalton is in Las Vegas for her cousin’s bachelorette party. Her cousin is certainly not a favorite relative, but since Sophie’s sister is in the wedding, she is obligated to attend, so when the bride-to-be declares:

I want my bachelorette party to be hella shanky and memorable. If you’re going to be on your period that weekend, fix it.

[Sounds like the beginning to an...interesting...weekend...]

Tue
Jul 22 2014 3:20pm

Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals for Jeannie Moon, Bronwen Evans, and Sarah Title!

Behind the curtain--covers for books by Jeannie Moon, Sarah Title, and Bronwen EvansOn the eve of the annual Romance Writers of America national conference, H&H is delighted to celebrate the genre with some exclusive news about three exciting upcoming releases.

Read on for a special first look at the covers for The Second Chance Hero by Jeannie Moon, A Touch of Passion by Bronwen Evans, and Snowed In by Sarah Title. Enjoy!

[Pull the curtain back...]

Tue
Jul 22 2014 1:15pm

Driven to Distraction: An Argument for Adam Driver’s Sex Appeal

Adam Driver and Lena Dunham in GirlsThe French have a word, jolie laide, for “good-looking ugly women,” women such as Anjelica Huston, Bette Davis, and Tilda Swinton. There isn't such a term for good-lucking ugly men, but there should be, and one of the prime examples of that would be Girls (and future Star Wars) actor Adam Driver.

He's a really good actor—he has made his Girls character go from being a reprehensible, shirtless, sex-addicted slacker to being a caring, shirtless, sex-addicted slacker. In other words, the character has remained true to himself, even though our perceptions of him have changed dramatically through the seasons. That's due as much to Driver as it is to the show's writers.

[A little of both makes for a perfect combo...]

Tue
Jul 22 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Mortal Danger: Exclusive Excerpt

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

In Ann Aguirre's Mortal Danger, Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly . . . bad things are happening. It’s a head rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what—she can trust. Not even her own mind.

Get a sneak peek of Ann Aguirre's Mortal Danger (available August 5, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

I didn’t expect Kian to be waiting for me when I left school and he wasn’t. Russ offered me a ride home, but I shook my head. “I don’t mind the T. Thanks anyway.”

“Where’s your boyfriend today?” he asked.

“He has class. See you.”

[Continue on to read the full excerpt of Mortal Danger...]

Tue
Jul 22 2014 9:30am

First Look: Kresley Cole’s Dark Skye (August 5, 2014)

Dark Skye by Kresley Cole Kresley Cole
Dark Skye
Simon & Schuster (Gallery) / August 5, 2014 / $25.00 print, $12.99 digital

As a boy, Thronos, prince of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body—and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

Finally, finally….FINALLY Kresley Cole has given us the story of Melanthe of the Deie Sorceri, Queen of Persuasion and Thronos Talos, Knight of Reckoning, Heir of the Skye. Dark Skye has been five long years of waiting for Immortal After Dark fans. When Thronos looked at Lanthe in Demon from the Dark and declared they would be together “soon,” little did we know that was Demonish for “freakin’ forever,” but I guess when you are immortal a few years would be considered soon.

[We learned. We learned...]

Tue
Jul 22 2014 8:00am

You Know Nothing: What’s the Last Thing You Read You Knew Nothing About?

 

With romance novel sites (such as this one!), social media, conferences, book signings, and other opportunities for virality, it's now hard to find an author about whom you know nothing

But there has to be something you picked up purely because of the blurb, the cover, or the price (no word of mouth allowed!).

What's the last thing you read that you knew nothing about before?

Image courtesy of YouKnowNothingJonSnowDaily.

Mon
Jul 21 2014 3:14pm

She’s So Unusual: Sandra Schwab’s Historical Romances

Castle of the Wolf by Sandra SchwabWhat comes to mind at the phrase, “Black Forest?” A dessert rich with dark chocolate, cherries and cream? Old World forests where maidens and orphans might as easily find danger as well as an unlikely love? Ornate castles filled with antique treasures? If you’ve read the novels of German romance author Sandra Schwab, you’re not far off.

Schwab combines her love of romance with a scholar’s attention to historical detail, and with good reason. Besides writing unforgettable historical romance novels, she also teaches English literature at the college level and studies folk and popular literature, the Victorian novel and British society and culture in her academic life. If you’re looking for historical romance rich in heart and smarts, look no further. You’ve found it.

“Nobody ever counts the gargoyles” may not be what springs to mind when thinking of a perfect first (or last) line of a historical romance novel, but in Schwab’s classic Castle of the Wolf, this chilling phrase leads the reader deep into Germany’s Black Forest and a story as rich and delicious as the cake that shares its name.

[Go on, take a big bite...]

Mon
Jul 21 2014 1:30pm

First Look: Kylie Scott’s Lead (July 29, 2014)

Lead by Kylie ScottKylie Scott
Lead
St. Martin's Press / July 29, 2014 / $14.99 print / $3.99 digital

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it's booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.  

Lena's not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him. 

Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series has taken the world by storm. While the first two books were a blend of humor, romance and angst, Scott’s Lead takes a more serious tone in this friends-to-lovers story. Focusing on Stage Dive's tortured lead singer, Jimmy, who is battling alcoholism and substance abuse, Scott presents a heroine in the form of the quirky and hilarious, Lena, Jimmy’s sobriety companion.

[And soon-to-be life companion?]

Mon
Jul 21 2014 11:30am

True Blood Season 7, Episode 5: Party at Sookie’s House

Pam and Eric in True Blood Season 7, Episode 5Believe it or not, the wait is finally over: True Blood's seventh and final (!!!) season is now under way. Tune in each week as we recap and discuss the last chapter in the story of our favorite Bon Temps residents.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of True Blood, including last night’s Season 7, Episode 5, “Lost Cause.” Enjoy!

Last week’s episode put this season of True Blood back on track. There was plenty of Pam and Eric, including insight into the origins of Fangtasia, Arlene was rescued, and the Hep-V vampires who were hiding out at the aforementioned Shreveport club were taken out.

Where does that leave us? Anything can happen in this latest episode. We still have open story lines for Sookie and Bill (are they heading to a happily ever after?), Eric/Pam and their quest to kill Sarah Newlin, and hopefully tons more of Lafayette.

It’s time to jump into the highlights and WTFery of season 7, episode 5 “Lost Cause.”

HIGHLIGHTS

We pick up right where we left off: With a whole bunch of dead vampires at Fangtasia. While others are cleaning up outside, Willa vents her maker issues to Pam (with Eric in earshot, of course). She throws some pretty dead-on accusations, and while Eric admits his failure, he still has a request of Willa. He wants info on where Sarah Newlin might be. She barters the information for being released from him.

Turns out dear Sarah Newlin’s sister Amber is a vampire.

[Duh duh DUUUUUHHHHH....]

Mon
Jul 21 2014 10:02am

Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 1 Recap: The More Things Change...

Cedar Cove Season 2 posterCedar Cove, the Hallmark Channel television series based on Debbie Macomber's romance novel series of the same name and starring Andie MacDowell, is back for Season 2 and H&H is all over it! Stay tuned for weekly recaps of this year's small-town shenanigans, and if you're just catching up, be sure to go back and read Rachel Hyland's Season 1 posts.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Cedar Cove, including Saturday night’s 2x01, “Letting Go: Part 1.”

Welcome, friends, back to Cedar Cove, Washingon, where the living is easy and the focus is soft upon mature beauties Olivia (Andie MacDowell) and Grace (Teryl Rothery) being expertly wooed by their attractive, appropriately grizzled, beaus. Meanwhile, among the next generation one finds romantic entanglements aplenty, with Olivia’s feisty artist daughter Justine (Sarah Smyth), Grace’s feisty curator daughter Maryellen (Elyse Levesque) and Jack’s sulky son Eric (Tom Stevens) all the object of some oftentimes problematic affections.

This year, we’re going to do a little something different with these recaps; my thinking is, since this show is based entirely on Debbie Macomber’s million-selling sweet romance series of the same name, clearly we’re in it for the relationships. So instead of a play-by-play, let’s just take this one couple at a time, shall we?

[Now boarding all 'ship passengers...]

Mon
Jul 21 2014 8:08am

What Couples Have Survived the Moonlighting Effect?


Last week, Heather reported on news that Arrow's Olicity (Oliver and Felicity) might actually become a couple.

While 'shippers might be filled with glee at the prospect, there is also concern that the couple, once together, won't be as satisfying as anticipated (see Rachel Hyland's excellent post HEA = RIP for more on this).

So we're asking today, what 'shipped couples are as good as fans thought they would be? What couples have avoided the Moonlighting Effect