<i>Slow Hand</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Slow Hand: Exclusive Excerpt Victoria Vane "Nikki closed her eyes and parted her lips on a sigh of surrender..." <i>Maybe This Christmas</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Maybe This Christmas: Exclusive Excerpt Sarah Morgan "She tried to walk past him but lost her balance and fell against his chest..." <i>Treasure on Lilac Lane</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Treasure on Lilac Lane: Exclusive Excerpt Donna Alward "It had been her first kiss, and she’d looked at him with stars in her eyes..." <i>A Beaumont Christmas Wedding</i>: Excerpt A Beaumont Christmas Wedding: Excerpt Sarah M. Anderson "She stopped breathing as his hands skimmed over her..."
From The Blog
October 17, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Magic Mike XXL Cast
Team H & H
October 17, 2014
H&H Debriefing: Binge Reading—Do You Do It?
Team H & H
October 16, 2014
5 Anime Series You Must Watch This Fall
Sahara Hoshi
October 15, 2014
Dysfunctional Parents in Romance
Maggie Boyd
October 15, 2014
Under the Radar: Paranormal Romance Series
Sahara Hoshi
Thu
Oct 16 2014 8:10am

Throwback Thursday: What Was Your First Heather Graham?

The King's Pleasure by Shannon DrakeThis month, Heather Graham's medieval-set historical romance The King's Pleasure, first released under the name Shannon Drake in 1998, was reissued with an updated cover. Here's the blurb:

Danielle D'Aville was sworn to obey King Edward's order to marry her enemy Adrien MacLachlan, the legendary Scot who had masterminded the fall of her beloved home. Suddenly she was bound, body and soul, to the arrogant knight. But swept off to his castle in the Scottish highlands, and into his strong embrace, Danielle was soon possessed by a searing passion for the husband she had vowed to despise.

Adrien MacLachlan couldn't afford to trust the emerald-eyed spitfire, but nor could he ignore the fierce attraction between them. Long ago, he had pledged his right arm to his king. Now he would discover that only by pledging his heart could he win the most precious prize of all.

Heather Graham has written over 150 novels in several genres and under several different names. Chances are you've read at least one Graham, so if you have, which one(s) have you read? If you've read many of her books, which was your favorite? 

Wed
Oct 15 2014 4:30pm

Poisonous Affairs in Aleksandr Voinov’s A Taste for Poison

A Taste for Poison by Aleksandr VoinovFantasy m/m romance has never experienced a writer quite like Aleksandr Voinov. A Taste for Poison, the third book in his gripping fantasy Memory of Scorpions series, is a perfect example of the rapier-sharp style for which Voinov has become known. The fantasy world and the romance within are sharp in more ways than one, their razor intelligence is only overpowered by their daggered intensity. A Taste for Poison is not an easy read; it’s a book to satisfy readers who want a politically charged fantasy with imminent danger and a simmering romance that tries to survive within the world’s harsh environment.

Kendras is the leader of the Scorpions, an elite group of mercenaries currently working under King Andrastes. Andrastes has barely survived an assassination attempt. Transformed, Andrastes is determined to go to war against the Elder of Vededrin. The Empire does not agree with this, especially with how ruthless Andrastes has become—even towards Kendras, his former lover.

[Tasty, tasty poison!]

Wed
Oct 15 2014 3:00pm

Dysfunctional Parents in Romance Novels from Robb, Quick, Walker, and More

The Last Breath by Kimberly BellePlenty of people joke about how dysfunctional their family is. For others, it is no joke at all, but a sad reality.

Romance novels examine this issue by looking at how coming from a tough home situation influences a hero or heroine and their love story. The shelves are full of books such as Mary Balogh’s A Precious Jewel, which shows the near crippling impact of a cruel, autocratic father and a seductive step-mother on the vulnerable hero. Others examine the high cost of having an alcoholic parent, such as Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Natural Born Charmer. In Sweet Everlasting by Patricia Gaffney, the heroine’s father is physically and sexually abusive. The parents of the heroines of Jeannie Lin’s The Jade Temptress and The Lotus Palace sold them into prostitution. Even when the abuse isn’t horrific as that mentioned above a parent who is hyper-critical of their child can affect their self-confidence and ability to form strong relationships such as the parents of the heroine in Jennifer Cruise’s Bet Me.

Dysfunction isn’t always about direct abuse, though; sometimes the actions parents take against others can have a lasting impact on a child’s life. Perhaps the strongest of these impacts comes from having a parent who's killed. Whether they kill within the family, such as a dad killing a mom or step-mom or they are found guilty of killing others, the child forever wrestles with questions of tainted blood, guilt and that lost feeling of losing a parent even when they are still living. They also have to bear the shame and humiliation of being known as a murderer’s offspring.

Gia Andrew’s from Kimberly Belle’s The Last Breath has long known what the community thinks of her family.

[Not exactly held in high esteem...]

Wed
Oct 15 2014 12:00pm

Cover Alert: Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dragonbane!

Dragonbane by Sherrilyn KenyonSherrilyn Kenyon's Sanctuary website has shared the cover for Dragonbane, the twenty-fourth cover in the Dark-Hunter series. Dragonbane will be released August 4, 2015. Here's the official description:

Out of all the mysterious boarders who call Sanctuary home, no one is more antisocial or withdrawn than Maxis Drago. But then, it’s hard to blend in with the modern world when you have a fifty foot wingspan.

Centuries ago, he was cursed by an enemy who swore to see him fall. An enemy who took everything from him and left him forever secluded.

But Fate is a bitch, with a wicked sense of humor. And when she throws old enemies together and threatens the wife he thought had died centuries ago, he comes back with a vengeance. Modern day New Orleans has become a battleground for the oldest of evils. And two dragons will hold the line, or go down in flames.

An antisocial dragon confronted by a suddenly-returned wife? Count us in!

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Dragonbane by Sherrilyn Kenyon, available August 4, 2015:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

Buy at IndieBound

 

Wed
Oct 15 2014 10:45am

Thoughts on Jane the Virgin 1x01: Introducing the Holy Trinity—Jane, Michael, and Rafael

Jane the VirginBeware! This recap contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 1 of Jane the Virgin. Read with Caution!

I’ve seen posters for Jane the Virgin all over Los Angeles and decided to check it out because American television has a problem when it comes to representing women of color. I was psyched to meet this cast, but I didn’t expect episode 1 to be so dang juicy.

“Jane” is loosely based on the telenova out of Venezuela called Juana Le Virgen, created by writer/producer/director Perla Farías.

Chapter One opens with our narrator, voiced by Anthony Mendez, introducing us to Jane Villanueva, a somewhat pensive ten year old whose interests include God, her family, and the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Jane is getting a lesson in the precious value of her virginity from her grandmother, Alba (who speaks only Spanish throughout the episode) as her young mother, Xiomara sits by, pointing out the ridiculousness of the situation. Jane takes the lesson to heart though, crushing a white flower in her fist, per her grandmother's instructions, to drive home the point that once a flower has been destroyed it can’t be brought back to life. Way to keep it light, Grandma A.

[We have a feeling this experience is going to stay with young Jane...]

Wed
Oct 15 2014 9:30am

Under the Radar: Paranormal Romance Series to Love

Feral Sins by Suzanne WrightOctober is the season and the perfect reason to pick up a new paranormal romance. The shelves are lines with recognizable names: Aiken, Laurenston, Ione, Kenyon, Singh, Showalter, and Cole, but there are some other paranormal romances that would appreciate some reader love.

The Phoenix Pack Series by Suzanne Wright

Fans of G.A. Aiken and Shelly Laurenston’s humor will enjoy the adventures of Trey, Taryn and the rest of the pack. The first book, Feral Sins, features one power-hungry alpha, a latent female shifter with attitude and a marriage of convenience. The prose is snarky and on-point which sets up the future books between pack members. Furthermore, readers will enjoy how Wright explores the complexities of what it means to be “alpha” or “submissive” within a pack.

Midnight Liaisons Series by Jessica Sims

The alter-ego of Jessica Clare or Jill Myles, Sims’ books revolve around the concept of a paranormal dating agency. What happens when a human gets thrown into the mix? The answer is found in the first book, Beauty Dates the Beast. Bathsheba and Beau (seriously those are the names) are a great couple and sparks fly when a literal cougar shifter is on the prowl for his mate.

[Can we sign up?!...]

Wed
Oct 15 2014 8:04am

What’s Been the Biggest Surprise in Romance?

The Ghost in Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series, the Ghost of St. Giles in Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series, Chase's identity in Sarah MacLean's Rules of Scoundrels series. Just three series that had big secrets that have finally been revealed. 

All of these revelations were teased out over multiple books, and readers, for the most part, were surprised when the secret was revealed.

What has been the biggest surprise in romance novels thus far? 

Tue
Oct 14 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Elizabeth Hoyt’s Darling Beast (October 14, 2014)

Darling Beast by Elizabeth HoytElizabeth Hoyt
Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7)
Grand Central Publishing / October 14, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital

A MAN CONDEMNED . . .

Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown's soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he's quickly driven to distraction . . .

A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .

London's premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she's forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren't the only inhabitants—a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there's more to this man than meets the eye.

OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES

Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he's forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

Folk tale elements are Elizabeth Hoyt's trademark, and the one chosen for Apollo's story in Darling Beast is appropriately Greek: the Minotaur. But Hoyt has rewritten this tale in more ways than one, making a hero out of the monster.

Here, the Minotaur's maze is a vision (as well as a metaphor): it's part of a pleasure garden that Apollo is designing. A fugitive from Bedlam, and temporarily mute since his throat was crushed by a guard, he found refuge with a friend and a job recreating a garden that was destroyed by a theater fire. Unbeknownst to him, the remains of the theater are being inhabited by out of work actress Lily Stump. (Better known to readers of the “Maiden Lane” series as Robin Goodfellow.)

[A familiar face...]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 2:45pm

Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals from Sarah Castille and Cecy Robson

Today we're thrilled to reveal two very hot covers for two very different books—but both feature rule-breakers and secrets! In Cecy Robson's most recent Weird Girls book, A Curse Unbroken, Celia Wird and Aric, her werewolf mate, are on the trail of a relic that grants limitless power, but someone is on their trail and putting Celia in danger. Meanwhile, in Sarah Castille's Beyond the Cut, the first book in the Sinner's Tribe Motorcycle Club series, Dawn has to stay away from danger herself, but to protect her heart than anything else when her life again become entangled with Cade “Raider” Tyson. Learn more about these great reads, and check out the super hot covers. Hint: Tattoos and kissing are involved.

[Keep reading to see the all the hot covers and learn more about the books...]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 1:30pm

New Pics of Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey Reshoots

Jamie Dornan doing reshoots in Vancouver, Canada for 50 Shades of GreyFifty Shades of Grey will be in theaters February 14, 2015 (the perfect Valentine's Day date, right?!?), and the cast and crew have reassembled in Vancouver, British Columbia, for reshoots, which means that we all get to see new pictures of Jamie Dornan in a suit.

You're welcome.

Dornan plays Christian Grey, the dominating billionaire who takes over Anastasia Steele's bed—and her life. In addition to wearing his ubiquitous grey tie, it appears Grey is also garbed in grey suits. 

And for those of you dissecting the trailer (like us!) until you have more to chew on, here's a still of Jamie Dornan out of a suit we caught to tide you over:

A shirtless Jamie Dornan in 50 Shades of Grey

For all Jamie Dornan hotness and all other Fifty Shades of Grey news, check out our E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy page.
***
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Tue
Oct 14 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

A Beaumont Christmas Wedding: Exclusive Excerpt

Sarah M. Anderson

Naughty and nice…

Public relations whiz Matthew Beaumont won't let scandal ruin his brother's Christmas wedding. Yet scandal is Whitney Maddox's middle name. He grudgingly allows the outrageous child star turned horse trainer to stay in the wedding party…as long as she behaves herself. But soon he's the one misbehaving with this irresistible maid of honor.

Determined to shed her troubled past, Whitney traded parties—and men—for a quiet life years ago. But one tumble into Matthew's strong arms has her thinking that a hot night with the best man might be the perfect holiday gift…a gift that could last forever.

Get a sneak peek of Sarah M. Anderson's A Beaumont Christmas Wedding (available November 1, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Might as well get this over with. Whitney stripped off her parka and sweater, then the boots and jeans. She caught a glimpse of herself in the three-way mirror—hard not to with those angles. Ugh. The socks had to go. And…

Her bra had straps. The dress did not.

She shucked the socks and, before she could think better about it, the bra. Then she hurried into the bridesmaid dress, trying not to pull on the zipper as the silk slipped over her head with a shushing sound.

The fabric puddled at her feet as she tried to get the zipper pulled up, but her arms wouldn’t bend in that direction. “I need help,” she called out, praying that an employee or a seamstress or anyone besides Matthew Beaumont was out there.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of A Beaumont Christmas Wedding...]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 10:45am

In My Next Life I Want to be a Femme Fatale

Crazy, Sexy Revenge by J.D. Mason

Today we're joined by author J.D. Mason, whose Crazy Sexy Revenge is out today! Crazy Sexy Revenge is the final book in the Beautiful Dirty Rich trilogy, and includes Desi, a woman who is strong and determined to do what she wants to do, no matter what the consequences. J.D. is here to talk about femmes fatales, those cigarette-smoking, man-chewing ladies from noir fiction. Thanks, J.D.! 

So, I recently took one of those online quizzes to find out which badass woman I was in a previous life. And based upon the answers I provided to questions as pertinent as whether or not I would vote for Hillary Clinton for President and about my views on sex, the answer surprisingly came back as Mata Hari. You know, the Danish born, World War I stripper turned spy turned spy again who was eventually shot, not for stripping, but for—you got it, spying. Great test! And I won’t argue with the results. Mata Hari, was what you would call a “femme fatale,” one of the most famous in history, as a matter of fact.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes femme fatale as “a seductive woman who lures men into dangerous or compromising situations” and finally, “as a woman who attracts men by an aura of charm and mystery.”

Basically, she’s a bad girl, a sexy, intelligent, manipulative, and fearless bad girl. Am I a bad girl? Alas, no! But I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that in my next life that I will come back as a tree or as a femme fatale.

[Sexy, intelligent...that doesn't sound so bad!]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 9:30am

A Trip Down Memory Lane for Queer Romance Month

In the not so distance past, there were no LGBT characters in romance novels. Since October is Queer Romance Month, let’s take a stroll down memory lane—my memory, at first, but I hope in the comments section that you’ll share your memories too. Do you remember the first book you read with a “Queer” character?

Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s book, Glitter Baby (1987), is probably not the first main stream book to feature a gay character, but it the oldest one that I can recall.

Michel disappeared from the clinic. Alexi wanted to know if he’d contacted me.” Belinda clipped her earring back on. “It must be obvious, even to your father, that he gave away the wrong child. My daughter is beautiful and successful. His son is a homosexual weakling.”

Michel was Belinda’s son, too, and Fleur lost her appetite. As much as she still resented him. Belinda’s attitude felt wrong.

Several months ago, gossip had surfaced that Michel was engaged in a long-term affair with a married man who was well-known in Parisian society. The man had suffered a fatal heart attack after the disclosure, and Michel attempted suicide. Fleur was accustomed to the open homosexuality of the fashion world and couldn’t believe the fuss everybody was making.

And later in the book, Fleur and Michel talk about his sexuality and Fleur even admits to a hint of hopeful matchmaking.

[Yay, matchmaking!]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 8:10am

What Authors Have You Found from Multi-Author Anthologies?

Seven Wicked NightsThe multi-author anthology for e-readers is now a common offering, with many of the current box sets costing less than a dollar.

While you likely bought the set originally because you like at least one of the authors, chances are that there are some authors included that you haven't read yet.

So if you've bought one of these sets, and found a new author to love, share the details in comments—we want to know which sets are the best, and what new authors to look out for.

Mon
Oct 13 2014 4:30pm

Talking ’Bout the Next Generation: The Second Generation in Historical Romance Novels

An Arranged Marriage by Jo BeverleyPerhaps it is because I grew up reading the family sagas on my mother’s bookshelves—books like Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series, Mazo de la Roche’s Whiteoak Chronicles, and Elizabeth Goudge’s Eliot Family books—but when I encounter a particularly interesting or appealing child character in a romance novel, I often long for a sequel that offers the story of a second generation. Alas, it is a longing rarely satisfied in recent years. As Anna Bowling notes in her March 2013 Heroes & Heartbreakers post, family sagas have a place in the history of romance fiction, but for the past twenty-five years or so, romance writers, as a rule, seem to prefer their characters to be ageless. Some are very direct in their refusal to entertain second generation stories. Jo Beverley, for example, has made clear that she will not write a book for Arabel Delaney, daughter of Nicholas and Eleanor Delaney (An Arranged Marriage, Company of Rogues #1), going so far as to say on the FAQ page of her website: “There are problems with this. The first is that I don’t particularly want to revisit my characters in middle or even old age. The other is the periods involved. I have an aversion to the Victorian period, which is where Arabel will cut a swathe.”

[So that's a no...]

Mon
Oct 13 2014 2:30pm

First Look: Manda Collins’s Once Upon a Christmas Kiss (October 14, 2014)

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda CollinsManda Collins
Once Upon a Christmas Kiss
St. Martin's Press / October 14, 2014 / $3.99 digital

When Sir Lucien Blakemore arrives at his cousin’s estate for a week-long Christmas party, he’s shocked to see Miss Winifred Nightingale among the other guests. Employed by his neighbor back in Yorkshire, the governess with the lovely eyes has always seemed off limits, but she’s visiting here as a guest—and there’s nothing like a little mistletoe to make the spirits bright…

Miss Winifred Nightingale never dreamed a holiday visit with her sister would lead to both ladies spending Christmas as the local lord’s guests. But the big surprise is when she finds the handsome Sir Lucien Blakemore staying there too. The attraction between them is undeniable, but will an old nemesis and a party guest bent on mischief make their first kiss under the mistletoe their last?

There is nothing more enjoyable than a house party to celebrate the Christmas season. A gathering of friends and relatives for fun festivities, caroling, gathering of holiday greens, and even sleigh rides.

[And don't forget the holiday smooching!...]

Mon
Oct 13 2014 1:00pm
Excerpt

Crazy, Sexy Revenge: Exclusive Excerpt

Jordan Gatewood’s life is falling apart. Murder, sex, betrayal, suicide—the women in his world are paying him back for all the terrible things he’s done, and they’re bringing on the drama in spades. And now with Desi Green bringing Jordan to the attention of the detective investigating his lover’s murder, his tenuous grip on control threatens to unravel completely.

Desi refuses to let anyone back her into a corner. For years, people have tried to set her back and destroy her, but now, she’s ready to take it to anyone who wants to put her down, including Jordan Gatewood. And when a message comes for her in the form of a brutal attack, Desi will have to fight with everything she has before she gets her revenge…in Crazy, Sexy, Revenge by J.D. Mason.

Get a sneak peek of J.D. Mason's Crazy, Sexy Revenge (available October 14, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

This trip to Texas was supposed to have been just that—a trip. Desi still had a house in California with her name on it. She had a condo in Manhattan that she loved, but Dallas held the one thing that she loved more than even her freedom. It had Solomon, and he was doing a damn good job at keeping her in this city.

They both needed this, maybe for different reasons, but getting out tonight was the break from real life that would swallow them whole if they let it. Desi was celebrating a personal victory. She’d told that detective about Jordan’s affair with Lonnie and he’d actually thought enough of what she’d told him to look into it. And then some cosmic force had made sure to publicly confirm that the two of them had known each other. Nothing had come to light tying him to her murder, but it was a start. Desi had struck the match to light the fire, and whatever happened next was as much a mystery to her as anybody. Maybe, Lonnie would be pleased.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Crazy, Sexy Revenge...]

Mon
Oct 13 2014 11:39am

Should You Take a Chance on The Affair?

The AffairIn Romancelandia, there’s no greater taboo than infidelity. Cheating on a partner whom you’ve committed to—with whom you’ve already declared your happily-ever-after—defies all of the ideals that romance novels uphold. Yet, it seems more and more television shows lately have been designed around the core concept of unfaithfulness. The past year has seen ABC’s Betrayal come and go and USA’s Satisfaction come and…well, keep on coming, as it just got renewed for a second season.

Now Showtime’s newest prestige drama, The Affair, which premiered last night tackles the difficult topic…and it’s not without its unique charms. The premise is simple: Teacher/novelist Noah Solloway (The Wire’s Dominic West) and his wife, Helen (Maura Tierney of ER and Newsradio fame), are a long-married NYC couple heading to the Hamptons for the summer with their four nightmare kids (no, seriously—the cold open is pretty much a horrifying ad for birth control). He meets Alison Lockhart (Luther’s Ruth Wilson), a townie waitress, who is in a faltering marriage to surfer/rancher Cole (Joshua “Forever Pacey” Jackson) following the death of their young son. When Noah and Alison meet at her diner, an inexplicable bond/attraction is formed.

Critics have been praising it for weeks (it boasts an almost unheard of 100% positive reviews on RottenTomatoes.com) for its stellar cast and smart Rashomon-style storytelling. So even if cheating is so not your bag, these appealing aspects of the show just might make you think twice about dallying with The Affair.

[Let's rendezvous, shall we?...]

Mon
Oct 13 2014 10:15am

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...]

Mon
Oct 13 2014 7:59am

What’s the Scariest Book You’ve Ever Read?

Sea of Secrets by Amanda DeWeesNow that we're firmly entrenched in October, and thoughts of candy corn, costumes, and cold weather are dancing in our heads, it seems timely to ask about scary books—do you read them during Halloween season? Is it possible to have a satisfying romance with scary action?

And what's the scariest book you've ever read?