<i>Gentlemen Prefer Curves</i>: Excerpt Gentlemen Prefer Curves: Excerpt Sugar Jamison "It was him. Carter Lancaster. Her first and only love." <i>Night Sky</i>: Excerpt Night Sky: Excerpt Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann "Oh God, I asked him, did I make you kiss me?" <i>Sweeter Than Sin</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Sweeter Than Sin: Exclusive Excerpt Shiloh Walker She can’t ignore the urgent heat between them <i>Ruptured</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Ruptured: Exclusive Excerpt Maggie Mae Gallagher "He said my name like a benediction..."
From The Blog
September 19, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Foxy Flannel
Team H & H
September 19, 2014
H&H Debriefing: Give a 'Ship
Team H & H
September 19, 2014
Addicted Authors and Characters
Ciar Cullen
September 17, 2014
Benedict Cumberbatch's Darcy Scene
Megan Frampton
September 16, 2014
Authors as Romance Heroines
Regina Kyle
Showing posts by: Lime Cello click to see Lime Cello's profile
Sun
May 4 2014 10:00am

First Look: HelenKay Dimon’s Mercy (May 6, 2014)

Mercy by HelenKay DimonHelenKay Dimon
Mercy
Berkley / May 6, 2014 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

After she infiltrated his business and betrayed his trust, a disavowed CIA agent must seek sanctuary in the bedroom of a man who will either help her, kill her, or bring her to her knees…

Becca Ford is on her own. Eight months after she headed up a sting operation to take down millionaire club owner Jarrett Holt, the other agents in her special ops team have been eliminated under odd circumstances, and she needs a place to hide.

Jarrett is a man who prefers darkness to light. He deals in the only truly valuable currency—information—and his supper club caters to an exclusive clientele. It was an uncharacteristic moment of weakness when he let a woman into his life. But it’s not luck that the criminal charges disappeared...as did the evidence.

When Becca returns to the club seeking his help, Jarrett doesn’t want to hear her story. But he does want her body, and demands that she give it to him. He’ll keep her safe—for now—but it’ll be in his bed and on his terms, until he says they’re done. 

You're going to want to clear some time out of your day and read this book. It's an erotic romance, first and foremost. I really loved the unusual characters and storyline. With Mercy every aspect of the book fits. The title, the cover, the characters all match up nicely. HelenKay Dimon is an excellent writer and storyteller, and I'd definitely be interested in reading more books from this world.

Becca is literally a kickass heroine. She's a highly trained covert operative—in fact, she's in black ops. It's very entertaining and enjoyable. Think Burn Notice, but our super spy is a girl. I loved it.

[She's coming for your job, Michael Westen...]

Fri
May 2 2014 9:30am

First Look: Beth Kery’s Since I Saw You (May 6, 2014)

Beth Kery
Since I Saw You (Because You Are Mine)
Penguin / May 6, 2014 / $16.00 print & $9.99 digital

When enigmatic billionaire Ian Noble sets Lin the task of “taming” his brilliant yet half-savage brother Kam Reardon, she eagerly accepts. She’s more than curious about the solitary genius and everything she’s heard about him. During their electric first meeting, her fascination increases a hundredfold. Kam practically oozes raw sex appeal. Lin is interested...very interested. But does her intense attraction and willingness to go places with him she’s never gone before in the bedroom really have to do with Kam? Or is her carefully hidden desire to blame for wanting a man she knows she can never have?

An elusive outsider, Kam avoids intimacy, yet never shies away from satisfying his erotic appetites. But there’s something different about Lin—a reserve he’s anxious to break. She’s a woman he’s eager to take his time with…and possess completely. A sophisticated beauty like her would never want him anywhere but in bed, but he finds himself unable to resist her.

Immediately Lin’s smooth facade is undone by Kam’s overwhelming masculinity and by his irresistible erotic demands—a lesson in subjugation that leaves Lin confused, reeling, and open to things she never thought possible. Now, as the unpredictable nights between them grow darker, Lin and Kam are certain of only one thing: they’re made for each other.

I loved this book. It's one of my favorite books I've read this year, and likely it'll make the list for 2014. If not more. While First Looks usually focus on one exceptional element, I have to tell you—Beth Kery's Since I Saw You is the whole package. The characters, the writing, the romance, the pacing, the emotion—I wish every book was like this.

[High praise indeed...]

Tue
Apr 15 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Cara McKenna’s Her Best Laid Plans (April 15, 2014)

Her Best Laid Plans by Cara McKennaCara McKenna
Her Best Laid Plans
Harlequin's Cosmo Red Hot Reads / April 15, 2014 / $3.99 digital

Experience Ireland—the dramatic beauty, the warm hospitality…and the smoking hot local guys!

Imagine nursing a pint in a cozy, authentic country pub, far from Cork's busy city pulse. Getting here took you a plane, bus, taxi and…um, bicycle. But just as you're resigning yourself to drinking beside grey-haired farmers, you see him—a man with the looks and charm to soothe any heartbroken girl.

He's your bartender. Your really, really gorgeous bartender.

For American Jamie Webb—recently dumped and housesitting for two weeks—Connor Kelleher is like a six-course feast after a 23-year starvation diet. But it's gotta be casual. She's just begun rerouting her life after a three-year man-related detour. Still, a sexy romp (or twenty!) with Sexy McBartender?

But what happens when Jamie's best-laid plans for no future plans with any man begin to change?

I've enjoyed the Cosmo Red Hot Reads that I've gotten my hands on, and Cara McKenna's Her Best Laid Plans was no exception. I really liked how the focus was on our heroine, and how there was just a bit of a twist near the end.

[A twist, huh? Do go on...]

Mon
Mar 24 2014 1:30pm

First Look: L.H. Cosway’s Still Life with Strings (March 24, 2014)

L.H. Cosway
Still Life with Strings
L.H. Cosway / March 24, 2014 / $3.99 digital

My name is Jade Lennon and I stand still for money.

The night I saw Shane Arthur watching me everything changed. A man in a suit always catches my eye, but it was the way he looked at me that was different. Like he knew me or something. He didn’t know me, especially not in my costume. My sobriety rests on staying away from men, but there was something about him that made me throw caution to the wind.

After all, I was never going to see him again, right?

Wrong.

Standing still isn’t the only way I make my money. I also bartend at a concert hall. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Shane was going to show up there. Not only that, but he’s the most recent addition to the orchestra. So now on a daily basis I have to resist one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met and he plays the violin. For me that’s one hell of a deadly cocktail.

He wants me to teach him how to live. I’m not sure how much a twenty-six year old recovering alcoholic who works in a bar and moonlights as a living statue can teach a world class concert violinist, but I’m sure going to try.

Still Life with Strings is a story of music, art, sex, magical realism, and romance that you will never forget.

L.H. Cosway's Still Life With Strings is a beautifully written love story, with a very fresh and enjoyable voice. It's told in first person, not my favorite way of telling a story, but here it just works so well and there's such warmth in Jade, the heroine.

You're sucked in from the first page, right there with Jade, in her life, but more, feeling, seeing, and experiencing what she does. And the incredible memorable opening to the book. It's hot, and fun, and really works. Ms. Cosway knows how to tempt and tease, both the reader and the characters.

[Don't tease us!...]

Fri
Jan 31 2014 3:00pm

First Look: Savanna Fox’s Bound to Be Dirty (February 4, 2014)

Bound to Be Dirty by Savanna FoxSavanna Fox
Bound to be Dirty
Berkley / February 4, 2014 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital

Lily Nyland married sexy bad boy Dax Xavier because he made her dreams come true—in bed and out. But after a decade of marriage, her helicopter bush pilot husband spends more time in the remote wilderness than heating things up in her bedroom. The best sex she’s enjoyed recently comes from the Dirty Girls Book Club’s erotic selections.

Still, when the club chooses Bound by Desire, Lily’s skeptical. As a family practice doctor and a fiercely independent woman, the theme doesn’t exactly resonate with her. But then Dax, home for the Christmas holiday, startles her by spicing up their sex life with naughty tricks that make her wonder if he snuck a peek at her book. Even more shocking, Lily finds herself turned on by their erotic experimentation. Kinky sex may be enough to rekindle the passion in their marriage, but can it restore the deeper bonds of love and trust?

Savanna Fox (who also writes as Susan Lyons and Susan Fox) excels at writing thoughtful erotic romance; in fact, her Awesome Foursome quartet is one of my favorite sets of erotic romance.

In this circle of friends, the heroine Lily is “the uptight one” and I liked seeing how she was still willing to change, although she's still set in her ways. The premise of Bound to Be Dirty is noteworthy in several ways.

[Tell me more...]

Wed
Oct 30 2013 9:30am

First Look: Beth Kery’s Because We Belong (November 5, 2013)

Because We Belong by Beth KeryBeth Kery
Because We Belong
Berkeley / November 5, 2013 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital

In Because We Belong Ian and Francesca return to reignite the exquisite passions that drew them together, and to finally face the intimate secrets that threatened to separate them forever. The secrets of an inescapable past that was one man’s darkest mystery—a darkness that seduced one woman and forever held her spellbound with forbidden desire. For both of them, the next step is total abandon.

This book wrecked me. It was stark, beautiful, and emotionally devastating. I found reading it to be exhausting, in a good way, if that even makes sense. It just makes you feel so much. I think it's important to read the first two installments in the Because You Are Mine series (both were serials, in fact), because it sets up the groundwork for Because We Belong. The book starts out in an unusual way, because for much of it, Ian and Francesca are “broken up.” In fact, the focus is on Francesca for probably the first half, and Beth Kery takes the reader through the emotional wringer, sparing nothing when describing Francesca's emotional state. Ms. Kery pulls no punches, and you can't help but feel how ruined yet determined Francesca is throughout.

[It's always darkest before the dawn...]

Mon
Oct 14 2013 2:00pm

First Look: Jessica Clare’s The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed (October 15, 2013)

The Wrong Billionaire's Bed by Jessica ClareJessica Clare
The Wrong Billionaire's Bed
InterMix / October 15, 2013 / $2.99 digital

Audrey Petty's always been the responsible one. The good twin.  Successful, dependable, and trustworthy—that's Audrey. She'd be the perfect girlfriend for her childhood crush, billionaire Cade Archer...except that she's pretty sure she's not even on his radar. But when fate (and her chaotic twin) come together, Audrey finds out that she'll be spending the next month with Cade at his remote cabin retreat. It's a dream come true...

Until she meets her worst nightmare.

Billionaire playboy Reese Durham is used to seducing women to get what he wants. But when stiff, too-proper Audrey bursts into the private mountain lodge and scares his companion out the door, it's time for a little revenge. It's clear that Audrey's in love with his buddy, Cade...and it's clear to Reese that blackmailing Audrey with this information can get her to agree to just about anything. Like furtive kisses in the dark, or a secret rendezvous in the woods. Audrey may think she knows what she wants, but Reese is determined to show her what she needs.

And as Reese discovers the volatile minx behind the buttoned-up exterior, he starts to think maybe she's just what he needs, too.

I really liked Jessica Clare's The Wrong Billionaire's Bed, but I had some issues with it, mostly because of how much I like Audrey, this book, and this series in general. The first three books of the Billionaire Boy's Club are Audrey-centric: she's Logan's assistant, and she provides a place for Bronwyn to stay (with her sister Gretchen), then Gretchen hooks up with Logan's best friend, Hunter...and now the third book is Audrey plus not-Cade, and Reese. (And then Audrey's sister Daphne is there...)

[Lots of romance novel potential here...]

Tue
Oct 8 2013 2:00pm

First Look: HelenKay Dimon’s Everything You Need to Know (October 15, 2013)

Everything You Need to Know by HelenKay DimonHelenKay Dimon
Everything You Need to Know
Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin / October 15, 2013 / $3.99 digital

Dating in D.C. is like navigating an apocalyptic wasteland populated by men in expensive suits with zero mating potential. Need to Know provides all the information a savvy single woman like you needs to avoid dating disasters.

By night, Jordan McAdam is the proprietor of a popular website that rates D.C.'s hottest bachelors—everything from how quick they are to email you back, to their skills in the sack. She's been burned once too often to accept any man at face value. By day, her job as an office temp puts her in the perfect position to do a little fact-checking on her rich and powerful subjects. When her latest assignment brings her face-to-face with the sexy but mysterious Forest Redder, Jordan decides to do a little “hands-on” research of her own. To Jordan, he seems like the perfect man—but she knows there is no such thing. Moreover, there's a big problem: Forest knows Jordan's the woman behind the scandalous site—and Jordan knows he knows. Will he expose her secret—or find his own posted on Need to Know?

HelenKay Dimon is a fabulous writer, and my high expectations are met in her latest, Everything You Need to Know. It's set in Washington, D.C., a city that HelenKay knows well, which shows. She doesn't bog down the story with setting, but it's the little details that really give it life.

[Meanwhile, in a non-furloughed D.C....]

Wed
Sep 11 2013 9:30am

First Look: Lauren Dane’s Cake (September 17, 2013)

Lauren Dane
Cake
Harlequin / September 17, 2013 / $3.99 digital

Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. Wren's gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.
 
But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she's determined to show him that just one taste won't be enough...

I really enjoy Lauren Dane's writing, and especially love her characterization. Cake is a great example why; for all the edgy content and sexy scenes, it has a lot of warmth. I also liked that there wasn't irrelevant or excess drama. Everything was so natural and realistic. Of course, it's not “real world” for us normal people to be artists, much less insanely successful ones. But then, the glamour and glitz is a big part of the draw in romance. And Cake definitely has that—art shows, after parties, and dirty getting down time with the bad-boy artist.

[Escapism at its finest...]

Tue
Jul 16 2013 2:30pm

First Look: Jessica Clare’s Beauty and the Billionaire (July 16, 2013)

Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica ClareJessica Clare
Beauty and the Billionaire
Intermix / July 16, 2013 / $2.99 digital

Real-estate tycoon Hunter Buchanan has a dark past that’s left him scarred and living as a recluse on his family’s palatial estate. Hunter is ready to give up on love—until he spots an enigmatic red-haired beauty and comes up with an elaborate scheme to meet her.
 
Gretchen Petty is in need of a paycheck—and a change. So when a job opportunity in an upstate New York mansion pops up she accepts. And while she can overlook the oddities of her new job, she can’t ignore her new boss’s delectable body—or his barely leashed temper.
 
Hunter’s afraid his plan might be unraveling before it’s truly begun, but Gretchen is about to show him that life can be full of surprises…

I loved this book. I've been saying I'm over billionaires, so it says something about how good this book is that I loved it so much. The first in this series, Stranded with a Billionaire, was like a Harlequin Presents perfected. But Beauty and the Billionaire is even more perfect.

The story is based on Beauty and the Beast, but isn't a direct copy. The setting is a c̶a̶s̶t̶l̶e̶  an estate in America. At the estate, the scarred and reclusive billionaire engineers a situation where the heroine has to stay with him. The heroine, Gretchen, is a writer. The hero Hunter Buchanan is a property mogul, and Gretchen is a ghost writer.

[Even a tale as old as time needs updating from time to time...]

Sat
Apr 27 2013 3:30pm

Back to Basics: What is Erotic Romance?

Sleepy Sundays image by seanmcgrath via FlickrWhat is an erotic romance?

Every time I think we've got this topic covered, I find out I'm wrong. People don't know. And I mean even people who are putting themselves out as personal assistants and public relations “experts” in the romance community.

What do I mean? I'll mention liking erotic romance, but not erotica. Someone who has been reading romances for twenty years and is well established in the romance community might say “Oh, I love erotica!” To which I respond, “Not for me, thanks. I need the HEA.” Almost always, the immediate following is “Oh. Me too.”

Excuse me?

Erotica doesn't require a happily ever after. It just doesn't. (And I'm not even going to try to discuss between erotica and porn…) But erotica is all about sex between characters. Emotions do not necessarily equal a relationship. Romance, on the other hand, is about the relational journey to a happily ever after love between the characters. (Notice at this point I'm not even saying “between the hero and heroine”?)

[There is a difference...]

Tue
Apr 23 2013 5:00pm

First Look: Beth Kery’s When I’m With You, Parts I-VIII (April 23, 2013)

Beth Kery
When I'm With You, Parts I-VIII
Intermix / April 23, 2013 / $1.99

Beth Kery's When I'm With You comes to its startling climax as Elise and Lucien, and Francesca and Ian, discover the truths that compel them, reveal the secrets that haunt them, and the uncontrollable desire that could destroy or heal them...

In the luxury of Ian's penthouse, he, Francesca, Lucien and Elise gather for an evening that begins in pleasure and ends in a shattering confrontation—one that finally reveals the secrets of Lucien's past. And, at Elise's impulsive urging, the bitter truth that Lucien has hidden for so long is finally exposed. But the reality is more soul tearing than Elise imagined—leaving her with the guilt that she pushed the man she loves too far.

When both Lucien and Ian go to London, Elise is left in self-doubt. Surely Lucien is furious at her for tipping his hand so impetuously—it has been his greatest fear since he met her. With a heavy heart, Elise makes a heartrending decision for both of them. But Lucien has one more reveal for Elise, one that could make or break a relationship that has consumed the both of them. One that could change their futures forever.

When I'm with You is the sequel to Beth Kery's Because You are Mine serial. We first met Lucien in Because You are Mine, where he was introduced as Ian Noble's good friend. Lucien definitely holds up on his own, and his story in When I'm with You is more romantic, and feels more complete.

[Bring on the romance!...]

Mon
Apr 22 2013 12:30pm

Sweet Erotics Should Not Be an Oxymoron!

Tart by Lauren DaneSweet erotic romances, or “vanilla erotic romance,” have been MIA lately. These are romances that are erotic, but don't have BDSM, or extremely kinky stuff. Like pony play. Or...artichokes as sex toys. (I've never read the latter, thankfully, but, you get my point.)

I'm worn out by what we are seeing in erotic romance. It seems all we see now are BDSM novels. There was BDSM erotic romance well before Fifty Shades of Grey—but with that book's success, newer releases have been cookie cutter versions of FSOG.

What happened to the love stories, the plots, and the emotions of erotic romance? BDSM is hot now, and a few years ago, it was menages; but if you try to force the story, it doesn't work, no matter what kink you're putting in there.

Erotic romance doesn't have to be super kinky, or extreme, or out there. Not  that there shouldn't be those books, it just feels as though it's in every book. And some authors seem uncomfortable writing it, or that's how it comes across.

[Anyone else miss sweet erotica?...]

Thu
Mar 21 2013 1:15pm

First Look: Lauren Dane’s Lush (April 2, 2013)

Lush by Lauren DaneLauren Dane
Lush
Berkley Trade / April 2, 2013 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

Mary Whaley has her hands full running a successful catering company and overseeing her supper club. She has everything she ever wanted—or so she thought. When she meets ridiculously hot and very dirty rock star Damien Hurley at her friend’s engagement party, the attraction she feels is overpowering—and she isn’t about to deny herself.

Damien is used to a hard and fast life. He and two of his brothers started a band when they were fresh out of high school—then they hit the big time and stayed there. He’s also a legendary madman on the stage and in the bedroom. But when he meets Mary, something clicks, and the bad boy starts thinking he may have finally found something good.

What begins as a series of fleeting trysts soon gets much more complicated. Damien can’t figure out why Mary doesn’t want more from him. And before long, it’s Damien who wants more from Mary. But it turns out Mary is no stranger to celebrity news, and he’s got a very big job ahead of him: proving that he’s worth more than a one-night stand… 

Not only did I love Lush by Lauren Dane, I expect it will make my “top ten” list of 2013. Already. There's nothing to dislike here: A wonderful group of characters, well-developed relationships, a real romance, and a romance novel in every sense of the word.

[Sounds like a winning combo...]

Tue
Nov 6 2012 10:30am

First Look: Beth Kery’s Exposed to You (November 6, 2012)

Exposed to You by Beth KeryBeth Kery
Exposed to You
Berkley / November 6, 2012 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

It's not often you're hired to paint a body tattoo—and what a body—on a total stranger at a Hollywood film set. A reserved and careful art teacher, Joy would never forget it. In a rare fit of raw desire she gave herself completely, knowing she'd never see him again, or ever repeat such a shameless, naked impulse.

Little did she know, the man with whom she shared that lightning bolt of lust was star Everett Hughes. For Everett, women and sex came as easily as fame. But how could he hope to convince the guarded Joy that beneath the hard body and sexy façade of celebrity was a real man who wanted only one, real woman?

In the heat of an intoxicating affair, Everett endeavors to break down her barriers, gain her trust, and expose himself as the real deal. But can Joy do the same, and reveal to him the vulnerable woman who longs to be loved, wanted, and desired forever?

The first book in this series, Addicted to You, was one of my favorite books of 2011. I love the world that Beth Kery has created, but what's even better is that Exposed to You stands alone; it helps to have read the others, but isn't necessary.

[Reading the rest of this post, on the other hand? Totally necessary...]

Mon
Nov 5 2012 3:30pm

First Look: Lauren Dane’s Tart (November 6, 2012)

Tart by Lauren DaneLauren Dane
Tart
Berkley / November 6, 2012 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

Juliet Lamprey is having the time of her life running her successful bakery, TART, when Gideon Carter comes back into her life. Returning home to help his grandfather run the family on the farm, Gideon is back for good. When they meet again, the spark between them is immediate, and it isn't long before the former childhood friends play catch up in bed.

That's not good news for local lawyer Cal Whaley. Though the sexually open but strictly monogamous Cal has loved Jules for a long time, he's hardly ever taken it further than friendship. When he sees her start to fall for Gideon, he knows he has to make his move or risk losing her forever.

Who would have anticipated that all three of them would connect on such an intimate level? The trio's scalding liaisons take them places they've never dreamed. But such an intensely passionate and unusual relationship comes with equally as complicated emotions, and when Jules must suddenly leave town, she wonders if she'll have a choice to make when she returns.

After you're done admiring the lovely cover, explore inside—there's much to admire there as well. Lauren Dane has a talent for writing interpersonal relationships. I noticed it first with the group of friends with her Brown sibling books. In fact, Tart, part of the Delicious series, is a spinoff of the Brown series. Once you start, you're entirely drawn in, and want to know what happens to each character, and see him or her happily settled.

[Dig in!...]

Tue
Sep 18 2012 11:40am

First Look: Beth Kery’s Because You Are Mine, Part VIII: Because I Am Yours (September 18, 2012)

Because You Are Mine, Part VIII by Beth KeryBeth Kery
Because You Are Mine, Part VIII: Because I Am Yours
InterMix (Penguin) / September 18, 2012 / $1.99 digital

From the moment Ian and Francesca first met, the attraction was mutual—a purely, exquisitely physical charge that ignited between them. It couldn’t be ignored—only indulged, evolving into a bond of pleasurable subjugation. But Francesca’s open sensuality left her wanting more. Getting it from a man as mysterious and resolute as Ian was a challenge she never anticipated.

Francesca knows there's only one way for them to move forward—to follow Ian to London and show him that she doesn't want him to suffer alone. But when Ian's past and inner torment is revealed, he experiences a nearly unbearable volcanic mix of emotions for the woman who has dared to love him, despite his inner demons. After exposing Francesca to the limits of his anguish, he wonders if he's lost her forever. Can he bend enough to compromise to true intimacy...and something called love?

Beth Kery is already one of my go-to authors for great erotic romance. Her writing is smart, sexy, and incredibly engaging, and Addicted to You is one of my favorite erotic romances in general.

Because You Are Mine is an interesting read because it was released in serial form; this is the eighth, and final, book in the series. At first, its being a serial was a negative, because I'm impatient, and like knowing everything right now. But the shorter format was fun, and it was also fun to anticipate the next few chapters.

[Can short and sweet carry the day?...]

Tue
Jul 31 2012 5:30pm

First Look: Isabella Bradford’s When You Wish Upon a Duke (July 31, 2012)

When You Wish Upon a Duke by Isabella BradfordIsabella Bradford
When You Wish Upon a Duke
Ballantine / July 31, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital

Raised in the Dorset countryside, Lady Charlotte Wylder doesn’t care one bit about well-bred decorum. The dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty would rather ride a horse than attend a stuffy ball. So when Charlotte learns that she is to leave immediately for London to wed the Duke of Marchbourne, a perfect model of aristocratic propriety, she is less than enchanted with her arranged marriage.

But to her delight, their first encounters are brazenly flirtatious, and their wedding night burns with passion. March’s broad shoulders and dark countenance make Charlotte want to rip every button off his waistcoast. She may even be falling in love with her new husband. Yet whenever their desire boils over, March reluctantly pushes Charlotte away. Will past secrets and present misunderstandings mire their marriage in scandal, or serve to strengthen a bond that is destined to last a lifetime?

There were many things to like in Isabella Bradford’s When You Wish Upon a Duke; I liked that the heroine Charlotte, while being a well-bred lady, isn’t marriage minded. First of all, she doesn’t need to be, but more, she never cared to be.

[That is refreshing!...]

Thu
Jun 14 2012 4:00pm

The Romance in Burn Notice: Michael and Fiona are Perfectly Imperfect Together

Burn Notice Season 6 posterFor those who don’t watch USA’s Burn Notice, the premise of it is the story of a CIA operative (a spy!) who has been “burned,” meaning the CIA has sent out a burn notice on the agent, claiming they are unreliable. The newly-burned spy is entirely off the grid, without work history, money, or any kind of support network—essentially a nonentity.

Burn Notice’s lead Michael Westen is stuck in Miami, with few allies. One being an ex-girlfriend, Fiona Glenanne. It’s obvious from the start, however, that their relationship isn’t quite finished.

Michael and Fiona are two of my favorite characters on television. Michael is a total badass, but aside from that, I might like him because he’s canon. Fiona, on the other hand, is how I wish every heroine (or heck, female character in every book) would be like: She’s smart, incredibly capable, and self-sufficient.

[What’s not to like?...]

Tue
May 29 2012 2:00pm

Fit, Hot, and Rich: Why Athlete Heroes Score with Romance Readers

Line of Scrimmage by Marie ForceI enjoy a good romance featuring a athlete hero, and I also enjoy sports. But the thing is, a lot of women who are indifferent to sports, or even dislike them, love sports romances.

It’s not just the insane physical condition athletes are in, because soldiers, firemen, and others would fit the bill. There’s something about the athlete. If the athlete is from the MMA? Well, maybe it’s the especially primal, powerful aspect—you know he can protect you, because he could literally (and likely easily) kill someone with his bare hands. The dangerous bad boy is easily depicted here.

Obviously how the athlete looks is a part of it. Who doesn’t want a guy in mint physical condition? That’s his job—to be healthy, fit, and strong. Especially football players. And they’re not just dumb jocks; a lot of players are quite smart. Quarterbacks have to be strategists, and the game takes a lot of thinking and analysis. Dedication must be a part of it. The athlete is dedicated to the game 100%...and otherwise dedicated 100% to the heroine. That’s a lot of focus and intensity.

[Imagine all that focus and intensity turned on you—yum!...]