<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: Manda Collins click to see Manda Collins's profile
Tue
Jul 15 2014 11:45am
Excerpt

Why Lords Lose Their Hearts: Exclusive Excerpt

Manda Collins

Why Lords Lose Their Hearts by Manda Collins

Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there's only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband's former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of...

The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton's five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she's under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke's death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he'll do anything to keep the woman he's adored for so long safe in his arms.

Get a sneak peek of Manda Collins's Why Lords Lose Their Hearts (available July 29, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of the Prologue and Chapters 1 & 2.

Prologue

“Put the knife down, Your Grace,” Perdita heard her friend Mrs. Georgina Mowbray say to Gervase as he held the penknife closer to her own throat.

She wasn’t sure how long they’d stood thus, her husband’s sour breath panting across her cheek as he held her in a death grip against his powerful body. A while, at least. Time seemed to get away from her when Gervase was in one of his moods. And Perdita had found long ago that ignoring such things would make it easier to pretend later that it had never happened.

Only this time, she wasn’t sure she’d need to pretend. If he killed her, she’d forget everything. Which for one blissful moment sounded as close to heaven as she’d ever come.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt...]

Fri
Feb 14 2014 3:00pm
Original Story

H&H Quickies #1: Manda Collins Presents “Miss Easterling’s Highland Fling”!

Manda Collins

Why Earls Fall in Love by Manda CollinsToday we bring you a very special, exclusive Valentine's Day treat! Earlier this month, we asked you to offer suggestions (“prompts”) for author Manda Collins to use as inspiration for an original scene. And now we're delighted to present her short story (!!!!), “Miss Easterling's Highland Fling”! Here are the prompts she chose (with thanks to all who commented!).

  • A kiss in a curricle near Rotten Row
  • A working (non-aristocratic) hero
  • A horse named Crystal
  • A plus sized heroine
  • Long overdue declaration of love

“Miss Easterling's Highland Fling” by Manda Collins

Miss Eleanor Easterling straightened her hat as she stalked away from the line of open carriages and curricles snaking its way down Rotten Row.

“Miss Easterling,” cried the fashionable fribble whose phaeton she had just leapt down from, “I beg you, come back! Your Grandmama will never forgive me if I do not bring you home safely!”

But Eleanor ignored Reggie Hart's plaintive cries as he tried to keep his horse, laughably named Crystal, from bolting. She had agreed to accompany him on a drive in the park against her better judgment —the Harts were neighbors of the Easterlings back in Devon—but she had not spoken above five words with the young man before she realized his only purpose in inviting her was so that he could get his hands on her inheritance. Not only had he attempted to propose marriage on their way to the park, but once there, he'd tried to publicly compromise her in an attempt to override her refusal.  At five and twenty, and more curvy than the fashion plates dictated, Eleanor knew her own worth, and it would take more than a spendthrift with more hair than wit to trick her into marriage. She might be a bookish spinster, but she had more sense than that. And she certainly wouldn't be giving her hand and fortune away anytime soon.

[Enter our hero...]

Thu
Jan 16 2014 1:00pm
Excerpt

Why Earls Fall in Love: Exclusive Excerpt

Manda Collins

Why Earls Fall in Love by Manda Collins

IS IT A REASON FOR ROMANCE?

In Why Earls Fall in Love by Manda Collins, young widowed Georgina Mowbray is settling into her role as Lady Russell’s companion quite well—until the lady’s nephew Dominic, the Earl of Coniston, arrives in Bath for a visit. Georgie’s always found him shallow and too smooth, and trusts him as much as she trusts most men…which is to say, not at all. But Con turns out to be more intriguing than she remembers—and completely irresistible...

OR A PROMISE OF PASSION?

Pretty, practical Georgie is nothing like the women Con usually woos—especially since she seems blind to his charms. But his elderly aunt is so fond of her that Con is determined at least to be sociable…with the occasional flirtation thrown in just for fun. But things take a serious turn when a dangerous figure from Georgie’s unhappy past appears and threatens to bring her harm. Con will do whatever it takes to keep Georgie safe. And if he can show her that all men are not menaces, he might be able to keep her in his arms and never let go…

Get a sneak peek of Manda Collins's Why Earls Fall in Love (available January 28, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt from the Prologue and Chapters 1 & 2.

Prologue

“Put the knife down, your grace,” Mrs. Georgina Mowbray said firmly, infusing every bit of military command she’d ever heard during her time following the drum into her voice.

She knew how absurd it was to try reasoning with a man who was clearly at the end of his rope—especially one like the Duke of Ormond who had undoubtedly been granted his every wish from childhood. Even so, she did try reason, hoping that the drunk, exhausted husband of her dear friend Perdita would not go through with his threat. “Killing your wife will not make you feel any better.”

The only sign that Perdita felt genuine terror was the visible flutter of her pulse, only a hairsbreadth from the glinting blade at her throat.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Why Earls Fall in Love...]

Thu
Aug 1 2013 9:30am

Author Manda Collins on the Trouble with Gingers

Why Dukes Say I Do by Manda CollinsWe are thrilled to have author Manda Collins talking on one of our favorite subjects today—red-headed heroes. And that's because the hero from Manda's latest release, Why Dukes Say I Do, also has ginger tresses. Not to mention a society flirt off in the country with a duke who has little time for Society—but plenty of time for his heroine. Thanks for joining us, Manda!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that brunet is the preferred hair color of Romancelandia.

Oh, you run across the occasional blond, or sometimes even multi-colored hair (I’m looking at you BDB’s Phury), but these guys are few and far between. But as a general rule, it’s dark-haired heroes who have the readers calling out for more.

But as reviled as blonds sometimes are, no hero hair color is as reviled as that of the ginger. For Americans I think this stems from a few pop culture icons who loom large over the collective consciousness: Howdy Doody, Opie Taylor, and Alfred E. Newman. These characters, however, have long been out of the public spotlight. It’s time for a change. And what better way to promote change than to give some examples of superhot gingers to bring the sexy (redheaded man) back?

[Red is the color of passion—just sayin'...]

Fri
Jun 28 2013 12:00pm
Excerpt

Why Dukes Say I Do: Exclusive Excerpt

Manda Collins

Why Dukes Say I Do by Manda CollinsEven in London society—where everyone knows what you did last season—you never know who’s next in line to walk down the aisle…

TRUE LOVE IS OFTEN FOUND

With her whirlwind social life in London, Lady Isabella Wharton has little interest in the customs of the country. But when her godmother asks her to pay a visit to her bachelor grandson in Yorkshire, Isabella can’t refuse. It behooves her to please the old dowager, since she harbors one of Isabella’s most scandalous secrets. So off she goes to see the newly-titled—and notoriously rustic—Duke of Ormond…

WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT

Trevor Carey doesn’t care about what goes on behind ballroom doors. He is content with the simple life—and isn’t ashamed to admit it to a society flirt like Lady Isabella. But the country air brings out a different side of Isabella—one full of longing and passion. Can her sophistication be hiding a desire for love? When a blackmailer from the city arrives to threaten Isabella, Trevor will shield her from harm—even travel to London. Can the duke tackle the ton on Isabella’s behalf …and manage to keep her all to himself?

Get a sneak peek of Manda Collins's Why Dukes Say I Do (available July 30, 2013) with an exclusive excerpt of the Prologue and Chapters 1 & 2.
 

Prologue

“Your Grace,” Lady Isabella Wharton coaxed, from the other side of the Ormonde library, “really, you must put the knife down. Whatever will your grandmama think?”

But the Duke of Ormonde, accustomed to ignoring his family’s dictates, didn’t lower the knife at his wife’s throat. “Who gives a hang what that old bat thinks?” he demanded, his red-rimmed eyes devoid of conscience, his normally handsome visage turned ugly with anger. “She’s the one who made me marry this miserable bitch. And look where that’s gotten me.”

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Why Dukes Say I Do...]

Mon
Jan 14 2013 2:30pm
Excerpt

How to Entice an Earl: New Excerpt

Manda Collins

How to Entice an Earl by Manda CollinsLady Madeline Essex is the last of the unwed “ducklings” in her family-and by far the most outspoken. But when she boldly enters London's most notorious gaming house in search of fodder for her novel, even her sharp tongue can't save her from the horrible crime she stumbles upon there. As luck would have it, first on the scene is the last man she wants to see her vulnerable. The one man who could tempt her heart . . . Christian Monteith, the new Earl of Gresham, isn't much for card rooms and gaming halls. But as a favor to his former commanding officer, he's investigating a gamester for espionage on the night that Maddie ventures in, looking more enticing than he's ever seen her. Suddenly, his feelings for his friend aren't so friendly anymore. And when her curiosity brings the impetuous novelist to the attention of a madman, Christian will stop at nothing to protect her-from a sinister plot that is far more dangerous than any stolen kiss.

Get a sneak peek at Manda Collin's's How to Entice an Earl (available January 29, 2013) with a special excerpt of Chapters 1-2.

Chapter 1

What about Lord Fortenbury?” Cecily, Duchess of Winterson, asked her cousin Lady Madeline Essex, her voice low so that the other attendees of the Wexford Ball wouldn’t hear them.

As on so many previous occasions, Cecily, Maddie, and their cousin Juliet, now Lady Deveril, looked out at the dancers at a ton gathering without taking to the floor themselves. But this time it was from choice rather than a lack of partners—at least for the two mar­ried cousins. Both Cecily and Juliet had just released their husbands to find their way to the card room so that they could chat with Maddie, who had thus far been unable to remove herself from the ranks of the wallflowers.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of How to Entice an Earl...]

Thu
Jul 5 2012 5:30pm
Excerpt

How to Romance a Rake: New Excerpt

Manda Collins

How To Romance a Rake by Manda Collins

You can lead a wallflower to the ball, but you can’t make her bloom—unless one daring young bachelor turns up the heat…

What’s a nice girl like Miss Juliet Shelby doing at a place like Lord Deveril’s ballroom? With her shy demeanor, she’s a total stranger to the dance floor and a source of mockery for the ton. So imagine her surprise when Deveril gallantly comes to her defense—and offers to teach her to dance! Juliet can hardly believe the most handsome bachelor in London would notice her, until he takes her in his arms and sets her heart ablaze…

Lord Alec Deveril has never felt such a spark of attraction for an unmarried lady before. Unlike the “fashionable” ladies he’s accustomed to, Juliet possesses a generous spirit, a fiery intelligence—and an explosive secret. Deep in the London underworld, a dear friend has vanished, and Juliet fears the worst. Deveril insists on helping, escorting her through the darkest alleys in town. But he too is hiding a shocking secret—and the only way he can defeat the devil in his past is to seduce the angel in his arms…

Get a sneak peek of How to Romance a Rake by Manda Collins (available July 31, 2012) with an excerpt of Chapters 1-2.

Chapter 1

From his close-cropped golden curls to his gleaming dancing shoes, Lord Deveril was a man envied by men and adored by women.

And he was bloody tired of it.

[Sign in or register to read an excerpt of How to Romance a Rake…]

Mon
Jan 23 2012 6:00pm
Excerpt

How to Dance with a Duke: New Excerpt

Manda Collins

How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins

What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants…

Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club—and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.

Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily—even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened…or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined….

Get a sneak peek of How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins (available January 31, 2012) with an excerpt of Chapters 1-2.

(And be sure to enter for a chance to win a copy of the book!)

Chapter 1

Miss Cecily Hurston battered her ivory-tipped parasol against the hulking footman who none too gently thrust her through the doors of Number 13 Bruton Street.

[Sign in or register to read an excerpt of How to Dance with a Duke…]

Mon
Aug 8 2011 3:00pm

What Ever Happened to the Stand-Alone Romance Novel?

High Noon by Nora RobertsOnce upon a time in Romancelandia, before there were Bridgertons, before there were Bullet Catchers, before Virgin River was a gleam in Robyn Carr’s eye, there lived upon this Earth a type of romance novel rarely seen these days.

Yes, friends, I speak of that rarest of literary unicorns, the standalone romance novel.

I’m not sure when standalones went out of fashion. I suspect it had something to do with the three-book deal in New York publishing. And with the need for authors to build reader demand. After all, it’s much easier to increase anticipation for an upcoming release when the reader already knows the characters you’re going to write about. And if you can build up that demand over the course of many books, as Jo Beverley did with Rothgar or Mary Balogh did with Wulfric, readers will practically weep with wanting that last book of the series.

[So what should I read in the meantime?...]

Wed
Jul 27 2011 1:18pm

Getting the Mix of Romance and Suspense Just Right

They got Romance in my Suspense! Or is it Suspense in my Romance? 

With one foot in romance and the other in suspense, romantic suspense is a strange beast.  And for the reader who knows how much romance they want in their suspense, and conversely how much suspense they want in their romance, it can be difficult to tell from the label on the spine what to expect from a new author. If only there were an FDA label on the back listing the percentages of romance and suspense in each book. 

Since it doesn’t look like the FDA will start checking the percentages any time soon, we readers are forced to rely on each other to learn which books to try and which to avoid. To that end, I’ve performed my own Goldilocks routine and found three bears romantic suspense authors whose titles are “just right” at 50% romance / 50% suspense.

For the full article on three authors who’ve found the perfect mix of romantic suspense, visit our sister crime fiction and mystery blog, CriminalElement.com.

Fri
Jun 24 2011 10:30am

Listen Up: Heroes, Tropes, and Popular Songs

Woman listening to music by LaertesCTB via FlickrSongs that tell stories appeal to me, both as a reader and writer of romance fiction. Tropes that populate the romance genre can also be found lurking within the lyrics of popular story songs. Here are a few depicting our favorite heroes:

1. The Reformed Rake

I’ve got a couple of favorite musical depictions of the reformed rake. But the one I come back to again and again is classic ’80s southern rock band 38 Special’s “Caught Up in You.”

Our hero, the speaker in the song, begins his song by expressing his disbelief that he is the one begging his woman not to let their love “slip away.” After all, he’s a rake. We know this because he tells us so—“Don’t you know the kind of man I am?”

[We do now!...]