<i>The Billionaire Biker</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Billionaire Biker: Exclusive Excerpt Jackie Ashenden "Her best friend. Her first lover. And the boy who’d left her..." H&H Reads <i>A Breath of Scandal</i> (4 of 6) H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal (4 of 6) Elizabeth Essex Ready to be Reckless? Join us for a read-along of A Breath of Scandal <i>No Sunshine When She's Gone</i>: Exclusive Excerpt No Sunshine When She's Gone: Exclusive Excerpt Kate Angell "He liked holding her, he realized..." <i>The Unexpected Duchess</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Unexpected Duchess: Exclusive Excerpt Valerie Bowman "She was shaking with antagonism toward him. Oh, he couldn’t wait to hear this..."
From The Blog
April 15, 2014
Sacrificing Heroines from Higgins, Carr, and More
Leigh Davis
April 14, 2014
Top 5 Romance Novels Influenced by the Bard
April 14, 2014
Tom Hiddleston Asks “May I Feel?” in Honor of National Poetry Month
Megan Frampton
April 11, 2014
Friday Beefcake: Suit Up!
Team H & H
April 10, 2014
Pregnancy in Romance Novels, Part 2
Leigh Davis
Showing posts by: Nicole Leapheart click to see Nicole Leapheart's profile
Apr 10 2014 2:00pm

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for J.R. Ward's The King as well as major speculation about and potential spoilers for next year's The Shadows. Read at your own risk.

Every spring, a special Tuesday in the world of the rabid Black Dagger Brotherhood fan is marked on the calendar. What is this day? Release day, of course! April 1st marked the release of The King, the 12th book in the series and a return the original couple, Wrath and Beth.

For the past few years, another tradition has started. Author J.R. Ward promises to tell us who the next book is about if someone asks at the first book signing after release day (usually that Saturday.) She did not disappoint this year and revealed that the next book was to be The Shadows, about our favorite dark and cannibal brothers. She also promised that they would BOTH get an HEA in this book. (On her Facebook page, she left a transcript from the book signing with some MAJOR spoilers from the BDB world in general.)

[Let the speculating begin!]

Apr 4 2014 10:29am

Olivia and Fitz in Scandal 3x16Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x07, 3x08, 3x09, 3x10, 3x11, 3x123x133x14, and 3x15. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 16, “The Fluffer.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy!

This episode of Scandal was aptly named because it was a jaw-dropper! There was also a lot of hightailing it out of the room, so I kept count.

As the episode opens we see someone else sashaying down the halls with Cyrus Beene. It’s Abby, dressed in Olivia Pope white. (She looks good, too!) Cyrus, in disbelief, is grilling Abby about why Liv isn’t there. He also calls her Gabby, which unfortunately sticks to poor Abby the whole episode as she has interactions at the White House.

Cyrus pulls out his phone to call Olivia, and Abby reports to him that Olivia is only taking Abby’s calls and Abby better not call unless the White House is burning down. Shaking his head, Cyrus tells (G)Abby that he feels sorry for what’s about to happen in the next room.

[Hightail count: 0...]

Mar 30 2014 10:30am

Undeniable by Madeline SheehanThanks to the allure of gritty television shows such as Sons of Anarchy (and their hot eye-candy stars like Charlie Hunnam) the Motorcycle Club lifestyle has become a popular subject of interest. Recently MC erotica has created a rabid fanbase. They perfectly exemplify the alpha-male bad-boy (who may or may not be on the wrong side of the law) and the MC lifestyle has a subversive set of rules where the men go to work and the women keep the home fires (or bedroom sheets or wherever is handy) burning. Sometimes these stories are more traditionally romanticised, and sometimes they are dark and epic. Here are the ones to put at the very top of your TBR pile:

Madeline Sheehan, Undeniable series
This series is the litmus test for reality in the MC world. The research has been done, and you can see it reflected in the settings, the characters, and the language they use. None of these stories are pretty little walks on the wild side; each couple’s story spans time, tragedy, and mistakes. In Undeniable, Deuce and Eva met when she was 5, he was 23, and they were both visiting their fathers in prison. They continued to cross paths over time, and all the while they loved each other and hurt each other. It was an emotional rollercoaster for the reader as well as the characters, and the hits keep coming with the other books in the series.

[Start your engines...]

Mar 21 2014 12:06pm

Olivia and Cyrus in Scandal Season 3 episode 14Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x06,3x07, 3x08, 3x09, 3x10, 3x11, 3x12, and 3x13. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 14, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy!

Grab your wine bottle, your therapist’s number, and get out your tissues out—this one is a snot-fest.

When the episode opens, it starts where the cliffhanger ended last week. We see the distractingly handsome Jake take out three people; the big question was, who got shot, David or James? Turns out it was James. In a moment of sheer self-preservation, James bolts down the street, and Jake guns him down. Swinging his big gun to David’s face, Jake tells David that he always liked him, and asks him if he’s smart and if he can play ball—or does Jake need to stop liking him?

[Scary Jake is scary...]

Mar 7 2014 1:49pm

Mellie and Olivia in Scandal 3x12Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x063x073x08, 3x09, 3x10, and 3x11. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 12, “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal. Enjoy! 

As usual, this episode was a jaw dropper, so without further ado, let’s take a page from Fitz and Olivia and jump right into it!

When the episode opens, Fitz and Olivia are screaming at each other in a hotel room about Jake, who is standing sentry outside said room with Tom and some other secret service agents.  Fitz apparently didn’t appreciate Olivia bringing Jake to their rendezvous. Olivia reminds him that being seen going into a hotel by herself with the President looks kind of bad. He ups the ante and the volume by spouting nonsense about having a “fox” in his “henhouse.” Olivia informs him that she is no one’s hen and that her house is her own. So there!

[Check yourself before you wreck yourself, Fitz...]

Mar 6 2014 1:00pm

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series has millions of fans, seemingly a million characters, and sold millions of books worldwide. This spring, author J.R. Ward will bring her incredible world full circle in the 12th book in the series, The King. Wrath, king of the vampires, and his queen, Beth, have ruled over the wayward vampire population for eleven books. But as the first couple of the series, they had the shortest book and this is a great opportunity to go back and check in on them. So what is going to happen in The King?

First, let’s see where we left off in Lover at Last, book eleven of the BDB universe:

Qhuinn and Blay get together (FINALLY!) and Qhuinn becomes a Brother. We finally found out what happened to his brother—and Luhcas is home safe! Meanwhile, Q’s baby mama, Layla, is pregnant and in love with Xcor, the king of the Band of Bastards. Xcor is equally besotted, but Layla’s status as a Chosen (fallen or not) gives the cleft palate suffering king pause because he doesn’t feel worthy of her (aww!) Also, as the BoB have tried to assassinate Wrath and are considered traitors, Layla and Xcor are in the middle of some real Romeo and Juliet drama.

Assail, an opportunist who is fairly new to the BDB world, is chasing after Sola, basically a female version of him. She was kidnapped at the end of the book, and he plans on getting her back. (The sighs of relief heard round the world that this wouldn’t be the next book were louder than Katy Perry’s “Roar.”)

[Our sighs at J.R. Ward are always bigger than a roar...so many sighs!]

Feb 25 2014 2:45pm

Thrown for a Curve by Sugar JamisonSugar Jamison
Thrown for a Curve
St. Martin's Press / February 25, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

Cherri has often wished she were thin and graceful like a ballerina instead of being a six-foot-tall blonde with curves that require serious caution. Surely a charming Irishman like her new boss Colin, with his throaty brogue and to-die-for bod, would never go for someone like Cherri. Unless maybe he’s looking for the exact opposite of a delicate lass? 

When Colin hired Cherri to work in his furniture-restoration shop, he had his eyes, first and foremost, on her artistic talents. But now he can’t help but see Cherri for the lush, spirited beauty that she is…and, soon enough, he finds himself mixing business with pleasure. But Cherri turns out to be more vulnerable than she appears. Is she in need of more than Colin can give? Or could it be that a feeling stronger than lust has him thrown for a curve?

In Sugar Jamison's charming Thrown for a Curve we meet Charlotte “Cherri” Rudy: devoted granddaughter of a sassy Ukrainian romantic widow, statuesque and curvy youngest sidekick of her group of friends, and the fresh-faced forbidden fruit of Irish transplant Colin O’Connell. This book is the second in The Perfect Fit series, and Sugar Jamison weaves a funny, sexy, and touching tale.

[Sounds like one sweet combo...]

Jan 7 2014 1:00pm

Wanted by J. KennerJ. Kenner
Random House / January 7, 2014 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

He is everything I crave, all I desperately want—and he is everything I can’t have.

Evan Black embodies my every fantasy. He is brilliant, fierce, and devastatingly handsome. But he is also headstrong, dangerous, and burdened with secrets.

My family warned me to stay away, that I could never handle Evan’s dark dealings or scarred past. Maybe I should have listened. Maybe I should have run. But our desire is undeniable, and some temptations you just can’t fight.

And from the moment we touch—the passion between us consuming us both—I know that I will never be the same.

Simply said, Wanted by J. Kenner is an exercise in the study of anticipation. Angelina has been lusting after Evan Black for eight years. Evan, along with his friends Cole and Tyler, was taken under her Uncle Jahn’s wing as a young man. During her summer vacations in Chicago with her uncle she would hang out with them and was like a sister to the—but she felt differently about Evan. Unfortunately for Angie, Evan never reciprocated her feelings. As the book opens, Uncle Jahn has passed away and despite her grief and a hopeful suitor, Angie is looking forward to seeing Evan Black again.

[Can't deny those feelings...]

Dec 18 2013 3:00pm

Touch and Geaux by Abigail RouxMay old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with four days of the Best of 2013. We asked our bloggers for their favorite books of 2013, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2013. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers you hopefully get for Christmas!

Want more? See the recommendations from Day 2Day 3, and Day 4 as well!

Jennifer Myers

Touch & Geaux by Abigail Roux
The Cut & Run series is really my everything for the year, favorite book, series and new author.  I read them all in two weeks and then did it all over again.  Touch & Geaux ripped me open, put me back together and then did it all over again.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop
The first book in what promises to be an amazing new Urban Fantasy series, Written in Red was un-put-downable.  The world building and graphic nature of the story were amazing.  I adored the unapologetic brutal nature of the shifters.

[See who else made the list!...]

Dec 6 2013 12:39pm

Huck, Jake, and Harrison in Scandal 3.09Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x013x02,3x033x043x053x06, 3x07, and 3x08. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 9, “YOLO.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.

Mama Pope lives and we celebrated by having one of the most exciting episodes yet of Scandal. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

When the episode opens, Quinn finds herself in Huck’s spiderweb. She is naked and restrained by duct tape. Huck is describing in explicit detail everything he wants to do to her and how much he is going to like it. He hates how much he is going to enjoy torturing her, but can’t resist getting a taste of her fear by licking her face. Quinn is in hysterics, and we watch, wondering if Huck is just trying to teach her a lesson. He won’t really pull her teeth out, will he? Begging, Quinn repeats over and over again, “I’ll be good, I’ll be good!” Huck goes in to pull out the first tooth, and his cell phone rings. Saved by the bell! It’s Olivia and she is hiding behind a door, watching her mother pace in another room. She tells Huck that she is alive, and she is at her house. Huck tells her to get out immediately and get to the safe house—if Maya is there, then Command is coming. Huck laments having to leave Quinn before they really get down to business. He asks her to wait for him, then decides, “We have time for one. Let’s live a little. What’s that stupid thing the kids are saying? YOLO?” He reaches in with the extractor and you know it isn’t a test, you know it isn’t a joke, you know Huck is really pulling out Quinn’s teeth.

This was the first three minutes before the credits rolled. So it’s going to be THAT kind of episode? Okay, Shonda Rhimes.

[Better buckle up...]

Nov 22 2013 12:57pm

Olivia in Scandal Season 3 episode 8 Vermont Is for Lovers TooCan't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x01, 3x02, 3x03, 3x04, 3x05, 3x06, and 3x07. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 8, “Vermont Is for Lovers, Too.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.

Last week we all replaced our glasses of wine with glasses of whiskey. We found out a lot, characters found out a lot, and despite everyone’s shock, the world kept spinning.

This week was another heart-stopping episode, and full of mature content warnings that should have been around last week, but whatevs. When the episode opens, Mama Pope (isn’t that funny since she went by her maiden name?) aka Maya Lewis, is in her jail bed when Eli comes busting in. He tells her that Liv is asking questions, and so he is going to have her moved somewhere else, someplace else, far far away. Maya wants to see Olivia, and demands that Eli makes it happen. He hesitates, but refuses. She screams his name as he leaves her in desperation.

Stupid Quinn is in the car with Charlie, and he reminds her nicely what her job is—to report to him what’s happening at Pope and Associates. She can just pretend he is her boyfriend! Quinn isn’t so sure about that, but she isn’t refusing either. The Gladiators are already in battle mode; the death of the security guard has them chasing ghosts. They decide to get security footage from the surrounding areas since the building footage was swiped. Quinn looks like she is going to lose her breakfast and last night’s dinner when she opens a folder and realizes she is the perp the Gladiators are looking for.

[What kind of day has it been...]

Nov 12 2013 11:00am

Stephen Amell for Gideon CrossSylvia Day’s Crossfire series has sold millions of copies, and has generated an astounding cross-over following. Recently it was reported that the series was optioned for television by Lionsgate, and the world rejoiced! But—what actors will best portray the Crossfire drama onscreen? Well, we've got some suggestions right here.

In Bared to You, the first book of the series, we meet Eva Trammell, a feisty, hardworking ad assistant and Gideon Cross, a young alpha billionaire who wants to make Eva his. They are both victims of sexual abuse, and despite their baggage, they strive to make a healthy relationship work. There are a lot of supporting players in the series, and they influence the (in)sanity of Gideon and Eva.

The Main Players

Gideon Cross

Stephen Amell
Age: 32
Nationality: Canadian
Known for:
Arrow on the CW

The internets have decided that Henry Cavill is the perfect Gideon. He definitely has the look, and even Sylvia Day said that she would be thrilled to have him (or Ian Somerhalder). But it seems it would be smart to avoid the turmoil of the FSoG casting debacle, and introduce an alternative to Henry and Ian since there will actually be a Crossfire series and I’m willing to bet that Henry will be too busy being Superman to sign on. Enter Stephen Amell.

Gideon is rich, sexy, alpha, athletic, disciplined, aristocratic, and did I mention sexy? He can be cold, calculating, and aloof, but when he meets Eva, all of his inner discipline flies out the window—and is there anything hotter than seeing a man who never loses control lose it over you?

[Sorry, what? My brain overheated there for a sec...]

Nov 8 2013 1:14pm

Olivia and Abby in Scandal Season 3 episode 6 IcarusCan't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x01, 3x02, 3x03, 3x04, and 3x05. And now, let's dive into H&H's recap of Season 3, episode 6, “Icarus.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.

Last week left us with another jaw unhinging cliffhanger—Liv’s mom was on the plane that Fitz maybe shot down?

When this episode opens, we see Olivia frozen at her desk, flashbacks popping in and out of a young Liv (cute with giant glasses) and her mother (played by the fierce Khandi Alexander. What a fantastic choice!) at breakfast. Maya was rushing out the door to the airport. It was the last time Liv saw her. Outside Liv’s door, Team Gladiator is having a pow-wow. Abby and Harrison need Liv to choose a team; either she is running Fitz’s campaign or she is running the Marcus campaign, because they keep calling. Huck and Jake know she is going to need a few minutes to digest what they told her about Operation Remington. Finally, she snaps out of it, gathers her things, and leaves. On the way out, she tells Team Hake (Team Juck? No, I like Hake better) that there are only two people who can answer her questions. One is her murderous father, the other is the President...so she is on her way to the White House.

Sally Langston has invited Leo Bergen to her home to discuss campaign strategy. They come up with a cute plan—rile up the religious base, get them talking about Fitz’s penis problems. Who will they send out to calm those ruffled feathers? VP Sally Langston! But instead of ruffling those feathers, it’s her chance to spit some game in their ears about how awesome she is, and it's a pre-campaign trip that would be funded by the White House!

[Who could turn down that opportunity?...]

Oct 25 2013 11:04am

Can't get enough Scandal? Join the club—really. Tune into H&H for weekly recaps from Kwana Minatee-Jackson and Nicole Leapheart. Need to catch up? Don't miss recaps of 3x013x02, and 3x03. And now, let's dive into Nicole's recap of Season 3, episode 4, “Say Hello to My Little Friend.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.

Last week we were all left sitting on our couches, desperately clutching our glasses of red wine, contemplating the desperate illusion of our lives.

This week, Olivia Pope said she wasn’t hearing that nonsense, and she wasn’t hearing anything the rapidly healed Jake had to say either. When the episode opens, Jake has decided to go back to his apartment, but Liv is worried about him. Jake is more worried about her; after all, he is a trained assassin. He tells her that Rowan will “slit her throat and drink her blood” if it will protect the Republic. Olivia is convinced her father wouldn’t hurt her that way—but she doesn’t want to court danger either. She tells Jake to keep his fancy ideas to himself, and that she is going to be a good girl and go to Sunday Dinners with her father. She doesn’t know him and she doesn’t know B613. (We’ll see how long that lasts.) Jake tried to lean in for a good-bye kiss, but got played instead.

[Oooh, burn...]

Oct 11 2013 11:39am

Olivia in Scandal's Guess Who's Coming to DinnerReady for an all-new season of Scandal? For a refresher and to speculate about the season ahead, be sure to check out Nicole Leapheart's post “Anticipating Scandal Season 3: Gladiators, Grab Your Wine Glasses” as well as Kwana Minatee-Jackson's recap of the Season 3 premiere. And now without further ado, Nicole's recap of Season 3, episode 2, “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.

Gladiators, I spent most of this episode with my mouth hanging open, so let’s get to it.

When the show opens, its 5 years ago, and 5-years-ago-with-bangs Olivia Pope has not yet met Fitzgerald Grant, but she does have a relationship with Homeless Huck who knows she has dinner with her father every Sunday because she brings him the leftovers. The family relationship is strained; “Eli” Pope commits to a sophisticatedly bland deception that he works at the Smithsonian, meanwhile the petulant Liv is still angry at her father for sending her to boarding school when her mother died. The tradeoff to rebuilding their relationship is that he pays for her law school loans and she comes to Sunday dinners.

[“Strained” seems like a nice way to describe things...]

Oct 2 2013 9:30am

Scandal Season 3 posterThis past season of Scandal was a wild roller coaster ride. At 22 episodes, it tripled the drama from its first season in every way possible, and with a cliffhanger that made you gasp in surprise, it almost made you wish summer would move just a tad faster along. Well, the premiere is just around the corner—Gladiators, grab your white hats and glasses of wine!

Let’s look at what happened between Fitz and Olivia last season. When season 2 opens, Mellie is well along into her pregnancy with America’s Baby, and Fitz has been calling Liv like clockwork every night. (I have to say, those moments on the phone between them were so real, and displays the real genius of the show.) But someone tries to kill Fitz, and when he comes-to, he decides life is too short and informs Mellie he wants a divorce. Then Verna gives a deathbed confession about Defiance and Fitz takes up drinking, Liv takes up swimming, and Fitz has her under surveillance by Creepy Hot Captain Jake, who has a very hands on approach. After a scuffle, Liv ends up in the hospital, and that’s when Fitz decides to go back to his divorce plan, which makes Mellie publicly out him as an adulterer. Liv and Fitz were living the dream for a little bit, until their recent misdeeds come to light, and Liv decides she needs to pick up her white hat and leave the White House alone.

So where do Liv and Fitz go from here? They broke each other’s hearts so many times last season, but that chemistry is still there, it will always be there. Is Fitz going to turn back into the mean drunk and make everyone around him hate him, or will he be defeated and resigned to Liv’s decision?

[Is it Thursday yet??...]