<i>Mortal Danger</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Mortal Danger: Exclusive Excerpt Ann Aguirre "I didn’t want to worry about Kian, considering how little I trusted him..." Read & Win: Daisy Goodwin's <i>The Fortune Hunter</i> Read & Win: Daisy Goodwin's The Fortune Hunter Daisy Goodwin "She smiled and put a finger against his lips..." <i>Driving with the Top Down</i>: Excerpt Driving with the Top Down: Excerpt Beth Harbison True friends provide a roadmap to finding what you’re really looking for... <i>A Woman Made for Sin</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Woman Made for Sin: Exclusive Excerpt Michele Sinclair "When he showed his pleasure with a low growl, she smiled against his mouth."
From The Blog
July 22, 2014
An Argument for Adam Driver's Sex Appeal
Megan Frampton
July 21, 2014
Sandra Schwab’s Historical Romances
Anna Bowling
July 18, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Tim Howard
Team H & H
July 17, 2014
Non-American Authors for Your Staycation
Leigh Davis
July 17, 2014
Faith and Romance is Not a Contradiction
Michele Andrea Bowen
Showing posts by: Jennifer Proffitt click to see Jennifer Proffitt's profile
Mon
Jul 14 2014 8:10am

Who’s Your Ideal Fictional Road Trip Companion?

My One and Only by Kristan HigginsIt's road trip season and while many families and friends are piling into their cars for some good ol' fashioned togetherness, we've been having road trip and vacation romances on the brain! Last week I talked about road-trip romances and how those close quarters can lead to some pretty fun (and sexy) times between a hero and heroine—and sometimes is the only way they would have gotten together in the first place! A lot of you chimed in with your own favorite road romances, but it got us thinking: if you could have one fictional character as your road trip companion, who would it be?

Would you want someone who was an excellent navigator? Or maybe someone who could keep you laughing on the long road? Let us know in the comments who your ideal travelling companion would be!

Thu
Jul 10 2014 4:30pm

Love’s Journey: Road Trip Romances with Jeffries, Knox, Cole and More!

Beware a Scot's Revenge by Sabrina JeffriesEveryone knows that road trips can make or break a relationship. You’re in close quarters, you find out that your friend really likes Taco Bell, and you have to make constant bathroom breaks and no one ever seems to sync up. In romance novels, being on the road can sometimes bring these issues to a head, but more often than not it leads to a whole lot of love and understanding—and maybe force a hero and heroine together that might not have ever met otherwise.

Close Quarters Lead to Close Contact…

The book that got me thinking of road trip love was Beware a Scot’s Revenge by Sabrina Jeffries. In it, Lady Venetia Campbell is travelling to her Scottish home when she is kidnapped at pistol-point. Her would-be kidnapper turns out to be her childhood love, Lachlan, and both Venetia’s trip and Lachlan’s plan take a totally different turn than originally imagined.

For a long moment they sat poised, with Lachlan’s pistol lying beneath her underarm and his mouth against hers in a mockery of their kisses last night.

Kisses he hadn’t meant. Kisses he’d given her only to lull her to go off with him today. Curse the wicked blackguard!

A horse snorted mere feet away and the guard’s gaze bore into her back through the window. Suddenly, the guard laughed and called out something to Lachlan’s accomplice. Then the carriage moved again, and her chance for any escape vanished into the wind.

It was too much for her. She bit Lachlan’s lip. Hard.

[Seems like a good start to a trip...]

Tue
Jul 8 2014 11:19am

Catch Up with Harry/Ginny and Hermione/Ron in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Update!

Ron, Hermione, Harry,Ginny, and their children in the final scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsIt comes as no surprise that the youngest Seeker that Hogwarts has seen in a century made an appearance at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup with his family and friends. Harry Potter, now 34, attended the Cup with his two sons, along with other members of Dumbledore's Army. This is the first sighting of Harry since the publication of the last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in 2007, and the release of the final movie in 2011.

J.K. Rowling on her site, Pottermore, released an update for fans via the notorious Rita Skeeter, who is gossiping about “covering” the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. Thanks to the much-debated epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we know that Harry, Ron, and Hermione all went to work for the Ministry of Magic—Harry and Ron as Aurors, and Hermione in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. However, the article reveals that Ron, after only two years as an Auror, left to co-manage Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.

[How are our favorites faring these days?...]

Wed
Jul 2 2014 4:30pm

Fixer Upper: Manly Makeovers from Fox, Heyer, James, and More!

Sometimes, it is the duty of women to let a man know when his look is just not working. Sometimes, that opinion is even asked for. You would think that “the makeover” would be a device reserved specifically for the ladies, but for every Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady there’s a Steve Carell in Crazy, Stupid Love.

In Sabrina York's Making Over Maris, Jack is a nerd, a slob, a bit overweight, and a submissive (the last makes for a very fun time with the dominant Sara). Jack turns to his friend and co-worker, Sara for help and she almost declines as he seems like such a lost cause, but Jack wants this so bad that Sara can't decline.

But this? Impossible!

But it wasn’t just the physical aspect of things. It wasn’t that he was dumpy and doughy and extraordinarily…be-furred. Seriously. A Wookie would be jealous.

No. It wasn’t all that scruffy hair or the beer belly or the fact that he always looked vaguely unkempt.

Okay, maybe not vaguely.

The real challenge was the simple fact that Jack was utterly clueless about women.

[But you're about to give him one...or several!]

Fri
Jun 27 2014 11:00am

June 2014 New Adult Round Up: One-Night Stands and Hate Sex with Bad Boys (and Girls)

The Wedding Contract by H.M. WardChemistry is a beautiful thing. Sometimes it just makes for a great connection between friends, sometimes you fight it so hard that it makes you think you hate the person, and sometimes, when you let it run its course, sparks fly.

In H.M. Ward's The Wedding Contract, the sparks flying between Nick Ferro and Skylar aren’t only because these two are attracted to one another, but also because they hate each other. Sky is 22 and never went to college, but has become a successful wedding photographer despite her lack of a college education. Nick has gone to college and that alone sets up some tension between these two as Sky thinks Nick hasn’t earned his business but only gotten it because of his family name and his degree (a bone of contention between Sky and her mother as well). It doesn’t help that Sky also thinks Nick is poaching her clients. The tension hits an all-time high when Nick and Sky are hired to cover the same wedding. Several bets ensue during the wedding weekend, including one where the curvy-Sky agrees to pose naked for Nick if she loses.

H.M. Ward has several serials and standalones out in June, so is a must-add to any of your New Adult TBR piles, including the second book (this one a serial) in the Ferro series. In Ward’s Secrets and Lies, Vol. 1, Kerry is just looking to get over her ex-boyfriend with a simple one-night stand—is that too much to ask? Apparently it is, after her intended hookup bolts right before things get interesting.

[Uh oh, not a good start!]

Wed
Jun 25 2014 9:30am

A Checkered Past: Anticipating (and Speculating) Kresley Cole’s Dark Skye

Dark Skye by Kresley ColeIt’s hard to believe that we’ve been waiting for Kresley Cole to tell Lanthe and Thronos’s story for six books, but after much wailing and anticipation from the fans, August 5 will mark the day when the truth (and consummation) of Lanthe and Thronos’s relationship is revealed.

But while we've been waiting, there have been many books, so there's a lot of information we need to break down! I’ve gone through each of the books in which Lanthe, Thronos, and the Vrekeners were mentioned, including Kiss of a Demon King, Demon from the Dark, and Shadow’s Claim (in which Vrekeners are briefly mentioned) for those of you who want to do a little re-reading, and collected everything we know about this couple so far—I also included tidbits gleaned from the Dark Skye excerpt KCole shared. So, without further ado…

The Players

Lanthe:

Full Name: Melanthe (pronounced Mel-anth-ee (thank you KCole for having Thronos sound it out!)), Queen of Persuasion, of the Deie Sorceri family

Appearance: Black hair, which she wears in braids like all good sorceri gals, and blue eyes, five-foot-five

Powers:

  • Persuasion

Lanthe’s innate sorcery was called persuasion. She could order any being to do as she pleased, but she rarely gave commands—they often ended in tragedy. 

—From Kiss of a Demon King

  • Portals
  • Telepathy
  • Stole the power to talk to animals (when she stole telepathy), but gave it to her sister

Personality:

Sexually liberated, Lanthe is playful, seductive, and flirtatious. While she would never admit it, she loves children, and while her sister is very cynical, Lanthe has always been a huge romantic. Her personality is much like the Valkyries and Witches—a little bit goofy, and a whole lot of crazy. She was previously very promiscuous because she was trying to recapture the look of acceptance and affection she saw (and likely felt) with Thronos. But her promiscuous days are over, since Lanthe lost a bet to her sister and now must be celibate for one year. I have an inkling that Thronos will convince her to break that promise! 

[And then there's Thronos...]

Wed
Jun 11 2014 2:00pm

The “I Don’t Even Have a Word for What I Feel” Scene in Joanna Wylde’s Devil’s Game

Devil's Game by Joanna WyldeJoanna Wylde’s latest release in her Reaper’s MC series, Devil’s Game, is set up to be filled with Delicious Despair. Em is the oldest daughter of Reaper MC’s president; Liam “Hunter” Blake is a rising star in the rival club, Devil’s Jacks. Months ago, he was sent by his president to scope out Em in Idaho and things went terribly wrong and he kidnapped her. This is when, in real life, the relationship would be over, and one or both of these people would be dead. Luckily, this is a romance, and the blunt, sometimes cruel, words of Hunter garner swooning, instead of despair.

“Do you love me?”

I studied her, considering my answer.

“No,” I said finally. Her face fell, but I pushed forward. “My life has been pretty fucked up, Em. I’m not even sure I believe in love. But here’s what I can tell you—I’ve never given a shit about any woman except you and Kelsey. That’s it. Hell, I don’t even remember their names half the time, and until I saw you I never even saw a problem with that.”

[Most romantic rejection evah???...]

Tue
Jun 10 2014 12:30pm

First Look: Bella Andre’s Kiss Me Like This (June 11, 2014)

Bella Andre
Kiss Me Like This
Amazon Digital Services / June 11, 2014 / $12.99 print, $4.99 digital

Sean Morrison, one of six siblings and the top college baseball player in the country, is reeling from a heartbreakingly painful loss. Nothing seems to matter anymore...until the night Serena Britten unexpectedly ends up in his arms.

Serena is a world-famous model who has only ever wanted to be normal, even though her mother has always pushed her to become a superstar. Though it isn't easy to try to leave everyone and everything she knows behind, Serena is determined to enroll in college. More than anything, she wants to turn her love for books into a new career that she actually loves. Only, she never expected to meet someone like Sean on campus—or to be instantly consumed by their incredible chemistry and connection.

But when the pressures of her high-profile modeling career only get bigger and more demanding, will it make living a normal life as a college student—and falling in love with the hottest guy on campus—impossible?

Bella Andre defies expectation in the first book in her New Adult series while still maintaining all the things we love from her adult fiction. With Kiss Me Like This, Andre immediately sets up that this will not be your typical model-beautiful (literally) heroine and jock hero.

[Get ready to throw those expectations out the window…]

Mon
Jun 2 2014 3:00pm

First Look: Samantha Young’s Fall from India Place (June 3, 2014)

Fall from India Place by Samantha YoungSamantha Young
Fall from India Place
NAL / June 3, 2014 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital

When Hannah Nichols last saw Marco D’Alessandro five long years ago, he broke her heart. The bad boy with a hidden sweet side was the only guy Hannah ever loved—and the only man she’s ever been with. After one intense night of giving in to temptation, Marco took off, leaving Scotland and Hannah behind. Shattered by the consequences of their night together, Hannah has never truly moved on.

Leaving Hannah was the biggest mistake of Marco’s life—something he has deeply regretted for years. So when fate reunites them, he refuses to let her go without a fight. Determined to make her his, Marco pursues Hannah, reminding her of all the reasons they’re meant to be together....

But just when Marco thinks they’re committed to a future together, Hannah makes a discovery that unearths the secret pain she’s been hiding from him—a secret that could tear them apart before they have a real chance to start over again....

Welcome to On Dublin Street: The Next Generation. Okay, that’s not what it’s really called, but the latest book in Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street Series, Fall from India Place, felt like a fabulous family reunion. India Place, however, offers us a new chapter to the Dublin Street series as it ushers in a new generation of Edinburgh residents for us to love. On top of a grown up Hannah and Marco, we now see a grown up Cole—who is working in a tattoo parlor in Scotland. You’ll get a lot of time to catch up with Nate and Olivia, Jo and Cam, and Joss and Braden, but because we’ve had so much time with Hannah, Young has to treat her story a little different. We’ve seen their courtship as teenagers, but now they need to make a relationship work as adults.

[Maturing love!...]

Mon
May 19 2014 8:14am

What is the Most Underrated Hero Profession?

With so many athletes, rock stars, lawyers, and CEOs populating the shelves, it's easy to forget about the little guy! Last week we talked about the least romantic jobs that romance heroes have held down—rat catchers, morticians, and plumbers to name a few (though that last profession certainly inspires a lot of dirty jokes). While our blogger scored the shelves for unusual career choices, she struggled to find one in particular to add to her list: an accountant hero. Maybe that's because it isn't the sexiest profession, or maybe accountants are too busy to start affairs.

However, several commenters chimed in with the scarce professions they have read, or would like to see. What do you think is the most underrated hero profession in romance? What books would you recommend for those looking for that Average-Joe hero? And why do you think blue-collar jobs, like a mechanic or construction worker, are more prevalent than other, equally average, jobs?

Fri
May 16 2014 11:00am

Trope of the Month: Childhood Sweethearts!

Academically put, tropes are “common or overused theme[s] or device[s]," which makes them sound like cliches, which makes them seem like a bad thing.

But they’re totally not! Romance novel fans all have their favorite—not to mention least favorite—tropes, from friends to lovers, chick in pants, secret baby, marriage of convenience, opposites attract, May-December, boss-assistant...the list goes on.

Each month, we’ll be picking a romance novel trope and ask you to offer recommendations falling under the trope rubric (again with the academic talk!).

This month, childhood sweethearts are on our minds. These heroes and heroines knew each other as children and one or the other (or if they were lucky, both) was in love. As adults, they're able to finally act on those unrequited feelings. Here are a few recommendations for this trope:

  • Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer
  • Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
  • The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
  • His Wife for One Night by Molly O'Keefe
  • She's Got It Bad by Sarah Mayberry
  • Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
  • Hope's Folly by Linnea Sinclair

What books would you suggest for fellow readers looking to learn a little about the birds and the bees?

Fri
May 16 2014 8:24am

Who are the Best Cooks in Romance?

Too Hot To Handle by Louisa EdwardsThe trifecta for a lot of women when it comes to their perfect match is a good-looking man who likes to dance and cook. Who wouldn't love a person who is willing—and more importantly—able to cook up something yummy for us? Maybe because of this, many heroes and heroines are good cooks, if not professional chefs!

With a few foodie movies coming out this year, and Chef so freshly on our radar, we want to know what are some of your favorite, or most notable good cooks in romance?

Thu
May 15 2014 8:29am

FX’s Louie Takes on the Plus-Sized Heroine

Comedian Louie CK has a talent for presenting issues without really sugar-coating them in his popular FX comedy, Louie. On the Monday night episode of his semi-fictional show, our intrepid main character goes on a date with a waitress named Vanessa. She'd be perfect for him—she's sharp, funny, and takes no prisoners—except for one tiny wrinkle: she's overweight.

In a monologue (featured in the video above), Vanessa (played by Sarah Baker) gives Louie a thorough set down after he tells her “she's not fat.” Baker goes on to say:

You’re truly a good guy, I think — so, sorry. I’m picking you. On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys. Why do you hate us so much? What is it about the basics of human happiness – you know, feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us – that’s just not in the cards for us? Nope, not for us.

This speech has sparked a debate of how plus-sized characters are portrayed in popular media. A few months ago, we had a our own debate over whether a plus-sized heroines could actually be a trope—the jury is still out—but, either way, the plus-sized heroine is a favorite in the romance community. How do you think plus-sized characters are treated differently in the romance community compared to mainstream media? What do you think of Vanessa the Waitress's monologue?

Wed
May 14 2014 2:00pm

Don’t Doubt My Love: Whitney Gracia Williams’s Reasonable Doubt

Reasonable Doubt, Volume 1 by Whitney G**Warning: this post contains spoilers on Whitney Gracia Williams's Reasonable Doubt, Volume 1. Proceed with caution!**

Have you ever gotten to a point with an author where you’re cyber-stalking them to find out when the next book in the series will come out? Reasonable Doubt did that for me, and it left me in no doubt that I would be reading the rest of the books in this serialized erotic romance. But what makes Reasonable Doubt so unreasonably good?

Exhibit A) It’s Trope-a-licious

We all have our favorite tropes, and Reasonable Doubt just so happens to hit on some of my favorites: Friends to Lovers, Office Romance, Mistaken Identity, just to name a few. Andrew meets “Alyssa” in a chatroom specifically set up for lawyers. His dating MO has always been to virtually wine and dine a woman before he meets them and then quickly dumps them after a night together. Alyssa is the exception—she only wants advice (and not of the sexual kind!). Andrew is drawn to her and so he lays out all of his rules on women: no more than one night, no deep connections, and absolutely no liars.

Of course this all changes when Alyssa turns out to not be a 27-year-old new lawyer, but a 22-year-old pre-law student whose aspirations end on a ballet stage, not a courtroom—and she walks into Andrew’s law offices to interview for an internship. To say it all hits the fan is both scary and delightful.

[That can be a good thing...]

Wed
Apr 30 2014 3:00pm

Maturing New Adult: A Case Study with Samantha Young, Christina Lauren, and More!

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL JamesThe post-50 Shades of Grey world resulted in an explosion of billionaires in erotic romance who gave a sexual education to a relative ingénue, and whether that ingénue was sexually innocent or emotionally remote depended on the author. We most often talk about a post-50 Shades world in terms of its impact on erotica (and the mainstreaming of erotica), and tend to gloss over the impact it had on a genre it almost single-handedly created: New Adult.

The term New Adult still offers a huge grey area for readers and industry professionals. As it stands, the genre focuses on men and women in their early to mid-twenties facing a pivotal moment in their development into adulthood. Many times these books focus around an issue. The formula for “what is New Adult” essentially breaks down into Age+Issue=New Adult.

Another way to think of it, is in Adult Romance, a hero or heroine might be damaged or emotionally-scarred, but they have some distance from it. New Adult focuses on the time when the emotional wounds were first dealt—essentially, Adult heroes and heroines are what the New Adult characters grow up to be. This Issue/wound can be anything, but often involves the hero or heroine being forced to accelerate their maturation.

[Now for some examples and authors...]

Mon
Apr 21 2014 8:20am

What Will Get You to Read Out of Your Comfort Zone?

The Comfort Zone by Jodi ThomasWe asked recently what genre was the biggest surprise to you, and many of you called out that some authors and subgenres got you out of your comfort zone—and you've never been happier! So we know you've stepped out of your reading comfort zone, but today we're asking what would get you there in the first place?

Do you rely heavily on reviews? Or will you follow an author, no matter where they take you? Do you have someone whose reading style is close to yours that you trust to give you recommendations that you normally wouldn't pick up?

Sat
Apr 19 2014 11:00am

5 Reasons Eric Collier from Cara McKenna’s Hard Time Would Make An Awesome Boyfriend

Hard Time by Cara McKenna**Note: This post contains spoilers for Cara McKenna’s Hard Time…you’ve been warned!**

Usually an ex-con would not make it onto anyone’s list of Most-Desirables, but since I read Cara McKenna’s Hard Time, I’ve had it bad for inmate 802267, Eric Collier. Eric has been in prison for five years when he meets prison-outreach librarian, Annie Goodhouse. The connection is immediate, and it’s easy to see why Annie goes running into Eric’s arms, when any other woman would have been running the other way.

1. He’s hard-working:

We see this both before and after Eric’s release. He works with Annie, granted with an ulterior motive, on his learning disability so that he can be a better person after his release. He worked as a landscaper during his prison work-release and he took that opportunity to develop a skill for a job once he’s paroled. His work ethic is admirable, and his dedication to being a better, calmer, more educated person once he’s out of prison is inspiring.

Also, he takes total advantage of the prison yard to work on his physique; a fact Annie and readers alike appreciate.

[Like...REALLY appreciate...]

Thu
Apr 17 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Cynthia Eden’s Once Bitten, Twice Burned (April 29, 2014)

Once Bitten, Twice Burned by Cynthia EdenCynthia Eden
Once Bitten, Twice Burned
Brava / April 29, 2014 / $14 print, $11.99 digital

Ryder Duncan keeps his secrets. With a twisted scientist starving him in a 10 X 12 cell, it's not easy to conceal the abilities that set him apart from other vampires, or his plans for escape. But survival - and revenge - are worth waiting for. Until the so-called doctor tempts his appetites with something special: a woman, with a soft Southern accent and a scent like flowers. Sabine. Sabine Acadia didn't volunteer to be dinner. She was kidnapped and tossed into the cage of a monster. A monster with fierce green eyes, a body that speaks of ruthless power—but a touch gentle as a caress. Ryder knows things about her, secrets Sabine needs to learn fast. Because while they might soon escape this prison, she's fighting an urge to set all her desires free...

To say I love Cynthia Eden’s new Phoenix Fire series would be a massive understatement, and Once Bitten, Twice Burned does a great job of expanding the universe. For those experiencing VFS, otherwise known as Vampire Fatigue Syndrome, this series will be a breath of fresh air. Obviously, based on the title, the series revolves around Phoenix, beings even the paranormal creatures of this world think are a myth. While the most recent installment of the series does in fact feature a vampire, he is different. We met Ryder in the first book as he desperately searched for the phoenix he had met in the lab; one taste of her blood gave him unthinkable powers and ignited scorching passion and an insatiable hunger.

[“No matter where you go, I will find you”...]

Wed
Apr 16 2014 4:30pm

Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight: Hot Small-Town Contemporaries from Dahl, Dane and More!

Talk Me Down by Victoria DahlSmall-town contemporaries have been a niche subgenre going on for decades now, but I have never been gladder that they turned up the heat than when I picked up my first Victoria Dahl. Talk Me Down was a reading revelation. Here was a sexually confident, erotic author, who had set her cap at the small-town chief of police of Tumble Creek, Colorado. The book was full of kisses behind closed doors (and in the cab of the cruiser), a little bit of suspense, and a sense of illicitness that only an affair in a small town could create. It’s a book that I have passed down from friend to friend when I want to get them hooked on romance—and it works without fail.

But it wasn’t until recently I realized that while I may have moved to the big city, my heart (or at least my reading preferences) stayed in a small town. I would gladly stay in Tumble Creek for all of my days, but of course all good things come to an end, and eventually I had to move on to another small town, so to Ruthie Knox’s Camelot I went.

[And what did you find there?...]

Sun
Apr 13 2014 2:00pm

5 Reasons to Watch Bomb Girls

Bomb Girls posterAs with all under-appreciated shows, Bomb Girls was short-lived, but while it was on, I loved it fiercely. As with many great shows, I found it while perusing on Netflix and instantly loved it, and you should, too. Here's why:

5. Binge Watch-ability:

Okay, this is an obvious one, but you can sit down and watch the show, which follows in BBC tradition of being short seasons with longer episodes, in one weekend. It was truly a great show and while I was sad to see it go, I was thrilled when a TV Movie aired at the end of March to give me some closure, a service many a fandom does not get.

4. Multi-dimensional Plot:

The beauty of an ensemble cast is that you can follow a variety of storylines. If you don't care for Vera (said no fan of the show, ever), tune into Kate and Betty’s story, or maybe you like the trouble that seemed to follow Gladys. It had love, international intrigue, politics, and history. The show tackles many issues that women faced during this time: gender roles to start with, and ending with physical abuse and sexuality, with a whole host in between.

[+History, beefcake, and shipping potential!...]