<i>Since I Saw You</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Since I Saw You: Exclusive Excerpt Beth Kery "If he knew anything, he knew how to read a woman’s body..." <i>Laugh</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Laugh: Exclusive Excerpt Mary Ann Rivers "He wanted to take her someplace quiet and kiss her and get his hands... under that orange dress" H&H Reads <i>A Breath of Scandal</i> (6 of 6) H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal (6 of 6) Elizabeth Essex Are you ready to be reckless? Join us for the FINAL installment of the H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal <i>Uncensored Passion</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Uncensored Passion: Exclusive Excerpt Bobbi Cole Meyer "Kayla wrapped her arms around his strong neck and hugged him close."
From The Blog
April 24, 2014
Anticipating Laura London’s The Windflower
Laurie Gold
April 23, 2014
Best Reads of April 2014
Team H & H
April 23, 2014
Jennifer Crusie’s Various Temptations
Julia Broadbooks
April 22, 2014
Gena Showalter's Temptation in Shadows Novella Cover!
Team H & H
April 22, 2014
When Authors Mess with the HEA
Tori Benson
Thu
Apr 24 2014 2:00pm

Now that we’ve made it through the third season of Scandal with our minds relatively intact, we’re suddenly left with a gaping hole in our Thursday nights for the next few months, not to mention the free time that we have not standing around the water cooler or on social media discussing what happened the week before. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of things you can do while waiting for Scandal to return in the fall.

1. Talk yourself into believing you can pull off a white hat.

Source: scorpiant.tumblr.com

[+More ideas on how to stay busy...]

Thu
Apr 24 2014 12:00pm

The Windflower by Laura London

“Merry Patricia Wilding was sitting on a cobblestone wall, sketching three rutabagas and daydreaming about the unicorn.”

Thus begins The Windflower, Laura London’s classic 1984 romance about a man consumed with revenge who kidnaps and takes the wrong young woman aboard his half-brother’s pirate ship.

Author Deborah Simmons (The Vicar’s Daughter, The Devil Earl) used to rave about this book. By then the name Laura London (Tom and Sharon Curtis) had permeated my consciousness because everyone raved about this book, but it was just an '80s pirate romance, wasn’t it? “No,” she responded, “not in the way you’re thinking about it. Really...would I steer you wrong?”

I pressed her. “So you’re promising me it isn’t just another bodice-ripping romance like The Flame and the Flower (Kathleen Woodiwiss, 1972) or A Pirate’s Love (Johanna Lindsey, 1978)? She assured me that it was not. And so I asked her to write a review of it for me, which in turn led me to scrounge a copy at one of many UBSs I called or visited (this was back in the day, when that’s how you looked for OOP books).

[What sets Laura London books apart?...]

Thu
Apr 24 2014 9:30am

KJ Charles
Non-Stop Till Tokyo
Samhain / April 29, 2014 / $6.50 digital

Kerry Ekdahl’s mixed heritage and linguistics skills could have made her a corporate star. Instead, she’s a hostess in a high-end Tokyo bar, catering to businessmen who want conversation, translation and flirtation. Easy money, no stress. Life is good—until she’s framed for the murder of a yakuza boss.

Trapped in rural Japan with the gangsters closing in, Kerry doesn’t stand a chance. Then help arrives in the menacing form of Chanko, a Samoan-American ex-sumo wrestler with a bad attitude, a lot of secrets, and a mission she doesn’t understand.

Kerry doesn’t get involved with dangerous men. Then again, she’s never had one on her side before. And the big, taciturn fighter seems determined to save her life, even if they rub each other the wrong way.

Then her friends are threatened, and Kerry has no choice but to return to Tokyo and face the yakuza. Where she learns, too late, that the muscle man who’s got her back could be poised to stab it.

Non-Stop Till Tokyo by KJ Charles is a romantic thriller set in Tokyo and its immediate environs. Kerry Ekdahl is a gaijin, a woman of mixed heritage who works as a hostess at a Tokyo bar, having no plans to return to her native England. But she is betrayed by a coworker and becomes the target of a major manhunt by the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. She must rely upon the mysterious Chanko, a Samoan-American ex-sumo wrestler for help staying alive. This story is an intense thrill ride that is packed with action. It is also a dark and gritty tale which is not for the faint of heart. There is a significant amount of violence and bloodshed.

[Look for hearts and flowers elsewhere, please!...]

Thu
Apr 24 2014 8:30am

Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan star in what we presume is a ’Sex with the Ex’ film, one that also includes robbery, Paris, and a few awkward moments. What’s interesting about it is that the leads are older than normal romantic comedy leads, and it otherwise has the earmarks of a classic romp. Reviews have said it’s formulaic but charming. No US release date has been set as of now, but its rights have been acquired by a US distributor. Here’s the very brief blurb:

A divorced couple scheme to recover the retirement money that was stolen from them.

What other older romance movies do you love?

Wed
Apr 23 2014 4:30pm

Each 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 April 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:

How To Misbehave by Ruthie Knox is that rarest of birds for me - the small town contemporary romance that didn't set my teeth on edge.  Nice banter, a sheltered heroine who doesn't behave like ninny, a blue-collar hero, and a tornado employed as a “meet cute.”  I finished this sexy little novella and immediately wanted to drop everything and read all the Ruthie Knox I could get my hands on.

[And there's plenty to get your hands on...]

Wed
Apr 23 2014 2:00pm

Once More, My Darling RogueToday we're pleased to reveal the cover for Lorraine Heath's Once More, My Darling Rogue, the second book in her Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series. Of course there's a rogue—not to mention a heroine who is able to tame the irresistible scoundrel.

The Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series features the children from Lorraine's Scoundrels of St. James series, and as it turns out, the offspring are just as delightful as the parents. Here's the blurb:

They are England’s most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways…

Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can’t escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he’s not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning he realizes she doesn’t remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she’s his housekeeper-never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.

While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can’t be denied, regardless of consequences. So when her memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Once More, My Darling Rogue by Lorraine Heath, available August 26, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound

Wed
Apr 23 2014 12:30pm
Excerpt
Beth Kery

When enigmatic billionaire Ian Noble sets Lin the task of “taming” his brilliant yet half-savage brother Kam Reardon, she eagerly accepts. She’s more than curious about the solitary genius and everything she’s heard about him. During their electric first meeting, her fascination increases a hundredfold. Kam practically oozes raw sex appeal. Lin is interested...very interested. But does her intense attraction and willingness to go places with him she’s never gone before in the bedroom really have to do with Kam? Or is her carefully hidden desire to blame for wanting a man she knows she can never have?

An elusive outsider, Kam avoids intimacy, yet never shies away from satisfying his erotic appetites. But there’s something different about Lin—a reserve he’s anxious to break. She’s a woman he’s eager to take his time with… and possess completely. A sophisticated beauty like her would never want him anywhere but in bed, but he finds himself unable to resist her.

Immediately Lin’s smooth facade is undone by Kam’s overwhelming masculinity and by his irresistible erotic demands—a lesson in subjugation that leaves Lin confused, reeling, and open to things she never thought possible. Now, as the unpredictable nights between them grow darker, Lin and Kam are certain of only one thing: they’re made for each other.

Get a sneak peek of Beth Kery's Since I Saw You (available May 6, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a seleceted scene.

Lin had been sent here to make him more comfortable in this proposed venture, not judge his rustic ways. He hadn’t adapted to polite society at his biological father’s hypocritical urgings, he reminded himself, despite his mother’s pleas for him to do so. He didn’t change for any woman, either. His experience with Diana had proven that. He couldn’t alter who he was.

He wouldn’t.

“I understand from Ian that you appreciate art,” Lin said after they’d both finished their meal and lingered over their drinks.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Since I Saw You...]

Wed
Apr 23 2014 11:15am

Find your future faves with this delightfully convenient shopping list of romance novels coming out in May. 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 May 2014 Shopping List!
 
Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/SfR

[Check out the complete list!...]

Wed
Apr 23 2014 9:30am

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer CrusieJennifer Crusie has never been an especially prolific author and that’s even more true now. But each of her books sticks with me. I love the crazy plots, the zingy one-liners, the madcap escapades. Each of her books sits on my keeper shelf, waiting for me to pick them up and revisit those characters I know and love as well as old friends. And like old friends, Crusie’s books have taught me things, life lessons that I carry with me out into the real world.

Family Makes You Crazy

All of Crusie’s books are filled with family, which makes sense because family shapes us and makes us who we are, for better or worse. Family gives you your start in life and if you’re a Crusie character, they drive you up a wall. Min in Bet Me even goes so far as to give up butter to appease her mother. Rest assured, the book makes it clear what a horrible tragedy that is. In Welcome to Temptation, Sophie ties herself into knots to get her movie made while also trying to keep both her brother and sister from getting themselves arrested. She lies, cheats, steals, even risks the love of her life to protect her siblings. There is nothing that threatens your sanity like the people you love most in the world.

And then there is my own favorite Crusie, Faking It. Every single character in that book is bent, twisted somehow. Secret persona, criminal history, or simply scary needlepoint, they are all a bit, or a whole lot, left of center and I love every single one of them.

[“Sanity” is a relative term...]

Wed
Apr 23 2014 8:10am

It's been a few days, and Game of Thrones' viewers (including your Morning Coffee-er) are still talking about that scene in last Sunday's episode. Books can also inspire such fervent discussion and obsession, so we want to know—what's the longest time you've discussed or obsessed about an event in a book or series you've read?

What was it? Have you gotten over it yet?

Photo courtesy of Anne-Lise Heinrichs

Tue
Apr 22 2014 4:13pm

Temptation in Shadows by Gena ShowalterNow this is tempting! Today we're pleased to reveal the cover for Gena Showalter's Temptation in Shadows, a novella where the powerful hero runs across a heroine who's even more powerful than he is—resulting in plenty of temptation. Here's more about it:

Fall under the spell of Gena Showalter's paranormal suspense novella "Temptation in Shadows,” available for the first time as a standalone e-novella (originally released as part of THE BODYGUARD anthology).

Tall, lean, muscular—and definitely rough around the edges—Sean Walker is not your typical nightclub bodyguard. He’s a controller of shadows, able to wield darkness at will. But when a mysterious woman at the club turns out to have powers greater than his own, he has no choice but seduction…

Learn more or pre-order a copy of the Temptation in Shadows novella e-book by Gena Showalter, available June 17, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble

Tue
Apr 22 2014 2:00pm

Betting the Rainbow by Jodi ThomasWhen a romance author advances her hero and heroine towards a serious relationship, readers expect romance, physical scenes, conflict, and eventually a happily ever after. We are pleased that our couple has survived the gauntlet and reached Eden. But sometimes, the author decides to change things up. Maybe introduce more conflict to our lovers’ relationship. Make them continue to work toward their happily ever after.  As in real life, no relationship is stationary. It must continue to develop and grow or it will stagnate and eventually wither away and die.

Sometimes, though, the author takes a gamble and smashes the couple's happily ever after into a million pieces. That's when things get ugly.

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for books and series by Jodi Thomas, Kim Harrison, Lauren Dane, Heather Graham, Jennifer Estep, and Charlain Harris.

There are a few ways an author can break an established or assumed HEA. Cheating seems to be the number one reason, often using evidence of said betrayal in the form of a child. Jodi Thomas chooses this plot device in the latest release in her Harmony, Texas series, Betting the Rainbow.

[Expect the unexpected...]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 12:00pm

All Fired Up by Vivian Arend and Elle KennedyThe DreamMakers trilogy is a new collaboration from Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy. The series follows three ex-Rangers who have left the military and started a business not typical of what you would see men do.

“No joke. We own and operate a company called DreamMakers.”

She looked utterly fascinated. “You’re matchmakers?”

“No. No matchmaking. More like event planning,” Parker explained. “We plan extravagant dates and events for helpless boyfriends or husbands who don’t have the imagination to do it themselves.”

Parker, Dean, and Jack are approached by a man to set up the perfect date. When they sit down with the man they quickly realize he has no clue what his girlfriend likes, what her favorite color is, what flowers she likes or really anything about her. They don’t like the guy, but he is paying them, so they decide to do some recon to learn more about her.

When Parker joins her in the weekly yoga class, recon on Lynn Davidson takes a direction they never expect. Lynn is sexy and funny, and Parker wants her. He can’t figure out why she is with the douche planning the date, but he must rein in his desire because she is the girlfriend of a client.

[Yeah, we'll see how long that lasts...]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 9:30am

Bound to be a Groom by Megan MulryIt’s not every author who can make nearly every page sizzle with sexual tension when we’re talking about two characters, let alone four, but Megan Mulry more than pulls it off in her historical romance Bound to be a Groom, following on the heels of last year’s Bound to be a Bride. There’s not only numerous BDSM-themed sex scenes, but every one of them makes explicitly clear that these pairings aren’t just about momentary pleasures, but build toward a more lasting, expansive love. Mulry captures both the logistical and emotional challenges of balancing multiple relationships and desires.

The year is 1808, the place, Badajoz, Spain, and Anna and Pia know they have to escape their Spanish convent and find a way to be together. Their plan? Have Anna find work as a courtesan and earn enough to support them.

"Neither she nor Pia had any firsthand experience with men, of course, but they’d convinced themselves that if they could make each other shudder and beg, surely a brutish man would succumb to far less.”

[Love as a geometric exercise!...]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 8:15am

Romeo and Juliet are the most well-known people from feuding families to fall in love, but what about creatures who come from opposite feuding worlds?

Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, has two entities from worlds that have been at war with each other forever. Nobody even knew that Wreathers and Landfallians could have children with each other, but these two manage it.

Demons falling in love with angels, werewolves with vampires, witches with vampires, and so on. Which pairing is the most opposite?

Mon
Apr 21 2014 4:21pm

Game of Thrones Season 4 episode 3This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 3, “Breaker of Chains.” Enjoy!

If you'd told me before Episode 4.03 of Game of Thrones that neither Littlefinger re-enacting the plot of Lolita with Sansa nor a wildling telling a little boy that his mama and papa are about to be the main entree in a cannibal feast would be the most disturbing thing I would watch last night, I would definitely not have believed you!

We open in the immediate aftermath of Joffrey's death; after Dontos the Fool gets Sansa away from the disastrous Tyrell-Baratheon wedding, he delivers her to a rowboat, and from there to a ship shrouded in fog and creepiness, where we learn that Littlefinger knew that Joffrey would die, since he sent Dontos for Sansa. He proves that Dontos was only in it for the gold he'd get, since Littlefinger provided the family heirloom (the necklace) that Dontos gave Sansa. Now Pedofinger has Sansa all to himself because she too is in danger of her life for being unwittingly involved in the murder. Poor Sansa! I bet she never thought she’d look back to the good old days when Joffrey was showing her Ned’s head, huh? Littlefinger ties up a loose end by having someone shoot Dontos, because “Money buys a man's silence for a time, a bolt in the heart buys it forever.“

Meanwhile, Sansa’s sister Arya is still traveling with the Hound, when they encounter a farmer and his little daughter who makes a mean rabbit stew. Arya manages to get them in for a meal without any bloodshed, and the farmer even offers the Hound a job protecting him, his land, and his little daughter from marauding Freys. For a moment, it looks like the Hound will take the man up on his offer, but after finding out the farmer has a stash of silver coins, instead, the Hound hits the guy on the head and steals his money. When Arya yells at him about that, Sandor tells Arya that the farmer and his daughter will be dead before the winter. Which is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, really. Arya calls Sandor the biggest shit in the Seven Kingdoms (highly debatable, considering other things that happened in this episode) but follows him anyway.

[Could be worse, Arya—really...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 2:00pm

All Through the Night by Connie Brockway

“In a life singular for its lack of attachments, to become obsessed with two women at once was lunacy.”
—Connie Brockway
, All Through the Night

“There was no graceful way to collapse a bifurcated existence into a single, uncomplicated one.”
—Sherry Thomas, Beguiling the Beauty

Love triangles have become common in romantic fiction, though for some they're exciting, while for others a reason to throw the book at a wall. But there's one kind that's fun without all the baggage: the love triangle which is really between only two people. Whether the story lies in the realm of masks and disguises, or the secrets and suspense are hidden behind the anonymity of a computer screen, these plots gleefully complicate falling in love— both for the characters uncomfortably having feelings for two people at the same time, and for the characters who know the bizarre truth.

For the person in disguise, jealousy is a common, albeit perverse, reaction. In Jacquie D'Alessandro's The Bride Thief, the Earl of Wesley has a secret life rescuing women about to be forced into unwanted marriages. His dashing alter ego makes a strong impression on Samantha Briggeham, the woman his everyday self is trying to resist:

Needing to touch her, he reached out, took her hand, and entwined their fingers. Warmth eased up his arm at her touch, and it required a great deal of willpower not to simply yank her against him and consign his bloody conscience to the devil.

“Ever since my encounter with the Bride Thief,” she said softly, “I've been unable to suppress my need for adventure. It's as if he burst a dam inside me.”

He froze. “The Bride Thief? What has he to do with this?”

“He made me feel… alive. Made me realize how very much I wanted… things.”

[No need to resist—really!...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt
Mary Ann Rivers

Laugh by Mary Ann RiversDr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.

Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.

Get a sneak peek of Mary Ann Rivers's Laugh (available May 6, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Sam had thought about taking her to the dinner club in his neighborhood, but when he thought about the heavy leather booths and the cheesy pictures of Frank Sinatra all over the walls, he wasn’t sure. He had taken women there before and they seemed to wrinkle their noses at the old-fashioned surf-and turf menu. His dad had taken his mother there, trading date nights with Betty and her late husband, Marvin, and later, Sam had taken his homecoming and prom dates there, feeling important that he had the cash to cover the tab.

Nina was different though. He wanted to show her he could match up to her. Like Mike said, she was smart and had built an entire business herself. She knew a lot about food, too. What if she didn’t want to eat anything at a throwback dinner club? At her café, there were things like sweet potato gnocchi and cornmeal mush with field greens and candied pork belly. None of those were things he’d ever eaten before, but when he did, he’d thought about what it be like to eat things like that and listen to Nina boss around her employees forever, and ordered seconds.

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

Mon
Apr 21 2014 10:20am

Orphan Black Season 2 episode 1Orphan Black blew us away last year (you may have seen our Season 1 recaps during the hiatus?) with its riveting performances (led by Tatiana Maslany), brilliant storytelling, and intriguing romances (like Sarah/Paul and Cosima/Delphine). Now it's back for Season 2, and so are our weekly episode recaps. Buckle up—we have a feeling it's going to be quite the ride.

It’s raining in Cloneronto. In a full out panic, Sarah sprints down the sidewalk. She’s running so fast, it’s a struggle to keep her hoodie up to hide her face. Skidding to a stop under the awning of a diner, she pulls out the PinkMobile and dials Felix while chanting “pick up, pick up.” Alas, she gets his voicemail. “Leave it for Felix.” Heh. Sarah leaves a message. “Fee. Shit! Fee where are you? They took ‘em. They took Kira and Mrs. S.” Disconnecting, she’s looks to see where she is. She ducks into the conveniently empty diner. The big, bald bruiser of a cook takes one look at her soaking wet, ragged form in his doorway and immediately offers her of coffee. Sarah concedes that she’ll take tea instead. She slides into a booth and checks her lip, which is still bleeding from her fight with Helena. Pulling out the PinkMobile, she checks the short contact list: Alison, Beth, Cosima, Felix, Paul. She calls the first name on the list only to hear the three-toned ring of, “The number you have reached is not in service at this time.” Swearing, she goes down to contact three: Cosima. “The number you have reached is not in service at this time.” Now she frowns at the phone. Once is annoying; twice means something’s wrong. She clicks on the only name left to her and stares at it with frightened indecision for nearly a full minute. Steeling herself, she calls Paul…and her head nearly hits the table when she gets his voicemail. “Paul, what the hell is going on?! Did Rachel just take my family? I need you to call me now.”I’m a tad puzzled here since they were in the elevator together at the end of season one when she got the news from Cosima that they could not deal with the Dyad Institute. Based on that, I expected them to have made plans to meet up later when Sarah went home only for her to find Kira and Mrs. S. gone. Guess not.

[Where did everybody go?...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 9:30am

Home to Stay by Terri OsburnTerri Osburn
Home to Stay (Anchor Island)
Montlake / May 1, 2014 / $12.95 print, $4.99 digital

Willow Parsons’s two new best friends are getting married, putting her squarely on the sidelines of romance—which suits her just fine. After the nightmarish situation she escaped from, featuring the ultimate Mr. Wrong, she is more than happy to spend her days slinging drinks in Dempsey’s Bar & Grill, and her nights alone. But her Anchor Island refuge has just one catch: muscle-bound charmer Randy Navarro.

Everyone in town knows that Randy, owner of the local fitness club, is a giant teddy bear. Everyone, it seems, except for Willow. He’s convinced that her avoidance is more than just playing hard to get, and is determined to uncover the secrets that shadow her lovely eyes. But when old fears are dragged into the light, can Randy get Willow to stay and fight for their love…or will she take flight, leaving him and Anchor Island behind?

Home to Stay is a charming, romantic tale about following your heart to find where you belong.

Can I just say, I don’t think that there is a more appealing hero than the Teddy Bear type, especially if they are “large enough to deserve his own zip code” like Randy Navarro. Terri Osburn definitely got my attention when she wrote him into the story!

[Sometimes, bigger is better...]