<i>The Rancher Returns</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Rancher Returns: Exclusive Excerpt Brenda Jackson "His mouth watered just thinking about the cookies..." <i>Shadow Silence</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Shadow Silence: Exclusive Excerpt Yasmine Galenorn "I gave Peggin a big smile, feeling in a suddenly festive mood." <i>The Goal</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Goal: Exclusive Excerpt Elle Kennedy "I run a thumb over my lip, remembering how good it felt when he kissed me." <i>Sparking the Fire</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Sparking the Fire: Exclusive Excerpt Kate Meader "He was running out of synonyms for gorgeous when it came to this woman."
From The Blog
September 24, 2016
ICYMI: Demons in Romance, Blood Red Kiss Interview, Cover Reveals, and more!
Team H & H
September 23, 2016
Sinful, Sudsy Romance News & Deals
Heather Waters
September 23, 2016
Your Romance Novel Soulmate Based on Your Zodiac
Team H & H
September 23, 2016
Friday Beefcake: A Love Letter to our favorite Emmy winners!
Team H & H
September 23, 2016
The Types of Guys You'll Meet While on Vacation: Romance Edition
Nina Bocci
Showing posts by: Cheryl Sneed click to see Cheryl Sneed's profile
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...]

Sat
Jun 27 2015 12:00pm

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...]

Fri
May 22 2015 2:00pm

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...]

Thu
May 21 2015 9:30am

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...]

Fri
Apr 10 2015 11:00am

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...]