<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." H&H Reads <i>A Breath of Scandal</i> (5 of 6) H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal (5 of 6) Elizabeth Essex Ready to be reckless? Join us for a read-along of Elizabeth Essex's A Breath of Scandal <i>The House on Blackberry Hill</i>: Excerpt The House on Blackberry Hill: Excerpt Donna Alward "He felt a shiver of anticipation that had...everything to do with the client." <i>The Billionaire Biker</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Billionaire Biker: Exclusive Excerpt Jackie Ashenden "Her best friend. Her first lover. And the boy who’d left her..."
From The Blog
April 17, 2014
Lessons from J.D. Robb’s In Death Series
Pen Singleton
April 17, 2014
The Appeal of Gritty Romance in Skye Warren's Wanderlust
Cara McKenna
April 16, 2014
Hot Small-Town Contemporaries
Jennifer Proffitt
April 16, 2014
Falling in Love with Paranormal Romance
A. C. Arthur
April 15, 2014
Sacrificing Heroines from Higgins, Carr, and More
Leigh Davis
Mon
Apr 14 2014 10:54am

Joffrey and Margaery in Game of Thrones Season 4, episode 2This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose.” Enjoy!

It’s official. “Rains of Castamere” is the worst earworm ever. If you hear it, grab your wine and leave the wedding at once. Also: In Westeros this season, purple is the new red for weddings.

More on this later…

We start with Ramsay Snow trying to beat out Joffrey for most disgusting human being in the kingdom. He’s hunting a servant, Tansy, who was kind to “Reek” (Theon Greyjoy) but was just following Ramsay's orders, and while the first arrow is put in the girl's leg by Ramsay’s jealous squeeze, he’s the one who releases his hunting hounds to tear Tansy to pieces.

[Charming lad, that one, isn't he?...]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 9:30am

The Game of Love by Edith LaytonApril 23, 2014, will mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, and Shakespeare lovers around the globe will be celebrating the occasion throughout the month of April with lectures, conferences, readings, and parties. The most famous celebration is probably the one in Stratford-on-Avon where they will be serving birthday cake to visitors April 25-26. Now I’m no Shakespeare expert, but I am an English major with four courses in Shakespeare on my transcript and a generalist who spent a portion of each year for more than three decades teaching one of a dozen of his plays. (Twelfth Night was my favorite to teach, and I blush to confess that the last time I taught Hamlet to a class of general studies high school students we had a party to celebrate not Shakespeare’s birth but Hamlet’s death.) I think my experience with Shakespeare is sufficient for me to hold my own celebration: a rereading of my top five Shakespeare-influenced romance novels.

[Journeys end in lovers meeting...]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 8:00am

In honor of April's being National Poetry Month, we present Tom Hiddleston reading “May I Feel Said He” by e.e. cummings (And for more, visit the site Hot Men Reading Poetry).

Do you have a favorite poem? Share in comments!

Sun
Apr 13 2014 2:00pm

Bomb Girls posterAs with all under-appreciated shows, Bomb Girls was short-lived, but while it was on, I loved it fiercely. As with many great shows, I found it while perusing on Netflix and instantly loved it, and you should, too. Here's why:

5. Binge Watch-ability:

Okay, this is an obvious one, but you can sit down and watch the show, which follows in BBC tradition of being short seasons with longer episodes, in one weekend. It was truly a great show and while I was sad to see it go, I was thrilled when a TV Movie aired at the end of March to give me some closure, a service many a fandom does not get.

4. Multi-dimensional Plot:

The beauty of an ensemble cast is that you can follow a variety of storylines. If you don't care for Vera (said no fan of the show, ever), tune into Kate and Betty’s story, or maybe you like the trouble that seemed to follow Gladys. It had love, international intrigue, politics, and history. The show tackles many issues that women faced during this time: gender roles to start with, and ending with physical abuse and sexuality, with a whole host in between.

[+History, beefcake, and shipping potential!...]

Wed
Apr 16 2014 12:00pm
Reprint
Elizabeth Essex

A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth EssexPart 4 is no longer available. You can read Part 5 here.

Today, 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, or brand new to the Reckless Brides series, 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 register 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?

Part 4 is no longer available. You can read Part 5 here.

***
Copyright © 2012 by Elizabeth Essex.
***

To learn more about A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex, or to get your hot little hands on the entire story now, visit:

Buy at Amazon

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Want to start the series from the beginning? Don't miss Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex, especially while the e-book is downpriced to just $2.99!

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at Indiebound

Buy at iTunes

 

 

And don't miss the next reckless bride in A Scandal to Remember, out August 26:

Buy at Amazon

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Stay up-to-date on all things in the Reckless Brides series and Elizabeth Essex with H&H's  Elizabeth Essex Collection!

 


Elizabeth Essex is the critically acclaimed author of historical novels including The Pursuit of Pleasure, A Sense of Sin and the RITA Award nominated The Danger of Desire. When not re-reading Jane Austen, sipping tea or mucking about her garden, Elizabeth can be found writing, making up wonderful stories about people who live far more interesting lives than she. It wasn’t always so. Elizabeth graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classical Studies and Art History, and then earned her MA from Texas A&M University in Nautical Archaeology, also known as the archaeology of shipwrecks.

Sat
Apr 12 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt
Kate Angell

No Sunshine When She's Gone by Kate AngellThough his family owns the charming beachside town of Barefoot William, Aidan Cates is as down-to-earth as the locals. He’s also practical to a fault and doesn’t believe some psychic on the boardwalk can predict his future.

Jillie Mac is as free as an ocean breeze, so when the hot stranger and his date mistake her for a fortune teller, she’s ready to have some fun. But one devastating secret told, one mistaken identity revealed, and numerous long summer nights later, it’s Jillie and Aidan who discover that sometimes love comes with a simple twist of fate.

Get a sneak peek of Kate Angell's No Sunshine When She's Gone (available April 29, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Aidan and Jillian arrived at the Barefoot William boardwalk at twilight. He parked in the reserved lot with spaces designated for the store owners. He pulled into the spot with a sign for Three Shirts to the Wind. “My cousin Jenna is gone for the day,” he said.

Moments later they were beachside, headed for the pier. Pole lights came on at dusk. Musicians set the night to dancing. Every kind of music from contemporary to reggae was performed. People stopped to listen. Some clapped, some danced, and the majority of tourists tossed a few dollars into the instrument cases.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of No Sunshine When She's Gone...]

Sat
Apr 12 2014 10:00am

Hard Time by Cara McKennaCara McKenna
Hard Time
Intermix / April 15, 2014 /$3.99 digital

Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier.

Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more.

When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.

Set in the same bleakly hopeless Darren, Michigan, where her spectacular After Hours unfolded, Hard Time is Cara McKenna's companion piece, a novel equally as shocking and unpredictable that, instead of a psychiatric hospital, begins on the shaky grounds of a prison, and instead of a rough orderly, goes all the way with a convicted felon hero. Annie and Eric's courtship, which can be called nothing else as the letters are so sweetly innocent and pure in nature, is so sharply contrasted with where they are, yet because the trappings of the outside world are stripped away, a very intense connection emerges very quickly. It's almost sensory overload.

[Delicious, sexy overload...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 4:30pm

Tom HiddlestonBarney Stinson coined the phrase known around the world, and got millions of women thinking that nothing suits them more than a man in a suit! Well, famously this time of year, people are turning to one type of man in a suit—an accountant! Now with the lineup we have prepared, we certainly wouldn't mind any of these guys crunching the numbers for us. We got a few of our favorites including New Girl's Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Suits' Mike and Harvey (Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht), Neil Patrick Harris, and models Ricki Hall and David Gandy.

Tell us your favorite suited up man in the comments, and of course, share a picture or five!

[Plus more suit action that suits us just fine...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 3:04pm

Burning Desire parts 1 and 2 by Donna GrantHeroes and Heartbreakers has one more awesome reveal to kick off your weekend—the covers for Donna Grant's Burning Desire serial, the first full-length novel in the Dark King series. Forbidden love, dragon magic, Dark Fae... can't wait for Kiril and Shara's story!

Here's the official description:

The Dark Kings have fought for centuries to preserve their dragon magic. But can one warrior resist the greatest temptation of all. . .?

A DESIRE THIS POWERFUL

In his quest to destroy the Dark Fae—his nemesis—the Dragon King known as Kiril goes to Ireland as a spy. When a gorgeous, mysterious woman tries to seduce him, Kiril instantly sees through her glamour to the Dark Fae beneath. Shara isn’t just any Dark; she’s from one of the most powerful bloodlines—and despite the dangers, Kiril can’t stay away from her. He’s enthralled by her smile, enslaved by the undeniable passion…

IS A WAR WORTH FIGTING FOR

Shara has one chance to make things right with her family—and to prove her worth. It seemed like such an easy mission…until she actually meets Kiril. His charm, his sexual magnetism is too much for her to ignore. Shara knows that falling into Kiril’s arms can bring her nothing but trouble. Yet she discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had…and an attraction that knows no bounds. But is her desire for Kiril worth the risk of eternal doom for them both?

Burning Desire will be available first as a serial beginning September 9, 2014, and will be released in paperback on September 30. Head over to our official Donna Grant Collection 

Burning Desire parts 3 and 4 by Donna Grant

[+Check out the paperback cover!...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 1:30pm

Floki and Helga in Vikings 2.07This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Vikings, including last night’s Season 2, episode 7, “Blood Eagle." Enjoy!

Helga has wonderful news for her lover, Floki, everyody’s favorite crazy boat builder. She’s carrying Floki’s child. Both wonderstruck and woeful, Floki pities the poor child for having such a father, but Helga will have none of that moaning. Buoyed by her faith in him, Floki asks Helga to marry him, dropping to his knees to greet the child inside her. They have been such good friends to the gods that surely the gods will bless them. Helga wants Ragnar’s blessing, too, but Floki refuses. Ragnar has everything already, but he can’t have Floki and Helga.

Floki and Helga aren’t the only soon-to-be newlyweds here, as King Ecbert arranges a hasty royal wedding between his son, Aethelwulf, and Judith, the daughter of the newly arrived King of Northumberland. He loses no time in seeing the ceremony carried out with proper gravity and formality, Aethelwulf and Judith kneeling before a Christian altar.

[Not exactly your dream wedding, eh?...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 12:00pm

Today, Heroes and Heartbreakers is thrilled to reveal the covers for Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot Bay Brides Trilogy, a brand-new series taking place in Barefoot Bay and featuring a group of wedding planners who are about to get their own happily ever after. And we have Roxanne here today to give you an introduction to the new series and an exclusive sneak peek into the first book, Barefoot in White. Thanks, Roxanne!

Note from Roxanne St. Claire...

I am beyond excited to announce a brand new trilogy for fans of the Barefoot Bay series!  Next month, readers can go back to the sun-kissed shores of this Gulf coast island where you always kick off your shoes and fall in love!

The resort and spa that grew out of the hurricane-ravaged Barefoot Bay is now home to the “Barefoot Bay Brides” — a destination wedding service specializing in dreamy “I do’s” on the beach.  The company is run by three women who are gifted in the art of creating a perfect wedding day...but haven’t yet found their own happily ever after.  But you know that’s about to change, right?

We launch with Barefoot in White, released in digital and print on May 15, 2014, then Barefoot in Lace later this summer, followed by Barefoot in Pearls in the fall.  Each full-length novel stands completely on its own, but of course, the friendships and families that surround these women carry over from book to book.  I promise a new and growing cast of characters and, of course, some cameos of fan favorites from the past!

I’ve been blown away by the reader’s response to all the Barefoot Bay books — from the first quartet to this year’s “Barefoot Bay Billionaires” trilogy.  I hope the Brides give my fans exactly what they want in every story — heat, humor, and a happily ever after.  And, of course, a heartbreaking hero!

xoxo

Rocki

Barefoot in White will be available May 12, 2014. Stay tuned for news and announcements about Barefoot in Lace, out this summer, and Barefoot in Pearls, coming this fall.

[Read on for more covers, info, and an excerpt!...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 10:45am

Maya Pope in Scandal 3x17Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x07, 3x08, 3x09, 3x10, 3x11, 3x12, 3x13, 3x14, and 3x15. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 17, “Flesh and Blood.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy!

Howdy, Gladiators, welcome back! Last time, Liv had pulled the plug (literally) on B613 at exactly the wrong time, giving Maya just enough time to slip away unseen with a bomb that she plans to use to take out Fitz. Cut to Jake going practically postal and storming into OPA, putting Liv in a very “I know you didn’t just put your hands on me” choke hold.

Alrighty then. You got that one, Jake. That one. This week, we open with Liv out of her up-against-the-wall hold and she’s now in the main OPA conference room arguing with Jake about her poor timing and treason over taking out B613 when suddenly Fitz chimes in for them to hush it up with Cyrus by his side. Hmm, I’d like to know who called Fitz and how that hold would go over now? But I digress. These are scenes we are not privy to, so back to the matters at hand and Fitz is mad because Liv didn’t talk to him about her plans and Liv replies that she made the call because it was what he said he wanted. Then salty Jake jumped on in and doesn’t miss his shot to toss across the table that Liv slept with him the night before to put a tracker on his phone. Did you hear that, Fitz, yet another man sleeping with your other woman? And Boom.

[Buckle your seatbelts—here we go!...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 9:30am

The Collector by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts
The Collector
Putnam / April 15, 2014 / $27.95 print, $14.99 digital

When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .

Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession. . . .

In a direct nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Rear Window, Nora Roberts starts us on an adventure that will take us around Manhattan, includes a dash out to Long Island, and a quick hop over to Italy to find antique treasures and keep them out of the hands of The Collector.

[A capitalized nickname makes him seem Much Scarier...]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 8:17am

The Facebook page Books Rock My World recently asked one of the toughest questions that could be asked of a book fan:

Your house is on fire, and you can only take five books with you. Which ones would you save?

Share your five in the comments section!

Thanks to Molly O'Keefe for sharing the link.

Book on fire courtesy of James Lee's flickr stream.

Thu
Apr 10 2014 4:30pm

Newborn Baby for Christmas by Fiona LoweIn the first pregnancy in romance novels post, I talked a little bit about unplanned pregnancy in romance, but there are so many different scenarios evolving pregnancy, such as an already pregnant by another man heroine, a heroine who is just looking for an anonymous sperm donor, or a heroine who has asked a friend to be her baby’s father.

While any type of pregnancy changes a story of boy meets girl to something so much more complex, the above scenarios can be even more complicated.
In best friends to parents together, there has to be a conflict or there is no story. So how does an author create that conflict but still have the reader believe in the strength of their friendship? Fiona Lowe took on the challenge with Newborn Baby for Christmas. Dr. Georgina Lambert wants more than anything in the world to have a baby, but her latest boyfriend bolts when she brought up having a family. Desperate, she turns one of her best mates, Dr. Hamish Pettigrew, and he is thrown for a loop to say the least:

He tried to head off this crazy request by going straight to the heart of the matter. “Georgie, something like this could ruin our friendship.”

Her straight-shooting gaze hooked him, filled with honesty. “It won’t. Another reason I’m asking you is because I know you don’t want a child.”

He had a moment of feeling like he was fighting quicksand. “I don’t understand how me not wanting a child makes you ask me.”

“You’ll leave me in peace to raise him or her alone and do things my way. This is my baby, my new-start family…”

“I’m sorry, Georgie…I don’t think I can help you.”

Her shoulders slumped for a moment and then her chocolate-brown eyes hooked his gaze, filled with everything they’d every shared. “I’ve never asked you for anything, Hamish, and I never will again, but right now I’m asking you my closest friend in the whole world, not to make a hasty decision not to say yes or no. All I’m asking is that you think about it. Sleep on it . . .”

[Friends to co-parents...]

Thu
Apr 10 2014 2:00pm

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for J.R. Ward's The King as well as major speculation about and potential spoilers for next year's The Shadows. Read at your own risk.

Every spring, a special Tuesday in the world of the rabid Black Dagger Brotherhood fan is marked on the calendar. What is this day? Release day, of course! April 1st marked the release of The King, the 12th book in the series and a return the original couple, Wrath and Beth.

For the past few years, another tradition has started. Author J.R. Ward promises to tell us who the next book is about if someone asks at the first book signing after release day (usually that Saturday.) She did not disappoint this year and revealed that the next book was to be The Shadows, about our favorite dark and cannibal brothers. She also promised that they would BOTH get an HEA in this book. (On her Facebook page, she left a transcript from the book signing with some MAJOR spoilers from the BDB world in general.)

[Let the speculating begin!]

Thu
Apr 10 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

IN THIS BATTLE OF WITS

Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass just what to say to discourage the Duke of Claringdon…but it turns out that he’s made of sterner stuff than either of them anticipated. And Lucy is shocked to discover that tangling with the tenacious man is the most fun she’s had in ages.

KISSES ARE THE BEST WEAPON

Lord Derek Hunt made a promise to his dying friend to marry the demure Cassandra, and for a man who wants nothing more than peace and quiet after the horrors of war, she’ll make the perfect bride. If only the impudent Miss Upton will let him court the girl! Doing battle is the last thing on his mind, but bantering with Lucy behind the bushes is too tempting to resist. And in The Unexpected Duchess, the spoils of this war just may be true love…

Get a sneak peek of Valerie Bowman's The Unexpected Duchess (available April 29, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapters 1 & 2.

Chapter 1
London, Late June 1815

Lady Lucy Upton blew a leaf away from her lips. A twig in her eye and a mouthful of foliage were the unfortunate by-products of having her head lodged in a hedgerow. Not to mention, it was a bit chilly outside tonight. But this had been her idea, after all, and she intended to see it through.

Lucy was secure in her position behind the bushes in the Chamberses’ garden just steps away from her dearest friend, Cassandra Monroe. There might be a ball going on inside the stylish town house, but out here they were quite alone … for the moment. Lucy pushed her head through the branches as far as she could and craned her neck to see Cass.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of The Unexpected Duchess...]

Thu
Apr 10 2014 9:30am

The Daughter of the Manor by Betty NeelsSome older romance novels don’t hold up well to the passage of time. The changes in fashion make the clothes seem dated; the changes in tech make the situations seem absurd; the changes in male-female relations make the romance seem stilted. It’s amazing what we thought was charming, romantic, or hot twenty or thirty years ago. The heroine of lots of those books seem insipid. The heroes of many of those books are hard to take in large doses without setting fire to the book.

A Betty Neels book is a different breed. The books are dated, but the characters are so strong it doesn’t matter in the least. Her heroes are usually doctors and whether they are a country doctor in a small village or a highly sought after specialist, they are all used to getting their own way. They are alpha, through and through, but underneath there is a gentleness. One of my favorite scenes is in Daughter of the Manor. The heroine Leonora is running herself into the ground caring for the great, old manor of the title and for her sick relatives. To help her out, the hero arranges for dinner to be brought to her. But, knowing her pride wouldn’t permit her to accept charity, he passes it off as a gift from a neighbor. The really amazing thing is the way the hero James talks about Leonora. He doesn’t fault her for her pride or think it silly or useless. It’s a part of her personality and he just accepts it and works around it to try and make her life easier without causing her any embarrassment.

[That's all anyone really wants...]

Thu
Apr 10 2014 8:30am

Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce star in Hateship Loveship, based on a short story by Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro.

A wild teenage girl orchestrates a romance between her nanny and her father, who is a recovering addict.

The film opens this Friday. Are you interested?

Wed
Apr 9 2014 5:15pm

Danny and Mindy in The Mindy Project 2x17This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of The Mindy Project, including last night’s episode 17, “Be Cool.” Enjoy!

All epic romance novels have a “delicious despair” period—that dark, dark time when every possible chance for a happy ending for your beloved pair seems doomed, and the ashes of all your hopes and dreams for them surround you. Still, you have faith that they will, in fact, pull it out of the fire and attain that glorious HEA. Somehow. Some way. After all, isn't that the golden rule of romance?

The Mindy Project, while not a romance novel, is often described as a romantic comedy series, and I 100% believe that creator/executive producer/head writer/star Mindy Kaling fully intends to follow the Mindy/Danny romance through to, if not an HEA, a “Happily for Now.” Which means that while “Be Cool” saw Danny break up with Mindy after only a few weeks of secretly dating—sending fans into a tizzy of delicious despair—their story is far from over. As in, it's most likely just gettin' started.

[Love conquers all...]