Hope everyone has a fun Halloween! Who's your favorite devil?
Hope everyone has a fun Halloween! Who's your favorite devil?
This month’s round up features characters facing some tough times and upheaval. When all is said and done, they’ll go down swinging for what they want.
Becoming Calder/Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan is set in a world where modern luxuries are a thing of the past; this is a crazy ride with eye-opening scenes. Calder and Eden find themselves battling religious proclivities that were drummed into them from birth. With new thoughts and ideas forming in their minds, can they fight against fate and destiny? Eden and Calder must battle against the community they’ve been raised in to find their happiness.
The story has surprising twists—I found myself having a lot of WOW moments and can't even begin to describe the feels this book invoked. These two books were released simultaneously and Becoming Calder must be read first.
Alex by Sawyer Bennett tells the story of a bitter hockey player who meets his match in Sutton Price, an addiction counselor. Sutton helps peel back the cynical layers to reveal the gentle man underneath. Alex has always lived his life under abuse and anger; will Sutton help him turn over a new leaf? This is a character-driven story with great detail. Sutton and Alex each have an angst-filled journey with many surprises along the way. I'm looking forward to the next installment, as Garret, his teammate, was one of my favorites of the story.
What a Lady Demands
Loveswept/ November 4, 2014 / $2.99 digital
Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards—until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue—a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one.
Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber—if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.
What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara is quite possibly one of the best romances involving the blossoming friendship between the hero’s child and the heroine. It’s adorable, yet not over-the-top cuddly. Despite having zero qualifications, and even having a few dark skeletons in her closet, Cecilia truly is the perfect governess for Lindenhurst's daughter, and it made this romance that much more enjoyable to read. The mystery and the heat made this romance feel like a master blend of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, but with a much more satisfactory ending.
Allow us to brighten your day with some pretty amazing new covers for sexy upcoming e-book releases from Megan Hart (Don't Deny Me, a novel in three parts), Christine Warren (Any Witch Way She Can), and Red Garnier (Caught and Reckless and Yours).
Don't Deny Me, Parts 1-3, by Megan Hart
He’s back, and the heat between them cannot be denied…
Part One of the passionate new e-serial novel from bestselling author Megan Hart.
Alice and Mick had it all: the happy days, the heartfelt evenings, the hot, slow nights. But Mick couldn’t give her what she needed, and in a moment of crisis, they lost everything. Torn apart, Alice tries to pry him out of her life and move on—until a not-so-chance meeting at an old friend’s party brings them face-to-face once more. Now they’re talking again, Alice can’t escape the burning in her chest whenever he’s near, the way his eyes still follow her around the room…but she won’t repeat the mistakes of her past. Passion alone is nothing to build a life on. Or is it?
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 October 2014 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs via the Related Posts section at the bottom of the post):
Joanna Chambers's entire Enlightenment trilogy is excellent, but the second book, Beguiled, really stood out for me. It's a reunion story: two lovers who previously had very different views on life meet again and find themselves being changed by the strength of their feelings for each other. The historical setting — Scotland during a visit from the English kin — is strongly drawn, and the dilemmas of the main characters feel very much of their time. If Mary Balogh wrote sexy m/m, this is the sort of book she might write.
My best of October Read is two books. Released simultaneously Becoming Calder and Finding Eden, both by Mia Sheridan, have gushing about it all over the place. Easily one of my best reads of the year. These books absolutely slayed me. Following Calder and Eden from childhood to adulthood, it chronicles their life inside of a commune. This religious cult has a zealot that seems to be making more and more outrageous demands and outlandish prophecies. As Calder and Eden grow older, they find they don't always fall in line with everyone else in regards to their “leader”. These dangerous thoughts will spurn decisions that will haunt them for years to come. I couldn't put it down. I was messaging a friend, who read the book, constantly for reassurance and virtual hand holding. If you read it, brace yourself, it's amazing!
Leaving him was Impossible...
It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance...whether they like it or not.
Seeing her again is even worse
The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he's tried to bury comes roaring back-and there's no way this wolf shifter is going to let her get away this time.
Get a sneak peek of of Paige Tyler's Her Lone Wolf (available November 4, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
Clayne was at the shooting range when John called him in. Despite all the smoke fumes he’d been breathing in for the past hour, he couldn’t miss the tantalizing aroma lingering in the air as he headed down the hallway. It was so exquisite he stopped walking and inhaled, letting his wolf out just enough to pinpoint where the smell was coming from. After a few slow circles, he figured out it was John’s office. Hot damn.
He picked up his pace, suddenly eager to get there. Usually getting called to John’s office meant something bad was coming his way—a reprimand, an attempt at a motivational pep talk, a briefing for a mission he didn’t have any interest in, a partnership pairing that had no hope of succeeding. But if that delicious scent was coming from John’s office, he didn’t care what the hell the man wanted.
Nalini Singh has just revealed the cover for Shards of Hope, the fourteenth book in her Psy-Changeling series. Here's the official description:
The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action”* of Nalini Singh's New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…
Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn't welcome outsiders.
And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she's too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.
This time, even Aden's passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.
Learn more about or order a copy of Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh, available June 2, 2015:
Are you loving the high drama of telenovella-based Jane the Virgin? It's miraculous! Join us each week as we track Jane, Rafael, and Michael's love triangle, as well as other...complicated...relationships!
Beware! This recap contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 3 (also known as “Chapter 3) of Jane the Virgin. Read with caution!
So where we were? Jane is still pregnant with her old flame/current boss’s baby. She’s still engaged to Michael. Her mother, Xiomara is still sleeping with Jane’s father, who, Jane doesn’t know about. Petra is still going for her Oscar for the role of caring wife and mother to-be. And Zaz is still dead, impaled on an ice sculpture.
“Chapter Three” opens with young Jane making a wishing on a firefly. Jane gets boobs and then gets the first boyfriend she’s always wanted, but loses the boy when she tells him that she’s waiting to get married until she has sex. Xiomara says she shouldn’t lead with that when it comes to make out time, but Grandma Alba insists that a lie of omission is still a lie. The right man will wait. Teen Jane makes a wish that she would find the right guy…
What a Woman Gets (Manley Maids)
Berkley / November 4, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital
What happens when three irresistibly sexy brothers lose a poker bet to their enterprising sister? They get hired out for her housecleaning venture. Now, the Manley Maids are at your service. Satisfaction guaranteed. It’s what a woman gets...
Business owner Liam Manley has no patience for women like Cassidy Davenport—women happy to spend a man’s money without giving a thought to any actual work. But to make good on his bet, Liam must not only tolerate the couture-clad socialite, he’ll have to clean up after her. Until Cassidy’s father suddenly cuts off her finances. With no money and no home for Liam to clean, Cassidy has no choice but to accept a job offer—as Liam’s new maid…
Liam is eager to teach her a lesson about the real world, but he winds up learning a few things himself. Free from her father’s influence, Cassidy can finally pursue her own life, and winds up showing Liam how resourceful and determined she can be. Not to mention how sexy she is with (or without) that designer wardrobe. But when sparks fly between them, will it be true love…or just another messy affair?
We've covered Laura Kinsale many, MANY times, and so it's very cool to report that the Old School Romance Book Club has chosen her iconic Flowers From the Storm as its read for November. This book, along with Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels, is frequently mentioned as the best historical romance ever written. If you haven't read it already, this is a great opportunity to see just how an author can make a stroke-addled mathematical genius duke and a Quaker woman fall in love.
If you have read it already—spoilers ahead!—take a look at the “Confronting the Quakers” Scene from Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm as well as Kinsale's Top Three Damaged Heroes.
Have you read Flowers from the Storm?
Her Holiday Man
Carina Press / November 3, 2014 / $2.99 digital
Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she's left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she's learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she'd be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail's son comes home, Christina's vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.
Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being “that poor man” who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it's time to go home. Only his mother's not alone. She's taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.
As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.
Christmas can be a wonderful time filled with family, friends and loved ones, but for many, the season is laden with what could have been.
Exciting news this afternoon! Heroes and Heartbreakers is positively giddy to announce the upcoming publication of a brand-new original short story, Summer Devon's “The Gentleman and the Lamplighter,” which already has a cover! Get a load of the gorgeous art and read on for all the details:
“The Gentleman and the Lamplighter”
by Summer Devon
You Can’t Walk Away from Love
Destroyed by the death of his former schoolmate yet unable to show it publicly, Giles Fullerton has taken to walking the streets of London in the middle of the night, the only time he can safely mourn the only person he’s ever loved—until one chance meeting with a lamplighter changes everything…
But You Can Walk Toward It
Widower John Banks knows a thing or two about grief, and immediately recognizes a kindred spirit when he finally meets the handsome, haunted gentleman he’s admired from afar. And in fact, the two men discover shared passions and the possibility of a forever love—if they can overcome social taboos, and their own fears…
HeroesandHeartbreakers.com members will be the first to be able to read the story, which will be posted to the site on December 3 (mark your calendars!), so be sure to join up now so that you won't miss a thing. (And don't forget to check the box to subscribe to the newsletter for early access to this and future stories, as well as other exclusive content.)
As usual, the story will also be available as an e-book, due out in January 2015.
We cannot wait to share this wonderful new addition to the H&H short story program with you, and we hope you'll join us on Wednesday, December 3, to read and discuss!
To pre-order or to learn more about Summer Devon's “The Gentleman and the Lamplighter” e-book edition, available on January 6, 2015:
October has been designated Queer Romance Month, so it seemed like a perfect time to start a monthly m/m round-up. The slogan of Queer Romance Month is “because love is not a subgenre,” and looking at just some of this month's offerings, we see that m/m relationships aren't an isolated category, but can be found in virtually every type of story. If you're never explored a novel featuring a same sex couple, why not pick your favorite subgenre or trope and have a go?
Small town contemporary
Cost of Repairs Series by A.M. Arthur
Not everyone gets a second chance with their first love.
David Weller thought he had it all—a loving partner who gave him a ring, a steady job he didn’t hate, and so much hope for the future. But in the wake of a devastating diagnosis, everything he thought was solid and real lay in pieces at his feet.
Four years later, he’s still sifting through the rubble of his life. His catering partnership occupies his days, while his nights are filled with dangerous sexual hookups and very bad decisions. Then the last person he ever expected to see again walks back into his life.
Owen Hart’s single biggest regret is the way he was forced to leave David behind—no explanations, no chance to make it right. Until now. Finally free of eight years of lies, Owen’s back for the only man he’s ever loved.
An incendiary encounter in a club proves that time hasn’t weakened their physical connection, but David’s wounds run deeper than Owen’s deception. And if David can’t first forgive, Owen doesn’t have a second chance in hell.
Arthur's website is titled “Small Towns, Big Love” and this series has a strong emphasis on family, work, and friendship, in addition to plenty of angst and kinky sex, especially in the latest book Foundation of Trust.
Welcome to another place in time...where one can be swept away into lands and eras long forgotten.
A self-published anthology for charity featuring six excellent authors, this takes us to five intriguing historical locales and one parallel universe. Along with the more familiar Regency and Medieval settings, check out m/m romances set just after World War I and during World War II.
Horatia Sheridan has been hopelessly in love with Lucien, her brother’s best friend, ever since he rescued her from the broken remains of her parents’ wrecked carriage. His reputation as London’s most notorious rakehell doesn’t frighten her, for under his veneer of cool authority she has glimpsed a man whose wicked desires inspire her own.
Lucien, Marquess of Rochester, has deliberately nurtured a reputation for debauchery that makes every matchmaking mother of the ton quake with fear. His one secret: he is torn between soul-ripping lust for Horatia, and the loyalty he owes her brother.
That loyalty is put to the test when an old enemy of the League threatens Horatia’s life. With Christmas drawing near, he sweeps her away to his country estate, where he can’t resist granting her one wish—to share his bed and his heart.
But sinister forces are lurking, awaiting the perfect moment to exact their revenge by destroying not only whatever happiness Lucien might find in Horatia’s arms, but the lives of those they love.
Warning: This book contains an intelligent lady who is determined to seduce her brother’s friend, a brooding rake whose toy of choice in bed is a little bit of bondage with a piece of red silk, a loyal band of merry rogues and a Christmas love so scorching you’ll need fresh snow to extinguish it.
Get a sneak peek of Lauren Smith's His Wicked Seduction (available November 11, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
Horatia still hadn’t changed into her nightclothes. Restlessness had her up well past midnight. Knowing Lucien was somewhere in the house was unsettling, and she worried about that blasted cat. Muff should have been curled up on the extra pillow in her bed, but he was conspicuously absent. There was a chance a passing footman or maid had closed the grates around the fireplace and he hadn’t been able to get back down.
Unwilling to let him stay in the cold chimney all night, Horatia abandoned her room and went in search of the cat. She tried to think of all of the other places he could be, and not the one place she wished she could be at that moment. In Lucien’s arms.
J.R. Ward returns in summer 2015 with The Bourbon Kings, a contemporary story about several wealthy Kentucky families who have made their money from bourbon. Entertainment Weekly has just revealed the cover, as well as the news that “The Bourbon Kings has already been optioned for television by Endemol, the same production company behind Big Brother and Deal or No Deal, among others.”
The Bourbon Kings will be released July 28, 2015.
Stick with H&H for more J.R. Ward and Bourbon Kings series news as we get it!
Elle Kennedy Midnight Action
Signet / November 4, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital
Ex–army ranger Jim Morgan leads a team of elite mercenaries, but eighteen years ago in Paris, he was part of a black ops unit whose mission was to hunt down a rogue operative. In order to trap the criminal, Jim seduced Noelle, the man’s daughter—a ruthless act that cost him the love of his life and turned her into a mortal enemy. Now he can’t trust her, but he still desires her. He also needs her help....
Older, wiser, and unwilling to play the fool again, Noelle runs a group of highly skilled assassins. And she’s just been offered the hit of the century: Eliminate Jim Morgan. History gives them no reason to trust each other, but with their lives in jeopardy at the hands of a common enemy, the lines between love and hate are soon blurred. Now Noelle and Jim must face the past if they want to have a future—let alone a future together.
If you ever wondered just where the line between love and hate is, you need only pick up a copy of Elle Kennedy’s Midnight Action, the most recent novel in the Killer Instincts series.
The We Need Diverse Books campaign was focused, initially, on diversity in Young Adult literature, but the movement has grown to include books of all genres, and we are definitely behind diversity in romance novels as well as other genres.
Author John Green did a short clip in support of the campaign, and says, “We need to reflect the reality of our communities...but it's also really important to see The Other; one of the magical things about reading [...] is that it helps me to imagine the life outside of myself...when you don't see the lives of others in stories, it's difficult to imagine them complexly.”
Romance readers read about “The Other” in several of its subgenres already, including historical (unless you're a duchess), paranormals (unless you're a vampire), and romantic suspense (unless you're a special ops soldier).
What's the last book that exposed you to a “life outside of [your]self?”
Parents/guardians play important roles in everyone’s lives and especially those of fictional characters. Though with the rise of New Adult, parental involvement in romance novels seems to be going the way of Disney films, with little to no parental involvement at all. Based on some crowdsourcing via Twitter and HeroesandHeartbreakers.com, here’s the parents who readers said are the best and why:
Violet Bridgerton from Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series:
This was one of the overwhelming favorites from readers. Violet Bridgerton is apparently a saint. After all, she has eight kids to look after and their assorted cousins, in-laws and a corgi (corgi!), too. Some have requested she get her own HEA and after doing a little research, Violet gets a story in “Violet in Bloom” part of Quinn’s The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After explaining how she met the love of her life, Edmund.
Edward and Polly Chase from Lauren Dane’s Chase brothers series:
Another overwhelming response came for this pair. The four Chase brothers certainly seem like a handful: one’s a sheriff, one falls in love with a down-on-her luck woman and two have to convince their respective heroines that they love them. Tie this is in with the standard hot sex and a little suspense for which Dane is known and you’re off to the races. Raising four boys plus guiding them in the trials and tribulations of love isn’t easy, but Polly and Edward provide a stable home and great guidance making this parenting pair a reader favorite.
BIG news out of Marvel's fan event today, including the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe's (MCU's) first female-led film, Captain Marvel, is in the works! While it's not the Black Widow (with or without Hawkeye) movie this fan had hoped to see (sigh), this is wonderful news for those of us who've been clamoring for a woman to finally get her own standalone story.
Other major announcements from Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige:
Anybody else suffering from sensory overload? How are we feeling? Who wants to join me in clamoring for Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff (so terrific as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace) as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel?
ETA 10/28/14 4:46pm: Fiege had this to say to Entertainment Weekly in response to questions about a potential Black Widow standalone film:
Black Widow couldn’t be more important as an Avenger herself. Her part in Avengers: Age of Ultron is very, very big and further develops and further enhances her character. The plans we have for her throughout the rest of the Avengers saga is very, very big. A lynchpin, in fact, to those films. So instead of taking her out, instead of doing a prequel, which we haven’t done yet, we’re continuing the forward momentum and continuity of the cinematic universe of which Widow is a key, key part.
So it looks like that's a no on the standalone, at least for now, but that Marvel's aware she's beloved and will continue to play a big role in future films, which...hey, maybe a character as enigmatic as she is just works better this way. I admit I love what we've seen of her so far and that it's been great seeing her show up as often as she has.
Treasure on Lilac Lane (Jewell Cove #2)
St. Martin's Press / October 28, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital
Once upon a time, Rick Sullivan had a promising future. One of Jewell Cove's star athletes and reigning heartthrobs, he joined the Marines and had the world in the palm of his hand...until it all came crashing down. His honorable discharge doesn't make him the hometown hero everyone wants him to be, and there's little reprieve from the demons that haunt him at night. Still, even though it seems that all hope is gone, fate has something else in store...
Just hearing Rick's name is enough to give Jess Collins a headache. Years ago, they'd been close. Now she barely knows the man Rick has become since his return from service...then again, Jess isn't that same young, naïve girl anymore either. And while there's a powerful attraction between them—one that yields a greater passion than Jess could have ever imagined—both are wary about opening their hearts to love...and loss.
But happy endings don't come easily when long-buried secrets insist on rising to the surface. Will their pasts tear them apart—or can love find a way to heal them both?
One of the most important aspects of a romance novel is the trek the characters take to their happy ever after. We each have different preferences on what that journey should look like, from difficult and tortuous, to light and funny and somewhere in between. For me, the “in between” is the perfect sweet spot. In these type of stories, the hero and heroine are in a troubling place, but neither one needs to save the other. Each gathers up the necessary courage to move forward and as they move forward, new opportunities open. Of course one of those opportunities is a new love interest. In Treasure on Lilac Lane, Donna Alward hits that perfect spot, writing a convincing story of growth and change filled with warmth and genuineness. Treasure on Lilac Lane is a feel good story that just reaffirms our belief that dark days can be left behind, and better days are ahead.