<i>Hell for Leather</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hell for Leather: Exclusive Excerpt Julie Ann Walker "Lord almighty, how he wanted to touch her there, needed to touch her there." H&H Reads <i>A Breath of Scandal</i> (5 of 6) H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal (5 of 6) Elizabeth Essex Ready to be reckless? Join us for a read-along of Elizabeth Essex's A Breath of Scandal <i>The House on Blackberry Hill</i>: Excerpt The House on Blackberry Hill: Excerpt Donna Alward "He felt a shiver of anticipation that had...everything to do with the client." <i>The Billionaire Biker</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Billionaire Biker: Exclusive Excerpt Jackie Ashenden "Her best friend. Her first lover. And the boy who’d left her..."
From The Blog
April 18, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Blue-Eyed Devils
Team H & H
April 18, 2014
Ruthless Ladies in Fiction
Megan Frampton
April 17, 2014
Lessons from J.D. Robb’s In Death Series
Pen Singleton
April 17, 2014
The Appeal of Gritty Romance in Skye Warren's Wanderlust
Cara McKenna
April 16, 2014
Hot Small-Town Contemporaries
Jennifer Proffitt
Tue
Apr 15 2014 2:00pm

Today we welcome not one, not two, but six authors to talk about why they love athletes. This week, Carina Press published six new sports romances, each featuring a different sport: football, tennis, baseball, hockey, mixed martial arts, and rugby, and we're happy to welcome Rebecca Crowley, Rhonda Shaw, Kate Willoughby, Michele Mannon, Allison Parr, and Kat Latham to discuss why they love athletes.

Commitment, passion, tenacity…athletes have a slew of traits that we romance readers adore.  We are here today sharing just a few of the reasons we love athletes—in 18 charming gifs.

They’re great dancers.

Duchene handshake gif courtesy of nhlgifs.tumblr.com

[It really IS about the motion on the...ice rink...]

Tue
Apr 15 2014 12:00pm

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda QuickAmanda Quick
Otherwise Engaged
Putnam Adult / April 22, 2014 / $26.95 print, $12.99 digital

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. But Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her . . . for now.

But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge—gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him—as tenuous as it may be.

For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings that neither of them can run away from. . . .

Jayne Ann Krentz has been writing under the pseudonym Amanda Quick since 1998, so long-time readers know what to expect inside the covers—a unique-for-her-time heroine about to set off on an adventure of a lifetime, accompanied by an honorable, principled and dashing (at least to her) hero. And that is exactly what you will find in Ms. Quick’s latest release, Otherwise Engaged.

[Sounds...engaging!...]

Tue
Apr 15 2014 9:30am

Recently in my post about family ties in romance, I talked about the impact of families, or lack thereof, on the heroine and hero. Basically, they—the hero and heroine—were either the recipient of a good or bad family situation. But what if we changed the focus a bit, and looked at how the heroine’s or hero’s actions affected their family.

Now we have all read books where the hero or heroine gives up the other for one reason or another—he thinks she hasn’t had the opportunity to experience life, or he has a wonderful career opportunity, and the heroine knows that she will tie him down. But what about the hero or heroine that makes sacrifices for a family member. Do you remember the embryotic romance between Sarah and Karl in the film Love Actually? Sarah and Karl both work at the same graphic design company and she has been in love with him for years. And it’s not like it is a secret; everyone in the office knows. But Sarah has a mentally ill brother. And just when the relationship with Karl is about to go to the next step, she picks her brother over Karl. Luckily our heroines are not like Sarah, because they do have a happy ending in their future. So who are these heroines?

[Poor Sarah was just the tip of the iceberg, but maybe an HEA to come...]

Tue
Apr 15 2014 8:03am

It's the day taxes are due in the United States, and for many people, this is a time when we are acutely aware of our finances.

(Spoiler: Not many of us are billionaires).

Who's your favorite dirt-broke hero, and what does he economize on the best?

Mon
Apr 14 2014 4:30pm

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanJenny Han
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Simon & Schuster / April 15, 2014 / $17.99 print, $10.99 digital

Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Jenny Han's young adult novel To All the Boys I've Loved Before expertly blends heroine Lara Jean's development into an empowered young adult with her first taste of love for a sweet and memorable coming-of-age story.

[Love letters for everyone!...]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 2:00pm

Beyond Repair by Charlotte SteinCharlotte Stein
Beyond Repair
Ellora's Cave / April 16, 2014 / $5.95 digital

When Alice Evans finds a bona fide movie star on the floor of her living room, she has no idea what to do. Ordinary men are frightening enough, never mind someone as famous and frankly gorgeous as Holden Stark.

However, once she realizes that Holden is suffering behind that famous facade, she knows she has to help. He needs someone like her to give him a taste of sweetness and desire and love. He needs normality. The only problem is—Alice is hiding a secret that is far from normal. In fact, her name isn’t even Alice at all.

And once Holden finds out, the intense connection they are just beginning to build may well be torn apart.

Beyond Repair is hands down my favorite Charlotte Stein book so far. Period. We are introduced to Alice, a 20-year-old, hermit by the beach, as she encounters heartthrob Holden Stark, a.k.a. Captain Amazing. Stein has created a great timid-girl-meets-messed-up-movie-star story. The title, Beyond Repair, does not just apply to the messed-up movie star hero, but also the painfully shy heroine whose secrets we discover later on.

[Could they be a perfect match?...]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt
Jackie Ashenden

The Billionaire Biker by Jackie Ashenden

Wild and reckless, and more at ease with his biker gang than his business partners, Sean Morrow has always longed for Abigail Prescott, whose life he ruined when an innocent friendship turned into a night of red-hot passion back when they were in high school. Now that his brother, Jax, has decided to hire Abby to work for the Morrows, Sean can no longer ignore his old demons—or his desire.

It took Abby time to get over Sean Morrow…and then he walked back into her life. And even though she can’t forget the pain, she can’t stop fantasizing about their one erotic encounter…and she still craves his touch. What she feels for Sean is deeper than need. It’s pure, blind lust—and the feeling is mutual…

Get a sneak peek of Jackie Ashenden's The Billionaire Biker (available April 15, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

Sean shifted uncomfortably in his chair, trying to resist the urge to pull at the tie currently strangling the life out of him. It didn’t help that he was being watched by two sets of blue eyes. Morrow blue eyes. His half-brothers Jax and Donovan, the former studying him from behind his desk, the latter sitting on the corner of the same desk with a critical look on his face.

Sean gazed back. He hadn’t seen either of them for five years but if they wanted to play this game, then he was more than happy with it.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of The Billionaire Biker...]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 10:54am

Joffrey and Margaery in Game of Thrones Season 4, episode 2This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose.” Enjoy!

It’s official. “Rains of Castamere” is the worst earworm ever. If you hear it, grab your wine and leave the wedding at once. Also: In Westeros this season, purple is the new red for weddings.

More on this later…

We start with Ramsay Snow trying to beat out Joffrey for most disgusting human being in the kingdom. He’s hunting a servant, Tansy, who was kind to “Reek” (Theon Greyjoy) but was just following Ramsay's orders, and while the first arrow is put in the girl's leg by Ramsay’s jealous squeeze, he’s the one who releases his hunting hounds to tear Tansy to pieces.

[Charming lad, that one, isn't he?...]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 9:30am

The Game of Love by Edith LaytonApril 23, 2014, will mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, and Shakespeare lovers around the globe will be celebrating the occasion throughout the month of April with lectures, conferences, readings, and parties. The most famous celebration is probably the one in Stratford-on-Avon where they will be serving birthday cake to visitors April 25-26. Now I’m no Shakespeare expert, but I am an English major with four courses in Shakespeare on my transcript and a generalist who spent a portion of each year for more than three decades teaching one of a dozen of his plays. (Twelfth Night was my favorite to teach, and I blush to confess that the last time I taught Hamlet to a class of general studies high school students we had a party to celebrate not Shakespeare’s birth but Hamlet’s death.) I think my experience with Shakespeare is sufficient for me to hold my own celebration: a rereading of my top five Shakespeare-influenced romance novels.

[Journeys end in lovers meeting...]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 8:00am

In honor of April's being National Poetry Month, we present Tom Hiddleston reading “May I Feel Said He” by e.e. cummings (And for more, visit the site Hot Men Reading Poetry).

Do you have a favorite poem? Share in comments!

Sun
Apr 13 2014 2:00pm

Bomb Girls posterAs with all under-appreciated shows, Bomb Girls was short-lived, but while it was on, I loved it fiercely. As with many great shows, I found it while perusing on Netflix and instantly loved it, and you should, too. Here's why:

5. Binge Watch-ability:

Okay, this is an obvious one, but you can sit down and watch the show, which follows in BBC tradition of being short seasons with longer episodes, in one weekend. It was truly a great show and while I was sad to see it go, I was thrilled when a TV Movie aired at the end of March to give me some closure, a service many a fandom does not get.

4. Multi-dimensional Plot:

The beauty of an ensemble cast is that you can follow a variety of storylines. If you don't care for Vera (said no fan of the show, ever), tune into Kate and Betty’s story, or maybe you like the trouble that seemed to follow Gladys. It had love, international intrigue, politics, and history. The show tackles many issues that women faced during this time: gender roles to start with, and ending with physical abuse and sexuality, with a whole host in between.

[+History, beefcake, and shipping potential!...]

Wed
Apr 16 2014 12:00pm
Reprint
Elizabeth Essex

A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth EssexPart 4 is no longer available. You can read Part 5 here.

Today, we're excited to bring back our H&H Reads program, with the book that introduced us to the Jellicoe clan—A Breath of Scandal.

Every Wednesday and Sunday from now until April 20, we'll be posting A Breath of Scandal in six easy-to-read (if not so easy to wait for!) parts. Right before each new part goes up, we'll be taking down the previous one, so make sure you don't miss a single piece of the book. Whether you're a long-time fan of Elizabeth Essex, or brand new to the Reckless Brides series, we hope you'll read along and then discuss each section of the book with us!

Want to be alerted when future parts of the book are live on the site? Log in or register here to be added to the H&H Reads Alert List! Want more Elizabeth Essex? Log in or register here to stay up to date on all the news!

Don't think you can wait? Catch up on the whole story now. (See the links at the bottom of this post for more info on where you can get your copy of A Breath of Scandal.) Then, come back to share your thoughts!

A BREATH OF SCANDAL BY ELIZABETH ESSEX
Forced by her family into an engagement with a man she can never abide, Antigone Preston knows only a scandal will save her from a loveless marriage. But knocking a man down to the ballroom floor with her fists brings dangerous consequences. She may have ruined her reputation, but now she’s endangered her heart…

The son of an earl and a career navy man, Captain William Jellicoe has no interest in the frivolities of London—and even less in the institution of marriage. But there’s something steering him toward Antigone. He has never met anyone as brazen and unconventional as…himself. But will he risk it all for a woman who still has the breath of scandal hot on her lips?

Part 4 is no longer available. You can read Part 5 here.

***
Copyright © 2012 by Elizabeth Essex.
***

To learn more about A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex, or to get your hot little hands on the entire story now, visit:

Buy at Amazon

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Buy at Indiebound

Buy at iTunes

 

 

Want to start the series from the beginning? Don't miss Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex, especially while the e-book is downpriced to just $2.99!

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at Indiebound

Buy at iTunes

 

 

And don't miss the next reckless bride in A Scandal to Remember, out August 26:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at Indiebound

Buy at iTunes

 

 

Stay up-to-date on all things in the Reckless Brides series and Elizabeth Essex with H&H's  Elizabeth Essex Collection!

 


Elizabeth Essex is the critically acclaimed author of historical novels including The Pursuit of Pleasure, A Sense of Sin and the RITA Award nominated The Danger of Desire. When not re-reading Jane Austen, sipping tea or mucking about her garden, Elizabeth can be found writing, making up wonderful stories about people who live far more interesting lives than she. It wasn’t always so. Elizabeth graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classical Studies and Art History, and then earned her MA from Texas A&M University in Nautical Archaeology, also known as the archaeology of shipwrecks.

Sat
Apr 12 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt
Kate Angell

No Sunshine When She's Gone by Kate AngellThough his family owns the charming beachside town of Barefoot William, Aidan Cates is as down-to-earth as the locals. He’s also practical to a fault and doesn’t believe some psychic on the boardwalk can predict his future.

Jillie Mac is as free as an ocean breeze, so when the hot stranger and his date mistake her for a fortune teller, she’s ready to have some fun. But one devastating secret told, one mistaken identity revealed, and numerous long summer nights later, it’s Jillie and Aidan who discover that sometimes love comes with a simple twist of fate.

Get a sneak peek of Kate Angell's No Sunshine When She's Gone (available April 29, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Aidan and Jillian arrived at the Barefoot William boardwalk at twilight. He parked in the reserved lot with spaces designated for the store owners. He pulled into the spot with a sign for Three Shirts to the Wind. “My cousin Jenna is gone for the day,” he said.

Moments later they were beachside, headed for the pier. Pole lights came on at dusk. Musicians set the night to dancing. Every kind of music from contemporary to reggae was performed. People stopped to listen. Some clapped, some danced, and the majority of tourists tossed a few dollars into the instrument cases.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of No Sunshine When She's Gone...]

Sat
Apr 12 2014 10:00am

Hard Time by Cara McKennaCara McKenna
Hard Time
Intermix / April 15, 2014 /$3.99 digital

Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier.

Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more.

When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.

Set in the same bleakly hopeless Darren, Michigan, where her spectacular After Hours unfolded, Hard Time is Cara McKenna's companion piece, a novel equally as shocking and unpredictable that, instead of a psychiatric hospital, begins on the shaky grounds of a prison, and instead of a rough orderly, goes all the way with a convicted felon hero. Annie and Eric's courtship, which can be called nothing else as the letters are so sweetly innocent and pure in nature, is so sharply contrasted with where they are, yet because the trappings of the outside world are stripped away, a very intense connection emerges very quickly. It's almost sensory overload.

[Delicious, sexy overload...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 4:30pm

Tom HiddlestonBarney Stinson coined the phrase known around the world, and got millions of women thinking that nothing suits them more than a man in a suit! Well, famously this time of year, people are turning to one type of man in a suit—an accountant! Now with the lineup we have prepared, we certainly wouldn't mind any of these guys crunching the numbers for us. We got a few of our favorites including New Girl's Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Suits' Mike and Harvey (Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht), Neil Patrick Harris, and models Ricki Hall and David Gandy.

Tell us your favorite suited up man in the comments, and of course, share a picture or five!

[Plus more suit action that suits us just fine...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 3:04pm

Burning Desire parts 1 and 2 by Donna GrantHeroes and Heartbreakers has one more awesome reveal to kick off your weekend—the covers for Donna Grant's Burning Desire serial, the first full-length novel in the Dark King series. Forbidden love, dragon magic, Dark Fae... can't wait for Kiril and Shara's story!

Here's the official description:

The Dark Kings have fought for centuries to preserve their dragon magic. But can one warrior resist the greatest temptation of all. . .?

A DESIRE THIS POWERFUL

In his quest to destroy the Dark Fae—his nemesis—the Dragon King known as Kiril goes to Ireland as a spy. When a gorgeous, mysterious woman tries to seduce him, Kiril instantly sees through her glamour to the Dark Fae beneath. Shara isn’t just any Dark; she’s from one of the most powerful bloodlines—and despite the dangers, Kiril can’t stay away from her. He’s enthralled by her smile, enslaved by the undeniable passion…

IS A WAR WORTH FIGTING FOR

Shara has one chance to make things right with her family—and to prove her worth. It seemed like such an easy mission…until she actually meets Kiril. His charm, his sexual magnetism is too much for her to ignore. Shara knows that falling into Kiril’s arms can bring her nothing but trouble. Yet she discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had…and an attraction that knows no bounds. But is her desire for Kiril worth the risk of eternal doom for them both?

Burning Desire will be available first as a serial beginning September 9, 2014, and will be released in paperback on September 30. Head over to our official Donna Grant Collection 

Burning Desire parts 3 and 4 by Donna Grant

[+Check out the paperback cover!...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 1:30pm

Floki and Helga in Vikings 2.07This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Vikings, including last night’s Season 2, episode 7, “Blood Eagle." Enjoy!

Helga has wonderful news for her lover, Floki, everyody’s favorite crazy boat builder. She’s carrying Floki’s child. Both wonderstruck and woeful, Floki pities the poor child for having such a father, but Helga will have none of that moaning. Buoyed by her faith in him, Floki asks Helga to marry him, dropping to his knees to greet the child inside her. They have been such good friends to the gods that surely the gods will bless them. Helga wants Ragnar’s blessing, too, but Floki refuses. Ragnar has everything already, but he can’t have Floki and Helga.

Floki and Helga aren’t the only soon-to-be newlyweds here, as King Ecbert arranges a hasty royal wedding between his son, Aethelwulf, and Judith, the daughter of the newly arrived King of Northumberland. He loses no time in seeing the ceremony carried out with proper gravity and formality, Aethelwulf and Judith kneeling before a Christian altar.

[Not exactly your dream wedding, eh?...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 12:00pm

Today, Heroes and Heartbreakers is thrilled to reveal the covers for Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot Bay Brides Trilogy, a brand-new series taking place in Barefoot Bay and featuring a group of wedding planners who are about to get their own happily ever after. And we have Roxanne here today to give you an introduction to the new series and an exclusive sneak peek into the first book, Barefoot in White. Thanks, Roxanne!

Note from Roxanne St. Claire...

I am beyond excited to announce a brand new trilogy for fans of the Barefoot Bay series!  Next month, readers can go back to the sun-kissed shores of this Gulf coast island where you always kick off your shoes and fall in love!

The resort and spa that grew out of the hurricane-ravaged Barefoot Bay is now home to the “Barefoot Bay Brides” — a destination wedding service specializing in dreamy “I do’s” on the beach.  The company is run by three women who are gifted in the art of creating a perfect wedding day...but haven’t yet found their own happily ever after.  But you know that’s about to change, right?

We launch with Barefoot in White, released in digital and print on May 15, 2014, then Barefoot in Lace later this summer, followed by Barefoot in Pearls in the fall.  Each full-length novel stands completely on its own, but of course, the friendships and families that surround these women carry over from book to book.  I promise a new and growing cast of characters and, of course, some cameos of fan favorites from the past!

I’ve been blown away by the reader’s response to all the Barefoot Bay books — from the first quartet to this year’s “Barefoot Bay Billionaires” trilogy.  I hope the Brides give my fans exactly what they want in every story — heat, humor, and a happily ever after.  And, of course, a heartbreaking hero!

xoxo

Rocki

Barefoot in White will be available May 12, 2014. Stay tuned for news and announcements about Barefoot in Lace, out this summer, and Barefoot in Pearls, coming this fall.

[Read on for more covers, info, and an excerpt!...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 10:45am

Maya Pope in Scandal 3x17Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x07, 3x08, 3x09, 3x10, 3x11, 3x12, 3x13, 3x14, and 3x15. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 17, “Flesh and Blood.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy!

Howdy, Gladiators, welcome back! Last time, Liv had pulled the plug (literally) on B613 at exactly the wrong time, giving Maya just enough time to slip away unseen with a bomb that she plans to use to take out Fitz. Cut to Jake going practically postal and storming into OPA, putting Liv in a very “I know you didn’t just put your hands on me” choke hold.

Alrighty then. You got that one, Jake. That one. This week, we open with Liv out of her up-against-the-wall hold and she’s now in the main OPA conference room arguing with Jake about her poor timing and treason over taking out B613 when suddenly Fitz chimes in for them to hush it up with Cyrus by his side. Hmm, I’d like to know who called Fitz and how that hold would go over now? But I digress. These are scenes we are not privy to, so back to the matters at hand and Fitz is mad because Liv didn’t talk to him about her plans and Liv replies that she made the call because it was what he said he wanted. Then salty Jake jumped on in and doesn’t miss his shot to toss across the table that Liv slept with him the night before to put a tracker on his phone. Did you hear that, Fitz, yet another man sleeping with your other woman? And Boom.

[Buckle your seatbelts—here we go!...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 9:30am

The Collector by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts
The Collector
Putnam / April 15, 2014 / $27.95 print, $14.99 digital

When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .

Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession. . . .

In a direct nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Rear Window, Nora Roberts starts us on an adventure that will take us around Manhattan, includes a dash out to Long Island, and a quick hop over to Italy to find antique treasures and keep them out of the hands of The Collector.

[A capitalized nickname makes him seem Much Scarier...]