<i>Just Married</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Just Married: Exclusive Excerpt Jenna Bayley-Burke "He rubbed his hands together as he looked for her, tense with anticipation." <i>Balance</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Balance: Exclusive Excerpt Lucia Franco "His gaze openly traveled the length of my body, taking in every inch." <i>Steady Stroke</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Steady Stroke: Exclusive Excerpt A. M. Arthur "Will they let their fears control them or take a chance on something real?" <i>The Devil's Bedpost</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Devil's Bedpost: Exclusive Excerpt Lena Hart "Sometimes you have to face the devil with a demon..."
From The Blog
August 29, 2016
Just How Naughty Were Those Regency Balls, Anyway?
Vanessa Kelly
August 26, 2016
You Don't Say: Comments That Made Our Week
Team H & H
August 26, 2016
Friday Beefcake: A Love Letter to Aldis Hodge
Team H & H
August 26, 2016
5 Reasons to Watch Victoria
Naz Keynejad
August 26, 2016
August 2016 Unusual Historical Best Bets
Wendy the Super Librarian
Showing posts by: Janet Webb click to see Janet Webb's profile
Tue
Aug 9 2016 4:00pm

First Look: Joanna Wylde’s Reaper’s Fire (August 9, 2016)

Reaper's Fire by Joanna Wylde

Joanna Wylde 
Reaper's Fire (Reapers Motorcycle Club #6)
Berkley / August 9, 2016 / $16.00 print, $5.99 digital

Where’s a GIF when I need one? I’m on fire for Reaper’s Fire and I knew that I would be. The glimpse we got of Tinker Garrett and Gage Cooper in Reaper’s Fall (Reapers #5) was a tantalizing taste of this incendiary couple but it wasn’t nearly enough.

The Reapers strip club manager, Gage Cooper, is on assignment in Hallies Falls, Washington. His job is to go undercover and infiltrate a rogue motorcycle club, and he needs a believable cover story and a place to live. He sees an ad that looks promising.

Handyman needed for family-owned building—free rent in exchange for work. Call Tinker Garrett or inquire inside Tinker’s Teahouse, Antiques & Fine Chocolates for more information.

Joanna Wylde’s internal monologues are the best in the business. Gage is in a “speciality tea shit” store with “an old-fashioned cash register straight out of Little House on the Prairie. Probably the proprietor is a blue-haired dame pushing eighty. Ah, no. Gage hears a “sexy, drawling voice” and just like that, his “cock is on high alert.”

Long, slender fingers tipped with bright red polish reached up to grip the countertop for support as the hottest, most fuckable woman I’d ever met in my life stood up and smiled at me. Yeah, this had been a bad idea.

[Unrequited lust ahead...]

Wed
Aug 3 2016 9:30am

If You Like Suzanne Brockmann’s Ken Karmody, Read M.L. Buchman

Heart Strike by M.L. Buchman

Heart Strike  by M.L. Buchman gave me a Suzanne Brockmann sexy-geek Ken Karmody Out of Control vibe. As fans of military-thriller authors like Marie Force, Suz Brockmann, and Anne Calhoun know, there is a perennial audience for well-written, heart-gripping military romances. Making this a thoroughly twenty-first century tale, the women warriors of Delta Force are supremely talented and capable. It is worth noting,

On Memorial Day, 2016 CNN posted: This Memorial Day is the first in which the ban on women in ground combat is history…And the first women to graduate from Army Ranger School last year have now become part of the new old guard.

Delta Force warrior Richie Goldman is a Beta Kenny for a new generation. An integral member of the tight Columbia-based Delta Force team, Richie is perceptive, and low-key, especially in how he interacts with the ladies. But he notices couples who really seem to have it going on, like his teammates Kyle and Carla, and wishes for that too. Buchman’s Target Engaged, the first of the Delta Force series, introduced readers to this dynamic couple, particularly Carla. Richie agrees, finding her to be,

Amazing, beautiful, and incredible…but intense. And Kyle and Carla’s relationship was like that too. Richie had never seen anything like it, had never imagined it was possible. When the two of them were together, the day became brighter.

[Read more...]

Mon
Aug 1 2016 2:30pm

First Look: Jade Lee’s As Rich as a Rogue (August 2, 2016)

 As Rich as a Rogue by Jade Lee

Jade Lee
As Rich as a Rogue (Rakes and Rogues #3)
Sourcebooks Casablanca / August 2, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital

What we think we know versus the truth: isn’t that at the crux of many absorbing romances? As Rich as a Rogue has the rollicking feel of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, although like the relationship of combative Kate and her Petruchio, Mari and Peter share many tender, poignant moments.

But not immediately! Mari blames Peter for all her misfortunes in the Ton, and his six-year absence in India have not made her heart grow fonder. One night at a party Mari hears a murmur that grows into a roar. What could be the cause?

“There’s no need…” Mari began, but the men finally parted enough for her to see the object of their adoration. “Winner,” she whispered, dread lodging in her throat. Of course it was him. The one man who always won, making her the woman who lost.

[A wayward romance...]

Sat
Jul 23 2016 11:00am

First Look: Jaci Burton’s Don’t Let Go (July 26, 2016)

Don't Let Go by Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton
Don't Let Go (Hope #6)
Jove / July 26, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital

By their wares shall you know them? Megan’s pastries and Brady’s bikes are superlative manifestations of their passions and talents. Unfortunately, the undeniably gorgeous and sensitive Brady is a reluctant suitor. He’s haunted by memories of his dead brother in his hometown of Hope, Oklahoma. What will it take for Brady to break out of his self-imposed prison of work and loneliness?

Brady is isolated and glad to be so. But bakery owner Megan seems determined to break through his cone of silence. Her weapon of choice: fresh-baked goodies, accompanied by fresh-brewed coffee. As she says to Brady,

“Okay, I make a really great cup of coffee. I’m surprised you haven’t come into the bakery, since it’s so close to the auto shop. Most everyone who works around here pops in.”

It’s impossible for Brady to ignore the force that is Megan. He thinks to himself, “Man, she could really talk. He’d noticed that the couple of times they’d been together in social situations.” Conversation is something that Brady has really missed.

[Read more...]

Tue
Jun 21 2016 9:30am

First Look: Tiffany Reisz’s The Bourbon Thief (June 28, 2016)

The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz
The Bourbon Thief
MIRA / June 28, 2016 / $15.99 print, $8.99 digital

Rarely does a title so completely describe a plot and yet disguise the complex tale that lies behind.  The opening scene is straight out of an old-fashioned crime noir.

There wasn’t much in the world Cooper McQueen cared about more than a good bourbon. In his forty-five years, not one single beautiful woman had managed to persuade him to set down his drink and leave it down. But when the woman in the red dress walked into his bar—a gift from the gods tied in a tight red bow—McQueen decided he might have seen the one woman on earth who could turn even him into a teetotaler. Her dress was tight as old Scrooge’s fist, red as Rudolph’s nose, and looking at her, McQueen had only one thought—Christmas had come awfully early this year.

Millionaire distiller Cooper McQueen overhears “Miss Christmas” ask bartender Maddie for a bourbon that stumps her—Red Thread. He inserts himself into the conversation.

[Bourbon, neat...]

Sun
Jun 19 2016 10:00am

Like Father, Like Son: When Historical Heroes and Their Sons Get Books from Heyer and Laurens

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree when it comes to heroic dads and their next-generation sons. The romance community exploded in delight when Lisa Kleypas announced that her follow-up book to Marrying Winterborne would be Devil in Spring. Could the hero really be Gabriel, the son of Sebastian, the Devil in Winter, and his wife Evie? You got it. What could be more fabulous?

Father’s Day is an excellent time to explore the eternal fascination we have with fathers and sons.

 

Georgette Heyer's Avon/Vidal

Most famous: Georgette Heyer’s Avon (These Old Shades) and Vidal (Devil’s Cub). No one ever expected the dazzling, somewhat sinister, Duke of Avon to marry. His romantic reputation was legendary. But almost from the moment he spots a red-haired urchin, Léon aka Léonie, she has his heart. She begs him to marry her, but he is reluctant to lay his soiled heart at her feet. He tells her,

“You have seen perhaps the best of me; you have not seen the worst. Infant, you are worthy of a better husband. I would give you a boy who might come to you with a clean heart, not one who was bred up in vice from his cradle.”

One large tear glistened on the end of her lashes.

“Ah, Monseigneur, you need not have told me this! I know—I have always known, and still I love you. I do not want a boy. I want only—Monseigneur.”

“Léonie, you will do well to consider. You are not the first woman in my life.”

She smiled through her tears.

“Monseigneur, I would so much rather be the last woman than the first,” she said.

[Of fathers and sons...]

Tue
Jun 14 2016 4:30pm

First Look: Nora Roberts’ Bay of Sighs (June 14, 2016)

Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts
Bay of  
Sighs (The Guardians Trilogy #2)
Berkley / June 14, 2016 / $17.00 print, $11.99 digital

The new Guardians Trilogy novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stars of Fortune.

To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…

Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star. 

Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground...

And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human.

Annika is a heroine like no other. No Disney princess Little Mermaid, Annika may be untutored in the ways of the human world, but she is brimming with curiosity and courage. Courage is desperately needed as six compatriots attempt to mesh their unique qualities and abilities in a race to stop Nerezza, their vicious enemy, from capturing three magical stars.

Armchair travelers will enjoy being transported to the gorgeous island of Capri, the setting of  Nora RobertsBay of Sighs. Traveler Sawyer King invites Annika to revel in the beauty of the Italian island.

[Can we come, too?]

Fri
Jun 3 2016 2:00pm

Back to the Future with Nancy Scanlon’s An Enchanted Spring (May 24, 2016)

Nancy Scanlon continues the timebending saga she began with The Winter Laird, pulling heroes and villains alike through the portals of time to help save their futures and find their truest loves.

A twist of fate has left Aidan MacWilliam, younger brother of a medieval Irish laird, trapped in the future. Though he’s become a successful entrepreneur in the twenty-first century, Aidan still can’t banish thoughts of the world he left behind. In search of distraction, he heads to New York to scout a publicity manager for his cousin’s matchmaking firm, Celtic Connections.

Emmaline Perkins is the perfect candidate. A PR expert and closet medievalist, Emma has always put work before her social life. When her ex-fiancé resurfaces and threatens her livelihood, her home, and ultimately her safety, a new client proposes an offer she can’t refuse—a job, travel, and security.

[Three important things!]

Tue
May 31 2016 9:30am

First Look: Madeline Hunter’s The Wicked Duke (May 31, 2016)

The Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter

Madeline Hunter
The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3)
Jove / May 31, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

When a book is entitled The Wicked Duke, the savvy reader knows from the outset that the duke is going to have some moves. There’s never been a wicked duke who didn’t know his way around the female form. From the get-go, Marianne Radley is transformed from a dubious, suspicious bride to a willing wanton by the caresses of her ducal mate.

With a few deft moves he had her completely naked. His embrace encompassed her so she felt his skin against hers. Shock after wonderful shock stole her breath when his hands moved freely over all of her. He deprived her of the remnants of modesty. Each relinquishment of privacy spun a denser cocoon of furious pleasure. Inside it she experienced an intimacy that awed her.

But this is putting the cart before the horse. The Wicked Duke is the concluding book in Madeline Hunter’s Wicked Trilogy. It isn’t necessary to have read the preceding books to enjoy The Wicked Duke, although they seem very appealing, given the repartee between the duke and his brothers and their wives.

[It's a family affair...]

Fri
May 27 2016 9:30am

First Look: Laura Trentham’s Kiss Me That Way (May 31, 2016)

Kiss Me That Way by Laura Trentham

Laura Trentham
Kiss Me That Way (Cottonbloom #1)
St. Martin's Press / May 31, 2016 / $5.99 print & digital

In Laura Trentham's Kiss Me That Way, a river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy in Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?

[Hopefully not!]

Thu
May 26 2016 10:00am

First Look: Jennifer Probst’s Everywhere and Every Way (May 31, 2016)

Everwhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst
Everywhere and Every Way (Billionaire Builders #1)
Gallery / May 31, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital

Raise your hand if watching HGTV is a must, not a maybe . . . and the reason is the hunky, creative, passionate, talented hosts of their most popular shows. You know who I’m talkin’ about—Drew and Jonathan, The Property Brothers, lead the way. Come to think of it, contractors, carpenters, property developers, and renovators have graced the pages of many a romance. Think of hammer yielding hunks like Declan Fitzgerald in Nora RobertsMidnight Bayou and don’t forget her latest: the Montgomery brothers—Beckett, Ryder, and Owen—in her Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy.  And who could forget the latest sexy, uber-competent contractor on the block: Kristen Ashley's Deke Hightower, the man who gets it done for Justice in Bounty. Men who can transform a woman’s surroundings by giving her the walk-in closet and in-house spa of her dreams never go out of style.

[Not at all...]

Sun
May 15 2016 10:00am

Once Upon a Dream by Mary Balogh & Grace Burrowes: A Regency Vacation Read

Once Upon a Dream by Mary Balogh and Grace BurrowesMary Balogh and Grace Burrowes clearly enjoyed creating these charming summer sojourns.

Some of Balogh’s most beloved novellas feature children who have lost a parent, and “Another Dream” likewise introduces a sister and a brother who want a new mother.

Burrowes is famous for plots that careen between hysteria (often animal induced) and pathos. Anne Faraday, the heroine of “The Duke of My Dreams” is a complex, capable woman who is desperate for the warmth and relaxation that a magical house party—and a special man—could provide.

While traveling to visit her sister Christine, the beloved Duchess of Bewcastle from Slightly Dangerous, Eleanor Thompson’s trip is interrupted by a storm. At the inn where she takes shelter, she meets two children, Georgie and her younger brother Robbie. As an experienced educator and loving aunt, Eleanor is innately respectful of children’s individual personalities. When precocious, talkative Georgette invades her tea parlor, Eleanor invites her to stay. Shy Robert also feels comfortable whispering a few words to Eleanor.

[Awww...]

Wed
May 4 2016 9:30am

Imagine This... “Celebrity Encounters Starring You”

Imagines by Anna Todd et al.

Anna Todd (#1 internationally bestselling author of the After series) headlines this unique anthology of “imagines”—the first book of its kind—stories from Wattpad writers that immerse you in a fantasy world of fame, adventure, and flirtation with your favorite celebrities.

Imagine running around the city, dodging paparazzi with Jennifer Lawrence…

Imagine Justin Bieber setting up a romantic scavenger hunt for your anniversary, retelling the story of your love…

Imagine selfies have been outlawed, making Kim Kardashian a freedom fighter who needs your help in bringing justice and good lighting to the people…

Let your fantasies take over! That’s what the top Wattpad authors have done in this special collection of fictional scenarios that bring you up close and personal with the real celebrities you love—star alongside Zayn Malik, Cameron Dallas, Kanye West, Selena Gomez, Dylan O’Brien, Tom Hardy, Jamie Dornan, Benedict Cumberbatch, and many more!

Authors included in the book are Leigh Ansell, Rachel Aukes, Doeneseya Bates, Scarlett Drake, A. Evansley, Kevin Fanning, Ariana Godoy, Debra Goelz, Bella Higgin, Blair Holden, Kora Huddles, Annelie Lange, E. Latimer, Bryony Leah, Jordan Lynde, Laiza Millan, Peyton Novak, C.M. Peters, Michelle Jo Quinn, Dmitri Ragano, Elizabeth A. Seibert, Rebecca Sky, Karim Soliman, Kate J. Squires, Steffanie Tan, Kassandra Tate, Anna Todd, Katarina E. Tonks, Marcella Uva, Tango Walker, Bel Watson, Jen Wilde, and Ashley Winters.

Wattpad is a writing community in which users are able to post articles, stories, fanfiction, and poems about anything either online or through the Wattpad app.

Note: Although this book mentions many real celebrities, they have not participated in, authorized, or endorsed its creation.

For folks who aren’t familiar with Wattpad, it’s been called a YouTube for writers. Users are “able to post articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems” … and readers are invited to comment as the creative projects unfold. Imagines is a cornucopia of choices—writers who span the globe, sharing their imaginative encounters with celebrities young and old, male and female, in vastly different settings. The scope is huge and the approaches are varied.

[Here's your chance to be Jennifer Lawrence's BFF...]

Tue
Apr 26 2016 5:00pm

First Look: Susan Mallery’s Best of My Love (April 26, 2016)

Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery
Best of My Love (Fool’s Gold #20) 
HQN Books / April 26, 2016 / $8.99 print, $6.99 digital

Can a man and a woman just be friends? And that doesn’t mean “friends with benefits.” Aiden and Shelby have every reason to get off the dating treadmill: Aiden because he’s been accurately labeled as the town hound dog, and more importantly, he’s learned that his carefree approach to dating transient tourists has caused pain to more than his reputation. An old flame returned to see him and Aiden couldn’t remember her name. As he tells Shelby,

“I didn’t like what I saw in her face. I’m sorry I hurt her. I’m sorry I’ve become that kind of guy. I want to do better. I have to change. I never meant to hurt anybody. That was the point. No one was supposed to get hurt.”

Shelby doesn’t trust men. She has horrific memories of her brutal father which have left her unable to lower her guard with men who might be romantic partners for her. Given that she wants to get married some day and have children, she has to conquer her fear of men before dating again.

Aiden and Shelby are two of the most organized protagonists ever. Aiden runs a year-round outdoor adventure program that caters to novices and outdoor experts alike. It may seem relaxed and spontaneous to participants, but Aiden is a careful, cautious, hands-on CEO. Likewise baker Shelby lives on a tight schedule, getting up early every day to produce delicious treats for her appreciative fans in town.

[Can two type-A personalities make it work? ...]

Mon
Apr 25 2016 4:45pm

First Look: Stephanie Laurens’ A Buccaneer at Heart (April 26, 2016)

A Buccaneer at Heart by Stephanie Laurens

Stephanie Laurens 
A Buccaneer at Heart (The Adventurers Quartet #2)
Mira / April 26, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.49 digital

After a decade leading diplomatic voyages and covert missions for the Crown, Captain Robert Frobisher decides that establishing a home—with hearth and wife—should be his next challenge. But when an urgent summons arrives, Robert puts his wishes aside and agrees to set sail immediately. His goal is clear: get to Freetown, determine the location of a slavers' camp and return to London with the information.

In Freetown, Miss Aileen Hopkins is determined to find her brother Will, a naval lieutenant who has mysteriously disappeared, and she will not allow anyone to turn her from her path. But all too quickly, that path grows dark and dangerous. And then Robert Frobisher appears and attempts to divert her in more ways than one.

Joining forces with Aileen, Robert vows to complete his mission and secure the woman he wants as his wife. Compelled to protect the innocent and bring retribution to a heartless enemy, they plunge into the jungle with only each other to rely on, and with the courage of their hearts as their guide.

Imagine you’re playing Stephanie Laurens’ BINGO. A guaranteed cover for a BINGO square is the entrance on the page of a duke. A duke’s pervasive, persuasive influence and implicit power, almost always presages a request (from the duke) and acquiescence (from whomever the duke is inveigling). So it is no wonder that when Captain Robert Frobisher, newly returned to London and taking his ease in Piccadilly, spots a black carriage, “premonition swept cool fingers across his nape.” The gentleman who steps out of his carriage “with languid grace” is His Grace, the Duke of Wolverstone. Wolverstone, a.k.a. Dalziel, and Viscount Melville, First Lord of the Admiralty, waylay Frobisher in order to ask him to assist the government with a troublesome situation in Africa. Says Melville,

[Says what... says what?!]

Mon
Apr 11 2016 1:30pm

First Look: Nora Roberts’s The Obsession (April 12, 2016)

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts
The Obsession 
Berkley / April 12, 2016 / $28.00 print, $14.99 digital

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

If there’s a quality shared by romance readers from every side, it’s an obsession with prolific doyenne of romance, Nora Roberts. If she were English, it’s a guarantee we’d be tipping our hats or curtseying to Dame Nora, so, without further ado, I give you The Obsession by La Nora.

[Let's obsess over this new Roberts ...]

Tue
Apr 5 2016 4:30pm

First Look: Maggie McGinnis’s Heart Like Mine (April 5, 2016)

Heart Like Mine by Maggie McGinnis

Maggie McGinnis
Heart Like Mine (Echo Lake #2)
St. Martin's Press / April 5, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital

Delaney Blair loves her job at Echo Lake's Mercy Hospital, where she's developed a reputation for being smart, fair, and driven. When she's assigned to cut funding, she has to temporarily relocate her office, put on borrowed scrubs, and go toe-to-toe with Dr. Joshua Mackenzie, the interim head of the pediatrics department. His killer smile and rock-star body are distractions Delaney could do without, but she's determined to stay focused while she brings his budget into line. It's not working.

Beloved by his colleagues and patients alike, Josh is too busy caring for sick kids to talk numbers with the sexy, stiletto-clad Delaney. Every time they talk business, tensions run high…but so does a powerful attraction neither of them can ignore. When an emergency brings Mercy to its knees, Delaney and Josh must work together to save lives. But can they also find a way into each other's hearts?

A Heart Like Mine by Maggie McGinnis has a bedrock realism that permeates its pages. Perhaps it’s the rural Vermont setting, or maybe the undeniable difficulties small town hospitals are experiencing these days. UST (unresolved sexual tension) is present from the first moment financial executive Delaney Blair meets with Dr. Joshua Mackenzie but so is the elephant in the room: the proposed budget cuts to the Mercy hospital pediatrics department Delaney is asked to develop. This was never going to be easy.

Such was the fate of small-town hospitals everywhere, but in rural Vermont, it was even more pronounced. With Boston—and its corral of high-powered hospitals—sitting mere hours away, wealthier, well-insured patients could chose to drive the extra hours for care. That left smaller hospitals like Mercy picking up emergencies and fighting for dollars from a rural population that struggled to make ends meet.

[Let's roll around with these numbers ...]

Sun
Apr 3 2016 1:30pm

First Look: Joan Wolf’s The Reluctant Earl (April 5, 2016)

The Reluctant Earl by Joan Wolf

Joan Wolf
The Reluctant Earl
Ten Talents Press / April 5, 2016 / $3.99 digital

The Reluctant Earl is the story of Claire and Simon, who desperately want to get married despite all the obstacles that stand in their way. Their biggest hurdle is the fact that Simon is the son and heir of the Earl of Welbourne, while Claire is the daughter of the earl’s Irish horse trainer. The youngsters are keenly aware that their parents would violently oppose such an unequal union—which is precisely why they never confide in those parents.

Then there is Simon’s father, who, for reasons Simon has never understood, clearly hates his son. Then there is the mystery of Simon’s mother’s death, and the fact that he has never met a single member of her family. Then a miracle happens - Simon learns about a trust fund left to him in his mother’s marriage settlement.

Once the money is in his pocket, Simon and Claire decide to elope; and the simmering pot that is Welbourne Abbey and its inhabitants explodes.

A new Regency story by Joan Wolf is always a cause for celebration—how much more so when the plot mirrors one of Wolf’s most beloved stories, A London Season, published in 1981. It has been 35 years since Lady Jane Fitzmaurice fell in love with her childhood friend David Chance. Like Claire’s father Liam O’Rourke, David is a gifted horse trainer. In both The Reluctant Earl and A London Season, childhood friends and horse-mad companions naturally, seamlessly fall in love, totally focused on each other and their future.

Here are Claire and Simon as adolescents, viewed through Liam O’Rourke’s eyes.

[Joan Wolf is back with a childhood love story ...]

Thu
Mar 31 2016 2:30pm

First Look: Jo Beverley’s The Viscount Needs a Wife (April 5, 2016)

The Viscount Needs a Wife by Jo Beverley

Jo Beverley
The Viscount Needs a Wife (Company of Rogues #17)
Signet / April 5, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital

Since being widowed two years ago, Kitty Cateril has been trapped in her late husband's home, where she is expected to mourn forever. Desperate to escape, Kitty will consider any option—even a hasty marriage to a stranger with no intention of abandoning his bachelor ways.

London life suits Beau Braydon, especially his work keeping Britain safe. So when he inherits the title of Viscount Dauntry, he has no intention of resettling on a rural estate. He can’t resist the opportunity to marry a sensible widow who can manage Beauchamp Abbey for him—until he realizes Kitty is more than he bargained for...

Before Kitty and Dauntry can adjust to each other, a threat to the royal family takes them to London. Soon someone is determined to prevent Dauntry from exposing the villain, and secrets in Kitty's past threaten their growing love...

It is a testament to Jo Beverley’s maturity as a writer—perhaps bolstered by the certitude that her appreciative readership will follow where she leads—that her characters move in and around the aristocracy without necessarily aspiring to be a part of it. Beverley’s Rogue World has always included gentlemen whose names ends with esquire, even if they mostly have antecedents in the Upper Ten Thousand. Her Rogues run the gamut of horse-mad squires on bucolic estates to high-flying urbanites on the London scene.

[The return of the Rogue ...]

Sun
Feb 21 2016 1:00pm

Love Like the Movies in Cassie Mae’s No Interest in Love

No Interest in Love by Cassie Mae

If there’s a sure-fire romantic comedy trope, it’s the road trip. It comes complete with shared skuzzy bedrooms in flea-trap motels, money difficulties, hard-fast deadlines that have to be met, and, most importantly, a seemingly incompatible couple thrown together and forced to make the best of it. No Interest in Love, the second in Cassie Mae’s All About Love series, references movies and television shows, particularly Neil Patrick Harris’s How I Met Your Mother. The fast paced story, which unfolds during a grueling cross-country marathon from LA to Alabama, highlights Mae’s deft use of modern slang and social mores to underpin her characters’ inner dialog and concerns.

No Interest in Love is Jace’s story, and the reader follows and comes to understand the world through his POV. High school is a trial for most people, but it is almost unendurable for a dyslexic teenager. When Jace overhears Sonya, the object of his fifteen-year-old desires, and the person who reads out loud to him, put him down to her friends, he crafts an original, impenetrable blueprint for life.

I turned on to How I Met Your Mother, and the particular episode playing, “The Playbook,” became the foundation to my life’s goals.

See, I was a scrawny teenager who couldn’t read and so I was an asshole to everyone because they couldn’t possibly understand. After seeing that episode, I started jotting down my own Playbook—a list of “characters” I can choose to be whenever the hell I want. I was the smart nerd one day, a football player the next, the mysterious artistic dude or the obnoxious clown. My life became a movie, and everyone in it became actors in a script with constant plot twists. Instead of Mr. Scrawny Extra, I became Mr. Kickass Lead.

[A sexy book with the perfect pair ...]