<i>Lost and Found Sisters</i>: Exclusive Excerpt (+Sweepstakes) Lost and Found Sisters: Exclusive Excerpt (+Sweepstakes) Jill Shalvis "His hands went to her hips, gripping hard as they stared at each other..." Choose Lora Leigh's <em>Collision Point</em> Cover! Choose Lora Leigh's Collision Point Cover! Team H & H Which Lora Leigh cover belongs on bookshelves? Vote now! <i>Shameless</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Shameless: Exclusive Excerpt Nana Malone and M. Malone "You know, I hear you can go blind if you use those things too much." <i>Wed to a Spy</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Wed to a Spy: Exclusive Excerpt Sharon Cullen "Aimee closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath..."
From The Blog
May 25, 2017
Cover Thursday: Exclusive Reveals from Lynn, Linden, Anderson, Fox, Fox, and Cameron
Team H & H
May 24, 2017
The Dirty Dancing Remake: The Good, the Bad, and Baby
Elizabeth Poteet
May 24, 2017
Will Elizabeth Swann Get the Happy Ever After She Deserves in New Pirates of the Caribbean?
Darlene Marshall
May 23, 2017
Dirty Dancing’s Johnny and Baby Last Forever
Mala Bhattacharjee
May 23, 2017
Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals from Bennett, Douglas, Witt, Dee, York, Willoughby, Dean, and Vaughn
Team H & H
Showing posts by: Mala Bhattacharjee click to see Mala Bhattacharjee's profile
Tue
May 23 2017 3:00pm

Dirty Dancing’s Johnny and Baby Last Forever—And You Can’t Tell Us Any Different!

Dirty Dancing

Baby and Johnny live happily ever after. Sure, it’s easy to write off the events of 1987’s beloved Dirty Dancing as a beautiful summer fling set to a kickass 1960s soundtrack—most people do—but I’m here to tell you that they make it. They survive past the credits and the last strains of “The Time of My Life.”

The basic plot of the movie involves a privileged, sheltered, college-bound girl, played by Jennifer Grey, falling for Patrick Swayze’s blue-collar dance instructor. But like so many romance novels we’ve devoured and loved, the emotional core is that they connect despite their differences — and they admire each other because of them. I’ve read summaries that describe Johnny as the worldly one in the relationship — and maybe he is sexually, but in all other ways...? Baby holds the power. Yes, she’s wealthy and educated, but she’s also fearless and brave and strong in her convictions. She goes after what she wants—and who she wants. That floors Johnny. Ultimately, he’s the one seduced, not her. 

Johnny: “I've never known anyone like you. You think you can make the world better. Somebody's lost, you find them. Somebody's bleeding—”

Baby: “I go get my daddy. That's really brave, like you said.”

Johnny: “That took a lot of guts to go to him! You are not scared of anything.”

[Read more...]

Thu
May 18 2017 9:30am

Horror’s Best Romances—Yes, You Read that Correctly

Source: Shutterstock

Something author Tiffany Reisz once said has always stuck with me — that, to her, the closest genre to BDSM romance is horror. Presumably because they both involve facing and conquering fear. As a horror movie junkie, I totally acknowledge that if there’s a shippable pair thrown together against the threat—or maybe it’s the protagonist and the threat—I am all for it. Because there’s nothing like the combination of passion and terror. Everything is heightened. The stakes are astronomical. It’s not just hearts on the line—it’s lives, too.   

Horror also tackles so many fascinating tropes—taboo relationships, us-against-the-world, lovers-on-the-run. But, unlike most mainstream romances, horror happily exposes the creepy underbelly of those plots. Just look at 2013’s Stoker, written by Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller and gorgeously directed by Park Chan-wook. Mia Wasikowska stars as India Stoker, a young woman who develops an intense attachment to her charismatic uncle, Charlie (Matthew Goode). The incestuous elements are the least troubling bits of the film — and I could not look away! I don’t know what this says about Mia’s career choices, but she’s also in two other films I’d recommend to romance readers: 2015’s Crimson Peak and 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive. (Both co-star Tom Hiddleston, which is a huge selling point for me). Guillermo del Toro and Jim Jarmusch’s respective aesthetics are gorgeous. Just like a good romance zeroes in on the protagonists, so does horror—to an almost claustrophobic extent. These are both films about being stuck—and, honestly, I’m never going to complain about being trapped with Tom Hiddleston, whether he’s an incestuous gold-digger or an emo vampire.

[Read more...]

Mon
May 8 2017 12:00pm

First Look: Shana Galen, Christi Caldwell, Theresa Romain and Vanessa Kelly’s The Dukes of Vauxhall (May 9, 2017)

The Dukes of Vauxhall by Shana Galen, Christi Caldwell, Theresa Romain and Vanessa Kelly

Shana Galen, Christi Caldwell, Theresa Romain and Vanessa Kelly
The Dukes of Vauxhall
Self-Published / May 9, 2017 / $3.99 digital

The prince regent’s splashy birthday celebrations at London’s notorious Vauxhall Gardens provide the backdrop for The Dukes of Vauxhall, a charming quartet of linked historical romances by Shana Galen, Christi Caldwell, Theresa Romain, and Vanessa Kelly. All set during the same handful of weeks and the same dizzying crush of events—a prize fight, a masked ball, etc.—each story gives the reader a different voice, a different perspective, and a different couple to love! And, oh, a different kind of duke! 

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a little bit of peerage fatigue. Like, how many freakin’ dukes do we have in Romancelandia? (I’m looking at you, too, viscounts. You’re not off the hook.) But the wonderful and engaging thing about this anthology is that the titular dukes are as unconventional as their love interests and each tale moves quickly enough that you don’t get caught up in a lot of the typical Regency romance beats. (But there are balls. Of many kinds. Heh.)  

[Read more...]

Sun
Apr 23 2017 11:00am

Are Jon Snow and Daenerys Endgame in Game of Thrones?

Get Ready for Jon and Dany to Rule Game of Thrones

The seventh—and penultimate—season of Game of Thrones premieres July 16, and I'm telling you right now that the most important seats at this show's table belong to Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Actually, scratch the plural on those seats. It's one big ol' chair with Jon in Dany's lap (or the other way around, if you prefer). Because everything in this series has been leading up to the inevitable team-up of these two characters—both on the throne and in a bed!

I know what you're thinking: “But he's her nephew!” Dude, Dany breastfed three dragons. I'm not all that concerned about whether her hooking up with a relative she's never met is inappropriate. See also: Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Jon turning out to be a lost Targaryen (child of Dany's brother Rhaegar and Ned Stark's sister Lyanna) is nowhere near as creepy as the incestuous bone-town that is King's Landing.


Source: queencerxei.tumblr.com

[You either win or...]

Mon
Apr 3 2017 3:00pm

First Look: Calista Fox’s The Billionaires (April 4, 2017)

The Billionaires by Calista Fox

Calista Fox
The Billionaires (Lover's Triangle #1)
St. Martin’s Griffin / April 4, 2017 / $15.99 print, $4.99 digital

Jewel Catalano, Rogen Angelini, and Vin D'Angelo had been childhood best friends, spending every possible moment with one another. Rogen became her first love, the first one to show her what pleasure could be. Until a volatile feud erupted between their powerful California wine country families and she and Rogen were torn apart from each other. What she didn't expect was to find comfort and passion like she had never known in Vin's arms and bed. But when that too ended in disaster, Jewel moved to San Francisco to work for the Catalano empire. Years later, a series of daring acquisitions brings Jewel back to River Cross, the hometown where Rogen and Vin have recently returned as well. Jewel has the curves, the smarts, and the success to bring any man to his knees―especially the two men who remained best friends and still burn to possess her.

Mixing family business with erotic pleasure ignites a smoldering love triangle. But in order to pull off the bold deal that will build the trios’ own legacy and to stay in their heady, sensual paradise, they must discover what true love really is―or lose everything their hearts' desire, in The Billionaires by Calista Fox.

Two feuding wine country families provide the backdrop―and the conflict―for this erotic romance where the heroine—gorgeous and savvy Jewel Catalano—takes center stage for two powerful men. 

If you like your ménage stories strictly heterosexual and female-centric with no lightsaber duels in the sack, The Billionaires delivers―because broody Vin D’Angelo conveniently loves back-door action while sensitive, perfect mate Rogen Angelini is a PIV enthusiast, and they’ve been taking women together for years! They are all about pleasing a lady―specifically one lady―and lucky Jewel must come to terms with the fact that she never has to choose between the best pals. Even though she spent seven years chastely separated from her two loves, due to misunderstandings and family disapproval, a sizzling reunion is definitely in the cards from the moment she returns home from San Francisco to the lush valley where she grew up. 

[Read more...]

Sun
Mar 26 2017 11:00am

First Look: Roshani Chokshi’s A Crown of Wishes (March 28, 2017)

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Roshani Chokshi
A Crown of Wishes
St. Martin’s Griffin / March 28, 2017 / $18.99 print, $9.99 digital

You don't need to have read Roshani Chokshi's lyrical debut, The Star-Touched Queen, to read its sequel, A Crown of Wishes, but you'll probably kick yourself if you don't—because it's a beautiful introduction to the world that continues to grow in this, her second fantasy release.

Steeped and rooted in Hindu mythology, A Crown of Wishes follows warrior princess Gauri and tactician prince Vikramaditya as they struggle to prove themselves and take back their respective kingdoms—by competing in a tournament where the grand prize is a wish granted. 

The first few chapters of A Crown of Wishes might be a little rocky and confusing for some readers, but it doesn’t take Chokshi long to hit her stride, infusing her prose with beautiful world-building and snarky banter as her characters set upon their journey. Though the premise may sound Hunger Games-y, it’s actually a lot more philosophical and fantastical with a good dose of political machinations thrown in. Vikram and Gauri face mythological creatures, moral quandaries and their own fears in pursuit of the winners’ wish—and, oh, a mutual attraction, too! ‘Cause what’s a good quest without romance, right?  

[Read more...]

Mon
Mar 20 2017 9:30am

First Look: Tiffany Reisz’s The Night Mark (March 28, 2017)

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz
The Night Mark
Harlequin MIRA / March 28, 2017 / $15.99 print, $7.99 digital

She has nothing to live for in the present, but finds there’s something worth dying for in the past…

Tiffany Reisz transitions to women’s fiction tinged with magical realism in her newest release, The Night Mark, while still retaining everything readers love about her erotic fiction—banter, beautiful prose and deep, emotional relationships. (And sex. Of course, there is sex.)

An aching meditation on grief and loss, The Night Mark uses a lighthouse as both a touchstone and a catalyst when deeply unhappy Faye Barlow finds herself at an emotional crossroads. Trapped by a marriage to her dead husband’s best friend, mired in the memories of a blazing first love, she obtains a quickie divorce and flees to Beaufort, South Carolina to restart her career as a photographer. Bride Island — which Reisz fans will recognize from The Bourbon Thief, immediately fascinates her. As she digs into the history of the island and its decaying but dazzling lighthouse, she’s gut-punched by an old photograph. Carrick Morgan, a lighthouse keeper from the 1920s, looks exactly like her first husband, charming baseball player Will Fielding. 

[Read more...]

Tue
Feb 21 2017 10:30am

First Look: Lisa Marie Perry’s Sin For Me (February 21, 2017)

Sin for Me by Lisa Marie Perry

If you love FOX’s sudsy Empire, then Lisa Marie Perry’s sizzling Sin For Me is a must-read! The twisted, drama-soaked first book in the Devil’s Music duology is set amidst the Atlanta music scene, at a record label that’s growing new talent and age-old feuds. Dangerous wild-child Delilah Bishop, voted out of her family’s company by her three best friends, Joshua Drake, Emma Toledo and Chelsea Coin, wants back in at any cost. She’ll burn things down (literally), wreck marriages — and even throw her own brother, songwriter Dante Bishop, under the bus to get what she wants. But what Delilah doesn’t realize is that Devil’s Music holds its own allure for Dante — in the form of chief operating officer Chelsea, the woman who betrayed him and still enthralls him.      

Her smile could command his heartbeat. Her touch could freeze his mind and light his body on fire. Her pussy was immortalized in the hip-hop/R&B song “In You,” which remained unfinished and unsung, confined to the pages of an old notebook.

Funny how his church’s priest had never said that evil could be beautiful, could sound like the most unforgettable melody, could feel so damn good wrapped around you.

Evil was Chelsea, a woman who’d turned his love against him, betrayed everyone in her way, and preyed on a friend’s mental instability.

[Read more...]

Mon
Feb 13 2017 2:00pm

The Power of Female Friendship: Ladies Celebrating Ladies

Source: Shutterstock

Book boyfriends are great and all, but it’s galpals who’ll help you kill three bottles of wine and then bury some bodies! So move over, Valentine’s Day: Let’s pull a Leslie Knope and talk Galentine’s Day, celebrating some of fiction’s fun female friendships!   

Too often in romance―and, really, fiction in general―we see the “not like other girls” trope, where the heroine is a special sparkly unicorn, full of virtue and made of sugar cookie batter, and all other women are sluts and bitches. Frankly, that’s sexist, regressive, awful and not all that entertaining. That’s why, as a reader, I find myself drawn to series where women have each other’s backs no matter what. Take Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series. It’s probably the first time, at least in historical romance, that I can recall encountering a group of women who stuck together. Before that, I kept stumbling upon these poor loner heroines who’d end up running around a dreary estate with an alpha hero and his nefarious staff and relatives—and nary a friend to go, “Oh, girl, no. GTFO!” That’s not the case with Annabelle, Lillian, Evie and Daisy. Sure, they’re drawn together by their common goal of getting off the wall and landing a husband, but from Secrets of a Summer Night all the way to Scandal in Spring, you know that they’d cut someone for messing with one of them! And I mean literally. Not a cut direct.

[Get wooed by your galpal...]

Sun
Jan 8 2017 12:00pm

Why Good Behavior is Great Dark Romance

Good Behavior on TNT

Skye Warren, Annika Martin, Molly O’Keefe...TNT?! It sounds strange to put a cable network on a list of effective, engaging, go-to dark romance authors, but here you have it—because TNT’s Good Behavior, based on novellas by Blake Crouch, absolutely fits the bill! Letty Raines (Michelle Dockery) is a con artist, meth addict and alcoholic who lost custody of her son. Javier (Juan Diego Botto) is a controlling, meticulous hit man with a face like an angel. And they can’t live without each other. From the less-than-rosy protagonists to the shades of dominance and submission, Good Behavior is a good bet for anyone who likes hard-luck plots and hotter-than-hot pairings.    

In the first episode alone, it’s clear that wild-child Letty needs rules—that she is completely incapable of impulse control. She can’t hold down a steady job, she’s an expert at the five-finger discount...and she winds up hearing a contract killer, Javier, setting up a hit and can’t resist getting involved. Long story short, Letty’s good intentions don’t quite translate into sensible actions—and that’s something that carries through the series and cements why Javier becomes such an important figure in her life and her heart. Because he cannot, and will not, let her spiral out. There’s a gut-wrenching moment at the end of the pilot when Javier discovers Letty at rock bottom—stoned out of her mind and ready to die—and he basically takes ownership of her. As an angry hit man whose job got botched because of her, he could easily kill her and walk away. He can’t. Kudos to Juan Diego Botto, who imbues the scenes with equal parts disgust and admiration. “You do not get off that easy,” Javier says to Letty. “You work for me now.” He effectively tells her she’s his...and we know he’s just as much hers.

[Read more...]

Thu
Jan 5 2017 10:30am

Rogue One’s Chirrut and Baze: A Romantic Force to Be Reckoned With

Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus in Rogue One

This post contains spoilers for Rogue One. Proceed with caution!

Are they, or aren’t they? A lot has already been written about whether Rogue One’s Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus qualify as the Star Wars universe’s first official gay couple. Given that heterosexual romance didn’t get much traction in the film either, who’s to say, right? But what I know for damn sure is that Chirrut and Baze are love—a great, sweeping, epic love that is both the stuff of romance novels and that of your parents bickering at each other across the dinner table.

It’s a dynamic we’ve seen already in the Star Wars franchise—from Han Solo and Princess Leia to C-3PO and R2-D2 (that’s a shipper manifesto for another time). It’s a partnership that transcends everything else, the constant that gets you through in the trenches. And Donnie Yen’s Force-devout Chirrut and Jiang Wen’s gruff mercenary Baze are already a rock-solid team when viewers meet them on the desert planet of Jedha. They’re the last remnants of the Guardians of the Whills—followers of the Force but not actual Jedis. Chirrut is still a believer, and Baze has become a cynic, more trusting of his gun than what Han Solo would call “simple tricks and nonsense.” But our very first glimpse of him is as Chirrut’s backup, behind him, protective and suspicious when heroine Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) approaches them. Chirrut later notes that Baze used to be the most devoted Guardian of them all...and it’s clear that, now, he’s a devoted Guardian to just one person.   

[Read more...]

Mon
Dec 28 2015 11:00am

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of 2015, Part 4

Playing By the Greek’s Rules by Sarah Morgan

Each month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.

It's the end of the year now, and so we've asked them for their top three books that made the year in reading so memorable. Without further ado, here's Part 4 (of four parts) of our bloggers best reads of 2015—and don't forget to check out Part 1Part 2, and Part 3:

Miss Bates:

When H&H asked me to pick the best three romances I read in 2014, I agonized. I penned lists. I culled lists. I whittled lists. I wrote long- and short-lists. This year, my top three romances danced in my head like seasonal sugarplums! I knew exactly who they were and why I loved them. Here they are, in no particular order other than the mental sugarplum one.

Sarah Morgan’s Playing By the Greek’s Rules is a brilliant riff on the opposites-attract trope. Lily Rose, former-foster-child, waif-heroine is made of loving, empathetic steel. Her sunny ways and self-soothing personal philosophy break down the walls of Jericho around pragmatic, commitment-phobe hero Nik Zervakis’s heart.

[The final best reads of 2015 ...]

Mon
Nov 23 2015 5:30pm

First Look: Megan Hart’s Hold Me Close (November 24, 2015)

Hold Me Close by Megan Hart

Megan Hart
Hold Me Close
Harlequin Mira / November 24, 2015 / $15.99 print / $8.99 digital

Apart, they are broken, but together, they are whole 

Effie and Heath are famous. Not for anything they did, but for what happened to them as teenagers. Abducted and abused by the same man, they turned to each other for comfort until they were finally able to make their escape. 

Now adults, their relationship is fraught with guilt and despair. Whether fighting or making love, their passion is strong enough to destroy them both—and Effie's not about to let that happen. She knows it's time for her to have a “normal” relationship, and Heath is nothing but a constant reminder of the dark past they share. Heath, on the other hand, knows Effie is the only woman he can ever love. She may want to forget what happened, but he's convinced that they must face their past together in order to move forward. So while Effie continues to bring new men into her life, Heath becomes obsessed with proving he's the one she needs. 

Then a new crisis arises and Effie begins to lose every scrap of self-control she ever had. As she struggles against her desire to return to the one man who understands her, she discovers that sometimes the only safety you find is with the person who is the most dangerous for you.

Hold Me Close is in turns a romance and a tragedy, gut-wrenching and powerful—and one of Megan Hart’s strongest novels since 2013’s Tear You Apart. Through Effie and Heath’s past and present, Hart explores what it means to be “normal” and “healthy” and to truly move on from the devastating events we often think define us.

[Hart is going deep and it will blow your mind ...]

Fri
Sep 18 2015 9:30am

First Look: Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti (September 22, 2015)

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor
Binti

Tor / September 22, 2015 / $9.99 print, $2.99 digital

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

Nnedi Okorafor pens a gorgeous novella set in the outer reaches of space, starring a brave, brilliant girl named Binti. Part coming-of-age tale, part science fiction adventure, Binti is as a whole relatable, beautiful and hard to put down until you've reached the last page.

[Romance in space ...]

Mon
Aug 31 2015 9:30am

First Look: Cara McKenna’s Crosstown Crush (September 1, 2015)

Crosstown Crush by Cara McKenna

Cara McKenna
Crosstown Crush

Signet Eclipse / September 1, 2015 / $9.99 print & $7.99 digital

When he’s working, Mike Heyer is all business—every inch the alpha male, with the hard, capable body to back up his persona. But at home he can be a different man entirely, harboring appetites only his wife gets to glimpse…

When Samira first learned of her husband’s fantasies, she was reluctant, even alarmed. But after witnessing the way they set him on fire, she yielded, and happily indulged. As their games have intensified, so has the rush. And now so has the risk—they’re poised to take Mike’s indecent desires to the next level, by opening their bed to a sexy, brazen stranger. A man seeming custom-made to grant every last one of Mike and Samira’s sinful wishes.

Welcoming someone new into their lives was always a dangerous proposition, but the couple imagined if anything was at stake, it was their privacy…not their hearts.

A title like Crosstown Crush gives the impression of a light, cheerful romantic comedy, but what's on the page is the dark, twisty and emotional sexual exploration that readers have come to expect from author Cara McKenna. In fact, Mike and Sam's story hearkens back to several earlier McKenna works like Willing Victim and the Shivaree series, where identity and kink and commitment are as hard to untangle as knots and the reader's journey is as uncomfortable at times as the characters'. The reason for that is Mike's appetites, his particular kink. It's not one frequently found in erotic romance...and the term is one you're more likely to find in a historical. Cuckhold.

[I only want to watch...]

Fri
Aug 7 2015 2:00pm

Johnny on the Spot: Why Karen Robards Ruined Me For Life

Johnny Harris. Strawberry skirt. If you, like me, were there for Karen Robards' shift into hardcover contemporary romance in the 1990s, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Those four little words evoke a specific image...and a very specific man. These days, Tessa Bailey is known for filthy-talking heroes, Cara McKenna wrote Hard Time about a convict hero, and Victoria Dahl and Alisha Rai's heroes love going downtown (and I don't mean for shopping!). In 1993, Robards fit it all into One Summer—one very scandalous summer. Johnny had it all: a chip on his shoulder, tight blue jeans and t-shirts and a tortured history. Most importantly, he'd carried a torch for one woman for years—his former high school teacher, Rachel Grant. A really, really, hot torch.

Then there he was in the doorway. Johnny Harris. He wore scuffed brown cowboy boots and beat-up jeans and a white cotton T-shirt. His shoulders were wide enough to stretch the knit shirt taut across them. His biceps bulged with muscle, and his skin was surprisingly tan. He was thin. No, that wasn't the right word—lean was the one she wanted. Lean and hard and tough as leather. His hair was the same color, coal black, as it had always been, though it was longer than he used to wear it, almost touching his shoulders, and wavy. His face was the same—she would have recognized him anywhere once she looked into it, although several days' worth of stubble blurred the lines of his jaw and chin. The sullenly handsome boy she remembered was still sullen, still handsome, but no longer a boy. He had matured into a dangerous-looking man.

I was 15 when I met him; I still haven't recovered. I even told Karen Robards herself that at this year's Romance Writers of America conference in New York City. That's what a singular romance hero does: burn himself into your impressionable brain so that you find yourself raving about him 22 years later.

[And Johnny still sizzles...]

Thu
Jul 23 2015 9:30am

First Look: Rhonda Helms’s Break Your Heart (July 28, 2015)

Rhonda Helms
Break Your Heart
Kensington / July 28, 2015 / $9.95 print & $4.99 digital

Fearless and flirtatious, Megan Porter isn't your typical math major. On the fast track to graduating with honors, a spot in her school's masters program is nearly guaranteed. But her senior year is quickly turned upside-down by her new thesis advisor, cryptography professor Dr. Nick Muramoto. Young, effortlessly good-looking, and intellectual, he's far more intriguing than the immature jocks Megan usually goes for. And as she decodes the hidden messages he leaves in the margins of her assignments and in their emails, she realizes this might be more than a schoolgirl crush—especially after they share a passionate kiss...

Soon Nick and Megan grow closer, and their different worlds begin to merge. But if their relationship is discovered, Nick's career could be over. With Megan's parents close to campus on business, hiding their love becomes an even greater challenge. Yet keeping secrets will lead Megan to discover hers is just one piece in a much larger puzzle—next to her mother's stash of painkillers—that may put her carefully laid plans for the future in jeopardy.

Teacher-student, New Adult, interracial romance. With Break Your Heart, author Rhonda Helms deftly gift-wraps several trope-tastic elements and freshens up a subgenre that's been glutted by a lot of the same stories. In this follow-up to 2014's Scratch, math geek Megan Porter and cryptography professor Nick Muramoto are as far from the standard NA set-up as you can imagine, bonding over their love of puzzles and an instant attraction. Neither of them needs any kind of healing, just a safe place to share their dreams, and the threat of discovery and accusations of impropriety are a big enough conflict to keep things interesting.       

[We're interested...]

Wed
Jul 15 2015 2:00pm

Vetted and Bedded: The Rise of the Political Romance

Campaign for Seduction by Ann Christopher

The 2016 U.S. presidential election is nearly upon us, and candidates aren't the only ones throwing their hats in the ring. Political romance authors would like your vote as well. (Make your own caucus jokes. You know you want to.) 

In 2008, we saw the first young, picture-perfect family move into the White House since the Kennedys in 1961: a dashing president in Barack Obama, a gorgeous First Lady in Michelle, and two beautiful little girls. It was instant fodder for romance...you would think. But aside from Ann Christopher's 2009 Campaign for Seduction, which features journalist Liza covering sexy presidential candidate John, political romance as a genre didn't quite take off anywhere, but in the fan fiction realm. (You could go looking for Barack Obama/Rahm Emanuel smut. I'm not saying you should. I'm just saying that it's there.) Fast-forward nearly two terms, seven years, and four seasons of Shonda Rhimes' Scandal later and we're finally seeing an uptick in Capitol Hill hookups. Shows like The Good Wife, Madam Secretary, House of Cards and NBC's short-lived State of Affairs join Scandal in send-ups of politics and players while romance writers tackle senate races, lobbyists, unions, and ever-present historical renderings of the House of Lords.

[Sex in the oval office or city hall doesn't sound too scandalous...]

Fri
Jun 26 2015 2:00pm

Magic Mike XXL is Bigger, Better, Bawdier, and Bomerier

Magic Mike XXL

Note: This post is made up of SPOILERS for the movie Magic Mike XXL.

With 110 percent more self-awareness, silliness, and skin, Magic Mike XXL casts the spell that 2012's Magic Mike couldn't quite muster. It's going to be a common observation: This is exactly what people wanted from the moody, artsy, and oftentimes slow first film. There's a scene early on in which Channing Tatum's affable Mike shows up in a stiff suit and is immediately tossed into a pool by a naked Joe Manganiello. “Okay, we get it, this is a movie about a bunch of male exotic dancers,” the movie is saying to viewers. “We're diving right in!” Stripped of pretension and clothes, the cast gets to have a blast, and so does everyone watching. I don't think our screening audience at New York's Loews Village 7 theater stopped laughing and cheering once. The script is as hilarious as the actors are naked.   

***Again, this post contains spoilers.***

[Hotter abs, biceps, and more erotic dance moves for fans...]

Tue
May 19 2015 1:35pm

First Look: Jeffe Kennedy’s The Talon of the Hawk (May 26, 2015)

The Talon of the Hawk by Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy
The Talon of the Hawk
Kensington / May 26, 2015 / $15.00 print, $13.50 digital

Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king.

Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other―that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead…

The third installment of Jeffe Kennedy's Twelve Kingdoms fantasy series tears sharply and deeply into the books' mythology as well as into the heart of its core family. The Talon of the Hawk, Ursula's story, doesn't hesitate to draw blood and, in the process, proves also to be incredibly healing.  

All three sisters' stories have dealt with unlocking the true potential of who you are, and Ursula's journey is perhaps the most heightened and the most emotionally intense, because so much of her identity is tied up in being the dutiful heir to a tyrant king. She doesn't take chances like Andi does and she's not beautiful like Amelia, so who is she? Just a cipher, an extension of Uorsin, or a fully realized woman and person with her own worth? Yes, it is a man―Dasnarian mercenary captain Harlan―who sees that woman and that person and makes her aware of herself as an individual, but it's not as simple as lust or love fixing her issues. Harlan may be the catalyst for her self-awareness, but it's Ursula who has to painstakingly evolve ― and Kennedy makes sure the reader feels every beat and step of that process. Even before Harlan starts to seep into Ursula's consciousness, she chooses to don the Heir's Circlet and her mother's jewels as a message to her father. The seeds of growth are there. It's just that they need to be tended and encouraged.

[Ursula will have to fight her issues to have a shot at happiness...]