<i>The Cougar's Wish</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Cougar's Wish: Exclusive Excerpt Holley Trent The room may have been nearly dark, but he caught her flinch—her surprise. <i>Dark Alpha's Embrace</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Dark Alpha's Embrace: Exclusive Excerpt Donna Grant "Her soft curves blunt the sharp edges of my soul..." <i>Knight Protector</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Knight Protector: Exclusive Excerpt Rue Allyn "Desire raced in his heart, and his head swam." <i>Out of Nowhere</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Out of Nowhere: Exclusive Excerpt Roan Parrish "We kiss so slow it’s like melting together."
From The Blog
February 12, 2016
Fake It Til You Make It in Act Like It
Sahara Hoshi
February 11, 2016
Other Worldly: The Ancient Tradition of Shamanism
Mingmei Yip
February 11, 2016
The Definitive Ranking of Sookie Stackhouse Novels
ChelseaMueller
February 10, 2016
New-to-You Books from Vi Keeland, Meghan Quinn, and More!
Jessica Moro
February 10, 2016
Fantasy Casting Christina Lauren's Wild Seasons Series
Jennifer Proffitt
Fri
Feb 12 2016 4:45pm

Romance News: Ditch Your Date, Read a Romance

Welcome to H&H's daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Deal Alerts

A Girl's Best Friend by Elizabeth YoungElizabeth Young's women's fiction novel A Girl's Best Friend (featuring a rough-around-the-edges veterinarian hero, mmm!) is currently on sale for $.99 in e-book at Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, etc.* Young, by the by, is the author of Asking for Trouble, which served as inspiration for the movie The Wedding Date. Speaking of Asking for Trouble, it makes stellar use of the “faux lovers” trope; find more “fake it 'til you make out” recommendations here.

Lisa Nicholas's contemporary romance The Farther I Fall (Army vet heroine takes a job managing a troubled rock-star hero—how could sparks not fly?) is only $.99 in e-book at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBookstore, etc.* Tori Benson loves rock star heroes and has several other reading suggestions, should you be so inclined.

Tasty Morsels

Swoonies 2016 voting begins SUNDAY. Don't be surprised if seeing all these awesome couples together makes you wanna ditch your Valentine's Day date and read romance novels all day.

Fifty Shades Darker has been on a casting kick, and in the latest development, The Knick star Eric Johnson is reportedly closing in on a deal to portray Jack Hyde, Ana's boss and potential love interest—though not if Christian Grey has anything to say about it.

[+all your Gilmore Girls faves are back...]

Fri
Feb 12 2016 4:30pm

Friday Beefcake: Happy Vee-Day

BC Happy Vee Day Book Covers Andrei Claude

Today we're thrilled to welcome Jaci Burton to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Jaci's covers are some of the most recognizable in the genre—especially for “vees”! Jaci's most recent release is Unexpected Rush and comes out on Tuesday—and this cover definitely doesn't disappoint either. She is here today to talk about some of the best “vees” in the cover world, just in time for Valentine's Day... which we may start calling Vee Day! Thanks, Jaci!

Who doesn’t love amazing cover art? For an author, it can make or break a book. For a reader, it’s often what compels us to reach for a book (or click on it) and check out the back cover copy to see if the story interests us enough to buy it.

[Can you name any of these hot bodies?]

Fri
Feb 12 2016 12:45pm

“Good Night, Commander”: The 100 3x04 Bellamy & Clexa Heart-to-Heart

Bellamy Blake in The 100 Season 3, episode 4The 100 Season 3: That's the dream. And now it's a reality, too. Welcome to H&H's weekly romance-focused episode reviews dedicated solely to tracking the Bellamy/Clarke and Clarke/Lexa relationships, with reactions from two very different perspectives: Camp Bellarke (Heather Waters & Jennifer Proffitt) and the Clexa Cabal (Phoebe Chase & Angela Craft). If this show has taught us anything, it's that this is going to be one wild ride, so buckle up!

Show/Episode: The 100 Season 3, Episode 4, “Watch the Thrones” (SPOILERS for this episode ahead, natch)
Ship(s): Bellamy/Clarke (Bellarke), Clarke/Lexa (Clexa)

Clarke and Lexa relationship tracker for The 100 Season 3, episode 4Clexa Cabal

Things are getting tense in Polis. And in Arkadia. But since Clarke is firmly in Grounder territory this week, let’s focus on the political maneuvering of the 13 (for now) clans.

Clarke looks right at home among the circle of ambassadors in Polis, just because she’s the new girl in the cafeteria doesn’t mean she’s going to sit back while Azgeda threatens the Commander (and, by proxy, Skaikru). While everyone else is declaring treason, Clarke stands firm with her vote of confidence in Lexa. Sure, ostensibly it’s because when faced with the choice between Lexa and the Ice Nation Queen, Clarke still trusts Lexa slightly more, but we can read between the lines here.

[+more Clexa and Bellarke analysis ahoy...]

Fri
Feb 12 2016 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Cougar’s Wish: Exclusive Excerpt

Holley Trent

The Cougar's Wish by Holley Trent

A desperate entity trapped on the other side of an active hellmouth pleads for were-cougar Belle Foye's help, and she can't stop herself from running toward it, even though it means putting her own life in danger. As if that weren't bad enough, Belle is currently in heat, which means her body is acting in all sorts of ways her brain wished it wouldn't - particularly when it comes to her new babysitter.

Former soldier Steven Welch has been tasked with keeping Belle away from the hellmouth at all costs. It's just his luck her inner cat has taken a shine to his human self. Not only is Belle a bit young in his world-weary opinion, but sticking close to her means he has no choice but to confront a fear of the supernatural he'd hoped he left in the Afghan desert.

When the pair learns Steven could solve Belle's problem and rescue the mysterious soul calling to her, their differences collide. Steven insists he's no hero, while Belle wants to enter the hellmouth and end the trouble it's brought on her family once and for all. Will Steven's fears and stubbornness cause Belle to lose her fated mate and the one man she's ever trusted enough to call “partner”?

Get a sneak peek at Holley Trent's The Cougar's Wish (available February 15, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“I gotta ask, Belle. Everyone keeps asking, and you won’t give a straight answer. Why can’t you just stay away from the hellmouth? I know you cats are sensitive to the paranormal shit, but if it’s as simple as staying off the ranch, why don’t you just stay away from it?”

“What’s it to you? I didn’t ask for anyone’s help in keeping me away from it.”

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

Fri
Feb 12 2016 9:30am

Fake It Til You Make It: Lucy Parker’s Act Like It

Act Like it by Lucy Parker

This little gem of a novel first came to my attention via Angela James, editor for Carina Press. Like many Carina Press titles, Act Like It by Lucy Parker is a solid love story filled with sass, snark and brooding all at a reasonable price. The story is a pretty simple take on the one-week fiancé/ one week significant other trope. Lainie and Richard are cast mates and Richard has a bit of a reputation as an arsehole. Lainie considered to be the “good girl” of West End theater in London, takes on the task of being Richard’s significant other in exchange for the proceeds of one of the plays going towards the charity of her heart. This may sound like a category romance you’ve read a million times, but what makes this book so special is how the antagonists to friends to lovers pattern progresses in the book.

Lainie may be a “good girl” but she doesn’t put up with Richard’s complaining and antics. In addition, Richard may be sort of a broody hero, but he snarks and gives as good as he gets from Lainie. What makes the pair really work is Lainie pushes back against Richard not in a “sassy female lashing out at an unreasonable hero” but instead, a equal addressing the ridiculous attitude of another equal partner. Because Lainie doesn’t put up with his guff, it’s pretty easy to see how Richard comes to respect Lainie and eventually that respect turns into a friendship that eventually blossoms into a romance.

[Two imperfects find something to love in one another ...]

Fri
Feb 12 2016 8:37am

Who Are Your Top 5 Heroes of All Time?

This Sunday, H&H is launching our second annual Swoonworthiest Couple Battle, The Swoonies! Sunday is a pretty big day for us—it's both Valentine's Day, and our 5th birthday—so to celebrate, I want to know who your top 5 heroes are of all time? They can be from books, tv, movies, they just have to be the men of your heart!

Let me know in the comments!

Thu
Feb 11 2016 5:30pm

How to be Single Around the World

Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson in How to Be Single

For those of you living in NYC, you already have had the opportunity to see the new movie How to Be Single starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson based on the book by Liz Tuccillo, one of the coauthors of He’s Just Not That Into You. For the rest of us, we’ll have the opportunity to see it a few days before Valentine’s Day.

From the trailer, it looks like the movie is all about the “rules” of dating with Rebel Wilson showing Dakota Johnson how to date in NYC. She gives sage advice like “never reply to a text before four hours have passed;” “never use an emoji”—she’ll slap you around if you do— and “always have the men buy the drinks.”

[Lessons you can learn from How to Be Single ...]

Thu
Feb 11 2016 4:26pm

Romance News: Charlotte Stein Deal & The Catch!

Welcome to H&H's daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Deal Alerts

Never Loved by Charlotte SteinCharlotte Stein's Dark Obsession novel Never Loved is curently $.99 in e-book at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBookstore, etc.* In her First Look review of Never Loved, Sahara Hoshi said “Once again it’s time to break out the fangirl pom-poms.”

Calia Read's New Adult romance Every Which Way is discounted to $.99 (regularly $2.99) in e-book at Amazon.* Calia Read's Unravel made it onto Brittany Melson's Best New Adult Romance list for March 2014, while Unhinge racked up the suspense points for Dolly Sickles in her First Look review.  

Tasty Morsels

Who can resist the “con man who thought he'd never fall in love” hero type?! Not us. BuzzFeed has a first look at the trailer for the upcoming TV series The Catch, starring Mireille Enos and Peter Krause and boasting Shonda Rhimes as an executive producer. The Catch is billing itself as “The sexiest cat-and-mouse game on TV,” and while that remains to be seen, we're willing to tune in on March 24.

[+Lilah Pace's Asking for More cover...]

Thu
Feb 11 2016 2:00pm

Cover Thursday: Exclusive Reveals from Piper J. Drake and Eve Langlais, Kate Douglas, and A.C. Arthur

Today we're thrilled to reveal covers from Piper J. Drake and Eve Langlais, Kate Douglas, and A.C. Arthur. In Drake's Deadly Testimony badass sniper Lizzy has been given the task of protecting a hot witness until the stakes get higher and they find safety wrapped in each other’s arms. Wild is a collection of stories about werewolf shifters and their willingness to protect and pleasure those close to them. 

[Learn more about the books and check out the amazing covers ...]

Thu
Feb 11 2016 1:00pm

Other Worldly: The Ancient Tradition of Shamanism

The Witch's Market by Mingmei Yip

Today we're thrilled to welcome author Mingmei Yip to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Mingmei's most recent release, The Witch's Market, came out in November and features some otherworldly elements and follows folk religion professor, Eileen Chen as she studies potentially real witches in the Canary Islands, while grappling with her own family history with shamanism. Mingmei is here today to talk about shamanism through the ages, and its portrayal in literature. Thanks, Mingmei!

I’ve always been fascinated by shamanism because I wonder about life in other worlds.

Shamanism began in Siberia and traveled to China more than three thousand years ago. In ancient times no one doubted that their ancestors still existed in a world hidden from the living. It was the special ability of wu– shamans, to contact the dead and make sure they were content with their lot in the yin world. By means of trances, they left their bodies and traveled to far-away realms. On their return they’d bring back messages from the dead. Shamanism still exists in our own society as channeling and spiritualism.

[Witches and shamans aren't odd to storytelling ...]

Thu
Feb 11 2016 12:11pm

My Husband: Arrow 4x13 Olicity Heart-to-Heart

TV Recap Arrow 4x13 Olicity Talking it out

Show/Episode: Arrow Season 4, Episode 13, “Sins of the Father”
Ship(s): Olicity, Oliver/Felicity

TV RECAP: Arrow 4x13 Olicity Captain's Log

Okay, this episode was… well it was something. If you enjoy your television show with an extra helping of daddy issues, this was the episode for you!

Nyssa was singularly ambitious about gaining control of the League of Assassins from Malcolm. SO much so, that she tried to manipulate Oliver into fighting her battle for her in order to achieve it. She held Thea’s wellbeing over everyone’s heads in an almost unforgivable manner, refusing to save her “sister in law’s” life until she had the ring that would make her Ra’s al Ghul. The ends definitely justify the means for her, and it’s so disappointing.  Because Nyssa is better than this. Maybe she was locked in that dungeon in Nanda Parbat too long.  That much solitude gets to a person’s head.

Malcolm was even worse, eschewing all fatherly affection in preference of his desire to be Ra’s al Ghul. Such a simple thing would save Thea’s life.  All he would have to do is give up the ring. But he would not do it. What’s more, his shouting at Oliver about why the League is important made me think of that moment at the end of season 1 where he shouted at Tommy about the virtue of the Undertaking. Malcolm really has not changed at all in four years. It’s incredibly disheartening.

[Some things just don't change ...]

Thu
Feb 11 2016 10:16am

Outlander Season 2 Premiere Date Announced—Vive Les Frasers!

We've been waiting and waiting and waiting for Outlander's Season 2 premiere date to be officially announced and it finally has! While we were swooning all over this decadent poster—Claire is rocking that 18th century French garb and Jamie is looking all sorts of broody in the background—we noticed the premiere date has been set for April 9! Now excuse us while we swoon some more. Fetch the smelling salts, because we're not done! For more, see the new Outlander Season 2 trailer at Entertainment Weekly. 

Just two weeks ago we finally found out who would play Brianna Randall—a quite pivotal character for those who have not yet read the books, and now with the premiere date, we're all set to go for Season 2. What do you think? Are you excited for the return of the show? The trailer promises that things will be very intense for the Frasers, even in France. 

Stay tuned to H&H for recaps of the second season starting in April, and find more Outlander content—both the television show and the books—with our Outlander tag. 

Thu
Feb 11 2016 9:30am

The Definitive Ranking of Sookie Stackhouse Novels, An Opinionated Opinion

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Spoiler Warning: This post may contain spoilers for Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Series (a.k.a. The Sookie Stackhouse Series), and by extension, the HBO show True Blood. 

Editor's Note: Chelsea is also a major True Blood fan, if you're looking for more, check out her recaps of the show. 

Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries brought a fresh take to paranormal. It offered a look at the normalization of vampires in the open world. The books were urban fantasy in a rural setting. Sookie and her companions offered Southern charm, grit, and plenty of bloody plot twists.

Whether you started reading when the first book Dead Until Dark was released in 2001, you dived in after everyone started calling the series “the Sookie Stackhouse books,” or you came to the books after developing an addition to the pulpy HBO adaptation True Blood, the series has obvious high points.

We’re here to tell you exactly which books are the best in this series. Expect spoilers, because we can’t talk about the 13-novel series without dropping some bombs. If you’re ready, here is Heroes & Heartbreakers definitive ranking of Sookie Stackhouse novels.

[The top Sookie Stackhouse book ...]

Thu
Feb 11 2016 8:22am

Who is the Most Prolific Romance Author You Have Ever Read?

Irish Thoroughbred by Nora RobertsA recent discussion at the H&H headquarters brought up prolific authors. Nora Roberts churns out at least two books a year in a career that has spanned 35 years—and even that rough estimate doesn't come close to the 213 books she has actually published. 

However, Roberts isn't alone in her prolificness. Many authors have written books that far exceed the double digits and creep toward the triple digits. Who is the most prolific author that you've read? How many of their books have you read? What is your favorite book? 

Let us know in the comments!

Wed
Feb 10 2016 4:30pm

Body Diversity: Plus-Size Women in Romance

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Do curvier women make better romance heroines? Some people would say yes, some would say no, others, like myself, want to champion for body diversity in romance while at the same time taking a look at plus-size or definitely curvy leading ladies who help make the genre great. This isn’t a post about defining what a real woman is or isn’t, instead it’s taking a look of some of the busty, curvier heroines in romance.

Minvera Dobbs, Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

I’ve mentioned this book before in conversations and probably other posts, but I have to give credit where credit is due, Jennifer Cruise taught be what the word zaftig means because it’s used a couple of times in the text and I had to look it up. Minerva is a fun, Elvis-loving woman who’s looking for ways to eat delicious food and healthy as well. If anything the prevalence of chicken marsala in this book (a dish I happen to love) shows the joys of delicious food and the humor that permeates the book along with a keen sense of self makes Minerva a top contender not only for a favorite romance heroine, but a leading heroine in contemporary romance and romantic comedy books.

[Curvy women with more umph' to offer ...]

Wed
Feb 10 2016 3:58pm

Romance News: Emma Holly’s Billionaire Bad Boy for Sale!

Welcome to H&H's daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Deal Alerts

The Billionaire Bad Boys Club by Emma HollyEmma Holly's erotic contemporary The Billionaire Bad Boys Club is discounted to $.99 in e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, etc.* How steamy are we talking here? Put it this way: Tiffany Tyer included The Billionaire Bad Boys Club in her article on extreme sex in romance!

Sara Gruen's Depression Era novel Water for Elephants is on sale for $1.99 in e-book at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBookstore, etc.* While not a romance novel, Water for Elephants does have romantic elements, writes Charli Mac in her 2011 post Water for Elephants: Can the Movie Top the Book?”

[+Celeb crushes, Daryl Dixon & Lauren Dane cover...]

Wed
Feb 10 2016 2:00pm

Indie Spotlight: New-to-You Books from Vi Keeland, Meghan Quinn, and More!

Abruption by Riley Mackenzie

We're celebrating independent women (and men..and publishers)! On a seasonal basis, our bloggers will be offering up a list of their favorite books coming from independent and self-published outlets. Tune in every three months for another look at the indie books that got their hearts racing.

Abruption by Riley Mackenzie is a new-to-me author. These two touched my heart with their story about Guy, Finny, Maxie and Jules. Jules is the new nurse manager on the floor and encounters Guy during her first week at the hospital. Guy is a single parent to two small children, Maxie and Finn. Guy also works at the hospital but even on his off hours is constantly there, as Finn gets sick often. OMG, Finn and Maxie are the cutest! Their interactions with Guy and Jules pull at your heartstrings and have you rooting for a HEA for them. Jules finds herself quickly enamored with this family despite a tragic past. As Guy and Jules’ love grows, so does Finn’s mysterious illness. This whirlwind romance will make you laugh, cry and speed read to find out all the answers.  

[Indie books that have our hearts racing ...]

Wed
Feb 10 2016 12:00pm
Excerpt

Dark Alpha’s Embrace: Exclusive Excerpt

Dark Alpha's Embrace by Donna Grant

There's no escaping a Reaper. I'm an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I'm coming for you...

I'm a warrior. My unbreakable determination, my backbone of steel define me. As a Reaper who does Death's bidding, weakness is a word I don't understand. Until a stunning librarian stirs emotions deep within me I've never felt before. Her soft curves blunt the sharp edges of my soul, crushing my defenses - yet make me stronger. But underneath those wide eyes and fierce femininity, she has a weapon, one she won't hesitate to use. And when the Dark begin their deadly descent, we'll need each other's love and protection...or risk fracturing apart.

Get a sneak peek at Donna Grant's Dark Alpha's Embrace (available February 16, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Chapter One

Edinburgh, Scotland

New Year’s Eve

Kyran stared curiously at the large gray structure of Edinburgh’s Central Library. What was it about such places that called to some mortals? Even the half-Fae Jordyn found it one of the most amazing places in the city.

He didn’t get it.

“Just a building full of books,” Kyran mumbled.

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

Wed
Feb 10 2016 11:00am

Fantasy Casting Christina Lauren’s Wild Seasons Series—You Be the Casting Director!

Author's Note: This post may contain some light spoilers for anyone who is not familiar with the series.

I love Christina Lauren with a passion, and have loved their Wild Seasons series, especially—it has all of my catnip: “oops I married you in Vegas,” friends-to-lovers, opposites attract, and all the naughtiness a girl can handle! Like most readers, I envision each couple as I'm reading, but trying to find their real-life counterpart? Not very easy! So today, I'm crowdsourcing my opinions and giving you the top three actors and actresses I imagine for each main couple, and then letting you decide! Cast your vote for who you imagine would be the perfect actor to play each character–and if you're not happy with any of my decisions? Mix and match down in the comments!

[Let the casting begin...]