<i>Target Engaged</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Target Engaged: Exclusive Excerpt M.L. Buchman "She shouldn’t be attached, but she was…" <i>For Love or Magic</i>: Exclusive Excerpt For Love or Magic: Exclusive Excerpt Lucy March "Has her heart fallen under some sort of spell?" <i>Forever His Texas Bride</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Forever His Texas Bride: Exclusive Excerpt Linda Broday "With a low moan, she slid her hand around his neck, drawing him closer." <i>Make Me Stay</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Make Me Stay: Exclusive Excerpt Jaci Burton "She wants a real, permanent, forever kind of love."
From The Blog
November 21, 2015
Gothic Romance Movie Night: 3 Classics
Lauren Smith
November 20, 2015
Love for Bibliophiles in Whispers in the Reading Room
Maggie Boyd
November 19, 2015
A Ranking of the Lunar Chronicles Series Couples
November 18, 2015
Victoria Dahl Plays Your Heartstrings Harlot
Rebekah Weatherspoon
November 18, 2015
Romantic Suspense to Get Your Heart Racing
Dolly Sickles
Showing posts by: Cheryl Sneed click to see Cheryl Sneed's profile
Oct 8 2015 4:00pm

First Look: Amelia Grey’s The Duke and Miss Christmas (October 13, 2015)

The Duke and Miss Christmas by Amelia Grey

Amelia Grey
The Duke and Miss Christmas (The Heirs’ Club #2.5)
St Martin’s / October 13, 2015 / $1.99 digital

Crispin, the Duke of Hurst, has never met a woman he couldn't handle—until he's hit over the head with a basketful of mistletoe by a young lady who mistakes his intentions. When he gets into a tussle with her—and she can hold her own—Crispin knows he has finally met his match.

Miss Gwen Prim is mortified that she attacked a duke, but even more concerning is the way her resolve melts when she's near him. She's never felt this way about a London gentleman in her life. And with the magic of Christmas in the air, she may end up with a proposal she didn't expect...in this delightful Regency gem, The Duke and Miss Christmas by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey

The Duke and Miss Christmas felt like a nostalgic throwback to the old Traditional Regency Christmas Anthologies that I loved so dearly - until our hero and heroine get very busy while gathering the greens, that is (not quite so Trad-y). But there are those lovely elements of a Christmas house party, decorating, a Christmas Ball and children. While the romance between Crispin and Gwen was sweet, I really appreciated the relationship between Crispin and Gwen’s young sister, Sybil. It can be very hard not to make children annoying in a romance, but Amelia Grey manages it.

[Just what the holidays ordered ...]

Sep 28 2015 8:30am

First Look: Julie Anne Long’s The Legend of Lyon Redmond (September 29, 2015)

The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long 
The Legend of Lyon Redmond (Pennroyal Green #11)
Avon / September 29, 2015 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Bound by centuries of bad blood, England’s two most powerful families maintain a veneer of civility . . . until the heir to the staggering Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.

Rumor has it she broke Lyon Redmond’s heart. But while many a man has since wooed the dazzling Olivia Eversea, none has ever won her—which is why jaws drop when she suddenly accepts a viscount’s proposal. Now London waits with bated breath for the wedding of a decade . . . and wagers on the return of an heir.

It was instant and irresistible, forbidden . . . and unforgettable. And Lyon—now a driven, dangerous, infinitely devastating man—decides it’s time for a reckoning. As the day of her wedding races toward them, Lyon and Olivia will decide whether their love is a curse destined to tear their families apart . . . or the stuff of which legends are made.

The repercussions of the doomed romance between Olivia Eversea and Lyon Redmond have hung over their families and all ten of the previous books in the Pennyroyal Green series. The star-crossed lovers of feuding families met in secret, knowing their families would disapprove, and when the inevitable breakup occurred, Lyon left the country with no word to his family since, leaving them grieving and devastated. Olivia turned into a do-good-ing ice princess whose family continually worry over her emotional well-being.

[We have been waiting ...]

Sep 9 2015 8:30am

First Look: J.D. Robb’s Devoted in Death (September 15, 2015)

Devoted in Death to J.D. Robb

J.D. Robb
Devoted in Death (In Death #41)
Putnam / September 15, 2015 / $27.95 print, $13.99 digital

When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .

Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.

As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve . . .

Devoted in Death features a really nasty pair of villains, Ella-Loo and Darryl, sexual sadists who get off on torture and murder, and are responsible for 29 deaths on their road-trip/killing spree from Arkansas to New York City. They tattoo their victims with a heart containing their initials, a clue which helps Lieutenant Eve Dallas get their number and personalities very quickly as she talks over the case with her husband, Roarke.

“The heart, the initials,” he began.

“Their signature.”

“Yes, but also a declaration, don’t you think? Not only we did this together, but we are together.”

“True love.”

[Forever my love ... ]

Aug 26 2015 8:30am

First Look: Amanda Forester’s The Highlander’s Bride (September 1, 2015)

The Highlander's Bride by Amanda Forester

Amanda Forester
The Highlander’s Bride (Highland Trouble #1)
Sourcebooks Casablanca / September 1, 2015 / $7.99 print & digital

All Highland warrior Gavin Patrick wants is to get back to his native Scotland. But before he can leave the battlefield, he's given a final mission-escort Lady Marie Colette to her fiancé. Under no circumstances is he to lay hands on the beautiful, clever-tongued heiress...no matter how desperate the temptation.

Forced to pose as a married couple to make their escape from France, Gavin and Marie Colette find themselves thrown into peril...and each other's arms. As the danger mounts, so does their forbidden passion. But it isn't until Marie Colette is taken from him that Gavin is forced to decide-is he willing to lose the woman who stole his heart, or will he jeopardize his honor, defy his promise, and steal her in return?

Lady Marie Colette has been raised as a precious object, rare and beautiful, pure and idolized, her sole duty to serve her family in marriage. In Amanda Forester's The Highlander's Bride, the time has come, and her father the duc has betrothed her to a Scottish earl in exchange for troops to help fight the English in the Hundred Years War. Gavin Patrick has been tasked with escorting her and her enormous retinue to her betrothed. Gavin reconciles her to the journey with the lure of the Highlands.

He stepped close to her, moving with a fluid grace that made her heart beat faster. “In the Highlands we dinna have all yer comforts, but what we do have we hold fast and fiercely defend.”

He was so tall, she had to tilt back her head to see him, putting her headdress dangerously out of alignment. “What do you have?” she asked in a voice barely above a whisper.

“Freedom. We have freedom. No one to order ye about. No one to say what ye can or canna do. Ye can wear what ye wish, eat what ye wish. Ye can ride a horse as long and as fast as ye wish. In the Highlands, m’lady, ye would be free.”

Free? She stared up at him. He dangled before her the one thing all her riches could never buy. He offered her freedom.

[Her journey with the highland warrior turns into adventure...]

Aug 24 2015 1:00pm

First Look: Meredith Duran’s Luck Be a Lady (August 25, 2015)

Meredith Duran
Luck Be a Lady (Rules for the Reckless #4)
Pocket / August 25, 2015 / $6.99 print

They call her the “Ice Queen.”

Catherine Everleigh is London’s loveliest heiress, but a bitter lesson in heartbreak has taught her to keep to herself. All she wants is her birthright—the auction house that was stolen from her. To win this war, she’ll need a powerful ally. Who better than infamous and merciless crime lord Nicholas O’Shea? A marriage of convenience will no doubt serve them both.

Having conquered the city’s underworld, Nick seeks a new challenge. Marrying Catherine will give him the appearance of legitimacy—and access to her world of the law-abiding elite. No one needs to know he’s coveted Catherine for a year now—their arrangement is strictly business, free from the troubling weaknesses of love. Seduction, however, is a different matter—an enticing game he means to ensure she enjoys, whether she wishes to or not...

Catherine Everleigh’s raison d’etre is her family’s auction house. She learned the trade at her father’s side, but now her brother Peter is embezzling the funds to promote his political career. She cannot allow the house to fail, for her entire identity is bound up in it.

But for her, Everleigh’s was everything. Their father’s legacy. Her sacred birthright. Everleigh’s made her who she was – which was not merely a spinster, the “Ice Queen” that rude wits had dubbed her. She was a person of business. An expert in the field of fine arts. A learned professional, regardless of her sex.

[She learns to give her heart to more than business...]

Jun 27 2015 11:00am

First Look: Vanessa Kelly’s How to Marry a Royal Highlander (June 30, 2015)

How to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly

Vanessa Kelly
How to Marry a Royal Highlander (Renegade Royal #4)

Zebra / June 30, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…

After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…

In Vanessa Kelly's How to Marry a Royal Highlander the war finally over, Alec is resigned to returning home to Scotland and his responsibilities as the heir to his grandfather's earldom. He fled to escape an arranged engagement with a cousin, but returns with Edie, the woman he wishes to marry, and Edie's mother. Needless to say, theirs is a chilly reception.

The old man's gaze flicked past him, and his scowl returned. “Well, I suppose you'd best introduce me to those Sassenach standing there behind you,” he grumbled.

Alec didn't bother to repress his sigh. His grandfather still liked to lay it on rather thick, and he could only hope the ladies hadn't heard. “Of course.”

That hope died when he turned to see Lady Reese standing straight as a pike and looking her most forbidding. Eden's smile, however, was luminous and full of humor, emphasizing the charm and beauty that had been the downfall of her numerous suitors.

It had been Alec's downfall from almost the moment he first saw her. He was counting on that charm to work its magic on the Earl of Riddick, too.

[Alec returns home with the one who he wants to marry...]

May 22 2015 1:00pm

First Look: Elizabeth Hoyt’s Dearest Rogue (May 26, 2015)

Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt
Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane #8)
Forever / May 26, 2015 / $8.00 print, $7.99 digital

Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.

Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.

Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.

The heroine of the delightful Dearest Rogue, Lady Phoebe Batten, is blind, which presents some unique problems for her and for the reader. So much of how we experience the world - and fall in love - is done through sight. So Phoebe - and by extension we - must employ our other senses to navigate through life and love. Elizabeth Hoyt does a fabulous job of showing Phoebe's limitations but also how her other senses stimulate her life.

Lady Phoebe is the target of several kidnapping attempts and her stalwart bodyguard James Trevillion, late of His Majesty's Dragoons, whisks her away from danger, racing through the London streets on horseback.

Around them the cacophony of London continued, eternally unabated: the rumble of carriage and cart wheels, the tramping of thousands of feet, the babble of voices raised in song and argument, people buying and selling and stealing, callers of wares, and the shriek of small children. Horses clip-clopped by and church bells tolled the hour, the half hour, and sometimes even the quarter hour.

As they rode, people shouted at them angrily. A canter was quite fast for London, and judging by the bunching of muscles beneath them and the sudden changes of direction, Trevillion was having to weave in and out of the traffic.

She turned her head toward him, inhaling. Captain James Trevillion wore no scent. Sometimes she could discern coffee or the faint smell of horses on him, but beyond that, nothing.

[Oh! Captain James has her smitten...]

May 21 2015 8:30am

First Look: Caroline Linden’s Love in the Time of Scandal (May 26, 2015)

Caroline Linden
Love in the Time of Scandal (Scandalous Series #3)
Avon / May 26, 2015 / $6.99 digital, $7.99 print

Penelope Weston does not like Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton. He may be the suave and charming heir to an earl, as well as the most handsome man on earth, but she can't forget how he abandoned a friend in need— nor how he once courted her sister, Abigail. He's the last man she would ever marry. If only she didn't feel so attracted to the arrogant scoundrel . . .

Once upon a time, Benedict thought he and Penelope got along rather well. Though he needs a wealthy bride to escape his cruel father's control, spirited Penelope just doesn't suit his plans for a model marriage—until a good deed goes awry, and scandalous rumors link his name to Penelope's. She might not be the quiet, sensible wife he thought he wanted, but she is beautiful . . . beguiling . . . and far more passionate than he ever imagined. Can a marriage begun in scandal become a love match, too?

In Caroline Linden's Love in the Time of Scandal, Penelope Weston doesn't much like Benedict Lennox. He'd courted her older sister and was rejected and now seems bent on marrying Penelope's young naïve friend in her first Season. Not on her watch! Passionate Penelope will save her friend from the machinations of the Loathsome Lennox, and though she's vastly annoying, Benedict cannot help but admire Penelope.

At her best, Penelope was exuberant and amusing, with a sparkling wit; she was loyal and fearless in her devotion to those dear to her. With her hair tousled and her color high, she was a smoldering temptress, and all her words in praise of passion ran through his mind in sinful suggestion.

[Weston is dying to get married and Penelope is standing in his way...]

Apr 10 2015 10:00am

Going to the Chapel: Wedding Drama in Loretta Chase’s Royally Ever After

Royally Ever After by Loretta ChaseThe two short, previously-published novellas in Loretta Chase's Royally Ever After anthology both revolve around a royal wedding. In Lord Lovedon's Duel the heroine's sister just married a minor German Prince whose friend is Behaving Badly, while in The Jilting of Lord Rothwick our love story takes place during the furor over the young Queen Victoria's wedding to Prince Albert, where our hero is Behaving Cluelessly. But both heroes are gobsmacked into love at first sight, bless them. And, apparently, imbibe too much at important moments.

Lord Lovedon got drunk at the wedding reception, said rude things about the bride, and was promptly challenged to a duel by the bride's sister.

He'd drunk enough to float a flagship—possibly the entire Royal Navy—to no effect.

Until a moment ago.

The last dose, the one Miss Sharp had administered externally, had brightened his mood amazingly. The eyes flashing at him had turned out to be an interesting shade of green, with gold flecks … Most important, she'd turned out to have a personality.

Lord Lovedon may be indiscreet while intoxicated, but he knows what he wants.

[I think we can guess what that is...]

Mar 29 2015 10:00am

First Look: Julie Anne Long’s It Started with a Scandal (March 31, 2015)

It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne LongJulie Anne Long
It Started with a Scandal
Avon / March 31, 2015 / $7.99 digital

Lord Philippe Lavay once took to the high seas armed with charm as lethal as his sword, and a stone-cold conviction: he'll restore his family's fortune and honor, no matter the cost. Victory is at last within reach—when a brutal attack snatches it from his grasp and lands him in Pennyroyal Green.

An afternoon of bliss brings a cascade of consequences for Elise Fountain. She is shunned by her family and ousted from a job she loves, and her survival means a plummet down the social ladder to a position no woman has yet been able to keep: housekeeper to a frighteningly formidable prince.

The bold and gentle Elise sees past his battered body into Philippe's barricaded heart . . . and her innate sensuality ignites his blood. Now a man who thought he could never love and a woman who thought she would never again trust must fight an incendiary passion that could be the ruin of them both.

Everyone reading Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal Green series has been waiting for years for Lyon and Olivia's story. Alas, It Started with a Scandal is not it, but it is a fine way to spend your time while you wait for The Legend of Lyon Redmond (September 29—mark your calendars!)

We've met Lord Philippe Lavay before. He was born a minor prince of the House of Bourbon whose family lost everything in the Revolution, has been a soldier and a privateer and is now rusticating in Pennyroyal Green while he recovers from an attack in London. His injuries make him even more curt and surly than usual and he holds out little hope that his new housekeeper will last any longer than the last.

[Somehow I think she might...]

Jan 30 2015 1:00pm

No Second Fiddles: Secondary Characters in J.D. Robb’s Vengeance in Death

Vengeance in Death by J.D. RobbThis week, H&H celebrates the forthcoming release of the fortieth (!!!) book in J.D. Robb's In Death seriesObsession in Death. As part of the celebration, we're taking an in-depth look at the sixth book in the series, Vengeance in Death. To join the discussion on Twitter, use the hashtag#obsessedwithindeath. And be sure to check out posts from fellow romance blogs Romance at Random and, next week, Smexy Books for more re-read fun.

Check out our first post discussing Eve and Roarke's relationship and then find out about Roarke's dark past.

One of the things that keeps us coming back (and back and back) to the In Death series is the secondary characters. While the brightness of the ever-evolving Eve/Roarke relationship is at the center of the series, orbiting around them are a rich and varied cast of characters who also grow and change and are just as vital.

[In Death we trust!]

Jan 25 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Laura Lee Guhrke’s Catch a Falling Heiress (January 27, 2015)

Catch a Falling Heiress  by Laura Lee GuhrkeLaura Lee Guhrke
Catch a Falling Heiress
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Linnet Holland wants nothing to do with fortune hunters. No, she's determined to marry a man who loves her. But just as she's about to accept the perfect marriage proposal from the man she wants, the rakish Earl of Featherstone interrupts and ruins everything, including her reputation, with his smoldering kiss . . .

Jack Featherstone knows all about Linnet's “intended,” and he's determined she won't fall prey to that villain as other women have in the past. But when his attempt to save Linnet ruins her instead, he knows he has to make things right. So he sets out to win this golden beauty . . . and prove to her that being ruined by him was the best thing that could have happened to her.

Linnet Holland, the latest heroine in Laura Lee Guhrke's An American Heiress in London series, is determined to escape the fate that has befallen so many others: trading her American money for an English title. She successfully navigated a London season without becoming engaged and is happily back home in Newport, about to agree to marry an old acquaintance—more for familiarity's sake than anything else—when Jack, Earl of Featherstone steps in. 

[Where angels fear to tread?]

Jan 23 2015 10:45am

First Look: Karen Ranney’s In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams (January 27, 2015)

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams by Karen RanneyKaren Ranney
In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.64 digital

Seven years have passed since Glynis MacIain made the foolish mistake of declaring her love to Lennox Cameron, only to have him stare at her dumbfounded. Heartbroken, she accepted the proposal of a diplomat and moved to America, where she played the role of a dutiful wife among Washington's elite. Now a widow, Glynis is back in Scotland. Though Lennox can still unravel her with just one glance, Glynis is no longer the naïve girl Lennox knew and vows to resist him.

With the American Civil War raging, shipbuilder Lennox Cameron must complete a sleek new blockade runner for the Confederate Navy. He cannot afford any distractions, especially the one woman he's always loved. Glynis's cool demeanor tempts him to prove to her what a terrible mistake she made seven years ago.

As the war casts its long shadow across the ocean, will a secret from Glynis's past destroy any chance for a future between the two star-crossed lovers?

In Karen Ranney's In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams, Glynis MacIain grew up following her brother and Lennox Cameron around; she has loved Lennox for as long as she can remember. When she finally revealed her love with a kiss, Lennox is gobsmacked, stunned into silence. Mortally embarrassed, Glynis ran off and married an English diplomat and spent a miserable six years in the backwater town of Washington D.C. Now, happily widowed, she's returned to Scotland, but the troubles of the United States Civil War follow her. Because of the blockade, her family cannot get cotton for their textile mill and are in danger of being financially ruined, while Lennox, a prosperous shipbuilder, is working on an iron-hulled ship for the Confederacy.

[The tides have changed!]

Oct 22 2014 1:35pm

First Look: Stephanie Laurens’s By Winter’s Light (October 28, 2014)

By Winter's Light by Stephanie LaurensStephanie Laurens
By Winter's Light
Mira / October 28, 2014 / $12.00 print, $7.99 digital

It’s December 1837 and the young adults of the Cynster clan have succeeded in having the family Christmas celebration held at snow-bound Casphairn Manor, Richard and Catriona Cynster’s home.

Yet where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind—the festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them, but once bitten, twice shy, Claire believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Daniel, however, is determined to press his suit. He’s seen the love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing his life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.

By Winter's Light is a transitional novel as Stephanie Laurens brings us Cynsters: The Next Generation. The romance between governess Claire and tutor Daniel is merely tangential to introducing the children of the original six Cynster cousins, and setting up the next books in the family series.

[We are family!]

Sep 23 2014 9:45am

First Look: Carolyn Jewel’s A Notorious Ruin (September 23, 2014)

A Notorious Ruin by Carolyn JewelCarolyn Jewel
A Notorious Ruin (Sinclair Sisters #2)
cJewel Books / September 23, 2014 / $5.99 digital

All the widowed Lucy Sinclair Wilcott wants is to save enough money to move to a cottage of her own and keep her younger sister safe from the consequences of their father’s poor judgment. No one is more aware than she how thoroughly her first marriage ruined her. She could not remarry if she wanted to. Then the Marquess of Thrale comes to visit and long-absent feelings of desire surge back.

Everything Lord Thrale believes about the beautiful Mrs. Wilcott is wrong. The very last woman he thought he was interested in proves to be a brilliant, amusing, arousing woman of deep honor who is everything he wants in a lover, for the rest of his life. If only he can convince her of that.

In A Notorious Ruin, the long-awaited second book in Carolyn Jewel's Sinclair Sisters series, the widowed Lucy Wilcott becomes better acquainted with Lord Thrale, whom she met the previous season,   during a house party at her father's home . Thrale, and indeed everyone, believes Lucy to be a frivolous featherbrain and is stunned—and then intrigued—to find that may not be the case.

[Hiding in plain sight?]

Sep 12 2014 8:30am

First Look: Connie Brockway’s The Songbird’s Seduction (September 16, 2014)

Connie Brockway
The Songbird's Seduction
Montlake Romance / September 16, 2014) / $9.99 print, $3.99 digital

Effervescent bon vivant Lucy Eastlake is a young operetta singer whose star is on the rise in Edwardian London. Though struggling to maintain her beloved great-aunts’ household, she holds fast to the belief that “things will work out.” Now, with the fiftieth anniversary of a siege her great-aunt Lavinia lived through approaching, it looks like Lucy is right, because a fortune is due to be divided among the survivors. All Lucy and her great-aunts have to do is travel to a small Pyrenees town to claim Lavinia’s share of a fabulous treasure in rubies. What could be more simple?

Professor Ptolemy Archibald Grant is the brilliant, straitlaced grandson of a British lord who also withstood the siege. When his grandfather asks him as a matter of honor to escort his old love on the journey, the about-to-be married professor agrees, not expecting Lucy to be part of the bargain. Losing the great-aunts en route, the handsome, buttoned-down professor finds himself caught up in Lucy’s quirky, bewildering, and probably illegal efforts to reunite with them, as he is drawn further and further into an inexplicable infatuation with the free-spirited singer. What could be more complicated?

But when unwilling attraction gives way to sizzling passion, both will be forced to confront the ages-old question of whether love trumps honor…or the other way around.

Oh, Connie Brockway's The Songbird's Seduction was a fun read! The setting is refreshingly different, set in 1908 Edwardian England, and has a distinct Bringing Up Baby vibe, a 1938 screwball comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Our hero's name is even Ptolemy Archibald Grant (Archibald is Cary's real name) and he's a professor of anthropology. His heroine is Lucy Eastlake, and up and coming operetta singer and general free spirit. And while Cary Grant looked perpetually gob-smacked in the movie, poor Archie is similarly caught up in Lucy's whirlwind and left wondering what the heck happened to his well-ordered life.

[Seduction of the zaniest!]

Sep 10 2014 1:00pm

First Look: Maggie Robinson’s The Unsuitable Secretary (September 16, 2014)

The Unsuitable Secretary by Maggie RobinsonMaggie Robinson
The Unsuitable Secretary
Penguin / September 16, 2014 / $4.99 digital

Harriet Benson takes her work at the Evensong Agency seriously, but lately, between convalescing from an illness and tending to her father and two young brothers, she’s had to shorten her hours. So when a promising position opens up for part time work, she immediately accepts, despite the fact that her new boss is scandalously indecent—and dangerously appealing.

Though his reputation paints him as a scoundrel, Sir Thomas Featherstone is more proper than anyone would guess. But Harriet’s wit and luscious curves are driving him to distraction. She’s the perfect woman to fill his office requirements, and other desperate needs he’s been ignoring…

Harriet has always held firm to the rule that a secretary must never fall in love with her employer. Only Thomas is determined to win her affections—and he’s willing to risk any cost to make her his…

The Unsuitable Secretary features two of romance readers' favorite tropes: the Virgin Hero and the Plus-size Heroine.

[Ooh! Not unsuitable at all!]

Sep 1 2014 12:30pm

First Look: Victoria Roberts’s My Highland Spy (September 2, 2014)

My Highland Spy by Victoria RobertsVictoria Roberts 
My Highland Spy
Sourcebooks / September 2, 2014 / $5.31 print, $6.49 digital

This Highland Laird won't bow to the Crown

Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do—he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep.

But this lady spy might make him...

Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator.

If she doesn't betray him first

Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her heart. But will the proud Highland laird ever forgive her when he discovers the woman he loves in an English spy?

In Victoria Roberts's My Highland Spy, Lady Ravenna Walsingham is following the family tradition of being a spy for the crown and has made herself very useful to King James in the years following Queen Elizabeth I's death. Her latest assignment is to go to the Highlands of Scotland in the guise of a governess.

[As you do...]

Aug 26 2014 4:15pm

First Look: Elizabeth Vail’s The Duke of Snow and Apples (August 26, 2014)

The Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth VailElizabeth Vail
The Duke of Snow and Apples
Entangled / August 26, 2014 / $0.99 digital

Frederick Snow, first footman, is the perfect servant: efficient, hardworking, and completely bereft of emotion. Unbeknownst to his employers, he’s the lost Duke of Snowmont, on the run from a suspicious stepfather and a powerful magic he can only control by burying his passions beneath his frosty demeanor. He's managed to hide behind his carefully ordered life until an impertinent miss arrives and challenges everything he thought he wanted.

If Charlotte Erlwood wants to land a wealthy, titled husband at her great aunt’s house party, she has to stop losing her temper – especially with inordinately handsome footmen. Perhaps if she recruits Frederick for her matrimonial schemes, she'll be able to direct her attention toward suitable single noblemen and away from inappropriate dalliances. But Frederick’s frigid control is no match for Charlotte’s irrepressible spirit, and her passionate kiss could summon the darker side of his magic...or wake his heart from its frozen sleep.

Elizabeth Vail's The Duke of Snow and Apples is an alternate-reality romance where magic is the norm and the gulf between the Pure-Blooded and Underfolk is even greater than that of your basic Regency-set Historical.

[Magic conflict!...]

Aug 22 2014 8:30am

First Look: Mary Jo Putney’s Not Quite a Wife (August 26, 2014)

Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo PutneyMary Jo Putney
Not Quite a Wife
Zebra / August 26, 2014 / $7.99 print, $7.59 digital

James, Lord Kirkland, owns a shipping fleet, half a London gaming house, and is a ruthlessly effective spymaster. He is seldom self-indulgent...except when it comes to the gentle, indomitable beauty who was once his wife. Laurel Herbert gave James her heart as an innocent young girl - until she saw him perform an act of shocking violence before her very eyes. That night she left her husband, and he let her go without a word of protest. Now, ten years later, a chance encounter turns passionate, with consequences that cannot be ignored. But as they try to rebuild what was broken, they must face common enemies and a very uncommon love.

Very often in romance, the hero will kill someone during the novel, especially if he is in the Spy Biz. The deed is usually done without much thought or care for the consequences—the villain needed killing, so he was killed. But what happens when the novel's heroine is a very moral person with a deep sense of what is right and wrong? What if she can't accept that the man she loves is an instrument of death? This is the theme Mary Jo Putney explores in her latest novel, Not Quite a Wife.

[Troubled times ahead!...]