<i>Unexpected Eden</i>: Excerpt Unexpected Eden: Excerpt Rhenna Morgan "He closed the distance, slow and steady, and traced the angle of her cheekbone." <i>Full Throttle</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Full Throttle: Exclusive Excerpt Julie Ann Walker "There was no use trying to hide the hunger in her expression..." <i>Mine to Take</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Mine to Take: Exclusive Excerpt Jackie Ashenden "A subtle heat that rested on his skin like a ray of sun. Dangerous." <i>The Highland Dragon's Lady</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Highland Dragon's Lady: Exclusive Excerpt Isabel Cooper "His lean body snapped to attention and his eyes blazed with silver fire."
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Team H & H
Showing posts by: Rachel Kramer Bussel click to see Rachel Kramer Bussel's profile
Tue
May 13 2014 8:30am

Women’s Sexual Fantasies on Their Terms in S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed by L. Marie Adeline

SECRET Revealed by L. Marie AdelineThe conclusion to L. Marie Adeline’s S.E.C.R.E.T. erotic romance trilogy, about a private women’s group that facilitates women’s sexual fantasies, is just as sexy and dramatic as the two previous installments.

One of the key cornerstones of the series is emphasized even more strongly: that women should select and be active participants in the creation and fulfillment of their sexual fantasies. Yes, the private group S.E.C.R.E.T. often concocts the specifics of the fantasies, trains men to fulfill them and oversees the specifics, but nothing ever happens unless the woman officially “accepts the Step,” meaning says an active, vocal yes to what’s about to happen. She may not know exactly what that is, but she’s always given the opportunity to get clarification, buy time or say no, and I believe the series is all the stronger for the times when the latter happens, as it does in S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed, the third and final book.

This one finds New Orleans anchorwoman and single mom Solange Faraday as the group’s latest recruit. Solange has let sex take a backseat to her career and parenting. The switch to living out some very risqué scenarios, such as wearing a trench coat, hat, black stiletto boots, garters, stockings and nothing else before an evening on the town, is one she’s both wary of and more than ready for. In this case, she’s nervous about getting caught, but Adeline makes it clear that the nervousness is part of the hotness.

[Anxiety makes the flame burn brighter?...]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 8:30am

Balancing Multiple Relationships in Bound to be a Groom by Megan Mulry

Bound to be a Groom by Megan MulryIt’s not every author who can make nearly every page sizzle with sexual tension when we’re talking about two characters, let alone four, but Megan Mulry more than pulls it off in her historical romance Bound to be a Groom, following on the heels of last year’s Bound to be a Bride. There’s not only numerous BDSM-themed sex scenes, but every one of them makes explicitly clear that these pairings aren’t just about momentary pleasures, but build toward a more lasting, expansive love. Mulry captures both the logistical and emotional challenges of balancing multiple relationships and desires.

The year is 1808, the place, Badajoz, Spain, and Anna and Pia know they have to escape their Spanish convent and find a way to be together. Their plan? Have Anna find work as a courtesan and earn enough to support them.

"Neither she nor Pia had any firsthand experience with men, of course, but they’d convinced themselves that if they could make each other shudder and beg, surely a brutish man would succumb to far less.”

[Love as a geometric exercise!...]

Fri
Mar 28 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Holly Peterson’s The Idea of Him (April 1, 2014)

The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson

Holly Peterson
The Idea of Him
William Morrow / April 1, 2014 / $14.99 print, $10.99 digital

Allie Crawford has the life she always dreamed of—she's number two at a high-profile P.R. firm; she has two kids she adores; and her husband is a blend of handsome and heroic. Wade is everything she thought a man was supposed to be—he's running a successful newsmagazine and, best of all, he provides the stable yet exciting New York City life Allie believes she needs in order to feel secure and happy.

But when Allie finds Wade locked in their laundry room with a stunning blonde in snakeskin sandals, a scandal ensues that flips her life on its head. And when the woman wants to befriend Allie, an old flame calls, and a new guy gets a little too close for comfort, she starts to think her marriage is more of a facade than something real. Maybe she's fallen in love not with Wade—but with the idea of him.

Captivating and seductive, told in the whip-smart voice of a woman who is working hard to keep her parenting and career on track, The Idea of Him is a novel of conspiracy, intrigue, and intense passion—and discovering your greatest strength through your deepest fears.

It’s hard to describe exactly what category The Idea of Him falls into—it has elements of romance, mystery, suspense and women’s fiction. All I know is I could not put it down. Holly Peterson, also the author of The Manny, presents the story of Allie Crawford, a successful married Manhattan PR executive whose life gets turned upside down not (entirely) by another man, but another woman—no, not like that. Jackie Malone, the other woman who crosses her path, is sexy and mysterious, but looks like trouble. She’s someone Allie alternately hates, fears, and admires, a femme fatale who wreaks havoc on Allie’s life.

[Sounds...complicated!]

Sun
Mar 16 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Elizabeth Maxwell’s Happily Ever After (March 18, 2014)

Happily Ever After by Elizabeth MaxwellElizabeth Maxwell
Happily Ever After
Touchstone / March 18, 2014 / $15.00 print, $10.93 digital

In this sexy contemporary romance, an erotic novelist meets the fictional hero of her most recent book in real life, and must decide whether she wants to get him back between the pages—or between her sheets.

At forty-six, Sadie Fuller's life isn't exactly the stuff of romantic fiction. A divorced, overweight, somewhat sexually frustrated mother of an eleven-year-old, she lives in the suburbs, shops the big box stores, makes small talk with her small-minded neighbors, and generally leads a quiet life. But while her daughter is at school, or when Sadie is up late at night, she writes erotic fiction under the name KT Briggs.

Then, during a routine shopping trip, Sadie runs into someone familiar...too familiar, in fact. She encounters an incredibly handsome man exactly like the one in her imagination—and her latest novel. Is Aidan Hathaway really one of her characters? And if so, what is he doing in Target? As Sadie tries to negotiate this strange new world, her eyes begin to open to romantic possibilities in places she never dreamed of looking...places where Happily Ever After might not be so far-fetched after all.

If you’re a writer, it’s hard to resist a writer as a protagonist, let alone a romance novelist. But you don’t need to have experience staring down a blank page or following strangers for fictional fodder to appreciate the wacky charm of Elizabeth Maxwell’s debut novel Happily Ever After, about 46-year-old divorced single mom Sadie Fuller, writer of romances and far racier erotic romances (as K.T. Briggs), whose hot, rich alpha male hero comes to life before her very eyes. Oh, and there’s the little matter of the scene from her work in progress that manages to write itself overnight, without any help from her (if only we could all wake up to such wonders!).

[The best part of waking up!...]

Sat
Mar 1 2014 10:15am

Freeing Yourself from the Past: Ginger Jamison’s Liberty

Liberty by Ginger Jamison

In Ginger Jamison's erotic romance Liberty, the last thing the heroine Lexy Beecher wants is to see her husband Ryan back from war. The man who had beat her and belittled her and generally made her life miserable since she married him at seventeen is an unwelcome sight, but she knows it's a temporary situation, since she’ll be leaving him soon. Yet as she seems him first in the hospital, recovering from an explosion on the battlefield, and later at home, the man before her is a world aware from her abusive husband. This man looks like her Ryan for the most part, but acts like someone else entirely—someone who’s kind and cares about her. Despite herself, she begins to have feelings for him, the kind she never had for the earlier incarnation of Ryan.

“Thank you for taking care of me,” he said clearly, no hint of rasp, no sound of Texas in his voice.

The ice must have helped, but she barely processed his words because he was staring at her so intently. He was staring at her like he knew the naughty thoughts that had raced through her mind.

“You’re welcome,” she said dumbly.

She should have looked away but she didn’t. She couldn’t and it was a mistake because he grabbed her by the waist and kissed her. She didn’t even have time to react or maybe she didn’t want to react. His kiss was soft at first, just one pair of sweet lips stroking another, but then it changed, it become something more. He cradled her face in his hands in an act so purely sweet it left her breathless as he deepened the kiss. The tip of his tongue came into her mouth and she found herself responding, melting, relenting. His kiss was tender lips and a sweet wet tongue. It made her forget it all, forget that she was kissing a man she had hated for the past ten years.

What the hell am I doing?

[Can people change that much?...]

Sat
Feb 8 2014 10:00am

First Look: Carole Radziwill’s The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating (February 11, 2014)

The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating by Carole RadziwillCarole Radziwill
The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating
Henry Holt / February 11, 2014 / $25.00 print, $11.99 digital

Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite and the wife of a famous, slightly older man. Her husband, Charlie, is a renowned sexologist and writer. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is pompous yet charming, supportive yet unfaithful; he’s a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist for long, and he does little to hide his affairs. Claire’s life with Charlie is an always interesting if not deeply devoted one, until Charlie is struck dead one day on the sidewalk by a falling sculpture ... a Giacometti, no less!

Once a promising young writer, Claire had buried her ambitions to make room for Charlie’s. After his death, she must reinvent herself. Over the course of a year, she sees a shrink (or two), visits an oracle, hires a “botanomanist,” enjoys an erotic interlude (or ten), eats too little, drinks too much, dates a hockey player, dates a billionaire, dates an actor (not any actor either, but the handsome movie star every woman in the world fantasizes about dating). As she grieves for Charlie and searches for herself, she comes to realize that she has an opportunity to find something bigger than she had before—maybe even, possibly, love.

For those who read Carole Radziwill’s searing, poignant memoir What Remains, about losing her husband Anthony, to cancer, just weeks after the deaths of her best friends Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr., there’s only one bit of overlap with her raucous new novel, and it’s a funny one. Radziwill borrowed a real-life incident in which she interviewed a doctor about the ideal woman (it has to do with her waist to hip ratio). Other than that, the Real Housewife has left melodrama behind in favor of drama of the zaniest kind in her debut novel. So while Claire Byrne, her protagonist, interviews a strikingly similar expert doctor, midway through she learns that her husband, the famed writer and sexologist Charles (Charlie) Byrne, has been killed. No, not murder, at least, not by a human, but by a falling piece of art—a counterfeit Giacometti sculpture, at that—after enjoying an extramarital assignation.

[Sounds like instant karma to us...]

Thu
Feb 6 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Tiffany Reisz’s Misbehaving (February 11, 2014)

Misbehaving by Tiffany ReiszTiffany Reisz
Misbehaving
Cosmo Red Hot Reads / February 11, 2014 / $3.99 digital

As a popular sex blogger, Beatriz gets paid to have orgasms. So being on deadline the week of her sister's wedding isn't as rough as it sounds. There's just one hitch: Bea's assignment is to write a review of a sex position manual, but she doesn't have a plus-one to play with.

The good news: Ben, the one who got away back in college, is also attending stag—and he's as temptingly gorgeous as ever.

The bad news: Ben turned down Bea's offer of graduation-night sex five years ago.

The best news: He's not planning on making the same mistake twice….

Beatriz (Bea) is a happily single sex blogger, who’s as comfortable using a vibrator as finding a new bedmate to test out a particular position. She’s been there and done that, but she isn’t jaded about sex or, for the most part, love, she just knows where each belongs in her life—or thinks she does. She’s like Samantha on Sex and the City—confident, ballsy, empowered, the kind of woman who men who don’t know better might call “intimidating.”

[The lady's in charge...]

Tue
Jan 7 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Alison Tyler’s The Delicious Torment (January 7, 2014)

Alison Tyler
The Delicious Torment: A Story of Submission
Cleis Press / January 7, 2014 / $16.95 print

The second in a series of novels by bondage connoisseur Alison Tyler features heroine Samantha progressing with her predilections and exploring the deepest recesses of her master's dungeon and her heart. The Delicious Torment is a Story of O meets 9 1/2 Weeks coming-of-age tale fueled by lust, longing, and based on the author's personal diaries. The Delicious Torment takes readers to Sunset Strip, way up in the sky in a penthouse apartment overlooking Los Angeles with a love affair ensconced in an S&M relationship filled with corsets, crops, and plenty of kink.

There’s a hypnotic quality to the writing style of author Alison Tyler in her BSDM-themed novels Dark Secret Love and its sequel The Delicious Torment: A Story of Submission (the first two of a trilogy). Both feature protagonist and narrator Samantha, a Los Angeles writer inspired by Tyler’s own past, who develops a series of kinky relationships, culminating in Dark Secret Love in a 24/7 Dom/sub life with Jack, who here puts her through her paces in entirely new ways.

[Care to elaborate?...]

Wed
Dec 25 2013 10:00am

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best of 2013, Day 4

SECRET Shared by L. Marie AdelineMay 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!

Check back every other weekday between now and Christmas for all of the blogger recommendations! See the picks from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

Rachel Kramer Bussel:

S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared by L. Marie Adeline
I loved this continuation of her trilogy about women fulfilling their sexual fantasies. It was a perfect sequel and contained one of the hottest sex scenes—on a plane!—I’ve read. After I wrote the First Look, I found out that many of the New Orleans settings, including the protagonist’s clothing store, are real.

When The Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke
I loved the entire premise about this smart and proud professional matchmaker who doesn’t want to lust after a bad boy, but does, and a man who’s in search of a rich wife but doesn’t know the perfect one is right under his nose. Their avoidance tactics, jealousy, stolen kisses, and verbal sparring add up to a perfect historical romance.

[Sounds like a perfect formula!...]

Thu
Nov 21 2013 1:30pm

First Look: Jodie Griffin’s Matzoh and Misteltoe (November 21, 2013)

Matzhoh and Mistletoe by Jodie GriffinJodie Griffin
Matzoh and Mistletoe
Carina Press / November 21, 2013 / $2.99 digital

Every December twenty-fifth, Rebeccah Rickman volunteers through her synagogue so that others can celebrate Christmas. Her usual mitzvah, or good deed, is assisting police officer Jeremy Kohler. But this year is different: this year, Becca is free to act on the attraction that has long simmered between her and the sexy cop.

Jeremy couldn't have asked for a better gift than discovering the woman he's fantasized about for five long years is single. But when he learns about the violence that broke up Becca's marriage, he's hesitant to pursue her. He fears his desires will scare her away—but can't deny his own need for control in the bedroom. Or his longing to instruct her in the fine art of submission…

Becca is shocked to learn that Jeremy is a sexual dominant. And despite her past, she's also aroused. But before she can explore what that means, she's going to have to put her trust in Jeremy—and her own fledgling desires.

While the title of Jodie Griffin’s BDSM-themed novella suggests that the main conflict between the Jewish heroine and Christian hero relates to religion and culture, a better description of the main plot would be Vanilla Meets Kinky. Vanilla being Rebeccah (Becca) Rickman, a nice divorced Jewish girl who volunteers every Christmas to help the local police department on ride-alongs. If it happens to give her the opportunity to be in close confines with the very hot, not-Jewish at all Jeremy Kohler, all the better.

[Hot cops are hard to resist...]

Wed
Oct 9 2013 5:00pm

First Look: L. Marie Adeline’s S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared (October 15, 2013)

SECRET Shared by L. Marie AdelineL. Marie Adeline
S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared
Broadway / October 15, 2013 / $10.98 print, $7.99 digital

Still wounded from a recent heartbreak over her boss and lover, Will, Cassie Robichaud throws herself into service with S.E.C.R.E.T., the mysterious organization that changed her forever by bringing her deepest sexual fantasies to life, one step at a time. Now, it’s Cassie’s turn to guide the group’s newest candidate, Dauphine Mason, recruiting men to execute a new set of fantasies.

At thirty-one, Dauphine is the proprietor of a New Orleans vintage clothing store. She’s been harboring a crush on Mark Drury, a local rock star, but is too shy to put herself out there with him. She turns to S.E.C.R.E.T. to reignite her sexual flame and find the confidence to risk her heart again with another man.

As Cassie worries that the right time will never come for her and Will, she finds inspiration helping Dauphine in S.E.C.R.E.T. Both women navigate the rocky path between their hearts and their passions, hoping to discover what they truly want in life and in love.

L. Marie Adeline’s S.E.C.R.E.T. series is about a secret group that facilitates sexual fantasies for women who need a pick me up. The second book in the series, S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared, jumps right in, with heroine Dauphine Mason, being the lucky recipient of life-changing sex with a stranger. Before we even know much about Dauphine, we know she’s in the water, laughing, and that this is utterly unfamiliar territory for her. “Accepting this compelling stranger’s invitation to join him in the rushing water meant inviting my life’s current to change directions.” And it’s on. Adeline weaves this very wet encounter with Dauphine’s lovelorn life story, before the alternating chapter viewpoints lead us back to Cassie Robichaud, heroine of S.E.C.R.E.T., who’s still getting over a broken heart after her boss and friend, Will, drops her for his pregnant girlfriend (and employee), Tracina.

['Til the right one comes along...]