<i>So For Real</i>: Exclusive Excerpt So For Real: Exclusive Excerpt Rebekah Weatherspoon "I leaned up on my toes and kissed him some more." <i>All the Little Liars</i>: Exclusive Excerpt All the Little Liars: Exclusive Excerpt Charlaine Harris "He put his big hands on my shoulders and looked down at me intently." <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."
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Showing posts by: Dolly Sickles click to see Dolly Sickles's profile
Nov 20 2014 5:30pm

First Look: Eva Siedler’s Las Vegas Layover (November 25, 2014)

Las Vegas Layover by Eva Siedler Eva Siedler
Las Vegas Layover
Samhain / November 25, 2014 / $3.50 digital

One night in Vegas could be their ticket to love.

Coastal Airlines mechanic Sebastian Brisbane is on his way to Las Vegas to fix a broken jet. But after one look at his sexy, travel-sized seatmate, he’s more concerned with revving her engine than fixing the plane’s.

Clara Howe will do anything to fulfill her aunt’s last wishes to have her ashes spread in Vegas. A one-night stand isn’t on the itinerary, but when Clara accidentally pricks Sebastian’s temper, along with his passion, only one thing is certain: It’s bound to be a bumpy ride.

My husband, son, and I are great outdoor enthusiasts. We love to travel, and choose new locales based on the kind of “adventuring” we’ll get to experience. Arizona is great for hiking, from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. Belize offers extraordinary snorkeling and free diving, and beautiful hiking through the lush tropical rainforests. But despite the bounty Mother Nature has to offer, I still find myself fascinated with Las Vegas. My husband went for business last year and hated it. Thought it was over-crowded, over-priced, over-smokey...over-hyped. I don’t care. I want to go to a casino and gamble; I want to go to a dancing show at the Tropicana, where the girls are topless and wear 200-pound headpieces. Hell, I want to get married by Elvis at a quickie roadside chapel. I think that’s why I enjoyed Eva Siedler’s contemporary romance novella, Las Vegas Layover, so much.

[A good gamble, then!]

Sep 26 2014 3:00pm

First Look: Shiloh Walker’s Sweeter than Sin (September 30, 2014)

Shiloh Walker
Sweeter than Sin (Secrets and Shadows)
St. Martin's Press / September 30, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

It took years for Adam to stop drowning his regrets in alcohol, and running the local bar doesn’t make it any easier—especially not when everyone he knows gathers there to discuss the shocking allegations that have shattered his hometown. When another murder rocks sleepy Madison to its core, it becomes chillingly clear that even more vicious wounds are waiting to be exposed.

Nothing is sacred anymore, and no one is safe, least of all the mystery woman who shows up in town out of the blue, looking like every fantasy Adam’s ever had. She may have her own dangerous secrets, but she can’t ignore the urgent heat between them any more than he can. As a killer’s quest for vengeance explodes into violence, Adam is tempted to lose himself in the delicious promise of her body—until he realizes he’ll risk anything if she’ll give him her heart…

The second installment of Shiloh Walker’s Secrets and Shadows series, Sweeter than Sin, makes you ponder if the choices we make as teenagers—the experiences we have as a child—carve the paths of our lives.

[Where does the path lead?]

Sep 25 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Katie Porter’s Snap (September 30, 2014)

Snap by Katie PorterKatie Porter
Snap (Command Force Alpha)
Samhain / September 30, 2014 / $5.50 digital

Captain Laurence Madigan is an anomaly—a levelheaded risk taker who learned the dark side of life in Manchester’s slums. He needed those skills to survive fourteen months as a prisoner of Firebird, a shadowy Russian cartel.

When rescued, he receives less than a hero’s welcome. He’s considered a wild card—or even a double agent. After enduring agony and degradation for Command Force Alpha, he’s determined to clear his name and bring Firebird down…even if it means escaping CFA’s London facility with a very personal hostage.

Oxford-educated psychologist Gemma Calloway should fight her abductor tooth and claw, but loyalty to her old friend wins out. Isolated in a rustic hideaway, she tends his wounds and can’t help staring at his scars and prison tattoos.

Their impromptu safe house becomes a haven of uneasy trust and potent, gathering desires. As they sort present dangers from past affection, Gemma realizes she’s in over her head…and up to her heart with longing for a good man whose last reason for living could be revenge.

My husband has always warned against buying a bottle of wine because the label is pretty, and I’ve learned the hard way to apply that same logic to romance novels—quite often, the story does not match the sexy man on the cover. Katie Porter’s Snap, is the textbook example of not judging the book by its cover. The sexy red stilettos with handcuffs clipped to the heel fall short at the robust military romance inside. It’s like renting a little Vespa, driving into a tunnel, and coming out on a roaring beast of a Harley Davidson and leaving the Sons of Anarchy in your dust.

[You're revving us up!]

Sep 15 2014 9:30am

First Look: Anne Calhoun’s Afternoon Delight (September 16, 2014)

Afternoon Delight by Anne CalhounAnne Calhoun
Afternoon Delight
InterMix / September 16, 2014 / $3.99 digital

Sarah McCall, food truck co-owner and recent Manhattan transplant, savors each moment of her new job—whether it’s refining the truck's menu, learning the city, or spending afternoons in bed with the hot paramedic who's fast becoming her favorite customer.

Tim Cannon spends his days sprinting from one emergency to the next. He eats like he works—at top speed—somewhere along the line he lost his ability to enjoy life's simple pleasures. Hooking up with Sarah is just another way to cope with the stress of his job, until their afternoon trysts coax Tim into enjoying everything he's avoided. Can Tim learn to balance his job saving lives with the everyday delights that make life worth living? If anyone can teach him, it’s Sarah….

As a general rule, I’m a Black Keys, White Stripes, rock'n'roll kind of woman. But I found myself grinning ridiculously and humming the Starlight Vocal Band’s perennial favorite, “Afternoon Delight,” while reading Anne Calhoun’s enjoyable novella of the same title.

[Sky rockets in flight!]

Jul 1 2014 1:00pm

First Look: Kara Braden’s The Longest Night (July 1, 2014)

The Longest Night by Kara BradenKara Braden
The Longest Night
Sourcebooks / July 1, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

Years ago, former Marine Captain Cecily Knight fled her dark past and the nightmares forever haunting her nights. Alone in the remote Canadian wilderness, she survives day to day...until Ian Fairchild comes storming into her life and shatters her protective seclusion.

Aloof but intriguing, defensive but undeniable, Ian is everything Cecily shouldn't want but can't ignore. He watches her with shrewd blue eyes, as if determined to decipher her secrets...and for the first time in years, she finds herself coming alive beneath the hands of a man with too many scars to count.

Here in North Carolina, we have our fair share of deployed soldiers. Between Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point, we represent all branches of the service and are proud to be one of the sources of the Army’s Special Forces (the Green Berets). In the last ten years, troops from North Carolina (active duty and reserves) have refreshed the battle arenas of the Middle East at a high rate. It’s been interesting to follow along with the news and witness the changes occurring in the military—most notably, female soldiers who continue to be closer to the front lines. These women are often categorized differently than their male counterparts, but experience many of the same traumas while deployed.

[Equal opportunity trauma.]

Jun 28 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Stephanie Tyler’s Vipers Run (July 1, 2014)

Vipers Run by Stephanie Tyler

Stephanie Tyler
Vipers Run
Signet / July 1, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

Former Army Ranger Christian Cage Owens joined the Vipers Motorcycle Club for its sense of brotherhood. In return, he pledged to live outside the law, protecting club members and their families, as well as keeping other MCs out of Skulls Creek. But when Cage discovers that a rival MC—one Cage has an all too familiar past with—plans to push meth into his town, he calls an old Army buddy turned private investigator who’s helped the Vipers in the past. By doing so, Cage endangers both his friend and Calla Benson, a woman who works in the PI’s office. Now he’s made it his mission to track Calla down and do whatever it takes to protect her.

Thanks to the phone call with Cage, Calla knows she’s formed a deep connection to a dangerous man. She quickly discovers that although he may live by a different set of rules, Cage is an honorable man who wants to be more than her protector—if only she can accept his dangerous lifestyle. But Calla comes to Skulls Creek with her own set of secrets…secrets that threaten to tear her and Cage—and the Vipers MC—apart. As they put their newfound love to the ultimate test, Cage will risk everything he cares about to save her.

I’m fascinated by this “joiner culture,” for lack of a better term. I was never a joiner. No sororities, no PTA, no motorcycle club. I’m an only child who has an only child. I joined the Romance Writers of America when I started getting serious about publishing, and my husband and I played many seasons on an over-25 co-ed soccer team—but otherwise, nada.

[Join us!]

May 29 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Kimberly Kincaid’s Gimme Some Sugar (June 3, 2014)

Kimberly Kincaid
Gimme Some Sugar (A Pine Mountain Novel)
Kensington / June 3, 2014 / $6.99 print, $5.99 digital

Desperate to escape the spotlight of her failed marriage to a fellow celebrity-chef, Carly di Matisse left New York City for a tiny town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The restaurant she's running these days may not be chic, but in Pine Mountain she can pretend to be the tough cookie everybody knows and loves. Until she finds herself spending too much time with a way-too-hot contractor whose rugged good looks melt her like butter...

Jackson Carter wasn't looking for love. But he's not the kind of man to walk away from a worksite—or from a fiery beauty whose passionate nature provides some irresistible on-the-job benefits...

It's the perfect temporary arrangement for two ravenous commitment-phobes—except that Jackson and Carly keep coming back for seconds...and thirds...and fourths...

My favorite subgenres in the romance world are suspense and contemporary. Whereas the racing heart in romantic suspense tends to come in the form of hulking, brooding Navy SEALs and terrorists kidnapping an ambassador’s daughter-turned-chemist bent on saving the world, I find that the ordinariness of a great contemporary hero can also make the heart go pitter-patter. Take, for example, Jackson Carter, carpenter extraordinaire and head hottie in the second book in Kimberly Kincaid’s Pine Mountain series, Gimme Some Sugar. Hellooooo tool belt.

[Who doesn't love a man good with his hands?...]

Mar 10 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Susan Meier’s Her Summer with the Marine (March 10, 2014)

Her Summer with the Marine by Susan Meier

Susan Meier
Her Summer with the Marine (A Donovan Brothers Novel)
Entangled Bliss / March 10, 2014 / $.99 digital

The last person Ellie McDermott wanted to run into after returning to her hometown is Finn Donovan, her high school nemesis and the guy she crossed the line from enemies to lovers with one night years ago. Now ex-military, tattooed, and still sexy as hell, Finn is a complication Ellie doesn’t need—she needs to concentrate on saving her family business.

Finn’s entire life, Ellie was there, going head-to-head with him in every class, bee, and test. So it’s no surprise she’d show up just as he was about to take over her father's struggling business. It is a surprise, though, that his attraction to her is even more explosive than it had been. Acting on their attraction is one thing, but Finn has to turn a profit to save his own family, and nothing—not even love—will get in his way.

Benjamin Franklin once said “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Half of that concept is important in Susan Meier’s new contemporary romance, Her Summer with the Marine.

[Ben Franklin—secret romance fan?...]

Feb 26 2014 3:00pm

First Look: Kimberly Kincaid’s Turn Up the Heat (March 4, 2014)

Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid

Kimberly Kincaid
Turn Up the Heat
Zebra / March 4, 2014 / $6.99 print / $5.99 digital

“It's not you.”

There are only so many times a girl can hear those words before she believes that it is, in fact, very much her. Unexpectedly jilted by her locally famous boyfriend and haunted by a boss who makes Attila the Hun look like a lap dog, Bellamy Blake does what any self-respecting girl in her shoes would do. She rounds up her two best girlfriends and makes plans to get the hell out of Dodge. . .

But Bellamy's escape plan takes a nose dive on the side of rural route 164 when her transmission self-destructs, leaving her in the middle of a cell phone dead zone with nothing but her wits. Oh, and Shane Griffin, the hottest mechanic who's ever checked under her hood.

Yet this small-town man isn't all he seems. Can Shane and Bellamy prove that sometimes the most unlikely ingredients make the most deliciously sexy mix?

If I had to describe Kimberly Kincaid’s contemporary romance, Turn Up the Heat, it would be: charming. Seriously, I smiled the whole time I read this story.

We are introduced to Bellamy Blake, a “real estate analyst for the second largest bank in Philadelphia” with a boss who “made Attila the Hun look like a lap dog.” And she’s having an epic bad week. First, she and her boyfriend break up … after she learns about his big move while he’s on the air (he’s a local anchorman).

[There are several Will Ferrell quotes that we're stifling right now...]

Feb 20 2014 12:00pm

Seducing, One Punch at a Time: Gina L. Maxwell’s Fighting for Love Series

Seducing Cinderella by Gina MaxwellI was born to have a boy.

When I was pregnant sixteen years ago I thought, “I hope I have a girl,” because I’d been a girl for 25 years. How did I know what to do with a boy? But when our son was born, I looked into his sweet little face and fell head-over-heels in love with him. And knew, with the clarity of a lightning bolt to the head, that I was born to have a boy. Over the years I’ve watched our friends with daughters and secretly sighed for the relatively drama-free, gonad-toting child of mine. Some might say it’s an abomination of my feminist outlook; I say it’s divine providence.

Perhaps that’s why I connect with romantic heroes a little easier than heroines on occasion. Take, for example, Gina Maxwell’s Fighting for Love series. It’s a rare series that is connected by the lives of the men AND the women, but here we’ve got two sets of siblings and three MMA fighters to keep it all in the family.

In the majority of romance, it’s the heroes who are flawed. I don’t know if it’s because romance is predominately written and read by women, or if men are inherently less complex in their emotions and more transparent to write, but the men are usually the half of the couple unwilling (or unable) to commit. But Maxwell has written a series that has, so far, managed to have remarkably flawed women. It’s a little hard to read, these whiny, guarded, high-maintenance, neurotic women. I like strong personalities—in men and women—that shoot from the hip, in life and in fiction, so I found myself siding with Maxwell’s guys. That’s the sign of a great writer, I think!

I read the first story in the series, Seducing Cinderella, last fall. But it wasn’t until I read all three back-to-back when I realized that Maxwell writes a fabulous alpha hero. These men are far from meat-headed fighting lugs; they are lush, layered, compelling, men brave enough to stick with women who attract them like fireflies to flame. Who knows if they’re just gluttons for punishment, or just remarkable enough to let the surface gruffness mellow over time; these men are worth your time. They love the women in their lives with abandon, and are happy to take the first step toward a happy future. Don’t you just love this genre?

[What's not to love...]

Feb 7 2014 4:43pm

First Look: Elle Kennedy’s As Hot As It Gets (February 11, 2014)

As Hot As It Gets by Elle KennedyElle Kennedy
As Hot As It Gets (Out of Uniform)
Samhain / February 11, 2014 / $5.50 digital

After watching his teammates settle down one by one, Navy SEAL Jackson Ramsey is ready to say goodbye to the single life. He’s even met a woman who intrigues him, challenges him, and turns him right on—Mia Weldrick, the funny and beautiful gardener he can’t wait to get to know better.

Except Mia isn’t interested in dating him, which means it’s time for Jackson to unleash his Texas charm and do some serious wooing.

With a teenage brother to raise, two jobs, and, frankly, a complete disinterest in sex, Mia has no room in her busy life for a six-foot-five SEAL with a naughty streak a mile wide. But one hot kiss from Jackson has her imagining all the dirty ways she could fit him in.

It isn’t long before their no-string fling transforms into something more. As desire unearths emotions and deeply buried secrets, Mia has to decide whether to give love a chance to grow, or let it slip it away.

Aside from a few years when my mom and I lived in Germany while my dad fought in the final vestiges of the Vietnam War, I’ve lived in the South, and I can attest to the hotness of our fellas. Could be it’s one of the reasons I really enjoyed Elle Kennedy’s latest installation of her Out of Uniform series, As Hot As It Gets.

[Bring on the hotness...]

Feb 6 2014 12:49pm

Long Flowing Hair, Big Hands, Leather Pants: The Science of Sleepy Hollow

Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane in Sleepy HollowIf you ever watched the television show Numbers, then you’re familiar with the notion that everything has a mathematical explanation or formula. If you read romance, then you know that relationships between characters can be boiled down to chemistr ... r science. Television shows, literature, bad pick up lines, interstate traffic flow, taxes: they’re all based on formulas.

My husband can calculate complex algorithms in his head, but he can’t grasp the simple chemistry between two characters that make romance stories so compelling to me. On the contrary, I’d rather pull out my eyeteeth than spend the afternoon decrypting a Caesar cypher, which holds him enthrall like a new Linda Howard book does for me. But guess what: at the end of the day, we both benefit from science…in the chemistry that holds us together like Forrest and Ginnay…like peas and carrots.

Over the holidays, my husband noticed a formula with the show Sleepy Hollow, drawing a correlation to the old Beauty and the Beast series that starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman—a sappier, more hairy version of Ron Perlman that we both prefer in the Sons of Anarchy. But that’s for another conversation. The mister speculated that the same type of viewer who watched Beauty and the Beast most likely LOVES Sleepy Hollow. The dark sets, brooding heroes, strong damsels in distress—it's like catnip for the romance group, the steampunk group the X-Files group, and the like. Who knew … Sleepy Hollow seems to bridge together a wide swath of viewers.

[The ties that bind...]

Dec 15 2013 2:00pm

First Look: Jaime Rush’s Dragon Awakened (December 17, 2013)

Dragon Awakened by Jaime RushJaime Rush
Dragon Awakened
Forever / December 17, 2013 / $6.00 print, $5.69 digital

They are the Hidden.
Not quite human. Far from normal.
And never, ever safe . . .

Ruby Salazaar wants answers . . . and revenge. Her uncle has just been murdered before her eyes and the name he utters with his final breath - Cyntag - leads Ruby into a world beyond her wildest imaginings. She soon learns that the dark, sexy Cyntag Valeron knows more about her than she does herself.

Ruby changed Cyn's life before she even knew who he was. Now she charges into his life, a beautiful woman full of fire and questions. Cyn knew this day would come, yet he couldn't foresee the danger - and desires - Ruby would bring with her. He can teach her how to harness her newly awakened powers. But there is one force neither of them can control . . .

Until I read Jaime Rush’s Dragon Awakened, the only dragons I could recall from pop culture were Smaug and the mindless animals in Reign of Fire (granted, the main draw for Reign of Fire is dirty, scruffy Gerard Butler and Christian Bale—but there are also dragons).

[And then this book happened...]

Nov 28 2013 1:00pm

Three’s Company, Too: Manageable Ménage a Trois

Strange Attractions by Emma HollyI’ve always been an impatient, slightly hyperactive person. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) wasn’t even on the public radar when I was a kid, so who knew if I would’ve been diagnosed then or if I developed a keen sense of multi-tasking years ago while working in marketing and having to actively manage two dozen projects at the same time…all at different phases. I think a little ADD goes a long way; it certainly helps you get a lot of things done at once.

But one area I’m certain, for me, is better left to one at a time is men. Despite my superior ability to mentally complete a thousand tasks, I only want one pair of arms to give me comfort at night. It’s also how I prefer my romances—except, on occasion, I do find myself skipping down the road less traveled: ménage a trois. And anytime I read them, I always wonder how in the hell the third partner resists the urge to go on a violent bender when the other two are having their turn.

Admittedly, most of my menages are of the Bordeaux blends, but on occasion I do like a little saucy reading. The bulk of ménage a trois in the romance genre tend to focus on multiple partners in a succession of steamy vignettes, rather than the traditional French translation of “household of three.” Sometimes a ménage a trois is considered a love triangle, sometimes a threesome. I think the love triangle is a little easier to read because there’s more of an emotional connection than “insert Tab A into Slot B…and Slot C.” But you’ll have to decide for yourself what’s good, and what’s good.

[Which reads would you recommend?...]

Sep 23 2013 9:15am

Shannon McKenna’s Hot Mess Heroes

“You don’t apologize much, do you?”
His eyebrow twitched. “Is it so obvious? I’m just being honest. When I’ve got you in bed, I don’t care about what’s polite. I go straight for the prize.”

I read Detective Jon Amendola’s scintillating rebuttal a couple of years ago on a flight to Toronto, and I can remember wanting to stand up and wave my hand, frantically, yelling “I’m a prize! I’m a prize!” But since my husband has always known that, and the fella who sat across the aisle would’ve likely called the flight attendant over to administer sleeping aids, I kept my cool.

That passage, along with the detective, is from one of Shannon McKenna’s novellas called Anytime, Anywhere, and epitomizes one of the elements I love about her stories: a hot mess hero. Yes, indeed, Detective Jon Amendola of the North Portland PD is a “tough, cynical, foul-mouthed, funny, and flat-out, drop dead gorgeous” dude. By now, “hot mess” is part of the mainstream colloquial, but in case you’re iffy on its meaning, Urban Dictionary defines it as “when ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.”

Speaking as a card-carrying feminist and assertive gal, there’s no way in hell I would ever consider one of McKenna’s hot messes as a viable mate—be it for an hour, a hot affair, or a lifetime commitment. But my reader-self would challenge Gloria Steinem to read these men as anything other than captivating … scorching … and as addictive as crack.

[Gotta keep reading, just one more page...]

Nov 29 2012 3:30pm

The Ups and Downs of Elevator Sex from Authors Sara Fawkes, E.L. James, and More!

Anything He Wants: Dominated by the Billionaire by Sara FawkesWhen I worked as a writer and producer for a television station's website, I was great friends with the managing editor. We kept a file of crazy news stories that we called our “re-enactment files,” which we’d break out on slow or sad news days when we needed a good laugh. Nothing soothes the spirit better than bad office theatre. But this story crossed the wire about Boy George being arrested for keeping some guy as a sort of sex slave, and we were torn. On the one hand, it was disturbing to think about Boy George keeping someone cuffed to the bed, but in the end, we added it to the file.

It opened a whole new topic of conversation for us, though, because the craziness was partly discovered because of a hidden camera. We both agreed that while there days when being single sounded fun, ultimately we’d always have to look over our shoulders for the hidden camera in the bookshelf. But for some folks, the thrill of discovery can be quite titillating. Take, for example, sex in an elevator.

Quickies are not a new thing, nor is voyeurism, but there have been a string of steamy romances with couples getting a rise out of their lifts.

Anything He Wants by Sara Fawkes
I was pleasantly surprised by the scintillating story of temp worker Lucy Delacourt’s evolution at Hamilton Industries. Much like the movie Indecent Proposal, Lucy finds herself in an uncompromising, yet very sexy, position with the mystery businessman who rides the elevator with her every morning. She’s always aware of him, but takes precautions lest he notice her staring. One morning, though, the cobra snares her, crowding her against the door when the rest of the elevator clears out.

[Then the real fun begins...]

Nov 20 2012 12:15pm

First Look: Sara Fawkes’s Anything He Wants (November 27, 2012)

Anything He Wants: Dominated by the Billionaire by Sara FawkesSara Fawkes
Anything He Wants
St. Martin's Griffin / November 27, 2012 / $14.99 print, $9.99 digital

Lucy Delacourt's temp position isn't quite her dream job but it pays the bills. The highlight of her day is riding the elevator in the mornings with a handsome stranger. Tall, dark, and sexy as hell, Lucy knows he's way out of her league, but a girl can look, right? 

Everything changes the day the stranger seduces her. Completely out of character, she yields without a fight, but she has no idea her wanton acts with a man whose name she doesn't know will change her life forever. Because the sexy stranger is none other than Jeremiah Hamilton, billionaire CEO of Hamilton Industries, and one taste isn't nearly enough to satisfy his need.  As the billionaire pulls Lucy deeper into his world of high stakes business deals and ruthless takeovers, he demands nothing less than her complete surrender. But even as enemies seek deadly revenge against him, she’ll discover that her greatest threat is falling for her fiercely guarded boss…and yielding to her own darkest needs.

Releasing novels in serial form is not a new concept. It started in the 17th century, but was really at its height in the 19th century in England. Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Hardy, and Charles Dickens serialized novels during the Victorian period, as did Stephen King with The Green Mile in the 1990s. But I’m an immediate satisfaction kind of gal, so I find the serial novel to be very anxiety-inducing.

Thankfully, by the time I discovered new-to-me author Sara Fawkes and her serial erotic romance, Anything He Wants, the fifth (and final) installation was releasing so I didn’t have to wait.

[And now the full story's out in paperback for our glomming pleasure...]

Oct 23 2012 2:30pm

Short and Sweet (and Hot!): Novellas from Lori Foster, Shannon McKenna, and More!

SEAL of My Dreams AnthologyI didn’t really begin reading romances until after I’d been out of college for a few years. With my literature degree in writing and editing, I’d read my share of novels, but there’s a point during the curriculum where reading changes from pleasure to pressure. And then I discovered novellas.

In the span of my crazy, busy life, novellas gave me the passion-filled, hopeful stories I craved on my multi-tasking-addled advertising brain. When I had more time, I invested in full-length novels; but during the week when there was only time for quickies, I voraciously consumed novellas. They were a great way to introduce me to a ton of new authors.

In the years since, I’ve cultivated and expanded my tastes, and have a great method for finding new authors and titles. But I still love novellas. My favorite books to purchase for my e-reading are novellas, because the faster-paced story is the perfect match for readers on the go. Here are some great stories and authors to get you started … I’m starting with some newer authors and following it up with some oldies but goodies.

[Novella recommendations? Don't mind if I do...]

Oct 21 2012 10:30am

It’s Those Same Agents Again!: Catherine Coulter’s (Too?) Long-Running FBI Series

The Cove by Catherine CoulterIt’s a good thing there are so many subgenres of romance, because the industry certainly tailors to the notion of having something for everyone. Like many of us, I read voraciously and am in constant search of new authors. I’ve read myself out of my local library, and have to walk a fine line with my soul mate on how many books I buy each month (digitally and in print) so it won’t “put us in the poor house.” And because I read so much, I find that I really like a different storyline each time. A series is a real emotional investment that I don’t always have time to give. Short series appeal to me, and I much prefer series tie-ins that make allusion to previous characters rather than focusing so heavily on involving them, again, in another book. A great example of this tangent-style series is Avery Flynn’s Layton Family series. Love her wit and voice, and love her sparingly off-handed mentions of characters past. But Flynn’s tangent style is not necessarily the norm.

I was new to romantic suspense when I read Catherine Coulter’s The Cove, and I scooped the next book in the series, The Maze when it came out. We’re introduced to FBI agent Dillon Savich in The Cove, but he really begins to shine in the follow-up. He also bucks the system and falls in love with one of his agents, Lacey Sherlock. I can remember thinking, at the time, “Way to go, Savich… standing up for love like that.”

[Savich is the MAN...]

Sep 28 2012 4:00pm

“As You Wish”: Great Lines in Movies and Romance Novels

Jerry MaguireWhen I was a kid, my mother and I had the regular habit of going to Sunday matinees after church. Then when I was in college, I worked at a video store during summer and holiday breaks, as did my husband. Between the three of us, we can quote thousands of movie lines. My favorites are comedies from the '80s and '90s.

I can watch a good movie over and over, just as I can read a good book over and over. My paperback books are well-worn, and well loved. I’ve even had to buy second copies of some of my favorites, specifically Julie Garwood’s The Prize, Peter Mayle’s Anything Considered, and Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect. It's money well spent.

But if you’re like me, you can identify great books from a couple lines of text—or, at the very least, a couple great lines are enough to whet your appetite for more. Let’s test out that theory with a couple of movies first.

[What's in a line?...]