<i>Tangled</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Tangled: Exclusive Excerpt Kate Douglas "The need was so primal, so visceral, it left her shaken..." <i>The Girl from Summer Hill</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Girl from Summer Hill: Exclusive Excerpt Jude Deveraux "He stood there staring at her, saying nothing..." <i>Wicked Heart</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Wicked Heart: Exclusive Excerpt Leisa Rayven "I think if I kissed you right now, we’d barely make it through..." <i>Much Ado About Highlanders</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Much Ado About Highlanders: Exclusive Excerpt May McGoldrick "Violet-blue eyes stared at him with disbelief that quickly..."
From The Blog
April 28, 2016
At Home: Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia, Episode 4
Naz Keynejad
April 28, 2016
Why Prince Songs Make a Perfect Soundtrack for Romance Novels
Abigail Strom
April 28, 2016
Best Reads of April 2016
Team H & H
April 25, 2016
Love, Lies, and Spies: Teen Regency Done Right
Carol Malcolm
April 25, 2016
9 Ways He Shows He Loves You
Scarlettleigh
Tue
Apr 26 2016 8:07am

What’s Your Favorite Trope Combination?

In classic literature, tropes often get a bad reputation. But in Romancelandia, they reign supreme! According to Romance Writers of America, the top 10 tropes in the genre are:

  • friends to lovers
  •  soul mate/fate 
  • second chance at love 
  • secret romance
  • first love
  • strong hero/heroine
  • reunited lovers
  • love triangle
  • sexy billionaire/millionaire
  • sassy heroine

But what if some of these tropes were combined (an argument could be made that some of these should be already, since they're very similar)—would that be the key to your perfect book? What are your favorite trope combinations? 

Let us know in the comments!

 

Mon
Apr 25 2016 4:45pm

First Look: Stephanie Laurens’ A Buccaneer at Heart (April 26, 2016)

A Buccaneer at Heart by Stephanie Laurens

Stephanie Laurens 
A Buccaneer at Heart (The Adventurers Quartet #2)
Mira / April 26, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.49 digital

After a decade leading diplomatic voyages and covert missions for the Crown, Captain Robert Frobisher decides that establishing a home—with hearth and wife—should be his next challenge. But when an urgent summons arrives, Robert puts his wishes aside and agrees to set sail immediately. His goal is clear: get to Freetown, determine the location of a slavers' camp and return to London with the information.

In Freetown, Miss Aileen Hopkins is determined to find her brother Will, a naval lieutenant who has mysteriously disappeared, and she will not allow anyone to turn her from her path. But all too quickly, that path grows dark and dangerous. And then Robert Frobisher appears and attempts to divert her in more ways than one.

Joining forces with Aileen, Robert vows to complete his mission and secure the woman he wants as his wife. Compelled to protect the innocent and bring retribution to a heartless enemy, they plunge into the jungle with only each other to rely on, and with the courage of their hearts as their guide.

Imagine you’re playing Stephanie Laurens’ BINGO. A guaranteed cover for a BINGO square is the entrance on the page of a duke. A duke’s pervasive, persuasive influence and implicit power, almost always presages a request (from the duke) and acquiescence (from whomever the duke is inveigling). So it is no wonder that when Captain Robert Frobisher, newly returned to London and taking his ease in Piccadilly, spots a black carriage, “premonition swept cool fingers across his nape.” The gentleman who steps out of his carriage “with languid grace” is His Grace, the Duke of Wolverstone. Wolverstone, a.k.a. Dalziel, and Viscount Melville, First Lord of the Admiralty, waylay Frobisher in order to ask him to assist the government with a troublesome situation in Africa. Says Melville,

[Says what... says what?!]

Mon
Apr 25 2016 3:59pm

Dumplin’ & Shopaholic Deals, Showalter Reveal, and Tony/Ziva Endgame?: Romance News

Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in romance.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Top Off Your TBR Pile

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy—Deal Alert: Julie Murphy's YA romance Dumplin'—winner of an RT Reviewers' Choice Award for 2015 Book of the Year—is on sale for $1.99 in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.* In his article Dumplin' and the Unapologetic Beauty of a Fat Heroine,” John Jacobson writes, “Murphy has created a book that doesn’t emphasize a need to change the body to be healthy, get the guy, and have an adventure, and we need that, dammit.”

—Deal Alert: Sophia Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic is discounted to $1.99 in e-book at iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.* The Shopaholic series and heroine Becky Bloomwood earned a shoutout in Jamie Brenner's piece “Out of the Closet: Our Romance with Fashion on the Page.”

Fresh Outta the Oven

—Gena Showalter has announced that the star of the next Lords of the Underworld series will be...Cameo! Her book's title hasn't been released yet (stay tuned!), but Showalter encourages fans to fill in the blank to see if they can guess it: The Darkest _____?

[+Will Tony reunite with Ziva in NCIS?...]

Mon
Apr 25 2016 2:30pm

Love, Lies, and Spies: Teen Regency Done Right

Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Juliana Telford does not set out seeking such an extreme example of adventure when she leaves her aunt and uncle’s home in a huff after an argument with her cousin, Carrie, but somehow the intrepid eighteen-year-old attracts trouble without trying very hard. Fearing the lack of rescue while at the same time worried about what form the aid will take, Juliana feels both relief and mortification when two young men arrive on the scene at St. Ives Head. After a comical exchange which shall not get spoiled here, Juliana escapes peril and all parties agree if they come upon each other in society, they will act as though they have never met.

Back at Grays Hill Park, Juliana focuses her thoughts on the upcoming season in London, which she plans to use primarily as a cover for her efforts to find a publisher for an academic article she and her father have written on a particular species of lady beetle.   

Meanwhile, Spencer Northam, one half of Juliana’s rescue team from the aforementioned unfortunate accident, has his own reasons for wishing to keep his presence at St. Ives hidden—as a spy for the War Office, he suspects the men of the Pyebald family of selling secrets to the French, and the cliff overlooking the water proves a perfect vantage point from which to observe the comings and goings at Ryston Manor.

[A little spying and loving ...]

Mon
Apr 25 2016 12:45pm

Once... Twice... 9 Ways He Shows He Loves You

Source: dailybenleslie.tumblr.com

How many of you have had angst filled relationships? Raising my hand! Taking out of the equation the fact that some (not All by any means) men are just thoughtless, irresponsible and unable to commit, many time the angst begins with us.

Why? Because the heart and head knows when there is a dichotomy between actions and words.  Just like in body language, we intuitively know when someone loves us and is in the same place as we are in the relationship. And when we have doubts about this—it leaves us in turmoil. We spend hours analyzing the differences between what he says and what he does, reaching out to our friends for re-assurance and advise and we even read relationship books.

Back in October, MSN’s Popsugar posted an article titled 9 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Stop Loving You.  And it stuck with me.  At first I didn’t know why – because honestly the signs are pretty obvious –commonsensible. It something that our parents and friends realize, when we don’t want to face the truth yet. But then I realized that these nine signs –oh not all of them, every time, but most of them, show up consistently in the books we deem keepers.

Authors know of course to use the words – “I love you,” “you are my life,” and “you complete me,” but when they show us—not just tell us then we truly believe that the hero and heroine are perfect for each other.  Here is a mix of new and old examples of authors wonderfully showing us the heroes that truly care.

[Flowers, jewels, and “I love yous” ...]

Mon
Apr 25 2016 11:05am

First Look: Elle Wright’s Her Kind of Man (April 26, 2016)

Her Kind of Man by Elle Wright

Elle Wright
Her Kind of Man (Edge of Scandal #3)
Forever / April 26, 2016 / $5.99 print & digital

The third and final book in Elle Wright’s Edge of Scandal series, Her Kind of Man is an intense friends to lovers romance that follows Allina Parker as she tries to rid herself of her abusive fiance once and for all, while she simultaneously finally comes to terms with her feelings for her best friend, Kent.

The story opens some weeks before Allina is due to marry Isaac Hunter. Instead of preparing for her wedding to the pastor in her new home in Ohio, Allina’s been hiding out in Michigan, using the birth of her friend’s baby as an excuse to avoid all the plans and, seemingly, Isaac. She’s given up everything for him; her dream job, her home and any hope of a future with Kent.

[But there's hope, right!?]

Mon
Apr 25 2016 9:30am

New Adult April Showers bring GIRL POWER: New Adult Best Bets for April 2016

Dirty by Kylie Scott

I was originally going to title this post April Showers brings Bad Boys in Towels. Which I thought was so clever! But, after reading Rhyll Biest post’s on Romance without Slut-Shaming and watching Taylor Swift throw shade at the tabloids that talked about her dating life, I got to thinking about girl power. It really does come in all shapes and sizes and these April NA books really showcase that. Sometimes the plan you had in life doesn’t go your way and you find yourself in a stranger’s bathtub, owning that and THEN finding a new you is girl power, just ask Lydia in Kylie’s Scott’s Dirty. Maybe life has handed you some major lemons and you and make your own lemonade, that’s girl power, just turn to Ella in Paper Princess. Looking your old tormentor in the eye, forgiving them and moving on is girl power, Letty illustrated that in Never Sweeter. There are plenty of examples here this month of what makes each of these unique characters so powerful.

Dirty by Kylie Scott is the start of a new series, Highly-anticipated, it takes place in Coeur d’Alene where another favorite series of mine takes place there and here’s to hoping there’s crossover characters! Lydia’s thought she had a fairy tale romance complete with a wedding but that quickly crashed and burned. Vaughn didn’t think he would find a runaway bride in his childhood bathtub when he returned to figure out his next step. Never the less, a friendship with lots of sexual tension is formed. A great start to a new series, it’s filled with Scott’s trademark humor and sass, I can’t wait for the rest of the series to unfold with these quirky characters.

[And next up in this new adult cocktail ...]

Mon
Apr 25 2016 8:07am

Do You Ever Fall in Love with Secondary Characters More?

It doesn't happen often but it can happen, you're swimming along reading a great book... and suddenly you realize you're more in love with the secondary characters than you are with the main leads! Have you ever had this happen to you? Do you continue to read anywa,y or do you put down the book and see if the author has written about those other characters yet? What's a good reader to do!? 

Let us know in the comments!

Sun
Apr 24 2016 12:09pm
Excerpt

Much Ado About Highlanders: Exclusive Excerpt

May McGoldrick

Much Ado About Highlanders by May McGoldrick

Highland warrior Alexander Macpherson has lost his wife. When he agreed to take Kenna Mackay as his bride to advance his clan’s power in the north, he expected a bit of an adjustment. He didn't expect the sharp-tongued beauty to run away on their wedding night. Still, Alexander wants his runaway bride…and he has the sneaking suspicion that she wants him, too.

Kenna Mackay thought she was safe in a priory full of nuns learning the craft of healing, but when she is kidnapped by her own husband, the battle of wits begins anew. But even as passions ignite, a deadly secret from Kenna's past rises to the surface and put their new love in jeopardy. As a heartless villain closes in, two headstrong lovers find themselves locked in a struggle between evil and the power of undying love. And this time, Alexander is determined he will not lose his wife again.

Get a sneak peek at May McGoldrick's Much Ado About Highlanders (available May 3, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Chapter 1

There was a star danced, and under that was I born

Western Coast of Scotland

Fifty Years Later

The old saying danced in Kenna MacKay’s head. When a man comes to a birthing, someone will die.

And yet, Kenna thought, if the man were a physician, right now that was a risk she’d gladly take.

She was in deep waters, and she knew it. She was no midwife. Her prayers were frequently ignored by the saints. And she had no interest in witchcraft. Regardless, she had to convince either God or Nature to lend a hand and turn this bairn around.

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

Sun
Apr 24 2016 4:52pm

Not My Ladies: Outlander 2x03 Jamie/Claire Heart-to-Heart

Claire in Outlander Season 2, episode 3

Show/Episode: Outlander Season 2, Episode 3, “Useful Occupations and Deceptions” (SPOILERS for the episode ahead, of course)
Ship: Jamie/Claire

Captain's Log for Jamie and Claire in Outlander season 3, episode 3When we last left Jamie and Claire, she’d taken to French customs for body hair (Jamie approved) and discovered that Black Jack Randall is still alive (and she hasn’t told Jamie). They’re making headway on their mission to stop the rebellion. They’ve met key players in the previous episodes. Now they need to move forward with the plan.

Jamie and Claire’s quest to stop Bonny Prince Charlie’s progress means they are spending less time together. Jamie is out at the brothel with Charles every night, drinking and enduring the prince’s blathering. As Claire points out when he comes home in the morning, the stench of cheap perfume on him isn’t helping her morning sickness. Their cause is to save them both, but playing this game has the power to drive a wedge in a marriage, especially when one of them is pregnant and the other is spending evenings getting drunk at brothels.

[Keep the faith...]

Sat
Apr 23 2016 1:00pm

Sex, Love, and Second Chances for the Eternal in Shakespeare

Much Ado About Highlanders by May McGoldrickToday we're thrilled to welcome May McGoldrick to Heroes and Heartbreakers. While a “death day” doesn't typically offer much to celebrate, today we're here to celebrate the life and work of Shakespeare. Four hundred years to the day after his death, Shakespeare's works are still relevant and timeless. May McGoldrick—whose latest release Much Ado About a Highlander comes out on May 3 and offers a twist on a classic Shakespearean story—is here to talk about what has made him so enduring—and we think it might have something to do with love *wink wink.* Thanks, May!

When Shakespeare’s friends and partners got together to assemble his plays for the first time, his great rival Ben Jonson wrote, “He was not of an age, but for all time.” High praise, to be sure, but maybe this was the original book quote, put on that First Folio simply to sell a few more copies.

No, no, let’s put that cynicism behind us. Four hundred years have passed since William Shakespeare penned his last play, and his language, imagery, plots, and (most important) characters are as alive today as they were when the plays were originally staged. Shakespeare’s plays have definitely survived the test of time. But why is that?

[What keeps us coming back time and time again?...]

Fri
Apr 22 2016 5:00pm

Prince: 5 Most Memorable Moments

Prince gave us sexy in so many ways, from straight hair to high-heels, lace to the original skinny-leg. Count yourself lucky if you ever heard him sing live or rock a stage, or even met him in person, because he’ll forever be considered the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). The Pop Icon introduced us to many firsts, some that can be mentioned here and others that cannot. I’ll always remember him for being exactly who he wanted to be, Prince, and reminding us to live free. The Beautiful Ones always have to go... We miss you! 

Share your Prince moments with us in the comments below. 

[The Purple Reign continues ...]

Fri
Apr 22 2016 4:00pm

Head into the Wicked Abyss with Kresley Cole: Romance News

Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in romance.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

BREAKING NEWS:

—We hate to see them leave, but love to watch them go! See the cover for the FINAL book in Christina Lauren's Beautiful series, Beautiful

Top Off Your TBR Pile

The Return of Rafe MacKade by Nora Roberts

Deal Alert #1: Nora RobertsThe Return of Rafe MacKade is only $1.99 at online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and more.* For those of you not familiar with the MacKade Brothers, get ready to be swept away—especially when you see Rafe's romantic gesture in Janga's roundup of the best grand gestures in romance. 

–Deal Alert #2: Laura Kinsale's Lessons in French is one you won't want to miss while it's on sale for $1.99 at e-tailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and more.* Kinsale's classic, Flowers from the Storm, landed on Laurie Gold's list of the best romances of the '90s, Danielle Monsch's ode to Kinsale's brilliance, and Janga's nod to the classics of historical romance. 

*We don't know how long deals will last, so get 'em while you can!

Fresh outta the Oven!

Earlier this week, Kresley Cole was over at Under the Covers book blog talking about her recent release of The Player, only to reveal the (tentative) title for her upcoming Immortals After Dark book, Wicked Abyss. As a Kresley Cole superfan, I'm personally pumped for this one! What do you hope she explores in this book? Who do you think the hero/heroine will be? I'm thinking we're finally going to see Furie's story (who else has been in an abyss?!).

Where Stacia Kane leads we will follow, especially if she's starting a new series! Get a sneak peek of Made for Sin, the first book in her new urban fantasy series featuring a vegas P.I. with a need to sin (for serious, it's no joke, and I'm so excited). Back in 2013, H&H was proud to publish a Downside Ghosts short story, “Close to You,” and can't wait to meet this new P.I.!

Today on H&H


Have a tip about hot romance news? Drop Heather & Jenn a line at heroesnhearts@gmail.com!


 

Fri
Apr 22 2016 3:15pm

On Honeypots and Heyer: Comments That Made Our Week

Community SpotlightWe at Heroes and Heartbreakers are so proud of and thankful for this wonderful community. Thank you for always adding a little extra sparkle to our week. In honor of Fan Friday, we want to give a special shoutout to a few of our favorite comments, and the readers behind them. We love your work!


PhoebeChase, who rethought a beauty term.

PhoebeChase in Bare Honeypot v. Lovely Forest:Outlander 2x02 Heart-to-Heart:

I will no longer call it a Brazilian wax — it's the Outlander Honeypot from now on!

EC Spurlock, who pointed out when a book was published really does matter. 

EC Spurlock in This is a Slut-Free Zone (Romance Without Slut-Shaming):

Keep in mind that Georgette Heyer's ouevre was written during the 20's and 30's and in the milieu of the British upper class, where many of the same sexual restrictions and mores she reflects in her books were still very much in force. Her POV is as much a product of her time and upbringing as of the mores her publisher may have enforced.

[+ 1 more for the road...]

Fri
Apr 22 2016 2:32pm

The 100 Against the World: The 100 3x12 Bellarke Heart-to-Heart

Bellamy and Clarke search Arkadia with guns drawn in The 100 season 3, episode 12The 100 Season 3: That's the dream. And now it's a reality, too. Welcome to H&H's weekly romance-focused episode reviews dedicated solely to tracking the show's relationships, today with a focus on Bellarke. If this show has taught us anything, it's that this is going to be one wild ride, so buckle up!

Bellamy and Clarke relationship tracker for The 100 season 3 episode 12Show/Episode: The 100 Season 3, Episode 12, “Demons” (SPOILERS for this episode ahead, natch)

Ship(s): Bellamy/Clarke (Bellarke)

Camp Bellarke

Right when I'd begun to doubt I'd ever be fully invested in The 100 again, the show proved me dead wrong with a second (in two weeks!) delinquents-driven episode featuring a few of my favorite things: Bellamy and Clarke co-leading (buddy!cops!), the hundred working as a team toward a common goal (adventure squad!), and plenty of nail-biting suspense (I may have screamed a couple times, so worried was I for my favorites—apologies to my roommates).

[My dynamic duo, together again...]

Fri
Apr 22 2016 11:00am

This Time It’s Personal: Cheryl St. John’s Harvey Girls Series

Cheryl St. John’s Harvey Girls series curated by Wendy the Super Librarian

In the 1880s, the Great American West was a wild and untamed land. In fact, some said that there were “no ladies west of Dodge City and no women west of Albuquerque.” Enter entrepreneur Fred Harvey, who took note of the deplorable services for passengers along the booming Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and, in response, established the Harvey House chain of restaurants and hotels. For the first time, weary travelers along the ATSF could stay in safe and clean rooms and enjoy tasty meals at reasonable prices throughout their journey west.

Harvey initially hired men to staff his properties, but his servers turned out to be a rough and unruly crew, so he had a brainstorm: Why not hire women? He placed ads in newspapers across the Midwest and East, looking for bright, articulate, attractive young women who would be hired as servers in his restaurants. “Harvey Girls” were required to have an eighth grade education and be of “good moral character.” The hiring process was competitive, but for ladies who made the cut, the rewards were substantial. Initially, they could earn up to $17.50 per month, plus free room, board, and uniforms – a generous salary, particularly for a woman, in those days. But also, they entered a new world of adventure, independence, and not infrequently romance.

Cheryl St. John’s historical Harvey Girls series—now available in a Book Bundle curated by H&H blogger Wendy the Super Librarian!—transports readers back to those days with three novels about the women who worked at the Arcade, a Harvey House property in Newton, Kansas. All three are well worth the attention of any reader of historical romance.

[Let's take a look at the series ...]

Fri
Apr 22 2016 9:30am

First Look: Lorraine Heath’s The Earl Takes All (April 26, 2016)

The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath

Lorraine Heath
The Earl Takes All (Hellions of Havisham #2)
Avon / April 26, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

What is so fantastic about Lorraine Heath’s second book in her Hellions of Havisham series? For me, it’s how she takes an idea that is bound to crash and burn, and makes the book take flight. Let’s review the summary for a quick moment. Lord Edward is the second son and twin brother to the Earl of Greyling. After a safari accident, Albert implores his brother Edward to be him until Albert’s pregnant wife is able to successfully deliver their first child. On so many levels this should be wrong. Edward getting away with pretending to be his brother. The deception Julia experiences, unable to grieve properly for her husband. And the inevitable question in my mind, of how Ms. Heath is going to pull off a love story between Julia and Edward after so much deception?

Let me just tell you that if anyone can pull it off, it’s Lorraine Heath. We learn early on (hopefully not a spoiler) that Edward is suppressing a tendre he’s felt for Julia since he met her.

[Do you believe in love at first sight?...]

Fri
Apr 22 2016 8:01am

What Do You Think When You Hear Something is a “Romeo and Juliet” Story?

1968 version of Romeo and Juliet

Recently we got into a discussion of what people could think when someone says “It's a Romeo and Juliet story.” For the most part, the consensus was that it held a stronger connotation to star crossed lovers than *spoiler alert* “everyone dies in the end.” 

What pops to mind first when you hear “Romeo and Juliet Story” and do you think it's an acceptable, subtle way to imply that a story won't end happily?

Let us know in the comments!

Thu
Apr 21 2016 4:30pm

Craving More: The Maybe Someday Crave Experience

Today we're thrilled to offer a sneak peek behind the scenes of The Crave App. We were invited “backstage” as the Crave Crew shot footage for the newly released (on the app) Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover. For those not familiar with the app, it's a subscription service which offers up bite size chunks of books that have been “enhanced” to include video footage, gifs, pictures, and even instant message conversations. 

“How do I take a place with no dialogue  and not overwhelm them with Facebook and text messages,” Hoover said of writing and incorporating the many ways people have of talking to each other in this day and age—ways that she incorporated into Maybe Someday. 

When taking a book to “the screen,” Crave founder Ziv Navoth said it's important to think about the reader experience: “Does it add anything if we're going to stop you from reading?”

What the Crave app does offer is a chance to see your favorite book boyfriends come to life, and if you're like us, you get to watch them walk around set in a wet Speedo—yes, I know, my job is so hard! In fact, at one point, the director can be heard yelling “Can I get those Speedos?” With Speedos on the mind, it's easy to slip in and out of the world that Colleen Hoover created, fans enjoyed, and now, Crave has interpreted in a brand new way. 

[Let's interpret together...]