<i>Rookie Move</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Rookie Move: Exclusive Excerpt Sarina Bowen "When he looked at her like that, the years just fell away." <i>A Scot in the Dark</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Scot in the Dark: Exclusive Excerpt Sarah MacLean "His gaze fell to her waist, where a large gold belt..." <i>Dirty Little Lies</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Dirty Little Lies: Exclusive Excerpt Lora Leigh "Will surrendering to Zack end up being the biggest mistake of Grace’s life?" <i>The Butch and the Beautiful</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Butch and the Beautiful: Exclusive Excerpt Kris Ripper "I would have expected a shot of arousal, but what hit me instead was..."
From The Blog
August 25, 2016
Sosie Frost Makes Secret Babies Fun Again
Tori Benson
August 24, 2016
Mythology and Magic in Amanda Bouchet's Promise of Fire
Carol Malcolm
August 24, 2016
Now Win This!: Christina Dodd’s Because I'm Watching Sweepstakes
Team H & H
August 23, 2016
Why Ever After is the Best Fairy Tale Adaptation
KC
August 23, 2016
Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals from Cutler and Witt!
Team H & H
Thu
Aug 25 2016 9:30am

Sosie Frost Makes Secret Babies Fun Again

Bad Boy's Baby by Sosie Frost

There aren’t many tropes in romance that annoy me. Second chance, insta-love, best friend’s little sister, May/December, etc...they all have their moments in the sun. When paired with a well-rounded storyline and dynamic characters, I’m hooked. One trope that often leaves me dismayed and irritated is the secret baby trope. So much in fact that I have actively avoided it for years. In my honest opinion, there are really only two reasons why the heroine shouldn’t tell the hero he is going to be a daddy. Either the hero is dead or is abusive and  the child is better off not knowing them. The majority of the reasons for the heroine’s not revealing their pregnancy that I have come across are often fueled by either jealousy or hurt feelings. Not to say those don’t have their place, just not on my bookshelf.

Lately, I have found myself gravitating back towards sports romances that feature the secret and/or a surprise baby. I’ve have noticed a change in the trope, a maturing of sorts with a more involved storyline, realistic characterization, and some added twists that make it far less formulaic than what we have seen in the past. The heroines aren’t portrayed as helpless, naive women who are instantly struck deaf, dumb, and blind by the fact a good looking man looks and flexes at them. These protagonists are older and more settled. They have been around the block a few times. They have mortgages, IRAs, and college degrees. There is still some juvenile behavior but the reader knows it is more in reaction to *GASP* falling in love then their actual age.  

Sosie Frost has redeemed this trope for me. She has re-fostered my love for the self-absorbed alpha men and the women who stand toe to toe with them and chisel away at their incredibly large egos.  She was recommended to me through word of mouth. Reviewers I trust were claiming that Frost does a sports based secret/surprise baby romance that reveals well and is slightly twisted in its formula. And they were right. Frost’s babies aren’t secrets from the fathers but rather each one is a “secret” for another reason altogether.

[Secret babies anyone?]

Thu
Aug 25 2016 8:20am

What Gaps Do You Have in Your Reading Education?

Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie

An entire episode of the show How I Met Your Mother is devoted to gaps in our education. For the group, it meant that Ted thought chameleon was pronounced sha-ma-lee-on (a problem many readers can relate to), Lily couldn't throw worth a darn, and Robin though the North Pole was fictional. However, when it comes to readers, there are just “obvious” books that are part of many reader's education... that they just miss. It doesn't mean you're any less of a fan... you just haven't read the quintessential books fo the genre yet! 

What gaps in your reading education do you think you have? Will you ever fill in those gaps, or do you think that ship has sailed?

Don't worry, if we promised not to take PhoebeChase's romance reader card when she (a die-hard paranormal romance fan) admited she had never read Nalini Singh, we certainly won't take away yours! 

Let us know in the comments!

Wed
Aug 24 2016 4:22pm

Jo Beverley & Manaconda Deals: 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 to have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Top Off Your TBR Pile

An Unwilling Bride by Jo Beverley—Deal Alert: Jo Beverley's RITA-winning historical An Unwilling Bride, second in the Company of Rogues series, is $.99 at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | iBooks | and more.* If this book made Jo Beverley your be-all and end-all for historical romance, join Janet Webb in an appreciation of the classic author.

—Deal Alert: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott's eyebrow-raising contemporary Manaconda is FREE at e-tailers like Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | etc.* If you like your heroes who have rightfully earned similar nicknames, then head over to discuss well-endowed (and we mean well-endowed) heroes with Jennifer Porter.

Fresh Outta the Oven

Catch up with Shannon Stacey's Kowalskis! What It Takes, due out February 28 of next year, will tell the story of Kowalski friends Ben Rivers and Laney Caswell, offering us the chance to reunite with the whole beloved family. See the What It Takes cover and official description over at USA Today's HEA blog. Brie Clementine considers Stacey one of the best current contemporary romance authors out there; what do you think?

[+Jennifer L. Armentrout cover & Thor cast cuteness...]

Wed
Aug 24 2016 3:00pm

Blending Mythology and Magic in Amanda Bouchet’s Promise of Fire

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Welcome to the kingdom of Thalryia, whose residents fall into one of two categories: the Magoi, who wield various types of magic, and the Hoi Polloi, those people without that advantage. The magoi have been in control for as long as anyone can remember, until now...

For eight years Catalla “Cat” Fisa manages to avoid detection by living and working as a circus soothsayer, but that all changes the day a warlord shows up. With the crowd in a celebratory mood, due mostly to the Hoi Polloi in the province of Sinta being in charge of their own government for the first time ever, Cat finds herself enjoying the high spirits of the people. Cat begins to feel differently when the warlord she spotted earlier comes to her tent for a reading, especially when she discovers the identity of the man—Beta Sinta, brother to the new ruler.

Seeking to hide her true talent as a Kingmaker, a rare human lie-detector born only once every two hundred years, behind her soothsayer persona, trouble ensues when it becomes evident Beta Sinta knows Cat’s secret. Despite turning herself invisible in an effort to get away from him and leave the circus, fearing for her friends, Beta Sinta catches up to Cat, restrains her with a magic rope, and takes her with him.

Cat refuses to be used once again in the manner she was as a child, resulting in her fighting Beta Sinta (Griffin) every step of the way. However, when she comes to understand Beta Sinta and his three companions a bit better, she does not hate them quite as much as she feels she should. When the previous royal family begins to catch up to them, looking for Cat, she and the Sintans must work together to stay alive and keep Cat out of the clutches of the nightmares of her past.

[The magic awaits...]

Wed
Aug 24 2016 1:30pm

First Look: Karen Hawkins’ Mad for the Plaid (August 30, 2016)

Mad for the Plaid by Karen Hawkins

Karen Hawkins
Mad for the Plaid (Oxenburg Princes #3)
Pocket Books / August 30, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

The Princes of Oxenburg series lends a fun twist to those who love Scottish historical romance because our heroes are none other than Russian princes. Mad for the Plaid is all about the witty exchanges. The banter between these two starts from page one in their writing correspondence and continues, well, I’d like to believe it continues until they both die together as a very old couple.

Prince Nikolai Romanovin of Oxenburg is not all that he seems. In fact, he’s a chameleon. He doesn’t mind his reputation—he has many—because it provides him with information that only serves to boost his political career and protect his people. So when his grandmother, the Dowager Countess Cromartie is abducted, trusting the Lady Ailsa Mackenzie of Castle Leod to find her is not an option.

Lady Ailsa is not a wallowing miss. The Dowager Countess was under her protection and so she will stop at nothing to bring her back to safety. What she does not expect is to have the Prince himself show up in disguise and accompany her. But she can’t deny her attraction to this brooding man with a reputation. One who is a rake of the highest order. But it is her that makes the first move, and for this, I love our heroine. Especially as she continues to express her independence and strength, despite a Prince who may not possess as many feminist ideals. At least not at first.

[Read more...]

Wed
Aug 24 2016 12:00pm
Excerpt

Rookie Move: Exclusive Excerpt

Sarina Bowen

Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

Get a sneak peek at Sarina Bowen's Rookie Move (available September 6, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

She pulled the door open again and took a step outside. But she didn’t get far, because a big wall wearing a purple tie was suddenly in the way. And she walked right into it.

“Oof,” Georgia said.                                                                    

“God, I’m sorry.” The rough timbre of the voice in her ear made her neck tingle.

Georgia leapt backward, removing herself from Leo Trevi’s chest. “Sorry,” she echoed, her voice a squeak. “Didn’t, uh, watch where I was going.”

[Read the full Rookie Move excerpt...]

Wed
Aug 24 2016 9:30am

Now Win This!: Christina Dodd’s Because I’m Watching Sweepstakes

*Click here to enter for a chance to win Christina Dodd's Because I'm Watching

Because I'm Watching by Christina Dodd

Christina Dodd always keeps us on the edge of our seats, and this new installment in The Virtue Falls Series is no different! Dodd is an automatic buy for us, so we're so thrilled to give three (3) people a chance to win her latest book before it's out in print! 

Learn more about Because I'm Watching:

She had survived, but she is still held captive...
Of her memories, her loneliness, her delusions. But are they truly delusions?

The survivor of a college dorm massacre, a woman accused of her lover's murder, Madeline Hewitson is haunted by ghosts and tormented by a killer only she can see. At night, she works, writing and drawing the monster that slithers through her imagination, and living in fear of those moments when the doors of her mind unhinge and her nightmare lives in the daylight. 
  
A seasoned military veteran, Jacob Denisov lives alone in his small, darkened home, sleepless, starving, and angry. Every day he lives with the guilt that comes from his own failures and the carnage that followed. When neighbor Madeline Hewitson drives her car through the front wall of his house, she breaks his house—and his life—wide open. Forced to view the world outside, Jacob watches Maddie, recognizes a kindred spirit and wonders what she fears more than herself. Has someone caught her in a twisted labyrinth of revenge and compassion, guilt and redemption, murder and madness? 
 
When Maddie's imaginary killer takes form, she fights, screaming her fear and defiance. But will she be strong enough to triumph, or is the killer she fears no more than a shadow, an illusion ... that watches? 

[Read more...]

Wed
Aug 24 2016 8:10am

The Science of Squick?

Moist

Yesterday we shared an article that shed some light on a much talked about issue: why we hate the word moist. Scientific American published an article that delved deeply into the science of why we have certain word aversions. It was interesting that part of the aversion, proposed in this article, to the word “moist” is that it is associated with sex and so will cause some people discomfort at the thought. However, In Romancelandia, we don't have such a problem with that particular associated—in fact it's the opposite. We're fine describing, reading, and talking about sex... but throw in “moist” when describing a heroines folds and we're out!

Read the report and let us know your thoughts! In 

Tue
Aug 23 2016 4:31pm

Devilish Deals & The Science of Squick Words: 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 to have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Top Off Your TBR Pile

The Devil's Waltz by Anne Stuart

Deal Alert: Lisa Jackson's medieval historical Kiss of the Moon is on sale for $2.99 in e-book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks| etc.* Medievals aren't as plentiful as Regencies...why do think that's so?

Deal Alert: Anne Stuart's historical The Devil's Waltz is discounted to $2.99 in e-book at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | etc.* Scoundrels who have a wicked way with words are basically irresistible. 

Deal Alert: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff's Happy Pants Cafe, prequel to Tailored for Trouble, is FREE in e-book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | etc.* We did a First Look Review for Tailored for Trouble, and we've gotta say—we've got a thing for grumpy heroes.

Fresh Outta the Oven

Idris Elba: Pro kickboxer? We already knew Idris Elba could kick some serious butt, but now you can follow his path as he learns how to be a real professional kickboxer. We'll be watching the story unfold on Discovery's reality TV show Fighter in 2017. We are, as always, 100% here for sweaty, shirtless Idris Elba.

[+ The science behind squick words & more...]

Tue
Aug 23 2016 4:00pm

Ever After: The Best Fairy Tale Adaptation of All Time?

KC

 

Ever After, starring Drew Barrymore

It was the summer of 1998, and life was just simpler back then. Back then we had dignity! We had respect! We played Pokemon on our Gameboys, not our smart phones! Instead of Clinton and Trump, the names on everyone’s lips were… well, Clinton and Lewinski. We were busy watching Carrie Bradshaw and her cosmopolitan gal pals take on Manhattan in Sex in the City, instead of Hannah Horvath and her band of merry hipsters trying to fumble their way through Brooklyn on Girls. Meanwhile, some kid named Harry Potter was lying in wait, about to take the U.S. by storm.  When you lay it all out like that, it really doesn’t sound like that much has changed. At all.

However, at least one thing is still as true today as it was back then: Our unending love of fairy tales still persists. And never were we more rewarded for our dedication than we were on the day Ever After came out in theaters. Drew Barrymore, a humble brunette and dressed in somber colors, burst into our lives and turned the story of “Cinderella” on its head, and into something that we could all be proud of. It’s been 18 years and it still holds up to this day as one of the, if not THE, best fairy tale film adaptation of all time.

Ever After follows the tale of Danielle De Barbarac, who is forced into servitude by her step-mother after her father suddenly dies. Danielle, played by the luminous Drew Barrymore, is a modern-day version of the character of Cinderella, who happens to live in Renaissance-era France. The thing that Ever After does with the tale of Cinderella that makes it different from your average fairy tale adaptation is that it makes the characters real, it makes Cinderella (Danielle) into a hero in her own right, it makes the prince a person instead of an archetype, and it tells a real love story.

Here are just a few of the reasons it still holds up to this day!:

[More than just Cinderella...]

Tue
Aug 23 2016 2:00pm

Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals from Melissa Cutler and L.A. Witt!

Team H&H has fantastic, exclusive reveals for you today from authors Melissa Cutler and L.A. Witt. In Melissa Culter's One Wild Night, Skye is determined to shake a previous bad girl image in order to takeover the famly business, but one night with Gentry, a country music superstar, may lead to more than either of them bargain for. L.A. Witt's Kinky Sprinkles, Just Drive, and Afraid to Fly, offer up three sizzling romances. In Kinky Sprinkles, Joel and Andre just can't seem to stay away from one another, even though they both have hard lines they're unwilling to cross. Just Drive gives us the cutest of meet-cutes, but there are definite obstacles to overcome for Sean and Paul. And finally, Afraid to Fly holds loss, redemption, and unexpected romance for Travis and Clint.

One Wild Night by Melissa Cutler

One Wild Night by Melissa Cutler

Get ready for the ride of your life…

A cowgirl at heart, Skye Martinez has a rebellious streak she’s determined to shake. Especially since she’s poised to take the reins of her family’s business at Briscoe Ranch Resort. It’s time for her to settle down and get serious about her future…right after one last night of fun with a handsome stranger she meets in the resort’s stable. But when a midnight horseback ride turns into a red-hot weekend with one of country music’s biggest stars, Skye’s world is rocked beyond her wildest dream…

Gentry Wells rode his bad boy image all the way to the top of the country music charts. But churning out hits has dried up his creativity, and he can’t remember the last time his life was his own. Skye is a sexy distraction he can’t resist, especially since she breathes new life into his music. They bring out the wild side in each other, which is great for Gentry’s career—but a major threat to Skye’s. Too bad he’s fallen in love with her. With their hearts and futures on the line, can Gentry convince Skye to turn their joyride into a real chance to ride off into the sunset together?

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of One Wild Night by Melissa Cutler, available March 7, 2017:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

 

 

[+Three More Cover Reveals!]

Tue
Aug 23 2016 1:00pm

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Wild Embrace (August 23, 2016)

Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh
Wild Embrace (Psy/Changeling Anothology)
Berkley / August 23, 2016 / $16.00 print, $11.99 digital

The “alpha author of paranormal romance”* presents a stunningly sensual collection of four all-new Psy-Changeling novellas, in which taboos are broken, boundaries are crossed, and instincts prove irresistible...

Echo of Silence

In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander...

Dorian

A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play...

Partners in Persuasion

Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…

Flirtation of Fate

Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries...

​We're back into the Psy/Changeling world! I love the vignettes Nalini Singh sends in her newsletters, and actually, the first Psy/Changeling story I ever read was Nate and Tammy's story—also a novella—so I'm especially fond of these. Some authors do better writing longer stories, and something seems like it's missing if they try to write something shorter. Or vice versa. Not so here—Singh is equally gifted at writing stories of all lengths—she writes what fits for the characters.

I want to be clear—all of these stories can be read as a stand alone. You don't have to have read any of the previous Psy/Changeling books or stories. If you have, you'll know more about the cast of [secondary] characters. If you haven't, you'll definitely be able to figure it out, and everything necessary is laid out.​

[Read more...]

Tue
Aug 23 2016 12:03pm
Excerpt

A Scot in the Dark: Exclusive Excerpt

Sarah MacLean

A Scot in the Dark: Scandal & Scoundrel, Book II by Sarah MacLean

Lonesome Lily turned Scandalous Siren

Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn’t hesitate . . . until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin.

Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke

The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain—he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem.

Tartan Comes to Town

Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else’s problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It’s the perfect plan, until Lily declares she’ll only marry for love...and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much...

Get a sneak peek at Lisa Sarah MacLean's A Scot in the Dark (available August 30, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“Lovely” Lily Starts Season with Specious Style

At half-nine that evening, Alec stood at the foot of the main staircase, trying to avoid the gaze of the painting nearby. The bejeweled hound within appeared to see everything from her position and, as she lay in repose on her inane silk pillow, she most certainly mocked him.

[Read the full A Scot in the Dark excerpt...]

Tue
Aug 23 2016 9:30am

First Look: Alexis Hall’s Looking for Group (August 29, 2016)

Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall
Looking for Group
Riptide Publishing / August 29, 2016 / $17.99 print, $6.99 digital

Looking for Group, by Alexis Hall, is a geek’s dream. (Or at least this geek’s dream.) The story centers around two college (university, since they’re Brits) students who meet and fall in love while playing an MMO. For the uninitiated, MMO stands for Massively Multiplayer Online game. The game in question is called Heroes of Legend, a fictionalized version of World of Warcraft. The story takes place in two phases, first when Drew joins Kit’s guild (that’s a closed community of players) and they become involved, and later when Drew and Kit try to reconcile their real and virtual lives.

Drew has been in a very goal-oriented raiding guild for a long time and quits because he’s fed up with loot system. (Distribution of treasure/equipment). When he joins Kit’s more casual guild, he’s welcomed into a group of people who are… friendly. He’s not used to a social guild, so readers get some excellent dialogue as he opens up, starts making jokes, and bonds with a particularly well-dressed lady elf. After a good bit of one-on-one online hanging out and significant feels, Drew discovers that Solace (Kit) is actually male in real life and has a bit of a freak-out. With some help from Drew’s real-world friends (and time), Drew figures out that maybe he likes Kit regardless of his gender identity. It’s not as big a deal as he thought. Maybe he’s even gay. That’s not made into an issue, though. Labels need not apply.

[Read more...]

Tue
Aug 23 2016 8:23am

What Cover Trend Would You Like to See Come Back?

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinleyLater today we'll be revealing some covers that we're very excited about, but yesterday I stumbled upon a cover that got me excited too. It reminded me of old school Robin McKinley covers and I'm hoping to see more nods to the “old days” with new covers. 

What cover trend would you like to see come back? What is your favorite old school cover?

Let us know in the comments!

 

Mon
Aug 22 2016 5:32pm

Sweet Deals from Susan Donovan & Jennifer Crusie: 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 to have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Top Off Your TBR Pile

I Want Candy by Susan DonovanDeal Alert: Susan Donovan's charming real-estate-agent-meets-widower-sheriff contemporary I Want Candy is discounted to $2.99 in e-book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | etc.*

Deal Alert: Jennifer Crusie's rom-com contemporary Trust Me on This is only $1.99 in e-book at iBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | etc.*

Deal Alert: Alexadra Ivy's paranormal Born in Blood, Book 1 in the Sentinels series, is on sale for $1.99 in e-book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | etc.*

Deal Alert: Violet Duke's friends-to-lovers contemporary Jackson's Trust is marked down to $.99 in e-book at Barnes & NobleAmazon | etc.*

Deal Alert: Amanda Weaver's arranged-marriage historical A Duchess in Name is just $.99 in e-book at iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | etc.*

[Anne of Green Gables miniseries & Karen Marie Moning tease...]

Mon
Aug 22 2016 3:30pm

Love and Survival in Dark Age Wales

Between Two Fires by Mark Noce

Today we're thrilled to welcome Mark Noce (Between Two Fires) to Heroes and Heartbreakers. When fierce warriors can be found in your backyard, marriage—and love—is an important part of survival. Mark is here to talk about love and survival in the Dark Ages. Thanks, Mark!

During the Dark Ages, the Welsh people must have felt like it was end of the world. Saxon invaders harried their borders, bitter infighting ensued amongst the nobility, and plagues occasionally swept the land with devastating effect. Yet in the midst of all this potential bitterness, the resilient people of Wales showed extreme courage in defending those they loved. Much of the historical record of the time period has been forever erased due to the tumult of the times, but legends have naturally sprung up to fill the gap. One famous example are of course the Arthurian sagas, where knights and ladies battled the Saxons by day and kept their loved ones close at night, never knowing what tomorrow would bring. It must have been a difficult era to live through to say the least, but it doubtlessly added a zest to life knowing that the joys of today had best be enjoyed now for they might not be there tomorrow.

People lived for the moment and this added an almost modern sensibility to an otherwise very medieval era. For instance, St. Gildas noted how kings like Maelgwyn of North Wales was married, divorced, then fought a man in a duel so that he and the other man’s wife could marry. Whether his motives were for love or lust, this definitely wasn’t always an era of carefully planned alliances, but a time and place where people tried to find some genuine happiness in the short span of life allotted to them. Women often took matters into their own hands, seeking husbands as they sought fit, such as the Celtic queen of Dumonia whom clerics simply referred to as the ‘lioness’ due to her reputation for commanding her own fate and her subjects like a man.

[Love & loss in medieval Wales...]

Mon
Aug 22 2016 1:30pm

We Want to Be a Part of Kerrigan Byrne’s World

The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

World building is a facet of historical romance that’s often overlooked. Contextually, it’s assumed that even though what you’re reading is fictitious, it’s still happening in a past that doesn’t need much explanation because it’s grounded in something very real and researchable. It’s unlike the structure of world building in paranormal or sci-fi fiction because it’s expected to be easy to grasp.

While this is true, I’ve found through reading historical romances that there are extensive missing elements—like people of color.

It may seem like an inconsequential thing, but if you study the breadth of historical romances and put them all together as your basis of what the past could have actually been like, there’s an enormous chasm between what was and what’s on the page.  

That’s why when I found Kerrigan Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series and began to read, I was so delightfully, pleasantly, and wholly enamored with the world Byrne presented us because it actually mimicked a world full of delightful color. Through her wealth of characters, she brings a sense of completeness to the world of her historicals.

[A world full of color...]

Mon
Aug 22 2016 12:00pm
Excerpt

Dirty Little Lies: Exclusive Excerpt

Dirty Little Lies by Lora Leigh

THE HEART HAS ITS SECRETS

Zack Richards knows he’s asking for trouble. Trying to protect a member of the notorious Maddox family could get a man killed—even a battle-scarred, muscle-ripped alpha like Zack. But the woman who has captured his wildest fantasies is nothing like the rest of her power-hungry clan. She’s innocent, beautiful, and has quickly become the one shining light in his dark, desperate world. The only woman worth fighting for…and dying for...

BUT PASSION NEVER LIES

Her name is Grace Maddox—and everybody knows that she is a marked woman. Targeted for her family’s sins and hunted like a wild animal, Grace has no choice but to accept Zack’s protection. In his arms, she finally feels safe. In his eyes, she sees an insatiable desire that mirrors her own. But the truth is dangerous—and could end up tearing them apart. Will surrendering to Zack end up being the biggest mistake of Grace’s life?

Get a sneak peek at Lora Leigh's Dirty Little Lies (available August 30, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

chapter one

Annapolis, Maryland
Brigham Estate

Damn, he didn’t want to be here.

Pulling into the circular drive of the Brigham Estate, home of the Brigham Security Agency, Zack Richards fought back the coil of rage and betrayal that tensed in his gut every time he was ordered to show up.

The Brighams liked to call themselves his family; he liked to call them a pain in the ass. He would gladly have kept well away from them if only that were possible. Unfortunately, his uncle, the head of the Brigham family, had found a way to get Zack back to D.C. periodically.

[Read the full Dirty Little Lies excerpt...]

Mon
Aug 22 2016 9:30am

First Look: Lauren Layne’s For Better or Worse (August 30, 2016)

For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne
For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles, Volume 2)
Pocket Books / August 30, 2016 / $5.99 print, $2.99 digital

I think I might be one of Lauren Layne’s biggest fans. She’s an automatic buy for me regardless of the topic. I just know that I’ll love whatever she releases. For Better or Worse is a prime example. I saw the book was releasing August 30th, did a little happy dance, and added it to my to-read list.

For Better or Worse is the second in The Wedding Belles series and gives us wedding planner Heather’s happily ever after, which starts off a bit inauspicious. She moves into her dream apartment in NYC only to be woken up by her neighbor’s guitar playing at two in the morning. Not one to simper behind closed doors, she immediately knocks on said man-child’s door to provide the imminent smack-down-hello-neighbor-and shut-the-hell-up-so-I-can-sleep introduction. This goes to plan, and Heather is brilliant (my kind of gal). Except she doesn’t expect the fun she has bantering and definitely does not appreciate how disgustingly good looking said neighbor is. His nickname for her of 4C (her apartment number) isn't winning him any brownie points either.

[The Girl in 4C is a firecracker...]