<i>Texas Thunder</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Texas Thunder: Exclusive Excerpt Kimberly Raye "She swallowed against the sudden tightness in her throat." <i>Win Me Over</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Win Me Over: Exclusive Excerpt Nicole Michaels "Her love life was a constant source of contention between her and her mother." <i>Primal Force</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Primal Force: Exclusive Excerpt D. D. Ayres "Good in bed but impossible to love." <i>Hannah and the Highlander</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hannah and the Highlander: Exclusive Excerpt Sabrina York
From The Blog
August 31, 2015
Analyze This: Character Therapy and Development in Romances
Kelly Moran
August 28, 2015
Dark Romances for the Reluctant Reader
Sahara Hoshi
August 27, 2015
August Kert's Bring Me to Life
BizJaust
August 27, 2015
Summer Regency Anthologies Make Reading Easy!
Janet Webb
August 27, 2015
August 2015 Blogger Recommendations
Team H & H
Tue
Sep 1 2015 8:22am

Nothing Says the Holidays Like a Fake-Fiancé: Love the Coopers Trailer

It seems that holidays and weddings are the time when the fake fiancé trope is employed the most liberally and lovingly. We love it! And it appears that it's no different than in the upcoming holiday movie/ensemble rom-com, Love the Coopers. What first caught our eye was obviously Olivia Wilde cozying up to a soldier, however with a cast featuring Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Ed Helms, and others, well...you better believe we'll be watching this when it hits theaters November 13!

What did you think? Will you watch this one? What are your thoughts on the fake-fiancé trope?

Mon
Aug 31 2015 5:30pm

First Look: Mary Balogh’s Only a Kiss (September 1, 2015)

Only A Kiss by Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh
Only a Kiss (The Survivors' Club #6)
Signet / September 1, 2015 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

The Survivors’ Club: Six men and one woman, injured in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendships forged in steel and loyalty. But for one, her trials are not over....

Since witnessing the death of her husband during the wars, Imogen, Lady Barclay, has secluded herself in the confines of Hardford Hall, their home in Cornwall. The new owner has failed to take up his inheritance, and Imogen desperately hopes he will never come to disturb her fragile peace.

Percival Hayes, Earl of Hardford, has no interest in the wilds of Cornwall, but when he impulsively decides to pay a visit to his estate there, he is shocked to discover that it is not the ruined heap he had expected. He is equally shocked to find the beautiful widow of his predecessor’s son living there.

Soon Imogen awakens in Percy a passion he has never thought himself capable of feeling. But can he save her from her misery and reawaken her soul? And what will it mean for him if he succeeds?

How many times have we met a couple that hate at first sight? And how many times has that hate jolted a man and a woman out of the placid, predictable half-life they’ve been living? So it is when Imogen, Lady Barclay, sees a man on her doorstep who is “absolutely, knee-weakeningly handsome.” But her second impression is that he is “impatient and insufferably arrogant” and Percy’s first words to Imogen leave no room for doubt.

He turned, looked at her, looked pointedly at the door behind her, which she had shut, and looked back at her with raised, perfectly arched eyebrows.

“And who the devil might you be?” he asked.”

[Second impressions are in order...]

Mon
Aug 31 2015 4:30pm

Analyze This: Character Therapy and Development in Romances from Cole, Pace, and More!

All of Me by Kelly Moran

Today we're thrilled to welcome Kelly Moran to Heroes and Heartbreakers! Kelly's latest release, All of Me, comes out tomorrow and features a character who is very good at reading people—author Alec Monroe. Alec also has a lot of baggage, as does his heroine, Faith. While neither character is a therapist, the author in many ways has to act as therapist to figure out how their past will effect their future—and particularly their future relationships. Let's face it, reading can act as therapy a lot of times, too. Kelly is here today to talk the unofficial therapy some characters go through during the course of their story to get to their HEA. Thanks, Kelly!

Hello, everyone! So happy to be joining you today! This topic is an interesting one, and I could go on tangent after tangent on this subject alone. Ahem. I shall try not to. For your sake.

With regards to fiction, characters don't necessarily need to be a “therapist” to be labeled as such. From reading facial expressions to expressing feelings to observing what's around them in order to react, it's all a head game. And those are the characters without the actual title of “Shrink.” Whether a cop, bartender, librarian, sales clerk, artist, or vampire lord, there are several jobs in which the character can be very analytical. Since I'm a romance writer, let's go with that genre and some of my more recent reads.

[What are character's without growth?]

Mon
Aug 31 2015 3:53pm

Romance News Roundup: Jill Shalvis & Lisa Jackson Deals Plus Debbie Macomber on Cedar Cove!

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.

Instant Gratification by Jill Shalvis—Deal Alert #1: Jill Shalvis's Instant Gratification is currently $2.20 in e-book at Amazon (via ReadyCheaply).*

—Deal Alert #2: Leigh Bardugo's YA fantasy (with a potential love triangle) Shadow and Bone is marked down to $2.99 in e-book at the moment at e-tailers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iBookstore (via BookBub).* For a taste of the book, read an excerpt from Shadow and Bone here.

Debbie Macomber made a cameo appearance in the latest episode of the Cedar Cove television series based on her books by the same name. Did you spot her? (h/t Janet Webb)

—Deal Alert #3: Lisa Jackson's romantic suspense novel The Night Before is $1.99 right now in e-book at e-tailers including iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon (via ReadCheaply).*

—Twitter user @ManVsPink calls attention to an important @StarWars response to a fan who says of a female stormtrooper picture that “it's really hard to tell that's female armor”: “It's armor,” @StarWars commented on Facebook, “On a Woman. It doesn't have to look feminine.”

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

Mon
Aug 31 2015 1:30pm

First Look: Lora Leigh’s Wicked Lies (September 1, 2015)

Wicked Lies by Lora Leigh

Lora Leigh
Wicked Lies (Men of Summer #2)
St. Martin's Press / September 1, 2015 / $7.99 print & digital

From #1 bestselling author Lora Leigh comes Wicked Lies, a sizzling novel of the Men of Summer-their ways and means, and the women they desire...

HE'S TEMPTING FATE

Jazz Lancing is the stuff of legends. A mountain-bred ex-Navy SEAL with rugged dark looks, a tall muscled frame, and gorgeous blue eyes, he can have any woman he wants in the state of Tennessee. Except Annie Mayes. The beautiful, innocent teacher refuses to fall for Jazz because she's hiding a secret more powerful than her own temptation ...

SHE'S IN TOO DEEP

Jazz knows that Annie isn't who she says she is-that she's lying about her identity, her past, and her motives. But can she be trusted? Little does he know Annie has been craving his kiss for years, dreaming that Jazz would take her in his arms and save her from her demons. But telling Jazz the truth could put both of them in peril. In this deadly game of danger, deceit, and darkness, is desire worth the risk of losing...everything?

Lora Leigh is at her best when she’s writing nail-biting suspense with a group of characters we’ve come to know as close-knit and well-loved, set in the low-country backwoods of the southern midwest. With Wicked Lies she returns to a series whose first book ten years ago still brings fond memories, but has been rebranded with the new Men of Summer series title, and with a launching point all its own. Its Americana at its finest, with homegrown terrorists, big alphas, and the women they’d do anything to possess, Leigh’s bread and butter.

[The more they know, the less they can trust...]

Mon
Aug 31 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

Texas Thunder: Exclusive Excerpt

Kimberly Raye

Texas Thunder by Kimberly Raye

Recipe for Disaster

The most infamous moonshiners in Lone Star history, the Tuckers and the Sawyers have been feuding for over a hundred years. Sure, the days of buckshot and bloodshed are long gone, but it's not over yet. To save the family business, Callie Tucker has to find the recipe for the legendary Texas Thunder moonshine. But first she'll need to make a devil's bargain—with a red-hot hellraiser named Brett Sawyer.

Romance with a Kick

A Sawyer through and through, Brett was raised to never trust a Tucker—especially one as pretty as Callie. But desperate times call for desperate measures. With his ranch going bankrupt, Brett agrees to help Callie find the recipe, sell the rights, and split the profits. Of course, it won't be easy for these two enemies to work together. But it's even harder to ignore the sparks of attraction—when just one kiss delivers a kick stronger than any swig of moonshine…

Get a sneak peek at Kimberly Raye's Texas Thunder (available September 1, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

CHAPTER 1

Callie Tucker had never thought very highly of the Senior Women’s Quilting Circle. In her opinion, there’d always been way too much gossip and not nearly enough quilting.

Par for the course in a small town like Rebel, Texas, where everyone knew their neighbor’s business and tongues wagged faster than a flag during a Gulf Coast hurricane. Still, like them or not, she had to give the busybodies their due. They might not be able to keep their mouths shut, but they certainly knew their way around a funeral.

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

Mon
Aug 31 2015 11:00am

She Blinded Me with Science: Girl Geeks and Science Nerds from Crane, Sheridan, and More!

Skin Game by Ava Gray

How many heroines are too smart for their own good? Not enough I say! Looking at heroines who really know what they’re doing and how to implement their smarts into different scenarios is a tricky thing. You don’t want the heroine to seem like a know-it-all, but you also want her to be able to stand her own ground. One of my favorite nerdy heroines in a profession I would never touch with a ten-foot-pole is Ava Gray’s (Ann Agurrie’s) Mia Sauter. Part of the Skin series, Mia is a forensic accountant (I’m allergic to math) and a damn good one at that. In fact, she’s so good that she goes unnoticed except for the hero, Addison Foster a.k.a. Thomas Strong a.k.a. it’s complicated. The man of many faces that Mia encountered not too long ago is the same man discouraging her from pursuing her contract for the sake of his revenge. Is Mia going to stand for that? Not likely! I loved that Mia was not only as sharp as her leading man, but also stood her ground in terms of her ability and capability of holding it together against the main baddie. I also loved that her ability with numbers and patterns was handy in more than one instance in the book, especially her epic chess battle with the antagonist.

A newer to me author, because I live under a rock, is Carolyn Crane and her suspense novel, Behind the Mask. The romance between legendary mercenary, Hugo Martinez and co-leader of the Associates as well as botanist, Zelda, tears apart what you think you know about romantic suspense and then puts it all back together. I loved Zelda as she is not only a field agent, but her scientific specialty botany, really comes into play especially when people accuse her of messing with the local crop of flowers vital to a small South American town. The flowers are made-up by the author, but the way Zelda holds her own and conducts scientific experiments using a control  and multiple samples hits the very heart of what scientists do on a day to day basis.

[Nerdy heroines rock...]

Mon
Aug 31 2015 8:30am

Based on a True Story: Real-Life Stories That Should Be Romance Novels

Sometimes truth really can be stranger than fiction. The above video has been around for awhile, but cute kiss cam moments have been making the rounds at H&H recently and started a conversation about real-life moments that are pretty much the setup for a romance novel.

What real-life stories have you heard that have made you go “yup, that's the start of a romance novel”? Let us know in the comments!

Mon
Aug 31 2015 9:30am

First Look: Cara McKenna’s Crosstown Crush (September 1, 2015)

Crosstown Crush by Cara McKenna

Cara McKenna
Crosstown Crush

Signet Eclipse / September 1, 2015 / $9.99 print & $7.99 digital

When he’s working, Mike Heyer is all business—every inch the alpha male, with the hard, capable body to back up his persona. But at home he can be a different man entirely, harboring appetites only his wife gets to glimpse…

When Samira first learned of her husband’s fantasies, she was reluctant, even alarmed. But after witnessing the way they set him on fire, she yielded, and happily indulged. As their games have intensified, so has the rush. And now so has the risk—they’re poised to take Mike’s indecent desires to the next level, by opening their bed to a sexy, brazen stranger. A man seeming custom-made to grant every last one of Mike and Samira’s sinful wishes.

Welcoming someone new into their lives was always a dangerous proposition, but the couple imagined if anything was at stake, it was their privacy…not their hearts.

A title like Crosstown Crush gives the impression of a light, cheerful romantic comedy, but what's on the page is the dark, twisty and emotional sexual exploration that readers have come to expect from author Cara McKenna. In fact, Mike and Sam's story hearkens back to several earlier McKenna works like Willing Victim and the Shivaree series, where identity and kink and commitment are as hard to untangle as knots and the reader's journey is as uncomfortable at times as the characters'. The reason for that is Mike's appetites, his particular kink. It's not one frequently found in erotic romance...and the term is one you're more likely to find in a historical. Cuckhold.

[I only want to watch...]

Sun
Aug 30 2015 2:00pm

Shipping Sunday: Smallville’s Chloe/Oliver (Chlollie)

I watched Smallville back when it first aired and I have to say Tom Welling is at least partially responsible for my sexual awakening—he was gorgeous and I loved him. However, for whatever reason, I stopped watching the show after the first few seasons and only recently re-discovered my love for the show through Tumblr. It wasn't Clark Kent's relationship with Lana Lang or Lois Lane that had me panting for the show again, but rather the love between Chloe Sullivan and Oliver Queen. While Stephen Amell currently holds my heart in the role of Oliver Queen, I fell in love with the relationship Chlollie possessed!

[They'll possess your heart too...]

Sun
Aug 30 2015 10:00am
Excerpt

Win Me Over: Exclusive Excerpt

Nicole Michaels

Win Me Over by Nicole Michaels

Wining Isn’t Everything

Callie Daniels is a singular sensation. She owns and operates her own bakery, contributes to a popular lifestyle blog, and is the dance team coach at a local high school. She lives by her own design and is much too busy to consider dating. Mr. Right will have to fit into her life when the time is right...

Unless You’re Playing for Keeps

Football coach Bennett Clark always plays by the rules. He knows that his new colleague Callie is off limits but she's so beautiful-and irritating!-that Bennett can't get her off his mind. She wants him to participate in a charity dance contest, and won't take no for an answer. Soon, what begins as a festive athletic endeavor turns into a heated flirtation on and off the dance floor. Could it be that the free-spirited Callie has finally found a way through Coach Clark's line of defense?

Get a sneak peek at Nicole Michaels's Win Me Over (available September 1, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

One

Some people had skeletons in their closet; Callie Daniels had tiaras. Literally. Big, tacky, blinged-out tiaras. The kind that graced over-teased heads of little pageant girls, took an entire package of bobby pins to hold secure, and were so tall it was amazing they didn’t tip children ass over teakettle. Something she knew from experience because once upon a time she’d been one of those little girls, and if beauty pageant life had taught Callie anything, it was how to put a fake smile on your face. A skill that came in handy when your mother unexpectedly walked through the front door of your bakery on a Thursday afternoon.

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

Sat
Aug 29 2015 6:30pm

Time to Say Goodbye: Downton Abbey Season 6 (Series 6) U.K. Premiere Date and First Trailer!

It's time to say goodbye and this first (it's our final first!) trailer for Downton Abbey's Season (Series) 6 pulls at the heart strings in a big way—and we get a premiere date too! Every character that we have come to love and hate gets a little bit of screen time in this trailer all set to a melancholy—well, more melancholy—cover of “Time to Say Goodbye.”

What characters do you want to make sure to say goodbye to? The trailer features Lady Mary quite heavily, will she finally get a happily-ever-after? And what about poor Anna, she looked quite distraught! Let us know in the comments. And stay tuned for our own speculation, coming soon from Naz Keynejad!

Start saying goodbye to Downton Abbey on September 20, when it premieres on ITV. We'll be covering the show as it airs in the U.K.

Sat
Aug 29 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Sabrina York’s Hannah and the Highlander (September 1, 2015)

Sabrina York
Hannah and the Highlander (Untamed Highlander #1)
St. Martin's Press / September 1, 2015 / $7.99 print & digital

First in a brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author Sabrina York about the bold, brawny men of the Highlands-and the lovely lasses who bring them to their knees...

Scotland 1813:

Highlanders are her weakness.
Hannah Dounreay has no time for suitors who only seem interested in her family's land, which she manages as well as any man. If she marries, she wants to be loved for the educated, independent woman she is. But when a strong, silent—and spectacularly handsome—Highlander saves her from a violent attack, her heart is stirred. Who is this man? And if he asks for Hannah's hand, will she be able to resist him?

Love is the most powerful weapon of all.
Alexander Lochlannach, Laird of Dunnet, has no time to lose. The Highlands are in an uproar as clans battle for land-without mercy-and Alexander can't afford to fall for the wildly attractive, strong-willed Hannah. What's more, he has a desperate secret, one that could destroy them both. But as their attraction turns into an all-consuming passion, Alexander has no choice but to prove to Hannah that he's the only man for her—body and soul...in Hannah and the Highlander.

Hannah and the Highlander is the first in the new Untamed Highlander series by Sabrina York. Hannah Dounreay is on the marriage market and thanks to her father, she comes with a great deal of land. At first glance, you might think this book is going to be your typical girl on the shelf who misunderstands her suitors attention for her land rather than who she really is, yadda yadda yadda. And yes, it starts out that way. Because she pretty much is on the shelf at twenty-two, and she does have suitors that only want her land.

[Can't resist the Highlander...]

Sat
Aug 29 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

Primal Force: Exclusive Excerpt

D. D. Ayres

Primal Force by D. D. Ayres

Passion is always worth fighting for…

Jori Garrison trains dogs for Warrior Wolf Pack, which provides service animals for disabled veterans. Four years ago, she was wrongly convicted of a crime—thanks to her no-good ex- fiancé. Now she just wants to live her life in peace with her beloved dogs. No men, no complications. But it's hard to play it cool when a lethally hot male is on her tail—and the attraction is fierce, mutual, and dangerous….

Primal Force

Lauray “Law” Batisse is a Military Police veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan. Haunted by the loss of his K-9 partner in combat, he's reluctant to accept a service dog named Samantha into his life. But once he meets her trainer—the gorgeous Jori Garrison—he can't fight his primal instincts. And neither can Jori. This sexy alpha male might be the only man strong enough to unleash her desires. And when unseen enemies start hunting them down, he and his new K-9 partner might be her only hope…to survive.

Get a sneak peek at D. D. Ayres's Primal Force (available September 1, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

CHAPTER ONE

He was running.

The best part of any day. Straight up a steep mountain incline. Knee lifts as important as footfalls. The jackhammer explosion of quads and calves propelled him off the ground and up the terrain in a zigzag pattern. One after the other, his boots hit the rocky earth, springing him forward, taking him higher.

His heart was pumping like a motor with a hemi attached. The sky above a pale-yellow dome of heat. The earth beneath him hard, desert dry, unforgiving.

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

Fri
Aug 28 2015 4:30pm

Friday Beefcake: Dear Mr. President, You’re Hot Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy and more

This is not about your political philosophy or your party affliation. Leaders of the free world have always been in their own class. From charamatic to lovable and not-so-lovable, they have all shown some type of confidence. 

With Hillary Clinton announcing her plans to run for presient, it could mean we won't see another male leader for 8 years. It may not be a bad thing. And with shows like Scandal and House of Cards it may be possible to envision what the next male leader should look like or be. In the meantime, we can remember presidents and world leaders that have made us sear. 

[Hottest presidents ever...]

Fri
Aug 28 2015 3:57pm

Romance News Roundup: Sam Heughan’s New Movie and More!

Welcome to H&H's daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

Sam Heughan's Next Role Will Be...Outlander's Sam Heughan and Supergirl's Melissa Benoist are set to play lovers in the romantic drama film Oxford, according to Deadline Hollywood. Will it be tough to see Jamie Fraser romancing someone other than Claire, or are you just happy to see Heughan getting lots of work? For more on these rising stars, see our latest Outlander coverage (the search for Brianna Randall is on!) and watch the trailer for TV series Supergirl.

Shana Galen has shared the cover of her next novel, an anthology with Vanessa Kelly, Kate Noble, and Theresa Romain titled A Gentleman for All Seasons. If you're hankering for something to read right now, our Shana Galen tag can help you out.

Fri
Aug 28 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Sara Humphreys’s Brave the Heat (September 1, 2015)

Sara Humphreys
Brave the Heat (The Maguire Brothers #1)
Sourcebooks Casablanca / September 1, 2015 / $7.99 print & digital

The only fire he can't put out...
Jordan McKenna is back in town, and Fire Chief Gavin Maguire's feelings when he sees her after all these years are as raw as the day she left. Then he was just a kid wearing his heart on his sleeve. Now he spends every day trying to atone for the tragedy he couldn't prevent.

Is the torch he carries for her...
Jordan's life has not exactly worked out the way she expected. A divorced mother of two with a failed acting career, Jordan's biggest concern about coming back to Old Brookfield was seeing her first love. But when a series of suspicious fires breaks out, Jordan and Gavin realize that dealing with the sparks between them may be the least dangerous of their problems.

Sara Humphreys has created an amazing new series starring everyday heroes.  Her first story in this series, Brave the Heat, tells the moving tale of fear and tragedy, love and loss and second chances to get it right.   

Everything that happens in our lives, both the good and the bad, will have an effect on the choices we make in the future.  Sometimes that effect is profound and sometimes it is so subtle it takes time to realize why you acted in such a way.  

[Return to your heart...]

Fri
Aug 28 2015 1:00pm

Come to the Dark Side: Dark Romances for the Reluctant Reader

Beneath the Burn by Pam Godwin

When I first got into reading romance, my focus was on the happy, splashy covers of good looking couples who seemed to be having fun. Little did I know that years later—as in high school—I would be drawn to something darker and a little more bittersweet kind of a like a milk chocolate eater trying the bitter taste of dark chocolate for the first time. Even though I’m not a connoisseur of dark romance, I think I have a few titles if you want to dip your toes in to the reading deep end.

I love Pam Godwin’s Beneath the Burn, it has everything you could want including a sexy rocker, a fearless heroine and one hell of a suspenseful plot. Basically an escapee from a monster of a man, Charlee falls back into his hands but not after a fateful encounter with Jay, a source of light in the darkness surrounding Charlee’s life. What I like about Godwin’s writing in this book is that the abductor and his abduction aren’t romanticized. I have a hard time with darker romances that contain dubious consent. Charlee and Jay are a match made in a twisted heaven if only they can escape the ghosts of both their pasts.

[No HEA, but close enough...]

Fri
Aug 28 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

Hannah and the Highlander: Exclusive Excerpt

Sabrina York

Hannah and the Highlander by Sabrina York

Highlanders are her weakness.

Hannah Dounreay has no time for suitors who only seem interested in her family's land, which she manages as well as any man. If she marries, she wants to be loved for the educated, independent woman she is. But when a strong, silent-and spectacularly handsome-Highlander saves her from a violent attack, her heart is stirred. Who is this man? And if he asks for Hannah's hand, will she be able to resist him?

Love is the most powerful weapon of all.

Alexander Lochlannach, Laird of Dunnet, has no time to lose. The Highlands are in an uproar as clans battle for land-without mercy-and Alexander can't afford to fall for the wildly attractive, strong-willed Hannah. What's more, he has a desperate secret, one that could destroy them both. But as their attraction turns into an all-consuming passion, Alexander has no choice but to prove to Hannah that he's the only man for her-body and soul...in Hannah and the Highlander.

Get a sneak peek at Sabrina York's Hannah and the Highlander (available September 1, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

CHAPTER ONE

May 1813

Barrogill, Caithness County, Scotland

She should look away. Really, she should. But Hannah Dounreay could not tear her gaze from the sight of the enormous man striding onto the field of combat like a warrior of old. It could have been the glorious fall of inky black curls riffling in the breeze, or the breadth of his shoulders, or the sharp cut of his chin … or the rippling muscles of his bare chest, swathed only with the Sinclair plaid. But something had captivated her attention.

He stood, tall and proud, bare legged in the traditional kilt, head and shoulders above the other men. He was even taller than her father and Papa was not a small man.

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