<i>Kilts and Daggers</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Kilts and Daggers: Exclusive Excerpt Victoria Roberts "She knew she should deter his advances, but the passion between them consumed all thought." <i>Summer on Lovers' Island</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Summer on Lovers' Island: Exclusive Excerpt Donna Alward "Lizzie felt Charlie's strong arms around her and closed her eyes." <i>Make You Mine </i>: Exclusive Excerpt Make You Mine : Exclusive Excerpt Jackie Ashenden "He looked down into her eyes, shadowed in the dim light of the room." <i>The Unlikely Lady</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Unlikely Lady: Exclusive Excerpt Valerie Bowman "A soft smile touched Jane’s lips, despite her best efforts to stifle it."
From The Blog
May 4, 2015
First Look: Christina Lee's Two of Hearts
Sage Spelling
May 4, 2015
A Guide to Transgender Terminology in Romance
May 3, 2015
Shipping Sunday: iZombie's Liv/Lowell or Liv/Ravi?
Jennifer Proffitt
May 1, 2015
Friday Beefcake: Hot Guys Grilling and Picnicking!
Team H & H
May 1, 2015
Held Captive Erotic Romance Novels from Stein, Warren, and More!
Rhyll Biest
May 5 2015 12:00pm

Kilts and Daggers: Exclusive Excerpt

Victoria Roberts

Kilts and Daggers by Victoria Roberts

Ever since Lady Grace Walsingham discovered her uncle and sister are spies for the Crown, she has yearned for adventure. She's counting the days until she can leave barbaric Scotland behind, even if she must endure Highland captain Fagan Murray's company for weeks.
Fagan has a simple mission: escort the haughty Lady Grace back to England. But nothing is ever easy. The sharp-tongued woman needles him at every turn. But when a menacing threat follows them on their journey, Fagan's grudging tolerance for Grace turns to respect...and into a perilous attraction that could seal their fate.

Get a sneak peek at  Victoria Roberts's Kilts and Daggers (available May 5, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Grace stood in the middle of the field of heather, the skies lovely shades of purple, orange, and yellow. She needed a moment away from Fagan. How could the man know Elizabeth pined after Laird Munro? Was it that apparent? She caught herself glancing uneasily over her shoulder. Fagan had tied off the mounts and was walking toward her. She had a sneaking suspicion he was going to question her further and was uncom­fortable with his ability to uncover her thoughts.

For someone who hates the Highlands as much as ye do, ye seem to enjoy yourself."

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

May 5 2015 11:00am

Jane the Virgin 1x21 Heart-to-Heart: Turn Off Your Heartlight!

Jane in Jane the Virgin 1x21Show/Episode: Jane the Virgin, Season 1, Episode 21, “Chapter Twenty-One”
Ship: Jane/Rafael

Jane the Virgin 1x21 Captain's LogThis post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Jane The Virgin, including Monday night's Season 1, Episode 21, “Chapter Twenty-One.” Enjoy!

The Shipping News

Our favorite telenovela couple had very little screen time together this week but the penultimate episode felt like a game-changer. Just not in a good way for my fellow Jane/Rafael shippers.

Things start out promising enough. Rafael is, once again, flip-flopping about Jane. He thinks he’s made a mistake by breaking up with Jane. Wait, haven’t we been here before? Honestly, I guess I’m supposed to be happy about this revelation for Rafael, but it just annoys me. At a baby check-up Jane and Rafael both want to talk. Rafael wants to tell her he made a mistake. Jane wants to tell him she’s asking for full custody. There’s a moment when, even though I’m tired of Rafael’s BS, I want him to speak first. I want Jane and Rafael to patch things up before baby is on board. But Jane drops her custody bombshell before Rafael can right this sinking ship. He pleads with her to change her mind, even offering to get an apartment so Jane doesn’t have to bring the baby to the hotel and be around Petra and Magda. Jane doesn’t budge.

[Budge, Jane. BUDGE!]

May 5 2015 9:30am

First Look: Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything (May 5, 2015)

Saint Anything by Sarah DessenSarah Dessen
Saint Anything
Penguin Young Readers / May 5, 2015 / $19.99 print, $10.99 digital

 Sydney has always felt invisible.

She's grown accustomed to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of the family’s attention and, lately, concern. Peyton is handsome and charismatic, but seems bent on self-destruction. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, Peyton’s serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own, questioning her place in the family and the world.

Then she meets the Chatham family. Drawn into their warm, chaotic circle, Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time. There’s effervescent Layla, who constantly falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, who’s had her own fall from grace, and Mrs. Chatham, who even though ailing is the heart of the family. But it’s with older brother Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—that Sydney finally feels seen, really seen, at last.

Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen’s deepest and most psychologically probing novel yet, telling an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.

I rarely venture into Young Adult books, but I make an exception for the very talented Sarah Dessen. Her plots are relevant to today’s issues—you could almost borrow Law and Order’s tagline: taken from today’s headlines, for her books. Dessen’s characters are so vividly created—their actions and emotions so genuinely authentic—that it almost seems that Dessen has a psychological advantage in understanding our human condition. Her characters make sense—their actions make sense, and the emotions they feel just seem appropriate. 

[We like appropriate emotions...can they also include love emotions?]

May 5 2015 8:24am

There When You Need It: What Romance Novels Were There for You When You Needed Them?

Nash by Jay CrownoverSometimes a book or series is just the exact right book to read at the exact right time. Sometimes they are the books there to cheer you up when you're feeling down. Sometimes they're the books that fill a void or shape your reading in a way that was totally unexpected. Other times, they offer us a cathartic experience when when the characters are going through a similar experience as we are.

What books have been there when you need them?

May 4 2015 5:15pm

First Look: Christina Lee’s Two of Hearts (May 5, 2015)

Two of Hearts by Christina LeeChristina Lee
Two of Hearts
Penguin / May 5, 2015 / $14.00 print, $5.99 digital

From the author of the Between Breaths novels comes a gripping romance about finding yourself while taking a second chance at your first love…

Dakota Nakos was always the resilient, strong-willed achiever. But when her father dies and she’s entrusted with the family’s casino, she feels vulnerable, scared, and more than a little emotional —not exactly the best time to see an old lover she’s never really gotten over.

Dakota once meant the world to Shane Garrity. Then suddenly he left town to train as a U.S. Marshal, and their love for each other crashed into a memory. Now he’s come home for her father’s funeral, and one look at the girl he left behind stirs up both memories and regrets, and reignites a fire he feared he’d lost forever.

Dakota may be the same driven girl she always was, but she’s also changed in ways neither could have anticipated. She’s not just a young woman searching for own identity in the Native American community in which she was raised, but one questioning her new life outside her father’s shadow. Above all she wonders if Shane can push past her weakened defenses to rekindle what they once had, or whether the intense blaze between them will ultimately reduce her heart to ashes.

I ignored how my shin tingled simply when his fingers touched me...

There is nothing I love more than sweltering chemistry between the hero and heroine and in Two of Hearts by Christina Lee, Dakota and Shane’s sexual tension is intense. It’s a story of first Love and second chance and from the first few pages—I was captivated by their attraction to on another. Yet, they both harbored unresolved feeling of their past and I was drawn by their conflicted feelings. I wanted them to surrender to their passionate. I rooted for them as a couple within the first few pages, but it seemed that Dakota had a different idea.

[We like different ideas...]

May 4 2015 4:30pm

First Look: Brighton Walsh’s Tessa Ever After (May 5, 2015)

Tessa Ever After by  Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh
Tessa Ever After (Caged in Winter #2)
Penguin / May 5, 2015 / $14.00 print, $9.99 digital

In this grippingly emotional New Adult novel from the author of Caged in Winter, what you want isn’t always what you need…

Jason’s been living (and loving) the rich playboy lifestyle for five years, but now his parents are pressuring him to get involved in the family business. The last thing he wants is another obligation, but when his best friend moves out of state and asks Jason to look after his sister, he can’t just say no.

Tessa had to grow up way too soon. After dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ deaths, then becoming a teenage mom, she knows the meaning of responsibility. Which is why, at twenty-two, she’s looking for so much more than a party boy. She’s looking for someone who can stand by her and her daughter…forever.

A relationship between them is doomed from the start, but who says they can’t have a little fun? But as Jason gets closer to Tessa—and her daughter—fun starts to turn into something else… Something Jason’s not sure he’s ready for.

At the age of 22, Tessa finds herself living on her own and supporting her four year old daughter, Haley, after her brother Cade finds love and moves away to pursue his dream job (see Caged in Winter). Haley is the best thing that has happened to Tessa thus far, but being a single mother without family to help out has been stressful. Good thing her one-time childhood crush and brother’s best friend, Jason, still lives in town. And just when things seem like they’re about to fall apart, Jason always seems to be there helping Tessa pick up the pieces. While Tessa, like any female with eyes, can’t deny how attractive Jason is, she has swallowed a good dose of reality since high school and recognizes guys like Jason are not in the settling down category. Since Tessa is actively seeking out someone who is stable and reliable, romantic notions of Jason have been explicitly locked away in Brighton Walsh's Tessa Ever After.

[Will Tessa finally get her HEA?]

May 4 2015 3:59pm

Romance News Roundup: Royal Baby, Marsha Canham Deal, 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.

Through a Dark Mist by Marsha Canham—Deal Alert #1: Marsha Canham's Robin Hood Trilogy #1, Through a Dark Mist, is currently $.99 in e-book from e-tailers such as iBookstoreBarnes & Noble, and Amazon.* Read up on all our Marsha Canham posts here.

—Great Britain has a new Royal Baby! Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana (!!!!) of Cambridge was born over the weekend, and she's pretty adorable. Awww.

—Deal Alert #2: All three books in Rebekah Weatherspoon's Fit trilogy—Fit, Tamed, and Sated—are currently priced at $.99 in e-book at e-tailers including AmazonBarnes & Noble, and iBookstore.* Read Jessica Moro's spotlight on Fit here. (Full disclosure: Rebekah Weatherspoon is also a Heroes and Heartbreakers blogger.)

[+Saturday Night Live's Black Widow: Age of Me trailer...]

May 4 2015 3:00pm

Game of Thrones 5x04 Heart-to-Heart: Killing Me Softly

Jamie and Bronn in Game of ThronesThis post contains SPOILERS and speculation from all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 5, Episode 4, “Sons of the Harpy.” Enjoy!

Game of Thrones 5x04 Captain's LogShow/Episode: Game of Thrones 5x04, “Sons of the Harpy”
Ship(s): Bronn and Jamie (bromance), with mentions to Jon/Ygritte

Warning! This episode is one of the most Game of Thrones-y epsiodes we’ve had in a while, lots of blood, lots of gore, and, of course, the death of a beloved character (at least by me). Beware Spoilers follow.

Opening with the return of Jorah Mormont, it appears he’s captured our favorite imp, Tyrion. As typical Tyrion, he won’t be quiet even when gagged. As he pieces together Jorah’s plan to hand him over to the true queen Daenerys. Jorah realizes there’s only one way to keep him quiet and knocks him unconscious. While it gave me a bit of jolt to see Jorah back I’m glad to see he’s still trying to fight his way back to Daenerys, you can’t find that time of loyalty these days. He’s semi-creepy, but you can’t help but love him for it.

Jamie is headed to the Sapphire Isle on a merchant ship. THE bromance is back, Jamie and Bronn discuss his plans to rescue to the princess. Bronn doesn’t understand why he has to rescue the princess—obviously he hasn’t put the puzzle pieces together. When he brings up Tyrion, Bronn asks him to pass on a greeting from him. Unexpectedly, Jamie replies he’ll split him in two if he sees him and then will pass on his greeting.  Which makes me sad, I was all for these two repairing their relationship but that’s obviously not happening.

[There's always trouble...]

May 4 2015 12:00pm

Summer on Lovers’ Island: Exclusive Excerpt

Donna Alward

Summer on Lovers' Island by Donna Alward

What happens when a seasonal fling turns into the love of a lifetime?
Lizzie Howard's life has always been adrenaline-charged. Top of her class at Harvard Med and now a gifted trauma doctor, Lizzie's medical career has always come before rest, relaxation, and especially romance. But when one careless mistake brings her future to a screeching halt, Lizzie's only chance at reviving it is to temporarily take over a friend's practice in Jewell Cove. The sleepy Maine coast, a world away from the bustling emergency room Lizzie knows and loves, leaves her feeling more lost than ever-until she meets widowed doctor Joshua Collins, and her heart starts beating a little bit faster...

Coming home to Jewell Cove was Josh's salvation after his wife died. Looking for peace among the familiar faces of friends and family, he's grateful to work in the town's small medical clinic by day and spend his nights trying to forget everything he's lost. Lizzie's big-city sensibilities are a brash reminder of the world he's pushed away, but he can't deny that together they've sparked a flame that crackles higher and brighter every day. Maybe love is the best medicine after all…

Get a sneak peek at Donna Alward's Summer on Lovers' Island (available May 5, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.


As punishments went, Lizzie Howard could have done a lot worse.

The “recommendation” was for her to get out of town for a few days, and she'd chosen to visit her best friend, Charlie, in Jewell Cove. The story Lizzie'd given Charlie was that they could spend the weekend celebrating Lizzie's thirtieth birthday. That sounded much better than the truth, which was that she was slinking away from Springfield with her tail tucked firmly between her legs.

Thirty. Her career was supposed to be taking off instead of stalled in its tracks. How the hell had this happened?

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

May 4 2015 10:45am

A (Brief) Guide to Transgender Terminology in Romance

The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz

Romance as a genre wants to become more diverse. Male/male romance’s popularity and the increasing demand for non-normative historical settings have been seen as positive steps towards an inclusive romance readership, but there’s a lot more to romance than men having really good sex with each other (although we still love reading about it).

M/M romance is a part of a larger type of romance—LGBTQ romance, also known as queer romance. LGBTQ stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer/Questioning. Queer is an umbrella term for these identities as well as a number of others, including asexual, aromantic, pansexual, and intersex. Queer is a deeply political word that started as a term used negatively against the LGBTQ community and has since been reclaimed to become a more positive term (although that’s a simplification of a much larger history of cultural history with the word).

Under LGBTQ romance, one identity we don’t often see represented is that of transgender characters. Transgender characters are characters whose initially assigned genders (typically as a man or a woman) do not match their actual genders. Trans as a term originates from Latin and means “across” or “beyond.” Much like the prefix term, transgender people go “across” or “beyond” their assigned binary gender identities.

[Yes to more diversity in the romance genre.]

May 4 2015 9:30am

First Look: Elizabeth Moss’s Wolf Bride (May 5, 2015)

Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss

Elizabeth Moss
Wolf Bride (Lust in the Tudor Court #1)
Sourcebooks / May 5, 2015 / $15.99 print, $7.99 digital

Hilary Mantel meets Sylvia Day: the first installment in a deliciously erotic trilogy, set against the sumptuous backdrop of the scandal-ridden Tudor Court.

Bound to him against her will...

Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII's court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw her riding across the Yorkshire moors.

Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who-though she is loath to admit it-frightens her more than a little.

Their first kiss awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul. But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees firsthand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives...

There can never be too many erotic historical romances. To have the bedroom door of couples in period settings, language, and garb wide open is somehow just more indulgent and naughty. And we all love a good arranged marriage story, especially here in the first book in Elizabeth Moss’s Lust in the Tudor Court series, Wolf Bride, between Lord Wolf and lady’s maid Eloise, once childhood acquaintances but now virtual strangers. There’s a host of tropes here for the taking, and the fact that it’s all set around one of the most explosive, controversial events in history is a back-drop that will really set this trilogy apart.

[Will you be abe to handle it all?]

May 4 2015 8:21am

What Would You Ask Your Favorite Author?

H&H recently kicked off a special author spotlight exclusively for our newsletter subscribers (Not on the list? Sign up here!). It's a chance for us to sit down with all our favorite authors and ask them the fan-questions we're all dying to know the answer to—like what was their first romance novel, what TV couples do they ship, and what song best represents their newest couple!

If you could sit down with your favorite author and ask them anything, what would you want to know?

May 3 2015 1:23pm

Outlander 1x13 Jamie/Claire Heart-to-Heart: The Ambush

Claire, Jenny, and child in Outlander 1x13Show/Episode: Outlander Season 1, Episode 13, “The Watch”
Ship(s): Jamie/Claire

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Outlander, including Saturday night's Season 1, Episode 13, “The Watch.” Enjoy!

Outlander Jamie and Claire Captain's Log for episode 13Jamie and Claire’s relationship has moved to the next level emotionally. We’ve had Claire come clean about where she’s from, and now Jamie has opened up about his past—including guilt over his father’s death and previous interactions with Black Jack Randall—which means, of course, as these two are settling in for some lovely wedded bliss at their new home of Lallybroch, everything needs to get complicated.

The close of last week’s episode showed Jamie held at gunpoint. Will he escape? Will Jamie and Claire finally get more alone time together? Read on as we discuss Season1, Episode 13, “The Watch.”

Claire rushes down the stairs expecting to help Jamie from the men holding him, but it’s Jenny who saves the day. She knows the men, and tells them Jamie is her cousin. Yet again he’s back to being a MacTavish.

[You do what you have to do...]

May 3 2015 10:00am

Shipping Sunday: iZombie’s Liv/Lowell (Livwell) or Liv/Ravi (Ravioli)?

I'm not into zombies. At. All. However, CW's new show, iZombie has totally caught my eye. Especially with zombie Liv having so many options for her love life. That being said, my heart has been torn the last few episodes with the introduction of a new love interest, Lowell, while we still have the ever-charming Ravi.

In the first few episodes, viewers were given the choice between Major, Liv's former fiance, and Ravi, her boss at the medical examiner's office. Major is great for eye candy, but that's about it, so for me he doesn't even register on the potential shipping scale.

[But two people do...]

May 2 2015 2:00pm

Make You Mine : Exclusive Excerpt

Jackie Ashenden

Make You Mine by Jackie Ashenden

He's raising the stakes.

International playboy Alex St. James always plays to win. Whether it's betting on a high-stakes card game—or bedding a high-class socialite—the gorgeous world-class gambler knows how to beat the odds using his brains, his body, and a whole lot of charm. But there's one woman who's immune to Alex's bag of tricks—which makes her the perfect challenge…and the ultimate prize.

She's going all in.

Once a special operative in her native Russia, Katya Ivanov knows what kind of man Alex is. As his personal bodyguard, she's seen him seduce the richest women, place the riskiest bets, and break the hardest players. But to even a score from her past, she's willing to take a gamble on her reckless boss. Even if she has to pretend to be his lover. Even if he drives her mad with desire. And then she never wants this dangerous game to end…

Get a sneak peek at  Jackie Ashenden's Make You Mine (available May 5, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.


Alex couldn't work out what had woken him, but something had, since his eyes were open and he was awake. The ceiling above him held no answers; neither did the two warm bodies of the women sleeping on either side of him.

It was dark, which meant it was still the middle of the night.

Fuck. This was the third night in a row he'd woken up. And unusual for him, since he had people with him. It was only when he slept alone that the nightmares came.

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

May 2 2015 10:30am

First Look: Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses (May 5, 2015)

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Bloomsbury / May 5, 2015 / $18.99 print, $12.99 print

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses is a tale loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, the heroine Feyre is a 19-year-old huntress who has a rather impoverished family who rely entirely upon her for their survival.  Feyre’s ungrateful sisters could give Cinderella’s stepsisters a run for their money.  One day Feyre is out hunting in the woods when she kills a large wolf. Soon after, a nasty beast creature known as Tamlin shows up at the family shack demanding revenge against the murderer of the wolf.

It is revealed that the wolf was actually a faerie and that Feyre has unknowingly broken a tenuous truce between humans and the fae. As recompense, Feyre must pay with her life, but the beast offers her mercy and lets her choose between death and living her life on his lands in the fearie realm, Prythian. Feyre chooses to go with Tamlin even though it means leaving her family and breaking her vow to her deceased mother to look after them.

[Let her journey begin...]

May 1 2015 4:30pm

Friday Beefcake: Hot Guys Grilling and Picnicking!

Zac Efron in NeighborsThe weather is getting warmer and warmer and with the warmer weather comes invitations to backyard barbecues and picnics! Those barbecuing beefcake are always made better shirtless! So we've compiled a few of our favorite beefcake who are out lounging at the grill and on picnic blankets.

What beefcake would you want at your summer barbecues?

[+2 more hotties to add to your invite list...]

May 1 2015 3:22pm

Romance News Roundup: Kresley Cole Covers & Indie Bookstore Day!

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.

Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley ColeKresley Cole's Immortals After Dark novels Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night and Dark Needs at Night's Edge have new covers! See Dark Needs to the left and jump to the bottom of the post for Wicked Deeds.

—Tomorrow, May 2, is Independent Bookstore Day! Not only can you support your favorite brick-and-mortar store but according to the Washington Post, participating stores will also be selling special literary items in honor of the day, including tote bags, tea towels, signed essay collections, and more.

—Deal Alert #1: Emma Chase's contemporary Tamed is currently $1.99 in e-book at e-tailers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iBookstore.*

—Deal Alert #2: Sharon Sala's romantic suspense Reunion is $2.99 in e-book at the moment at Amazon.*

—Television Upfronts season is here, the time of year when networks announce their new shows. Yesterday, A+E Networks announced a new series starring Roswell's Shiri Appleby, UnREAL—described as “a ficticious behind-the-scenes glimpse into the chaos surrounding the production of a dating competition program”—that may prove interesting to romance fans. In any case, stay tuned to Afternoon Tea for more cool TV updates next week, when the broadcast networks unveil their fall schedules.

[Check out the new cover for Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night...]

May 1 2015 2:30pm

First Look: Donna Alward’s Summer on Lovers’ Island (May 5, 2015)

Summer on Lovers' Island by Donna Alward

Donna Alward
Summer on Lovers' Island (Jewell Cove #3)
St. Martin's Press / May 5, 2015 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Lizzie Howard's life has always been adrenaline-charged. Top of her class at Harvard Med and now a gifted trauma doctor, Lizzie's medical career has always come before rest, relaxation, and especially romance. But when one careless mistake brings her future to a screeching halt, Lizzie's only chance at reviving it is to temporarily take over a friend's practice in Jewell Cove. The sleepy Maine coast, a world away from the bustling emergency room Lizzie knows and loves, leaves her feeling more lost than ever-until she meets widowed doctor Joshua Collins, and her heart starts beating a little bit faster.

One of the most rewarding and believable storylines incorporates two characters at a crossroad in their lives. Their coming together is not so much of one person saving the other—because neither character need someone to “save them” —but they do need a helping hand. Someone who knows how to listen, and not judge. Someone who has the ability to empathize and not give advice. Friendship—-mixed with sexual attraction. Two people who like what is on the outside, but also have the opportunity to learn what is on the inside. And that is exactly what readers get when they open up the pages of the heartwarming new book, Summer on Lovers' Island by Donna Alward.

[Your heart will melt...]

May 1 2015 12:30pm

Prisoners of Love: Captured in Romances from Stein, Warren, and More!

Taken by Charlotte Stein

Why is the capture trope so popular in romance (particularly in historicals)? Arguably it’s because of the popularity of the capture fantasy.

Capture fantasy involves a woman or a man (but more commonly a woman) kidnapped or held against their will and subjected to the invariably wicked ways of their captor. 

You don’t have to be Freud to work out that capture fantasy is a sexual fantasy, and one about submission and dominance (although earlier romance novels never explicitly acknowledged that).In the romantic version, captor and captive end up living happily ever after, or at least happy for now, while the non-romantic version looks and smells a lot like rape (albeit some fantasy version of that). It’s a trope that goes waaaay back – think of all those historical novels where maidens are captured by pirates, sheiks, clansmen, highwaymen and almost anyone else with a penis. And yet the trope also has a bazillion contemporary faces—in speculative romance (where many a handsome alien or dragon shifter takes a captive), romantic suspense (where hostage heroines abound) and erotic romance, where the fantasy is often explicitly discussed and the scene negotiated. 

If you’re new to swimming in the capture romance pool, stick with me—I’m going talk about some books based on this trope, starting at the shallow end (consensual capture romance) and slowly move towards the deep end (dubious consent and non-consensual capture romance—also known as dubcon and noncon). Water wings are optional.

In Taken, written by Charlotte Stein, the plot is that of a young woman falling for her ‘accidental’ captor.

Just how ‘accidental’ can handcuffs be, I hear you ask.

[Well, let's step into erotical romance plots.]