<i>Paw and Order</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Paw and Order: Exclusive Excerpt Diane Kelly "He nailed me with a look so sexy and sensuous I felt naked..." <i>Back to Before</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Back to Before: Exclusive Excerpt Tracy Solheim "He was grinning now, sexy laugh lines fanning out from his eyes..." <i>Foster Justice</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Foster Justice: Exclusive Excerpt Colleen Shannon "His mind might find her repulsive but his body sure as heck didn’t." Now Win This!: <i>Fifty Shades</i> Poster Now Win This!: Fifty Shades Poster Team H & H You've seen the poster, now here's a chance to have your own!
From The Blog
December 24, 2014
Holiday Romance Recommendations, Part 4
PhoebeChase and Jennifer Proffitt
December 22, 2014
2014 Christmas Novellas from Shalvis, Burton, and More!
Tiffany Tyer
December 20, 2014
3 Harlequin Presents Authors Who Get it Right
John Jacobson
December 19, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Silver Bells Foxes
Team H & H
December 18, 2014
I Dream of Genies in Romance Novels
Sahara Hoshi
Dec 24 2014 12:00pm

Jingle Those Bells: New Adult Best Bets for December 2014

The Law of Moses by Amy HarmonIt’s the last New Adult Roundup of the Year! This has been a great year for New Adult with many titles being published. More amazing stories will be coming our way in 2015 and I’ll be waiting for them with bells on. This month these books are ringing with anticipation, thrills and secrets.

Amy Harmon’s The Law of Moses is a journey of discovery and pain. Moses had a rough beginning. Secrets and tragedy fill his days and this blooming romance with Georgia seems to be headed down a dead end street. A heartbreaking story of perseverance and strength, this will pull out all your emotions and then some.

When Delilah lands in the Hades Compound after being “rescued” from the only life she’s ever known, she hates every second of it. Desperate to return to her zealot community, she secludes herself. When Ky is tasked with protecting her, a new world is opened up to her. Hearts Recaptured by Tillie Cole tells the story of two lost souls trying to find their place in the world.

Monica Murphy begins a new trilogy with Owning Violet. Violet, the efficient middle sister of the famous Fleur Cosmetics company, has also been the passive peace-maker. With the arrival of mysterious Ryder McKay, she begins making waves and breaking through her shell. Office treachery and secrets threaten Violet professionally and personally but, she may just surprise everyone and turn the tables.

[What else is new and noteworthy?...]

Dec 24 2014 10:00am

25 Romances of Christmas: Holiday Romance Recommendations, Part 4

Letters at Christmas by Amber Lin While the holidays are creeping in, it might be just the time to start in on that list—the books on your To Be Read list, that is. This is the final week where Phoebe Chase and Jennifer Proffitt will be delivering a little something naughty and nice in the form of the 25 holiday/seasonal romances you should be adding to your wish list. You can read more suggestions in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Letters at Christmas by Amber Lin

One part epistolary romance (kind of), one part lover reunited, this short Christmas story is great to get a taste of Lin’s style. They say write angry letters, but never send them. Unfortunately, Captain Hale Martin took that to refer to love letters, too. When Hale left England three years before our story starts, he promised to write to her every Christmas until he returned. He not only didn’t write at Christmas, but he never did. He felt inadequate and unworth of Sidony, despite being well-liked by her family. Three years later, he’s more mature and even more sure of his feelings for Sidony...even if she’s hesitant to give him a chance. From adolescence to adulthood, it was touching to see how their relationship progressed. My only complaint is that I wished I could have spent more time with them!

[So it was a good visit!...]

Dec 23 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Donna Grant’s Hot Blooded (December 30, 2014)

Hot Blooded by Donna GrantDonna Grant
Hot Blooded (Dark Kings)
St. Martin's Press / December 30, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital

His name is Laith. To most, he’s known as the owner of a local pub near Dreagan. But little do his patrons know that beneath his handsome, charming exterior Laith has the heart and soul of a Dragon King—one who wields control by keeping his friends close and his enemies closer. Until a beautiful, mysterious stranger enters the picture, and sets his whole world on fire…

To learn the truth about her dead father, Iona has returned to Scotland only to learn that she’s part of an ancient pact with Dreagan—one that will threaten the fragile peace with the Dragon Kings. Gorgeous, sly Iona isn’t like anyone Laith has ever met before...and she harbors a secret that others would kill to possess. Will she complete him—or destroy him?

Donna Grant's Hot Blooded includes the return of our adored couples from previous novels, but also a hint of a secret relationship between Con and the Fae Queen. What is really going on between them, and is Con’s MIA status lately because of the Queen?

[So many questions!]

Dec 23 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Kieran Kramer’s You’re So Fine (December 30, 2014)

You're So Fine by Kieran KramerKieran Kramer
You're So Fine
St. Martin's Press / December 30, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital

Lacey Clark’s dreams of Hollywood stardom didn’t turn out quite the way she planned. Instead, her life is more of the daytime-drama variety: One of her actor ex-boyfriends fathered a child with another woman, and now, long story short, Lacey is the adopted single mother of his son. She takes little Henry with her to South Carolina to escape the film business but winds up working at a small movie studio, determined to do a good job both on set and at “home.” Only problem is she ends up sharing a house with movie star Beau Wilder, who is no role model for Henry—and only spells trouble for Lacey…

Beau is arguably the most gorgeous man on the planet—and a known ladies’ man. His wealthy Low country pedigree is rivaled only by his bad-boy charm, a combination that proves irresistible for Lacey. And he adores Henry! If they weren’t both on a movie set, their lives would seem too good to be true…unless the chemistry—not to mention the burning attraction—between them is real, and Hollywood’s golden boy is actually falling for this sassy single mom? When it comes to love, sometimes you just have to throw out the script…

Every heard of GRITS? I’m not talking about the food product. I’m talking about Girls Raised In The South. I hadn’t heard of that terminology before, but I discovered that I very much like the description of these heroines based on Lacey Clark from Kieran Kramer's You’re So Fine.

[More than fine, then!]

Dec 23 2014 12:00pm

Paw and Order: Exclusive Excerpt

Diane Kelly

Paw and Order by Diane Kelly

Police officer Megan Luz and her loyal K-9 partner Brigit are back on the beat—and under the gun—when the local rodeo show goes to the dogs…

After capturing the notorious Fort Worth “Tunabomber,” Megan and Brigit are practically celebrities. Which is why the police chief lassoed them into doing rodeo duty —mostly as a public relations stunt for the department. Megan’s not a fan of calf roping, bull riding, or goat milking contests. But when a thief appears to be working the circuit, her trusty K-9 partner starts sniffing for clues…

The culprit is “Robin Hood,” a young Texas golddigger who steals from the rich to give to the poor—namely, herself. With Brigit hot on the trail, Megan has to juggle her on-again off-again reputation in the FWPD with her on-again off-again relationship with sexy bomb-squader Seth Rutledge. This time, Megan is determined to rope in her suspect and her man…before chaos, and/or her trusted furry partner, is unleashed.

Get a sneak peek of Diane Kelly's Paw and Order (available December 30, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapters 1-3.

Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz

January 1. A new year full of new resolutions, new possibilities, new opportunities.

I was lucky I’d lived to see it. A mere twelve hours ago I’d been tied to a carousel horse with explosives strapped to my chest. If not for bomb squad officer Seth Rutledge I’d be nothing more than a Hefty bag full of body parts right now. Seth had stayed on task right down to the wire, risking his own life to dismantle the bomb, finishing with a mere three seconds to spare.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Paw and Order...]

Dec 23 2014 9:30am

Love is the Best Gift: Male/Male Romance Best Bets for December 2014

Comfort and Joy AnthologyThere are plenty of gifts m/m romance lovers can give to themselves (or others) this month, with numerous upcoming books for those who love holiday romance, as well as options for those who'd just as soon forget the whole thing.

Holiday Anthologies

Comfort and Joy

Rest and Be Thankful by Joanna Chambers - Two stormy hearts find peace when feuding neighbors in the Scottish Highlands are trapped by a blizzard.

Out by Harper Fox - Can a stranger unlock the courage and passion in a young man’s captive heart?

Waiting for Winter by LB Gregg - Some mistakes are worth repeating.

Baby, It's Cold by Josh Lanyon - Or maybe it's the flu. Breaking up is hard to do — especially around the holidays.

Four authors known for excellent writing make this collection likely to be a winner, and a “sweet and cozy” vibe is promised. You can also buy the novellas individually.

[What else is there to keep us warm this December?]

Dec 22 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Lauren Gallagher’s Razor Wire (December 22, 2014)

Lauren Gallagher
Razor Wire
Riptide Publishing / December 22, 2014 / $4.99, digital

Two women. One terrible crime. Zero allies.

After being raped by a superior officer, MA3 Kim Lockhoff wants to leave the whole thing in the past. A cop herself, she knows all too well that it’s her word—and slutty reputation—against that of a respected Navy officer.

MA2 Reese Marion, a tough cop hiding her own trauma behind a hard-as-nails exterior, has no patience for pretty little princesses who use their cleavage to win favor with the guys. But when Reese is partnered with Kim, she slowly realizes that reputations can lie. Kim is whip-smart, ambitious—and scared. The man who attacked her won’t let anything damage his career, least of all Kim . . . or the baby she’s carrying as a result.

Isolated on Okinawa, thousands of miles away from home, the two women lean hard on each other. But when Kim confides in Reese, she unwittingly puts her new lover—and both of their careers—in the line of fire. Now her attacker just might have the leverage he needs to keep her quiet for good.

Razor Wire by Lauren Gallagher is an intense book. Though it’s definitely a romance between the two women who are the main characters, and has a happy ending, the main focus of the plot is the seemingly insurmountable problem facing Kim Lockhoff, a problem that could ruin the career that is all she’s ever wanted. It’s one of the most unusual romances I’ve ever read, using a deep exploration of the characters to address the extensive and painful fallout from a rape, realistically and without becoming didactic, and suspenseful as well.

[Sounds like a great formula for a great book...]

Dec 22 2014 3:15pm

First Look: Rebecca Zanetti’s Marked (December 22, 2014)

Marked by Rebecca ZanettiRebecca Zanetti
Kensington / December 22, 2014 / $15.00 print, $6.99 digital

Janie Kayrs has known Zane almost her whole life. He was her friend in the dream world. She trusted him. But that was before he kidnapped her, spiriting her away to an isolated cabin to learn what her dreams never told her. Like how dangerous he looks. How he got on the wrong side of the negotiating table. And how much sexier he is in real life...

Zane is a battle-hardened warrior, used to command and solitude. But Janie has drawn him from the minute they met. His need for her could destroy everything he's worked for, but the risk is too sweet not to take it. They call her the Chosen One. But when it comes down to the questions of peace or war, life or death, safety or passion, it will be Janie who makes the choice...

Rebecca Zanetti’s Dark Protectors series is coming to an end. The Realm, led by the vampire family, the Kayrs, and with the help of their allies, the shifter nation and the Coven Nine witches, has been fighting the Kurjans for centuries. For the last decade, the demons have joined the Kurjans in the battle against the Realm. These battles became a full scale war twenty years ago when the Kurjans created Virus-27, a biological weapon that attacked the vampire’s women, with its purpose to break the bond between the vampires and their mates.

[Mark my words, they won't succeed!]

Dec 22 2014 2:00pm

Good Things Come in Small Packages: 2014 Christmas Novellas from Shalvis, Burton, and More!

Merry Christmas, Baby by Jill ShalvisWith just days until Christmas, it can be difficult to find the time we might wish for to devote to our favorite pastime. Thankfully, this holiday season has seen an influx of festive short stories, perfect for the reader strapped for time but looking for spirit. And with this group of holiday novellas—from returns to fan favorite series and stories we've been waiting for to sexy historicals set in more obscure eras to an m/m/m menage paranormal—there's a little something for everybody.

First up is a gift to all long-time fans of Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor series, Merry Christmas, Baby, a return glimpse into the lives of Sawyer and Chloe, and a short but sweet, multi-layered look at an unexpected pregnancy for a happily married couple. Chloe's pregnancy brain and neuroses and Sawyer's quiet but steady commitment make for a fun, heartwarming cap to their story, complete with a Christmas surprise. 

There's something about historicals and Christmas stories that go especially well hand in hand. With Her Christmas Earl, Anna Campbell weaves a unique story about a rake and a maiden caught in that compromising-position-of-doom, but it's an unusual one. It's once the hero and heroine really begin getting to know one another, along with a delicious look at their spicy life once the marriage-of-convenience vows are taken, where this story really begins to shine.

[A spicy marriage of convenience is our favorite kind!]

Dec 22 2014 12:00pm

(Spoiler!) State of The Affair 1x10

Note: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of The Affair, including last night's Season 1 finale.

So we’ve seen ten episodes now of this fascinating (and recently Golden Globe-nominated) drama, but we seem to have just skimmed the surface of the secrets and scandals of The Affair. The finale was a bit trickier to navigate timeline-wise than most of what came before, and though the very ending was a fairly predictable conclusion (so Alison and Noah DID end up together), there are still plenty of burning questions left for us to mull over before season two comes around:

[Fire 'em up!]

Dec 22 2014 10:50am

Lost Girl 5x03 SPOILER THREAD: Sayonara?

We'll be doing full recaps for Lost Girl when it airs in the United States on the SyFy channel. Meanwhile, enjoy a quick summary of last night's episode and discuss!

Note: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of Lost Girl, including last night's Season 5, Episode 3, “Big in Japan.”

Tonight, Bo and Tamsin take on a case, Dyson teaches Doctor Lauren to defend herself, and Bo loses her mojo. Oh, bee-have, baby.

Bo has lost her mojo. Big time. She can’t feed and while she wants to bang, not even a half nekkid (Hot Tattoo Alert!) and totally willing, no-strings-attached (hah! Heard that one before) Dyson can rev her up. Neither can Doctor Lauren’s tepid neck kisses or Tamsin’s matter-of-fact offers. This essentially makes Bo human—unable to feed means unable to heal—and it comes to a quick head when she’s stabbed by her case-of-the-week (yay for returning to cases!). Doctor Lauren stabilizes Bo at her fancy schmancy new Fae clinic but is unable to heal the internal bleeding. Tamsin prods Bo into confessing the heart of the matter: the loss of Kenzi. Bo is convinced she’s destined to be The Chosen One alone, slowly but surely abandoned by all the ones she loves. “I’ll always be alone.”

[Don't say that, Bo!]

Dec 22 2014 9:30am

First Look: Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Effect (December 30, 2014)

The Rosie Effect by Graeme SimsionGraeme Simsion
The Rosie Effect
Simon and Schuster / December 30, 2014 / $25.99 print, $13.99 digital

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Rosie Project, starring the same extraordinary couple now living in New York and unexpectedly expecting their first child. Get ready to fall in love all over again.

Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant.

Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.

As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.

In The Rosie Project, Don and Rosie are charming as a mismatched couple navigating their way humorously through numerous hijinks before becoming partners. Now, in Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Effect, the second book in the series, the focus shifts a bit from Don and Rosie as a couple; the emphasis is more on Don’s shock and fright as he discovers that he going to become a father and how that affects his marriage.

[It's quite Effect-ing!]

Dec 22 2014 8:39am

Falling for a Cold: Have You? What’s Your Remedy?

Falling for Dr. December by Susanne Hampton

The holidays—cozy nights by the fire, wearing fuzzy sweaters—and getting a really bad cold.

The Heroes and Heartbreakers staff has experienced the latter throughout this month, and so we want to know a couple of things today.

Have you already gotten your first bad cold of the season?
What's you're best cold remedy?

h/t tissues to Heather, Megan and Jenn.

Dec 21 2014 2:00pm

Shipping Sunday: Gilmore Girls’s Luke and Lorelai

Recently, we had author AJ Pine (aka Amy Pine) on the site talking about her everlasting love of all things Gilmore Girls. There is a lot to love, like the books, Stars Hollow, and, of course, the men! Today, we'll be talking about that last one. While there's a lot of contension over Rory's best boyfriend—Pine thought the title belonged to Jess, while my roommate solidly sided with Logan—there's less contension over who Lorelai should end up with, because the obvious answer is Luke Dane. I watched Gilmore Girls live, but never watched every episode. Thanks to Netflix, this fall I spent many a day (okay, it was like a week and maybe a weekend in which I did nothing else) catching up on the series and it affirmed for me that while the show does have flaws, Luke and Lorelai are not one of them.

First, it started with coffee...

[But not like a coffee date...]

Dec 20 2014 1:15pm

May We Present to You: 3 Harlequin Presents Authors Who Get it Right

One Night... Nine Month Scandal by Sarah MorganIt has been no secret that I have a darling love for the Harlequin Presents line of category romances, which focus on privileged protagonists. One could take all of the wealthy businessman found within the category’s history and single-handedly take over every major cooperation on the planet ten times over. At its core, the Presents line has always been a glorious sense of escapism, and in the hands of a good author it can be social commentary and subversion of the privileged tropes it plays to. It doesn’t make the category perfect, but it does make the category line something beyond the fantastic tropes it presents.

Sarah Morgan

In my eyes, Sarah Morgan is the queen of the Harlequin Presents novel. Morgan's heroes play into the “alpha” tropes while checking themselves when it comes to the power of the heroine.

Morgan’s One Night…Nine-Month Scandal was my first encounter with her twisting of the trope. In order to make up for the hurting the heroine, the hero buys her a room full of teddy bears. A room full of teddy bears. There is no denying the cuteness of this gesture, and it’s a gesture that works because of its privacy and because of its clear acknowledgement that the hero is wrong. Not only all of that, but I read this book years ago and it still creates a pitter-pat of feeling in me because of how wonderful it came across at the time.

[A room full of teddy bears will do that!]

Dec 21 2014 10:00am

Back to Before: Exclusive Excerpt

Tracy Solheim

Chances Inlet, North Carolina, has an infamous power for second chances. But its charms are lost on the town’s favorite son—until she comes along

When his father’s sudden death puts his family’s construction business in serious debt, architect Gavin McAlister is forced to put his dream career in New York on hold. Making matters worse, his fiancée calls it quits. Desperate to return to his big-city life, he discovers an opportunity to save his family, one that has him reluctantly starring in a home restoration TV show.

Former soap star Ginger Walsh hopes this job as a TV makeup artist will lead to better things. So far it’s only brought her to a hamlet full of people who don’t like her—except Gavin. After a wild night out leads to Ginger waking up in Gavin’s loft—and the rest of town talking—the two of them soon wonder if getting back to before is what they want. Because being in each other’s arms certainly feels like what they need

Get a sneak peek of Tracy Solheim's Back to Before (available January 6, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Still flat on her back, Ginger carefully opened her eyes. Crouched next to her was a man dressed in khakis and a black golf shirt. Sunglasses dangled from a cord around his neck. She gazed up into his face and nearly lost her breath for a second time in as many minutes. He had the most amazing mouth. Sensuous lips that looked as if they smiled easily and often sat atop a broad chin with the hint of a dimple. Thick, brown hair, just days past the date of needing a trim, waved in the breeze. Hazel eyes, full of concern, gazed down at her.

“You okay?” Mr. Amazing Mouth asked.

Ginger nodded slightly, but before she could speak, the innkeeper called out.

“Don’t move her until you check her for injuries!”

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

Dec 19 2014 4:30pm

Friday Beefcake: Silver Bells Foxes from Dane, Slattery, and More!

Olympic swimmer turned model, Mark FosterWinter means the world (at least in the Northern hemisphere) is starting to take hold and frost the world. But really, when it comes to frost, we much prefer it on hair (and we're not talking frosted tips, a la Backstreet Boys in 1999). With Jack Frost on our minds, we're bringing to you those foxy guys that make us so glad that aging can be graceful, and these guys in particular are only getting better and better with age.

Who are some of your favorite silver foxes? Let us know in the comments...

[On the hunt for some silver foxes...]

Dec 19 2014 3:05pm

Romance News Roundup: Tom Hiddleston Singing, Outlander Clip, Kleypas and Milan Deals, and More!

Welcome to H&H's brand-new 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.

Do you remember the Internet buzzing when a Canadian man, who had broken up with his girlfriend, posted on Reddit that he wanted to give away the plane tickets he had bought for an expensive trip with now-ex-girlfriend? There was one caveat, his fellow traveler's name had to be Elizabeth Gallagher! It sounded like the premise of a rom-com, didn't it? Well, an Elizabeth Gallagher has stepped forward and will be taking advantage of the ticket. Only time will tell if it actually leads to an HEA worthy of the silver screen.

“These are dangerous times, mo nighean donn.” Starz has released a brand-new Outlander clip, teasing us even more for April 4. 

—The first book in Lisa Kleypas's Bow Street Runners series, Someone To Watch Over Me, is discounted to $1.99 for the ebook version at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.*

Courtney Milan's Proof by Seduction is discounted to $.99 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.*

—Author (and H&H blogger) K.M. Jackson's Bounce is discounted to $.99 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well.*

—Looking for even more deals? Harper Collins Christian Publishing is offering discounted inspirational books from Robin Lee Hatcher, Colleen Coble, and so many more from now until January 5.

—If you weren't in the Christmas spirit already, Tom Hiddleston singing “We Wish You a Merry” with a puppy on his lap might just do it for you. Thanks to Jezebel, and H&H blogger Sahara Hoshi, for sharing!

*Please note that we have no idea how long downpricing or sales will last, so grab these deals while you can.

**Special Note: Afternoon Tea's Romance News Roundup will be going on hiatus until January 5. We hope you enjoy the holidays and that you'll join us again for daily doses of romance tidbits in 2015!

Dec 19 2014 12:00pm

Foster Justice: Exclusive Excerpt

Colleen Shannon

Foster Justice by Colleen Shannon

One Riot, One Ranger...

That's the Texas Ranger motto, but when Chad Foster's rebellious brother goes missing, it's time to put his elite training to use investigating a crime that strikes much closer to home. Turning Los Angeles inside out to retrieve Trey and save their ranch from a ruthless land grab is a no brainer, even if it puts his badge at risk. His only lead is a heart-stoppingly sensuous exotic dancer with a very tempting butterfly tattoo, the woman who helped scam his brother out of their ranch. But staying on top of this redhead's every suggestive word and sensual move means putting his case—and his heart—right in the line of fire . . .

A Texas Ranger, complete with quarter horse, is as out of place in downtown L.A. as a lawman is in the bed of a suspect, but with both their lives at risk, Chad has to put his trust in the one woman who could bring him down for good, and pray that somehow hard evidence is really just a pack of lies. . .

Get a sneak peek at Colleen Shannon's Foster Justice (available December 22, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Jasmine closed the dressing room door and leaned against it.  Even more drained than usual, she stared around her closet-like private dressing room, the only perk she insisted on as a headliner.  The minute she walked off that stage, naked but for the G string and the robe, the vitality and sexuality she oozed on command dissipated with the lights.  She was just tired.

Tired of being leered at.  Tired of pretending to be something she wasn’t, tired of hating herself.  Tired of actively disliking men for leaving loving wives and lovers for these few hours to spend more money than they could afford on the lure of the forbidden.  In her experience, most of the men who frequented strip clubs fell into three categories. 

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

Dec 19 2014 9:30am

Harlequin for the Save: Unusual Historical Romance Best Bets for December 2014

Playing the Rake's Game by Bronwyn Scott It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that December is a bit of a publishing dead zone when it comes to new releases. The hot fall releases have come and gone, the glut of holiday themed reads landed in stores by the end of October, and everybody is looking ahead to the big spring push. Which brings us to this small, merry band of unusual historical offerings for December, most of them courtesy of that “old gray lady” Harlequin. Bless their hearts, they kept me in historical romance during my unfortunate, years long, Regency burn-out, and now they’re here to save the unusual historicals post for this month. Viva la Harlequin!

The Caribbean!

Playing the Rake’s Game by Bronwyn Scott

Emma Ward is in trouble. The devilishly handsome part-owner of her beloved Caribbean sugar plantation has arrived, and clearly he doesn't trust her. But his eyes promise pleasures she can only imagine. Maybe there's a way to get him onside…

Ren Dryden may be fresh off the boat from London, but he knows when a woman is playing him—and when she's as intriguing as the alluring Emma, he's more than happy to play back! But several sultry nights and secrets shared later, Ren realizes just how high the stakes are in this game of seduction!

Scott tends to work in the Regency and early Victorian periods, but has a knack for infusing a little “unusual” into her work. Her Ladies of Impropriety series featured one heroine running the family shipping business and another heroine who was a billiards protégé! This latest release is the first in her Rakes of the Caribbean series and takes place in Barbados.

[We'll catch a tan while we time travel...]