<i>Ruptured</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Ruptured: Exclusive Excerpt Maggie Mae Gallagher "He said my name like a benediction..." <i>Misbehavior</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Misbehavior: Exclusive Excerpt Kathryn Kelly She's about to have the ride of her life... <i>Firebug</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Firebug: Exclusive Excerpt Lish McBride "I tried my best not to admire my friend as he stripped..." <i>Love on the Boardwalk</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Love on the Boardwalk: Exclusive Excerpt Christi Barth "Then she moaned as his tongue tangled with hers..."
From The Blog
September 16, 2014
5 Classic Secondary Couples
Willa aka willaful
September 16, 2014
Authors as Romance Heroines
Regina Kyle
September 15, 2014
Karen Marie Moning's Burned News!
Team H & H
September 15, 2014
Trailer for Mockingjay Part 1 Released!
Team H & H
September 12, 2014
Friday Beefcake: A Venti Hottie, Please!
Team H & H
Tue
Sep 16 2014 4:30pm

Concluding the Kerr Chronicles in Jen Frederick’s Taking Control

Jen Frederick’s Hitman and Woodland are sweetly complicated romances that deal with serious subjects matters, using dialogue and dynamic characterization to build rich character based stories that engage the reader to the end. Though dramatic at times with alpha heroes whose need to protect their heroines often causes them to cross some boundaries, Frederick’s keeps her checks in balance, never allowing the hero to go so far as to alienate the heroine nor the reader. A faint new adult tone permeates the stories, giving us that “first love” attraction feeling without the over the top emotional reactions that are common in this genre.

Taking Control is the second book in Jen Frederick’s Kerr Chronicles, an erotic romance series that began with Losing Control, which introduced us to our protagonists and was told from the heroine’s point of view and wraps up the main storyline in book two from the viewpoint of the hero. Though a common enough trope—rich emotionally stunted billionaire finds true love in an economically stymied virgin with a dubious past—Frederick’s twists and tweaks her characters in order to elevate some of the preconceived notions that often accompany said trope.

[Let's put that trope on its head...]

Tue
Sep 16 2014 3:00pm

5 Classic Secondary Couples from SEP, Kleypas, Brockmann, and More!

Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsSecondary couples are often an opportunity for authors to take interesting risks; consequently, they're sometimes more memorable than the primary couple. Here are five secondary couples that have stood out from the crowd.

5) Dexter/Victoria —  Secondary romances are one of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's trademarks and it's hard to choose just one. But years before geeks were an in thing, she created Dexter O'Connor in Lady Be Good, “a rather disheveled man in his early thirties wearing chinos, a rumpled blue oxford cloth shirt, and wire-rimmed glasses,” who is also described as “the biggest nerd in Wynette, Texas.” Victoria Traveler is resisting her father's efforts to force her to marry Dexter, but she gradually discovers his careful, precise attitude has its benefits:

As the minutes ticked by, she discovered new things about Dex. He liked to inspect everything. Thoroughly. To evaluate, measure, and caress. And his curiosity seemed just about insatiable.

There's a bit of a dominance/submission edge to the pairing of contrary, defiant Tori with the firm and straitlaced Dex—there's even an old skool spanking scene!—which plays a little oddly today, when such relationships are much more openly drawn in romance. But Dexter remains delightful.

And he’s—I mean, for all his faults, any fool can see that he’ll be a good father. Except when it comes to sports, but I figure between you and me, we can make up for his shortcomings in that department. And then there’s . . . there’s just something about him.” She gave an uncomfortable shrug, clearly wanting to put an end to the conversation. “Something sweet and . . . Oh, I don’t know.”

“Your sister’s fallen in love with me,” Dex said, in case Kenny had missed the point.

[+ 4 more scene-stealing secondary couples...]

Tue
Sep 16 2014 2:00pm

Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals from Jaci Burton and Suzanne Rock!

Today's Cover Tuesday offers two authors and eight covers (you do the math—we're busy gawking!). Both of today's spotlighted reveals have worlds colliding, as hotel magnates hook up with housekeeping managers and motorcycle dudes run into sexy socialites. Check out the covers for Suzanne Rock's At His Service serial, parts 1-4, and the brand-new covers for Jaci Burton's soon-to-be-reissued Wild Riders series.

[See all EIGHT (!!!) sexy new covers...]

Tue
Sep 16 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Ruptured: Exclusive Excerpt

Maggie Mae Gallagher

Ruptured by Maggie Mae Gallagher

It has been eighty-three years since the walls between Earth and Infernus fell, and now our world stands upon the razor’s edge of extinction. Demon platoons are marching upon us. My home, one of humanity’s last bastions of existence, is under siege.

My name is Alana Devereaux. I am the resident demon detector of Cantati Forces and Platoon Commander. My job is to hunt down the vermin unleashed upon my world, and I love it. I live for the day I can kick every last demon’s ass out of this world. Except as enemy forces reign down terror upon us, the Densare Council sentences me to a fate worse than death.

Get a sneak peek of Maggie Mae Gallagher's Ruptured (available September 25, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Clank, clank, clank.

My hand rapped against metal, and the invisible chains around me tightened. The door swung inward. Cade stood there, in all his six-foot-four glory, the white army-issue T-shirt stretched across a mountain of muscles. An inky black tribal tattoo started at his left elbow and disappeared under the strained confines of his shirt. His face had been carved from stone, all sharp angles and planes, his head shaved clean of hair save for the stubble of the goatee lining his angular jaw. His nose was no longer straight from a couple of breaks and sat slightly crooked on his otherwise handsome face. His eyes were liquid pools of darkness as they assessed me.

“Come in, Alana.” He said my name like a benediction. It’s not like men had a ton of opportunities for sex, not with the limited numbers of available females. Would he want to start right away or would he give me time? Not that it mattered—the Council had just presented me to Cade like an offering to a god.

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

Tue
Sep 16 2014 10:30am

The Write Stuff: Authors as Romance Heroines

Today we're joined by author Regina Kyle, whose Triple Threat is out today! Triple Threat's heroine, Holly, is a playwright, and she's finally gotten her chance to write a play that will show on Broadway. Regina is here to talk about authors as romance heroines, and what makes these ladies have all the Write Stuff. Thanks, Regina!

We talk a lot about hero professions. Millionaire vs. cowboy. Firefighter or movie star. Sports hero or military man. But what about the heroines? I mean, they gotta do something other than stand around looking pretty, right?
In Triple Threat, my heroine, Holly, is a writer, a playwright, to be specific. Why did I choose a playwright as a heroine? Well, because I’m a writer, duh. It’s easy (or at least easier) for me to get in the mind of someone with the same profession. And I’m a theater geek, so making her a playwright as opposed to, say, a writer of dystopian steampunk novels seemed natural for me.

But over and above the obvious reasons why I chose to write about a writer, there’s something about author heroines that makes them appealing. They’re smart. And quick-witted. And oh, so imaginative. They can be mousy and reclusive, hiding behind their laptops like Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, or take-charge and confident.

Romance writers are popular as heroines. Take Piper in Robin Covington’s Playing the Part. She’s hired to help Mick Blackwell, the hero in the film adaptation of her latest novel, nail the emotionally charged love scenes. She’s lost her writing mojo since her famous fiancé cheated on her, leading to a very public meltdown. It’s an interesting take on writer’s block, seeing Piper get her groove back by working with Mick, both on and off screen.

[Write here, write now...]

Tue
Sep 16 2014 8:37am

Quick-to-Calm Wives = Happier Marriages?

Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale

Confirming a wife's role as caretaker in a marriage, a study discussed in HealthDay says that a marriage's success depends on the wife's ability to calm down after an argument—whereas it doesn't seem to matter at if the husband is able to calm down (how unfair is that?)

“Emotions such as anger and contempt can seem very threatening for couples,[one of the study's authors says]...But our study suggests that if spouses — especially wives — are able to calm themselves, their marriages can continue to thrive.”

The study spoke to approximately eighty heterosexual couples recovering from recent conflict. 

Are you the calmer one in your marriage? 

Mon
Sep 15 2014 4:30pm

Beta Heroes: Ten Contemporary Romance Heroes Who Show Us That Good = Hot.

**Spoilers! This post may cause a minor to severe reaction to spoilers from books featuring the top contemporary beta heroes—but don't worry, these guys will nurse you back to health.**

I can’t help it. I swoon for the good guy, the guy who even though he’s the right choice for me—ahem, I mean for the heroine, of course—he still makes mistakes along the way that keep us from getting our happily ever after too early in the book. Good does not equal perfect. Perfect is boring. But give me a flawed good guy, the one who has the right stuff but stumbles along with the heroine to get the place where my heart swells and I can’t stop smiling, and I’m a goner.

There are so many good guys in romance, and there’s no way I can cover them all. That’s why I’m going to narrow the focus to the mostly the youngins, the YA and NA nice guy heroes (with a couple of full-fledged grown-ups sprinkled in), because despite not being a YA or NA myself, these are some of my favorite books to read. It’s all about firsts in YA, first love with the guy you wish existed when you went to high school. And in NA, it’s that emerging adult first. Sure some high school relationships last until “I do,” but it’s really in the NA years that we start to really consider the idea of forever. So, who are some of my favorite wish-they-were-my-first-love betas? Read on to find out with the fine print being, DON’T READ ABOUT BOOKS YOU HAVEN’T READ IN CASEOF SPOILERS. Okay, maybe that print is not so fine, but you get the gist.

[Who are we getting introduced to first?]

Mon
Sep 15 2014 3:59pm

Karen Marie Moning Shares Cover Copy for Burned!

Burned by Karen Marie Moning

Today on her Facebook page, Karen Marie Moning shared the cover copy for Burned, the seventh book set in the Fever series. Moning says that both Dani and Mac are protagonists in Burned. Here's the blurb:

It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.

MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.

When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed. Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil gets blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Burned by Karen Marie Moning, out January 20, 2015:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound

Mon
Sep 15 2014 3:39pm

Sylvia Day Releases New Excerpt from Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)!

Captivated by You by Sylvia DayGetting ready for the November 18th release, Sylvia Day has just posted a new excerpt from Captivated by You, the fourth book in the Crossfire series.

Gideon hadn’t called. Hadn’t sent me a text after the flirtatious one promising me a steamy night. Hadn’t come to me, even if only to sleep next door. Gideon didn’t like being away from me.

Except when he was hurting. And ashamed.

The elevator doors slid open and pounding, screaming heavy metal music poured in. I cringed and covered my ears, the volume of the ceiling-mounted speakers so loud it hurt to hear them.

Pain. Fury. The raging violence of the music crashed over me. I ached deep in my chest. I knew. I understood. The song was an audible manifestation of what Gideon felt inside himself and couldn’t let out.

He was too controlled. Contained. His emotions so tightly leashed, along with his memories.

Read the rest at Sylvia Day's website.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Captivated by You, out November 18, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble

 

Mon
Sep 15 2014 2:00pm

Beyond Darkness and Angst: The “New” New Adult

Make It Count by Megan EricksonNew Adult bestseller lists seem to be crowded with books that deal with everything angst.  There are the books about death, the books about assault, the books about broken pasts and broken presents.  There are books about looming, clouded secrets that prevent people from ever having good relationships until “that person” comes along.

But New Adult is so much more than the traumatic past and the dark alpha-male hero.  New Adult can be fun and comedic, too.

Fun New Adult exists, and it’s a story style that is growing in popularity as New Adult books are picked up by different publishers.  It’s also a story style that provides a relief for those that are tired of all of the emotion brought on by dark “realistic” stories that rely heavily on trauma to create character narratives.  These light New Adult books still tackle important character arcs, but they’ll leave you laughing instead of crying, which makes all the difference. 

Make it Count by Megan Erikson

I chose this book as my Best-Of for June here on Heroes and Heartbreakers.  Erikson’s debut New Adult novel is the first in a series about Bowler University.  It features a serious (and nerdy) hero and a determined (but playful) heroine.  The book deals with some heavier issues such as the struggle of living with a learning disability that goes unnoticed in the public school system, but it deals with them in an atmosphere that is humorous rather than sad. 

[Got to laugh to keep from crying!]

Mon
Sep 15 2014 12:18pm

Trailer for Mockingjay Part 1 Released!

A new trailer for Mockingjay Part 1, the third movie in the Hunger Games quartet of films, has just been released. The trailer shows just what Katniss is up against, even though she's an unwilling heroine (“I just wanted to save my sister”).

Mockingjay Part 1 will be release November 21, 2014.

Mon
Sep 15 2014 11:04am

Outlander Season 1, Episode 6: Black Jack’s Black Soul

Claire and Jamie in OutlanderClaire Randall's adventure continues in the first season of what is sure to be a long-running series on Starz based on the beloved historical fiction/fantasy/romance series by Diana Gabaldon, and we are so ready to recap and then discuss every single moment of it.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Outlander, including Saturday night's Season 1, Episode 6, “The Garrison Commander.” Enjoy!

When last we left Claire, she had a big question to answer; was she with the MacKenzies of her own free will? This week, she tells Lieutenant Foster she is a guest of the Clan MacKenzie. All well and good, but Brigadier General Lord Thomas wants to speak with her anyway. If Claire goes, Dougal goes, so it’s off to see the wizard…er, general.

Even though the Redcoats are the enemies of the Highlanders, they’re still the British army Claire served with, and it’s good to be looked on with sympathy rather than suspicion. For Dougal, it’s the other way around. They may still be on MacKenzie land, but with the occupying Redcoats, he’s in enemy territory, and he is the outlander here.

[Uh oh...]

Mon
Sep 15 2014 9:30am

First Look: Anne Calhoun’s Afternoon Delight (September 16, 2014)

Afternoon Delight by Anne CalhounAnne Calhoun
Afternoon Delight
InterMix / September 16, 2014 / $3.99 digital

Sarah McCall, food truck co-owner and recent Manhattan transplant, savors each moment of her new job—whether it’s refining the truck's menu, learning the city, or spending afternoons in bed with the hot paramedic who's fast becoming her favorite customer.

Tim Cannon spends his days sprinting from one emergency to the next. He eats like he works—at top speed—somewhere along the line he lost his ability to enjoy life's simple pleasures. Hooking up with Sarah is just another way to cope with the stress of his job, until their afternoon trysts coax Tim into enjoying everything he's avoided. Can Tim learn to balance his job saving lives with the everyday delights that make life worth living? If anyone can teach him, it’s Sarah….

As a general rule, I’m a Black Keys, White Stripes, rock'n'roll kind of woman. But I found myself grinning ridiculously and humming the Starlight Vocal Band’s perennial favorite, “Afternoon Delight,” while reading Anne Calhoun’s enjoyable novella of the same title.

[Sky rockets in flight!]

Mon
Sep 15 2014 8:28am

Does Everyone Always ’Ship?

The Heroes and Heartbreakers staff had an interesting conversation pertaining to the return of Shipping Sunday. One of us said that most people don't 'ship relationships, that they accept what the scriptwriters write for the characters, and that we, as romance fans, are unusual in wanting this or that couple to get together.

That astonished others among us. Surely, everyone 'ships, whether or not they are a romance fan. 

So what do you think—do all people 'ship characters (whether they acknowledge it as 'shipping or not), or are we unusual for wanting characters in books, movies, and television series to get together?

Gif from SmartLadiesLoveStuff

survey tool
Sun
Sep 14 2014 3:00pm

Shipping Sunday: Haven’s Audrey/Nathan, Audrey/Duke, and More!

The SyFy show Haven returned this past Thursday, and while things are unresolved for some of the characters, one thing is certain—the chemistry is off the charts!

Audrey Parker has learned a lot about herself and the Troubled people of Haven over the last four seasons. She seems to soothe their Troubles and people are drawn to her. None more so than Nathan Wuornos and Duke Crocker. Never before in a show have I had so much trouble deciding on a 'ship, and normally I stay far away from a love triangle, but maybe the same thing that pulls Nathan and Duke to Audrey has me under a spell too! To this day, I still can't decide if I love the “awww”-warm-and-fuzzy moments Audrey has with Nathan (that simple kiss on the cheek still undoes me), or the sizzling tension she has with Duke (but she soothes his soul, I tell myself!), and yes, sometimes my little shipping heart wonders what it would be like if all that tension between Nathan and Duke were used in a different way.

Who do you ship on the show—and it doesn't have to be limited to a twosome (wink, wink)?

[All the ships, plus a poll, are docking in Haven...]

Sun
Sep 14 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Misbehavior: Exclusive Excerpt

Kathryn Kelly

Misbehavior by Kathryn Kelly

Matthew “Val” Taylor, the Road Captain in the club, was introduced to sex at an early age. Saved from the streets by the club’s Enforcer and President years ago, Val now lives for women and the open road. Until the night the only woman he’s ever loved is almost killed. Val is determined to change his ways and be the man Zoann Donovan should have and the father their son deserves.

Zoann has loved Val for a long time. Violence and bitter betrayal forces her to ignore her feelings and distance herself not only from the sexy RC, but her beloved brother, too. Until she discovers the truth. Can Zoann ever be forgiven for all the pain she’s caused? Will Val overcome his own demons and have a future with her and their son? Who will survive in an MC filled with lust and revenge, love and hate?

Warning: This is a tale of rape, murders, deception, heartache, lies, and infidelity. The road to redemption is a tumultuous struggle where only the strong survive and justice is served…Outlaw-style.

Get a sneak peek of Kathryn Kelly's Misbehavior (available September 17, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Zoann opened her eyes, the sunlight streaming through the windows hurting her eyes. An itch hit her nose and she scratched it, the ring on her finger bumping against the bridge. She frowned. A ring?

The last time she’d awakened, her finger had been bare. But, then, again, a bunch of people had been in the room, even Father Wilkins…

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

Sun
Sep 14 2014 10:00am

First Look: Alicia Hunter Pace’s Forgiving Jackson (September 15, 2014)

Forgiving Jackson by Alicia Hunter PaceAlicia Hunter Pace
Forgiving Jackson
Crimson Romance / September 15, 2014 / $4.99 digital

Coming home to Beauford Bend opens up old wounds for four sexy, successful brothers, but the love of a few good Southern women will heal their hearts and change their lives forever.

Country music heartthrob Jackson Beauford isn’t used to hearing “no” for an answer. When a tragic fire at one of his concerts stirs memories of the blaze that claimed his family years ago, all he wants is to go back to his childhood home in Tennessee and wallow in his grief. But he arrives home to chaos . . . and a Southern magnolia with her heels dug in.

After suffering a vicious attack in New York City, Emory Lowell returned to Beauford Bend, a place she’s loved since she was a teenager. Now in charge of Around the Bend Elegant Events, she’s not about to let a spoiled superstar take away her livelihood. The boutique artisan town of Beauford depends on this business, and so does she. With its high walls and around-the- clock security, Beauford Bend is the only place she’s ever truly felt safe.

Jackson insists she close down his late aunt's business and leave him in peace, but quiet Emory refuses to budge, knowing this is a battle worth fighting. As a passionate attraction flares between these two wounded souls, they discover there’s much more at stake here than business. Jackson may be just the person to help Emory face her past, and if she can help him learn to forgive himself, their love might be the key to turning Beauford Bend back into a real home.

Two wounded individuals intersecting at the same place with the overriding desire for shelter and solace shouldn’t be at cross purposes. But they are when it means two different things, as in Alicia Hunter Pace's Forgiving Jackson.

[Sounds deliciously complicated...]

Sat
Sep 13 2014 12:00pm

Outlander: Unpacking a Controversial Scene

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon**Spoiler Alert! If you have yet to read Outlander or are new to the show, do NOT read ahead. This post is unpacking a very controversial scene from the book. Reader beware!**

When I first picked Outlander up, nearly fifteen years ago, my love for it was immediate, overwhelming, and complete. I devoured every page—the plot, the setting, and above all the unconventional romance between Jamie and Claire, whose love story would go on to form the backbone of so many sequels. I was certain that this remarkable book was destined for a spot in my all-time Top Five…

…and then I got to the part where Jamie beats Claire.

Hello, needle-on-a-record-album screeching sound!

Now, in fairness, it’s possible that I would react to That Scene a little bit differently were I to encounter it for the first time today, when everyone has safe words and fur-lined handcuffs, while unassuming suburban split-levels are being outfitted with their very own Red Rooms of Pain. It’s possible…but it’s not likely. What Jamie does to Claire is not done in a fun, consensual, Fifty-Shades-of-Tartan kind of way. It’s done out of anger, frustration, desperation, and even in a sense necessity, as Jamie is in danger of losing the respect of his men for “allowing” Claire to behave in such an erratic and potentially dangerous manner:

[She might need to be put in her place...but this way?]

Fri
Sep 12 2014 4:30pm

Friday Beefcake: A Venti Hottie, Please!

David GandyT'is the season of Pumpkin Spice Latte's and colder weather clothing. Well, what's a cold day without a cup of joe to warm you up—and a side of beefcake to get you even hotter.

We scoured the interwebs for hot men drinking hot coffee and found some other pretty sexy contenders, including David Gandy, Patrick Dempsey, Lenny Kravitz, and so many more!

[Would you like whipped cream on that...]

Fri
Sep 12 2014 2:45pm

Drink Up! Boardwalk Empire and Jamie Brenner’s Gin Lovers

Boardwalk Empire

**Note: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of Boardwalk Empire and Jamie Brenner's Gin Lovers, proceed with caution!**

It is the fifth and final season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. The glitz and the glam, the booze and bullets will be no more. Six years have passed since the shocking end to season four, but the blood and booze are still pouring, Nucky style.

It’s 1931, and the Great Depression is in full swing, beloved characters are dead (Who can forget Richard Harrow dying? My all time favorite character on BE and maybe all of television. His literal two faces; light and dark, deadly and loving… Le sigh). The remaining characters  are trying to reinvent themselves in the aftermath of the Stock Market Crash. Enoch “Nucky” Thompson is especially in a pinch. No more of that money flowing as free as the whiskey. Times are tough and Prohibition is an even tougher game, and more deadly.

[Ruh-roh, that doesn't sound good...]