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From The Blog
April 21, 2017
Mariana Zapata and the Art of the Slow Burn
Jen Wattley
April 20, 2017
Cover Thursday: Exclusive Reveal from Donna Grant
Team H & H
April 20, 2017
The Real Life of a Dominatrix in Jenny Nordbak’s The Scarlett Letters
Nicola R. White
April 19, 2017
A Romance Reader’s Guide to the 2017 NHL Playoffs, Part 1
Stacey Agdern
April 19, 2017
The Great Debate of the Vampire Bite in Paranormal Romance
Tori Benson
Showing posts by: Cheryl Sneed click to see Cheryl Sneed's profile
Tue
Mar 28 2017 9:30am

First Look: Candace Camp’s A Perfect Gentleman (March 28, 2017)

A Perfect Gentleman by Candace Camp

Candace Camp
A Perfect Gentleman
Pocket Books / March 28, 2017 / $7.99 print and digital

A Perfect Gentleman is a nice second-chance-at-love story, though Abigail and Graeme’s first chance was doomed from the start. Blackmailed by Abigail’s powerful father into the marriage and in love with somebody else, Graeme’s resentment toward Abby burst forth on their wedding night. Humiliated, the shy young bride fled home to New York and gradually built her confidence and a life for herself. She returns to England 10 years later with the goal of having a child with her estranged husband.

As he watches her deal with his dragon of a grandmother, Graeme is intrigued with this stranger to whom he is married.

“Arthur Dexter is scarcely anyone with whom you’d want to advance an acquaintance,” his grandmother told Abigail firmly. “Jumped up little mushroom. His grandfather was in trade.”

“Shocking,” Abigail agreed with such a twinkle in her eye that Graeme had to hide a smile. “Perhaps he is proud of what he has accomplished rather than his family,” Abigail offered.

“What a very American thing to say.”

“Yes, I suppose it is,” she agreed. “It’s difficult for some people to transcend their upbringing.”

“Precisely.” His grandmother nodded. Graeme wasn’t sure whether she had caught the subtle message in Abigail’s words. He suspected not; Lady Eugenia did not deal in subtleties.

He glanced over at Abigail. She returned his gaze with a wide-eyed blandness that convinced him she had intended the little dig at his grandmother’s prejudices. Again he found himself wanting to smile.

Why did it have to be so bloody easy to like this woman?

Yes, how dare she be so witty and interesting! Not to mention beautiful. Graeme is very wary, however, of letting go of his preconceived notions about Abigail. He has always been sure that she was in cahoots with her father to trap him into the marriage, that she was complicit in the blackmail.

[Read more...]

Wed
Feb 22 2017 2:30pm

First Look: Meredith Duran’s A Lady’s Code of Misconduct (February 28, 2017)

A Lady's Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

Meredith Duran
A Lady’s Code of Misconduct (Rules for the Reckless #5)
Pocket Books / February 28, 2017 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...

Meredith Duran’s latest is an amnesia story, which is a harder trope to find these days. Amnesia plotlines used to be a dime a dozen, but they became such a romance cliché that they have become rare in the last decade or so. A Lady’s Code of Misconduct is a very good amnesia story and reminds me why these storylines were so popular and should be again when in the hands of a gifted storyteller like Duran.

Crispin Burke is not a nice man. In fact, he’s a horrible man. He has spent years bribing, blackmailing and backstabbing his fellow Members of Parliament in his quest to become Prime Minister, so pressuring a young woman in dire straits to spy for him is child’s play.

[Read more...]

Tue
Dec 20 2016 10:30am

First Look: Grace Burrowes’ The Trouble with Dukes (December 20, 2016)

The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes

Grace Burrowes
The Trouble with Dukes (Windham Brides #1)
Forever / December 20, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he'll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn't the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she's fighting battles of her own. For her, he'll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

Having married off all the Windham siblings in her Windham Series, Grace Burrowes has invented a family of Windham female neices for whom Her Grace, the Duchess of Windham, is eager to make matches. This new series, The Windham Brides, gets rolling with Megan Windham when she, and her family, take under their very influential wing the newly invested Duke of Murdoch.

Scot Hamish MacHugh is not at all happy to be a duke. He is a soldier and is not at all interested in the new notoriety or obligations his title bestows. Hamish was a fierce soldier and, having been in the army his entire adult life, knows no other life. Megan and the Windhams have their work cut out for them making Hamish into a civilized duke. They start with dance lessons.

[Oh the dancing!]

Thu
Sep 29 2016 4:00pm

First Look: Suzanne Enoch’s Hero in the Highlands (October 4, 2016)

Hero in the Highlands by Suzanne Enoch

Suzanne Enoch
Hero in the Highlands (No Ordinary Hero #1)
St. Martin's Press / October 4, 2016 / $7.99 print and digital

Scotland, 1812: He’s ferocious and rugged to the bone, an English soldier more at home on the battlefield than in any Society drawing room. And when Major Gabriel Forrester learns that he’s inherited the massive Scottish Highlands title and estate of a distant relation, the last thing he wants to do is give up the intensity of the battlefield for the too-soft indulgences of noble life. But Gabriel Forrester does not shirk his responsibilities, and when he meets striking, raven-eyed lass Fiona Blackstock, his new circumstances abruptly become more intriguing.

Like any good Highlander, Fiona despises the English?and the new Duke of Lattimer is no exception. Firstly, he is far too attractive for Fiona’s peace of mind. Secondly, his right to “her” castle is a travesty, since it’s been clan Maxwell property for ages. As the two enter a heated battle of wills, an unexpected passion blazes into a love as fierce as the Highlands themselves. Is Fiona strong enough to resist her enemy’s advances?or is Gabriel actually her hero in disguise?

The hero of Suzanne Enoch’s Hero in the Highlands, Major Gabriel Forrester, is a professional soldier. He is both equally feared and revered for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, earning the moniker of “The Beast of Bussaco.” He is not at all pleased to learn that he has unexpectedly inherited a Dukedom from an unknown relative, and even less pleased that he must travel to the Highlands to deal with some suspicious doings on his Scottish estate. But he tackles the problem the only way he knows how—as a soldier.

[Read more...]

Fri
Sep 9 2016 1:30pm

First Look: Dressed to Kiss Anthology (September 12, 2016)

Dressed to Kiss by Madeline Hunter, Caroline Linden, Megan Frampton, and Myretta Robens

Madeline Hunter, Caroline Linden, Megan Frampton, Myretta Robens
Dressed to Kiss
Self-published / September 12, 2016 / $4.99 digital

Once renowned for creating the most envied gowns in London, Madame Follette’s dressmaking shop has fallen far out of fashion. The approaching coronation of King George IV offers a chance to reclaim former glory by supplying stunning new wardrobes to the most glittering society in Regency England. In the face of long-held secrets, looming scandals, and the potential ruin of their shop, the dressmakers of Follette’s are undaunted, not even by the most unexpected complication of all: true love.

Dressed to Kiss is a delightful anthology written by four unique, confident voices centering around Madame Follette’s dressmaking shop. It features two dressmakers and the sister and brother who keep it afloat. As one might expect, fashion tidbits, as well as the shop’s denizens, help to bind the stories together and offer up some fun fashion analogies.

[Read more...]

Wed
Jul 20 2016 3:00pm

Tackling Disabilities in Historical Settings: Joanna Lowell’s Dark Season

Dark Season by Joanna Lowell

Tainted. Degraded. Doomed. Doctors told Ella Arlington that her epilepsy would prevent her from living a normal life. When her cousin tries to put her in an institution, she flees to London, determined to control her own destiny. But while at a seance, Ella's epileptic fit is mistaken for spiritual possession. Loath to reveal her scandalous condition, she goes along with the misperception, and soon finds herself attracting the attention of a devilishly handsome viscount determined to keep the past buried.

Viscount Isidore Blackwood's fiancee died with secrets he's vowed to keep, but nothing could have prepared him for the arrival of a mysterious woman who's rumored to have contacted her ghost. He doesn't believe for a moment that Ella possesses supernatural powers. Her presence, however, shakes him to his core and when he accuses Ella of being a con artist, sparks unexpectedly ignite between them.

When some surprising truths come to light about Phillipa's death, Isidore concocts a plan to stage a spectacle of a séance for the ton with Ella's help. Their devil's pact might just flush out a killer, but will Isidore let his fury and guilt consume his own soul in the process? And can Ella trust him enough to gamble on a future she never thought she could have?

I’ve read several romances that featured a disabled heroine–blindness, deafness, a clubbed foot–but I’ve never read one whose heroine suffered from epilepsy. It is a difficult disease with which to cope–especially in an historical setting where there was incomplete medical knowledge surrounding the condition. Dark Season by Joanna Lowell tackles this demanding subject with sensitivity, taking Ella Arlington from a place of fear, melancholy and resignation to hope, joy and love.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jul 3 2016 11:00am

And They All Lived Happily Ever After in Monica McCarty’s The Ghost

The Ghost by Monica McCarty

Spoilers for those who are not full caught up with Monica McCarty's Highland Guard series. Reader beware!

The Ghost is the final book in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series which revolves around a kind of Medieval Special-Ops force who carry out covert operations for Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, in his fight against the English King Edward II in the 1300s. The Ghost is a Scottish spy embedded within the English upper circle, and has provided vital information in previous books in the series, but whose identity is unknown to all but one member of The Guard. The Ghost is finally revealed to be Joan Comyn.

Over the years her role had grown increasingly more important–and more dangerous–shifting from messenger to spy after she’d falsely been declared illegitimate, dispossessed of her inheritance, and sent to live with her cousin Alice Comyn, who had married Sir Henry de Beaumont, one of King Edward’s most important barons in the north. Joan’s position in de Beaumont’s household had given her unexpected access to important information – and important men.

[Duty and honor...]

Mon
Jun 27 2016 4:30pm

First Look: Eloisa James’ A Gentleman Never Tells (June 28, 2016)

A Gentleman Never Tells by Eloisa James

Eloisa James
A Gentleman Never Tells: A Novella
Avon / (July 26, 2016) / $3.99 print, $.99 digital

Eighteen months ago, Lizzie Troutt’s husband died in his mistress’s bed, leaving her determined to never marry again….and unfortunately virginal.

Eighteen years ago (give or take a few) the Honorable Oliver Berwick blackened his own soul, leaving him hardened and resolutely single.

When the chance for redemption in the form of a country house party invitation comes his way, Oliver is determined to prove himself a gentleman.

Until he breaks all the codes of gentlemanly behavior…once again.

It is said that laughter is the best medicine, and laughter is central to Eloisa James’s A Gentleman Never Tells.

[Laughter and romance...]

Thu
Jun 2 2016 12:00pm

Remembering Jo Beverley: Thank You for Rothgar and So Much More

Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed by Jo Beverley

The romance writing world lost one of its founding mothers and innovators when Jo Beverley passed away last week. Thankfully, she left behind more than 30 novels and many, many novellas that I know I will be rereading for years to come. She was a 12 time RITA finalist, won five RITAs and is an RWA Honor Roll and Hall of Fame member.

Beverley was born in England and moved to Canada in the 1970s. She’d always been a writer and published her first Traditional Regency—Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed—in 1988. Several more perfect little trad gems followed. More information about the Traditioanl Regencies may be found here.

In 1990 An Arranged Marriage was published, marketed as a “Super Regency.” It is the first book in The Company of Rogues, one of the first “group of heroes” romance series that are now so ubiquitous. The Rogues are 12 school friends from Harrow brought together by Nicholas Delaney for mutual protection and to fight oppression. The friendships and quest for justice carried into adulthood and through the Napoleonic Wars. This series has expanded past the original 12 Rogues to include friends and relations. All are worth a read, but the original Rogue books are all engrossing reads. 

[We love those Rogues...]

Mon
May 23 2016 5:30pm

First Look: Marguerite Kaye & Bronwyn Scott’s Scandal at the Midsummer Ball (May 24, 2016)

Marguerite Kaye & Bronwyn Scott
Scandal at the Midsummer Ball
Harlequin Historical / May 24, 2016 / $6.50 print, $4.99 digital

THE OFFICER'S TEMPTATION by Marguerite Kaye 

Colonel Fergus Kennedy must make a suitable match at the Midsummer Ball. But when this officer encounters sultry acrobat Katerina Vengarov, he finds himself torn between duty…and heart-stopping, irresistible passion! 

THE DEBUTANTE'S AWAKENING by Bronwyn Scott 

Kael Gage is the last person at the Midsummer Ball Miss Zara Titus should speak to—and anything more is definitely off-limits! But the notorious rake seems determined to awaken this innocent debutante's every desire…

The Duke and Duchess of Brockmore host an annual house party where they facilitate powerful and prestigious marital matches for many of their guests. Invitations are highly coveted, but a couple of the attendees are more leery than anticipatory.

Part of the entertainment for the week is the appearance of the world renowned Flying Vengarovs, a brother and sisters acrobatic team, and this theme of “flying” is integral to both of the novellas which comprise Scandal at the Midsummer Ball.

[We're into it...]

Mon
May 9 2016 9:30am

The Black Sheep of the Family: Celeste Bradley’s Virgin Hero

I Thee Wed by Celeste Bradley

Celeste Bradley's I Thee Wed features a buttoned-up, virgin scientist. I love those guys.

Orion Worthington is a very serious scientist, but burdened with a very unserious family. The Worthingtons are notoriously eccentric and they can try an orderly person’s nerves.

As much as Orion loved his family, for some time now he had longed for the peace in which to truly work, to study, and to discover the secrets of the scientific world.

Peace in Worthington House was rather hard to come by.

He secures an apprenticeship with one of the foremost scientific minds in London with the understanding that if everything works out, Orion will also marry the lovely—and calm—daughter of the house.

Although he felt in no particular hurry to wed, he felt no aversion to it, either.

In this instance, it was a perfectly logical notion.

With a wife like Judith, Orion could imagine himself living just this sort of peaceful, organized life. A fine home, run to exacting standards, leaving him free to involve himself solely in his work while his bride managed the boring day-to-day details.

[But we're guessing doesn't want a detail-oriented bride...]

Mon
May 2 2016 12:00pm

First Look: Mary Balogh’s Only Beloved (May 3, 2016)

Only Beloved by Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh
Only Beloved (Survivors Club #7)
Signet / May 3, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital

For the first time since the death of his wife, the Duke of Stanbrook is considering remarrying and finally embracing happiness for himself. With that thought comes the treasured image of a woman he met briefly a year ago and never saw again. 

Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true.

For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?

With Only Beloved, Mary Balogh finishes her delightful and moving Survivor’s Club Series, with the long-awaited story of George, the Duke of Stanbrook, who founded the group. After the death of his son in the Napoleonic Wars and subsequent suicide of his wife, George turned his Cornwall estate into a hospital for survivors of the war and a group of seven became especially close. These dear friends have recovered from their wounds—both physical and emotional—and the last one has just gotten married.

Was it downright contrary of him to be feeling ever so slightly depressed this morning? They had moved on with their lives, those six, and left him behind. And what a blasted pathetic, selfpitying thought that was. He was lonely, damn it. To the marrow of his bones and the depths of his soul.

[Don't be lonely, George!]

Mon
Dec 21 2015 10:30am

First Look: Megan Frampton’s One-Eyed Dukes Are Wild (December 29, 2015)

One-Eyed Dukes are Wild by Megan Frampton

Megan Frampton
One-Eyed Dukes are Wild (Dukes Behaving Badly #3)
Avon / December 29, 2015 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

The scandalously unmarried Lady Margaret Sawford is looking for adventure—and is always up for a challenge. Her curiosity is aroused by a dangerous-looking stranger with an eye patch, an ideal companion for the life she longs for, no matter what Society might say. So when the piratical gentleman turns out to be a duke—and just as boringly proper as any other nobleman—she can't help but incite him to walk on the wild side.

Well-heeled, well-mannered, and well beyond any interest in society's expectations, the Duke of Lasham is tired of being perfect. Margaret's lush beauty and gently laughing eyes are an irresistible temptation to embrace the imperfect—and her. But if a little misbehavior is appealing, unleashing his wild side is completely seductive—as long as the lovely Margaret is the object of his passion . . .

“What would you do if you could do anything you wanted?”

That is the question the slightly scandalous Lady Margaret poses to the eternally proper Duke of Lasham in Megan Frampton's One-Eyed Dukes Are Wild. The question takes him aback.

He only did the right things. Until this very day, he hadn’t even considered doing anything but the right things. But what would happen if he did do some of the wrong things? Would the world end? Would his dukedom be taken away from him?

[Being proper is no fun...]

Wed
Dec 16 2015 10:30am

First Look: Loretta Chase’s Dukes Prefer Blondes (December 29, 2015)

Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase

Loretta Chase
Dukes Prefer Blondes (Dressmakers #4)
Avon / December 29, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Biweekly marriage proposals from men who can't see beyond her (admittedly breathtaking) looks are starting to get on Lady Clara Fairfax's nerves. Desperate to be something more than ornamental, she escapes to her favorite charity. When a child is in trouble, she turns to tall, dark, and annoying barrister Oliver Radford.

Though he's unexpectedly found himself in line to inherit a dukedom, Radford's never been part of fashionable society, and the blonde beauty, though not entirely bereft of brains, isn't part of his plans. But Clara overwhelms even his infallible logic, and when wedlock looms, all he can do is try not to lose his head over her . . .

It's an inconvenient marriage by ordinary standards, but these two are far from ordinary. Can the ton's most adored heiress and London's most difficult bachelor fall victim to their own unruly desires?

The opening sentence in Loretta Chase’s Dukes Prefer Blondes is: To begin with, he was obnoxious. Barrister Oliver Radford certainly is that. Just ask anyone. Lady Clara Fairfax gains firsthand knowledge of this when she enlists his aid to rescue a boy who has fallen into the clutches of a gang.

“You didn’t need to run,” Mr. Radford said. “We’ve plenty of time.”

Clara, in the seat opposite, was still trying to catch her breath. It took her a moment to answer. “I thought you’d decided to leave me behind. Half-past five you’d drive by, you said. It was well past six.”

“In my experience, women are always late, even for court,” he said. “Consequently, I’ve learned to set an earlier time. You ought to take it as a compliment, my allowing you only an extra half hour for tardiness.”

For a moment she could only stare at him while she seesawed between incredulity and rage. “A compliment?” she said. “Have you any idea how condescendingly obnoxious you are?”

“A precise idea, thanks to people endlessly telling me.”

“I might have slept for another half hour,” she said.

“Does this mean you’re going to be tetchy and cross?”

“Only to you,” she said.

[Chase created an obnoxious hero to love ...]

Wed
Dec 9 2015 11:30am

The Almack’s Almanac: Regency Historical Terminology

Historical Terminology Pelisse

Interested in giving Historical Romance a try, but are frustrated by the Secret Language of Incomprehensible Terms? And seemingly Random Capitalization? Here’s a primer to some common items found in most historicals. And yes, there will be a quiz at the end, so pay attention!

CLOTHING

Pelisse: A close-fitting coat for ladies that falls the length of her dress.

Spencer: A pelisse that stops just underneath the bust. Think of it as a Regency Bolero jacket

Reticule: A Regency-era purse. Usually a knitted or beaded bag with a drawstring top.

They remind me of a crocheted purse I made in 1971 the 7th grade. Mine looked just like this, but was blue with a white stripe. With red fringe. It was a very patriotic purse. And I was a very cool 7th grader.

Modiste: Contrary to recently overheard opinion, “Modiste” is not a fancy way to say “modest.” It is a fancy way to say “Dressmaker.”

[Now on to traveling ...]

Thu
Oct 8 2015 5:00pm

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 ...]

Mon
Sep 28 2015 9:30am

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 ...]

Wed
Sep 9 2015 9:30am

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 ... ]

Wed
Aug 26 2015 9:30am

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...]

Mon
Aug 24 2015 2:00pm

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...]