<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 18, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Blue-Eyed Devils
Team H & H
April 18, 2014
Ruthless Ladies in Fiction
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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
Showing posts by: Chelsea Mueller click to see Chelsea Mueller's profile
Thu
Mar 13 2014 9:30am

Beyond Jealousy by Kit RochaKit Rocha
Beyond Jealousy (Beyond #4)
March 17, 2014 / $4.99 digital / $16 print

When Rachel Riley sacrificed a life in Eden to protect the O’Kanes, she earned her place in the powerful Sector Four gang. But the former crime princess is tired of being everyone’s sweet little siste . It’s time for her to get wild, to embrace her fantasies as only an O’Kane can—with a delicious exiled soldier and the gang’s wickedly sinful tattoo artist.

Lorenzo Cruz is a warrior, taught by his commanding officers in Eden that involvement equals distraction. Emotion is a liability, and desire a sin. In Sector Four, he finds decadence, shameless sex—and his own dark urges. No battle strategy prepared him for how Rachel makes his heart race…or the way his rival for her affections sets his blood on fire.

Ace Santana has a dirty reputation and a mind to match, especially where his new lovers are concerned. He’s eager to help Cruz embrace his dominant side, and to explore the lines between pleasure and pain with Rachel. But corrupting them quickly becomes an obsession, a need he can’t deny—and a love he never imagined.

Three hearts on the line means a hundred ways their ménage a trois could go wrong. After all, even O’Kanes do forever two-by-two. One of them could be the missing piece that makes them all whole…or a temporary diversion destined for a broken heart.

We’ve fallen hard for the folks who run Sector Four. Kit Rocha’s Beyond series has brought us gritty fighting, dirtier sex and a whole lot of underdogs to root for. Beyond Jealousy does a little more by bringing together the backing of the underdog and the dirty sex.

Ace has been in every Beyond book. He’s the smooth-talking tattoo artist. He’s soulful and has a filthy mouth. He’s serious about his art and causal about his kinks.

[And boy do we love those kinks...]

Fri
Feb 21 2014 10:30am

Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

We’ve talked quite a bit about Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels here at Heroes & Heartbreakers. We’re now getting tastes of the upcoming film, and it’s fueling a need for more billionaires and BDSM.

We’ve got your needs covered. We’ve found five top-notch erotic romance titles that will fill that Fifty Shades shaped void in your e-reader.

1. Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

McKenna is a master of writing emotional, boundary-pushing erotic romance. Willing Victim brings the BDSM factor, but it’s on this list for another reason. If what you really connected with in Fifty Shades was the emotional challenges Ana and Christian overcome, as well as the way they needed to not assume, Willing Victim will push your buttons. The romance is edgy, but the hero builds in a figurative safety net.

2. Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair

Want to read a novel that deals with BDSM in a way that’s sexy, emotional and—gasp—realistic? Sinclair’s Masters of the Shadowlands series promises extreme heat with complex heroines and heroes who make even aftercare sexy.

[Definitely hard to imagine...]

Mon
Jan 27 2014 5:30pm

Up From the Grave by Jeaniene FrostJeaniene Frost
Up From the Grave
Avon / January 28, 2014 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband Bones.  They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war...

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights.  Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death...because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences.  And if they fail, their lives—and those of everyone they hold dear— will be hovering on the edge of the grave.

Cat and Bones have been through a lot in the seven Night Huntress novels from Jeaniene Frost. Now, here we are at the final book, Up From the Grave, and readers had to wonder if they could say good-bye to these two. Hell, would we really be leaving the same characters we’ve fallen in love with?

Yes. Unequivocally yes.

This book, you guys. This book. We’ve seen so many series end on a whimper, but can you honestly see Cat and Bones doing anything half-assed? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

[Warning: Awesomeness ahead...]

Tue
Jan 7 2014 3:15pm

Greyston Holt as Clay on BittenJanuary means new beginnings, resolutions and the end of re-runs on television. Specifically, it’s the month SyFy starts bringing back many of our favorite shows. The network has found its niche of giving us edgy supernatural shows with depth, and we can’t get enough. Better yet, they’re bringing two new shows to the small screen this month that look stellar.

And while, of course, we love the strong character arcs and the clever plots on shows like Lost Girl and Being Human… well, we like the—ahem—visual stimulation, too.

We’re about to get supernaturally prurient on you. It’s time to delve into the Top 5 SyFy Man-Candy Morsels for 2014.

1. Greyston Holt as Clay on Bitten

We might be biased when it comes to Bitten. If you’re not familiar, the new SyFy show is based on the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. (Well, the first novel, also called Bitten.) The adaptation of this ass-kicking, werewolf series looks stellar from what we’ve seen.

[More sexy werewolves always wanted...]

Mon
Jan 6 2014 12:30pm

The Professional, Part 2 by Kresley ColeEven those of us at Heroes and Heartbreakers who aren’t a fan of serials found ourselves sucked into the Russian mafia romance in the first installement of Kresley Cole’s The Professional serial. Our roundtable read of the first segment had mixed results, but those who worried the book would be too much of “do whatever the hot Russian says” and not enough relationship will be very pleased with Part 2.

As expected, the second installment picks up immediately from the end of Part 1. And can I get a THANK YOU for that? We cut off right before things were about to get naked and sweaty in a sauna. (Psst! They do!) Natalie is still trying to hold out on the no sex thing after her father’s revelation that if she and the Siberian hook up it’s a permanent deal.

That means things get complicated. Aleksandr Sevastyan wants his Natalie. He wants her badly and completely. As the story progresses in this second part, he thinks it’s a done deal. Natalie is his, and sex and gifts should be enough.

[But are they?...]

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!]

Sun
Dec 8 2013 1:40pm

Sierra Dean
Chasing Kings

Samhain / December 17, 2013 / $4.50 digital

Samantha Hart wishes things would stop happening in Vegas when a case of mistaken identity lands her in the Hard Rock’s racy Provocateur suite—an S&M wet dream that’s occupied by an honest-to-God porn star. Ethan Silver’s reputation should put her off, but his naughty charm and wicked-sweet smile have her agreeing to a night on the town. Then wishing for a night in, as well.

Ethan knew the instant he stepped through the door that this wasn’t the Samantha Hart he was almost desperate to see. Yet he can’t help it. He wants to ease the blushing bookseller out of her shell and show her a good time…and not just in the bedroom.

As a hot night on the Strip turns into a hotter night at the hotel, Ethan begins to prove there’s a good guy under his bad-boy façade. There’s a loan shark hot on his tail, though, and only Sam can help keep his movie-star face intact. But telling her the truth could cost him something he needs more than money. Her love.

Sierra Dean's Chasing Kings explores expectations—both their effects on us and what can come when we let them go.

While everyone keeps calling this novella “the porn star one,” it’s more than that. (Though Sierra Dean does give James Deen a little shout-out in the acknowledgments.…) If you go into Chasing Kings expecting a porn-star hero, you’ll absolutely get that, but along with it, Dean provides romance, including put-you-on-your-toes kisses.

[So you get sugar and spice...]

Wed
Nov 20 2013 6:06pm

Felicity and Oliver in Arrow Season 2This season of Arrow is blowing the first one away. The first outing with Oliver Queen as the playboy cum vigilante of Starling City had him not letting anyone in, trying to rekindle a relationship with his ex Laurel and simultaneously set her up with his best friend. He was a man who didn’t know what he wanted.

This season, the show’s writers have found their path. They’ve given every character on the show much more depth and we’re seeing that character development make for much more interesting relationship dynamics. While we could get into the bromance with Ollie and Digg (and probably just include a slideshow featuring photos of the two working out), we’re 'shippers here at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

You see, I’m not the only one noticing Ollie’s depth this season. We’re seeing him grow, change and become someone worthy of the title of hero.

Felicity Smoak is brilliant. She’s the IT genius behind all the tech wonder we see on Arrow and basically Ollie’s backbone. She’s smart and funny and, oh, she wants to be with Oliver something fierce.

[And who are we to deny the pull of Olicity?...]

Thu
Oct 31 2013 2:45pm

Teen Wolf castBook crack is a well-established theme here at Heroes and Heartbreakers. We’ve talked about what makes a book cracktastic—as in OMG I can’t put it down, but I probably should. Those books that aren’t perfect, that are highly campy, the ones that have crazy plots and even more outlandish characters, and the ones we devour at maddening paces.

Turns out this doesn’t apply just to books. Oh, no! There’s a reason we include a “WTFery” category in our True Blood recaps.

I thought it was a one-time thing, but recently a friend warned me not to watch the MTV show Teen Wolf. As I’m out of the demographic for MTV, I thought it was odd she was warning me away. Turns out, she knew I’d be addicted. The first two seasons are available on Netflix, and one rainy afternoon, I decided to try an episode. A harmless curiousity would be sated, right?

Wrong.

Teen Wolf may be the most cracktastic TV show I’ve ever watched. The guys are shirtless every episode. Now, at first I worried this wouldn’t work for me. They’re young, after all. Oh, but there are dads and an adult werewolf named Derek, who mentors main character Scott on and off.

[Bring on the shirtless werewolves and vampires...]

Mon
Oct 21 2013 9:45am

We’ve talked about the essentials for romance novels in general and the quintessential regency books, so it’s about time we talked about the vampires, demons and shifter that make paranormal romance.

This is not my list of the all-time best paranormal romances. These ten titles are the ones that have had significant influence on the subgenre and the ones every paranormal fan has read—whether they loved it or hated it—they’re where our tropes come from and often epitomize what we expect from our paranormal love stories.

10. Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

Why? Dark vs. Light. Apart the hero and heroine are broken, but together they are able to come alive.

9. Bite Me If You Can by Lynsay Sands

Why? Lynsay Sands injects the fun in her paranormal romance. Bite Me If You Can has the pairing of a newbie vampire and a much older Argeneau vamp. He’s grumpy. She’s independent. The journey is, of course, sexy, but also peppered with humor.

[+8 more essential reads...]

Sun
Sep 29 2013 2:00pm

Drawn Together by Lauren DaneLauren Dane
Drawn Together (Brown Siblings #6)
Penguin / October 1, 2013 / $15 print, $7.99 digital

Beauty is more than skin-deep…

Tattoo artist Raven Smith is blunt and hard, broken and jaded, dark and beautiful. While she doesn’t hide her painful past, she does keep a wall around her heart. She’s free sexually—but no one gets to the real Raven beneath the prickly exterior.

With a voice like smoke, Jonah Warner is a smooth-talking, highly successful attorney, with a body that should never be hidden by a suit. He’s the kind of man who never takes no for an answer and always gets what he wants. And what he wants is Raven. She’s a survivor, and he finds that incredibly alluring.

Jonah gets under her skin in a way Raven has never experienced. He makes her break all her rules—including her no-monogamy rule.

But when a figure from Raven’s past shows up at the tattoo parlor and drops a bomb into her life, their relationship will face the ultimate challenge…

One thing you can always count on in a book from Lauren Dane is organic relationships. The way characters interact in her novels are genuine and rich and normal.

There’s no manufactured angst here, but the organic process of people learning about each other, learning how to make their lives mesh, learning to accept new people into their worlds.

[Let's get real...]

Wed
Sep 25 2013 9:30am

Endless Knight by Kresley ColeKresley Cole
Endless Knight (Arcana Chronicles #2)
Simon Teen / Oct. 1, 2013 / $18.99 print, $6.49 digital

In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed.

Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history - one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she's been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.

Kresley Cole is the queen of manipulating my emotions. It’s really for the best that we don’t date. Endless Knight wrapped me around its little finger and I fell to its every whim. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

This second book in Cole’s young adult Arcana Chronicles series picks up immediately where Poison Princess ended. Jack now knows what Evie is, and she’s just truly come into her powers. She can be lethal and they both need to come to terms with that.

[Every hero should be the tiniest bit afraid of his heroine, right?...]

Wed
Sep 4 2013 11:00am

Sookie and Alcide in True Blood 6x10We survived another season of the madcap supernaturals-in-the-South series True Blood. There was a time when I proclaimed if the show didn’t provide certain things I’d call it quits (mostly those requests were about Sookie and Eric having a real romance in Season 4).

I make similar proclamations each year and every June I’m sucked back into the world of Sookie Stackhouse. This year, though, the season stretched from its source material—the novels penned by Charlaine Harris. While I’m a big fan of the books, this mostly made the season better.

Instead of trying to meet reader expectations, the show did its best to do justice to the characters. True Blood’s season 6 was still full of WTFery, but it didn’t spiral into “what were they thinking” territory until the very last episode.

Let’s talk about what worked (naked Alexander Skarsgard!), what didn’t (ASkars on fire!) and what may come in what was just announced will be True Blood’s final season.

[Now for a look at The Good and The Bad...]

Wed
Aug 21 2013 2:30pm

Beyond Pain by Kit RochaKit Rocha
Beyond Pain (Beyond #3)
August 26, 2013 / $4.99 digital / $16 print

A woman with no future…

Live fast, die young–anything else is a fantasy for Six. She’s endured the worst the sectors had to throw at her, but falling in with Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang lands her in a whole new world of danger. They’re completely open about everything, including their sexuality–but she hasn’t survived this long by making herself vulnerable. Especially not to men as dominant as Brendan Donnelly.

A man without a past…

Bren is a killer, trained in Eden and thrown to the sectors. His one outlet is pain, in the cage and in the bedroom, and emotion is a luxury he can’t afford–until he meets Six. Protecting her soothes him, but it isn’t enough. Her hunger for touch sparks a journey of erotic discovery where anything goes–voyeurism, flogging, rough sex. He has only one rule: he won’t share her.

In Bren’s arms, Six is finally free to let go. But his obsession with the man who made him a monster could destroy the fragile connection they’ve forged, and cost him the one thing that makes him feel human–her love.

The writing team known as Kit Rocha has outdone themselves with Beyond Pain. The third book in the duo’s dystopian erotic romance series goes for emotionally charged sex scenes in lieu of the multiple partners scenarios from previous books and managed to create something even steamier.

[Steamier, you say?...]

Mon
Aug 12 2013 10:38am

Eric and Steve Newlin in True Blood 6x09, Life MattersEverything is edging toward an epic finale for True Blood’s Season 6. Last week we started to see the big picture set in motion. Vampires—including Pam, Tara, Jessica and the delicious James—are in the room Bill saw in his vision. Will they meet the sun? Sookie finally agreed to help Bill with Warlow, but when they returned to the fae realm Eric had already found the half fae/half vampire and fed from him.

Will Eric be able to save Pam, Willa and the others? Will he take vengeance on Sarah Newlin (please!)? Will Warlow recover and help?

It’s the next to the last episode of the season. (Missed an episode? We've got your fix right here: Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x016x02, 6x036x046x056x066x07, and 6x08.) Read on for the recap of Season 6's episode 9, “Life Matters.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Sookie calls off her deal with Bill. Warlow needs all the blood he has left. In a general weird moment, Sookie bites her own wrist to feed Warlow. Can we all agree that’s not normal? She doesn’t have fangs. I would bet that woman has a safety pin on her or something.

[This is Sookie Stackhouse we're talking about here...]

Wed
Jul 31 2013 9:30am

The Fiery Heart by Richelle MeadIf you’re a regular reader here at Heroes and Heartbreakers, you may know I 'shipped Rose and Dimitri in Richelle Mead’s highly successful Vampire Academy series, which is about to be a movie(!).

In that series we met Adrian Ivashkov. He was a little old to be hanging around high schoolers without, you know, a reason. He was that charming older guy who somehow always had booze.

He was hot and a bad influence.

Things change, though. People change. They grow. I can bravely say, several books and a spinoff series later, that the Adrian Ivashkov I read about in Mead’s Bloodlines series is boyfriend material.

1. He’s someone who wants to be a better person.

I’m not saying the man doesn’t have faults. Adrian has used alcohol as a coping mechanism for the side effects of his Spirit abilities (the good kind of vampires in Mead’s world wield magic, too—earth, air, fire, water or spirit). He wants to be better, though. Meeting Sydney, the heroine of the Bloodlines books, is enough to make him want to better himself.

I’m not just talking about quitting drinking. Though, Sydney would really like that. She worries. He wants to be someone worthy of her love. This isn’t about changing who he is, but him choosing to make better life decisions in the name of love. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and Adrian can be a man of action.

[What else draws you in?...]

Mon
Jul 29 2013 11:35am

Sookie and Arlene in True Blood Season 6, episode 7Last week we saw Sookie (maybe?) flip her view about Warlow and take him off to the land of the Fae. Sam gave Emma to her grandmother, which didn’t seem to be enough for Alcide, who is still in crazy packmaster mode. Eric, Nora and Willa are working on escaping from Vamp Camp. Pam, Tara and Jessica are still surviving, but for how long? And we finally discovered the plan for that local Tru Blood plant.

Missed an episode? We've got your fix right here: Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x016x02, 6x036x046x05, and 6x06. And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x07, “In the Evening”:

****SPOILERS****

It’s confirmed: They are shipping Tru Blood contaminated with Hep-V to stores, and—not surprisingly—will be giving it to those locked away in Vamp Camp, too. Willa goes back in to warn Pam while Eric escapes with Nora.

Pam’s starting to think a little more of her new sister—probably because she’s toting a severed arm around Vamp Camp—but advises her to keep the details of the Hep-V to just their inner circle.

[Leave it to Pam...]

Mon
Jul 15 2013 10:24am

Ben and Sookie in True Blood 6x05****SPOILERS****

On last week’s True Blood we saw Alcide sink deeper into the hole of Packmaster bad decisions and were stunned when Sookie took action at the end. We’re all worried about the fates of 1, 2, 3 and 4—Andy’s girls—and what Bill might do to Jessica after the fact.

Faerie lives are in danger. We may have spotted Warlow. Will the shifters come out of the proverbial closet? Will Willa end up back at her maker’s side?

Missed an episode? Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x016x02, 6x03, and 6x04. And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x05, “Fuck the Pain Away”:

HIGHLIGHTS
Before we get into this too far, does anyone else see the “strong sexual content” and “nudity” advisories as show teasers? Because I swear I start trying to guess if it’s going to be Sookie shacking up or a mass werewolf strip-down the second those “warnings” pop up on the screen.

The episode picks up where our last one ended: Sookie calling out Ben as Warlow even with her legs wrapped around the good-looking guy. Ben admits to being Warlow, but also professes his love for Sookie, says they’re destined to be together. Sook isn’t buying it. We continue to see her take control of her life as she calls out the obvious question: “Then why did you kill my parents?”

[Love means never having to say “I'm sorry I killed your parents”?...]

Mon
Jul 1 2013 10:51am

True Blood's Jessica****SPOILERS****

Things have changed so much in just two episodes of True Blood, it’s hard to guess where this third episode will take us. Last week we met a new half-faerie guy (hot!), Eric put Governor Burrell on notice (nerdy Northman!), Alcide was acting out of character (packmaster influence?), we met Sookie and Jason’s faerie grandfather (Niall!) and Bill communed with Lilith (clothed for the first time ever!).

Need to catch up with what's been going on in Bon Temps? Check out last H&H's recaps of True Blood episode 6x01 and episode 6x02.

And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x03, “You're No Good”:

HIGHLIGHTS

Eric was ready to bite the governor’s daughter in a very private place—with the intention of killing her thusly—but stops when she offers up information on the vampire experiments. He takes her just before the SWAT team arrives. I do believe that counts as Eric’s “Game on, Governor.”

Bill is now seeing the future and says he has seen all vampires burn. He wants to save them; he has to save them.

[Bill to the rescue???...]

Wed
Jun 26 2013 9:30am

Bookmarked page image courtesy of flossyflotsam via Flickr Creative CommonsI recently devoured Tessa Bailey’s His Risk to Take. It was a romance with a lot of buzz from Heroes and Heartbreakers bloggers and readers alike. I tore through that book like there was no tomorrow. I even found myself falling for the hero Troy and mentally urging the heroine Ruby to quit being difficult and just love him. That’s all great. Totally normal reaction to a romance, right? We should want them to be together.

Here’s the thing: As the afterglow of book consumption faded, I wondered what on Earth was wrong with me. I shouldn’t have found the things Troy did sexy. I shouldn’t have been happy about it. He’s overbearing and bossy. But through the magic of Bailey’s writing I understood and even appreciated his incredibly overprotective actions.

While I certainly credit Bailey for giving enough of Troy’s point of view for me to understand why he sought control—his goals are always about her safety, and he does have reasons to believe she’s in danger—I think there’s more to it than that. I think we, as readers, can fall for characters who behave in ways we’d never accept in real life.

[What's the appeal of fiction vs. real life?...]