<i>Uncensored Passion</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Uncensored Passion: Exclusive Excerpt Bobbi Cole Meyer "Kayla wrapped her arms around his strong neck and hugged him close." <i>Hell for Leather</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hell for Leather: Exclusive Excerpt Julie Ann Walker "Lord almighty, how he wanted to touch her there, needed to touch her there." 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."
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Showing posts by: Anna Bowling click to see Anna Bowling's profile
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?...]

Tue
Apr 1 2014 12:15pm

The cast of How I Met Your MotherThis post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for all aired episodes of How I Met Your Mother, including last night’s SERIES FINALE, “Last Forever,” Parts 1 and 2. Enjoy!

All good things come to an end, and so, after nine years, does How I Met Your Mother. Love or hate the ending, this is a finale fans are going to be talking about for quite some time.

Our final episode opens in the past, with our gang of five in their booth at MacLaren’s, only a few months after Robin moved from Canada to New York, where she doesn’t even have any friends. Yes she does have friends, Lily insists. She has them. When Robin goes to the bar to get the next round, Lily warns Barney and Ted that Robin is her new best friend, and the only way either of them are ever going to bang her is if they marry her.

We already know one of them did, and the scene flashes forward to Barney and Robin’s wedding reception. Ted locks eyes across the crowded dance floor with the band’s bass player, the eventually-to-be Mrs. Mosby. Barney calls out to her, asking if she remembers the pep talk she gave him to go get the woman he loves. He did, he declares, and Ted decides he has to leave for Chicago right away.

[Life marches on...]

Tue
Mar 25 2014 10:45am

Barney and Robin finally tie the knot!There are moments that shippers live for with a favorite couple. That initial spark. The first touch, first kiss. First intimate encounter. The proposal, and most of all, the wedding. For Barney/Robin shippers, this moment has been nine years in the making, with a buildup that has included false starts, messy breakups, grand gestures, anxious doubts, other partners, cunning schemes, and Ted’s stubborn belief that Robin is the one for him. When those wedding bells finally ring, is this special day all that fans have hoped for all this time?

As the episode opens, double best man Ted comes to bride Robin’s rescue when she fears she can’t go through with the wedding because she doesn’t have the locket she’d buried as a heartsick teen. She’d hoped Barney would somehow find it and bring it to her, but he hasn’t. Maybe that’s a sign. Ted, of course, has gone through ridiculous cross country and international lengths to retrieve the locket as a wedding present for Robin. With the locket Robin longs for burning a hole in his pocket, what’s a best man to do? In Ted’s case, the right thing. He gives the locket to Barney, because Robin needs the locket to come from Barney.

[So you've got a tough decision ahead, Ted...]

Fri
Feb 28 2014 3:05pm

Jeannie Lin
Jade Temptress
Harlequin / March 3, 2014 / $4.99 digital

Charming and seductive, Mingyu is the most sought-after hostess in the pleasure quarter. She has all men wrapped around her finger—except Constable Wu Kaifeng, the one man she can't resist, the only man to have placed her in chains.

Wu Kaifeng's outwardly intimidating demeanor hides a reluctant, fierce attraction to beautiful Mingyu. But the passionate temptation she presents threatens to destroy them both when a powerful official is murdered and they find themselves on a deadly trail. Amid the chaos, a forbidden affair could change Mingyu's fate forever, for following her heart is bound to have consequences...

In The Jade Temptress, the second book in the Lotus Palace series, Jeannie Lin takes readers back to the mysterious and absorbing world of The Pingkang Li, where decadent pleasures and decorous etiquette mask the best and worst life has to offer.

Sought-after courtesan Mingyu, whose name means “precious jade,” a pivotal supporting character in the previous novel, The Lotus Palace, gets her turn in the spotlight in The Jade Temptress, meeting her match in Wu Kaifeng, a wise and formiddable constable. Both Mingyu and Kaifeng have their reasons to discover the truth behind the death of Mingyu’s protector, General Deng. For Kaifeng, this is his job, and for Mingyu, it is her very life.

[Difficult to balance...]

Wed
Feb 26 2014 6:15pm

The cast of About a BoyThis post contains spoilers for last night’s series premiere of About a Boy.

For fans of the Nick Hornby novel or the Hugh Grant/Nicholas Hoult movie who always wanted man-child Will to find romance with Fiona, mother of child-man Marcus, the sitcom adaptation may be paving the way to make that happen in the new series About a Boy.

We first meet Will Freeman, who considers himself a free man indeed, riding a San Francisco cable car, in stark contrast to his harried-father friend who’s juggling a baby and two children. Will makes a hasty exit when he spies a beautiful woman unloading a cello from her car and greets her with a jaunty “Cello!” The woman, Dakota, doubts Will’s claim to appreciation of the cello until he rattles off a long list of his favorite cello pieces. She’d love to chat, but she’s late for a meeting.

[When Will Met Fiona?...]

Thu
Feb 20 2014 10:30am

A Wicked Pursuit by Isabella BradfordIsabella Bradford
A Wicked Pursuit (Breconridge Brothers)
Ballantine / February 25, 2014 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

As the eldest son of the Duke of Breconridge, Harry Fitzroy is duty-bound to marry—and marry well. Giving up his rakish ways for the pleasures of a bride’s bed becomes a delightful prospect when Harry chooses beautiful Lady Julia Barclay, the catch of the season. But a fall from his horse puts a serious crimp in his plans. Abandoned by Julia before he can propose, the unlucky bachelor finds himself trapped in the country in the care of Julia’s younger sister.

Harry has never met a woman like Lady Augusta. Utterly without artifice, Gus is clever and capable, and seems to care not a fig for society. After a taboo kiss awakens passion that takes them both by surprise, Harry realizes he’d almost given his heart to the wrong sister. While London tongues wag, he’ll use his most seductive powers of persuasion to convince the reluctant Gus that she belongs with him—as his equal, his love, his wife.

Harry Fitzroy, eldest son of the Duke of Breconridge, spends most of Isabella Bradford's A Wicked Pursuit in bed, in the company of an unexpectedly enticing young woman, but not in the way one might originally suspect. Though he originally intends to eschew his rakish ways in favor of marriage to the beautiful and sought-after Julia Barclay, he’s thrown for a loop—and from his horse—before he gets a chance to propose. Though Julia makes a quick exit upon Harry’s injury, it’s her sister, Lady Augusta, more familiarly known as Gus, who takes Harry in hand, and to heart.

[Can't miss a good hurt/comfort read!...]

Fri
Feb 7 2014 11:34am

Sheldon and Amy in The Big Bang Theory 7x15This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of The Big Bang Theory, including last night’s 7x15, “The Locomotion Manipulation.” Enjoy!

It’s February, and that can only mean one thing for Sheldon and Amy: the annual state of the relationship summit. Sheldon has yet to find an acceptable nickname for Amy, and there’s still the matter of Valentine’s Day. Amy plans for them to spend the big day at a bed and breakfast in Napa Valley, but Sheldon hates every word of that sentence, including “in, at, we and a.” Point Sheldon? Nope, Amy’s already got this covered.

Howard and Bernadette will be going with them, so they won’t have to eat with strangers. Sheldon can have his own room so people won’t talk about him sharing with Amy, and one without a claw footed tub, so he won’t feel like he’s bathing in a monster. Even so, how will that be fun? It’s a point for Amy here, because she has an ace in the hole. They’ll be dining en route on an authentic vintage train.

[Step one: Make him think it's his idea...]

Tue
Jan 28 2014 12:48pm

The Mother in How I Met Your Mother Season 9, episode 16, How Your Mother Met MeThis post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of How I Met Your Mother, including last night’s 9x16, “How Your Mother Met Me.” Enjoy!

We still don’t know the name of the future Mrs. Ted Mosby, but we do learn a lot more about her in How I Met Your Mother’s two hundredth episode, “How Your Mother Met Me.” While it may not be possible to cover nine years of story in thirty minutes, this episode hits some important turning points from Mrs. Mosby’s point of view, adding depth to moments we’ve already experienced and setting the stage for what is still to come. With loads of callbacks, close calls and counterpoints, there’s a lot of ground to cover, and it starts with the other MacLaren’s…

[So many almost meet-cutes!...]

Wed
Jan 22 2014 1:30pm

NIck and Jess Celebrate Jess's birthdayThis post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of New Girl, including last night’s 3x13, “Birthday.” Enjoy!

Jess downs a horrible birthday eve cocktail, served by world’s worst bartender, CeCe, while assuring her girlfriends that she’s not going to get her hopes up for a special birthday celebration now that she’s with Nick. She’s always spent her birthdays at the movies, by herself, so she can’t be disappointed when her unrealistically high birthday hopes are inevitably dashed. Nick asked her to spend the day with him, and she’s fine with whatever he has planned, or not planned. She’s chill, low-maintenance, even no-maintenance. Nice try, Jess, but we don’t believe you for a second, and neither do your friends, which is where the fun begins.

CeCe heads back to the bar to assure Nick and company that Jess doesn’t suspect a thing. This fits in with Nick’s meticulous plans. It’s taken everything out of him, mentally, financially, and he’s got everything covered for the party to end all parties. CeCe will cover his shift at the bar, even though their boss has seen her set soda water on fire. Winston is on cake, Coach has decorations in the bag and Schmidt is in charge of transporting all electronics to the party venue. Nick has covered everything, except, as Schmidt points out, how to occupy Jess for the twelve hours prior to the start of the actual party.

[That's a smidge of an oversight, Nick...]

Fri
Jan 3 2014 1:40pm

Penny and Leonard in The Big Bang TheoryThis post contains spoilers for all aired episodes of The Big Bang Theory, including last night’s 7x12, “The Hesitation Ramification."

After nearly a decade of going to auditions and working at the Cheesecake Factory, Penny has finally nabbed a guest spot on NCIS. She’ll be playing a customer in a diner, flirting with Mark Harmon. Leonard’s not too sure about sharing his girlfriend with a TV hunk, but he’s happy for her success. With a role on a hit show and the support of her loving boyfriend, Penny should be living the dream, but when her scene gets cut, it’s time to reconsider.

Leonard immediately offers his sympathy, but Penny’s hit hard. She thought she’d done a pretty good job. Explaining the cut scene to her father, who had hosted a family gathering to watch the episode, takes a lot out of her. This was supposed to be her big break, leading to more auditions, more roles, breaking out of her struggle and finding success at last. Leonard tries to minimize the damage by pointing out that with only three lines in this episode, this one appearance wasn’t going to do all that.

[Nice try, but no, Leonard...]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 5:00pm

Written in Red by Anne BishopMay old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with four days of the Best of 2013. We asked our bloggers for their favorite books of 2013, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2013. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers you hopefully get for Christmas!

Check back every other weekday between now and Christmas for all of the blogger recommendations! See the recommendations for Day 1Day 3, and Day 4.

Sahara Hoshi:

Anne Bishop's Written in Red
Cranky wolf shifter meets fun and adorable magically gifted heroine, what's not to love?

Nalini Singh's Heart of Obsidian
The heroine has an amazing name and the hero isn't too shabby either.

Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl
For every time you squeed or sighed over something and nobody understood you, finally there's a book for it.

[Who's next!]

Thu
Dec 19 2013 5:30pm

If Wishes Were Horses by Elizabeth BoyleElizabeth Boyle
If Wishes Were Earls
Avon / December 31, 2013 / $5.99 print, $4.99 digital

Harriet Hathaway has only ever wanted one man: the Earl of Roxley. After a passionate interlude at a house party, Harriet is convinced Roxley will do the right thing and propose. But when she returns to London, she finds the roguish earl on the verge of proposing to another.

Yet Harriet refuses to believe that her hopes of a happily-ever-after are completely lost—for she can see the desire still flickering in the earl’s eyes when he looks at her from across the dance floor. And when they are alone . . . there is one wish neither can deny.

The Earl of Roxley is in a dangerous fix—and to keep Harriet safe, he must hold her at arm’s length. He won’t entangle her in the murderous mystery that is threatening to destroy his family and his future. But keeping Harriet Hathaway out of his troubles proves as impossible as it is to keep the determined beauty from stealing his heart.

Elizabeth Boyle’s third Rhymes With Love entry, If Wishes Were Earls, brings the love story of Harriet and Roxley to full fruition, a treat for series fans and new arrivals alike. As we join our heroes, the Kempton curse has been broken, with both of Harriet’s best friends, Daphne and Tabitha, making love matches. Kempton women no longer need to fear a lifetime of spinsterhood, which should be great news for Harriet, who’s had Roxley in her sights for years. Only there’s one snag. Roxley’s famed luck has utterly deserted him, leaving him at desperate straits to support his beloved maiden aunts. When a suitable miss with a suitable dowry conveniently appears, Roxley has some hard decisions to make, but can he even think of making them without Harriet?

[Big obstacles make the payoff all the sweeter, right?...]

Wed
Dec 11 2013 5:37pm

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. AndrewsFlowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews is not a romance novel. It’s horror. Let’s get that straight right away. Still, it’s an influential book for many romance readers.

Here’s the plot: Chris, Cathy, Cory and Carrie Dollenganger start out as part of the perfect family. So blond and lovely are these charmed four and their picture-perfect parents, Corrine and Christopher, Senior, that they acquire a collective nickname, the Dresden Dollengangers. They’re living the suburban dream until Christopher Senior perishes in a tragic auto accident on his birthday. Older kids Chris and Cathy soon learn that their perfect life was all an illusion, and the family is deep in debt. Not only does Corrine have to sell off most of their possessions to satisfy creditors, but the family must leave their home and go begging to Corrinne’s wealthy parents. So far, this could work in a romance, providing tragic background material for four future heroes and heroines (five, if mom Corrine gets her own romance in a companion novella) but things soon take a very different turn.

[Dun dun DUN...]

Tue
Dec 10 2013 1:00pm

Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan

Kristen Callihan
Shadowdance
Forever / December 17, 2013 / $8.00 print / $7.59 digital

Once a heart is lost in shadow . . .

Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she's been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case-and the last thing he relishes is a partner.

Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.

Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years.
He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights-even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack's dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past . . . or risk losing Mary forever.

With a series title like Darkest London, there’s a promise that, along with a deeply emotional romance, there will be supernatural derring-do, exquisite worldbuilding and layers upon layers of intrigue. In Shadowdance, Kristen Callihan most definitely delivers. Longtime fans of the series finally get to see the enigmatic Jack Talent take his turn as hero, and Mary Chase, bless her clockwork heart, is more than up for the job of heroine. When two people are absolutely perfect for each other, it makes for a romance like no other. The course of true love, especially the supernatural variety, never does run smooth, so while the happily ever after is guaranteed, the way Jack and Mary get there is full of surprises.

[And who doesn't like a nice surprise?]

Thu
Nov 14 2013 11:20am

Morgan and Garcia in Season 9, Episode 8Criminal Minds shippers, we have to talk. We’ve seen a lot of scary things on this show: wind chimes made from human bones, the killer who kept a giant room full of his victims’ shoes, some of Reid’s more questionable haircuts, but Derek Morgan with a girlfriend who is not Penelope Garcia? That’s right up there. Granted, this show isn’t about the personal lives of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, but those relationships are an integral part of the characters who do this important job, and we’ve seen precious little of Morgan’s social life off the job to date, pardon the pun. Still, Morcia shippers are strong, and when the powers that be drop something big on this power couple, there are going to be repercussions.

The actual screen time isn’t that much. Only two scenes at beginning and end of the show, with one Morgan/Garcia scene in between. The episode begins with a shirtless Derek Morgan waking to find that his companion of the evening, a lovely lady named Savannah, has been called to work and she has to go now. Observant fans will notice that this mirrors the season premiere, where Morgan himself bailed out on a date to answer the call to duty. In Savannah’s case, there’s no room for argument. She’s a doctor, there’s a six car pileup and she’s needed at the hospital ASAP. She leaves a befuddled Morgan alone in her abode, charged with the duty of walking her pug while she goes off to save lives.

[Leaving Morgan holding the pug...]

Fri
Nov 8 2013 11:47am

Alice and the Knave aka Will in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode 4**This post contains spoilers for all aired episodes of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, including last night’s episode, 1x04, “The Serpent.”**

In Agrabah, many years ago, a blacksmith berates a young, ragged boy for not finding any coal. It's another night without food for young Jafar. Jafar spies the beautiful sorceress, Amara, and cannot look away. Later that night, Jafar seeks  Amara out, asking her to teach him dark magic. He wants revenge on his father, the sultan, who abandoned him as a bastard. This explains a lot, but how does this wounded boy grow up into someone so slickly evil? Watch and learn.

Grown up Jafar learns the Red Queen brought Knave to Wonderland because she needed someone Alice trusted. Knave was that, and now his service is done. Jafar wants Knave removed from the playing field.

Red Queen’s collectors chase Alice and Knave through the forest. Alice clutches her wishes, vowing that she will be with Cyrus soon.

In prison, Cyrus begs his guard for food. Guard throws him a bone; see if he can find a morsel left on that. Ah, but it wasn’t the food Cyrus wanted. It was the wishbone. Is he going to wish himself out of jail?, another prisoner asks. Something like that.

[Free yourself, Cyrus...]

Tue
Oct 22 2013 10:34am

Booth and Bones say I Do in Bones 9x06

 

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Bones, including last night's Season 9, episode 6, “The Woman in White.”

After everything that Booth and Bones have been through on the long and winding road to their happily ever after, surely they deserve a smooth walk down the aisle. Unfortunately, that’s not what they get. There’s a bag of dirty money from the father of the bride, and a touching father-in-law/son-in-law moment turns into a torching moment when the candle Booth and Max light in honor of Bones’s late mother may have possibly had something to do with the church burning down. There is, of course, a murder requiring the entire squint squadron to band together, even as they squabble over the lack of invitations, and that’s only the beginning. Lest any viewer despair, this is Bones, where true love rules.

[Finally, after all this time...]

Fri
Oct 18 2013 10:26am

Sebastian (Bash), Mary, and Francis in ReignWhere many heroines on teenage dramas dream of being prom queen, Mary, heroine of the new fantasy historical drama, Reign, already is queen. Of Scotland, to be exact, and, if she plays her cards right, of France as well. Think you know the story from the history books already? Well, maybe, and maybe not.

With strapless gowns, ladies in waiting named Lola and Aylee, spooky doings in the woods and a mysterious voice warning young Mary not to drink a fateful cup of wine, Reign makes it clear from the get-go that historical accuracy is not the star of the show. Yes, the real life Mary was betrothed to and did marry the Dauphin Francis, later King Francis II of France, but politics aren’t the star of the show here, either. Well, sometimes, according to Francis, but that’s for later.

[Now back to the romance...]

Wed
Oct 16 2013 11:00am

A Voice in the Wind by Francine RiversIn the days of our ancestors, when historical romance as we know it was a brash young genre, ancient world romances freely roamed the bookstore shelves. Authors wrote tales of love set before the age of knights and ladies, and readers read them.

Over time, these settings fell out of use. “Too barbaric,” cried some, and they had a point. In an age when legends tell of mothers bidding their sons to come home with their shields or on them, things could indeed get bloody for Spartan heroes and perhaps too bloody for some readers. “Too inaccessible,” said others, preferring their stories set in times closer to our own. For many years, most historical romances did not employ more ancient settings, and for readers and writers whose imaginations play most happily in the distant past, those were dark ages indeed.

Then, on the horizon of a new age, a new, electronic sun rose, shining light once again on the pageantry, danger, and adventure of earlier ages. Readers and writers who craved these stories looked up and called it good. Inspirational publishers smiled. “Yes,” they said, “we knew this all along.” Stories like Francine Rivers’s A Voice in the Wind have been mainstays of the inspirational genre from the start, but those are only the beginning. Inspirational is only one flavor of ancient world romance.

[Let's jump right in...]

Tue
Oct 8 2013 4:18pm

Seeley Booth and Temperance Brennan in Bones Season 9This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Bones, including last night's Season 9, episode 4, “The Sense in the Sacrifice.”

Ubervillain Christopher Pelant has done some dirty deeds in his time on Bones, from killing innocent people forcing the ever-honorable Booth to break off his engagement to Bones, no explanation allowed. Now, as his twisted scheming reaches its endgame, Booth and Bones have a personal stake at bringing him down and claiming their happily ever after.

Any romance fan knows event he worst villain can’t keep a good couple down, and Booth and Bones’ unwavering faith in each other has carried them through some major strikes. Now, with a Pelant copycat killer on the loose, Pelant himself offering to help bring her down, and Booth’s friend, Flynn, used to push Booth over the edge, they’re going to need each other more than ever. Sweets, though currently on leave, has a theory that Pelant is doing this all for love; everything Pelant is doing is meant to make Bones change her mind about him, the same way she did with Booth. Pelant’s plan is to replace Booth in Bones’ life.

[Good luck with that, buddy...]