<i>Laugh</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Laugh: Exclusive Excerpt Mary Ann Rivers "He wanted to take her someplace quiet and kiss her and get his hands... under that orange dress" H&H Reads <i>A Breath of Scandal</i> (6 of 6) H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal (6 of 6) Elizabeth Essex Are you ready to be reckless? Join us for the FINAL installment of the H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal <i>Uncensored Passion</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Uncensored Passion: Exclusive Excerpt Bobbi Cole Meyer "Kayla wrapped her arms around his strong neck and hugged him close." <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."
From The Blog
April 23, 2014
Jennifer Crusie’s Various Temptations
Julia Broadbooks
April 22, 2014
Gena Showalter's Temptation in Shadows Novella Cover!
Team H & H
April 22, 2014
When Authors Mess with the HEA
Tori Benson
April 22, 2014
Arend and Kennedy’s DreamMakers Series
Jennifer Myers
April 22, 2014
Bound to be a Groom by Megan Mulry
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Wed
Apr 23 2014 11:15am

Find your future faves with this delightfully convenient shopping list of romance novels coming out in May. We’ve divided them up by subgenre to make it easier for those who’ve got a very specific obsession and there are some great books to look forward to. Our shopping list is the biggest yet, so don’t forget to take this printable version with you when it’s time to shop!

Heroes and Heartbreakers May 2014 Shopping List!
 
Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/SfR

[Check out the complete list!...]

Wed
Apr 23 2014 9:30am

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer CrusieJennifer Crusie has never been an especially prolific author and that’s even more true now. But each of her books sticks with me. I love the crazy plots, the zingy one-liners, the madcap escapades. Each of her books sits on my keeper shelf, waiting for me to pick them up and revisit those characters I know and love as well as old friends. And like old friends, Crusie’s books have taught me things, life lessons that I carry with me out into the real world.

Family Makes You Crazy

All of Crusie’s books are filled with family, which makes sense because family shapes us and makes us who we are, for better or worse. Family gives you your start in life and if you’re a Crusie character, they drive you up a wall. Min in Bet Me even goes so far as to give up butter to appease her mother. Rest assured, the book makes it clear what a horrible tragedy that is. In Welcome to Temptation, Sophie ties herself into knots to get her movie made while also trying to keep both her brother and sister from getting themselves arrested. She lies, cheats, steals, even risks the love of her life to protect her siblings. There is nothing that threatens your sanity like the people you love most in the world.

And then there is my own favorite Crusie, Faking It. Every single character in that book is bent, twisted somehow. Secret persona, criminal history, or simply scary needlepoint, they are all a bit, or a whole lot, left of center and I love every single one of them.

[“Sanity” is a relative term...]

Wed
Apr 23 2014 8:10am

It's been a few days, and Game of Thrones' viewers (including your Morning Coffee-er) are still talking about that scene in last Sunday's episode. Books can also inspire such fervent discussion and obsession, so we want to know—what's the longest time you've discussed or obsessed about an event in a book or series you've read?

What was it? Have you gotten over it yet?

Photo courtesy of Anne-Lise Heinrichs

Tue
Apr 22 2014 4:13pm

Temptation in Shadows by Gena ShowalterNow this is tempting! Today we're pleased to reveal the cover for Gena Showalter's Temptation in Shadows, a novella where the powerful hero runs across a heroine who's even more powerful than he is—resulting in plenty of temptation. Here's more about it:

Fall under the spell of Gena Showalter's paranormal suspense novella "Temptation in Shadows,” available for the first time as a standalone e-novella (originally released as part of THE BODYGUARD anthology).

Tall, lean, muscular—and definitely rough around the edges—Sean Walker is not your typical nightclub bodyguard. He’s a controller of shadows, able to wield darkness at will. But when a mysterious woman at the club turns out to have powers greater than his own, he has no choice but seduction…

Learn more or pre-order a copy of the Temptation in Shadows novella e-book by Gena Showalter, available June 17, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble

Tue
Apr 22 2014 2:00pm

Betting the Rainbow by Jodi ThomasWhen a romance author advances her hero and heroine towards a serious relationship, readers expect romance, physical scenes, conflict, and eventually a happily ever after. We are pleased that our couple has survived the gauntlet and reached Eden. But sometimes, the author decides to change things up. Maybe introduce more conflict to our lovers’ relationship. Make them continue to work toward their happily ever after.  As in real life, no relationship is stationary. It must continue to develop and grow or it will stagnate and eventually wither away and die.

Sometimes, though, the author takes a gamble and smashes the couple's happily ever after into a million pieces. That's when things get ugly.

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for books and series by Jodi Thomas, Kim Harrison, Lauren Dane, Heather Graham, Jennifer Estep, and Charlain Harris.

There are a few ways an author can break an established or assumed HEA. Cheating seems to be the number one reason, often using evidence of said betrayal in the form of a child. Jodi Thomas chooses this plot device in the latest release in her Harmony, Texas series, Betting the Rainbow.

[Expect the unexpected...]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 12:00pm

All Fired Up by Vivian Arend and Elle KennedyThe DreamMakers trilogy is a new collaboration from Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy. The series follows three ex-Rangers who have left the military and started a business not typical of what you would see men do.

“No joke. We own and operate a company called DreamMakers.”

She looked utterly fascinated. “You’re matchmakers?”

“No. No matchmaking. More like event planning,” Parker explained. “We plan extravagant dates and events for helpless boyfriends or husbands who don’t have the imagination to do it themselves.”

Parker, Dean, and Jack are approached by a man to set up the perfect date. When they sit down with the man they quickly realize he has no clue what his girlfriend likes, what her favorite color is, what flowers she likes or really anything about her. They don’t like the guy, but he is paying them, so they decide to do some recon to learn more about her.

When Parker joins her in the weekly yoga class, recon on Lynn Davidson takes a direction they never expect. Lynn is sexy and funny, and Parker wants her. He can’t figure out why she is with the douche planning the date, but he must rein in his desire because she is the girlfriend of a client.

[Yeah, we'll see how long that lasts...]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 9:30am

Bound to be a Groom by Megan MulryIt’s not every author who can make nearly every page sizzle with sexual tension when we’re talking about two characters, let alone four, but Megan Mulry more than pulls it off in her historical romance Bound to be a Groom, following on the heels of last year’s Bound to be a Bride. There’s not only numerous BDSM-themed sex scenes, but every one of them makes explicitly clear that these pairings aren’t just about momentary pleasures, but build toward a more lasting, expansive love. Mulry captures both the logistical and emotional challenges of balancing multiple relationships and desires.

The year is 1808, the place, Badajoz, Spain, and Anna and Pia know they have to escape their Spanish convent and find a way to be together. Their plan? Have Anna find work as a courtesan and earn enough to support them.

"Neither she nor Pia had any firsthand experience with men, of course, but they’d convinced themselves that if they could make each other shudder and beg, surely a brutish man would succumb to far less.”

[Love as a geometric exercise!...]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 8:15am

Romeo and Juliet are the most well-known people from feuding families to fall in love, but what about creatures who come from opposite feuding worlds?

Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, has two entities from worlds that have been at war with each other forever. Nobody even knew that Wreathers and Landfallians could have children with each other, but these two manage it.

Demons falling in love with angels, werewolves with vampires, witches with vampires, and so on. Which pairing is the most opposite?

Mon
Apr 21 2014 4:21pm

Game of Thrones Season 4 episode 3This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 3, “Breaker of Chains.” Enjoy!

If you'd told me before Episode 4.03 of Game of Thrones that neither Littlefinger re-enacting the plot of Lolita with Sansa nor a wildling telling a little boy that his mama and papa are about to be the main entree in a cannibal feast would be the most disturbing thing I would watch last night, I would definitely not have believed you!

We open in the immediate aftermath of Joffrey's death; after Dontos the Fool gets Sansa away from the disastrous Tyrell-Baratheon wedding, he delivers her to a rowboat, and from there to a ship shrouded in fog and creepiness, where we learn that Littlefinger knew that Joffrey would die, since he sent Dontos for Sansa. He proves that Dontos was only in it for the gold he'd get, since Littlefinger provided the family heirloom (the necklace) that Dontos gave Sansa. Now Pedofinger has Sansa all to himself because she too is in danger of her life for being unwittingly involved in the murder. Poor Sansa! I bet she never thought she’d look back to the good old days when Joffrey was showing her Ned’s head, huh? Littlefinger ties up a loose end by having someone shoot Dontos, because “Money buys a man's silence for a time, a bolt in the heart buys it forever.“

Meanwhile, Sansa’s sister Arya is still traveling with the Hound, when they encounter a farmer and his little daughter who makes a mean rabbit stew. Arya manages to get them in for a meal without any bloodshed, and the farmer even offers the Hound a job protecting him, his land, and his little daughter from marauding Freys. For a moment, it looks like the Hound will take the man up on his offer, but after finding out the farmer has a stash of silver coins, instead, the Hound hits the guy on the head and steals his money. When Arya yells at him about that, Sandor tells Arya that the farmer and his daughter will be dead before the winter. Which is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, really. Arya calls Sandor the biggest shit in the Seven Kingdoms (highly debatable, considering other things that happened in this episode) but follows him anyway.

[Could be worse, Arya—really...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 2:00pm

All Through the Night by Connie Brockway

“In a life singular for its lack of attachments, to become obsessed with two women at once was lunacy.”
—Connie Brockway
, All Through the Night

“There was no graceful way to collapse a bifurcated existence into a single, uncomplicated one.”
—Sherry Thomas, Beguiling the Beauty

Love triangles have become common in romantic fiction, though for some they're exciting, while for others a reason to throw the book at a wall. But there's one kind that's fun without all the baggage: the love triangle which is really between only two people. Whether the story lies in the realm of masks and disguises, or the secrets and suspense are hidden behind the anonymity of a computer screen, these plots gleefully complicate falling in love— both for the characters uncomfortably having feelings for two people at the same time, and for the characters who know the bizarre truth.

For the person in disguise, jealousy is a common, albeit perverse, reaction. In Jacquie D'Alessandro's The Bride Thief, the Earl of Wesley has a secret life rescuing women about to be forced into unwanted marriages. His dashing alter ego makes a strong impression on Samantha Briggeham, the woman his everyday self is trying to resist:

Needing to touch her, he reached out, took her hand, and entwined their fingers. Warmth eased up his arm at her touch, and it required a great deal of willpower not to simply yank her against him and consign his bloody conscience to the devil.

“Ever since my encounter with the Bride Thief,” she said softly, “I've been unable to suppress my need for adventure. It's as if he burst a dam inside me.”

He froze. “The Bride Thief? What has he to do with this?”

“He made me feel… alive. Made me realize how very much I wanted… things.”

[No need to resist—really!...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt
Mary Ann Rivers

Laugh by Mary Ann RiversDr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.

Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.

Get a sneak peek of Mary Ann Rivers's Laugh (available May 6, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Sam had thought about taking her to the dinner club in his neighborhood, but when he thought about the heavy leather booths and the cheesy pictures of Frank Sinatra all over the walls, he wasn’t sure. He had taken women there before and they seemed to wrinkle their noses at the old-fashioned surf-and turf menu. His dad had taken his mother there, trading date nights with Betty and her late husband, Marvin, and later, Sam had taken his homecoming and prom dates there, feeling important that he had the cash to cover the tab.

Nina was different though. He wanted to show her he could match up to her. Like Mike said, she was smart and had built an entire business herself. She knew a lot about food, too. What if she didn’t want to eat anything at a throwback dinner club? At her café, there were things like sweet potato gnocchi and cornmeal mush with field greens and candied pork belly. None of those were things he’d ever eaten before, but when he did, he’d thought about what it be like to eat things like that and listen to Nina boss around her employees forever, and ordered seconds.

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

Mon
Apr 21 2014 10:20am

Orphan Black Season 2 episode 1Orphan Black blew us away last year (you may have seen our Season 1 recaps during the hiatus?) with its riveting performances (led by Tatiana Maslany), brilliant storytelling, and intriguing romances (like Sarah/Paul and Cosima/Delphine). Now it's back for Season 2, and so are our weekly episode recaps. Buckle up—we have a feeling it's going to be quite the ride.

It’s raining in Cloneronto. In a full out panic, Sarah sprints down the sidewalk. She’s running so fast, it’s a struggle to keep her hoodie up to hide her face. Skidding to a stop under the awning of a diner, she pulls out the PinkMobile and dials Felix while chanting “pick up, pick up.” Alas, she gets his voicemail. “Leave it for Felix.” Heh. Sarah leaves a message. “Fee. Shit! Fee where are you? They took ‘em. They took Kira and Mrs. S.” Disconnecting, she’s looks to see where she is. She ducks into the conveniently empty diner. The big, bald bruiser of a cook takes one look at her soaking wet, ragged form in his doorway and immediately offers her of coffee. Sarah concedes that she’ll take tea instead. She slides into a booth and checks her lip, which is still bleeding from her fight with Helena. Pulling out the PinkMobile, she checks the short contact list: Alison, Beth, Cosima, Felix, Paul. She calls the first name on the list only to hear the three-toned ring of, “The number you have reached is not in service at this time.” Swearing, she goes down to contact three: Cosima. “The number you have reached is not in service at this time.” Now she frowns at the phone. Once is annoying; twice means something’s wrong. She clicks on the only name left to her and stares at it with frightened indecision for nearly a full minute. Steeling herself, she calls Paul…and her head nearly hits the table when she gets his voicemail. “Paul, what the hell is going on?! Did Rachel just take my family? I need you to call me now.”I’m a tad puzzled here since they were in the elevator together at the end of season one when she got the news from Cosima that they could not deal with the Dyad Institute. Based on that, I expected them to have made plans to meet up later when Sarah went home only for her to find Kira and Mrs. S. gone. Guess not.

[Where did everybody go?...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 9:30am

Home to Stay by Terri OsburnTerri Osburn
Home to Stay (Anchor Island)
Montlake / May 1, 2014 / $12.95 print, $4.99 digital

Willow Parsons’s two new best friends are getting married, putting her squarely on the sidelines of romance—which suits her just fine. After the nightmarish situation she escaped from, featuring the ultimate Mr. Wrong, she is more than happy to spend her days slinging drinks in Dempsey’s Bar & Grill, and her nights alone. But her Anchor Island refuge has just one catch: muscle-bound charmer Randy Navarro.

Everyone in town knows that Randy, owner of the local fitness club, is a giant teddy bear. Everyone, it seems, except for Willow. He’s convinced that her avoidance is more than just playing hard to get, and is determined to uncover the secrets that shadow her lovely eyes. But when old fears are dragged into the light, can Randy get Willow to stay and fight for their love…or will she take flight, leaving him and Anchor Island behind?

Home to Stay is a charming, romantic tale about following your heart to find where you belong.

Can I just say, I don’t think that there is a more appealing hero than the Teddy Bear type, especially if they are “large enough to deserve his own zip code” like Randy Navarro. Terri Osburn definitely got my attention when she wrote him into the story!

[Sometimes, bigger is better...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 8:20am

The Comfort Zone by Jodi ThomasWe asked recently what genre was the biggest surprise to you, and many of you called out that some authors and subgenres got you out of your comfort zone—and you've never been happier! So we know you've stepped out of your reading comfort zone, but today we're asking what would get you there in the first place?

Do you rely heavily on reviews? Or will you follow an author, no matter where they take you? Do you have someone whose reading style is close to yours that you trust to give you recommendations that you normally wouldn't pick up?

Sun
Apr 20 2014 2:00pm

It Takes a Scandal by Caroline LindenCaroline Linden
It Takes a Scandal
Avon / April 29, 2014 / $5.99 print, $4.99 digital

Sometimes It Takes a Scandal...

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she'll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets—except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He's not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .

To Reveal Your Heart's Desire

...Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn't—wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won't give up the only girl he's ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.

Sebastian Vane has had a tough seven years. He came home from Waterloo with a serious injury that has left him with a limp and in constant pain to find that his father had gone insane and sold off most of his assets for pennies on the pound. And then things got worse.

His father had disappeared, not turned up dead. A missing man couldn’t be judged incompetent, which meant Sebastian had no grounds to contest the sale of the land in court. A missing man wasn’t the same as a dead man, which meant Sebastian couldn’t even inherit the remaining property and begin to rebuild his estate. With his father missing, he was effectively bankrupt, unable to sell Montrose Hill but barely able to maintain it. In his darker moods, he thought that if he had decided to kill his father, he damned sure wouldn’t have done it in a way that made things worse for him.

[You would certainly think so...]

Sun
Apr 20 2014 10:00am
Reprint
Elizabeth Essex

A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth EssexToday, 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 fan, 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 reigster 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?

Chapter Twenty

“You stupid, stupid girl.” Mama paid Antigone no heed, and continued venting her smoldering anger. “And what has that got you? Has Commander Jellicoe proposed? Has he offered you a home? What’s to become of you if Lord Aldridge finds out about him? When he finds you’re no longer a virgin? How could you be so stupid? Don’t think that I’ll have you back in my house after such behavior.”

Her mother’s anger and disdain could not surprise Antigone, but they still burned like an ember embedded against her skin. “Do you think that if you leave me nowhere else to go, I will be forced to choose Lord Aldridge? Do you think to make him the most palatable alternative? It will not work, Mama. You cannot know what he is. He is a monster of the lowest sort who preys on children. You cannot want me to be with such a man.”

“Why not? It isn’t as if you’re a child any longer, though I’ve worked hard to make him think you are.”

[Log in or register to read all of Part 6 from A Breath of Scandal...]

Sat
Apr 19 2014 3:00pm
Excerpt
Bobbi Cole Meyer

Book one in the Men of Passion Series: A contemporary erotic series about the passions and devotion of five men to the one woman who loves them all...

Kayla Saradon is a beautiful, respected psychiatrist who her friends claim has discovered the fountain of youth. Kayla wonders what her friends would say if they knew her secret is the polyandry lifestyle she shares with her four, studly “husbands” — each skilled in his own sexual specialty?

Then PI, Trey Sean Cameron, who is secretly investigating her lifestyle, explodes into her life. The ex-Army Special Forces operative raises emotions Kayla can neither control nor contain. Can Trey — a demanding and possessive lover — ever share in her lifestyle? If not, how far will she go to keep him?

Get a sneak peek of Bobbi Cole Meyer's Uncensored Passion (available May 1, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

After her brief conversation with Lee, Kayla found the day to be another exasperatingly long one. As she ushered her last appointment out, she released a pent-up sigh of sheer relief.

The more she listened to her patients’ problems—some extremely deep-seated, but most insipidly vain, born out of frustrated loneliness and misconceptions of what life does or does not expect from one—the more Kayla realized how lucky she was. And how utterly content.

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

Sat
Apr 19 2014 11:00am

Hard Time by Cara McKenna**Note: This post contains spoilers for Cara McKenna’s Hard Time…you’ve been warned!**

Usually an ex-con would not make it onto anyone’s list of Most-Desirables, but since I read Cara McKenna’s Hard Time, I’ve had it bad for inmate 802267, Eric Collier. Eric has been in prison for five years when he meets prison-outreach librarian, Annie Goodhouse. The connection is immediate, and it’s easy to see why Annie goes running into Eric’s arms, when any other woman would have been running the other way.

1. He’s hard-working:

We see this both before and after Eric’s release. He works with Annie, granted with an ulterior motive, on his learning disability so that he can be a better person after his release. He worked as a landscaper during his prison work-release and he took that opportunity to develop a skill for a job once he’s paroled. His work ethic is admirable, and his dedication to being a better, calmer, more educated person once he’s out of prison is inspiring.

Also, he takes total advantage of the prison yard to work on his physique; a fact Annie and readers alike appreciate.

[Like...REALLY appreciate...]

Fri
Apr 18 2014 4:30pm

Eric DaneFor St. Patrick's Day we gave you some green-eyed beefcake to feast your eyes on, so this week we'd thought we'd shift the theme back to the eyes—after all, they're the window to the soul!

Share your favorite blue-eyed beaus in the comments!

[Forget four-eyes, check out another 8 pairs of beautiful blue-eyed beefcake...]

Fri
Apr 18 2014 3:00pm

Today is Lucrezia Borgia's birthday, born in Italy way back in 1480. Happy Birthday, Lucrezia!

Lucrezia has become notorious in history as a woman who will do anything for her family, including poisoning, sexual favors, and incest. The men of her family were worse in their actions, but it's Lucrezia who is the most notorious.*

Perhaps, if she were a man, Lucrezia would have been modestly infamous for being so ruthless and Machiavellian, but it seems to be even more outrageous that she did those things and was a female. Of course, if she were male, she wouldn't have had to resort to sneakier methods of getting her way such as using sex or a poison ring to guarantee the outcome she wanted; she would just have straight-out murdered the person in question, or perhaps gone ahead and led an army against them. But being a woman, she didn't have those methods at her disposal, so she used what she did have—her femininity and the misguided thought that women were the weaker sex, and wouldn't dare to act as she did.

[Hence the poison ring thing...]