<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! <i>Marked</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Marked: Exclusive Excerpt Rebecca Zanetti "Heat pooled at the apex of her legs, stunning her with need..."
From The Blog
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
December 18, 2014
Happy Parental Pairs in Historical Romance
Janga
Mon
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!]

Mon
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!]

Mon
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!]

Mon
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!]

Mon
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.

Sun
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...]

Sat
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!]

Sun
Dec 21 2014 10:00am
Excerpt

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...]

Fri
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...]

Fri
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!

Fri
Dec 19 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

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...]

Fri
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...]

Fri
Dec 19 2014 8:10am

What Very Fictitious Person Do You Have the Most Feelings About?

It's a darn good question. Thanks, Darynda Jones!

Who do you have the most feelings about? 

Thu
Dec 18 2014 4:30pm

I Dream of Genies in Romance Novels from Showalter, Cassidy, and More!

Ever since I saw the television series I Dream of Jeannie on Nick at Night, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of someone having the ability to grant wishes. Luckily for romance readers, there are plenty of genie or djinn romances to choose from.

Heather Demetrios's Exquisite Captive is a recent Young Adult title that tells the story of Nalia, a young jinni who was owned by Malek and is offered freedom by the mysterious Raif, a leader of a revolution. Part mysticism and part young adult glamour, readers will enjoy being brought back and forth between Nalia’s former life as a captive and her current life as a free-spirited young woman deciding life on her own terms.

Before there was On Dublin Street, Samantha Young published Smokeless Fire, part of the Fire Spirits series. The book follows a young girl’s entrance into a complicated struggle between multiple factions, all the while dealing with a broken friendship and a complex love interest.

[It's like a magical boss-secretary trope...]

Thu
Dec 18 2014 3:42pm

Romance News Roundup: Reader Problems, The Americans, and More

Afternoon Tea bannerWelcome 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.

—A reader's life is tough! Or so this BuzzFeed video “Problems Every Book Lover Will Understand” says, anyway. Can you relate? (For more fun, don't miss author Sugar Jamison's “You Know You're a Reader When...” at H&H)

—Here's our first sneak peek at Orphan Black Season 3:

—Twitter Challenge! Will you accept? On Twitter, Megan asks, what are the lines that have made you swoon in romance novels this year? Share your favorite quote with us, and make sure to use #BestRomBksLines2014 so that we can spot it!

—This poster for The Americans Season 3 is top-notch! (Find out why we adore  Cold War-set TV drama The Americans and especially the messed-up yet totally solid Philip/Elizabeth marriage here.)

[Read on for the poster and an editor's note...]

Thu
Dec 18 2014 1:30pm

Alive and Well: Living, Happy Parental Pairs in Historical Romance from Beverley, Chase, and More!

Devil's Club by Georgette HeyerEven in historical romance fiction, with its near mandatory promise of happily ever after for the hero and heroine and the new family they create, families that are not split by death, divorce, or abandonment are the exception when it comes to the backgrounds of the novel’s lead characters.

The dead or absent parent, the domineering mother, and the indifferent, controlling, or outright abusive father—all are staples in historical romance, and far more common than parents who are more or less happy together and pleased to be caring, responsible parents. Among Georgette Heyer’s most popular romance titles, for example, only Devil’s Cub and Arabella include two living parents, and only the latter offers detailed domestic scenes that reveal a close and loving, albeit imperfect, family.

Few romance authors choose to follow the example Heyer set in Arabella. One of the few who does so is Loretta Chase who opens her Carsington series with a prologue to Miss Wonderful (2004) that features the Earl of Hargate and his countess, an unusual aristocratic couple who share a bedroom, a bed, and conversation about their sons. Although the focus of their concern in this particular scene is Alistair, their third-born son and hero of the novel, the context suggests that such conversations are the norm for these characters. Indeed, Lady Hargate alludes to another conversation about Alistair that, like the current one, indicates that the Hargates understand their sons and care about their happiness, an impression that is confirmed in Mr. Impossible (2005), Lord Perfect (2006), and Not Quite a Lady (2007).

[First impressions are usually the right ones...]

Thu
Dec 18 2014 11:52am

Saying Goodbye to The Hobbit: Thorin and Bilbo, Kili and Tauriel

I feel as though I could provide a hundred different quotes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s works that all convey the same message, the one of letting go. Which, as true to Tolkien as can be, itself is a phrase jam-packed with meaning. It can mean a temporary parting, it could be saying good-bye for the very final time. Just as Gandalf was once infamously good morning-ed by a particularly sassy hobbit on a fine spring day, we must now say goodbye to all of our friends.

It was a bitter thing, staying so long. It felt uncomfortable. Not just because this was the last time we’d get to see our favorites and marvel at how they are brought to life, but because this was the note we went out on. A movie that feels bloated. An intentional grab at more money by unnecessarily prolonging a franchise. The Middle Earth I know, the one I saw on screen for the first time so long ago, that one deserves better. So, from here on out, only the good. Come, let us return to Erebor...

[There and back again, of course]

Thu
Dec 18 2014 9:30am

First Look: Elizabeth Camden’s Beyond All Dreams (December 30, 2014)

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth CamdenElizabeth Camden
Beyond All Dreams
Bethany House / December 30, 2014 / $14.99 print, digital

Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. She is thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, but her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen until his promising career became shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship.

Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol, where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for themselves?

We’ve all heard before that opposites attract. That is certainly the case for Luke and Anna from Elizabeth Camden’s Beyond All Dreams. On the surface, there is nothing that should draw them together. But just beneath the surface they find that the other is everything they need in a partner.

[Dream big!]

Thu
Dec 18 2014 8:28am

Throwback Thursday: What Was Your First Holiday Romance?

We love holiday romances! 

 

You might've read a traditional Regency romance holiday story, a paranormal holiday novella, an erotic tale, or a sweet contemporary—as long as there's mistletoe and smooching, it's perfect for this time of year.

So we want to know—what's the first holiday romance you recall?

Wed
Dec 17 2014 5:00pm

The Best Kind of Trouble: The Top Books in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters Series

Out of the Control by Suzanne BrockmannIt has been fourteen years since Suzanne Brockmann's first Troubleshooters novel, The Unsung Hero, was published and I can still pick up almost any of the sixteen full-length novels and enjoy every thrilling, nail biting moment.

In the series, Brockmann created a rich world full of FBI counterterrorism agents and Navy SEALS that was more than simple romantic suspense; her heroes and heroines were complicated and three dimensional, human, kick-ass, and sometimes gay. You know, like the real world. Brockmann includes hours of military history and indulgent side stories, in fact, this series spawned one of my favorite couples in romantic literature: Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke. The Troubleshooters were like your friends, except with really dangerous jobs; they even make regrettable choices that usually start with alcohol just like us! The only difference is that they could possibly wake up in the morning (despite the hangover) and save the world, the President, or small country from exploding. Seriously, the Troubleshooters series is in the top among my favorite series, and here are my top 10 Troubleshooters books to help explain why.

1. Out of Control (TS#4)- SEAL Ken “WildCard” Karmody gets hooked into taking rich girl Savannah von Hopf into the jungle to pay a ransom for her uncle. Their adventures lead them to Molly and Jones, another ridiculously hot couple; she is an older and curvy aid worker, he is a sexy, mysterious pirate. There is just enough Alyssa/Sam to make you cry.

[So a full range of emotion, it sounds like...]