See the amazingly hot covers and learn more about the books, below!
It 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?
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.
In 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.
Show/Episode: Arrow 3x11, “Midnight City.”
Ship(s): Olicity (Oliver/Felcity)
Note: 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.
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.
Earlier 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?
This week, H&H celebrates the forthcoming release of the fortieth (!!!) book in J.D. Robb's In Death series, Obsession 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.
Welcome to H&H's brand-new daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.
—An all-female Ghostbusters reboot has been rumored for months, but yesterday the movie's stars were announced: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. Are you overwhelmed, underwhelmed, or just whelmed by this casting? (I think you can be just “whelmed” in Europe, wink wink.) Will you watch in any case?
—Deal Alert: Milly Taiden's A Mate's Bite (Book 2 in the Sassy Mates series) is currently $.99 in e-book at Amazon. For more info before you buy, read Jessie Lane's take on A Mate's Bite as part of her post “Why Are There Love Bites in Paranormal Romance?”
—The track listing for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack is here! Beyoncé, Sia, Ellie Goulding, and more contribute, so you can be sure the music will be top-notch. Find all our Fifty Shades coverage here.
—Calling all fellow language nerds and Shakespeare devotees: TED-Ed presents a video from David T. Freeman and Gregory Taylor on why iambic pentameter is so powerful.
Rise (Rock Solid)
Karina Bliss / January 28, 2015 / $9.95 print, $3.99 digital
Even rock stars deserve redemption...
Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes.
So bad-boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir.
Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions–manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic and morally ambiguous.
In short, everything she seeks in a biography subject.
When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another.
Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed devil is only too willing to stoke.
She thought self-control was in her DNA; after all, she grew up a minister’s daughter.
She thought wrong.
Rock star Zander Freedman has been an outlier–many would say an outcast–for most of his life.
But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the breakup of his band to the inevitable damage to his reputation.
His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph–if his golden voice holds out.
Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz. Elizabeth’s integrity is the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats.
All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not force him to think.
Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out.
And certainly not make him fall in love for the first time in his life.
Turns out he is scared of something: being known.
Rise is a self-published sequel to Karina Bliss’s 2010 Superromance What the Librarian Did, although this is a stand-alone, and you don't need to have read the first book. The hero, Zander Freedman, could be viewed as the villain of What the Librarian Did, but after finishing that one, I wanted to know what happened to Zander, and if he could be redeemed. I wanted him to have his own happy ending. It’s been a long time coming, but it was so worth the wait.
Find your future faves with this delightfully convenient shopping list of romance novels coming out in February. We know you each have your favorite subgenre, but we also know many of you read across genre and care more about the release date!
Below, instead of being separated by subgenre, we've separated the new releases out by release week. Within each week, we then separated it by subgenre. We hope you find this more helpful, but let us know your thoughts!
But...Who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too! We heard your feedback about missing the list by subgenre, and we gave it to you in our prinatable version! Don’t forget to take this printable version with you when it’s time to shop (now seperated out by subgenre)!
Jump to new releases week of:
|Heroes and Heartbreakers February 2015 Shopping List!|
|Week of February 1 through February 7|
Today we're joined by author Candis Terry, whose Sweet Surprise has just been released. Sweet Surprise's heroine owns a cupcake shop in Sweet, Texas, a tiny town where everyone knows everyone else's business. Candis is here to talk about the chances of finding love in a cupcake shop when you're getting a luscious treat. Thanks, Candis!
You’ve seen them; the romance book covers that feature perfectly decorated cupcakes or a heroine teasingly dipping her finger into frosting and feeding it to the hero. I know this theme well. My first three books, The Sugar Shack series, were based on a family bakery. And in my newest book Sweet Surprise, from the Sweet, Texas series, the heroine, Fiona Wilder, opens her own cupcake shop. She might have learned her cupcake skills from her grandmother, but there’s nothing matronly about the way she teases fireman Mike Halsey with her treats.
So what makes a bakery or a cupcake shop such a hot spot for contemporary romances?
Let’s take a closer look and see if it all makes sense.
1. Chocolate is sexy. Look at the French, they view chocolate as an aphrodisiac. It’s a specialty to them. And honestly, good chocolate really is to be savored, unlike snarfing down that Snicker bar because you have PMS. Chocolate can be enjoyed in many forms.
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”—Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Two hundred and two years ago on this day, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was published. Since then, P&P has inspired all manner of books, movies, theater, web series, and been the gateway to romance for many a reader.
When did you first read Pride and Prejudice? Do you have a favorite quote?
For Keeps (Love to the Rescue)
Grand Central / January 27, 2015 / $6.00 print, $5.99 digital
Merry Atwater would do just about anything to save her dog rescue - even if it means working with the most stubborn man on the planet. It's hard to avoid the sparks that fly with TJ Jameson, the ruggedly sexy cowboy in charge of the children's camp where she's just taken an animal therapy job. But commitment is not Mary’s style, and TJ clearly wants more than just a roll in the hay.
TJ Jameson isn't looking for anything complicated-just a peaceful life on his family's ranch with a wife and kids. “No-strings” Merry Atwater doesn't fit that bill, no matter how irresistible she is. But when he sees how Merry gets through to his autistic nephew and the other kids at Camp Blue Sky, TJ's a goner. If he doesn't give in to the now, he might just lose his shot at forever . . .
There is no doubt that romance readers have a thing for admirable, courageous characters. That is one of the primary reasons the main characters in a romance novel are referred to as the hero or the heroine, instead of the protagonist.
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.
—Deal Alert #1: Lynsay Sands' first Argeneau Vampire novel, A Quick Bite, is listed at just $1.99 in e-book right now at Amazon and $3.99 at Barnes and Noble.* Check out our Argeneau series overview here.
—The first teaser trailer for superhero movie Fantastic Four is here. What do you think? Love the leads (Michael B. Jordan! Miles Teller! Kate Mara!), though I hadn't realized until I saw them all together what a young cast this is compared to the last take on the franchise. I've only seen one or two episodes of the dark British superhero TV series Misfits, but I kinda got that vibe in this teaser, and I liked it.
—Urban Fantasy author Jaye Wells has sold television rights to her Prospero's War series, specifically Dirty Magic and Cursed Moon. As Wells says, this is a very early step and doesn't guarantee a show will be made by any means, but obviously we'll keep you updated if we hear the project is moving forward.
*Reminder that we have no idea how long these deals will last, so get 'em while you can!
Sweet Surprise (Sweet, Texas #4)
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $4.99 digital
Fiona Wilder knows all about falling in lust. Love? That's another story. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, the single mom and cupcake shop owner is focused on walking the straight and narrow. But trouble has a way of finding her. And this time it comes in the form of a smoking hot firefighter who knows all the delicious ways to ignite her bad-girl fuse.
Firefighter Mike Halsey learned long ago that playing with fire just gets you burned. He's put his demons behind him, and if there's one line he won't cross, it's getting involved with his best friend's ex. But when fate throws him in the path of the beautiful, strong, and off-limits Fiona, will he be able to fight their attraction? Or will he willingly go down in flames?
Or a sweet surprise!
Sometimes readers crave an angst-filled book, one that includes bittersweet moments and tears. Other times we just want the Calgon moments, where we’re swept away with books that are filled with less strife and turmoil. These are the books that we reach for when the stressful work week, along with the bills and all our pesky chores, have worn us down. I think of them as romance parables.
Romance parables have almost perfect characters living in an almost perfect place. But don’t underestimate these books that feature illusory perfection; while they entertain us and provide escape, they also give us important messages about hope, love and moving forward.
Bound by Flames (Night Prince #3)
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital
Play with fire, pay the price
Leila's years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn't learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin . . .
Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn't like Vlad to feel fear, but he does . . . for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad's greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad's love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both . . .
Vlad and Leila have had a lot of hurdles to overcome in the Night Prince series. Many of the biggest burdens in their relationship have come from Vlad’s obstinacy. At first he didn’t like to be touched. He controlled who was allowed to see him without clothes. That was a big step for him back in the first book of the Night Prince series.
He’s pushed her away before because of the way he wanted to control everything. They made progress. He learned that relationships function in a different way in the current century, and if he truly wanted a partnership with Leila, he had to treat her as such.
If the Viscount Falls (Duke's Men)
Pocket / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, digital
The heir presumptive to the Viscount Rathmoor, Dominick Manton once had his heart’s desire within reach—a bright future as a barrister and engagement to Jane Vernon, a wealthy baron’s daughter. Then a shattering betrayal by his vindictive brother George snatched away Dom’s inheritance and his hopes of offering Jane a secure future. Brokenhearted, and attempting to end their engagement without destroying Jane’s reputation, Dom staged a betrayal of his own to convince her that he’s not the husband-to-be that she thought.
Now George is gone and the viscountcy restored to Dom, since his brother’s widow, Nancy—Jane’s cousin and closest confidant—never bore an heir. But when Nancy goes missing, a panicked Jane calls on her former fiancé to track down her cousin. Dom knows the mistakes of the past may be unforgiveable—but now, entangled together in mystery and danger, will they rekindle a passionate longing that was never lost to begin with?
There’s something beautiful about reunited sweethearts who have to overcome their trust issues to rebuild something even stronger than what they had before. This trope is an excellent antidote for all those insta love stories. For a romantic soul, it’s like catnip to see characters who belong together, whether they fall back in love, or better yet, admit they always were in love despite their time apart. This is the case in Sabrina Jeffries’s If the Viscount Falls.
Living la belle vie is the best revenge...
Hosting a fabulous party is the perfect cap-off to Cassie Hagen’s successful business trip in Paris. Living in the land of decadent macarons, Louboutins, and French champagne is great – especially compared to her past life as the scholarship student at a tony New York private school.
Then Jack Marchand shows up.
Sure, he's hot, French and super apologetic about how he humiliated her in high school. He was all of her firsts: her first lover, the first to break her heart and the first to dump her after one night together.
Jack has never forgotten Cassie. He’s determined to prove he’s changed and win her back. As an apology, it's pretty much perfect. Deliciously so.
But Cassie isn't quite ready to forgive him.
Full Disclosure: Liz Maverick was the original fearless leader of the Heroes and Heartbreaker's team.
Get a sneak peek at Liz Maverick's Hot & Bothered (available February 10, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapters 1 & 2.
If it’s Friday, it’s Paris, I thought with a grin as I looked at the two open bottles of champagne clutched in my hands. Man, I loved my job. My personal life was nonexistent, but my job? Yeah, I could put a nice big green check mark in that box. I sat crossed-legged next to my sister Anna on the floor of the nicest kitchen this side of the Seine’s left bank, swilling French bubbly.
Our view of the rest of the apartment spanned out in front of us like something from a celebrity magazine feature. Pastel-blue drapes in duchesse satin. White cane armchairs. Cream-colored marble and gold-leaf accents. My handiwork. I traveled the world buying and decorating upscale vacation rentals for my employer, Brooks Property. Until I was out of town and the property went on the market, it was mine to do with what I liked.
Show/Episode: Sleepy Hollow Season 2, Episode 14, “Kali Yuga”
Ships: Crane/Abbie (Ichabbie), Jenny/Hawley, Irving/Cynthia
**Reader Beware: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of Sleepy Hollow, including last night's 2x14,“Kali Yuga.”**
Abbie sings Karaoke at a local bar, while Crane finds her performance surprising. Jenny mentions that Abbie has the voice of an angel...whoops, is that a sore spot? Crane says no, Orion was dealt with and he and Abbie have made their peace. Uh huh. Jenny notes that Crane and Abbie have been spending less time together. Did Abbie say something? No, Jenny just noticed.
Hawley leaves to meet a fence and runs into some shady characters, including Carmilla, the woman who raised him. She needs Hawley to help her rob the Knox estate, as in Fort Knox, because Hawley owes her.