Today we're thrilled to reveal the cover for Christine Warren's latest book in the Gargoyle series, Hard as a Rock. These men are hard to handle, but the women who are tied them are tough enough to handle the job.
Today we're pleased to be joined by author Sandy Hall, whose A Little Something Different tells the story of an unfolding romance through fourteen different viewpoints (including a squirrel and a park bench). Everyone in the book, it seems, has an opinion about the couple in question, and of course that leads right into what Sandy is talking about today: OTPs, or One True Pairings. Thanks, Sandy!
The Good News about OTPs!
Hello my name is Sandy and I am a fangirl. (Hi, Sandy.)
My novel, A Little Something Different, is told from fourteen different points of view. These POV characters are all different—different ages, different races, and different species. But they all have one thing in common: They all want to see the two main characters, Gabe and Lea, get together.
Gabe and Lea are their OTP, or in laymen’s terms, One True Pairing.
I think almost everyone has an OTP, even if they don’t think about it in those terms. The couple that you root for in whatever fandom you’re a part of, the one couple that you want to see come together and succeed. They are your endgame dream and you don’t want to miss a minute of it.
One Night More
Zebra / September 2, 2014 / $6.99 print, $7.59 digital
Savvy, hard-riding, rule-breaking—they’ll go anywhere and do anything it takes to protect and serve. But this U. S. Marshal has just met his match—and playing for keeps is one sizzling game…
Getting saved from disaster by a handsome stranger—Harper Allen has no problem with that. But when he leaves without a word or a clue to his real identity, the newbie reporter writes it off as the best one-night-stand she’ll ever have. Until a year later, when Harper comes face to face with the man assigned to hide her from a senator’s killer…
Galen Kelly hasn’t forgotten a single sensual minute of his night with Harper . . . or that she betrayed him. With the FBI also on their trail, he’s got to pretend he’s never met her or risk both their lives. But as danger closes in, Galen may not be able to protect himself from taking the biggest risk of all…
One Night More is the first in Mandy Baxter's US Marshal series, and filled with intense, fast-paced action and scorching-hot sexual chemistry between the hero and heroine. The intensity of their attraction had me immersed deep inside their minds and emotions.
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!).
Sometimes you love someone, but you can't be with them—whether it's war, personality differences, or anything in between. However, these are romances, so they won't be separated for long!
Here are a few recommendations for this trope off the top of our heads:
Do you like the separated spouses trope? What do you think are some books that epitomize this trope? How do you think it differs from other “marriage” tropes?
It's the unofficial end of summer in the United States with Labor Day coming on Monday, giving Americans a day off.
An extra day to do whatever you want—sounds amazing, right? So make sure you take some time for yourself and do what you like doing best—reading, naturally! (What did you think we meant?)
So what are you planning to read on your long weekend?
The Laird (Captive Hearts)
Sourcebooks Casablanca / September 2, 2014 / $7.99 print and digital
He left his bride to go to war...
After years of soldiering, Michael Brodie returns to his Highland estate to find that the bride he left behind has become a stranger. Brenna is self-sufficient, competent, confident-and furious about Michael's prolonged absence.
Now his most important battle will be for her heart
Brenna is also hurt, bewildered, and tired of fighting for the respect of those around her. Michael left her when she needed him most, and then stayed away even after the war ended. Nonetheless, the young man who abandoned her has come home a wiser, more patient and honorable husband. But if she trusts Michael with the truths she's been guarding, he'll have to choose between his wife and everything else he holds dear.
In her most recent novel, The Traitor, Grace Burrowes accomplished the difficult challenge of rehabilitating Sebastian St. Clair, formerly a professional torturer in Napoleon’s employ. The Laird is a book for anyone who found The Traitor too-light-hearted. The story of Sebastian’s boon companion Michael Brodie and Michael’s long-estranged wife Brenna, The Laird details sensitively yet frankly with a very dark topic indeed: the sexual abuse of a child. Although Burrowes is not gratuitous in her handling of this topic, neither does she pull any punches. This has been your trigger warning.
Even with the modern disease model, there's so much societal shame around addiction that romance authors probably approach it cautiously as a potential conflict. As Leigh Davis pointed out in her article on addicted heroines, we're more likely to see it in heroes than heroines, and we're more likely to see it as a situational response to some other trauma.
Looking at romance heroes with addictions, it seems that we also tend not to see them in active recovery. Perhaps because of the way masculinity is associated with strength, self-sufficiency, and control, romance heroes are more likely to successfully tough it out and go it alone; often they've basically recovered before the story really begins. Typical examples of more macho recovery are Joe in Shannon Stacey's Exclusively Yours, who quit drinking cold turkey after breaking his brother's nose in a rage, Zane in Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux, who flushes his pills and stays clean, “because that was what Ty had wanted,” or Declan in Kresley Cole's Dreams of a Dark Warrior, who declares that he'll never shoot up again because, “I don't need to suppress my strength or get mindless again — I need to be strong and clear to protect what's mine.”
It's not usually that simple; just taking the first step of seeking help can be very hard, even for a supernatural warrior. In Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward, vampire Phury goes to his first NA meeting and, “all he could think about was getting gone again.”
In this month’s New Adult roundup we see plenty of rockers. But even among the non-rockers and rockers alike, the common theme is choices. These characters are in some tough situations and they must make up their minds in order to move forward.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover focuses on Miles and Tate’s budding relationship. Fast burning through the lines of friends with benefits, they embark on journey of rediscovery. Featuring a mature narrative with rich characters, Ugly Love weaves a tale of taking chances, choosing to move beyond the past, and finding forgiveness.
Shifting Shadows (Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson)
Penguin / September 2, 2014 / $26.95 print, $12.99 digital
Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…
A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…
One of the stories in Patricia Briggs's new Mercy Thompson collection, “Silver,” takes place long before Moon Called, and it's the story of Ariana and Samuel’s first meeting, the first half of the story that continues in Silver Borne. It tells the very difficult background of Bran and Samuel and how they came to be how they are now. Silver is a painful story because the reader is given a glimpse into Bran’s story before he was the all-powerful Marrok. It is a little humbling to find him down and hurting.
Author Sarah MacLean has started a Facebook group titled Old School Romance Book Club for readers interested in reading some old school romance. Each month, the club will read a book published before 2000 and the club will discuss it for the whole month.
The first book for the club is Jude Deveraux's A Knight in Shining Armor:
Abandoned by her lover, thoroughly modern Dougless Montgomery finds herself alone and brokenhearted in an old English church. She never dreamed that a love more powerful than time awaited her there...until Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, a sixteenth-century knight, appeared. Drawn to him by a bond so sudden and compelling that it defied reason, Dougless knew that Nicholas was nothing less than a miracle: a man who would not seek to change her, who found her perfect just as she was. But she could not know how strong were the chains that tied them to the past — or the grand adventure that lay before them.
Have you read A Knight in Shining Armor? Do you want to go back and meet (or revisit) the classics?
With a series that shows no signs of slowing down, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series has made for some amazing reading. And some Menyons are obsessed. Are you wondering if you’re a Menyon or just a reader? Here’s a surefire way to know if you’re a Menyon:
1. When you hear the words “BBQ sauce” or “QVC,” you immediately think of the Simi and wish she was around. In all honesty, you really wish she were your best friend.
Today we've asked author Megan Erickson to come talk about a very serious topic: Men wearing sweatpants. Megan's upcoming release, Make it Right, is a companion book to Make it Count. Both books are part of the Bowler University series, and Make it Right's hero, Max Payton, teaches a self-defense class, so of course he has to don casual, comfortable clothing to do so. Making the heroine (and us!) very happy indeed. Thanks, Megan!
On hot guys.
And I’m going to tell you why you need to join me over on the 100% cotton Dark Side. I know what you’re saying. “Ew, Megan. Sweatpants? I like worn jeans on my guy or nothing at all.”
I KNOW. But hear me out? Or actually, let me start with some visual inspiration:
In Lori Foster's new release, No Limits, the hero Cannon Colter is an MMA champion on his way back from his Supreme Battle Championship fight in Japan when he receives news that an old friend, Tipton Sweeny, has passed away and Cannon is mentioned in his will. Upon hearing the contents of the will, Cannon is surprised to learn that Tipton has left him half of everything he owns with instructions asking Cannon to help his granddaughter find her way home. Cannon grew up with Tipton’s granddaughter, Yvette, and helped save her life when she was kidnapped by a group of sadistic rapists. Cannon has always known of Yvette’s crush on him but her age negated any reciprocal feelings on his part.
Yvette Sweeny left town after the kidnapping, hoping to make a fresh start in California. She can’t stand the thought of coming home and having everyone look at her with pity, especially Cannon. Yvette buried her crush on him, likening it to a byproduct of her youth and has come to terms with the fact that any feelings he has for her was due to their shared ordeal and will never go beyond that. She hopes Cannon will allow her to buy him out of his inheritance so she can sell everything off and head back to the life she has in California.
When Cannon sees Yvette again, he notices that their three years apart has changed her both physically and mentally. She is older, even more beautiful, and her scars run deep. Cannon cannot believe the punch of lust and protectiveness that hits him and decides that the time has come to see where this attraction can lead. Cannon is determined to see Yvette come home...and hopefully stay forever.
No Limits is the first book in Lori Foster’s new Ultimate series. I was excited to see her writing a new MMA series as her SEC series remains a favorite of mine to date. Ultimate is a spin off of her Love Undercover series, and in this book, Foster revisits some secondary characters from that series, giving them a voice of their own. Cannon Coulter was first introduced in Getting Rowdy and later again in Dash of Perils. You don’t have to read the Love Undercover series to understand this one, though some characters and storylines do crossover.
I’d never felt so vulnerable, at once both lost and found, as I now did sprawled half-naked across Savage in this foolish throne-chair. His strength was my solace, my comfort, and there was nothing better than hearing the beating of his heart beneath my ear.
Once trapped in a loveless, pleasure-less marriage, Evelyn Hart leaves her home in New York for the glittering ballrooms of London. When she arrives, she meets the Earl of Savage, a dark, powerful man who seems to live up to his name. Despite his noble trappings, he’s also a man who can possess her with just one look. Soon Evelyn finds herself pulled into Savage's world - a world of passion and seductive games unlike any she has ever experienced. Evelyn's heart is captured with no hope of escape. But can they overcome the tortures of the past together...?
Savage never imagined someone like Evelyn walking into his life. As soon as he sees her he knows he must have her, no matter the cost, in Lord Savage by Mia Gabriel.
Get a sneak peek of Mia Gabriel's Lord Savage (available September 9, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
“You say your husband did not satisfy you. Did you ever love him?”
I hadn’t expected that, especially not so soon after I’d awakened. I considered dissembling, the way I’d always done with Arthur; really, our entire marriage had been a lie. But with Savage I felt drawn to tell the truth, especially about this.
“No,” I said softly. “I never loved him, nor did he love me.”
Penguin / September 2, 2014 / $15.00, print / $5.99, digital
On her last night in Nevada before embarking on a yearlong veterinary internship, Scarlett Malone is celebrating—and looking for one night of incredible pleasure. But the man who draws her eye is not her usual type: He’s a cowboy whose alpha-male tendencies tempt her beyond belief. Scarlett can’t understand why she wants this man and no one else, but she’s determined to entice him to submit.
Dr. Logan Brody lives an isolated life in rural Montana, running a ranch and suppressing his submissive tendencies. Only on his occasional trips does he give into his hidden urges. He can’t deny his scorching attraction to Scarlett or that she makes him want more, but he never lets anyone break him down fully. He’s hers for one night and one night only.
But when Scarlett shows up at Logan’s door as his intern for the year, he realizes that the walls around his heart are about to crumble—and that this sexy dominant woman has no intention of letting him keep control.
Nothing causes pages to burn quite like a submissive alpha male cowboy and a Mistress determined to make him hers. Lauren Jameson’s Linger is a stunningly sexy concoction that weaves together two souls with a taste for volcanic-hot sex. Scarlett Malone is just about to leave her home for a veterinary internship. City life doesn’t teach a veterinarian all of the in’s and out’s of large animal care, and the only way to get the needed hands-on experience is to work under someone who takes care of those big animals on a day-to-day basis. This means going out into the quiet countryside of Montana and leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind.
Before Scarlett leaves for a year, she takes one more night to fulfill her sexual desires. A rich friend of hers owns one of the hottest BDSM clubs in the area; she has trained to be a Mistress and has more than her share of fans. That final night, Scarlett enters the club to see a man that she has to have. A tall cowboy with a beautiful body—a cowboy who may very well be a Master himself—immediately catches her attention. Scarlett is in luck: her cowboy is a submissive, if an alpha one, and the challenge he will provide her is just what she needs.
August women’s fiction releases cover all the bases, from a thrilling mystery set in Australia to humorous romances set in and around the English countryside. Several books have a Southern setting, in a not so distant past, and you have small town settings on the west coast, and a quiet college town. A common theme runs through all of them—of new beginnings, and the need for change, courage and resolve.
Small Blessing by Martha Woodroof
…an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.
Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.
Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness…
A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.
Strengths: Unconventional characters; unique plot; warm, inspiring message, surrogate family bonds; charming
Measure of Love: Tablespoon
Introspective Level: Medium
Outlander, as we know, has a heroine who falls back through time. In other scenarios, a person from the past comes to the present (Kate and Leopold, Sleepy Hollow).If you had to choose, which would you prefer?
a. Being a present-day person falling back through time (like Claire)
b. Being the person who encounters the time traveler (like Jamie)
c. Being a past person who travels to the present (like Leopold or Ichabod)
d. Being the person who encounters the time traveler (like Kate or Abbie)
The Duke of Snow and Apples
Entangled / August 26, 2014 / $0.99 digital
Frederick Snow, first footman, is the perfect servant: efficient, hardworking, and completely bereft of emotion. Unbeknownst to his employers, he’s the lost Duke of Snowmont, on the run from a suspicious stepfather and a powerful magic he can only control by burying his passions beneath his frosty demeanor. He's managed to hide behind his carefully ordered life until an impertinent miss arrives and challenges everything he thought he wanted.
If Charlotte Erlwood wants to land a wealthy, titled husband at her great aunt’s house party, she has to stop losing her temper – especially with inordinately handsome footmen. Perhaps if she recruits Frederick for her matrimonial schemes, she'll be able to direct her attention toward suitable single noblemen and away from inappropriate dalliances. But Frederick’s frigid control is no match for Charlotte’s irrepressible spirit, and her passionate kiss could summon the darker side of his magic...or wake his heart from its frozen sleep.
Elizabeth Vail's The Duke of Snow and Apples is an alternate-reality romance where magic is the norm and the gulf between the Pure-Blooded and Underfolk is even greater than that of your basic Regency-set Historical.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Heroes Are My Weakness
William Morrow / August 26, 2014 / $26.99 print / $15.99 digital
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man. A woman.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)
And . . .
A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .
He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.
Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.
Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.
Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It's going to be a long, hot winter.
Fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips never know what to expect from one book to the next. From football, to computers, to matchmaking to the English nobility, she has done it all. My favorite book in terms of originality is Natural Born Charmer—it is not often that a hero meets his love interest while she is wearing a beaver costume.
This week we're thrilled to reveal the covers from Heidi Cullinan, Lorelei James, and Brighton Walsh. Each of these couples has barriers to their relationship—sometimes each other—but somehow, we think they'll work it out!