<i>Hot & Bothered</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hot & Bothered: Exclusive Excerpt Liz Maverick Jack groaned, the passion of his kisses intensifying. <i>At His Service</i>: Exclusive Excerpt At His Service: Exclusive Excerpt Suzanne Rock She undid the top few buttons of her blouse, revealing the upper curve of her breasts. <i>Jaguar Pride</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Jaguar Pride: Exclusive Excerpt Terry Spear Seeing her super-manly partner with cubs stirs up some unexpected desires... <i>Rough Justice</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Rough Justice: Exclusive Excerpt Sarah Castille "He pulled her into his body, imprisoning her in the warm circle of his arms..."
From The Blog
January 28, 2015
Cupcake Shops: A Romance Breeding Ground?
Candis Terry
January 23, 2015
Friday Beefcake: It's Sweater Weather
Team H & H
January 23, 2015
Karen Marie Moning Dishes on Fever Series and More!
Karen Marie Moning
January 22, 2015
Meredith Duran and the Romance of Uncertain Loyalties
Miss Bates
January 21, 2015
Love, Loss, Sisterhood, and Motherhood in Kristin Hannah’s Novels
Maggie Boyd
Jan 26 2015 10:45am

First Look: Kelly Jamieson’s Playing Dirty (January 27, 2015)

Kelly Jamieson
Playing Dirty (Windy City Kink, Book 3)
Samhain Publishing / January 27, 2015 / $4.99 digital

What seems like surrender may not be surrender at all...

Paige Nelson has an amazing new life in a new city with her own business and new friends, her abusive ex-husband firmly in her past. Plans to expand her business are running into a few roadblocks, but she doesn't need a man to help her. She can do this on her own.

From the minute he lays eyes on Paige, prominent developer Raff Lauden wants her. Intensely. Urgently. Though petite and delicate usually isn't his type, he finds himself asking her out. Even more surprising? She says no.

Paige has a history of being attracted to dominant, controlling man. The kind she swore never to get involved with again. But maybe she's trying to resist the one man who can give her everything she's ever really wanted...

This is probably my favorite book I've read so far this year, and my favorite thing about Playing Dirty by Kelly Jamieson is how human the characters are. Paige and Raff are just so well developed. They're absolutely dynamic. In fact, (perhaps excluding Paige's ex) I don't think there's a single static character in the book. I also knew going in that this book takes place in the “middle” of a series, but I had no problem keeping up. This book definitely stands alone.

[We'll stand by it!]

Oct 13 2014 9:15am

Downton Abbey Series 5 (Season 5), Episode 4: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Welcome back to Downton Abbey and what's sure to be another year of delicious upstairs/downstairs drama. Come, let's see what Series 5 has in store for our beloved Crawley family, shall we?

Note for U.S. Viewers: Downton Abbey returns to PBS for Season 5 on January 4, 2015. We'll be repromoting Naz's recaps then, so feel free to wait to read them until that time to remain unspoiled.

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Downton Abbey, including last night's Series 5, Episode 4. Enjoy!

This week, the episode starts with Thomas returning from his trip to (ostensibly) visit his sick father. Guess what? His father is completely recovered! Shocker.

Upstairs, the family’s all gathered for lunch and we find that Rose’s father is due for a visit and is planning to stay at the Abbey. Yay! Shrimpy’s back! I wonder how he’s doing with his wife these days, and whether or not O’Brien will return, too. That would certainly be interesting. Any way, we’re definitely not going to see that during this episode, because Shrimpy’s traveling alone. Something’s up, though, because when Robert asks where Shrimpy’s next assignment is going to be, Mary shakes her head implying that the subject is not up for discussion.

[Let it lie for a while...]

Jan 26 2015 8:18am

What Pulls You In Every Time?

Idris Elba in Details MagazineLast week in the H&H Debriefing, we talked about Big Misunderstandings, which can put some people off a book (where you start yelling, “Just talk to each other, already!”).

Today we want to find out the top reason you think, “Oh, yeah, I HAVE to read that one!” It could be a trope, a type of character, a set-up, a genre, there are animals in the story, or anything else. 

What pulls you in every time? 

Jan 25 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Laura Lee Guhrke’s Catch a Falling Heiress (January 27, 2015)

Catch a Falling Heiress  by Laura Lee GuhrkeLaura Lee Guhrke
Catch a Falling Heiress
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Linnet Holland wants nothing to do with fortune hunters. No, she's determined to marry a man who loves her. But just as she's about to accept the perfect marriage proposal from the man she wants, the rakish Earl of Featherstone interrupts and ruins everything, including her reputation, with his smoldering kiss . . .

Jack Featherstone knows all about Linnet's “intended,” and he's determined she won't fall prey to that villain as other women have in the past. But when his attempt to save Linnet ruins her instead, he knows he has to make things right. So he sets out to win this golden beauty . . . and prove to her that being ruined by him was the best thing that could have happened to her.

Linnet Holland, the latest heroine in Laura Lee Guhrke's An American Heiress in London series, is determined to escape the fate that has befallen so many others: trading her American money for an English title. She successfully navigated a London season without becoming engaged and is happily back home in Newport, about to agree to marry an old acquaintance—more for familiarity's sake than anything else—when Jack, Earl of Featherstone steps in. 

[Where angels fear to tread?]

Jan 25 2015 10:00am

Shipping Sunday: Jane the Virgin’s Jane and Rafael

Jane the Virgin caught our eye from Episode 1—after all, when the premise of the show is that a girl who has been saving herself for marriage but suddenly finds herself accidentally artificially enseminated, we knew that hijinx (and love) would ensue! However, the ship we boarded isn't the original relationship that Jane was in at the beginning of the show; rather, we've fallen for Jane and her former-almost-lover-turned-baby-daddy-and-oh-yeah-boss, Rafael.

Now that Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez has won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (!!!!), the show has a few people sitting up and taking notice. Are you one of them? Have you tried this show?

What's been your favorite Jane and Rafael moment? Share gifs and pictures in the comments!

[Do you ship this couple?...]

Jan 24 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Kimberly Kincaid’s Fire Me Up (January 27, 2015)

FIre Me Up by Kimberly KincaidKimberly Kincaid
Fire Me Up (Pine Mountain #4)
Kensington / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $7.59 digital

Teagan O’Malley can handle a crisis. She’s a paramedic, it’s her job. But she never expected to land in the kitchen of her father’s pub, with no notice, no cash, and no room for error. The kitchen is not her favorite place. Lucky for her, she just scraped a bad-boy chef off the pavement after a motorcycle accident—and something about him says he can turn up the heat in more ways than one.

Adrian Holt has had a rough few years, and he’s not eager to get tangled up in anything more complicated than a good risotto. But with a broken arm and a head full of bad memories, he needs a challenge to keep him sane. Teagan’s dare-me attitude and smoldering mess of a bar are just what the doctor ordered. And the two of them together might cook up some even better medicine…

There is nothing more enticing then a heroine and hero that have it completely together in one area of their life, but not another. Having less than perfect characters equates to authentic characters, and in Katherine Kincaid’s new release, Fire Me Up, the fourth book in her Pine Mountain series, you’ll be intrigued by the characters’ authenticity and vulnerability.

[Fire us up!]

Jan 24 2015 10:00am

Jaguar Pride: Exclusive Excerpt

Terry Spear

Jaguar Pride by Terry Spear

An impossible mission…

JAG Special Forces agents Huntley Anderson and Melissa Overton are hot on the trail of poachers when they’re suddenly saddled with two jaguar shifter cubs. They have to locate the parents, pronto—but who’s going to babysit in the meantime?

A lifetime of possibilities…

Huntley is a rough, tough jaguar shifter and an all-business agent, but he’s not going to let two abandoned youngsters come to any harm on his watch. Seeing her super-manly partner try to get the playful cubs under control stirs up some unexpected desires in Melissa, and she begins to feel like Huntley’s not the only one who’s in over his head…

Get a sneak peek at Terry Spear's Jaguar Pride (available February 3, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Men’s voices deeper in the rainforest caught Melissa’s attention. She couldn’t make out what they were actually saying. Huntley was beside her in an instant. Were the men camping in the rainforest? She’d heard at least three different voices. She could smell whiffs of smoke from their campfire. She and Huntley headed in that direction, drawing closer until they could hear the three men talking—about rugby, girlfriends, and sex. Australians. Most likely they were not who she and Huntley were looking for.

“Hey, mate, look at this. Hold the light closer.”

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

Jan 23 2015 4:30pm

Friday Beefcake: It’s Sweater Weather with Common, Felton, and More!

Joe ManganielloOkay, we know that beefcake is supposed to be filled with shirtless guys—and we deliver!—but with the cold weather making us all hunker down into our jackets and scarves, it does make us appreciate a man who looks good in his winter clothes! Today, we've gathered up the men who look defined and yummy even in bulky sweaters!

Do you think some men look even better in clothes? Share your favorite beefcake down in the comments!

[Let's get bundled up...]

Jan 23 2015 3:37pm

Romance News Roundup: Kit Rocha & Loretta Chase Sale, Vanity Fair on Fifty Shades of Grey

Welcome to H&H's brand-new 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.

In this week's H&H Debriefing, Megan and Jenn talk about a trope that can divide readers' on a book: The Big Misunderstanding! Do you love this set up, or if you never saw it again, it would be too soon? Let us know in the comments!

Vanity Fair has an interesting article about the making of Fifty Shades of Grey (h/t to Janet Webb), including this about the sex:

The sex, Taylor-James says, is tastefully handled: “It’s details, flesh and fingers and skin and eyes and looks.” She thinks that if you saw the actual sex “the mystery would be gone. You see a lot, but you don’t have to see anything graphic.”

Beyond Addiction by Kit Rocha—The books in Kit Rocha's Beyond series are discounted or free for a very limited time on all e-reading platforms. Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

—Loretta Chase's iconic romance novel, Lord of Scoundrels, turns twenty years old this month, and fans are celebrating with the #LOSLove hashtag, sharing what they love most about the book. It's on sale for $1.99 right now also at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes!

Craveonline reports that a psychologist has analyzed over 300,000 books of erotica to find the word used most often. The word? It has four letters—but it's not the word you're probably thinking of. It's “cock.”

—The new Ellie Goulding music video for the song “Love Me Like You Do” features new clips from Fifty Shades of Grey—check out the scenes of Christian and Ana all set to the backdrop of Goulding's beautiful voice. Watch it here!

**Daily reminder that we don't know how long these deals will last, so get it while it's here!**

Jan 23 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Kristen Proby’s Falling for Jillian (January 27, 2015)

Falling for Jillian by Kristen ProbyKristen Proby
Falling for Jillian (Love Under the Big Sky #3)
Pocket / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, digital

Jillian thought she was a city girl through and through; the fast cars, high fashion, and glamour—she loves it all. But when her ex tells her he’s having a baby with his new wife (after Jillian struggled for years to get pregnant), she hightails it back to Montana to cry on the shoulder of her best friend, Cara.

But in truth, Jillian would rather be comforted by someone else…specifically Zack, Cara’s brother-in-law. Zack is a veteran of the Iraq War who came back to the family ranch to raise his preteen son after the boy’s mother took off. He’s struggling to re-establish a relationship with his son, and warding off the demons of PTSD, which still haunt him. The last thing he needs is bold, brassy Jillian…but why can’t he keep his hands off her?

Hot, buff, veteran, alpha male? Check. Gorgeous, sassy, independent, female? Check. Sizzling chemistry and a story packed with realistic growing pains in a developing relationship? Absolutely.

[We're falling already!]

Jan 23 2015 1:00pm

Fresh Starts: Male/Male Best Bets for January 2015

Black John (Johnnies #4) by Amy LaneAlthough many of us love dark and painful situations in our books, romance is ultimately an optimistic genre, one that promises healing, growth, and lasting happiness. For the new year, January offers some m/m reading that celebrates fresh starts and emotional rebirths.

Black John (Johnnies #4) by Amy Lane

John Carey is just out of rehab and dying inside when he gets word that Tory, the guy who loved him and broke him, has removed himself from the world in the most bitter way possible—and left John to clean up his mess.

Forced back to his hometown in Florida, John's craving a hit with every memory when he meets Tory's neighbor. Spacey and judgmental, Galen Henderson has been rotting in his crappy apartment since a motorcycle accident robbed him of his mobility, his looks, and his boyfriend all in one mistake. Galen's been hiding at the bottom of an oxy bottle, but when John shows up, he feels obligated to help wade through the wreckage of Tory's life.

The last thing John needs is another relationship with an addict, and the last thing Galen wants is a conscience. Both of them are shocked when they find that their battered souls can learn from and heal one another. It doesn't hurt that they're both getting a crash course on how growing up and getting past your worst mistakes sure beats the alternative—and that true love is something to fight to keep if your lover is fighting to love you back.

The eagerly awaited fourth book in Lane's dark and emotional “Johnnies” series follows the original Johnny, the owner of the gay porn business which has become a home for many troubled and gorgeous young men. Friendship, comfort, and healing are always big parts of these books and this looks like no exception.

[Let's see what other recommendations are up for grabs...]

Jan 23 2015 10:45am

First Look: Karen Ranney’s In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams (January 27, 2015)

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams by Karen RanneyKaren Ranney
In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.64 digital

Seven years have passed since Glynis MacIain made the foolish mistake of declaring her love to Lennox Cameron, only to have him stare at her dumbfounded. Heartbroken, she accepted the proposal of a diplomat and moved to America, where she played the role of a dutiful wife among Washington's elite. Now a widow, Glynis is back in Scotland. Though Lennox can still unravel her with just one glance, Glynis is no longer the naïve girl Lennox knew and vows to resist him.

With the American Civil War raging, shipbuilder Lennox Cameron must complete a sleek new blockade runner for the Confederate Navy. He cannot afford any distractions, especially the one woman he's always loved. Glynis's cool demeanor tempts him to prove to her what a terrible mistake she made seven years ago.

As the war casts its long shadow across the ocean, will a secret from Glynis's past destroy any chance for a future between the two star-crossed lovers?

In Karen Ranney's In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams, Glynis MacIain grew up following her brother and Lennox Cameron around; she has loved Lennox for as long as she can remember. When she finally revealed her love with a kiss, Lennox is gobsmacked, stunned into silence. Mortally embarrassed, Glynis ran off and married an English diplomat and spent a miserable six years in the backwater town of Washington D.C. Now, happily widowed, she's returned to Scotland, but the troubles of the United States Civil War follow her. Because of the blockade, her family cannot get cotton for their textile mill and are in danger of being financially ruined, while Lennox, a prosperous shipbuilder, is working on an iron-hulled ship for the Confederacy.

[The tides have changed!]

Jan 23 2015 9:30am

Karen Marie Moning Dishes on Mac, Barrons, and More!

Burned by Karen Marie MoningKaren Marie Moning’s Burned was released this week, and KMM herself was kind enough to answer a few questions, from H&H and the H&H community, about Mac, Barrons, the Fever series, and spirit animals. Thanks, KMM!

**Looking for a place to discuss Burned? Check out this spoiler-free review of the book, and if you've already read, we have a spoiler-filled discussion thread going too.**

Tell us two truths and a lie about the Fever series.

Karen Marie Moning: Mac is pregnant with Barrons’s baby, Lor gets killed, Kat is pregnant and no one knows who the father is. *

*KMM kept us in suspense about which one is a lie...which one do you think it is? Give us your speculation in the comments!

Team H&H: Which three things would you take to a desert island?

KMM: Barrons, Ryodan and Lor.

What song best describes the couple from your latest book?

KMM: “Take Me To Church” by Hozier

[See who her favorite TV couple is + speculation about your favorite characters...]

Jan 23 2015 8:30am

“Candy for Dinner!": Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Trailer

A woman escapes from a doomsday cult and starts life over again in New York City.

What would you want to do first if you had lived in an underground bunker for the past 15 years? Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, streaming on Netflix in March, is the new project from 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. From the basis of this trailer, we're in! 

Jan 22 2015 4:30pm

Meredith Duran and the Romance of Uncertain Loyalties

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith DuranWhere does loyalty lie? To the past, family, tradition, a profession, mission, aspiration, country? Romance fiction often pits loyalties against love. Will the romantic suspense hero mitigate danger and distance to be with the heroine? The HEA says so. Will the duke forego class distinction to marry the spinster-governess? The HEA proves it. The greater the loyalty stakes, the greater the sacrifice for love, the greater the promise for a world where “impediments to true love” see no admittance.

No one portrays the agony of divided loyalties and the grace of their reconciliation than Meredith Duran. Hero and heroine, caught in history’s tides, are bound by class, status, national, or religious identity, or economic circumstance. Tension permeates scenes between hero and heroine as they struggle to resolve newfound feelings, the fidelity they exact, and demands on their loyalty by the groups, or creeds to which they belong. The HEA promises: in the heroine and hero’s union, a new world, a better, more hopeful, more just, more joyful one.

Duran broke into the romance scene with her 2008 début, Duke of Shadows, the novel that introduced her love-tales of divided loyalties. The hero, Julian Sinclair, embodies two worlds in his Anglo-Indian origins. Julian exhibits the sang-froid of the man who adroitly steers two conflicting claims on his identity. Deliciously, the only one who shakes his self-possession is English heroine, Emmaline Parker. It is a great moment when she challenges him as they flee a Delhi attack, “And your loyalties … are they uncertain as well?”

[Ours aren't to Meredith Duran!]

Jan 22 2015 3:14pm

Romance News Roundup: Jennifer Ryan Deal, Cumberbatch, and More!

Romance News Roundup bannerWelcome to H&H's brand-new 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.

The Return of Brody McBride by Jennifer Ryan—Deal Alert: Jennifer Ryan's contemporary romance The Return of Brody McBride (The McBrides #1) is currently $.99 in e-book at e-tailers such as iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. (Read a guest post from Ryan on why we love soap opera tropes here.)

—Avenger Chris Evans and Guardian of the Galaxy Chris Pratt made an adorable SuperBowl bet. The stakes? If the Seahawks win, Evans will visit the Seattle Children's Hospital in his Captain America costume, and if the Patriots win, Pratt will fly to Christopher's Haven wearing a Tom Brady jersey. What do you think the odds are they'll both make good, whatever the outcome? (Find out why we love sports and especially sports romance.)

[More news, including a Cumberbatch sighting!...]

Jan 22 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Violetta Rand’s Surrender (January 27, 2015)

Surrender by Violetta Rand Violetta Rand
Surrender (Devil's Den)
Loveswept / January 27, 2015 / $2.99 digital

Ever since her mother kicked her out, twenty-year-old Robyn Gonzalez has been working the poles at the Devil’s Den, saving up to finish college and travel the world. With only her wits and her gorgeous body to rely on, Robyn has learned to be independent—fiercely independent. She’s never been tempted to let a man distract her from her dreams . . . until she meets the dead-sexy Garrick Dempsey.

The club’s new head of security, Garrick had walked away from a career as a mechanical engineer to return to his roots in Corpus Christi. He hadn’t planned on getting to know someone like Robyn, with her sinfully sweet combination of vulnerability and strength, at the Devil’s Den. She acts tough, but only because she’s been hurt. Soon Garrick knows he will do anything to win Robyn’s trust. And if that means surrendering to the red-hot chemistry between them, all the better.

In Violetta Rand’s Surrender, we see if Robyn Gonzalez can overcome her secret past to have a healthy relationship with Garrick Dempsey. Robyn is only twenty years old, but she has seen a lot of life, lived a lot of life, and has been surviving on her own since her affluent (but alcoholic) mother kicked her out on her fifteenth birthday. She is currently one of the most popular dancers at The Devil’s Den and is doing well in college. She has an exit strategy for this crazy life, but when she witnesses an acquaintance of hers getting shaken down by a cartel criminal named Carlos, things start getting dangerous. 

[Surrender yourself!]

Jan 22 2015 1:01pm

The 100 2x09 Bellarke Heart-to-Heart: “Love Is Weakness”

Clarke and Abby in The 100 Season 2, episode 9, Remember MeShow/Episode: The 100 Season 2, episode 9, “Remember Me“ (SPOILERS for all aired episodes)

Ship(s): Clarke/Bellamy (Bellarke), mentions of Clarke/Finn

Bellamy/Clarke Captain's Log for The 100 2x09The 100 continued its streak of awesomeness with last night's midseason premiere, “Remember Me,” which depicts the immediate aftermath of Finn's death by Clarke's own hand.

PTSD sets in pretty quickly for Clarke, who sees Finn basically everywhere she looks and ends up getting into a terrible fight with her mom, Abby, and also making a brutal decision regarding Bellamy in reaction. But more about the latter in a sec.

The Grounder-Sky People alliance hits a speed bump almost as soon as its made, as at their very first group meal a Grounder keels over from poisoned moonshine.

[Guess who's dying at dinner...]

Jan 22 2015 12:00pm

Trope of the Month: Held Captive!

Academically put, tropes are “common or overused theme[s] or device[s],“ which makes them sound like cliches, which makes them seem like a bad thing.

But they’re totally not! Romance novel fans all have their favorite—not to mention least favorite—tropes, from friends to lovers, chick in pants, secret baby, marriage of convenience, opposites attract, May-December, boss-assistant...the list goes on.

Each month, we’ll be picking a romance novel trope and ask you to offer recommendations falling under the trope rubric (again with the academic talk!).

When the team initially discussed this trope, we soon realized it was not one that we saw in modern romance as much. The notable recommendations published in recent years were usually on the darker side or paranormal, with a few exceptions.

Many of the books listed below are beloved in the genre, but also polarizing, especially when seen through the gaze of the modern reader. A hero or a heroine held captive and then falling in love with their captor can leave a lot of room for something to go wrong—if the author doesn't tell it in the right way, etc. We have loved the enemies to lovers trope and villains to heroes, but one member of the team suggested that if she went back into some of the iconic “held captive” romances that she might not see them with the same glow she had upon the original read. Do you feel the same? Do you think it's a trope that you would like to read now, or should it stay in the past as a trope of yore? Do you think any one subgenre is more equipped to handle this trope? Have you read any of the books listed below?

  • Beware the Scot's Revenge by Sabrina Jeffries
  • Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
  • The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss
  • The Conquerer by Brenda Joyce
  • Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey
  • Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts
  • Prisoner by Annika Martin and Skye Warren
  • Devil's Game by Joanna Wylde
  • Heat  by R. Lee Smith
  • Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
  • The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros
  • Cold as Ice by Anne Stuart

What iconic held captive romances did we miss? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

Jan 22 2015 10:45am

Arrow 3x10 Heart-to-Heart: Olicity Left Behind?

Show/Episode: Arrow 3x10, “Left Behind.”
Ship(s): Olicity (Oliver/Felcity)

Olicity Captain's LogNote: This post contains spoilers of all aired episodes of Arrow, including last night's winter premiere Season 3, Episode 10, “Left Behind.”

Laurel expressing confidence that Oliver is still alive seemed more to reassure Felicity than it did to reassure herself. Though there might have been some of that too. The point is, Laurel’s eyes were sympathetic on Felicity and I think she knows or at least suspects more about the other woman’s relationship with Oliver than we think.

Merlyn is back at the foundry lair and this time, he has the sword that killed Oliver. He explains to the team why they will eventually believe what he is telling them: that Oliver Queen is dead. We got a bit of shippiness when he apologized for bearing the bad news, as he could see that Felicity loved Oliver very much.

[We have a few select words for you, Merlyn...]