<i>Ultimate Sins</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Ultimate Sins: Exclusive Excerpt Lora Leigh "Crowe was in love with Amelia, whether he realized it or not..." Valerie Bowman Presents a Prequel Scene to <i>The Unlikely Lady</i> Valerie Bowman Presents a Prequel Scene to The Unlikely Lady Valerie Bowman Read an original Quickie scene from Valerie Bowman! <i>Magic Breaks</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Magic Breaks: Exclusive Excerpt Ilona Andrews "The feel of his mouth on mine was like coming home..." <i>My Beautiful Enemy</i>: Exclusive Excerpt My Beautiful Enemy: Exclusive Excerpt Sherry Thomas A beautiful and cunning woman meets her match...
From The Blog
July 30, 2014
Top 10 Tips to Toppling from the Top of the Ton
Sophie Jordan
July 29, 2014
J.R. Ward Announces Bourbon Kings Series
Megan Frampton
July 28, 2014
Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer!
Megan Frampton
July 27, 2014
2014 RITA and Golden Heart Winners
Team H & H
July 25, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Hero Inspiration
Team H & H
Thu
Jul 31 2014 8:03am

Throwback Thursday: What Was Your First Historical?

Savage Surrender by Natasha PetersHistorical romance was the top genre in romance for many, many years, and if you found your way to romance by borrowing an older relative's books, chances are you found your way to a historical (not a traditional Regency) at some point in your reading career.

What was your first historical? Do you continue to read them? 

Wed
Jul 30 2014 4:00pm

The “I Won’t Promise I’ll Ever Be Perfect” Scene from Skye Jordan’s Ricochet

Ricochet by Skye JordanRachel and Ryker’s firecracker chemistry is the basis for the romance in Ricochet by Skye Jordan. Ryker, a bomb specialist stationed in Afghanistan, needs to have direction and a purpose. He’s currently back in the States for a month at the demand of his CO, who required that Ryker return in the aftermath of a disastrous mission that had horrific results. This return is unwanted, though, and he soon joins up with the Renegades, a stuntman team, as their bombing specialist in order to keep himself focused on a purpose.

Flashbacks to Afghanistan reveal the source of Ryker’s PTSD, which is poignant and heartbreaking. Jordan captures raw, vulnerable moments from this typically stoic alpha-male in which he is confused, upset and battling an invisible enemy. Ryker’s mind can flip at any moment, and sometimes not even Rachel can talk him back.

Just a bad memory. You’re safe. Everyone’s safe.”

Of Ryker’s five-man EOD unit, only one survived the bombing. This flashback gives us vivid details regarding the catastrophe.

[And an idea of the comforting that will happen later...?]

Wed
Jul 30 2014 1:55pm

Outlander’s “Just a Bodice-Ripper”? Really, Vanity Fair?!

Jamie and Claire in Starz's OutlanderEarlier this week, Vanity Faira posted an article with the headline “Does the New Outlander Series Have What It Takes to Be More than Just a Bodice-Ripper?b

In the piece itself, journalist Joanna Robinson says that no, it does not, and writes that “in order to become a true hit, Outlander, a steamy, time-traveling romp through Scotland, is going to have to find a way to appeal to more than just your dear old mum. In other words, it can’t just be Fifty Shades of Plaid.”

Annoyed? You're not alone.

The article goes on to mention that the most recent installment of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book series, Written in My Own Heart's Blood, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Let's think about that discrepancy for a moment.

[Yes, please, let's discuss...]

Wed
Jul 30 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Ultimate Sins: Exclusive Excerpt

Three men, bound by blood, will stop at nothing to protect the women who have stolen their hearts and who they have claimed as their own—no matter what the price.

A FORBIDDEN LOVE

Ex-Marine Crowe Callahan has only had one obsession in life: Amelia Sorenson. She is the only one who has ever gotten under his skin. However, she is also the daughter of his family’s sworn enemy: a man who has sought to destroy the Callahans for generations in order to further his own nefarious agenda.

A DANGEROUS FATE

When Amelia put herself on Crowe’s side and in Crowe’s bed, she became her father’s enemy as well. When Wayne Sorenson escapes capture, both Amelia and Crowe know it is only a matter of time before he resurfaces to exact his revenge. Now Crowe will claim Amelia in order to bait a killer and end things once and for all. But can he protect the woman he can’t seem to live without from one of the deadliest enemies he has ever known? And will he survive if he can’t?

Get a sneak peek of Lora Leigh's Ultimate Sins (available August 26, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 2. Read to the end of the post to see how you can read the Prologue and Chapter 1 before August 26!

Chapter 2

By God, he was going to kill her.

He should have killed her when he had the chance. Before she had done this to him.

Before Amelia had betrayed him.

Wayne Sorenson leaned forward, his arms braced against his stomach as panic rushed through his system and threatened to send him into a furious rage.

All his dreams were shattered.

Lifetimes, generations of searching, and he had lost it all.

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

Wed
Jul 30 2014 9:30am

Top 10 Tips to Toppling from the Top of the Ton

A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan

Today we're joined by author Sophie Jordan, whose A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin is out today! Sophie's good debutante takes on a bad persona when she discovers the only man she wants is her stepbrother, the Duke of Banbury, who's charged with marrying her off (and definitely not to him). And since the duke frequents a private club called Sodom—so will she! Rosalie dons a disguise to enter the club—and get her man. And of course she causes talk about her behavior. Sophie is here to talk about ways to get yourself talked about, whether it's good or bad talk. Thanks, Sophie!

These are ten sure-fired ways to get your name on everyone’s lips … whether it’s Regency England and you’re under the scrutiny of the ton — or it’s 2014 and you’re swimming in shark-infested waters of your own social circles. Here goes:
 
1.   Wear Something Naughty.
That's always asking for trouble … and a definite way to get tongues wagging. But hey, if a girl is gonna get booted out of the metaphorical “cool lunchroom table”, she might as well go down fighting…

Legally Blonde gif
Source: totalfilm.tumblr.com

[Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty...]

Wed
Jul 30 2014 8:19am

What Couple Shouldn’t Have Been Together?

Yesterday we were discussing the couples with the most chemistry, and then this article from Entertainment Weekly popped up—“I'm Still Not Over...House and Cuddy's Terrible Relationship.”

There have been some couples, including House and Cuddy and Thor and Jane, whose characters have suffered when they became paired, or their chemistry was non-existent.

What couple, in books, movies, or TV, should never have gotten together? 

Gif from BecauseHiddles.tumblr.com

Tue
Jul 29 2014 5:00pm

First Look: Shannon Stacey’s Falling for Max (July 29, 2014)

Falling for Max by Shannon StaceyShannon Stacey
Falling for Max
Carina / July 29, 2014 / $4.99, digital / $7.99, print

Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he's starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he's always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn't help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she's intrigued. When she finds out he's in the market for a wife, she's fascinated…and determined to help.
Molding Max into every woman's dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori's plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she'll have to find a way to show just how she's fallen for him…the real him.

It is not uncommon to read a book about shy, socially awkward heroines. We love watching them blossom under the attention of the right person. Heroes for the most part are a different breed. Their vulnerabilities are hidden layers deep beneath assertive, high-handed alpha characteristics and bits of swagger. Over the book the heroine has to slowly peel back the layers, coaxing the hero into letting his guard down and admit to any type of weakness. While it is fascinating to watch this, there is a sense of uniqueness when a hero is candid and open up front. Max in Shannon Stacey's Falling for Max is one such hero.

[We wish we had more like him in real life...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 3:45pm

Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals for Nicole Michaels, Ellie Cahill, and Laura Marie Altom!

Cover reveals for Nicole Michaels, Laura Marie Altom, and Ellie CahillToday we're thrilled to reveal not one, not two, but three amazing contemporary titles by some great authors! Read on to learn more about these great titles and see the beautiful (and sexy) covers for Start Me Up by Nicole Michaels, When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill, and Possess by Laura Marie Altom!

[Get the first glimpse at 3 hot new covers!...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 2:45pm

Nalini Singh Announces Rock Addiction, a Contemporary Romance!

Wide Awake by Nalini SinghNalini Singh, renowned as a paranormal author, has just announced she will be releasing Rock Addiction, a contemporary romance! Like J.R. Ward, who also has a contemporary series coming soon, Singh has previously written contemporary romance for Harlequin. Rock Addiction will be out in September, and Nalini promises her contemporary romance path won't change her Psy-Changeling or Guild-Hunter release schedule. There's no cover yet, but here is the description:

A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…

Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.
A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…

Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

We'll keep you posted with more Rock Addiction news when we have it!

Tue
Jul 29 2014 2:00pm
Original Story

H&H Quickies #4: Valerie Bowman Presents a Prequel Scene to The Unlikely Lady

The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie BowmanToday we are over the moon to bring you an exclusive Quickie scene from Valerie Bowman, whose brand new series—The Playful Brides—began with The Unexpected Duchess in April.

Back in June, we asked you to offer suggestions (“prompts”) as inspiration for a short original scene, and you blew us away with a ton of great prompts.

Want to be alerted for our next Quickie? Become an H&H member and newsletter subscriber to get your quick fix, and all other romance news, reviews, and excerpts!

Valerie is here today to introduce you to her scene—along with two characters that are very familiar to fans of The Playful Brides series. Thanks to everyone who left a suggestion, because there were so many fantastic options:

Hi everyone! Many readers have written to tell me how much they love Jane and Garrett, two secondary characters from my latest novel, The Unexpected Duchess. Jane and Garrett have very little use for one another in the book but they do indeed get their own happily ever after next spring in the third book in my Playful Brides trilogy, The Unlikely Lady. I’ve had such a good time writing about these two that I thought it would be fun if I based my quickie on a scene that’s alluded to, but never shown, in The Unexpected Duchess—Garrett and Jane’s trip to the Bath Houses. So, without further ado, here is the quickie. I chose the prompts: pea-green waistcoat, a pair of red leather boots, and missing cravat (wink).

-Valerie

Bath, England
July 1815

“Oh, come now Upton. Must you dawdle?” Jane Lowndes rolled her eyes, her arms crossed tightly over her chest, her foot impatiently tapping along the stone steps leading to the Bath House.

“I’m hardly dawdling, Miss Lowndes. I’m merely not in the rush you seem to be. The Bath Houses have been here for centuries, I doubt they will crumble before I have a chance to exit the carriage.” Garrett Upton stuck his head and shoulders through the door to his coach and jumped to the ground. He straightened his hat and gloves, then turned to Miss Lowndes who had already been helped down by the footman who’d ridden with them. “Satisfied?” he asked her with a smirk.

[Continue on to read the full scene...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 12:23pm

First Impressions of Outlander Episode 1, “Sassenach”: Wait ’n’ See

Jamie and Claire in Outlander series premiere

Last night, major Outlander fan Lizzie Poteet attended an NYC screening of the first episode for H&H, even going so far as to risk her seatmates' disgust to live-tweet the post-screening Q&A with the cast and crew in order to feed our insatiable appetite for all things Jamie/Claire. (Thanks/sorry, Lizzie!) Here, she gives us her Outlander backstory (we all have one, don't we?) and then shares her first impressions of the Outlander series premiere, which Starz will begin streaming this week on August 2 and which will air on U.S. television on August 9. (Full disclosure: Lizzie is an assistant editor at St. Martin's Press/Macmillan, Heroes and Heartbreakers' parent company.)

For me, Outlander was one of those books, the ones you put off reading for years because you know, deep in your heart, that once you read it…you’ll never go back. And at the time, I simply didn’t have room for another rabid obsession in my life—I already had Lord of the Rings, Julie Garwood, and Buffy. Could I handle another fandom? Because here’s the thing we all know about the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s time travel series, Outlander is simply irresistible.

I have a working theory—confirmed by Executive Producer Ron Moore last night—that it is literally impossible to pick up Outlander and not fall in love with Jamie and Claire. You may not be a series regular and they may lose you after a few books, but the thing is: that first book is magic. It transcends genre and time. Maybe it’s because as my friend Amanda put it, “it’s this really realistic romance about a woman who travels through time…” But it is. It is really realistic. And epic. And romantic. And just plain good.

[Can the television series measure up?...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 11:04am

Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: Baby Daddy

Maryellen and Grace in Cedar Cove 2x02Cedar Cove, the Hallmark Channel television series based on Debbie Macomber's romance novel series of the same name and starring Andie MacDowell, is back for Season 2 and H&H is all over it! Stay tuned for weekly recaps of this year's small-town shenanigans, and if you're just catching up, be sure to go back and read Rachel Hyland's Season 1 posts.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Cedar Cove, including Saturday night’s 2x02, “Letting Go: Part 2.”

Who knew Cedar Cove had the power to surprise me? Oh, not in terms of plot twists or anything—I have read the Debbie Macomber books on which the show is based, and while their fairly forgettable details may not exactly stand out in my mind, I well recall the general gist, the vibe of each novel’s relationship rollercoaster(s). And even where the books and series diverge, well, it’s hardly The Sixth Sense. But the fact that this episode provided some of the most romantic and exhilarating moments the show has ever given us courtesy of, of all people, John Bowman (Charlie Carrick) and Maryellen (Elyse Levesque)... well, I never would have believed it possible.

Let us see how that happened, shall we? One couple at a time...

OLIVIA AND JACK

Cedar Cove royalty Jack (Dylan Neal) and Olivia (Andie McDowell) continue to wrangle with Jack’s sulky son Eric (Tom Stevens) and his recalcitrant inamorata this week as an emotional Shelly (Hayley Sayles) still lies abed at the (surprisingly state-of-the-art) local hospital on the very verge of a) having a baby and b) giving up said baby for adoption, to the never-ending whining protest of Eric.

[Quit yer cryin', dude...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 9:47am

J.R. Ward Announces New Series: The Bourbon Kings!

An Irresistible Bachelor by J.R. WardJ.R. Ward has signed a three-book deal for a contemporary romance series called “The Bourbon Kings.” The first book will come out in late 2015, and the series will delve into "the intertwined fortunes of several ultrawealthy Kentucky families who have made their fortunes from bourbon.”

Ward, writing as Jessica Bird, has published contemporary romances before (including An Irresistible Bachelor, pictured here), but these will be the first contemporary books she's written since starting the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Have you read Ward's contemporaries before? Are you intrigued by the idea of this series? 

Tue
Jul 29 2014 9:20am

First Look: Pamela Morsi’s Mr. Right Goes Wrong (July 29, 2014)

Mr. Right Goes Wrong by Pamela MorsiPamela Morsi
Mr. Right Goes Wrong
Harlequin MIRA / July 29, 2014 / $7.99, print & digital

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Like a bad-choice-making boomerang, Mazy Gulliver has returned to her mom's tiny house in Brandt Mountain. But this time, she's got her teenage son, Tru, in tow and no intention of messing up ever again. Mazy’s so determined to rebuild her life she hardly minds being the new loan collector, or even working for Tad, her ex. She's not here to make friends—or fall in love.

Sweet, dependable Eli Latham has loved Mazy since they got pretend married in second grade. But after being burned by Mazy for two decades, Eli's got a new strategy. Mazy likes bad boys, so a bad boy is what he'll be. How hard can it be to act like a jerk?

Not for the first time, men are making Mazy crazy, though she's determined to do what's right for her and Tru.  But breaking old habits is hard, and if she really wants things to change she'll have to face her biggest adversary: herself.

Looking for a different type of heroine, perhaps one who is imperfect?  The heroine of Pamela Morsi's Mr. Right Goes Wrong just can’t seem to quit making the same mistake over and over again—getting involved with losers.

When Mazy was in high school she got intentionally pregnant by Tad Driscoll. Tall, dark, handsome, rich—captain of the basketball team and class president—Tad is every girl’s dream guy, except he is a first class jerk, as Mazy soon discovers. After she told him she was pregnant, he denied that the baby was his, and Mazy was left to raise her son, Tru, alone. But that one experience didn’t faze her as she bounced from one bad relationship to another.  The only time she found solace with a nice guy was when she rebounded—not once, but twice into the arms of Eli Latham.  And while she never intentionally wanted to hurt her son, her choices have done exactly that: 

[Not really anything to be proud of, until Tru...]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 8:20am

Which Couple Has the Best Chemistry?

Eric and Sookie in True Blood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of us have our favorite couples from romance novels, and usually what makes them our favorite is that the characters separate are fine, but together, their chemistry is explosive, and you can't imagine any other person being a better fit for them.

Which couple has the best chemistry?

Gif from Alexanderskarsgardnet.tumblr.com

Mon
Jul 28 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Sherry Thomas’s My Beautiful Enemy (August 5, 2014)

My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry ThomasSherry Thomas
My Beautiful Enemy
Berkley / August 5, 2014 / $7.99, print & digital

Hidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.

Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.

Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again…

Wow. I loved this book. There are so many Good Things I could talk about, but I want to highlight something that Sherry Thomas does that almost no one else does well: The Flashback.

We meet Catherine Blade in “present day” Victorian England, as she is getting off a boat from India and being introduced to the family of fellow boat passengers when she hears a voice.

[A voice that's very familiar...]

Mon
Jul 28 2014 3:28pm

Sarah MacLean Offers a Peek at Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover!

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLeanSarah MacLean has just released a sneak peek at her forthcoming release, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, the fourth (and highly-anticipated) book in the RITA award-winning Rule of Scoundrels series.

**The excerpt below contains SPOILERS for earlier books in the series. Read at your own risk.**

March 1823
Leighton Manor

“I love you.”

 Three strange, small words that held so much power.

Not that Lady Georgiana Pearson—daughter of one duke and sister to another, child of honor and duty and pristine presentation, and perfectly bred female of the ton—had ever heard them.

Aristocrats did not love.

And if they did, they most certainly did not do something so base as to admit it.

So it was a shock, frankly, that the words spilled from her lips with such ease and comfort and truth. But Georgiana had never in her sixteen years believed anything so well, and she had never been so quickly rid of the shackles of expectation that came with her name and her past and her family.

Yes. Love had freed her.

Read the rest at Sarah MacLean's site.

Mon
Jul 28 2014 2:00pm

July 2014 New Adult Roundup: Solace in the Arms of a Bad Boy

Whiskey Prince by Toni AleoThis month’s New Adult releases seem to be filled with angst and despair. New Adult is defined by vicissitudes of life; these books highlight the transitions and growth experienced by all characters. But, of course, what’s life without some funny moments to break up the tension. I laughed, I cried but overall these books brought on some major feels. What stood out for me was the support these characters were able to find in unlikely places and the independence that it spurred.

A tale of love and loss, Whiskey Prince by Toni Aleo finds the right balance between the two. After losing both of her parents, Amberlyn follows her late mother’s advice and travels to Ireland to live with an aunt and uncle she’s never met. Trying to work past her grief and find a new path in life, she tends bar at the family pub. While seeking solitude, Amberlyn encounters Declan, heir to the O’Callaghan Distillery and local royalty known popularly as the “Whiskey Prince,” and a connection is made. Declan is a bit of a recluse due to a traumatic event involving his sister. He finally comes out of his shell when his parents hand him an ultimatum, get married or lose the Distillery. Set against the backdrop of Ireland, this story brings two people together who need each other to start their next journey in life.

[It got these Irish eyes smiling...]

Mon
Jul 28 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Magic Breaks: Exclusive Excerpt

Ilona Andrews

 Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it.

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear.

Get a sneak peek of Ilona Andrews’s Magic Breaks (available July 29, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“Kate, this is really dangerous,” Ascanio said.

Teenage shapeshifters have an interesting definition of “dangerous.” Lyc-V, the virus responsible for their existence, regenerates their bodies at an accelerated rate, so getting stabbed means a nap followed by a really big dinner, and a broken leg would equal two weeks of taking it easy and then running a marathon with no problems. On top of being a shapeshifter, Ascanio was an adolescent male and a bouda, or werehyena, who were in a category all their own when it came to taking risks. Usually when a bouda said that something was dangerous, it meant it could instantly incinerate you and spread the ashes to the wind.

“Alright,” I said. “Hold the rope.”

[Log in or register to read an excerpt of Magic Breaks…]

Mon
Jul 28 2014 11:30am

New The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer!

“No one else can do this but her.”

The latest trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is out, and shows the ramifications of what happened in Catching Fire, when certain people were revealed as being secret rebel sympathisers, and Katniss Everdeen had to make choices that would change her life forever. 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 comes out November 21, 2014.