<i>Heart of a Bad Boy</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Heart of a Bad Boy: Exclusive Excerpt Sugar Jamison "Will she take a chance on the bad boy?" <i>Grin and Beard It</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Grin and Beard It: Exclusive Excerpt Penny Reid "I gathered a deep breath for patience just as Jethro’s chest..." Preview Crave App's Taylor Jenkins Reid's <i>One True Loves</i> Preview Crave App's Taylor Jenkins Reid's One True Loves Taylor Jenkins Reid "Everything that happened before today feels different now..." <i>Learning Curves</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Learning Curves: Exclusive Excerpt Cathryn Fox "His grin was slow, sexy…deliciously filthy..."
From The Blog
May 30, 2016
May 2016's Best Romances
Team H & H
May 27, 2016
Friday Beefcake: "Domesticated" Men
Team H & H
May 25, 2016
Using—and Not Using—Birth Control in Romance
May 18, 2016
What Is the Difference Between New Adult and Women's Fiction?
Jessica Moro and Scarlettleigh
May 17, 2016
Come Fly With Me (and Chanel Cleeton)
May 30 2016 3:00pm

May 2016’s Best Romance Reads—H&H Bloggers’ Recommendations!

Smut by Karina Halle

What are the best new romances in May 2016?

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.

Sahara Hoshi

My best of May is going to be Smut by Karina Halle. Not only does Halle offer up a great parody of the self-publishing romance industry, but she also provides a story in which two people with prejudices against each other find common ground. I found Blake, the hero, to be the more sympathetic between the pair, but ultimately enjoyed all the characters, especially Fluffy, a pet whose nature I won't disclose for the sake of the book. It should also be noted that this provides some of Halle's most erotic sex scenes to date in terms of her contemporary romances, there is a lot to love and a lot to laugh about in Smut.

Jennifer Proffitt

Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein just missed my Best of April but I have to say I am still totally blown away by this book—I cannot talk it up enough. Bully-to-hero is a tough sell for me, but I found myself totally captivated by this redemption story. As I tweeted out on social media, this book changed my reading life. It'll be a book I recommend for years to come. I also can't go the month without talking about the other book I haven't stopped talking about—Radiance by Grace Draven. It has been recommended over and over by other bloggers here on H&H, and its sequel, Eidolon, just came out. Again, I am totally blown away by this book, by these characters, and by the captivating world Draven has built.

[What else is good?...]

May 30 2016 12:00pm

Heart of a Bad Boy: Exclusive Excerpt

Sugar Jamison

Heart of a Bad Boy by Sugar Jamison

The Bad Boys of Destiny are back and this sexy charmer will stop at nothing to win the heart of the one woman who never let him down.

Shelly Walker was born to be good. Raised by her deeply religious, prison guard father, Shelly was taught that good girls follow the rules—and definitely don’t sin. Just as her father announces he’s arranging her marriage, Shelly’s childhood friend-turned-TV host, Levi King, unexpectedly returns. With his sexy smile and bad boy charm he’s the type of guy who has sin written all over him.

Levi has been fond of Shelly since childhood, but when he returns to town, he sees that the delicate girl he knew has turned into a bombshell. Levi encourages Shelly to shake things up, but when Shelly tells him that she’s considering obeying her father and starting a family, Levi realizes that being with Shelly means more to him than just a good time. Will Shelly follow the rules or will she take a chance on the bad boy?

Get a sneak peek at Sugar Jamison's Heart of a Bad (available May 31, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Chapter 1

Dear Levi,

At work today, one of my students told me that her daddy kept a dead-body freezer in the garage. I probably should have called the police, but I called up her daddy (brave, I know) and asked him about it. Turns out the dead-body freezer is where they put their cow. That’s right, they bought a cow, named it Bruce-Bruce, had it offed, and now keep it in their freezer.

I’m not sure if that’s better than what I originally thought.

Poor Bruce-Bruce.

[Read the full excerpt...]

May 30 2016 10:00am

First Look: Olivia Drake’s His Wicked Wish (May 31, 2016)

Olivia Drake
His Wicked Wish (Cinderella Sisterhood #5)
St. Martin's Press / May 31, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital

Upon returning to England after a decade abroad building his business, Nathan Atwood feels both sadness and anger when he learns of the death of his older brother and the survival of the father who treated him with disdain his whole life. At his first stop upon his return to London, Nathan’s godmother, Lady Milford, who sent him a letter telling of his father’s deathly illness, breaks the news of his father’s recovery and his beloved brother’s subsequent death. Realizing he now holds the position of heir, Nathan devises a plan to embarrass his father: to marry a lowborn woman with terrible manners, bringing disgrace to his father. Lady Milford does not try to talk him out of his plan, but asks he allow her to pick the woman he marries, to which Nathan agrees.

[And a deal is struck...]

May 29 2016 2:45pm

The White Lady’s Vision: Outlander 2x08 Jamie/Claire Heart-to-Heart

Jamie and Claire happy at Lollybroch in 2x08Show/Episode: Outlander Season 2, Episode 8, “The Fox's Lair”
Ship: Jamie/Claire

Jamie and Claire Captains Log for Outlander 2x08

For some time this season I have lamented the big-picture storytelling in lieu of the tight character-focused plot of season one. Well, last week I got what I asked for, and I’m sorry. So, so sorry. After the agony that was last week—everyone ugly cried at that episode, right?—Jamie and Claire are on the same page again. They are different, as something so tragic changes one, but they are together and are no longer holding grudges against one another.

Even better? We’re home in Scotland!

Being at Lallybroch helps heal these two. The potatoes are coming in and Jamie and Claire are back to behaving like those in love.  … and if we know one thing about Outlander, that sweetness never lasts. The Clans have posted their support for Prince Charles. Jamie’s name was forged on the document. He’s now a traitor to the British crown. Once again Jamie’s life is on the line. Seems like that happens every time they come back to Lallybroch.

[Sigh. Come on, Clans, get it together!]

May 29 2016 10:00am

Land of Possibility: May 2016 Women’s Fiction Best Bets

Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright

“The world's favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.”
-Edwin Way Teale

All things do seem possible in May. Maybe this why this month’s heroines take so many risks as they search for truth, search for solutions, and search for happiness. Some are successful, and some get their fingers burned.

Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright

Lauded for her “astute and engrossing” (People) writing style imbued with “originality galore” (RT Book Reviews), Kim Wright channels the best of Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Pekkanen in this delightful novel of self-discovery on the open road as one woman sets out for Graceland hoping to answer the question: Is Elvis Presley her father?

Blues musician Cory Ainsworth is barely scraping by after her mother’s death when she discovers a priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hidden away in a shed out back of the family’s coastal South Carolina home: Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk, its interior a time capsule of the singer’s last day on earth.

A backup singer for the King, Cory’s mother Honey was at Graceland the day Elvis died. She quickly returned home to Beaufort and married her high school sweetheart. Yearning to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past—and possibly her own identity—Cory decides to drive the car back to Memphis and turn it over to Elvis’s estate, retracing the exact route her mother took thirty-seven years earlier. As she winds her way through the sprawling deep south with its quaint towns and long stretches of open road, the burning question in Cory’s mind—who is my father? —takes a backseat to the truth she learns about her complicated mother, the minister's daughter who spent a lifetime struggling to conceal the consequences of a single year of rebellion.

Strengths: Imaginative storytelling; Quintessential Southern Setting; Fulfilling self-discovery journey; Great Elvis lore
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: Medium
Thoughts: Wright has become one of my favorite writers. Her stories are always creative, and unpredictable. 

[Oooh, we like the sound of that!]

May 28 2016 2:00pm

First Look: Sandra Hill’s The Angel Wore Fangs (May 31, 2016)

The Angel Wore Fangs by Sandra Hill

Sandra Hill
The Angel Wore Fangs (Deadly Angels #7)
Avon / May 31, 2016 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Who can make the seven deadly sins into funny and sexy paranormal romance? Sandra Hill, that’s who.

The Angle Wore Fangs is the seventh, but not final (there’s a stray demon who’s getting his own story next), book in Sandra Hill's Deadly Angels series. Seven Viking brothers. Seven deadly sins. Each sentenced to appease God for their sins by becoming vampire angels (vangels) and fighting evil under the leadership of the archangel Michael. Cnut’s most recent mission? Bring down ISIS.

Cnut Sigurdsson’s sin is gluttony. Back in his Viking heyday he was obese from overindulging while his villagers starved. During a famine, even, he did not share his food with those he was supposed to be caring for. Let’s be honest, when I first met Cnut I thought he was a grade-A jerk. A little over one thousand years into his sentence and he’s a changed man. He’s lean and handsome and could star in History Channel’s Vikings right alongside Travis Fimmel.

[We like this imagery...]

May 28 2016 12:03pm

Grin and Beard It: Exclusive Excerpt

Penny Reid

Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid

Sienna Diaz is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna.

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continually lost while trying to navigate the back roads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston.

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often.

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heart-throbs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?

Get a sneak peek at Penny Reid's Grin and Beard It (available May 31, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

I don’t know why, but I inserted myself between Cletus and Jethro. “Tom, this is Jethro and Cletus Winston. Cletus, Jethro, this is Tom Low.”

“Mr. Low,” Cletus said, not looking at him. “I enjoyed your film, The Wall Street Connection.”

[Read the full excerpt...]

May 27 2016 4:33pm

Jamie Fraser Novella Deal & Samantha Young’s YA Debut: Romance News:

Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in romance.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Note: The Afternoon Tea will be taking a short hiatus next week as the H&H crew head out on summer vacation trips (ah, the reading we will do!), but we'll be back and raring to go on June 6.

Top Off Your TBR Pile

Virgins by Diana Gabaldon—Deal Alert: Diana Gabaldon's Outlander prequel novella Virgins—where “a young Jamie Fraser learns what it really means to become a man”is discounted to $1.99 (normally $2.99) in e-book at Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Amazon | etc.* If you love the Outlander TV show and Jamie Fraser, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.

Deal Alert: Jenny Hale's “feel-good summer romance” Summer by the Sea is only $.99 in e-book at iBooks | Amazon | etc.* Hello, beach read material! (Oh, you want more? Charli Mac has a few recommendations over here.)

Deal Alert: Cynthia Wright's Western Rebels historical The Duke and the Cowgirl is on sale for $.99 in e-book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | etc.* Wright got a shoutout for her classic style that still holds up today in Anna Bowling's piece “Old-School Romance for the New Millenium.”

[+Samantha Young news & today on H&H...]

May 27 2016 3:00pm

Friday Beefcake: “Domesticated” Men—Reality vs. Expectation

It's the start of Memorial Day weekend here in the United States, and what better way to spend time away from the office than relaxing with loved ones? Of course, after spending hours at your desk dreaming up all the fanciful ways you'll fill those hours (reading, knocking out some chores lightning-fast with help from the hubby, letting your partner grill a delicious meal for you, so much reading...), you may find that the reality falls somewhat short. But as our Expectations vs. Reality-themed special edition of Friday Beefcake will illustrate, it's all about perspective. One way or another, this weekend's gonna rock!

[Let the reality check begin...]

May 27 2016 1:31pm

From Jo Beverley to Birth Control in Romance: Comments That Made Our Week

Community Spotlight

We at Heroes and Heartbreakers are so proud of and thankful for this wonderful community. Thank you for always adding a little extra sparkle to our week. In honor of Fan Friday, we want to give a special shoutout to a few of our favorite comments, and the readers behind them. We love your work!

emmel talks about her love for Jo Beverley books:

emmel in Have You Ever Read Jo Beverley?

Started reading her back in the Zebra regencies days of yore. I love Emily and the Dark Angel and My Lady Notorious as entry books for her. She was a gracious giant in romance and will definitely be missed.

mandacollins had some second-hand anger at characters:

mandacollins Do You Ever Get “Second-Hand Anger” at Characters?

Best example I can think of is Mary Balogh's One Night For Love and A Summer to Remember. I read ASTR first, and when I was finished I had no desire to read the one that came before it—ONFL—because the premise of Summer is that the heroine Lauren is still reeling from being left at the altar when her fiancé's first wife shows up. I was so angry on Lauren's behalf that I've NEVER gone back and read the other book. Lauren could forgive him, but I couldn't.

[More discussion in here...]

May 27 2016 12:00pm

Shock and Lyon Claws: Empire Season 2 Finale Cookie/Lucious Heart-to-Heart

Show/Episode: Empire Season 2 Finale, Episode 18, “Past is Prologue”
Ship(s): Cookie and Lucious

Empire Season 2 Finale Captains Log

It’s never dull in the land of the Lyon clan. Tea was spilled, bitches were called out, fights ensued, people died, one came back from the dead, and shots were fired. Yes, yes, yes! The second half of Empire was everything and more, and through it all Cookie and Lucious continued to have the best chemistry in the worst family.

When we left the Lyons Rhonda was in the hospital because she was pushed down the stairs by an unknown person; best guesses went to Anika and we found out later on in the season that that guess was correct. Rhonda lost her baby, Andre went a little off the rails, but managed to pull himself back, and this was happening all while Camilla was running Empire with Hakeem as her new toy and CEO. Despite Hakeem’s anger at Lucious, Cookie convinces ‘Keem to be loyal to the family, and he sends a sex tape of himself and Camilla to her wife. This ends in a murder-suicide when Lucious catches Camilla killing Mimi and convinces her to kill herself. Lucious and Thirsty stayed busy doing felonious things, and Cookie stayed busy doing Cirque du Soleil quality antics to try and keep her family from killing each other.

[Oh good...]

May 27 2016 9:30am

First Look: Laura Trentham’s Kiss Me That Way (May 31, 2016)

Kiss Me That Way by Laura Trentham

Laura Trentham
Kiss Me That Way (Cottonbloom #1)
St. Martin's Press / May 31, 2016 / $5.99 print & digital

In Laura Trentham's Kiss Me That Way, a river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy in Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?

[Hopefully not!]

May 27 2016 8:30am

Reader Seeks Private Investigator Romance

Sunelle, one of our readers, reached out to us about helping her find a beloved book that she just cannot remember. 

(The books) I am looking for are quite old.  The first book is about a female private investigator and I think the main character is Lucas (a marine).  The second book is about the sister who owns a construction company and she falls for a younger guy who works at her construction company.

Do you recognize this female construction worker and her younger man, and the private investigator and the marine? If you do, let us know down in the comments!

May 26 2016 5:06pm

Firefighters, Rough Riders, and...Hitmen with Babies?!: Romance News

Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in romance.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Note: The Afternoon Tea will be taking a short hiatus next week as the H&H crew head out on summer vacation trips (ah, the reading we will do!), but we'll be back and raring to go on June 6.

Top Off Your TBR Pile

Reckless by Kimberly Kincaid—Deal Alert: Kimberly Kincaid's Rescue Squad novel Reckless is a bargain at $1.99 in e-book for the moment at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | etc.* Here's 5 reasons to love firefighters, though, honestly, I could go on all day...

Deal Alert: Lorelei James' erotic contemporary western Cowgirl Up and Ride (Rough Riders #3) is on sale for $.99 in e-book at Barnes & NobleAmazon | iBooks | etc.* A Rough Riders book appears on Jennifer Porter's list of the 10 erotic romance novels you should read.

Deal Alert: McKenzie Lewis' Hitman's Secret Baby is only $.99 in e-book at Amazon.* Hitman PLUS secret baby? Have mercy!

Fresh Outta the Oven

Lisa Kleypas knows her way around a Victorian department store thanks to researching her business tycoon hero Rhys of Marrying Winterborne, so you won't want to miss her piece for RT Book Reviews on the fascinating evolution of British department stores. See you at Harrod's!

[And ICYMI today...]

May 26 2016 4:30pm

May 2016 Male/Male Best Bets: Spring is Time for New Beginnings

Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

It is finally starting to feel like Spring in the UK, even if the weather might still call me a liar some days. As Spring is the season of new beginnings I’ve brought together a selection of romances that feature heroes who’ll have to overcome their pasts to find their HEAs. Enjoy!

Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

Will a dark history doom their future together?

New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.

Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.

Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.

But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.

Jordan L Hawk’s imaginative take on witches and their familiars makes Hexbreaker a must-read for any paranormal romance lovers. Add in a dash of suspense and a bottle of steamy romance and you’ve got a potion for greatness!

[And we will drink it up deep!]

May 26 2016 2:00pm

Preview Crave App’s Next Immersive Story: Taylor Jenkins Reid’s One True Loves

Taylor Jenkins Reid

We took you behind the scenes of Crave App's film set for the creation
of their immersive interpretation of Colleen Hoover's Maybe Someday—now we are pleased to present an exclusive advance preview of their next
multimedia story: Taylor Jenkins Reid's One True Loves! Interspersed
with the excerpt are videos and images to enhance your reading
experience as you meet Emma, who soon finds herself torn between her
fiancé and...her husband? Yes, “it's complicated” about sums it up!

[Let's uncomplicate things with an excerpt from Chapter 1...]

May 26 2016 1:15pm

First Look: Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Torment (May 31, 2016)

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter
The Darkest Torment (Lords of the Underworld #12)
Harlequin / May 31, 2016 / $22.99 print, $11.99


 “You don’t consider yourself human? So what are you, the boogeyman?”


-Katarina to Baden

The Lords of the Underworld return! This is one of my favorite paranormal romance series and I can’t get enough. I thought at one point the series was going to end and I seriously didn’t know what I was going to do with myself (it’s a fear I have with other series as well that I try not to think about). This is the 12th book in the series and Gena Showalter has kicked it up a notch! Baden and Katarina, our MCs, are reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast and have you cheering for their happy ever after.

[All good things...]

May 26 2016 12:00pm

Hope Springs Eternal: Arrow 4x23 Olicity Heart-to-Heart

Show/Episode: Arrow Season 4, Episode 23, “Schism”
Ship(s): Oliver/Felicity (Olicity)

Arrow 4x23 Captain's Log

Well, folks. We didn’t get a reunion. Or a reconciliation. Oliver and Felicity didn’t even talk about their breakup. But somehow… it worked.

This was an episode filled with action, from start to nearly-the-finish. We began where we left off, with Darhk terrorizing Felicity, her mother and Curtis. He flings Curtis magically across the room and grabs Donna by the throat, slowly sucking out her life-force to try to force Felicity to reinitiate Rubicon for him. Luckily, Oliver shows up just in time, distracting Darhk so he releases Donna. Dig and Oliver fight Darhk and the Ghosts until Thea arrives with Darhk’s daughter, a knife at her throat, threatening to kill her. He steals Felicity’s laptop with the anti-Rubicon software and makes a run for it.  

[Run run run!]

May 26 2016 11:00am

Learning Curves: Exclusive Excerpt

Cathryn Fox

Learning Curves by Cathryn Fox

When he wins a sexy bet, billionaire Linc Blair can’t wait to get Lauren Neill naked. He’s never gone for her type in the past, and he’s pretty certain it has more to do with her buttoned-up hotness than the nagging sense that something is missing from his life. But when he gets a glimpse of the vulnerable woman beneath the conservative, yet oh-so-sexy clothes, it’s a game changer.

Lauren can’t believe she’s spending a few days with one of sexiest, and most annoying men she’s ever met. But she can’t deny the chemistry between them, and for once in her life she’s letting down her guard so she can explore a different side of herself. The side only Linc brings out in her.

Taking it slow, he unleashes her sexuality and it quickly occurs to him that what started out as a bet for him has become something more. With their weekend nearly over, and her ex showing interest in this new confident version of Lauren, Linc will have to risk it all if he wants to win the game of love.

Get a sneak peek at Cathryn Fox's Learning Curves (available May 30, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“Yes!” she hissed before she could catch herself.

“Interesting,” Linc said.

She angled her chin and glanced up at him. “What?”

“I’m pretty sure I just heard you cheering for the other team.”

She tore her gaze from his, denial spilling from her lips. “You’re wrong.”

He moved close, too close. His hand brushed against hers, the warmth of his knuckles curling her toes. Her nipples tightened as she imagined the rough rasp of his fingers skimming over her breast. “Pretty sure I’m not.”

[Read the full excerpt...]