<i>Burn Down the Night</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Burn Down the Night: Exclusive Excerpt M. O'Keefe "His hand was practically burning a hole through my hoodie..." <i>The Theory of Deviance</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Theory of Deviance: Exclusive Excerpt Rebecca Grace Allen "His cheeks went hot at her censure." <i>A Promise of Fire</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Promise of Fire: Exclusive Excerpt Amanda Bouchet "My chest deflates as I exhale the breath I was holding." <i>The CEO Daddy Next Door</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The CEO Daddy Next Door: Exclusive Excerpt Karen Booth "Before she could take a breath, he claimed his kiss."
From The Blog
July 28, 2016
Kidnap the President's Daughter? NBD in Hell Breaks Loose
JohnJacobson
July 27, 2016
The (Many?) Lovers of Mr. Spock
Maggie Boyd
July 27, 2016
Humiliation Kink in Erotic Romance
TamsenParker
July 26, 2016
The Pros and Cons of Falling in Love with a Fellow Soldier
Nico Rosso
July 25, 2016
J.D. Robb & Anne Rice Excerpts Ahoy!
Heather Waters and Jennifer Proffitt
Showing posts by: Janet Webb click to see Janet Webb's profile
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 ...]

Wed
Feb 10 2016 10:30am

Mary Balogh’s Husbands with Mistresses: I Now Pronounce You Man and Mistress

A Masked Deception by Mary Balogh

What could be more anathema in a Regency romance than a husband with a mistress? Is it even worth asking “can this marriage be saved?” Boiling in oil is probably too good for these dastardly spouses. But yet, in the hands of immensely talented writers like Mary Balogh and Edith Layton, these couples can be nuanced and redeemed, eventually reaching the promised land of a believable happily ever after. In order to take a good look at these miscreants and their mistresses and wives, naturally, there will be spoilers galore, so be warned.

A Masked Deception, Balogh’s first book, introduces us to Richard Adair’s serene wife Margaret, who seduces her husband, the befuddled Earl of Brampton, wearing a sexy French coquette costume (and he is none the wiser). Richard doesn’t do much except grouse and grizzle (which does not take away from the fact I LOVE all these books!). Admittedly, he’s torn to pieces between his love for his saucy will o’ the wisp French mistress and his gentle wife. He breaks it off with his French angel and retreats to his country estate.

He had arrived at the Brampton Court desperate with unhappiness over the loss of his angel and almost cursing his fate that had held her from him until it was it was too late for them to let their love grow openly. He had found it difficult to accept his wife’s quiet, uncomplaining presence in his life. He had kept his distance from her, in an effort not to inflict his own unhappiness and ill-humor on her...Only in his saner moments did he admit that what had happened was inevitable. There was no other alternative.

But when his mother strings him a line about his Margaret being off *cough cough* with his friend, it finally wakes him up to how he feels.

[Strained marriages and the husband's other woman ...]

Mon
Feb 8 2016 6:00pm

Can You Go Home Again in Marilyn Pappano’s A Chance of a Lifetime?

A Chance Of A Lifetime by Marilyn Pappano

A Chance of a Lifetime is firmly embedded in the soil and soul of Oklahoma. Calvin Street grew up there, surrounded by family and friends, particularly his best buddy J’Myel and their childhood friend Benita. Broken, bleeding, beset by the demons of war, Calvin is sent to Fort Murphy to recover from his mental wounds.

Just past the guard shack stood a statue of the post’s namesake, Audie Murphy, the embodiment of two things Oklahomans valued greatly: cowboys and war heroes. Despite being scrawny black kids and not knowing a damn thing about horses, he and J’Myel had wanted to be Audie when they grew up.

At least they’d managed the war hero part, according to the awards they’d been given.

They say you can’t go home again. What about memories, recollections, pivotal days? Calvin’s concerned, caring family persuades him to leave Fort Murphy briefly and come home for a family dinner. Calvin is stricken with grief when he looks at the portraits and candid shots covering the walls, especially one picture.

[It's a throwback...]

Sat
Feb 6 2016 5:00pm

Love Has No Rules in Jill Sorenson’s Against the Wall

Against The Wall by Jill Sorenson

The eternal allure of the bad boy, especially a bad boy trying his damnedest to make good, is a trope that never falls out of fashion. Eric Hernandez is coldly analytical about the restrictions imposed on his life after being released from prison. He’s not exactly “free” because of the rules and regulations that govern his choices every day. Where he lives, what he does, with whom he associates … it’s all codified. What isn’t controllable is the feeling he has for the one person that is imbedded in his heart, Meghan Young. When his sister April and her husband Noah throw a welcome-home party after his release, Meghan is on Eric’s mind.

Meghan won’t be happy to see me. The last time I saw her, when she’d visited the jail where I was processed, I said a lot of nasty things to her. I said she was an easy lay, that I’d had better, that I didn’t care for her.

Lies.

Noah doesn’t seem mad at me for disrespecting his little sister, so I’m assuming she didn’t share the details of our breakup.

Life moved on during the three years Eric was in prison. Meghan has a new boyfriend, rich, handsome, athletic, but he’s also a guy who’s used to having his girlfriends “fall in line,” especially if they’re live-ins.

Our relationship hit the skids as soon as I moved in with him. Then he stopped pursuing me and started trying to control me. It’s almost as if he considers me his property now that I live in his apartment. He seems to want a maid, a cook, and blowjobs on demand. I wouldn’t mind taking care of his needs if he returned the favor.

[Love has no rules and sometimes you need a do-over ...]