<i>Shameless</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Shameless: Exclusive Excerpt Brynley Bush “Do any of those things turn you on?” <i>Hot & Bothered</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hot & Bothered: Exclusive Excerpt Liz Maverick Jack groaned, the passion of his kisses intensifying. <i>At His Service</i>: Exclusive Excerpt At His Service: Exclusive Excerpt Suzanne Rock She undid the top few buttons of her blouse, revealing the upper curve of her breasts. <i>Jaguar Pride</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Jaguar Pride: Exclusive Excerpt Terry Spear Seeing her super-manly partner with cubs stirs up some unexpected desires...
From The Blog
January 30, 2015
Best Reads of January 2015
Team H & H
January 29, 2015
Matchmakers of Unusual Kinds
Maggie Boyd
January 28, 2015
Cupcake Shops: A Romance Breeding Ground?
Candis Terry
January 23, 2015
Friday Beefcake: It's Sweater Weather
Team H & H
January 23, 2015
Karen Marie Moning Dishes on Fever Series and More!
Karen Marie Moning
Jan 30 2015 4:15pm

Life and Death: Women’s Fiction Best Bets for January 2015

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one
—Khalil Gibran

While not all of this month’s books deal with death, many do—whether it be facing death, still mourning the death of a love one, or discovering secrets after the death of a family member. It seems apropos that the books in the middle of winter speak of the bleak and sorrowful, but end on an upward note, as we move toward spring.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past?

After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

Strengths: Heartwarming, alluring premise, appealing characters, HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium
Thoughts: Taps into our greatest fantasies or beliefs—that our loved ones never leave us. They are just on a different plane, watching out for us, and guiding us.

[Loved ones, and great books, certainly don't ever leave us...]

Jan 30 2015 3:35pm

Romance News Roundup: Christina Dodd, Johanna Lindsey, and More!

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

Virtue Falls by Christina Dodd—Christina Dodd's 25th anniversary as a published author is this year (how did that happen?!), and to celebrate she's hosting a sweepstakes that no fan will want to miss, with prizes like an autographed copy of Virtue Falls and sets of the Governess Brides and Bella Terra series on the table. Visit Christina Dodd's Facebook page for all the details, and then stop by her site for a list of 10 points of wisdom she's picked up in her career. Want more Dodd? We've got you covered with reviews, excerpts, and guest posts.

—Deal #1: Erica Spindler's romantic suspense Justice for Sara is currently on sale for $2.99 in e-book at e-tailers including AmazonBarnes & Noble, and iBooks.*

—Deal Alert #2: Johanna Lindsey's historical Marriage Most Scandalous is marked down to $1.99 in e-book at e-tailers such as Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Amazon.*

[+Agent Carter speculation and 14 Shades of Blue...]

Jan 30 2015 2:45pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of January 2015

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 January 2015 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs via the Related Posts section at the bottom of the post):

Jessica Moro:

Audible and I finally worked through relationship woes and are on to greener pastures. I can't choose between these two but, I “read” both on audible. You by Caroline Kepnes and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty were phenomenal! You is a sick, twisted psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. Big Little Lies reminded me of Desperate Housewives. It also had suspense and mystery elements to it too. I highly recommend both.

Maggie Boyd:

My “best of” for January 2015 is Tami Hoag's Cold Cold Heart. It's not a romance suspense novel in the traditional sense but there is a definite hint of a relationship between the two main characters as the story builds. It's also an excellent suspense novel with a kick a$$ heroine. It kept me tied to the page from beginning to end.

[Sign of a good book!]

Jan 30 2015 2:05pm

Cover Reveal: Opal Carew’s Hard Ride Serial!

Cover banner for Hard Ride serial by Opal CarewWhy reveal one sexy cover when you can reveal three?! Today, Heroes and Heartbreakers is pleased to share with you the crushworthy covers for Opal Carew's next erotic serial novel, Hard Ride.

Curious? How could you not be! Allow us to share more about the novel:

Liv never expected to find herself trapped in an alley facing a band of rough bikers. And she certainly never expected to see him again...

When Shock encounters an old flame in a dark alley, it sends him spiraling. Still as beautiful as ever, he's enraged that Liv seems to have fallen on hard times since college. But more than that, he's concerned about the risks she seems to take. In order to keep her safe and finally have her for himself, he makes a sensual deal: his help for her complete submission. But will Liv be able to let go of the past and fall for the hard rider?

Eager to get started? Hard Ride will first be available as a three-part serial beginning April 7, 2015. If you prefer to read in one sitting, a bindup collection containing all three parts will be available on June 30, 2015.

[Pull back the curtain to see all three covers...]

Jan 30 2015 1:00pm

No Second Fiddles: Secondary Characters in J.D. Robb’s Vengeance in Death

Vengeance in Death by J.D. RobbThis week, H&H celebrates the forthcoming release of the fortieth (!!!) book in J.D. Robb's In Death seriesObsession in Death. As part of the celebration, we're taking an in-depth look at the sixth book in the series, Vengeance in Death. To join the discussion on Twitter, use the hashtag#obsessedwithindeath. And be sure to check out posts from fellow romance blogs Romance at Random and, next week, Smexy Books for more re-read fun.

Check out our first post discussing Eve and Roarke's relationship and then find out about Roarke's dark past.

One of the things that keeps us coming back (and back and back) to the In Death series is the secondary characters. While the brightness of the ever-evolving Eve/Roarke relationship is at the center of the series, orbiting around them are a rich and varied cast of characters who also grow and change and are just as vital.

[In Death we trust!]

Jan 30 2015 12:00pm

Shameless: Exclusive Excerpt

Brynley Bush

Shameless by Brynley Bush

Sheltered good girl Victoria Raine has always wanted to be a little bad.  Tired of living life safely on the sidelines, she summons the courage to forge a new path for herself and applies to the FBI, looking for adventure and something to fulfill her vague longing for something…more. She gets more than she bargained for with her first undercover assignment—posing as the girlfriend of country music’s bad boy, Drake Maddox, a lone wolf with a reputation for having singularly erotic tastes.  Hoping to catch a serial killer that’s targeting women close to Drake, Tori’s job is to convince the public, and the killer, that she and the wickedly handsome superstar are an item.

Although their relationship is a sham, there’s nothing fake about the hidden desires the sexy as sin cowboy awakens in Tori.  As the killer draws closer, Tori finds herself falling for the one man she can’t have.

Get a sneak peek of Brynley Bush's Shameless (available February 11, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“For the first time in my life, I’m regretting having a truck,” Drake says a little bit later as we drive toward downtown.

“Really? Why?”

“You look far too beautiful to be taken out on a date in a truck.  I should have rented a limousine.”

“I’m starting to kind of like your truck,” I say, sliding across the bench seat until my hip is pressed next to his. He smiles at me, deliberately placing his hand on my bare thigh.

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

Jan 30 2015 11:20am

Scandal 4x10 Heart-to-Heart: Liv-ing La Vida Loca

Liv gets taken in Scandal 4x10Show/Episode: Scandal Season 4, Episode 10, “Run”
Ships: Olivia/Fitz, Olivia/Jake, Liv/Liv (a girl's gotta depend on herself, this episode!)

Scandal 4x10 Captain's Log**Reader Beware: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of Scandal, including last night's, “Run.”**

It’s been a long cold winter as we sat and waited for the return of Scandal. When we last left off Liv had just declared to Jake over wine and Stevie Wonder that she was choosing Fitz and Vermont AND walking in the sun with Jake but over all that she was choosing herself. Huh? Ok then. Let’s dance about it.

This episode picks up where the last left off with Liv and Jake were cutting it up on her makeshift dancefloor and about to make love on her piano when Liv sends Jake for blankets and a pillow. During Jakes brief run to the bedroom someone, in cahoots with VP Andrew who is unveiling his evilness to Fitz, slips into the apartment and grabs Liv.

We get Liv’s capture from all possible angles and we even get a super slow motion recap of it that shows the masked culprits didn’t actually run off with Liv as was originally thought but instead they grabbed her and pulled her into the apartment of the neighbor across the hall. Pretty slick move kidnappers.

[We don't approve of your slick moves, though!]

Jan 30 2015 9:30am

First Look: Cara McKenna’s Give It All (Feb 3, 2015)

Give it All by Cara McKennaCara McKenna
Give it All (Desert Dogs)
Signet / February 3, 2015 / $7.99 print, digital

Bar owner Raina Harper can’t say for sure what Duncan Welch is to her. With her small Nevada town under siege by a ruthless casino development and still reeling from a spate of murders, she knows that trusting the public face of the corporate invaders is risky to say the least. Though, damn, it’s one fine-looking face.…

Duncan may be a mercenary when it comes to getting the job done, but he’s no villain. In fact, the calculating fixer soon finds himself in the bad guys’ crosshairs, framed and facing professional ruin. To clear his name, he’ll need help from Raina and her roughneck motorcycle club, the Desert Dogs. Gaining their trust won’t be easy, and the molten sexual tension between Raina and Duncan only makes things more complicated—especially since Miah Church, Raina’s friend and ex-lover, would sooner strangle Duncan than shake his hand.

One thing’s certain, though: If they don’t deal with their incendiary attraction soon, the whole damn town might go up in flames.…

The appeal of Cara McKenna’s heroes is that they don't hew to the usual romance hero model. They aren’t always model GQ handsome or uber rich. They aren’t happy go lucky individuals. Often dark and broody with a gritty past, they offer no excuses for their actions. They do what needs to be done and will maybe ask for forgiveness afterwards but don’t hold your breath. Yet even with all the warning bells that go off in your head, there is something about them that makes you look twice. Besides the unbelievable sensual heat that rolls off them, promising you a night in heaven should you decide to dance with the devil, there is a trace of reluctant honor behind that gruff exterior. Their boundaries between right and wrong maybe be blurred but there is often a very good reason they walk in the gray area. They may not be your knight in shining armor but sometimes what a woman wants and needs are two very different things.

[Give us more!]

Jan 30 2015 8:10am

Do You Rewrite the Classics? Madame Bovary and Other Tragic Romantic Women

Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary has been adapted for the big screen, starring Mia Wasikowska and Ezra Miller. As many classic novels go, the heroine in the book has an eventual downfall (Anna Karenina? Tess of the D'Urbervilles?) because of a forbidden love.

As a romance reader, I find myself wanting to stop the movie halfway, when everyone is still happy, and pretend the second half didn't happen. Have you ever rewritten the ending to a classic book or movie to give the protagonists a Happy Ever After? If so, what titles, and what was your alternate ending? 

Jan 29 2015 6:05pm

New Year, New Beginnings: New Adult Best Bets for January 2015

Never Never by Colleen HooverThis month’s releases in New Adult bring us characters making some major decisions. Whether it be new relationships or changing the direction of old ones, they aren’t afraid to grab life by the horns to make it bigger and better. 

Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fischer collaborate on the novella, Never Never, the first in a new series. Never Never it sets up what is bound to be an epic mystery—I had questions going in and came out with even more. I can’t wait to see what these two cook up in the rest of the series.

One Night Stand by JS Cooper is about a quickie that was anything but that. Hilarity ensues when the guy that was supposed to be a fun hook up shows up in your living room and you realize he’s actually more than just a stranger.

Raze by Tillie Cole is a no holds barred tale of two twisted individuals. Kisa is the daughter of the head of a Russian crime mob, while the hero Raze has had to fight to survive or for almost his entire life. When Raze and Kisa meet, it’s explosive. A tale of survival, Raze and Kisa tell a dark, love story.

[Dark...Survival...Love? Sign us up!]

Jan 29 2015 5:15pm

Matchmakers of Unusual Kinds from Macomber, Evanovich, and More!

Daddy's Little Matchmakers by Kathleen Y'BarboMost of us have heard the song “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof: Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match/Find me a find/Catch me a catch. In this heartfelt ditty, a young woman is asking for help from a professional.

Romance novels have their fair share of matchmakers—people who aren’t necessarily professionals, but who are determined to find an HEA for a loved one at whatever the cost.  Some of these matchmakers stand out from the crowd. They aren’t just an interfering mama or a buttinsky grandma but ghosts, pets and children like to get involved in playing Cupid too. And some of them use unorthodox methods.  

Such as Ella, Hailey and Brooke Wilson from Kathleen Y’Barbo’s Daddy’s Little Matchmakers.  While child matchmakers certainly abound in romance, these three bring a unique twist. They may be in elementary school, but they know a desperate case of someone in need of romance when they see it and their dad certainly fits the bill. So they take out a classified ad:

[Spunky little things, aren't they?]

Jan 29 2015 4:43pm

Romance News Roundup: Bull Rider Heroes, The 100 Angst, and More!

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

A Family for the Bull Rider by Tina Leonard—Harlequin is partnering with bull-riding organization Professional Bull Riders (PBR) to launch a new series line, Harlequin Pro Bull Riders. First up they'll reissue four romances about bull-riding heroes from author Tina Leonard with new covers featuring real, live bull riders Harve Stewart (pictured in the cover on the right), Matt Triplett, Reese Cates, and Zane Lambert. The books will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart, so be on the lookout in May for A Family for the Bull Rider, Heart of a Bull Rider, One Wild Bull Rider, and The Bull Rider's Twins.

—Deal Alert: Colette Auclair's Thrown is currently $1.99 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. We ran a First Look review of Thrown in December 2013.

[+The 100 angst—and shirtlessness—ahead...]

Jan 29 2015 2:57pm

Cover Thursday: Exclusive Reveals from D.D. Ayres, Cat Devon, and Kimberly Raye!

Today we're thrilled to reveal the covers for books by D.D. Ayres, Cat Devon, and Kimberly Raye. These covers just have us thinking one thing: How do we buy tickets to the gun show?

See the amazingly hot covers and learn more about the books, below!

[Two tickets please...]

Jan 29 2015 2:49pm

Could Downton Abbey End After Season 6?

The cast of Downton Abbey Season 5It hasn't been officially confirmed, so we're taking this report with a grain of salt for now, but UK tabloid The Mirror claims it is an “open secret” that Downton Abbey will end after its sixth season to allow creator Julian Fellowes to concentrate on his next project, The Golden Age.

Several members of the cast were in Los Angeles, C.A., for the Screen Actors' Guild Awards last week, and were apparently taking meetings for their next roles.

There are a lot of loose ends to be tied up before Downton Abbey ends, however. Will Lady Mary remarry? Will Lady Edith get a happy ending? How about Bates and Anna? 

Even if this story's proven false, the show has to end sometimes, which makes us wonder: What loose end are you most curious about? Will you watch through to the very end of the series?

For more news as we hear it, stay tuned to our Downton Abbey Collection.

Jan 29 2015 1:30pm

First Look: Dawn Ryder’s Filthy Rich (February 3, 2015)

Filthy Rich by Dawn Ryder Dawn Ryder
Filthy Rich
Sourcebooks / February 3, 2015 / $13.99 print, $7.99 digital

Celeste Connor swore that she'd never be a victim again. After the hell of her abusive ex, the last thing she needs is to be under another man's thumb. But when she catches the eye of fiercely dominant Nartan Lupan at her best friend's wedding, Celeste finds herself drawn into a glittering world of wealth and power that has her body aching and her mind reeling.

Nartan is a filthy rich businessman who works hard, plays harder, and doesn't take no for an answer-and he wants Celeste with a hunger he's never before felt. He'll do whatever it takes to have her. But Nartan didn't expect that he'd want still more...

In Filthy Rich, Dawn Ryder writes about hot feuding alpha lovers. Filthy Rich's heroine, Celeste Connor, has had more than enough of dealing with powerful, wealthy men. Her rich ex-husband is currently in jail, but during their married life was abusive and controlling toward her. After that debacle, Celeste is taking back her life, working in a low key law practice that caters to military vets and she is an instructor and black belt in tae kwon do. But now Celeste has to survive her best friend’s wedding in Alaska while fighting her very primal attraction to the best man, Nartan Lupan. When Celeste first met powerful playboy Nartan she coldly rebuffed him, but everyone else in the room could feel their electricity. 

[Filthy hot, too!]

Jan 29 2015 12:15pm

Come On Baby Light My Fire: Erotic Romance Best Bets for January 2015

Under His Touch by Jeffe KennedyIn 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....

January might bring us harsh temperatures and cold blustery weather but there is nothing cold or harsh in the men and women who brave the unknown for their chance at happiness.

Under His Touch by Jeffe Kennedy

Amber Dolors knows better than to get involved with her boss. Devastatingly handsome in his sharp suits and sexy beyond belief, he possesses an air of command that fuels her darkest fantasies. But she's worked too hard to get this job, and keeping it will lead to a brilliant future. She won't cross that line—even if his way of giving orders and demanding her best performance gives her delicious warm shivers.

Alexander Knight prides himself on his integrity and self-discipline. After all, he hasn't risen to the position he enjoys by indulging his whims over ambition. He also isn't blind. He's certainly noticed his sharp, young assistant is hot as hell. His self-imposed sexual hermitage doesn't stop him from watching her. And endlessly fantasizing.

The day Alec's cool reserve cracks and Amber catches a glimpse of something simmering beneath his apparent indifference is the day everything between them changes. Alec gives her what she's been looking for sexually—as masterful in the bedroom as he is in the boardroom. He finds himself in the grip of an affair that tests even his boundaries, while Amber's new role as willing student pushes them both past any consideration other than mutual longing.

A tried and true trope blossoms under Jeffe Kennedy’s deft hand as she slowly builds the heat and passion between a young assistant and her seemingly indifferent boss. When the dam breaks, our lovers cling to one another, hoping to survive the onslaught of emotions that threatens to consume and destroy them both.

[Hold on tight!]

Jan 29 2015 10:45am

Arrow 3x11 Olicity Heart-to-Heart: Love Is a Dream?

Oliver and Felicity Arrow 3x11Show/Episode: Arrow 3x11, “Midnight City.”
Ship(s): Olicity (Oliver/Felcity)

Arrow 3x11 Captain's LogNote: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of Arrow, including last night's winter premiere Season 3, Episode 11, “Midnight City.”

This episode was a nice segue from last week. Laurel is trying to mete out justice in her sister’s name and Felicity is still obviously mired in grief. Roy comes to Laurel’s aid when she bites off a bit more than she can chew with a bad guy and proceeds to give her a tongue lashing. Then Dig takes over and lashes her some more. She really got it from both barrels during this episode but I think it was deserved, for the most part. Laurel’s made some bad choices this season. Wanting to do good isn’t one of them. Lying to her father, well. I’ll get to that in a bit.

The most important thing is that the episode began with Oliver dreaming as he recuperated in the mountain cabin. He dreamed an alternate outcome to his discussion with Felicity that we saw towards the end of 3x09, where he said goodbye to her and that he loved her. This time, however, he told her that he was going to stay instead of going off to fight Ra’s. The love declaration was still there and then…he kissed her. Honest to god. Actually, it was more of a 90/10, like we saw in the deleted mansion kiss from 2x23 (for more reference on the 90/10, go rent the movie Hitch). But they were both happy and smiling and I swear to god, dream or not, that’s the first time we saw a happy Olicity kiss and I found I’m super thirsty for more. Get on that, Arrow writers.

[Yes, we want more of that...]

Jan 29 2015 9:30am

First Look: Sierra Kincade’s The Distraction (February 3, 2015)

The Distraction by Sierra KincadeSierra Kincade
The Distraction (The Body Work Trilogy #2)
Berkley / February 3, 2015 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

The seductive story that started in The Masseuse continues...

Anna Rossi knows that opening your heart only gets you hurt. But Alec Flynn is just too good to resist…

It’s been three long months since Anna’s seen Alec, since he saved her life and lit up her soul with unquenchable desire. Being without him has left her on edge, but his bravery has motivated her to change her life and go after what she’s always wanted—a job where she can help people. She can’t wait to show Alec the woman she’s become in his absence, or to prove how much she’s missed him…

Three months away has done nothing to slake Alec’s need for Anna. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made his life any less dangerous. The last thing he wants to do is hurt Anna, but if giving her up is the only way to save her, he’s not sure he can do that either. He’s determined to have her for as long as he can. Except his past is creeping up on him faster than he knows, and this time he may not be able to keep her from becoming collateral damage… 

Sierra Kincade's The Distraction picks up with Anna and Alec three months later after Alec’s release from prison. This second installment provides us with more character development, with a chance to become more invested in the longevity and sustainability of their relationship. When Alec and Anna resume their intimacy, issues of trust and anxiety from Anna’s recent traumatic past arise, forcing the couple to take their communication to a deeper level. This is evident when we see the couple working through Anna’s trauma from her kidnapping and attempted murder.

[Definitely distractions!]

Jan 29 2015 8:23am

Throwback Thursday: What Was Your First Cabin Romance?

Hummingbird by LaVyrle SpencerEarlier this week, Team H&H had a snow day, which reminded us of cabin romances, where the hero and heroine get stuck together, usually because of inclement weather. It's often used in historical romances, where it's otherwise difficult to maneuver the hero and heroine together alone because of propriety.

Some readers adore cabin romances, because the forced time together means an escalation of the romantic relationship. 

Chances are you've read at least one cabin romance—what was your first? 

Jan 28 2015 4:30pm

Vengeance Is Roarke: Roarke’s Dark Past in Vengeance in Death

Vengeance in Death by J.D. RobbThis week, H&H celebrates the forthcoming release of the fortieth (!!!) book in J.D. Robb's In Death seriesObsession in Death. As part of the celebration, we're taking an in-depth look at the sixth book in the series, Vengeance in Death. To join the discussion on Twitter, use the hashtag #obsessedwithindeath. And be sure to check out posts from fellow romance blogs Romance at Random and, next week, Smexy Books for more re-read fun.

Check out our first post discussing Eve and Roarke's relationship.

In the course of J.D. Robb's In Death series, we have learned that Roarke grew up on the mean streets of Dublin, forced to pick pockets for his abusive father. In fact, he started his vast empire of Roarke Industries with the monies from criminal dealing on the far side of law. Roarke was still indulging in some of those shady dealings until he met Eve. There will always be a bit of the Dublin street rat lurking behind the polished businessman.

[Eve gets Roarke's Irish up!]