<i>Hell or High Water</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hell or High Water: Exclusive Excerpt Julie Ann Walker "A bolt of hot passion shot through his body..." <i>Primal Heat</i> Part 1: Exclusive Excerpt Primal Heat Part 1: Exclusive Excerpt A. C. Arthur "His lips took hers in a hungry connection..." <i>In the Fast Lane</i>: Exclusive Excerpt In the Fast Lane: Exclusive Excerpt Audra North "He could hear that strong feminine voice in his mind." <i>Do Not Forsake Me</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Do Not Forsake Me: Exclusive Excerpt Rosanne Bittner "He always knew there’d be the devil to pay."
From The Blog
July 6, 2015
Community as Family in Romances from Carr, Long, Balogh, and More!
RaeAnne Thayne
July 6, 2015
Rock Chick's Eddie Says "I Love You" His Way
Jessica Moro
July 2, 2015
Listening to Tessa Bailey's Officer Off Limits
July 2, 2015
5 Heroines Who Don't Care About Scandal!
Julie LeMense
July 2, 2015
Alexis Hall's Compelling Couple in For Real
Janet Webb
Jul 6 2015 4:30pm

Community as Family, and the Appeal of the Small Town Romance

Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne

Today we're thrilled to have RaeAnne Thayne at Heroes and Heartbreakers. RaeAnne excels at many things, and creating small towns that we all want to live in is one of them, like the town of Haven Point in her latest release, Redemption Bay. RaeAnne is here today to talk about small towns, community, and the sense of family one gets when surrounded by both. Thanks, RaeAnne!

“In little towns, lives roll along so close to one another; loves and hates beat about, their wings almost touching. On the sidewalks along which everybody comes and goes, you must, if you walk abroad at all, at some time pass within a few inches of the man who cheated and betrayed you, or the woman you desire more than anything else in the world. Her skirt brushes against you. You say good-morning, and go on. It is a close shave. Out in the world the escapes are not so narrow.” – Willa Cather, Lucy Gayheart

Small-town contemporary romance series continue to be as popular as ever with readers. I love reading these books because I find something so appealing about the quieter pace, the intertwined lives, the neighbors who chat across the back fence–and the intense drama inherent in communities where you can’t avoid interactions.

These series resonate with me and other readers, I believe, because many people crave that sort of connection–a place they can feel that intangible sense of belonging, of being part of something larger than themselves.

[Small town romance rules...]

Jul 6 2015 3:37pm

Romance News Roundup: Time Hump Chronicles, Edie Harris Deal, 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.

Orange Is the New Black's Suzanne and PousseyRomance author Alyssa Cole (Off the Grid series) has written a chapter of Orange Is the New Black fan fiction! Kinda sorta. Here's the full story: In the TV series, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren develops a following among her fellow Litchfield inmates with her erotic serial novel Time Hump Chronicles. And now, thanks to Vulture and Alyssa Cole, you can get an idea of what that serial might look like in real life. Read Cole's Time Hump Chronicles, Chapter 3: “Vaseline Dude” at Vulture now.

—Deal Alert #1: Edie Harris's Blood Money #1, Blamed, is currently $.99 in e-book at e-tailers such as Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Amazon.* Want to see if it's right for you? Read our First Look at Blamed and check out sneak peeks from upcoming Blood Money books.

—Deal Alert #2: Julie Kagawa's YA fantasy novel The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) is $.99 right now in e-book at iBookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.* You may be interested to know the novel's Prince Ash made Chelsea Mueller's list of Top 5 YA Alpha Heroes.

—Deal Alert #3: Shirlee McCoy's small-town Apple Valley romance The Cottage on the Corner is currently listed at $1.99 in e-book at e-tailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBookstore.* Want more? You're in luck! We've got an excerpt from The Cottage on the Corner here.

—Cover Alert: Tara Wyatt offered up the cover for her debut romantic suspense novel, Necessary Risk, on social today. See the smoldery goodness on her Twitter. 

*We don't know how long deals will last, so get 'em while you can!

Orange Is the New Black pic via kaleighwhiskeyhands.tumblr.com

Jul 6 2015 2:00pm

Show Me, Don’t Tell Me!: Kristen Ashley’s Eddie Says “I Love You” His Way

Rock Chick Rescue by Kristen Ashley

After a post on Heroes and Heartbreakers on not saying “I love you” in romance novels, I got to thinking about one of my favorite series, Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley. It’s a series of standalone novels with strong heroines and alpha heroes, all interconnected and all have incredible stories. If you haven’t read Kristen Ashley, a) what are you waiting for b) start here, as you’ll see these characters pop up in many of her other books.

Rock Chick Rescue, the second book in the series, had that nonverbal “I love you,” but, surprisingly, I didn’t even notice. Rock Chick Rescue is the story of Jet and Eddie—he’s as alpha as they come, as are most of Ashley's heroes. He’s not verbose, nor does he play games, he gives it to you straight. So when Jet catches Eddie’s attention, he does it in a typical hot bunch fashion. He’s a man of action.

He pushed me against the truck, his body came up against mine and he kissed, full on tongue. When he lifted his head, he had an arm wrapped around the middle of my back, his fingertips resting nearly at the side of my breasts and the other hand resting on my hip.

“What was that?” Dammit, I was breathy again.

“Just wanted to say I like what you’re wearing.”

“You could have just said it.”

“Preferred to show it.”

I had to admit, I preferred it too.

[Sometimes “I love you” is all you need...]

Jul 6 2015 12:00pm

Hell or High Water: Exclusive Excerpt

Julie Ann Walker

Hell or High Water by Julie Ann Walker

Only two things could make former Navy SEAL Leo Anderson return to the world of weapons and warfare. First, a capsule of chemical weapons lost on the ocean floor, and second, a plea for assistance from the one woman he can't seem to forget-CIA Agent Olivia Mortier.

Now, working together to race against the clock and a deadly terrorist faction, Leo and Olivia must find the missing capsule, all the while battling the intense desire burning between them. If they can survive, can their growing attraction become more than just a momentary flare?

Get a sneak peek at Julie Ann Walker's Hell or High Water (available July 7, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“We’ve got unfinished business between you and me.”

“What unfinished business? What are you talking about?” Olivia’s adorable chin jutted up at him. Up close like this, Leo could see lighter, turquoise striations flecking the deep sapphire of her irises.

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

Jul 6 2015 11:00am

Romelza Forever: Poldark’s Ross and Demelza Turn Up the Heat!

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of Poldark, including (especially!) last night's game-changing episode. Read with caution!

Last night’s episode of Poldark was nothing short of swoon-worthy. For those of you who are new to the show, I’m sure (or at least, hoping) that you were just as much of a melting puddle of goo on the floor as I was when Ross and Demelza finally got together. I’ve read the first few books in the series, so I knew what was going to happen, but the show definitely surpassed my expectations. The perfect combination of the smoldering hero and the fair maiden, Ross and Demelza are now firmly established as members of favorite period-drama OTPs.

Let’s start with a quick recap and move on to dissecting the deliciousness of Romelza.

When we first met Ross Poldark, he was a heartbroken war veteran, brooding over the loss of the love of his life to his milquetoast cousin. Elizabeth had betrayed him by agreeing to marry his cousin Francis, but as viewers, we all probably felt for her predicament: she’d thought Ross was dead! What else was she supposed to do? We all watched as Ross struggled with the news, gripped the railings in the church pew during the wedding, and tossed aside Elizabeth’s ring as he struggled to come to terms with her loss. He contemplated leaving Cornwall for London and abandoning his inheritance. He drank. He buried himself in work. But underneath it all, the wound was still raw, and every time he saw Elizabeth, it bled afresh.

[Ross and Demelza fight and then have a steamy makeup...]

Jul 6 2015 9:30am

First Look: Stephanie Tyler’s Viper’s Rule (July 7, 2015)

Viper's Rule by Stephanie Tyler

Stephanie Tyler
Viper's Rule (Skulls Creek #2)
Signet / July 7, 2015 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Even though he’s no longer a U.S. soldier, Talon “Tals” Garrity hasn’t lost his desire for living on the edge. As the enforcer for the Vipers Motorcycle Club, the eternal bad boy is always getting into trouble—especially with the ladies, who can’t seem to resist him. But when Maddie Wells returns to Skulls Creek, he’s shocked that she can’t seem to keep her hands off him either. Good thing Tals doesn’t mind playing with fire.

Growing up with her family’s prestigious name and money, Maddie could never indulge a bad-boy biker like Tals. Now that she’s back, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But if Maddie ends up getting what she wants, they might both be sorry. Because some very dangerous men are hot on her trail—and Tals and his MC will have to put their lives on the line to protect her.…

Second chance romances are a guilty pleasure of mine. I love reading about a couple who comes together after years of separation and watching as they acquaint themselves with one another and rediscover all the things that made them a couple in the past. Often, the issue that separates them is a misunderstanding that has one or both running for the hills, refusing to even entertain the notion of stopping and calmly evaluating what has happened.

[She wants him back and she is not giving up so easily...]

Jul 6 2015 8:12am

Who Are the Most Independent Characters in Romance?

Last week saw both Canada Day and the Fourth of July (aka American Independence Day) in North America. Both days are all about the uniting of colonies and into great nations and being independent. To commemorate the occasions, we want to know who are the most independent characters that you can think of? Who are some of your favorites?

Jul 5 2015 2:00pm

Primal Heat Part 1: Exclusive Excerpt

Primal Heat Part 1: A Paranormal Shapeshifter Werejaguar Romance by A. C. Arthur

Half man, half animal, a Shadow Shifter lives a dual existence in a savage world-one in which desire can be as dangerous as nature itself.

Meet Eli Preston. As guard to the most powerful shapeshifter in the human world, he is sworn to protect his leader and stay true to his mission. But his devotion will be tested when he meets a beautiful woman who arouses his werejaguar senses­-and ignites his wildest passions...

Get a sneak peek at A. C. Arthur 's Primal Heat Part 1 (available July 14, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.


He bolted up in bed, sweat pouring from his face, his bare chest heaving with the rapid rhythm of his heart. The conversation replayed in his mind as if it were occurring right at this very moment.

Breathing heavily, Eli dragged a hand over his damp face and cursed. Elder Alamar and Baxter, the Overseer, had chosen to meet before dawn in a conference room adjacent to Eli’s bedroom on the lower level of Havenway. The fact that Eli had been awake that night, as well as so many before and after, was not a pertinent issue. Still, he would admit that his senses had been in overdrive as a result of lack of sleep and lack of sex.

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

Jul 5 2015 10:30am

Give Me Shelter: 9 Reasons Robyn Carr’s Preacher Will Be Your Next Book Boyfriend

Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of personalities. Some are the archetypical of the romantic hero—tall, gorgeous with six pack abs. A few are disfigured or losing their hair. Some are tortured and it takes the length of the novel for them to become a worthy human being. Then there are heroes that are praiseworthy from the very first page.

Every once in a while an author creates a hero that just resonant with readers, like Robyn Carr did with John “Preacher” Middleton from Shelter Mountain.

There is such a disparity between his large pugnacious looks and his marshmallow heart:

Preacher looked intimidating—he was six foot four, bald with bushy black eyebrows, a diamond stud earring and shoulders about as broad as an ax handle was long.

I liked Preacher when he opened the door to Paige and her son Christopher, but over the book, I fell more in love with him as Carr revealed more of his character.

[What makes a preacher irresistible?]

Jul 4 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Monica Murphy’s Taming Lily (July 7, 2015)

Taming Lily by Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy
Taming Lily (The Fowler Sisters Series, #3)
Random House Publishing Group / July 7, 2015 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital

Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren, Emma Chase, and Maya Banks, the anticipated finale in New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy’s sexy contemporary romance series about three fiery and determined sisters with their own ideas about life and love.

I’m in trouble. Again. And instead of facing my problems head-on, I’ve run away. Far away this time, and no one can catch me—not my two younger sisters, Violet and Rose, not my father, my grandmother, or that witch Pilar who wants to take control of my family’s cosmetics company. Now I’m in Hawaii, enjoying the sun and sand and water, where nobody knows the hot mess known as Lily Fowler. And I’m loving every minute of it.

But someone is watching me. Following me. He’s gorgeous. Soon we’re talking, and against all my instincts, I reveal bits and pieces of myself to Max. It feels good, though I know he can’t be the man for me. These sudden feelings we share are way too complicated, too fraught, too intense.

Then everything explodes and I’m forced to return home. My intentions have always been true, but now everyone’s mad at me. I don’t know who to turn to anymore . . . except to Max. He’s the one I want to trust. But I’m not so sure I should. Maybe it’s worth the risk—what-ifs be damned.

In Monica Murphy's Taming Lily, Lily Fowler is in trouble. The “wild” child of the three heiress daughters to the perfume company, Fleur, Lily finds herself on the run after hacking into the email accounts of a high up executive at Fleur. Armed with the information that could potentially hurt Fleur, she hides out in Maui while she figures out what to do. You see, as the oldest and most reckless of the sisters, she has built up a reputation that renders her as someone not to be taken seriously. And for a while, she was content to let her family and the media view her in such a light so she could stay under the radar with her extra-curricular hacking activities. Surely no one would suspect that Lily would be capable or intelligent enough to understand the inner workings of technology and computers.

[It is better to haved loved than...]

Jul 3 2015 4:30pm

Friday Beefcake: The Men of Turn

The Men of AMC's Turn

Tomorrow is The Fourth of July in America, or Independence Day! While for the most part, it's just used as a day off work, shows like AMC's Turn remind us of the men and women who fought, died, and spied for our country's freedom. There are so many reasons to love the men of this show, but for our purposes, the one we'll be focusing on is because they're pretty.

Have you watched Turn?

[These guys know how to rock a queue...]

Jul 3 2015 12:00pm

In the Fast Lane: Exclusive Excerpt

Audra North

In the Fast Lane by Audra North

Life in the fast lane.

Racing cars is in Kerri Hart's blood—literally, since it's the family business. But Hart Racing is in dire financial straits, and as the only female rookie driver, Kerri's sponsorship offers always tend to be of the unzipped racing-suit variety. It's a message she'd rather not sell to her young fans. But how can she afford not to?

Love on overdrive.

Ranger Colt knows how to make a woman's heart race. But when his voice pops up on Kerri's headset—while she's in mid-tailspin—she's in no mood for his charms. Colt Hardware now has a significant stake in the Hart family business, and Kerri has no choice but to work with him. But when her ex-boyfriend makes a very public, tabloid-fodder scene that threatens to tarnish her image, it's Ranger who comes to the rescue. Pretending to be engaged to generate some good publicity seems like a good plan. In fact, it works—all too well. What begins as a ruse is revving up to feel a whole lot like the real thing. Will Kerri and Ranger's fake-lationship take a wild turn. . .and lead them toward the finish?

Get a sneak peek at Audra North's In the Fast Lane (available July 14, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Chapter One

“Holy rotors!” Kerri slammed on the brakes and swerved, groaning with the effort it took to move a couple of tons of metal barreling down the racetrack at nearly two hundred miles an hour. The car shifted to the right, toward the wall. Shit. Not good. She threw all her weight against the wheel, trying to change course while Grady’s voice started screaming in her ear, “Ease up on the brake or you’re gonna spin out! Fucking sh—”

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

Jul 3 2015 9:30am

First Look: Scarlett Cole’s The Strongest Steel (July 7, 2015)

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole

Scarlett Cole
The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1)
St. Martin's Press / July 7, 2015 / $3.99 digital

Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning, summoning the nerve to take back her past. She's determined to forget her old life and is looking for an artist who can tattoo over the scars on her back.

Trent Andrews, local legend and owner of the Second Circle tattoo studio, has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And in spite of her mysterious past and the difficult road ahead, he quickly realizes that Harper is funny, smart, and-under her ridiculously oversized clothing and SPF 100 sunscreen-totally hot. He's happy to take on the challenge of designing a meaningful and deadly full-back tattoo for her.

But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper's phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. Running was the only thing that saved her last time, but now that she's started to put down roots in Miami, she'll have to decide if she can finally fight back instead.

Does the thought of a sexy but gentle tattoo artist helping a heroine to overcome her scars double click your mouse?

If so, this romantic suspense novel is for you.

When we first meet the heroine, Harper, she’s carrying around a blue envelope from a United States penitentiary in her purse which she can’t bring herself to open, and it’s also clear that she’s carrying some significant scars from her blood-soaked past (a past which is keen to catch up with her).

[But there might be a strapping hero to get in the way?]

Jul 2 2015 4:30pm

First Look: Lynne Connolly’s Danger Wears White (July 7, 2015)

Dangers Wears White by Lynne Connolly

Lynne Connolly
Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3)
Lyrical Press / July 7, 2015 / $15.00 print, $4.99 digital

Hoping to live down her family’s connections to the traitorous Jacobite cause, Imogen wants nothing more than a quiet life in the country. When she stumbles upon a wounded man, the white cockade in his coat tells her he’s a Jacobite, and a danger to the crown. Yet there’s something about him she can’t resist . . .

In search of a document on behalf of his powerful family, Tony is shot and left for dead. Secreted away to a hidden chamber, he finds himself both a guest and prisoner of a beautiful but mysterious woman. What she wants and who she serves, he cannot know. But what he does understand is the desire burning strongly between them. And that neither of them will be spared until their lust is sated.

When the action moves to London, suddenly it’s Tony who has to act to save Imogen. Forced to become a lady in waiting to Princess Amelia, she is in peril from the Jacobites, who are convinced she is their salvation. Only the strength of Tony and Imogen’s love can save them now.

Full Disclosure: On top of being a writer, Lynne Connolly is a blogger at Heroes & Heartbreakers and has blogged with Wendy the Super Librarian at The Good, The Bad and the Unread.

[A true Georgian historical about a spy and his heroine...]

Jul 2 2015 3:14pm

Romance News Roundup: Jenny’s Wedding & Independence Day Recs!

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.

—Happy Independence Day weekend to my fellow Americans! Team H&H will be taking a long holiday weekend, so the Romance News Roundup will be taking a brief hiatus, back on Monday.

—Katherine Heigl's Jenny is looking forward to marrying Alexis Bledel's Kitty in the film Jenny's Wedding, which looks lovely:

—BookBub offers up book recommendations for your Fourth of July weekend whether you're in the mood for Revolutionary War/Independence Day reads or lighter fare for sunbathing at the beach.

—Deal Alert #1: Nothing says summer lovin' like a road trip, seduction, and Miami, and that's exactly what you'll find in Rachel Gibson's Run to You. It's currently on sale in e-only at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Get a taste of the action in our First Look of Run to You. *

*We don't know how long these deals will last so get them before they're gone!

Jul 2 2015 1:30pm

Do You Hear What I Hear? Listening to Tessa Bailey’s Officer Off Limits

Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey

What happens when a reader who doesn’t like audiobooks puts Audible to the test with one of her favorite authors? An eye ear-opening experience, that’s what.

Since I began blogging for H&H late last year, I’ve challenged some of my long-held beliefs about reading. I used to think re-reading was a waste of time. No longer. I will now read a series out of order. (But only if I don’t have time to read the backlist. And only if I don’t miss a lot of world-building. And... Okay, so I’m still working on that one. ) I figured it was time to give audio books another try.

I have a dear friend who raves about listening to novels and how much more reading she gets done because of the convenience of audio books. I sit in traffic for up to two hours each workday commuting to and from the office. I listen to talk radio. Audio books should be in my wheelhouse, right? Alas, the previous times I tried listening to books I found myself getting easily distracted and losing my place. So, I thought I should try an author I knew would hold my attention, particularly with her steamy sex scenes. Would hearing someone else read graphic sex scenes in an audio book make me uncomfortable? (I’m from New England and have weirdly held onto some ancient prudish beliefs from the Pilgrims, I think.) Time to find out. Enter Tessa Bailey.

[Listen to Tessa Bailey's Officer Off Limits audiobook...]

Jul 2 2015 11:30am

The Regency…Oh, the Scandal of It!: 5 Heroines Who Don’t Care About Scandal!

Today we're thrilled to have Julie LeMense at Heroes and Heartbreakers. Julie's latest book, Once Upon a Scandal, came out on June 22, and deals with a heroine who wanted to avoid scandal at all costs—too bad she's saddled with one of her father's making! When the chance to save her reputation is presented, she leaps at it! However, Julie is here to today to talk about the heroines who learn to ignore society and relish their scandal. Thanks, Julie!

Were your parents overprotective when you were growing up? Trust me, they had nothing on parents in England’s Regency and Victorian eras. Forget about kissing an eager swain in the garden, and getting sent to your room when you were caught. You’d be standing in front of a vicar, with a marriage license at the ready.

Unchaperoned contact between the sexes was strictly off limits. In fact, you could cause a scandal just by flashing too much ankle, or dancing more than twice with the same man at a society function. Everyone was always watching, and if you didn’t hew to their expectations, you ruined not only yourself, but also your family.

So might as well make the scandal worth the fall, right?

[Meet the five heroines who defy society's labels...]

Jul 2 2015 9:30am

Opposites Attract, For Real: Alexis Hall’s Compelling Couple

For Real by Alexis Hall

Note: Alexis Hall, on top of being a top-notch writer, has also blogged for Heroes and Heartbreakers. 

A new book by Alexis Hall, with characters that move seamlessly between London and Oxford, is something to be celebrated. The description of the plot reads like opposites attract? They’re from different generations and it seems like their life experiences have nothing in common. Really all they share, seemingly, is their sexual preferences—is that how the relationship between Laurie and Toby will play out?

During malaise-filled mental meanderings, Laurie connects his distaste with the Scene to a quote from Anthony Powell,

“The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings...moving hand in hand in intricate measure...while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance.”

And thought: Yes, that. Nothing but a dance to the music of time. As meaningless as it was ultimately unchanging.

At a kinky party, Laurie encounters Toby, a “skinny nineteen-year-old with his adolescence still written on his skin” and this changes the ennui-filled pattern of Laurie’s emotional life dramatically. Toby tells Laurie that he wants him—wants him as a Dom wants a “strong, hot, powerful, man” who submits “because he wants to and because I want him to.” Laurie invites Toby to go home with him but he is concerned enough about the disparities between them to halt the proceedings and talk. It’s a funny rambling conversation and Toby has Laurie, concerned that he’s stepping into cougar territory, dead to rights. Toby wants Laurie, it’s that simple. He’s “amused and exasperated” with Laurie’s quibbles.

[Toby falls for a powerful Dom and he just can't stop falling...]

Jul 2 2015 8:04am

Throwback Thursday: What Book Most Influenced Your Adult Reading?

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

We all have those books that we read and loved as children or young teens that then went on to heavily influence our reading as adults. Sometimes it's that we discover the author was writing in the Young Adult genre, but really had dozens of books in adult genres that led us to where we are today. Other times, it's simply the tropes that we were introduced to in that early book, that we can find parallels for in our current reading. 

What book did that for you? What themes, tropes, or archetypes can you find that carried over from that early book, into your current reading? 

Let me know in the comments!

Jul 1 2015 4:30pm

Family Matters: The Role of Family in Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

Possessed by the Fallen by Sharon Ashwood

Today we're thrilled to welcome Sharon Ashwood to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Sharon's latest release, Possessed by the Fallen, came out today! Sharon writes about wolf shifters, and as we all know, wolves run in packs. Sharon is here today to talk about the unique influence family has on us and how that influence shapes the background and journey of a character. Thanks, Sharon!

No man is an island, unless he’s an alpha hero.  The image of the lone cowboy riding into a prairie sunset is firmly fixed in the popular imagination. He’s the symbol of individualism, independence, and the belief that personal strength of character can overcome every obstacle. He’s a figure of romance in the older sense of the word—an avatar of the quest, a demigod who has accepted loneliness as the price of storied adventure. Or, at least that’s what his publicist would have us believe. Never believe a press kit.

He’s not so alone as all that. Scratch the surface and our hero (unless he’s utterly socially dysfunctional) has a life with relationships and community, even if it’s a less than traditional one. One of the favorite tropes of popular fiction is the “band of brothers,” a group of strong male characters who are held together by a shared experience or purpose. Both military adventures and heist stories use this construct, as do a wealth of paranormal romances. J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is an obvious example—no one would ever question the individual power of the heroes, and yet they work within a complex, interdependent community that makes them stronger than they would be on their own.

[Author Sharon Ashwood's talks about family influences on story-telling...]