<i>Maybe This Christmas</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Maybe This Christmas: Exclusive Excerpt Sarah Morgan "She tried to walk past him but lost her balance and fell against his chest..." <i>Treasure on Lilac Lane</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Treasure on Lilac Lane: Exclusive Excerpt Donna Alward "It had been her first kiss, and she’d looked at him with stars in her eyes..." <i>A Beaumont Christmas Wedding</i>: Excerpt A Beaumont Christmas Wedding: Excerpt Sarah M. Anderson "She stopped breathing as his hands skimmed over her..." <i>Crazy, Sexy Revenge</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Crazy, Sexy Revenge: Exclusive Excerpt J.D. Mason "'I want you so bad,' she whispered, sweeping her tongue into his mouth..."
From The Blog
October 17, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Magic Mike XXL Cast
Team H & H
October 17, 2014
H&H Debriefing: Binge Reading—Do You Do It?
Team H & H
October 16, 2014
5 Anime Series You Must Watch This Fall
Sahara Hoshi
October 15, 2014
Dysfunctional Parents in Romance
Maggie Boyd
October 15, 2014
Under the Radar: Paranormal Romance Series
Sahara Hoshi
Sun
Oct 19 2014 2:00pm

Shipping Sunday: Doctor Who’s Danny Pink and Clara Oswald (Oswink)

Whatever your feelings might be on the new Doctor—personally I love Peter Capaldi—or on his companion, Clara—again, I have only compliments—the chemistry between Clara Oswald and fellow teacher, Danny Pink, is of galactic proportions! They are the highlight of every Doctor Who episode for me and I so want them to work out, unlike some other famous Doctor Who companion relationships.

What are your thoughts on Oswink? Are you watching Doctor Who?

[The cuteness continues...can you handle it?!...]

Sun
Oct 19 2014 10:00am
Excerpt

Maybe This Christmas: Exclusive Excerpt

Sarah Morgan

Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan

This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O'Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he's simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he's never ruined, and he's not about to start now.

Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she's been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture. How can she concentrate on being his friend when he's sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she's always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?

Get a sneak peek of Sarah Morgan's Maybe This Christmas (available October 28, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“They crunched through the snow, Kayla sliding and grumbling, while Brenna wondered why she’d ever thought a drink with her friends might solve the problem.

Her head spun, her limbs felt shaky and she was scrabbling in her bag for her key when Tyler opened the door.

He was wearing a blue sweater pushed up to the elbows and a pair of jeans that made it obvious why her mother thought him dangerous. No woman in her right mind would look at him and see anything other than trouble.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Maybe This Christmas...]

Sat
Oct 18 2014 12:00pm

The Ties that Bind: Siblings in Romance Novels from Ashley, Roberts, Andre, and More!

Rock Chick by Kristen AshleyComing from a large family, I always enjoy reading romance books that also feature sibling relationships. Protectors, confidantes, and allies all rolled into one, your siblings can prove to be your best and worst enemy—sometimes working in conjunction with you and other times driving you absolutely insane. 

These are some of my favorite sibling bonds in romance: 

1. The Nightingales in Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick series

First making their appearance in Rock Chick, book one of the series, the Nightingales constantly keep us—and each other—on our toes. Lee, Hank and Ally are close in age and have a tight relationship. Lee and Hank were the quintessential big brothers, keeping  a close eye on Ally. They have their hands full, operating on all sides of the law—Lee as a P.I. and Hank as a police officer— and Ally usually gets in a lot of mischief, especially with her band of rock chicks.

2. The Mackenzies in Jennifer Ashley’s Mackenzies series

This Scottish family features a tight knit of brothers. Banding together from infancy against a common enemy, their father, the brothers leaned on each for support. Each of these strong men went on to better themselves with the help of their family.

[Did your favorite family make the cut?]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 5:00pm

Friday Beefcake: Magic Mike XXL Cast

Can you believe it's already been two years since Channing Tatum made Magic Mike aka “that male stripper movie.” It blew most people's expectations out of the water, and now the wait is almost over as the sequel Magic Mike XXL is set to come out in July 2015. For those rabid fans who happen to live in or near to Georgia, you have a chance to be cast as an extra in the movie. For those who are eagerly anticipating, but will miss the opportunity to be an extra, H&H always has your back with a look at the eye candy that's been cast in the sequel.

What actors are you looking forward to stripping down. Will you be seeing the sequel?

[Get ready for the full monty...]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 4:17pm

Nalini Singh Announces Title of Next Psy-Changeling Book: Shards of Hope

Shield of Winter by Nalini SinghNalini Singh has announced that Shards of Hope is the title in the next novel in the Psy-Changeling series, which will be out in 2015 and which follows this year's release, Shield of Winter.

But wait, there's more! Singh also released Shards of Hope's official description:

The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.

What will happen when two Arrows get romantically involved? 

Stay tuned for more news as we get it, including the release of the cover!

Fri
Oct 17 2014 3:15pm

H&H Debriefing: Binge Reading—Do You Do It?

Another day, another way to follow H&H—we're now on YouTube! Subscribe to the HeroesnHearts channel to catch weekly Debriefings in which Team H&H's Heather, Megan, and Jenn discuss what's hot in romance.

Today we're hear to talk about binge reading! We've talked before about whether you do, and what was the last thing you binged on, but now Heather, Megan, and Jenn weigh in on what their reading habits are!

 

Fri
Oct 17 2014 2:00pm

Tricks, Treats, and Thrills: Erotic Recommendations For October 2014

Riding Dirty by Jill SorensonIn need of some sexy reading material to fill your e-reader? I’m here for you. Each month I will bring you an assortment of erotic pleasure reads to tempt your palate—and your credit card....

Magic premeates the air when our lovers find themselves getting more then they bargained for in the following offerings.

Riding Dirty by Jill Sorenson

Psychologist Mia Richards wants revenge. Her new client, tattooed Cole “Shank” Shepherd, provides the perfect means. She just has to manipulate the felon-turned-informant into eliminating her husband's killers—members of Cole's rival motorcycle club. The first step, seducing Cole, is simple. As for walking away before she falls hard—it's already too late.…

Dirty Eleven practically raised Cole, and he plans to double-cross the cops rather than sell them out. But smart, sexy Mia is an irresistible distraction. While she's evaluating his mind, all he can think about is her body… until he discovers her true intentions. Walking a fine line between desire and betrayal, they'll have to outrun her past, his enemies and the law for a love that's dangerously real

A one night stand turns into something more when a single night of exquisite no holds barred passion spills over into the light of day.

Set in the violent unpredictable world of onepercenters, Sorenson builds a erotically charged romance suspense between a woman bent on revenge and the ex con she chooses to as her weapon. Dark and intensely sensual, deception and betrayal where our hero and heroine’s journey begins. 

[We like those sorts of journeys...]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Treasure on Lilac Lane: Exclusive Excerpt

Donna Alward

Treasure on Lilac Lane by Donna Alward

Once upon a time, Rick Sullivan had a promising future. One of Jewell Cove's star athletes and reigning heartthrobs, he joined the Marines and had the world in the palm of his hand...until it all came crashing down. His honorable discharge doesn't make him the hometown hero everyone wants him to be, and there's little reprieve from the demons that haunt him at night. Still, even though it seems that all hope is gone, fate has something else in store...

Just hearing Rick's name is enough to give Jess Collins a headache. Years ago, they'd been close. Now she barely knows the man Rick has become since his return from service...then again, Jess isn't that same young, naïve girl anymore either. And while there's a powerful attraction between them—one that yields a greater passion than Jess could have ever imagined—both are wary about opening their hearts to love...and loss. 

But happy endings don't come easily when long-buried secrets insist on rising to the surface. Will their pasts tear them apart—or can love find a way to heal them both?

Get a sneak peek of Donna Alward's Treasure on Lilac Lane (available October 28, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapters 1 & 2.

Chapter 1

Jess Collins hated funerals.

She avoided attending when she could, though in a close-knit town the size of Jewell Cove, that wasn’t easy. When she found herself in these types of situations, she often offered condolences and got away as fast as she could.

Funerals brought back too many painful memories. Too many reminders of a time when life started to unravel. As a teenager, losing her father had been the worst thing she’d ever experienced. How she’d handled her grief, however, had led to something far more traumatic. Something she could never forget no matter how hard she tried.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Treasure on Lilac Lane...]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 11:15am

Scandal Season 4 Episode 4 Recap: Drop the Mic

Source: katherinedeestrickland. tumblr.com  

Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss our previous recaps and posts on Scandal. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 4, episode 4, “Like Father, Like Daughter.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy!

Is everyone still in recovery from this past episode of Scandal? I know I am. Let’s get into it because it is juicy, it is shocking, and it is scandalous!

When the episode opens, Jake AKA Captain Swag is walking to his car, but something just doesn’t feel right. As he approaches his car, he notices a red flashing light underneath. He immediately knows what it is, and turns around in the other direction. Just to prove how badass he is, he hits his car fob to turn his car on and it explodes. This of course makes him a little late for dinner at Liv’s house, who wanted to be domestic. She invites him in and tells him “Let’s talk about our day...I’ll go first.” Of course you will, Liv. Before Jake gets a word in, Liv’s phone rings and she is out the door on a case like a bat out of hell.

[That's so nice of you, Liv...not!]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 9:30am

Because Nothing Says Love Like a Makeover: Top 10 Pygmalion-Style Romances

The MakeoverFirst performed a century ago this very year, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion has long captured the public fancy. The tale of ragamuffin flower seller Eliza Doolittle learning to better herself at the hands of disdainful linguist Professor Henry Higgins in pre-WWI London, the play was named for the Roman sculptor of myth who created himself the perfect woman—though in Shaw’s lengthy postscript to the play, Eliza ends up marrying not her maker but Freddy, her respectable, but ultimately improvident suitor.

With ABC’s Selfie recently arrived on our screens, in which Karen Gillan plays social media obsessed millennial Eliza Dooley to John Cho’s disdainful marketing expert Henry Higgs, the time seems right to look at some previous attempts to bring the story, much like Galatea, to vibrant life. The “Pygmalion” trope, by the way, is vastly different to the “Ugly Duckling to Swan” trope, since it is as much the presence of the ever-so-superior teacher and his (or her) stormy relationship with the spirited student that defines it, as much as does that student’s requisite new beauty and/or ability to use the right fork.

So that being understood, I here submit my favorites...

10. The Makeover (2013)

Thank you, Hallmark, for this gender-flipped attempt, in which uptight and unlikeable politico Hannah Higgins (Julia Stiles) grooms charismatic delivery guy Elliot Doolittle (David Walton) for office—when what he believes she’s training him for is an office job. While I think we can all agree that Stiles hit her rom-com peak with 10 Things I Hate About You and that Walton’s handsome charm is the kiss of death when it comes to TV (every show he’s starred in has barely lasted a full season), nevertheless this cotton candy-light exploration of honesty in politics, embarrassing family members—Frances Fisher as Elliot’s blousy mother is a hoot—and the snobbery directed against South Boston accents is as enjoyable as it is, most surprisingly, thought-provoking. But... Doolittle for Congress? Isn’t that just a given?

[Yeah, they didn't really think about this, did they...]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 8:29am

Handsome Men Getting Wet: In the Heart of the Sea Trailer

Chris Hemsworth heads In the Heart of the Sea next spring in a new Ron Howard film. The movie is based on the Nathaniel Philbrick book of the same name, the true survival story of the whaling ship Essex, which inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick

In the Heart of the Sea will be in theaters March 2015.

Thu
Oct 16 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Allison Merritt’s Wystan (October 21, 2014)

Wystan by Allison MerrittAllison Merritt
Wystan (Heckmasters)
Samhain / October 21, 2014 / $5.50 digital

Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.

Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff.

The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.

With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.

In Allison Merritt's Wystan, Rhia Duke feels hopeful about her chances for the advertized position of a schoolteacher in Berner, New Mexico—until she arrives and gets a good look at the deserted town. Doubts begin when Rhia and her twelve-year-old sister, Sylvie, see the ominous looking angel statue that greets them upon their arrival, and intensify when their mule team gets spooked and runs off with Sylvie at the reins, almost running over a man. Luckily, the mules stop just in time, and the man appears more concerned about Rhia, Sylvie, and their sick travelling companion, Beryl, than he does about what almost happened to him. However, when the man, who introduces himself as Eban Heckmaster, the doctor, tells Rhia that the town does not even have a school, her confusion and sense of foreboding return.

[Heck, this doesn't seem good]

Thu
Oct 16 2014 3:00pm

Brain Candy: Not-Your-Usual Historicals for October 2014

Jazz Baby by Tea CooperTrick or treat, new historicals cannot be beat! In between watching the leaves turn, unpacking your warm winter clothes, sipping apple cider, and pilfering all the mini-Snickers bars from your kids’ Halloween candy haul, why not check out some of the new not-your-usual historicals that are hitting retailers this month? Remember, costume and dress come in all sorts of styles, not just empire waist.

1920s!

Jazz Baby by Téa Cooper

Sydney is no place for the fainthearted – five shillings for a twist of snow, a woman for not much more, and a bullet if you look sideways at the wrong person.

Dolly Bowman is ready and willing to take on all the brash, bustling city has to offer. After all it is the 1920s, a time for a girl to become a woman and fulfil her dreams. Turning her back on her childhood, she takes up a position working as a housemaid while she searches for her future.

World War I flying ace Jack Dalton knows he’s luckier than most. He’s survived the war with barely a scratch, a couple of astute business decisions have paid off, and he’s set for the high life.

But a glimpse of a girl that he had forgotten, from a place he’s tried to escape suddenly sets all his plans awry. Try as he might he can’t shake the past, and money isn’t enough to pay the debts he’s incurred.

Cooper writes for Escape Publishing, a digital imprint with Harlequin’s Australia. Known for her historicals set in Australia, she continues to diversify, having set stories in rural locales and this time out, the bustling city of Sydney.

[You lead, we'll follow...]

Thu
Oct 16 2014 2:02pm

Cover Alert: Darynda Jones’s Eighth Grave After Dark!

Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

Darynda Jones has revealed the cover for her next Charley Davidson book, Eighth Grave After Dark.

There's no official blurb yet, but we feel it's safe to say it will be fast-paced and filled with Charley's snarky wit and, with any luck, loads of Reyes sightings.

Stick with H&H for more Charley news as we get it, and until then feel free to browse our official Darynda Jones collection for more coverage.

And if you haven't already, be sure to read our original Charley Davidson short story “For I Have Sinned,” as well as a guest post by Jones on how to prepare for the apocalypse.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones, out May 19, 2015:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound

Thu
Oct 16 2014 1:00pm

Drawn Together: The 5 Anime Series You Must Watch This Fall

Ouran Highschool Host ClubFall is upon us making it the perfect time for pumpkin spice everything and binge watching TV shows. If you are a romance or anime fan and need something to watch, consider the following:

Ouran High School Host Club

This is the ultimate reverse harem story. “Reverse harem” refers to a pairing of a female lead with a bevy of male heroes as opposed to the regular harem anime, a guy surrounded by a ton of girls. The plot is pretty ridiculous. Haruhi, our protagonist, is a working class student at an upper class school. One day she stumbles into Music Room 3, home to an after school club run by rich kids, The Ouran High School Host Club. A host club is a place where men or women pay for the company of extremely attractive individuals. In this case, the affluent men of Ouran High have gotten together in an extremely ridiculous hobby much to the frustration of our heroine.

Why should you watch it? It has every trope that makes anime, especially shoujo anime, including cross-dressing, twins, glasses-fetishes, non-glasses fetishes, and the ultimate fangirl character. Plus, seeing Haruhi navigate the ridculousness of her rich peers while falling in love is plain fun.

[Ah, l'amore...]

Thu
Oct 16 2014 11:32am

“I Want So Much More”: Arrow 3x02 Olicity Discussion Thread

Oliver and Felicity in Arrow Season 3 episode 1Oliver/Felicity (a.k.a. Olicity) fans were treated to another dose of delicious angst in last night's Arrow Season 3, episode 2, “Sara.”

Let's discuss!

Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Arrow.

Here's the official description of “Sara” from the CW:

Lance (Paul Blackthorne) calls the Arrow (Stephen Amell) when another archer appears in town and starts skewering businessmen. Diggle (David Ramsey) uses A.R.G.U.S. to find the archer’s identity; he is a man named Simon Lacroix (guest star Matt Ward), who goes by the codename Komodo. However, the team hits a rough patch with the mission and gets help from a surprising source – Laurel (Katie Cassidy). Meanwhile, Oliver begins to worry that he hasn’t heard from Thea (Willa Holland), which forces Roy (Colton Haynes) to tell him the truth about why she left town. Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) pursues Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). In the flashback, Maseo (guest star Karl Yune) tells Oliver that Amanda Waller has ordered his first kill. As Oliver looks down the scope of the rifle, he sees the target is his best friend, Tommy (guest star Colin Donnell). Despite her promise to her sister, Laurel debates sharing a secret about Sara (Caity Lotz) with Lance.

What a sad episode! Pretty much everyone cried at one point or another (including the audience but excepting still-in-the-dark Captain Lance, poor guy) and seeing both Oliver and Felicity in such dark places was a particular punch to the gut.

As worried as I am that the writers are planning to keep Olicity apart for years by inventing increasingly ridiculous obstacles for them, I have to say that the sudden and tragic loss of Sara actually works very well for me as an organic and massive roadblock that could take them quite a while to work around. After all, Sara's death naturally highlights some pretty important differences between Ollie and Felicity's outlooks on life (and death):

[Onto the gif action...]

Thu
Oct 16 2014 9:30am

First Look: Nora Roberts’s Blood Magick (October 28, 2014)

Blood Magick by Nora RobertsNora Roberts
Blood Magick
Penguin / October 28, 2014 / $17.00 print, $9.99, digital

County Mayo is rich in the traditions of Ireland, legends that Branna O’Dwyer fully embraces in her life and in her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna’s special touch.

Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family—along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love…

She had it once—for a moment—with Finbar Burke, but a shared future is forbidden by history and blood. Which is why Fin has spent his life traveling the world to fill the abyss left in him by Branna, focusing on work rather than passion.

Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment. And though they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin’s power, loyalty, and heart that will make all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries.

Blood Magick is the conclusion to Nora Roberts's Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy. Branna, her brother Connor, and their cousin, Iona, are the descendants of Sorcha, the Dark Witch. With the help of Boyle, Meara and Fin, they have tried twice already to defeat the evil sorcerer, Cabhan. They came close to defeating him when they crossed the dimensions of time and added the power of the original three, Sorcha’s children. Branna will need to figure out how to draw their power once again from the past, but unless, and until, they destroy the source behind Cabhan’s power, he will continue to regenerate using his black magic.

[But...but...love will prevail, right?]

Thu
Oct 16 2014 8:10am

Throwback Thursday: What Was Your First Heather Graham?

The King's Pleasure by Shannon DrakeThis month, Heather Graham's medieval-set historical romance The King's Pleasure, first released under the name Shannon Drake in 1998, was reissued with an updated cover. Here's the blurb:

Danielle D'Aville was sworn to obey King Edward's order to marry her enemy Adrien MacLachlan, the legendary Scot who had masterminded the fall of her beloved home. Suddenly she was bound, body and soul, to the arrogant knight. But swept off to his castle in the Scottish highlands, and into his strong embrace, Danielle was soon possessed by a searing passion for the husband she had vowed to despise.

Adrien MacLachlan couldn't afford to trust the emerald-eyed spitfire, but nor could he ignore the fierce attraction between them. Long ago, he had pledged his right arm to his king. Now he would discover that only by pledging his heart could he win the most precious prize of all.

Heather Graham has written over 150 novels in several genres and under several different names. Chances are you've read at least one Graham, so if you have, which one(s) have you read? If you've read many of her books, which was your favorite? 

Wed
Oct 15 2014 4:30pm

Poisonous Affairs in Aleksandr Voinov’s A Taste for Poison

A Taste for Poison by Aleksandr VoinovFantasy m/m romance has never experienced a writer quite like Aleksandr Voinov. A Taste for Poison, the third book in his gripping fantasy Memory of Scorpions series, is a perfect example of the rapier-sharp style for which Voinov has become known. The fantasy world and the romance within are sharp in more ways than one, their razor intelligence is only overpowered by their daggered intensity. A Taste for Poison is not an easy read; it’s a book to satisfy readers who want a politically charged fantasy with imminent danger and a simmering romance that tries to survive within the world’s harsh environment.

Kendras is the leader of the Scorpions, an elite group of mercenaries currently working under King Andrastes. Andrastes has barely survived an assassination attempt. Transformed, Andrastes is determined to go to war against the Elder of Vededrin. The Empire does not agree with this, especially with how ruthless Andrastes has become—even towards Kendras, his former lover.

[Tasty, tasty poison!]

Wed
Oct 15 2014 3:00pm

Dysfunctional Parents in Romance Novels from Robb, Quick, Walker, and More

The Last Breath by Kimberly BellePlenty of people joke about how dysfunctional their family is. For others, it is no joke at all, but a sad reality.

Romance novels examine this issue by looking at how coming from a tough home situation influences a hero or heroine and their love story. The shelves are full of books such as Mary Balogh’s A Precious Jewel, which shows the near crippling impact of a cruel, autocratic father and a seductive step-mother on the vulnerable hero. Others examine the high cost of having an alcoholic parent, such as Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Natural Born Charmer. In Sweet Everlasting by Patricia Gaffney, the heroine’s father is physically and sexually abusive. The parents of the heroines of Jeannie Lin’s The Jade Temptress and The Lotus Palace sold them into prostitution. Even when the abuse isn’t horrific as that mentioned above a parent who is hyper-critical of their child can affect their self-confidence and ability to form strong relationships such as the parents of the heroine in Jennifer Cruise’s Bet Me.

Dysfunction isn’t always about direct abuse, though; sometimes the actions parents take against others can have a lasting impact on a child’s life. Perhaps the strongest of these impacts comes from having a parent who's killed. Whether they kill within the family, such as a dad killing a mom or step-mom or they are found guilty of killing others, the child forever wrestles with questions of tainted blood, guilt and that lost feeling of losing a parent even when they are still living. They also have to bear the shame and humiliation of being known as a murderer’s offspring.

Gia Andrew’s from Kimberly Belle’s The Last Breath has long known what the community thinks of her family.

[Not exactly held in high esteem...]